A/N: Last chapter! Thanks, you guys. You seriously blow me away. PR fandom kicks ass.
Somewhere between stopping for more coffee (tea for Rachel) and Aviva buying a cute little shirt for Hannah at one of the little shops they stop at, Puck ends up with his arm draped around Rachel's shoulder. He winks at her when she looks up at him, and he thinks that he'd probably want to do this whether his mom was there or not.
And he really doesn't give a shit if any of his classmates see him.
Rachel does something bold that she normally wouldn't dream of while they're sitting in the auditorium listening to the a capella group's showcase.
She's sitting between Noah and his mother, and she reaches over and slips her hand into his. He doesn't say anything, just holds her hand against his leg. They have to let go to clap after the first number, and afterward, his hand finds hers again and he gives it a squeeze.
If she didn't know any better, she'd think there's something going on between them.
She knows that's how it looks to everyone else.
When they get back to the apartment, Rachel insists that she's just got to run out for a few groceries for their dinner, and Puck runs after her when she slips out the door quickly. He catches her elbow before she reaches the stairs and she turns towards him.
"Hey," he says as he lets her go. "What's up?"
"Nothing," she insists. "I just know you don't have what I need."
Well, shit. He wonders if there's some kind of deeper meaning to that.
"I'll be back in a half hour," she promises, smiling up at him. "It'll be worth it. I promise."
She hops up on her toes and kisses his cheek, and when she tries to turn away, he grabs her wrist.
"Rachel, what the fuck?" he asks, brow furrowed, searching her eyes.
"I'm sorry," she breathes out, closing her eyes tightly. "That was...I didn't mean to. It just felt...it felt like a moment."
"I'm not talking about that," he says. She opens her eyes and looks terrified. "You're freaking out about something."
She twists her wrist to pull it away from him. "I'm not. Well, maybe I'm freaking out about the fact that I just stupidly kissed you, and I don't know why I did that, other than we're saying goodbye, and we've just spent the entire day pretending to be a couple, and I just..."
"I'm fine, Noah, really."
He doesn't believe her, not at all, but he lets her head down the stairs.
If his fucking mom wasn't inside, he would have grabbed Rachel and dragged her back to his bedroom, because these little kisses on the cheek are not enough for him. Not even close.
Dinner is weird. Not the food. The food is great. Rachel is a hell of a cook. She makes this amazing baked chicken thing, with the best mashed potatoes he's ever had in his life, and she does these salted green beans that are to die for.
Basically? She's perfect. Fucking perfect.
But that's not the weird part. The weird part is that she barely looks at him, and when he offers to help, she shoos him out of the kitchen and tells him not to bug her again. When they're sitting at the table, he performs a little experiment (and he can admit it's extreme). He settles his foot next to hers, then lets his toes creep up to caress her ankle.
She kicks his shin.
Whatever that girl says, there's something wrong with her. He intends to find out what it is.
They sit together in the living room after dinner, and Puck doesn't let her get away. When they're sitting on the couch, he pulls her against him. When his mom gets up to go to the washroom, Puck leans closer.
"Rachel, you can't fucking lie to me, okay?"
Somehow, that's the wrong thing to say.
"You don't have a problem with me lying to her," she points out, brow raised.
"She's more gullible than I am, and don't change the subject."
Aviva comes back, and Rachel announces that she's going to bed. It's just barely 9:30. She just can't be around him anymore right now without being with him. With any luck, she'll be asleep when he comes to bed.
"What did you do?" his mom asks.
"Fuck," he grumbles. He doesn't need this shit right now. "Listen, believe it or not, I don't fuck up everything I touch."
She puts her hands on her hips and stares at him. "Who said anything about that?"
"I know that look, okay? I'm fucking..."
She rests her hand on his arm and he looks at her as he sighs. "Noah, go talk to that girl. I'm quite tired. I think I'll go to bed," she says.
The look in her eye as she says it lets him know that she's not tired at all, but that she's just going to either entertain herself or go to bed and (for once in his damn life) mind her own business.
Rachel is barely pulling her top on with her shorts when the door opens and Puck walks in.
He looks her up and down because he just can't help it. He can't. She's gorgeous, and her body is fucking amazing, and he wants her so damn bad, and today has just confirmed it.
"Rachel, can you please just give me a fucking straight answer and tell me what's going on with you? Because you were fine today, and then it was like someone flicked a switch and you went crazy," he says seriously. His voice is quiet, though, so his mom can't hear.
She rakes her hands through her hair and hates herself for not being a better actress. She should have been able to let on that she was fine, that nothing was wrong. Then she realizes that she did act that way, just not to him. She wonders if maybe he can just read her better than anyone else.
"I suppose you want the truth," she says. She means it as a joke, but he doesn't take it that way and tells her that, yeah, the fucking truth would be nice. "I think...I think that when we do this, when we're pretending to be this perfect couple, it just reminds me that I don't have that, you know? And I tell myself that I don't want it, but I do, Noah. I want...god, I want this."
She gestures between the two of them, and he doesn't know if she means a relationship or this relationship.
He finds himself hoping it's the latter.
So what does he say here that won't make him look like either a jerk or an idiot?
So for once in his life, he's going to play it safe.
"Well, you'll find it," he says sincerely.
But then she's shaking her head and his heart is racing and he thinks holy shit this is really happening, what he's wanted probably since he met her.
"No," she whispers. She puts on this little smile, and there might be tears in her eyes or something. "No, I think...I think I want this." She takes a breath and looks at him again, and god, if he doesn't want the same thing, this is just going to be the most embarrassing moment of her entire life. "I think I want us."
He's across the room in seconds, slipping one hand into her hair and pulling her towards him with the other on her waist. And when he kisses her? When he kisses her, he's pretty sure it's the best fucking kiss he's had in his entire life. Her lips are like, perfect, and her hands are balled in fists, clutching his shirt. She lets out this little noise of surprise, and he thinks that's just so hot. (As if she didn't think he'd kiss her after she said that.)
He pulls away after a few moments, because if he doesn't, he's just going to want to take this way, way further.
"I fucking want you so bad, baby," he says, his forehead pressed against hers.
Her eyes open and look all hopeful. "Really?"
He just laughs softly. He'd ask how she didn't know, but he supposes the signals have been pretty fucked up, given that it's been his job the last couple days to make it seem like he's in love with her.
"Noah, I..." She tries to take a step away from him but he doesn't let her. It makes her smile.
"I just...are you sure? Because if you're not, I understand. I know this is out of the blue, and if you don't..."
He cuts her off with a kiss, hooks his arm around her waist and lays her down. He swipes his tongue along her bottom lip, and she mewls. He doesn't know if it's because he's laying between her thighs or because he's slipping his tongue into her mouth. Either way, she doesn't seem to mind. Her hands run through his hair, then down his back, and he pulls away from her just so he can take off his shirt. She smiles at him as he lays down on top of her again.
"You have..." He kisses her and she laughs into his mouth. "Stop it," she laughs.
"Fuck that," he murmurs against her lips.
"You have the most gorgeous body," she says breathlessly. He groans and arches into her. "God, Noah."
"This," he says, slipping his hand beneath her sorry excuse for a tank top. "You talk about my body...Fuck, Rachel, you're..."
His hand lands on her breast and she breathes out his name. She pushes him away and he doesn't realize why until she's pulling her top off and dropping it next to them on the bed. He takes a second just to look at her, all smooth skin laid out before him, then he bends down to kiss her before letting his lips travel down to her chest. She arches into him and her nails trail lightly down his shoulder blades, which makes him shiver. It's like she knows exactly what he likes. He cannot wait to be inside her.
When his hand travels between them and toys with the little string at the front of her shorts, she tenses and turns her head so he can't kiss her.
"Wait," she says. He doesn't. He presses his hand against her through her shorts. "Noah. Noah, please wait."
"What is it?" he asks. His eyes are so dark that it'd scare her if she didn't know the reason.
He groans loudly and rolls off her. Dammit. His jeans are fucking uncomfortable, and Rachel is half-naked next to him, and she's totally wet right now, and all he wants is to fuck her. He wants so badly to fuck her.
"Is it too late to send her to a hotel?"
Rachel giggles and reaches for the blanket at the end of the bed, pulling it over herself. He's having none of that. He rolls onto his side and slips his hand beneath it, coming to rest on her breast again. She closes her eyes and lets out a breath as he runs his thumb lightly over her nipple. She's so fucking ready for him and he can't do anything about it.
"Yes," she says. He looks very accomplished, and she realizes that he's misunderstood her. "Yes, it's too late to send her to a hotel."
He palms her breast and grinds himself against her thigh. "Can we get a hotel room?"
She rests her hand over his and then pulls it away from her body. "We can...we can control ourselves."
"Speak for yourself," he grumbles. "I'm so fucking hard right now."
"I haven't had sex in nine months."
"Well, fuck," he says with a laugh. "You need this worse than I do." She laughs and covers her face with the blanket, and he reaches for her shirt, handing it to her. "Put this on. Now."
"You're not going to argue?" she asks, amused.
"No," he says. She looks at him and he smirks as he runs his hand lightly over her stomach, just below her navel. "Because when I do get to fuck you, I want all nine months of that pent up sexual frustration coming out of you, and you can't do that with my mom in the next room."
He feels her tremble beneath his palm.
She sits up to pull her shirt over her head, then pushes him onto his back and slings one leg over his, running her hand down his chest. "I'm going to hold you to that."
"You need to go to sleep," he says gruffly. She laughs and leans down to kiss him. He can feel the heat between her thighs against his hip. "Seriously. Go to sleep. And I might need your barrier of pillows tonight."
She laughs again and hops off the bed, leaves the room and heads for the bathroom.
He wasn't joking.
He wakes up with a girl in his arms, and for the first time in a long time, his first thought isn't how to get her to leave.
Actually, he's thinking of how to make her stay.
Thing is? He doesn't need any lie or trick or anything. He realizes that she knows who he is, and she wants him anyway. Maybe because of that.
And she's waking up and her big brown eyes are blinking at him, and he kisses the tip of her nose.
"'Morning," she says quietly. He pulls her closer, not caring that he's hard again (still?) and she can definitely feel that against her hip. "I love your mother, but how quickly do you think we can get her to leave."
"Goddamn, Rachel," he says, and she laughs softly, burying her face in his chest. "You're in so much trouble as soon as we're alone."
She pulls herself away from him, sits up and straightens out her top. She drops a kiss to his lips, then stands. She walks to the door (he watches her the whole time; can't help but) and stops when her hand is on the doorknob.
She laughs as she leaves the room, his groan following her down the hall.
Aviva doesn't overstay her welcome, by any means, but when 11:00 rolls around and they're long done breakfast and everything is cleaned up and Puck's living room is put back together and she's still sitting there, chatting away, Puck's pretty sure he's ready to kick her ass out the door.
Rachel's phone rings and it's her dad, so she goes into the bedroom to take the call, and Puck takes that fucking golden opportunity to nudge his mother out of his goddamn apartment.
"Mom!" he barks. She startles and looks at him like he's crazy. "I'm gonna lay it out for you real simple."
"What are you talking about, Noah?" she says, shaking her head.
"Look, lady." He leans down so his hands are resting on the table across from her and she's eye level. "Couples fight. And then there's this thing called makeup sex, and it's fucking awesome. And Rachel and I? We had a fight, and since you were fucking squatting on my couch, I didn't get to cash in on the only good thing about having a fight." She's looking at him disapprovingly. "You understand?"
"You know, I don't think Rachel would appreciate you sharing such a personal detail. And also, don't talk to your mother that way. Noah, your language is just repulsive."
"Save the lecture," he mumbles. "Mom, you know I love you, but you gotta go. You don't even understand."
She sighs, smiles and shakes her head. "If it were any other girl..." she says, not bothering to finish her thought.
Yeah, he knows how much she loves Rachel.
"Thank you," he breathes out. "I love you, mom."
She rolls her eyes at him. "I have to pick Hannah up by 2:30 anyway."
He hugs her. A full blown hug.
That's when Rachel walks back into the room.
"Mom has to go," he says, like it pains him that the woman's leaving, like all three of them don't know exactly what's going to happen the minute she leaves.
"Oh," Rachel says, dropping her phone on the counter. (She made a point of turning it to silent as soon as she hung up with her dad.) "Well, it was great having you."
"It was so good to see you," Aviva says, pulling Rachel into a hug. "You've made this apartment so much more homey, you know that? Before, it was an absolute wreck. You know, I think Noah has needed your influence in his life in a lot of areas." Rachel laughs and glances at him, and he's rolling his eyes. "Now, if you could only get him to stop cursing."
"I'll see what I can do," Rachel says. She watches Noah grab his mother's bag, then help her pull it onto her shoulder.
"You want me to walk you to the car?" he asks. Rachel smiles from his side, wraps her arm around his waist.
"No. I'll be fine. You just stay here. I'm sure I can find my way," she says, sharing a private smile with her son.
He has honestly (seriously) never loved her more.
She says her goodbyes again, that she'll call when she gets home, then she's out the door.
As soon as it's closed, Puck grabs Rachel and pushes her up against it, and his lips are on hers.
"I thought...Fuck," he says, groaning when he slips his hand into her shirt and realizes she's not wearing a bra. "I thought she'd never leave."
"Me too," she breathes out.
She angles her hips, desperate for more already, and he kisses her hard, letting his tongue delve into her mouth. She moans and fists the collar of his shirt at the back of his neck. His hands find her thighs, lifting her up and urging her to wrap her legs around his waist. God, she feels so good already and they're still wearing all their clothes.
He manages, with some difficulty, to pull off her shirt without dropping her, and she arches her back when her shoulder blades come in contact with the cold door behind her.
"Bedroom," she breathes out, running her hand over his head.
He ignores her, slips a hand between them and unbuttons her jeans. She can feel him, hard between her thighs, and she needs them to be naked. Soon. He latches onto her neck, and she knows he's leaving a mark, but she can't find it in herself to care, just rolls her head to the side to give him better access.
"Fuck, baby, you...god, you make me crazy," he breathes out between kisses to her neck and collarbone, his hands firmly planted on her ass.
"Noah, the bedroom. Please," she manages.
He pulls away from her and smirks wickedly. "Fine." He leans forward to kiss her, and she whimpers when he stops. "But only because I intend to fuck you against every flat surface in this place. Bed can be first."
He has to carry her because she has a little trouble walking after that comment.
However many hours later, they're laying together on a blanket on his living room floor, and she's tracing patterns on his chest as he drifts in and out of sleep.
She can't believe the turn this weekend took. They went from literally not speaking at all, to laying naked in his apartment. (She says his apartment, not just his room, because they've been everywhere, true to his word. He went down on her in the kitchen, despite her attempts to protest which, in his defense, were half-hearted at best. And she knows he's got plans for the shower later...)
"You're tickling me," he mumbles, and she doesn't stop what she's doing because she knows he's lying.
"What're you writing?"
"No really," he says, tightening his hold on her. She looks up and his eyes are open, watching her. She kisses his jaw, right next to his chin, and he lets out a little noise from the back of his throat.
"My initials," she explains, continuing her cursive. "R." Her finger moves. "M." And again. "B."
"'S'your middle name?" he asks.
"Maria. Like West Side Story," she says with a smile. She feels the rumble of his laughter against her cheek. "You?"
"Don't have one."
"Noah, you have to have one."
"Named for my deadbeat dad. I don't use that shit," he says, and she's reminded again how much the man's departure affected him. She cups his chin, brings his lips to hers and kisses him gently.
They're quiet for a while, then she feels his fingertip moving across the small of her back. she can easily make out the letters N and P after he writes them a couple times, and she thinks she could scream, she's so happy in this exact moment.
"You're mine now," he says, his voice low as he speaks against her temple, then kisses her. "Branded you."
"The hickey wasn't enough?" she asks with a laugh, looking over just in time to see him grin lasciviously. "You're mine, too."
"Obviously. I'm the only one you've been banging for the better part of a day."
"Noah!" she cries, shoving at him as he laughs. "You're disgusting."
He chuckles against her hair. "Again. You're the one banging..."
"Stop," she insists quietly, watching as he grabs her hand and holds it against his chest. "Noah?"
She speaks quietly, because she's really not sure how he's going to react to this. She thinks he's satisfied enough, there are enough endorphins running through him or whatever, that he might just not freak out.
"Is it crazy that I'm falling in love with you?"
He tries really, really hard not to get tense. He was not expecting any use of the 'L' word whatsoever until way down the line.
And despite the lie brought them together, he wants to be honest with Rachel about everything.
"Oh," she says. She's biting her lip in this adorable way, and he kisses her. "Does that scare you?"
He laughs a little bit. "I'm fucking terrified."
She fucking smiles. "That's okay, you know."
"Is it?" he asks, and she nods. "Good."
"Maybe you can fall in love with me too," she says quietly, trailing her finger down his chest toward his belly button.
Know what? That actually doesn't sound so bad.
"Yeah," he says after a moment. "Alright."
So here's the problem with banging your new girlfriend's roommate once upon a time: You can't go to your new girlfriend's apartment.
And here's the problem with your new girlfriend being a total school nerd: If you can't go to her apartment, she'll refuse to go to yours when she has school work to do.
"Come over," he says seriously as soon as she picks up the phone. "Please, Rachel."
"You're begging now?" she asks laughingly. His texts throughout the day had gone from suggestive, to demanding, to downright filthy. (She didn't really hate any of them.) But begging? She hadn't expected this.
"Yes! We're supposed to be all about sex right now. You're depriving me of my right as the dude you just started seeing."
"That's absolutely the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," she states. He doesn't realize that she's actually in her car on her way to his place. "I'll see you tomorrow after my private lesson, alright? Like we talked about."
"But, baby, I'm turned on now." He's practically whining. She thinks it's almost cute. "Can't you blow off homework and, you know, blow me instead?"
Not so cute anymore. She considers turning the car around. He's just such an ass.
But, after all, there's a reason she got into her car in the first place. What can she say? She went a long time without and then had a full two days (he convinced her, though it didn't take much, to skip classes on Monday) of amazing physical intimacy and...well, he's awoken a sleeping giant, as the saying goes. By Monday evening, he was joking that her sexual appetite rivaled his.
Now it's Wednesday night and she hasn't seen him since Tuesday morning, and that just doesn't seem right.
And that sleeping giant? Well, Rachel's fairly certain that sleeping giant is just a little bit of a vixen. (And she means that in a good way.)
"Why don't you just think about me until we can see each other?" she suggests in this voice she's already learned he loves. She hears the breath he takes and smiles to herself. She checks her lip gloss in the rear view mirror as she pulls to a stop in the visitor's parking spot at his building.
"You're a fucking tease," he grumbles.
"Am I?" she asks. "I'll make it up to you."
"Goddamn. I thought the point of having a girlfriend was so that I wouldn't have to..."
"Do not finish that sentence."
She holds the phone tightly against her chest as she knocks at his apartment door.
"Fuck. Someone's here. I can't..."
"Answer it," she tells him.
"Baby, you do not want me answering the door right now," he says, and she has a very hard time not giggling at him. She shakes her head and knocks again. "Jesus fucking..."
The door swings open and he stares at her for a second.
"You called me your girlfriend." Her arms are around him and he's pulling her into the apartment, slamming the door behind them.
"Fuckin' right I did," he says, pulling his lips away from her neck so he can smirk at her. He looks her up and down and sees what she's wearing. Jacket? That's gotta go. He starts unbuttoning it, kissing her as he does so. "Now do your part."
She actually laughs and shrugs her coat off, toes off her shoes and wraps her arms around his neck. They make it as far as the couch before his pants are at his ankles and his hand is up her skirt.
And because she's some kind of wanton woman when she's with him, she angles her hips against his hand and tugs at his ear with her teeth. "You don't want me to blow you?"
Fucking hell. You see what he's dealing with? Who knew all this sexual energy could come out of this tiny woman? And she's all his. He tugs down her panties and flips up her skirt, licking his lips, and he watches her literally tremble.
They never did get around to (as he calls it) De-Rachelifying his apartment. He's really damn happy about that, because it means that her suitcase is still sitting in his room full of clothes, and when she tries to tell him at midnight that she has to go, she has absolutely no excuse.
They stroll into pop culture class together, and it's their review day before their final next week, so Rachel tells him that she wants them to not sit together, because she needs to focus, and whatever flirtations he's no doubt tempted to engage in, she wants no part of.
So he sits behind her.
Before the teacher even comes into the room, Puck leans forward and rests his hand on Rachel's shoulder, letting his thumb move slowly at the nape of her neck, and she takes a deep breath.
"Can I borrow a pen?" he asks. She lets out a huff and turns towards him.
"You have a pen."
"This one's black. I want a blue one." He tries to smile, just to charm her, but she rolls her eyes at him and hands him a blue pen, then fixes her eyes on the front of the room again.
It's very clear she has no idea what he's doing. He's watching her, and she's very serious about her test review. Her notes are colour coded, and her textbook is highlighted, and it is very clear that she is going to ignore him throughout this whole class.
Which actually bodes well for this awesome (no, seriously) plan of his.
And turns out that Rachel's crazy obsessive organization and note taking works in his favour, because when they study together for the class, he gets to use all her aids (girl has flash cards) and didn't have to do anything to really prepare himself.
He does cook her dinner as a thank you.
"You know, we're going to have to lie for as long as we're together," she says as they lay in his bed the night before their final.
"Just to mom."
She turns in his arms, pulling the sheets tighter around herself. (Yeah, he checks; can't see anything.) "No. If my dads meet your mom and start talking..."
"Shit," he says, laughing softly. "Good thing we're fuckin' awesome liars, then."
"That sounds terrible."
He pulls her close, forcing her to sling her leg over his hip. "Nah. We're good. What's the difference anyway, if we're together?" She lets out a short sigh, like she wants to argue him, but can't. "Aren't you glad I forgot to break up with you?"
She really, really is.
She lets him sit next to her for their exam, but says that if he even attempts to copy off her test, well, the results will not be favourable.
Yes, those are her exact words. He doesn't really know what that means, but he doesn't really want to find out.
She turns her back to him, leans over to get something out of her bag, and he leaves the pen she lent him last week on her desk.
When she looks at her desk again, she smiles and picks up the pen. "What's this?" she asks.
He shrugs, leans over to kiss her. "One less lie," he says quietly.
Her hand comes up to rest on his face just as their professor walks into the classroom.
"Are you being sweet?" she whispers.
"Trying." He pecks her lips one last time before moving back into his own space.
"It's working," she tells him, casting a sideward glance as their tests land on their desks. "Good luck, Noah."
"You too, babe."
"I don't need luck. I'm well prepared." He pats her thigh beneath the table and winks at her. She gives him this adorable little smile, squeezes his hand before she peels it off her leg. "But thank you."
So yeah, maybe he'll fall in love with her too.