She was pretty sure she was destined to be a star; especially since her life had taken on a quality akin to a soap opera.
For one, it almost seemed destined that the dream coupling of Finn and Rachel would only work when one of the two was in another relationship. Oddly, in this case, it was Rachel who turned Finn down in favor of another. Plus, in a major bonus, the boy who willingly linked himself to her name was none other than Jesse St. James – the undeniably (more) talented (than Finn) lead of Vocal Adrenaline.
Rachel was pretty sure that she had met her match in Jesse. It seemed blatantly obvious that they were kindred spirits – both enormously talented with a propensity for the dramatic. He would accept her idiosyncrasies rather than frown like others (Finn) would. In short, together, it would not be too pompous to suggest that "St. Berry" (as she liked to think of as their couple name) could be the next Broadway it-couple.
It was by no means a perfect relationship – she never told him, but his comment about her rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade" haunted her. She wasn't trying to be the next Barbra Streisand anyway – she wanted to be the next Rachel Berry. Of course, to establish that goal she had to at least be able to be on par with Barbra (if not surpass her). He meant her no harm, she was sure, when he criticized her performances (especially the ones that she had thought were her absolute best). It was just wearing to always be told "no, not good enough," though she knew he was only telling her for her own benefit and self-improvement.
But there was also her (hushed) relationship with a third boy – Noah. It was peculiar in the fact that despite her previous attempts to immediately solidify her relationships with others, this relationship was undefined to the point where she was not even sure they were friends. Without fail, he would give her a ride home from every Glee practice, even (a no during their… fling) allowing her to choose a radio station once in a while (when he wasn't introducing her to "superior" music). There was not much more to their relationship besides small talk in the car, but for some reason when it was just Noah and Rachel in a truck, he was, she was, they were normal. He was not (completely) emotionally stunted and she was not (completely) overbearing. In all her drive for the fantastic and the over-the-top, she found that just feeling ordinary was just about perfect.
Of course, he was never anyone but Puck around everyone else. Granted, he no longer threw slushies at her, but he never acknowledged her existence, let alone their admittedly limited connection. Though disappointed, she wasn't offended – their relationship, and by extension, Noah, existed solely in the bubble of his truck; but it was more than before.
Puck was a stud, obviously (just look at those chiseled features), so he had no problem with sex. In fact, it was his favorite thing to do. It would be hypocritical of him to be against someone else getting any (as long as it did not interfere with him). Still, this time, he could hardly stand it.
He wasn't supposed to have known. He did know that Rachel and Jesse St. Jackass were dating; she had confided that to him when he was driving her home after Glee practice one day. Even Finn didn't know they were dating. But she hadn't told him that St. Douchebag was pressuring her. In all fairness, she didn't really tell anyone. Of course, he didn't expect her to go to the girls in Glee club with her problems. She wasn't exactly popular with any of them. But still, she hadn't told him. Not that he particularly cared to know the inner workings of Rachel's relationships (they both liked the Wiggle's for fuck's sake). He didn't mean to hear about it anyway. He just happened to be passing by the Choir Room when he heard her voice float into the hallway.
Do it? With St. Jerkoff? Why the fuck would anyone do that? Even if he was just about everything Rachel could want (who the fuck is able to get a full music scholarship to a school like UCLA?). Still, he couldn't imagine Rachel being loose enough to do it (with St. Bastard). It wasn't that she wasn't hot (the slushie attacks, though regrettable, did provide a nice clear view of her boobs), it was just, Rachel Berry. It didn't seem right to let someone as incapable as St. Asshole (didn't matter how many times the dude had done it, Puck was sure he was terrible) to take away anyone's virginity (especially Rachel's).
He wasn't concerned about Rachel, obviously. She could do whatever the fuck she wanted; Noah had no attachment to her. But St. Dickwad should never get any. He didn't say anything to Rachel (because he figured she should do whatever made her happy and by extension, Glee club safe), but privately, he agreed with the others. Don't date the enemy. Especially in a scenario where you end up fucking the enemy (when does that ever end well?) and making the lead more smug than ever. As much as a badass that Puck was, he was not about to lose to the pansy-ass Vocal Adrenaline at Regionals. That's obviously the reason why he's so against Rachel sleeping with St. Shithead.
"Coming?" he asked gruffly, taking Rachel's pink trolley bag from her as he walked determinedly to his truck.
"Of course," she breathed, shuffling to catch up.
They walked in silence.
Noah threw her bag into his trunk and opened the door for her (a first, actually).
"Thank you," she said, smiling slightly.
He shrugged noncommittally. He was not entirely sure what to say to her. He had actually known for a few days, but he had not known how to bring it up the fact that he knew that she might sleep with… him. He started the truck.
Her lips pursed after a few moments of silence. "Noah," she started softly, "are you okay?"
His jaw clenched. "Don't, Berry, okay," he managed to spit out. "Just don't."
Her eyes widened slightly. "I'm sorry Noah, but I really have no idea what you're talking about." Her head tilted toward him, pressing him to go on.
Licking his lips, he stared resolutely at the road ahead. "I…" his fingers ran nervously through the strip of his badass Mohawk. "I overheard you the other day." He paused. "Totally by accident of course. I was just walking by the choir room and you were talking, and shit, I heard, okay?" His voice was hoarse and intense.
"Oh." She wasn't really sure what to say. She had considered doing it, of course. It wasn't as if she was immune to hormones that ran through every adolescent (herself included). She just imagined her first time would be something special and romantic – that night with Jesse, when the idea was first brought up, while fun, was just a night. But she had seen him again, after talking to the girls, and he had promised her that she deserved no less than "epic romance." Wasn't that everything she wanted?
"Why aren't you saying anything?" he asked carefully.
"What do you want me to say?"
He paused. "Just don't sleep with him." He stole a glance at her. Her fingers twirled through her hair and her brow furrowed.
"Why would you want to?" His turned his face to stare at her.
She looks at him, surprised to find that he's gazing intensely at her. "He's my boyfriend."
"So? That doesn't mean you've got to sleep with him."
She nodded slightly, and he turned away. After a beat, she turned to him again, studying his profile. "Noah," she whispered, "was your first time special?"
It was only special in the fact that he had succeeded in losing his virginity at the tender age of fourteen. Her name had been Lauren Wagner and she was sixteen years old (also drunk and easy). He didn't really regret it. It hadn't meant anything to him, but he had fucked so many other girls that didn't mean anything to him since then, it just kind of seemed like his style. "No," he told her honestly, not looking at her, "it wasn't special."
"I want my first time to be special," she confessed, tilting her head forward so that her hair fell like a curtain around her face.
He looked at her, though he wasn't sure if she could tell. "It should be special."
Rachel didn't say anything.
Noah cleared his throat nervously. "Is he special?"
She shrugged hesitantly. "He might be. I think so. I really do like him."
His eyebrow rose questioningly. "He isn't then. Don't do it with him."
"He… he told me that he's willing to wait," she murmured softly.
"You think he's going to be around that long?" Noah asked pointedly, his face a mask of aggravation. "You don't understand... guys are all after one thing – a good fuck."
"Why wouldn't he?" Rachel glared at him, eyes fiery, teeth clenched. "Are you insinuating that he wouldn't want to stick around? I know I'm not the easiest person to date – I can be annoying, uptight, and high maintenance, but just because some guys can't handle me doesn't mean that nobody wants me. And Jesse wants me. He's willing to wait for me. Despite what everybody thinks, I am a girl who deserves to be treated right. He's promised me romance, epic romance, actually, and you know what, that's more than anyone has ever offered me before. Not everyone throws slushies in my face and thinks that's all Rachel Berry deserves." Her fingers wound tightly around the door handle as she seethed.
"Well, fuck woman, I wasn't saying you don't deserve it!" Puck spluttered. "I said it should be special for fuck's sake. Stop overreacting about fucking everything. And for the fucking record, I thought you got the fucking message that I would never throw a slushie at you again." His voice was sharper than he meant it to be.
"I'm sorry, but thrusting a slushie in my hand every time you feel bad does not count as an apology." She swung the door open as he slowed at a traffic light.
"What the fuck are you doing? We're not even at your house yet!" he roared.
She looked at him lividly. "I'll walk."
"It's the middle of the fucking winter and the skirt you have on barely covers your ass."
She clambered out, turning to face him furiously. "Are you calling me a slut?"
"No, just get in the fucking truck! You'll freeze to death and get run over because you're a midget." His eyes flicked to the traffic light (it was green) as cars began to beep before gazing at her once again.
She huffed derisively. "You know, you really have a way with words. Insulting me does not elevate you in my eyes. Some girls may like that, but I prefer to be treated like a lady."
"And that douchebag treats you like a lady? After he pressured you and just took off?" The road was a symphony of curses and beeps. He stuck a collective finger out the window, never taking his eyes off of Rachel.
"He apologized to me," she spat, "in person, with words, like an adult. And he treats me better than you have." She slammed the door shut (he hated that).
"Fuck!" he yelled, banging his hands on the wheel as he threw his truck into park and bounded out. "Get in the truck, Berry!"
She glared at him, continuing to struggle in her attempts to retrieve her trolley bag from the bed of his truck.
"Look, you can't get it and I'm not getting it for you, so get back into the truck," Noah said through his teeth, working to maintain his temper. "Just let me drive you home."
Her anger with him had already overrode her trepidation of the bitter wind. "No," she snapped. "I don't want to be around you any longer." Her fingers finally curled around the handle of her bag and she tugged it out (much less carefully than she knew she should have around his precioustruck). "Jesse and I have something special together, and I will not allow you to insult him, me, or us any longer." She stormed off, her hair whipping in the wind.
"He's such a fucking jackass, Berry!" he bellowed after her, his hands clenched into fists.
It was funny. In Noah's attempt to convince Rachel not to sleep with Jesse St. Asswipe, he convinced her to sleep with him. "He doesn't deserve you," Noah griped to the frigid, winter air.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this! Thank you to everyone who reviewed, alerted, and favoritedthis story. It means a lot to know that people are actually reading. :) Reviews are greatly appreciated.