AN: The title is a line taken from the song Romeo and Juliet, sung by the Killers. Thanks to grim_lupine for the quick and brilliant beta!
The Dice Was Loaded From the Start
Jesse St. James was a good liar. A very good liar. Maybe it was because he often didn't look at it as lying, just pretending. It was an acting exercise, trying to sell a lie so convincingly to another person that they would never even dream that he wasn't telling the truth. It was just acting. And Jesse was nothing if not a good actor.
But, ironically, Jesse had never really lied to Rachel. He might have omitted the truth here and there, or not told all of it, but he never told her a straight-faced lie.
When she asked why he was there, in McKinley, and he answered "for you". It wasn't a lie. He was there for her, but not for him. He was there for Shelby.
Being Rachel Berry's boyfriend had been so easy. For some reason it seemed like she didn't expect anything from him, and was therefore thrilled when he did do something special for her. It seemed like she was afraid that if she put any demands on him, then he would leave. It made him wonder what kind of previous experiences she'd had.
So Jesse put in some extra effort, just so he could truly sweep her off her feet. The phrase "and ruin her for other men" might have crossed his mind too. He wanted to be the man she compared all her future boyfriends to. Jesse always believed in aiming high.
It wasn't hard to guess what kinds of things Rachel would enjoy- she was much like him, so he just thought about things he liked and then made them a little more girly.
Every Friday night was spent on her couch watching musicals. The first time had been his idea, because he imagined she'd like it. She did, but so did he. Somehow it ended up as a regular thing, and when she pressed up against his body, it made all of his favorite musicals even better. When a favorite scene they liked would come up, they'd act out the dialogue, and when their favorite songs came they'd sing them so loud he was sure her neighbours would complain.
Unlike the vapid girls he'd dated at Carmel, Rachel could easily follow him in any conversation. There was nothing in the world of music that Rachel didn't know about.
Her CD collection was bigger than his. At first this had really annoyed him, her upstaging him like that. But then he soothed his ego by reminding himself that he could play more instruments than her.
Sometimes, in the endless hours they spent on her couch, making out or just silently watching a movie, he forgot why he was there.
The egg felt ridiculously heavy in his hand. He had no idea why that just struck him, when he had two seconds to decide what to do. Should he re-establish his position as the leader of Vocal Adrenaline, break Rachel's heart and her faith in him and ruin any chance of reconciling with her, or drop the egg and tell Andrea to go to hell?
Contrary to popular belief, Jesse St. James was a decent human being. His mother had actually taught him basic kindness and right from wrong before she gallivanted off to Bali. Jesse knew that what Vocal Adrenaline had just done was despicable, he knew what he had let them just do was horrible. This was Rachel, and he knew her more than he had ever believed possible. She had told him her secrets, she had trusted him with her secret nightmares about the unborn chickens. Yet he let his teammates egg her. Jesse knew that for once in his life he should do the right thing. Take one moment and for once not do what was in his best interest and think about someone else. But Rachel was already mad. Rachel would never take him back after this, anyway; she would never love him again.
His feet moved before he knew what to do, and before he knew it he was standing in front of her. Her eyes were wide and filled with so many emotions Jesse couldn't name them all. Mainly, it seemed like she was hurt, but there were other things there too. Disbelief, mostly.
He could almost hear her thoughts yelling at him: How could you do this to me? How could you let this happen to me?
Silencing her voice in his head, Jesse took a deep breath, and hesitated. Rachel didn't deserve this.
"Do it," Rachel said, urging him on. Her eyes had grown steely. "Break it like you broke my heart."
"I loved you," Jesse said, looking at her like it was her own fault. It was her fault! She had made him love her. She had been adorable and perfect and fun. She had been ambitious and slightly crazy and he had fallen in love with her. It was her fault that he loved her. But it wasn't her fault that his team decided to egg her. It really wasn't.
His hand raised on its on accord and the egg broke against her forehead. She'd said it was okay!, his mind screamed at him, when the wave of guilt and nausea hit him.
Somewhere in the back of his mind he was amazed that she didn't cry. He had somehow expected her to cry. But Rachel didn't. She just looked at him like he had ripped out her heart and stomped on it. He imagined that's what he had just done. Metaphorically, of course.
No, Jesse St. James was an excellent liar. It came so easily to him. Not like Rachel who wore every emotion she ever felt on her face for the world to see. She had been so easy to read, so easy to woo.
So easy to love.
Jesse St. James never lied to Rachel Berry, except once.
He still loved her.