Three blocks. Three long, antagonizing blocks for Finn to walk as he makes his way through the hot, spring weather in the heart of downtown Lima.
The walk gives him time to consider exactly what he's going to do tonight, down to the smallest details of his plan, though he still doesn't have much of a clue. He asks himself what he's even doing here and why he's bothering, but he can't help wanting to see for himself what everyone else has been telling him and if it was really true. He just has to see for himself if they were all right.
Finn anxiously makes his way toward the front entrance of the local hangout for everyone his age, even him and his fellow Glee clubbers, who were still just a bunch of high school misfits. The red lights of the flashing "open" sign reflect against his eyes as he grabs the door handle and pulls it open. He steps inside and looks around, taking in the crowd and noticing how busy it is. He recognizes most of the faces standing around, but none of them belong to the person he really wants to find here tonight.
He can't find Rachel.
He feels a strange sinking sensation start in his dry throat and make its way through his tight chest and down to the pit of his stomach. Who's he kidding? He broke up with her, and it was over between them because of the choices he made. It was finished because of him, but for some reason, he knew in his heart he was supposed to be here, searching for her. He learned at a young age to follow his impulses, no matter how strange they may be, and that's why he's standing in the doorway now.
He slips his coat off his shoulders and places it on an open hook of one of the coat racks nearby. Turning around and back toward the crowd, he spots his friends and tells himself he's going to enjoy tonight whether Rachel made her entrance or not. He takes a few steps forward, pushing his way toward the group of Glee clubbers sitting off in the corner, when he stops so suddenly he almost falls over.
Apparently Rachel wouldn't need her grand entrance, because she was already there, and her heart suddenly stops when their friends call out for him. "Hey, Finn," Puck yells over the crowd. "Over here!"
'Don't look up' Rachel thinks to herself, her palms suddenly becoming moist as she takes a deep breath to try and calm herself down. If only the only open seat left wasn't beside her, practically waiting for him; then she wouldn't feel as nervous as she's quickly becoming. But Finn's feeling the same way as she is as he cautiously takes the free seat, having to slowly slip past her to get into the chair.
"Hey, stranger," she hears him say, his arm barely touching her shoulder as he sits down.
Rachel lets out a soft, incoherent sound to acknowledge his presence, and she feels like kicking herself for acting so stupid. She just had to open her big mouth like she always does and tell their friends that she might have, just maybe, only a little still had feelings for him, and that had to be why he was here.
And now, sitting beside him, hearing his breathing, smelling his gentle scent, and feeling the warmth of his body again—absolutely unbearable. It felt as if he was opening a recently healed wound that took her so long to mend as it was. Thoughts of their past rush through her mind, as if her entire relationship with Finn flashes before her, all the way to the moment they landed here. She looks down toward her folded hands, remembering how horrible she felt when he said he didn't want to be her boyfriend.
Rachel finally lifts her head and looks over to him, and she watches him carefully as he converses with all of their friends. His legs swing childishly beneath him, a small smile splayed across his lips, and her eyes furrow at how free spirited and cheerful he seems. Is he…happy? Rachel suddenly becomes infuriated at him. Had he really just come down here to show her how well he's moved on?
She feels his eyes on her every now and then, although she refuses to look back, trying her hardest to ignore him. Rachel doesn't want to give him the satisfaction of her attention, and besides; she's given him enough of it already. Rather than worrying about him, it's more important she tries to sort out her emotions and the thousands of over thoughts racing through her mind as she does.
But the fact that she's feeling so angry with him—what did that mean? Did it mean that she wanted Finn to be miserable and heartbroken over their breakup just as she was? Maybe. Or maybe it's just because she's still feeling that way, and Finn found an easy way to cover it up.
No matter what Rachel may have felt, before or remaining, she wants him to regret it all. She wants him to regret every hurtful word toward her, and she wants to hear him say he's sorry and that he'll never hurt her again. She wants to hear him tell her he misses her and loves her and needs to have her back.
She feels this thigh press lightly against hers as he makes himself more comfortable in his chair. Finn's laughing with their friends, clearly amused by some joke Rachel had missed due to her private thoughts, and her body turns tense. She didn't think he could make it worse, yet he is. The conversation amongst their small group of friends seems to have died down, but she's not paying enough attention to know.
"You're pretty quiet," Finn comments, his shoulder nudging into hers. "That's not like you."
She doesn't bother to stop an angry look from covering her face. "Gee, thanks, Finn…"
"Sorry," he says quietly. "I didn't mean it like that." She nods. "Can we go talk somewhere?"
"What's wrong with here," she questions frustratingly, trying to understand his motives.
"I think it'd be better if we talked somewhere more…private," he answers.
He stands, and she can't resist doing the same. Rachel trails behind him as he leads the way to a quieter spot, where the two of them can really talk. As they continue further away from the table, both of them uncomfortably silent and lost in their own, restless thoughts, Rachel finds herself wanting to know what's going through his mind rather than worrying about her own doubts and fears.
She wonders if he's reciting whatever it is he needs to tell her over and over again in his mind, trying to find the perfect way to express himself despite the fact that he's never been very good at it. She wonders what those words will be, how they'll make her feel, and if he expects them to make her feel differently about everything that's happened.
She feels so much apprehension about it all, and with each step they take, it takes every bit of her strength not to turn back and stop him—to tell him that she doesn't want to hear his words, because no matter what he has to say—good or bad, comforting or hurtful—she knows her heart won't be able to take it, and she just hopes she hasn't made it too easy to see why.
They finally reach a suitable spot to talk alone, and Rachel leans against the wall as Finn turns back to look at her. With her legs perfectly straight and stiff along the length of the wall, Rachel crosses her arms in front of her, unintentionally shutting him out and protecting herself from him, and she doesn't dare let him see her eyes. She quietly, uncomfortably keeps them directed toward the floor, and even after he places his left hand on the wall near her head, moving closer to slightly hover over her tense body, Rachel still refuses to look at him.
"So what do you have to say to me, Finn," she demands quietly.
"Well…" He pauses, and she feels his stare weaken. "Please look at me…"
"No," she answers as coldly as she does quickly, and then she turns her head to the side, away from him.
"Why not," he asks softly, and she hates the way he asks. By the tone of his voice, she can easily tell that he knows exactly why not, and the only reason why he wants her to answer is because he wants to hear her admit it out loud to him. She shakes her head in frustration and annoyance. "Why is looking at me such a bad thing? What do you think I'll see, Rachel?"
"Nothing," she retorts sharply, but even she barely believes it. She finally looks him in the eyes, giving him exactly what he wants only to move this along. "I resent you treating me like a child, Finn, asking me questions that don't mean anything just so you can manipulate me into saying what you want me to."
"That…that's not what I'm trying to do," he answers, shaking his head and seeming almost pained that she'd think that. "I just want you to realize what's in your heart. I want you to realize what you still feel for me."
"I don't feel anything for you," she tells him uncaringly. "Not anymore."
"That's not true," he argues eagerly. "I know you're still in love with me, Rachel."
"Oh, really," she scoffs, trying to make him doubt the truth. "What makes you so sure…"
He glances down her body and then back to her face. "I can just see it your eyes," he whispers.
He stares at her intensely, easily looking right through her and seeing everything he needs to to confirm what he's already so sure of. By the way he's looking at her, she know s she should just resign; there's no use in lying to herself or to him anymore, and there's no use in denying what he so clearly knows and sees, and what she's been struggling to ignore since the breakup.
She looks away as if she's about to cry, angry with herself that she's made it so obvious to him, the one who broke her heart. "You made your choice. It doesn't matter anyway," she believes.
"That's not true…" he instantly tells her.
She finally looks at him again, tears in her eyes, and she shakes her head in near disgust, wanting to push him away for toying with her and her emotions further. "What are you doing, Finn," she demands.
He reaches up and places a loose strand of hair behind her ear, his fingers stroking through the softness of it and tickling the side of her face. Her eyes close on impulse when she feels him touch her so intimately again. She'd be lying to herself if she said that the feeling of his hand on her, even in the most innocent way, didn't make her want to forgive him and go back to the way things were.
"I know I hurt you and that you're still hurt, but I'll make it up to you, I promise."
She lets a tear fall from her eyes as she shakes her head. "Why are you doing this," she whimpers.
He slowly leans in to whisper in ear, and a shiver runs down her spine when she feels his warm breath against her skin. "What we have is special, Rachel, and I know now that we can't give it up."
He pulls away to look in her eyes, his hand which is tangled in her hair moving to cup the side of her face. As she searches his eyes for any further explanation, any glimpse of his emotions and the feelings he has for her, she instinctively reaches up and places her hand on his neck, pulling his face closer. As much as he hurt her, and as angry as she still feels toward him, having him so close again feels so good.
"I made such a mistake, and I'm so, so sorry…" He brushes his lips against hers, sighing against them when hers part and let them make contact slightly. "I miss you…and I love you…and I need you back…"
He leans forward to finally capture her lips, but before he can she turns to the side, forcing his lips to press against her cheek instead. He immediately pulls away and looks at her, seeming completely surprised by her reaction. He thought he had her. He thought he'd won her back.
"You know…that's everything that I wanted to hear you say," she tells him calmly. She presses her lips together, shaking her head as she looks him up and down. "But it's just not enough, Finn."
Without saying another word, she moves from beneath him, her body immediately feeling colder the moment she walks away, but she knows walking away is what's best. He turns to watch her leave, still shocked and hoping that she'll turn around, but she continues walking without ever turning back.