A/N: So this is just one of those pesky little things that starts rummaging around in your head all day, and no matter what you do, you can't get rid of it. So instead of sleeping like a sane human being, I decided to write it.
Apparently "totally unbelievable" and "sickeningly fluffy" aren't categories you can put these stories under, but may you be forewarned - this story would definitely meet that criteria! I never write these kinds of things, but I couldn't resist. I'm also really liking this third-person writing thing!
There's absolutely no way I could even think of anything to write after this, so it's totally a one-shot (which I know I said for my last story, but this is really true!) Speaking of which, I'll be posting the new (and I'm thinking second to last) chapter of "Silent Promises" sometime before the end of next week. Or, if I'm lucky, possibly by Sunday - no promises though! Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this little hopelessly fluffy one-shot. It's rated T, though there is a slightly suggestive section right in the beginning (hardly anything to worry about!) Well, until next time, fellow Gleeks...
Disclaimer: Glee owns me, yet I don't own it... Oh, the irony...
"Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great." - Roger De Bussy-Rabutin
Raspberries, he'd decided, were his new favorite scent.
Somewhere between the innocence of slumber and consciousness, Finn Hudson breathed in and felt that sweet fragrance he loved so swarm around his head. It stretched his lips in a satisfied smile and sent a shivering bliss shooting through his veins. His head lay heavily on a soft, down pillow, and as he shifted ever so slightly, he could feel that delicious smell tickle his nose.
Yes, he thought, digging his nose into the aroma, definitely my favorite.
Just as he was about to drift into sleep once again he felt something stir beside him, a feather light touch entertaining his cheek and jaw. Slowly Finn opened his drowsy eyes, only to catch sight of what he considered the most beautiful picture wrapped in his arms.
The hot pink sheet draped haphazardly across her body, Rachel Berry slept peacefully by his side, her slight frame rising and falling lightly against his body. His left arm wrapped around her hip, her right hand resting atop his chest. He couldn't help but grin like an idiot; he couldn't think of anything he loved more than waking up next to this girl. He found the source of his newfound raspberry obsession in her hair, strewn out against the cushion he'd just been using as a pillow. Her cheeks were flushed a rosy pink, a slight sheath of sweat giving her skin the rich color of caramel. He guessed it had something to do with the fact that her apartment was currently about a million degrees; as many times as he'd pushed for it, she'd insisted that getting an air conditioner would just be a waste of money, money that could be better spent on other pointless things like food or clothing. He'd long ago given up fighting her stubbornness.
Longing to touch her Finn gently ran his thumb along her flushed cheek, gazing down at her sleeping figure. He felt incredibly greedy; how many people got to hold the whole world in their hands first thing in the morning? How many men had the chance to run their fingertips through the beautiful chocolate locks of an angel, like Finn was right now? Frankly, though, he was totally fine with being the most gluttonous guy in the world if he could just lie here with Rachel all day. He had worked far too long and hard to get to this very place today, and he'd be damned if he couldn't enjoy it. Sadly, though, his eyes flitted across the alarm clock on her bedside table, showing a green 8:52 across the screen. Groaning, he turned and buried himself in her hair, desperately hoping her clock has twelve hours fast. He was nothing if not optimistic.
Rachel stirred beside him, hiding her face closer in his chest. "Please tell me you're staying," she mumbled, sleep still thick in her voice.
Finn nuzzled the top of her head. "I wish," he sighed, swearing her damn alarm clock to hell. "I have class at noon, and it's almost a two hour drive back with traffic…"
Rachel pulled her body flush against Finn's, her hair now scattered atop his bare torso. "So don't go," she said, pressing her lips to his chest, and effectively weakening his resolve. "Just stay here with me all day."
"Don't tempt me," he muttered, reaching down to grasp her tiny hand in his. With his other he rubbed small circles against the curve of her back, and she looked up at him with a pout on her lips and a sparkle in her eyes.
"Please?" she begged, shimmying her way up so their faces were inches apart. "It's just one class. Plus, you hate Economics. It's not like it's a necessary course or anything…"
Chuckling he watched her big brown eyes glow and stare lovingly at him. His heart ached a little at the idea of letting her go from his arms; why did she have to be so damn beautiful? "You make a good point," he grinned, stroking the pad of his thumb across her plump bottom lip.
Rachel's lips parted into a prizewinning smile under his touch as she reached down to kiss Finn's willing lips. Her arms slithered around to his back as he combed his fingers through her disheveled brown curls, loving the feel of it through his hands. Her tongue flicked against his bottom lip ever so slightly, and a soft, low groan sounded in the back of Finn's throat as he captured her tongue in his own. She grazed his in slow yet ardent strokes, reveling in the feel of his back muscles contorting under her hands and his body plush against hers. Shifting himself above her, his lips left hers and nibbled gently along her jaw line before stopping at her pulse, just below her ear. He placed feather-light kisses across the spot, knowing it drove her crazy, and she moaned in approval, stretching her neck in hopes that he would stop being so torturous. Grinning to himself, he left the spot, hearing her soft whimper in protest, and kissed his way down her cream-colored chest, stopping at the peak of her breasts. He heard her breath catch, and his breathy laugh rose goosebumps across her skin. She scraped her fingernails hungrily against his back and ground her hips toward him, hoping to torment him the way his pause was torturing her. It worked, and he was just about to…
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…
"No," he groaned, his head falling slack atop her chest.
She whimpered at his sudden standstill, thinking it was highly unfair of him to stop at such a momentous point, and ran her fingers through his hair. She lay there for a moment longer before heaving herself up and pressing "snooze" on her ever-annoying alarm clock.
Finn peeked an eye out from the pillow his face was planted in, only to see Rachel pulling his white undershirt over her small frame. Well this was unacceptable.
"Who said we're done being naked?" he asked, kneeling on the bed and wrapping an arm around her waist to pull her to him.
She smiled widely, cupping her hands around his neck as she planted a soft kiss on his lips. "Finn Hudson, if I lay in that bed with you for one more second, I won't get out for the rest of the week!"
He grinned. "Is that supposed to be a threat?"
"It's supposed to be a scare tactic."
"Hmm," he smiled, fingering the hem of his undershirt at her waist. "It sounds more like heaven."
"You're impossible," she muttered as his lips found hers again. "Utterly, insufferably, impossible," she managed between kisses.
He smiled against her lips. "I didn't get any of those words."
She couldn't help but melt back into his embrace. From the moment she'd first caught sight of Finn Hudson, it seemed he always had that effect on her. And then, of course, when she'd first heard him sing, she thought she would melt into a puddle right there on the stage.
As Finn's hands ran their way up her thighs to rest firmly on her hips, Rachel knew she had to stop this before it really became impossible to pull away.
Rachel ran her hands down to Finn's chest and forcefully pushed him away, twirling out of his arms and toward the door. She threw a grin over her shoulder when she heard him groan.
"You're evil, Rachel Berry. Evil."
Leaving was much harder than Finn would like to admit, but once Rachel literally pushed him out the door, he'd picked up his pride from the floor and made the trek to his car.
The entirety of his car ride was spent thinking of Rachel, of course. In truth, he was starting to wonder how much longer their relationship could take this long-distance, back and forth pattern it had going. They had been doing well for now, but Finn knew from past experience that all good things ended sometime, and he was terrified of the day this sun would set and all the light in his life would vanish.
Being overdramatic was one of those qualities he'd picked up from Rachel…
It was true that they'd made it work. Finn had attended a small community college in New Jersey, closer to New York than Lima but still far enough that his and Rachel's time together was scarce. Despite hitting the books hard his last year of high school and receiving some intense tutoring from his one and only, Finn hadn't managed an acceptance letter from any of those prestigious universities Rachel had applied to in the city. If he was being honest, Finn was glad. There was no way he would be able to compete with those prissy little art kids; he was a tall, incredibly awkward football player from Lima, Ohio. Enough said.
Finn sighed upon seeing the "Welcome to New Jersey" sign pass by. He liked his life, he really did. But sometimes he got sick of being alone for five days out of the seven. It was hard only seeing the girl he loved – the girl he'd spent the majority of his teenage years with – on weekends and extended holidays.
It just didn't seem fair. But…what other choice did he have?
The answers to that question were extremely unappealing to Finn. He'd sure wondered over them once or twice. The thought of breaking things off never crossed his mind twice, even when the two were apart for longer than usual or had one of their pointless arguments. The names "Finn" and "Rachel" were melded together for good in Finn's mind, and he wasn't about to go breaking something that perfect. But he couldn't live with this constant distance between them anymore. He was truly afraid that Rachel would eventually wear out and suggest they go their separate ways. What would he do then, knowing he hadn't done anything to fight it?
He loved her – that, Finn was sure of. He would do anything for her, and he would be whatever she wanted. A wayward thought entered his mind, of Rachel muttering that all she wanted was for him to be hers, forever. He smiled over the memory, and wondered how on earth he could show her that he always would be.
Finn had never been so good with words, but suddenly, he was pulling toward an entirely different destination, using all the words he could muster to pray that he wouldn't mess this up.
Rachel smiled to herself as she exited her last class of the day. Her schedule was short today, just a two o'clock drama class that lasted about an hour and a half. The weather was unseasonably warm, and she closed her eyes as she felt a few sun rays strike her face. She exhaled with a contented sigh.
She still couldn't believe Finn had showed up at her doorstep the night before. A shy smile tugged at her lips as she relived the night's activities, and the butterflies swirled around her gut clumsily.
She had heard banging on the front door and knew her roommates were in no way going to get out of bed to open it. She hadn't been sleeping yet; she was actually reading a book on the couch, waiting for Finn to call. She was starting to get discouraged that he ever would, and was about to just give up when she heard the door.
It opened to a panting Finn, his eyes instantly finding hers in a passionate gaze. Before she even had time to greet him he swept her in his arms, ignoring her squeals as he devoured her mouth in a delicious kiss. She had her shirt off before he'd gotten to her bedroom door, and by the time her back hit the bed, Finn's pants were being flung halfway across the room.
It was the best "hello" she'd ever gotten.
Sighing at the memory, Rachel frowned at the thought that she wouldn't get to see Finn for another two days. It was Wednesday, and though her next two days were left wide open, Finn had two more jam-packed days of classes until the weekend rolled around. What was she going to do until then?
Feeling slightly deflated, Rachel made a slow stroll back to her apartment. A blush flooded her cheeks, her mind ruthlessly reliving images of last night's endeavors. She really wanted to talk to Finn.
Was it bad that she already missed him? Unhealthy, even? Honestly, she didn't really care. Rachel's day was passing by painfully slow, and all she could focus on was the approaching weekend and her deliciously sweet Finn. Her eyes flitted past countless amorous couples – walking, laughing, kissing – and with each scene she was only reminded that much more of him – his rich laugh that flowed like wind chimes from his soft lips; his sparkling eyes, sweet like cinnamon as they gazed longingly into hers; his tall, taut body that could seemingly wrap her up whole. She couldn't get the taste of his bubblegum tongue from her lips, nor could she shake the fire churning in her stomach when she recalled his rough hands grazing her skin. She tried to shake them all away, but quickly found the attempt to be in vain.
It was hopeless – she was officially addicted to Finn Hudson.
With another desperate sigh, Rachel checked her watch for the time and almost groaned in her annoyance. How was it only three o'clock? Finn would have only just gotten back to his dorm after an incredibly long (and in Finn's words, "unbelievably boring") class, and Rachel was sure he was already dead set on taking a decently long nap. She hated that she couldn't be there to lay with him, but the almost sixty miles between them made it somewhat impossible.
She reached her apartment in a mess of Finn-related thoughts, but she'd come to the conclusion that that reality was inevitable. Her eyes boringly scanned past the notes on the counter – her two roommates telling her they'd be out late and not to wait up. She glared jealously; stupid New Yorkers with their stupid boyfriends… After plopping down dejectedly on her couch, Rachel let her eyes drift closed, taking a page from Finn's book and hoping to get in a good nap as well.
Her dreams were filled with Finn of course, ranging from hot, passionate touches to loving and adoring whispers. Even in sleep, she couldn't help but long for him. Just as Finn's lips were gliding their way down her stomach, though, she was rudely awakened by an obnoxious rapping at her door. Annoyed and slightly unsatisfied, Rachel heaved herself from the sofa and marched her way toward the door, ready to tell whoever it was just where they could shove…
It was like her dreams were answered.
Before her stood the same image she'd been graced with the night before – a panting, slightly crazed Finn Hudson. She met his piercing stare and wondered why she wasn't already stripping off that striped blue shirt of his. His hair looked as if he'd run a hand through it one time too many, and his cheeks were flushed a rosy pink in what she wasn't sure was anticipation or passion. When his eyes set in a determined glare, however, she grew weary. He hadn't reached for her yet, and his hands were once again running shakily through his hair.
"Finn?" Her face crossed in confusion. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay? No one is hurt, right? Is your mom-"
Finn pushed past her into the apartment, stalking into the living area to pace the edges of the carpet. This only heightened her confusion. "Finn?" she tried again.
"Everything is not okay, Rachel," he muttered, not stopping his march along the floor.
She was honestly a little frightened, but tried to stay calm in the situation before she knew the details of "not okay". Slowly she sat down on the couch cushion and her gaze followed Finn's rapid footsteps. His face was scrunched in a mixture of what appeared to be anxiety and concern, two emotions she didn't like to see swimming in his eyes. Finally his feet stopped scuffing along the carpet and he breathed in deeply, turning to meet her eyes as he exhaled. She held her breath.
Finn searched her expression for a moment before taking three swift strides toward her and falling to his knees at her lap. She grasped his big hands securely in hers, hoping to calm his nerves and also needing to hold him. Rachel stayed silent, knowing that when Finn was ready he would tell her what was causing him such distress. She couldn't say it was easy, though. Her entire body was aching with the pull to reach out and yank the answers from that pretty little head of his.
"I can't do it anymore," he whispered, and she felt her heart pound uncomfortably in her chest. He fiddled with her hands, not meeting the questioning gaze burning a hole in his head.
She swallowed, wondering why her mouth suddenly felt like clay. "Do what?"
He finally met her eyes, and they burned deep into her core. "All of this," he gestured. "This not seeing you for days at a time, stealing these moments together only to be ripped apart all over again. I hate not being able to just be with you, Rach. It's too much."
Rachel couldn't believe what she was hearing. She was watching his lips curve around the words, but her brain couldn't comprehend the words when they were all jumbled together like that. She opened her mouth to speak but couldn't formulate an acceptable response. She grew frustrated; this never happened to her. Trying again, she managed a few small words. "Where is this coming from?"
"I was driving back today, realizing that I spent more time in the car than I did with you, and I couldn't help but wonder what it is that we're doing, you know?"
No, she didn't know.
Finn ran a hand through his hair again as he continued, ignoring the short pants of breath coming from the girl before him.
"I'm not just gonna sit around while you get swarmed by all these pretty little rich theatre brats," Finn exclaimed, quickly silencing Rachel's sure-to-be heated rebuke. "I could never live with myself if I didn't do everything in my power to keep us together, Rachel, but I'm scared." For Finn, admitting this was like Rachel admitting she sometimes doubted her dancing abilities – unspeakable. Rachel longed to stroke his cheek with her thumb, but suddenly couldn't find the energy. What was Finn saying? Was he…breaking up with her?
Suddenly, Finn's eyes met Rachel's with a passion and a longing she'd only ever seen a few times before. It never failed to start a fire in her core or to turn her limbs to jell-o, and this time was no exception.
"Look, I don't know what to do anymore, Rachel. I hate not being you, and I hate the thought of being without you. This long distance thing is just too hard, and I don't think I can do it anymore. What happens when this starts being more of a job than a relationship? What happens when you have nothing more to look forward to from me? I love you, but I'm afraid it might not be enough anymore…"
She couldn't breathe; Rachel officially couldn't find any air to be sucked into her lungs. She could tell Finn was still talking, telling her the words that just continued to clash against her gradually breaking heart, but she could hardly hear what he was saying.
She only perked back up when he grasped her hand in a vice-like grip, sending another round of punches to her heart when she met his gaze once again. A small, uneasy smile fit his lips and it did nothing to calm Rachel's rapidly beating pulse.
"Now, I know we still have so much to figure out, and it isn't fair of me to keep you in the dark like this," Finn muttered, feeling his nerves start to boil once again. He'd been doing so well, and now he could hardly keep himself together. "But…"
He couldn't help but tremble like a doomed and hopeless idiot. He was nervous as hell, and Rachel's speechlessness was not helping his resolve. He sucked in a deep, calming breathe and chided himself to just suck it up and be a man – a man worthy of calling Rachel Barbara Berry his own. Finally, he reached deep into the pocket of his jeans, closing his eyes tightly as he popped the top off the small, velvet box in his hand. "I love you so much. And I wanna be with you forever, Rach," he whispered, opening his eyes so they could gaze into hers. He removed the ring slowly, holding it like he would offer his own heart. Essentially, he guessed that's what he was doing. "Do you wanna be with me too?"
He expected that she'd start crying. Or maybe that she'd faint, or possibly even break out in some cheesy love song. Or, if he was wishing for things, that she'd drag him to her bedroom and scream out her answer like she'd done the night before.
He was not, however, expecting the reaction he was faced with.
She slapped him.
"I can't believe you!" Rachel fumed, heaving herself from the couch and throwing her arms in the air exasperatedly. "You had me thinking you were leaving me and then you just – I can't believe you would do that to me! Do you know how hard my heart is pounding right now?"
Wide-eyed, Finn could do nothing but stare. His hand rubbed his burning cheek soothingly as he watched Rachel fly off the handles in her rampage. Part of him was amused, but the other part…
"Do you think this is funny, that giving me a premature heart attack at the tender age of twenty is something to be messing with? I'll have you know that serious heart conditions run in my family, and I could have dropped dead right there in front of you, Finn Hudson!" She huffed furiously, hands flying to her hips as she paced.
The amused part of Finn won out, and he stood shakily as he watched her rampage. Honestly, he couldn't help but grin like a frigging Cheshire cat. "So is that a yes?"
She stopped her tirade and spun around to face him, her cheeks hot like flames and her eyes wide as saucers. "Yes, it's a fucking yes," she burst, cursing in a very un-Rachel like manner, just in time for Finn to wrap her up and smash his lips to hers in a strong, searing kiss. He laughed supremely into her soft lips and lifted her in the air, floating somewhere along cloud nine.
He pulled back when he felt both of them getting carried away. His grin still intact, Finn's eyes trailed from Rachel's moist, pink lips up to her tear-brimmed eyes.
There was the reaction he'd been hoping for.
"You gotta let me do this right," he muttered, reaching up to pull her left hand from its spot on his neck. She let out a soft sob as he held it between their chests, meeting his eyes as a flood of tears poured down her cheeks. He laughed, his whole body stuck in this state of overwhelming euphoria, and grasped her hand tighter. "Stop crying, Rach. I thought I was doing pretty well so far."
She chuckled slightly and hastily wiped at her tears. "Sorry," she smiled, watery. "Go."
He swore he wouldn't be able to wipe this shit-eating grin off his face for years. Taking a long, deep breath, Finn stared at their linked hands as he made a clumsy attempt to slide that tiny ring on her even tinier finger. He would have to remember to be gentle with her; she sure looked fragile in his massive grasp.
She laughed again blissfully when she felt the cool metal slip across her finger, admiring the look and feel of it. Her heart had skyrocketed to her throat and she was trying really hard not to cry, for Finn, but it was useless. He just grinned again as he rubbed them away with the pad of his thumb and pulled her into the circle of his strong arms. His murmured "I love you's" and "thank you's" were sending fierce butterflies fluttering through her whole body, and she didn't know if she had ever felt so undone yet so whole in her entire life.
Finn beamed as he buried his nose in Rachel's hair, inhaling that most delicious of fragrances hungrily. It was greedy to have this much in one day, but hell, he didn't care. All he could think about was this perfect girl – his fiancée – that fit flawlessly in his arms. He breathed in again, and thought errantly how Rachel would feel if he snuck out for a few minutes to go buy some raspberries.
Oh yes, they were definitely his favorite.