The problem is that now that she's in the real word again, he's reminded all the fucking time about how impressive she is. She's a million times too good for him, and if he tells her that, she'll probably lose her mind and slap him or something, but it's true. Everyone loves her. All her castmates are crazy about her (one chick cries and hugs Rachel for a full minute her first day back at work). There are fans outside the theater and she signs autographs for over an hour, thanking everyone for their support and everything.

They're at Letterman right now, which is pretty cool, but shit, he's just a guy in a $30 pair of jeans and a Gap tee shirt, and she's wearing a $700 dress and shoes he doesn't even want to know the details of. And she's charming and funny and fucking adorable. He's just about the most confident guy around, but it's hard not to feel a little down on yourself when you're apparently dating the Queen of New York.

He stayed over last night, which was interesting to manage, since her friends now think they can come and go whenever they want (he realizes they probably did this before, only she wasn't getting railed on a regular basis, so it didn't matter). At one point, he was naked and she asked him to 'hide in the bathroom' when she heard the door open. Hiding in the bathroom gave him ample time to lose the boner which was about to make this evening a whole lot of fun. Lucky for him (maybe the both of them) she took pity on him and did some awesome stuff and they were back in business in no time.

Anyway, he thinks he needs just a bit of a break from The Rachel Berry Show, which he's learning is basically the whole world any time they're out in public.

After she's pushed the door open, she seems to realize he's not walking in behind her. "Noah?"

"Yeah," he says, running a hand over the back of his neck. "I think I'm gonna head home."

"Oh. Okay."

In her defense, she does a really great job of making it seem like she's not disappointed.

"It's late, and I should really..."

"No, I understand," she says. She leans up on her toes and kisses his cheek, smiles when she pulls away. "I'll see you tomorrow morning."

He waits until he hears the lock click into place before heading for the stairs. He's two blocks away when he asks himself what the fuck he's doing. Her fame has nothing to do with how awesome she is. Well, maybe it does, but he shouldn't care about that. Their lives are completely different, but whatever. And yes, they've talked about how everything will change when he's not her bodyguard. Their schedules will be totally different and it'll probably be hard to see one another, but they know that. He should be spending as much time with her as he can right now, not walking away.

But he's good at walking away. He knows how to walk away. He doesn't really know how to stay.

... ... ...

Rachel isn't crazy. She knows a brush off when she sees one. It hurts a little that Noah is giving her one, but she's not about to shed tears over it, because what they are hasn't even been going on for two weeks, and in two days, he won't be around her all the time. Admittedly, she's gotten used to it, likes it. She tried to stop herself from getting attached, but it's a little hard when you see someone all day every day. Even if they weren't sleeping together (seeing one another?) she'd be attached to him.

She also knows it's not easy for people to be around her while she's working. She's focused and in character, or she's got cameras in her face and she's trying to make a good impression.

She wouldn't give her career up for anything. She thinks she'd give up all the extra stuff for the right man.

Noah leaving hurt a little more than it should have, but she's not going to fret about it. He's a man and men need space. And to be honest, a full night of sleep would be fantastic, and she knows if he had come in, she wouldn't have gotten that.

Still, when she lays down in the dark in the center of the bed like she always used to do, it feels strange and it takes her twice as long to get to sleep without him next to her.

... ... ...

He knocks on the door an hour and a half before he's due to meet her.

He figures this could go one of a few ways. Either she totally understands and they get to fuck around for a while (ideal, obviously), she gets pissed and yells at him for a while (not so ideal) or she kicks him out and he eats breakfast at that diner down the street until she's ready to go to work (worst case scenario).

"Hi," she says, surprised when she opens the door. She's holding the front of her robe closed. "You're early."

"Yeah, I know." He walks inside and pushes the door closed, locking it behind him. She's in the kitchen pouring him a cup of coffee when he finds her again. "So look, last night, I kinda fucked up."

Her stomach falls. She hates herself for thinking the worst already. Did he leave her place and go find some other woman? No. No, he wouldn't do that. So what's he so nervous about?

"Okay," she says timidly, handing him a mug.

"I should have stayed, but...I'm like, watching you be famous and stuff, and it's totally fucking with me." She furrows her brow and sits on one of the stools at the counter, pulls out the one next to her for him. "I'm just getting the hang of being your...whatever I am, then I realize you're this celebrity and everyone actually cares about you."

"I'm sure that can't be easy," she reasons, shaking her head slowly. She hates that her 'fame' is an issue for men. Hates it. They get all intimidated and start questioning their role in the relationship. "But, I..."

"I'm just...Okay, look. I'm not the most cultured guy, and Mike would shit a brick if he knew you were slumming it with me," he says, because he was up half the night thinking it, and it needs to be said. He doesn't doubt that he'll treat her right and rock her world (let's be honest) and be good for her, but no one else will think so.

She turns to him with a stony look on her face. "I am not slumming it with anyone," she says seriously. He tries not to look at her, and she puts her hand on his thigh. That gets his attention every time. "This isn't some joke to me. God, I'm pushing 30. I don't have time to joke." He raises his brow at her, breaks a bit of a smirk. "Oh god," she groans, pressing her forehead against his shoulder. "Please forget that I referenced any kind of serious future."

He probably surprises himself when he just kisses her forehead and smiles.

He never really thinks of the future when it comes to women. Ever. Basically, they all serve a purpose, fulfill a need, then it's over. It's not like that with Rachel. He likes her. He likes talking to her. He wants to talk to her. He wants to see her every day for the foreseeable future.

He really, really should have stayed last night.

"Okay," he says quietly. "I'm freaking out for no reason."

"No," she insists. "You're really not. I'm sure it's strange, seeing that part of my life. But it's not...Nothing that happens to be there can affect anything here." She squeezes his thigh and he bows his head. "I don't want you to think it does."

"You're kinda sweet, Rach," he states matter-of-factly, tries to make it sound like he's joking, even though they both know he's totally not. She laughs softly and her hand slides to the inside of his thigh. He glances over at her with his brow raised just in time to see her shrug her robe off her shoulder.

"You know, there are studies that show coffee really isn't the best way to wake up in the morning," she says coyly, pulling the mug from his hand as she cups him through his jeans. "Some people don't..."

"Jesus fuck, Rachel," he laughs. "If you're trying to seduce me, just stick with taking your clothes off. To hell with all this scientific shit."

She pouts for about two seconds, until he's got her wrist in his hand, putting more pressure on his crotch, and his other hand pressing against her through her panties.

She honestly doesn't know how he managed to touch her like that so quickly, but she doesn't have time to be impressed, because he's kissing her and she almost falls off her stool (he laughs, and she doesn't appreciate it) when he slips his hand into her panties.

"My room," she breathes out against his cheek. "Noah, take me to my room."

He's sure she's expecting him to be all romantic and pick her up gently and be like some douche from a shitty movie or whatever. If she doesn't know by now that that's just not how he rolls, she needs to learn.

He stands, grabs her around her waist and lifts her up over his shoulder. She shouts his name (not a deterrent) and grabs onto his shirt. His arm is across the back of her thighs, and he's smiling as she starts giving him reasons to put her down. Not gonna work, but she's cute for trying. Halfway down he hall, he pushes up the fabric of her robe, turns his head and bites down gently on her ass through her panties. She squeals, giggles, and totally fucking loves it.

When he drops her onto her bed, she looks like a wreck. Her hair's all messy, and her robe is practically falling off her body, and he can see that her panties are wet.

"God, you're sexy," he says, taking his shirt off. She giggles again and brushes the hair out of her eyes, bites her lip as she looks him up and down. She pushes the robe off the rest of the way and drops it onto the floor, leaving her in just a pair of panties. "Take 'em off, Rachel."

He drops his pants and boxers as she slides her panties down her legs, and he is totally going to make up for leaving her alone last night.

... ... ...

The last day he's on Rachel's detail is kind of completely weird. She's all quiet and stuff, and he's trying to make it feel like any other day, but they both know it's not. He's got three days off, then he goes to work guarding for some Asian business man who's in town for a week and a half. He joked to Rachel that the upcoming job won't be anything like this one, but she didn't find the humour in it. He's trying. She's being difficult.

"Rachel," he says after her first show. They're in her dressing room and she's leafing through a magazine with so much force she rips a couple pages. "Hey. Could you look at me?"


He tilts his head and looks at her, trying to get her to realize how ridiculous she's being without having to tell her how ridiculous he's being.

"You're pouting."

"I am not pouting," she snaps. He raises his brow and grins at her. "Shut up."

"Rach," he laughs. "C'mere." She sighs and slides closer to him on the sofa, where his arm is open for her to lean against him. "Stop losing your shit for me, okay?"

"I don't want it to be hard." He starts laughing and she elbows him in the ribs. "Don't be gross."

"It will be hard," he says, and he really doesn't even mean it as a disgusting joke, which really, she should be proud of. "I mean, these three days off? Don't expect me to leave your place, except to get drunk with the guys. Even then, I'll probably show up and want sex." She pulls a face and shakes her head. "'S'true."

"We're just barely starting this, and I don't want..."

"Hey, I know," he says, cutting her of. "How 'bout you don't get all negative and shit before we even go on a date?"

She pulls away, smiling brightly. Her knee is pressed against his thigh and her hand is on his shoulder. "We're going on a date?"

"Isn't that what we're supposed to do?" he asks. Shit. Does she think he can't take her out or something? "I mean, we might have to go to Canada so people don't recognize you, but..."

"Stop it," she says quietly, leaning over to kiss his cheek. What's with this cheek kissing business? He wants the real deal. "After the Tonys."

"Hmm?" He's a little distracted by her lips and the fact that he can see directly down her shirt and she's not wearing a bra right now.

"My time off starts after the Tonys. I know you'll be working, but we could go on a date then."

He nods, kisses her (he just has to) and lets his hand wander up her body to cup her breast through her shirt. Not his fault she's tempting him. She giggles a little when he pushes her onto her back and he's on top of her, because anyone could walk into this room right now and catch them. It would probably be a bad thing, but he's basically ready to fuck her right now, so his judgment is a little clouded.

"Noah," she breathes out against his ear, "we can't. Not here."

"We can be stealth about it."

She laughs again and pushes at his chest. She thinks it's cute that he really believes the two of them possess the ability to be 'stealth', especially about this. "Someone could walk in."

"Let 'em." He kisses down her neck, pushes her shirt aside so he has access to her collarbone.

"Noah," she says firmly. He sighs and drops his head to her shoulder.

"You're fucking mean," he says, and this is as close to pouting as he'll get. "If you knew how hot you are, you wouldn't be stopping me."

He sits up again and she pulls herself up off the sofa, leans over to kiss his forehead. "That doesn't even make any sense," she insists. "But I recognize and appreciate the compliment."

He smiles at her and shakes his head as he watches her grab her phone and start responding to emails. She's doing it much more happily now. He's starting to think he won't be so bad at this boyfriend stuff.

... ... ...

"I look like an idiot," he insists, tugging at his collar.

"Don't fuss with it!" she shouts. He walks over to where she's standing in her huge walk in closet. He'd much rather just stay here with her, especially since she's wearing this black strapless bra and panties. Her black satin gown is hanging on the back of the closet door. "You look gorgeous."

"Liar," he mumbles.

"Noah," she laughs, walking towards him. Her hair is all pinned up and her makeup is flawless. It's hard not to look at her right now. "You look incredible. This tux is tailored perfectly, and..." She looks him up and down. "Just trust me."

She doesn't know why she's blushing. They've been together over six months and everyone important already knows.

Tonight, the rest of the world finds out.

Okay, perhaps that's a bit dramatic, but she thinks it might still be true. They're going to a costume gala (he's complained about the event for weeks, even though she's given him a hundred different chances to get out of it). There will be photographers and press and all that, and she cannot wait to show up on the arm of this handsome man. Mike took the news exceptionally well, and she knows that's because he and Noah get along very, very well. Kurt wasn't surprised at all. Santana was still a bitch about it, but Rachel doesn't really care what that woman says or does. The rest of Noah's friends have told her multiple times (every chance they get) that she's too good for him. She disagrees, kisses his cheek when he gets mad and cusses them out.

"You look at me like that and it makes me want to keep you right here," he murmurs, hands on her hips. She's so fucking hot. And he hasn't seen her in the dress she's going to wear, but she can't possibly look bad in anything. Seriously, it's practically an impossibility.

"We're in my closet," she laughs, trying to pull away from him. He shrugs his shoulder and she rolls her eyes.

He leans against the wall and she grabs the dress off the hanger. See, part of what's so great about her is that she's totally relaxed when she's around him. She has been since he was her bodyguard and stuff. They're together almost all the time, when neither of them are working. It can get rough, since their hours are opposite and they both have pretty demanding jobs, but they make it work.

And he told her he loves her last week, so she's been on cloud nine for a few days, and she's fucking adorable when she's all giddy.

He still doesn't really know how he let her convince him to wear a tuxedo and go to this costume whatever the hell it is. The convincing involved sex, he knows that much. Can't say the girl doesn't know him.

"Zip me?" she asks, holding up her dress and turning around.

He smirks and kisses the juncture of her neck and shoulder as he puts one hand on her waist, takes the zipper in the other. "Only if you let me unzip you later."

He smoothes his hand over the fabric to get out a wrinkle (also to touch her ass a little bit, because face it, that's not ever a bad thing). She turns, just barely brushes her lips against his.

"Who else would I get to unzip me?" she asks, eyes locked with him as she walks over to get her shoes.

Seriously, he loves her like crazy.

... ... ...

He steps out of the limo and tries hard to ignore that he's being blinded by idiots with cameras. He thinks it's fucked that Rachel spends a lot of time ignoring these photographers, but then flashes smiles and wants to look perfect for them at events like this. Whatever. Not his place to comment, he supposes.

He reaches his hand out for her so he can help her out of the car, and she smiles at him and runs her hands over the front of her dress once she's standing on the sidewalk.

He is totally and completely uncomfortable as they start walking down the red carpet towards the doors to the building.

But then she weaves their fingers together and leans up to speak into his ear.

"Relax," she says, and he nods and smiles, throws her a wink. She tugs his hand and he leans down again. "I love you."

He kisses her temple and a million flashes go off, but he really doesn't care.

The whole thing is kind of boring after that. It's a lot of hand shaking and smiling and pretending he knows who these famous people are. He meets a couple people he actually cares about, but the rest of the time he just stands next to Rachel with a glass of scotch in his hand and listens to her talk. It's not horrible. And any time he starts thinking it is, he just locates her zipper at the back of her dress and checks his watch.

She catches him doing it once. She just smiles and blows him a kiss.