Rachel bit her lip and watched Mike and Tina across the restaurant in worry, she knew it was silly of Mike to fall into a relationship with Tina only days after she had broken up with Artie but he had dived right in, head first, and now she was watching him get hurt again.
"Rachel, sweetie concentrate on your food" her father ordered gently, slightly sick of seeing the back of his daughters head.
"Sorry daddy" Rachel said blushing a little turning back "I just think one of my friends is being emotionally hurt at the table at the back"
"The girl?" Hiram questioned looking back, unable to restrain himself from the gossip, laughing as Leroy next to him sighed in resignation.
"No the male, it's Mike"
"Oh yes I recognise him now" Hiram smiled, remembering the boy who every time that Rachel had a hard day in school turned up with a pile of DVD's and a tub of diary free ice cream "he was so lovely when you and Finn broke up"
"Yes he was" Rachel said distantly, still craning her neck to look over her shoulder and see Mike's face fall again, before Tina got to her feet and left "dad, daddy?"
"Go" Leroy smiled "your friend needs you"
Rachel smiled at her father's before bolting away quickly from the table and across the restaurant to Mike, slowing to an abrupt stop at his crushed face "Mike?" she whispered gently, sliding into the booth next to him as he looked up at her, his face numb, but his eyes showing the hurt and pain.
"Hey BB" he said quietly, smiling at her as hand slid into his own and her fingers tangled together with his "so I got dumped again" he said dropping his head onto her shoulder.
"I saw" Rachel admitted nodding towards where her fathers were eating dinner "oh Mike I'm so sorry"
"Not your fault, you warned me, I didn't listen" Mike shrugged.
"Still, seems like it's my turn to cheer you up" she insisted
"You don't have to do that" Mike shrugged, still holding her hand tightly in contradiction to his words.
"I want to" Rachel insisted "now while my go to cheer me up film is of the musical genre, I assume yours is more blood and guts? The Expendables is currently in the cinema, why don't we go see it?"
"You would see blood, guts and Sylvester Stallone for me?" Mike asked gently lifting his head to look at her,
"This coming from the person who sat through South Pacific for me three times in one night, I think I can handle it for you" Rachel smiled, laughing as he dragged her out of the booth with the muttered words that he was making the most of this offer before she changed her mind.
They watched the newest action film, Mike holding Rachel's hand as they did, sharing a bucket of sweet popcorn and a large coke "thank you" Mike muttered as they left the cinema.
"For what?" Rachel said smiling brightly "I haven't down anything you haven't done for me, and you have done it a lot more for me"
Mike grimaced and frowned "no I haven't, I don't look after you in school" his frowning deepening as Rachel rolled her eyes at their old argument, they were always fighting over the fact that she avoided him in school, and despite the better start to junior year she was still not letting him be her best friend in school.
"Don't start that again" she moaned as he led her towards the car
"Oh yes because it is so ridiculous that I want my best friend to talk to me in school and not avoid me" Mike drawled, helping her into the car like the true gentlemen he was.
"Mike...it wouldn't be good for your reputation" Rachel moaned a little as he started the car and pulled out of the parking lot, Mike ground his teeth together and restrained himself from snapping back at Rachel as she was trying so hard to cheer him up over his non-existent heart break, yeah it stung that Tina had broken up with him but he wasn't in love with the girl so it was only a momentary thing. His best friend refusing to see what was right in front of her, that hurt, one that she couldn't see that he didn't care about his reputation, and second that he was head over heels in love with her, and that her being with Finn was the only reason was that he started dating Tina in the first place.
"I don't care about my reputation" he said shortly, reaching over the centre console to take Rachel's hand again, holding it tightly "I need my friend, and I need you in school"
"I'm sorry I didn't realise that I was hurting you by not talking to you in school" Rachel babbled, guilt crashing over her, she thought she was protecting him by not talking to him in school, not hurting him.
Mike smiled "relax Leggy pops, I know you don't mean to hurt me" he rubbed a small circle into the back of his hand with his thumb, soothing her as best as he could until he pulled the car into her driveway and pulled her over to hug her tightly. Pulling her over the centre console into his lap he held her close to his body, her sideways over his lap "I know you do this to protect me but I do want you to talk to me in school"
"We shouldn't be talking about this" Rachel fretted "the whole point is to talk about Tina"
"Tina Shima, this is more important" Mike growled "so what she wants Artie back, I don't really care in the long run"
"I'm confused" Rachel admitted quietly "I thought the whole point of this was to cheer you up about Tina"
"Actually it was more about me spending time with you and guilting you into spending time with me outside and inside school" Mike admitted laughing at Rachel's shocked expression "and now that it has worked..."
Rachel's eyes widened in shock before narrowing to slits in annoyance at her friend, who just continued to laugh at her as she tried to look angry at him but failed miserably.
"Fine" she groused sitting petulantly on his lap still.
"Good then I will pick you up tomorrow" Mike promised with a kiss to her cheek, using a monumental amount effort not to press his lips against those pouting lips of hers, rolling her eyes but nodding she leaned into his kiss and then opened the door to slide off his lap and into her house.
Mike grinned and slapped the steering wheel in happiness; he had finally got Rachel to agree to him taking her to school, and was making the first steps into getting Rachel to see his true feelings. Starting the car he put it into gear and reversed out of the driveway towards home, happier than he had been in a year, since Rachel and Finn had started their thing and everything had gotten messed up between the two of them.
Bouncing out his house the next day he headed towards Rachel's early, wanting to make sure that she didn't give him the slip and go to school without him, just as he walked up the porch steps Rachel opened the door and attempted to slip from the house only to bump into Mike, who smirked at her knowingly as she blushed.
"Trying to sneak out?" he said grabbing hold if her hips as she stumbled a little, Rachel had the grace to blush and nodded truthfully, leaning into his hold a little as he shook his head at her in mock annoyance she apologised quietly and hugged him tightly.
Mike wrapped his arms around her and held her close as her body fitted perfectly against his own, her small frame fitting against his tall frame her head tucked into the crook of his neck "naughty" he admonished lightly, his hold telling her that he didn't really mean it "come on school" he reluctantly let her go and led the way to the car, opening the door for her again.
Getting in on the driver's side, he started the car and reversed out; reaching for Rachel's hand as soon as he was in gear and heading towards the school he tangled their fingers together again and smiled over at her as she looked at him quickly. He rubbed lazy circles into the back of her hand as he pulled it over onto his lap, balancing it on his thigh as he drove towards school, he smiled as Rachel's grip tightened and he squeezed back in response they never did need words to communicate, thankfully for Mike and his shyness.
Not letting her go as they arrived at school he pulled her close and twined their fingers together tighter
"Mike..." Rachel said worriedly as they entered the school, attracting the looks of everyone at their joined hands, wincing as Tina looked at them both in shock and a small amount of pain.
"I don't care" Mike said resolutely "I want to hold your hand and I'm going to" he led the way to her locker and gently pulled her closer as he stopped and leaned against it, his free hand gripping her hip, making her look down in surprise and confusion.
"Well I like holding your hand as well" Rachel said slowly looking up at him, her eyes travelling up his body "I like you holding me" she muttered.
"Well I like holding you" Mike said letting go off her hand to pull her close by both of her hips.
"Mike..." Rachel stammered
"Shush" he whispered "stop over thinking, you always do that is what got us in this mess, this means exactly what it should have over a year ago"
"Nothing happened between us over a year ago"
"That's my point, it should have, and now it will"