"This is our media room," Griffin Hudson said as he pushed the door open and lead the young girl inside, watching as her eyes scanned the room taking it all in. He drew in a breath as he looked around for a moment before following behind her.
"Wow, this room is more like a shine than a media room." Courtney remarked as she made her way over to one of the display cases. "Is that you? You look so cute." She asked as she pointed to a picture that was well above her reach.
Griffin knew what picture she was talking about before he even looked up to where Courtney was pointing. The picture was of his mother tucked into the crease of his father's left arm as he hoisted up the Lombardi trophy. Cradled in his right arm was a small wide eyes child. There was green and white confetti everywhere.
"Yep," he said as he cleared his throat and straightened up his shoulders. He'd seen that picture so many times in his life he come to wish he'd actually remembered it when it happened so he'd have a story to tell people when they asked instead of just having to answer with a shrug and tell people to ask his dad."That was Dad's second Super Bowl win. I was three. And that picture's going to haunt me the rest of my life. When I was five Haley Brennan brought her dad's copy of the Sports Illustrated to school she offered to share her snack cookies with me if I would 'autograt' for her dad. I didn't know what that really meant, but Haley was cool and you know I love cookies so I took my crayons and wrote my name and drew a star on it because that's all I could draw back then… That's pretty much still all I can draw luckily I haven't been asked to sign any pictures since I was five. I went home and told my mom about it and she freaked out so at our first open house day she made sure to bring Haley's dad a new copy of the magazine signed by my dad. Then he asked both of us to sign it. Mr. Brennan thought it was cool that he'd be the only person who had copies of Sports Illustrated signed by the entire family." Griffin had drifted so far into his memory that he didn't notice until he stopped speaking that Courtney had wandered away from him and was now reading a t shirt that was framed and mounted on the wall.
"New York Jets 2017 Super Bowl Champions," she stared at the shirt and read the words softly to herself a few more times before she tilted her head in a confused manner. "Is that a misprint? I mean my dad is a Giants fan but he loves football. It's almost all he ever talks about. So I know that the Jets went 50 years from their first Super Bowl win to their second Super Bowl win, which was in 2018, not 2017."
"Another story I've heard too many times," he laughed to himself before tapping the glass of the frame, "It's not a misprint, yes it says 2017 but it's not a misprint. When teams go to the Super Bowl they make a shirt for each team that says they won that way they can sell the shirts at the stadium directly after the game."
"Okay, I'm not sure I'm following you Grif."
"When my parents were dating they made this crazy bet that if my dad won the Super Bowl they'd get married. It caused them to break up for a while during the season actually. I'm sure there's a million other reasons why they broke up too like my mom being a crazy diva, which she totally can be. Anyway they broke up and they were actually broken up when the Jets won the AFC Championship to go to the Super Bowl. My uncle Dustin was on the team with my dad when all this was going down so he showed up at my mom's place and gave her an envelope with a plane ticket and a ticket to the Super Bowl in it. When the Jets didn't win my mom used her as she calls it 'superb acting skills' to talk one of the guys in the shop into letting her have one of the shirts that said the Jets did win the Super Bowl. Then she showed up in the locker room. They negated the bet after that but Dad actually won the Super Bowl the next year and they got married in the off season. And they've been married 18 years so obviously it worked."
"Sounds like they have a pretty romantic story. Three Super Bowls and two Tonys, and what five Drama Desk awards? Seems like you have a lot to live up too."Courtney turned around with a playful smile and ran her fingers through the side of Griffin's hair as she tip toed up to kiss his cheek before she turned her attention back to all of the pictures and memorabilia in the room. "What about this picture? It doesn't exactly fit with the rest of them. Everyone in it is so…. Young." She said softly as she picked up the picture and ran her finger tips over the frame. "Wait is that your parents?" Her finger stopped to tap the glass.
"Yea," he answered with a cocked smile and looked over her shoulder at the picture in her hands. "That was their Glee club's regionals when they were like sixteen. I've only heard that story a million times. My folks actually have a pretty romantic story about being together, then breaking up and getting back together like a dozen times. You should hear my mom tell the whole thing it includes hand motions and pacing and it's almost like watching one of her plays."
She turned around and wrapped her arms around his waist as she looked up at him completely enamored by him as she nestled her head against his chest. "So they've known each other since they were… our age…"
"Yep," he grinned down at her as he leaned down and pecked her lips. The two kids so involved in each other that they never saw the tiny shadow that stretched to the doorway.
"Rachel, stop spying." Finn whispered as he approached his wife in the hallway and wrapped an arm over her shoulder as he stopped for a moment to peek inside the room and grin a bit. "He finally brought her home to meet us huh?"
"Yea, she's cute. She's been looking at pictures and asking questions for the last half an hour. I think I'll get to tell our story at dinner and we all know how much I love having someone new listening to it for the first time." Rachel playfully poked her elbow into Finn's side.
"First time being the operative word... Is that the right phrase?" Finn questioned himself for a moment before leaning down and kissing the top of Rachel's head. "If she sticks around she'll hear the story at least ten or fifteen more times and that's if they only last six months or so."
With a smile Rachel looked up over her shoulder as she moved her hand over Finn's and gave it a small squeeze, "They scare me." She whispered softly and leaned her body into his. "We've yet to officially meet the girl but I was watching them for quite a while before you," she said and jokingly pushed her finger against his chest "Came and interrupted me. They scare me." She whispered softly as her head rested back against Finn's chest, "She looks at Griffin like he hung the moon and the stars and he looks at her…" She paused as she turned around in his arms to look up and meet his gaze with one of her own. "The way you've always looked at me."
His hands slid up her shoulders and over her neck until her face was cupped in between them, "Then he looks as her like she's the most amazing person he's ever met. Like she's something special that he'll never fully understand and he doesn't want too because not fully understanding it keeps him on his toes and makes him having to constantly strive to be a better person for her." Finn crouched down and softly kissed his wife as she wrapped her arms tightly around his torso.
"I love you. I wish there were something bigger than that I could tell you because those words are far too common to fully express what I feel but I love you." Rachel quietly whispered into his chest as she let her mind drift into memories. It didn't take a Tony, or a Super Bowl, or even an NFL draft for her to know that Finn Hudson was going to change her life. She'd known that the first moment she'd sang with him. Up until that moment she had been talented but he was the one who made her special.
"I know exactly what you mean." Finn said as he tightened his arms around her and craned his neck to peek into the room where his teenage son was still being guided from picture to picture by his girlfriend. His eyes drifted to the picture hung high on the wall of that second Super Bowl win. There was Rachel, a trophy, Griffin and wedged in between was him. He'd told his coach once during his rookie year that winning and being on top didn't mean as much unless you had it all. It might not have come easy but Finn and Rachel had it all.
A/N: The end. I hope I tied up all the major loose ends here. The story didn't go the way I had originally planned it kinda ran away with itself but it was a joy to write and I'm very sad to see it end. It's only fitting that somehow I managed to stretch it out almost to the end of football season as well. I have a new story going, The Great Indoors, and it won't be about football. Football won't even play a part in it I promise. Thanks for reading and sticking with Collide though.