He doesn't know why he's so nervous.
He's been to Rachel's house countless times by now. In the four months and two weeks they've been dating, (yes, he knows how long it's been) he is no longer a stranger in the Berry household. He's met both of her fathers multiple times, and they actually seem pretty cool as far as parents go. They're a lot more relaxed than most adults he's met, and they have no problem with him and Rachel hanging around in her room as long as the door stays open, which seems pretty fair if you ask him. Over the past four and half months they've become almost friends, however weird that may sound. Rachel has always made it clear that family is very important to her, so he's made an effort to prove himself to them.
Maybe he's nervous because this is their first official dinner as one big group. Sure, he and his mother have had dinner with the Berry's before, but this time it's his new family- i.e. Burt and Kurt Hummel- coming along too. Still, it's important to Rachel (and, now that he thinks about it, his mom seems really excited too) so he tries to ignore his nerves and rings the doorbell.
Rachel opens the door less than ten seconds later, a beaming smile on her face.
"Welcome! Please come in." she steps back to hold the large wooden door open for the four guests to enter. "We're so glad you could make it. Can I take your coats?"
"I'll help." Finn is quick to volunteer. Rachel accepts his mother's pea coat while he takes Burt's old jacket and some fancy wrap Kurt threatens his life with before following her into the mudroom.
"You look nervous." She says hanging each garment delicately on a separate hanger. "Calm down, everything will be fine."
"You promise?" The tone is her voice sounds pretty confident, but still.
Rachel stands on her tip-toes to meet him halfway for a warm kiss (with their massive height difference this is the best she can do, but he kind of likes it). "I double pinky promise. Just relax." She grabs his hand and gently pulls him toward the kitchen where Kurt and Carole are sitting on barstools with Burt standing behind them. Hiram and Leroy Berry are talking animatedly as they move around the counters.
"-really a delight, but Paris was by far the best." Leroy is saying. "I mean, there really is nothing like French wine."
"We actually have one that we just picked up the last time we were there that we've been meaning to try." Hiram adds. "If you're interested, that is."
Carole smiles. "That sounds wonderful."
"Yeah, great." Burt nods, the hesitation in his voice obvious.
Hiram smiles kindly. "We also have beer if you'd prefer that."
"I'll have a beer, thanks." Burt quickly responds. "Sorry, I've never been a wine drinker. The stuff tastes like really bad juice to me."
"It's a unique taste, I'll agree with you there." Glancing up from the stove Leroy smiles over the two teens in the doorway. "Honey, did you finish setting the table?"
Rachel nods the affirmative. "Yes Papa."
"Thank you. Well, I think dinner is just about finished, so why don't we all head in to the dining room, huh?"
Rachel leads the way to the spacious red room containing a long cheery wood table and seven dark chairs. Burt and Carole take their places on one side of the table while Rachel sits down between Finn and Kurt on the other, the two end chairs for each of her fathers.
Leroy and Hiram make their way into the dining room with smiles on their faces.
"Tonight we're having grilled vegetable and tempeh fajitas with rice, zucchini, and squash." Hiram says proudly. "Rachel made the rice herself."
Kurt leans over to the girl in question. "What's tempeh?" He doesn't want to be rude, but the dishes presented to him smell odd and he's beginning to wonder if he should have faked sick and stayed home. He can tell his father is thinking the same thing.
"Taste it first, and then I'll tell you." Rachel answers mysteriously. "I don't want you to judge it before you try it."
Kurt frowns and glances over at Finn, who is accepting the plate of fajitas from Leroy with a smile and dishes a portion onto Rachel's plate for her before helping himself to a larger size serving.
"Finn, I didn't know you liked vegan food." Carole muses seeing the excitement in her son's eyes.
The boy in question shrugs. "Rachel's vegan," he says simply. "So I've had to get used to it. Turns out I really like it." Seeing the look his girlfriend is giving him, he continues quickly, "Sorry baby, I'm still not giving up meat." -which earns a small round of laughter from the rest of the table.
Rachel frowns. At least she tried; the boy just loves burgers and ribs too much.
"It's good." Finn promises, seeing his sort-of brother's reluctance. "I swear."
Kurt half expects there to be a round of big Jewish prayers before they're allowed to start eating, but when Rachel and her fathers take their first bites of food he figures maybe he's heard one too many stories from Puck and picks up his fork.
The rest of the meal is spent anything but silent. The topics move easily from school and Glee to jobs and other interests, and even fashion for brief moment.
Half an hour later the entire tray of fajitas is gone, and Kurt is helping himself to the last of the zucchini.
Everyone at the table has had seconds, some (Finn) have even had thirds.
"Really guys, I can't say it enough." Burt Hummel shakes his head. "That was one of the best meals I've had in years."
Rachel's fathers blush profusely and thank him, humbly agreeing to pass along the recipe to Carole before the night is over.
"I'll clear the table; you guys go ahead and relax in the living room." Rachel volunteers, and Finn is quick to offer his help. They collect the plates and set them gingerly in the kitchen sink and Finn fills it with warm water and dish soap while Rachel moves around to get out dessert. She begins dishing out generous servings of the homemade Raspberry Sorbet into seven glass bowls.
Just as she finishes returning the carton to its place in the fridge Finn grabs her by the waist and kisses her.
When they pull apart, she's breathless and smiling.
"What was that for?" Not that she's complaining; the exact opposite, in fact.
"Just for being the best girlfriend ever." He says simply. "Because you are, and I really love you for it."
Rachel grins and steps out of the way so Finn can carry the tray. "You're not so bad yourself." And when she turns back just as they're about to head through the door she adds, "And I really love you too."
Dessert is spent mostly discussing Glee some more, the parents going on about their latest performance they've seen and how amazing it is that these kids from such different backgrounds are meshing so well together and producing such magic on stage.
Finn contributes whenever necessary, but mostly he just watches as the people around him interact, keeping one arm draped around Rachel's shoulders the entire time. It's nearly nine o'clock when Burt and Carole decide to head home, and Rachel leans over to press a kiss to her boyfriend's cheek.
"Actually, I drove separate." He tells her. "You wanna go for a walk?"
Carole sends the two a small smile. "Be home by ten thirty." Is all she says before making her way towards the door where Leroy and Hiram stand holding her, Burt, and Kurt's coats.
"Kurt, you're welcome to join us." Rachel says kindly.
But Kurt just sort of smiles and shakes his head. "I appreciate the offer Rachel, really, but I think I'll pass. But um, Mercedes and I are going to the mall on Saturday with Quinn and Tina. If you'd like to, maybe you could join us?"
The smile that fills Rachel's face truly is a sight to see. "Really? You mean it?"
"I don't joke about shopping." The young boy says seriously.
"That sounds amazing! I'd love to go Kurt. Thank you."
Kurt nods and shocks them all when he leans over to give Rachel a one armed hug. "Okay. I'll text you the details tomorrow."
"It was great meeting you both." Burt says, shaking both of Rachel's fathers' hands firmly.
"Oh, us too." Leroy agrees warmly. "We'll have to do it again soon."
Carole grins. "Absolutely."
"You all take care." Hiram adds as they head out to Burt's car.
"See you Mr. and Mr. Berry." Kurt waves.
The front door is shut as soon as Burt's car has driven out of sight and Rachel's fathers turn to their daughter and Finn.
"I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted." Leroy states as a yawn escapes his lips. "I think I'll head upstairs and put in a movie."
Hiram nods at his partner. "And I am going to take a long bubble bath." The two walk over to Rachel and press a kiss to each of her cheeks.
"Be safe." Hiram tells his daughter. "We love you Rachel."
"Have fun." Leroy adds. "Goodnight kids."
"Night Daddy. Night Papa. Love you too."
"Goodnight Mr. and Mr. Berry." Waves are exchanged before Rachel's fathers head up the stairs and Rachel runs to grab a sweater. By the time she returns back downstairs, she is wearing one of Finn's hooded sweatshirts with her cell phone stuffed in the front pocket.
"Ready?" Finn asks, having grabbed his jacket from the mudroom while she was gone, and receives a firm nod in response.
"Let's go." They've barely made it to the end of her driveway before his arm is around her shoulder, her tiny frame pressed firmly against his body and her tiny arms wrap around his waist.
"Tonight wasn't so bad." He says after a minute, breaking the calm silence.
Rachel smiles. "I think it went really well. Everyone got along perfectly and there were no altercations of any sort."
"And it wasn't even that awkward."
She nods. "This is good, our families coming together."
Finn chuckles. "Definitely. Especially since we'll all be in-laws someday." It slips out of his mouth before he realizes, and the weight of what he just said hits him like a sack of bricks only seconds later.
Rachel looks up at him with wide eyes. "Y-you've thought about that?" her voice is quiet, nervous even.
"I uh, well not, like, in detail or anything." He stutters, not wanting her to flip out. "J-just like, uh, the future and um-" he sighs in defeat. Talking is just not one of his strong points. "Yeah, I kinda have."
A smile slowly makes its way across Rachel's face when he stops walking and turns to face her.
"I wanna marry you someday Rachel. Like, not anytime soon or anything- when we're older and not in high school and, y'know, ready and stuff. But I do see future with us."
He worries that maybe she's lost her ability to speak altogether when she's silent for a moment, those few seconds feeling like eternity in his mind. Maybe he said it wrong and offended her somehow, that was certainly possible. Or maybe she didn't feel the same way or she thought he was nuts.
"I wanna marry you too." Rachel finally says meeting his eyes. "Someday. You're my forever Finn Hudson and I'm so glad I finally found you." Her voice sounds weird, scratchy and emotional. But considering what she just said, Finn is sure that the emotions are good ones.
His heart fills with joy and excitement, the effect of her words sending him to a high he's never known before. He is so incredibly in love with this girl and he's pretty sure he's the luckiest guy in the world because she loves him too. Tomorrow, he decides, he's buying her a present of some sort to celebrate this. He's not sure what, nor does he care. But he wants her to have something to show how much he means it. He'll ask for Kurt's help to make sure he doesn't buy something stupid.
Looking down into her eyes Finn is positive that he can see his future.
"I love you Rachel."
"I love you too Finn."
As their lips meet in a kiss full of joy and passion and love, Finn is positive that the future has never looked brighter.