AN: So, this is my second Glee fanfic. Don't know if it's good, but if you read I hope you enjoyed. Also, this one goes out to FantasticallyFanatical, Athena, SilentMuse.x, PeachyJ, Reader, rogan4evur & saarele because your reviews made my day! (And if anyone else wants to leave me one, that'd be awesome, too.)
and who can say what we are?...
(this is the reason for dreaming.)
It all starts with a phone call.
(Or more accurately, it all starts when Rachel and Puck are babysitting Beth Corcoran at Shelby's place.)
Rachel's arms are extended forward as she holds the baby at what she refers to as a 'safe distance'. "NOAH!" she yells out somewhat frantically. "Get in here! I need you! Hurry!"
Puck walks in lazily, scratching the back of his head, "'Sup, Berry?" he questions, staring at her funnily. "Something wrong with Beth?"
"Oh, I don't know…" Rachel shrugs, quickly handing the baby over to Puck, "I just think it doesn't like me very much."
Puck snorts, "Yeah, Berry, I think the problem is you're calling her it." he smirks, "Y'know, she's not an it. She's a baby," he says, tickling her stomach. Beth giggles, "A cute, totally awesome baby."
She stares at the Mohawk-ed boy for a few minutes because he seems to be able to handle the baby easily –he's gentle and he makes her laugh and he manages to be soothing without resorting to using stupid, baby voices.
"You make an excellent father, Noah." Rachel compliments with a somewhat bashful smile. Puck visibly reddens at the comment, and she adds, "I mean, Shelby trusts you enough to leave you babysitting me while I babysit. And Beth is clearly taken with you. That's really wonderful."
"Kids like me, I guess…" Puck mutters. In attempt to quickly change the subject, he nods towards the coffee table, "Hey, isn't that your boyfriend, St. Douche?"
"Jesse and I are no longer involved." She automatically responds, "I'm with Finn now, Noah, you know that."
Nonetheless, Rachel picks up the invitation; it's a picture of Jesse and an ensemble with tickets to his first official performance at UCLA. She's actually a little proud of him.
Quite frankly, it's been almost five months since the egging and it doesn't bother her that much anymore.
She still doesn't allow her daddies to buy eggs and she's burned and/or smashed every Queen CD in the house, but for the most part she's over what happened. She's come to understand that they are both performers first –like Tinkerbelle, they need applause to live. His rightful place was the male lead of Vocal Adrenaline just like hers was female lead of New Directions.
(Still, when she performed What I Did For Love, he was in the back of her mind every second. She's certain he'd have appreciated her flawless performance.)
Rachel allows herself to be carried away reminiscing of everything she loved about the past year: winning Sectionals, bringing out the male lead potential in Noah, finding a club where she (sort of, sometimes) fit in, their brilliant Madonna performance, singing Lionel Richie's Hello with Jesse, being referred to as the next Jay-Z & Beyoncé… She snaps out of her own thoughts when Puck throws a cushion at her head. "Berry!"
"What? I'm sorry, Noah."
Puck rolls his eyes in slight annoyance, "Beth's starting to get a little fuzzy. I'm gonna try to put her down for the night, 'kay?"
"Well, I can help with that." Rachel responds brightly, "One lullaby from me and she'll be sound asleep in just a few seconds."
Puck smirks knowingly and lets her take a shot. He knows that the only voice that can lull Beth to sleep is his –Shelby, Mr. Schuester, Jesse, even Quinn had tried and all had failed miserably. Puck's rendition of Beth was the only thing that put her down easily every single time.
(This annoys Rachel far more than it should and she kicks Noah for teasing her about it.)
When Puck falls asleep on the couch watching re-runs of Desperate Housewives (because he enjoys watching all the cougars), she snoops through some of Shelby's drawers and accidentally finds her address book with Jesse's phone number, which she stores in her Blackberry's memory.
(It's not like she'll use it, though…)
A week later, Rachel puts the stolen number to good use and calls Jesse.
"Rachel Berry." Jesse greets when he answers and though he knows it's her, he can't hide a certain trace of surprise in his voice.
Rachel smiles at the sound of his flawless voice. "Hello, Jesse. How'd you know it was me?"
"I'm Jesse St. James. I have ways." (And he's yet to delete her number from his contact list, but he'll never admit to it.)
She feels him grinning through the phone and smiles, "Of course you do," she replies sarcastically, "I, um, I was at Shelby's house a few nights ago and saw the invite to your performance."
"Really?" It's not really a question because he doesn't sound at all surprised, "Well, Shelby couldn't make it –with Beth and all, I can only imagine the perils of bringing up a baby... But the final curtain's this weekend. You should come." He concludes.
Rachel's eyes widen, "W-what? Jesse, I couldn't. I-I can't just…pick up and leave for the weekend. I have school and Glee and…Finn."
A sudden surge of jealousy rushes through Jesse, but only for a second and he hides it easily. "Well, they have you year-round, beautiful." He says decidedly, "You can at least let me have you one weekend, can't you?" he purrs with that tone that she's yet to be able to resist.
Next thing you know, she's in a plane to LA for the weekend.
(Jesse St. James always did bring out her inhibited side.)
It becomes a tradition for them.
Jesse buys her a first-class ticket to LA the first weekend of every month and Rachel spends a weekend with him. She doesn't tell many people. Her daddies, obviously. And Shelby, though she's not entirely sure why she shares that with her, and Noah…just because. She's grown more and more accustomed to telling him everything –he's become a confidant of sorts.
Dad and Daddy aren't exactly thrilled that she's spending a weekend alone with a college boy, but they allow it. (They'd always liked Jesse, anyways.)
Shelby wholeheartedly approves. She adds a few pictures of Jesse and Rachel to her small display in the living room. (Jesse's always been like a son to her and, in her opinion, he's much more suited for Rachel than the tall, dopey boy she's seeing now.)
Puck smirks and mocks her playfully. He buys her a box of Trojans and sneaks it in her bag before every trip. Despite how many times he does it, Rachel never finds it funny. At all.
Jesse introduces her to the city and attempts to persuade her that Los Angeles is a much better than choice than New York for a young ingénue such as herself. They do the big stuff first –Hollywood and even a tapping of the Tonight Show.
He makes a point of showing her his new favorite haunts. He takes her out for walks along the Santa Monica pier and they hang out at Venice Beach; shopping at Third Street Promenade, the Observatory and Greek Theatre at Griffith Park. The Music Center to catch a classical concert is a given. They eat their breakfasts at a quaint all-organic vegan café, which he Googled just for her. He proudly shows her off to all his friends.
Rachel wonders if this is what it feels like to have a true best friend –the soulmate kind that are somehow ideally suited for one another in every level and know you even better than you know yourself.
She thinks she can get used to this feeling.
Rachel and Finn break up on November 5th. She finds out he slept with Santana and lied about it and it's just too much. (The fact that Finn still allows Santana to flirt with him all the while she continues to insult and belittle Rachel. The way he constantly doesn't defend her is too much to take and when she adds on the fact that she now has to measure up to Santana's sexual prowess, she realizes she deserves more than that.)
Most of the club is sympathetic –Mercedes and Tina take her out for milkshakes, Puck volunteers to 'beat the fuck outta Finn' (his words, not hers), Artie gives her the usual platitudes finishing of with 'preach!'; even Quinn and Kurt manage to show some sincere empathy.
She jumps on the plane to LA the next day, praising herself on having had the good sense to dump Finn on the first Friday of the month.
Jesse picks her up in his brand new X-Terra and he can immediately tell she's been crying. He uses his God-given charm and his natural ability to calm her down to find out what exactly happened. He assures her Frankenteen is not worth it and promises her adventure for the weekend.
"Forget Dim Hudson and Satan López, forget all the bad stuff that happened. Just…forget Lima, Ohio and be with me for the weekend." He purrs with an enticing smile, pulling her into a hug and whispering into her ear: "I'll make it all better for you. Just let me make it all better for you."
And how can she really resist that offer?
(He delivers on the promise of an adventurous weekend –they drive non-stop to Newport Landing where he rents a boat so they can go whale watching; they spot a few dolphins, too.
"Thought you'd wanna do something different. Take a break from the drama of it all." He explains, and though it's vague, she doesn't really care –it's fun to be spontaneous and free.
She's utterly surprised to discover that Jesse's father owns a sailboat (The Charlotte), even further surprised to discover that Jesse St. James is an expert sailor.
He's beyond baffled to discover that Rachel Barbra Berry can tie a perfect bowline knot –she's got her secret talents, too.)
It's late Saturday night (or rather early Sunday morning) when they finally dock. "So, what now, Beautiful?" he asks, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
"Well…I'm not quite sure," says Rachel, a touch of red coloring her cheeks, "I've enjoyed our nautical adventure, though."
"That was kind of the purpose." He replies with a wide grin, "Now, c'mon!" he prompts, "We have a little over 24 hours left together."
They have a hard time settling on what to do. Finally, Rachel relents, saying that she wants him to show her something personal. They drive all night and he doesn't tell her where they're going. She doesn't really mind –she trusts him.
They arrive at someplace called Oceanside Wellness Group right off Ocean Avenue and Jesse waltzes upstairs and into the office of a redheaded woman. He leans against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest, Rachel standing beside him. "Jesse," greets the woman, polite yet surprised.
"Hey," replies Jesse, as they exchange somewhat tense hugs. "Rachel Berry," he says turning to her, "This is Dr. Addison Montgomery… My mother." He clears his throat, "Mom, this is my…" he pauses in search of the right word. "Rachel." There really isn't anything that describes what they are to each other, he thinks.
"Addison Montgomery, pleasure," she says, shaking Rachel's hand, "I'd love to give you a tour, but I have to go –patients. Jesse, I trust you remember your way around?" He nods swiftly and Addison drops a kiss on his cheek before disappearing out the door.
Jesse sighs, running a hand through his curls and turning to face Rachel, "So, that's my mother." He says simply, "Something personal, right?"
"Yes…" is all she manages.
He picks up a picture hidden in the back of his mother's desk and hands it over to her. She guesses it's the last family photo they ever took together –at the very least they look picture perfect. She also notes that Jesse gets his perfect hair from his father.
Jesse explains that his parents finally made the divorce official. His father is now shacking up with a woman in Seattle and his mother is 'rediscovering herself' here in LA (despite living in the same city, they don't see each other much). And this as much as he's ever let anyone enter his world.
The rest of the afternoon they settle on something more casual. They check out the Farmer's Market and the promenade. Jesse buys her a necklace with a star trinket that hangs elegantly from her neck. At nightfall, he drives her back to the airport. He carries her luggage and primly kisses her cheek goodbye. "So, Beautiful," he starts, "did I make you forget all your troubles –at least for a little while?"
Rachel cups his cheek lovingly and stands on her tiptoes to kiss his forehead, "You were wonderful, Jesse. Thank you."
He grins and winks, "Anytime." He watches her disappear through the automatic doors and past security, and just like every time she leaves, he feels a little despondent because he knows she won't be back until next month.
But he sighs. It's just what they are…not together, but belonging with (and to) each other in some inexplicable way. He thinks that's okay. They don't need to define what they are, they can just be.
(For now, anyways.)
May comes around much faster than Rachel ever expected. She's graduating high school, she's going to college, she's officially a grown-up. And most importantly, prom's coming up. Back at the beginning of the year, she figured she'd be going with Finn on her arm.
But now reality is dawning on her. Glee Club is pairing up like something out of Noah's Ark and she finds herself being the odd woman out. She comes up with a carefully formulated plan to ask Noah (no pun intended) to go with her to Prom.
Her speech is long and rational and well thought out. Puck ignores most of what she says, but agrees anyways. It'd make his mother happy if he took a nice Jewish girl like Rachel to prom.
Rachel goes out with Quinn, Mercedes, Tina, Brittany and Santana to shop for dresses. They pick out shoes and clutches that perfectly match their dresses and pick out the ties their dates are going to wear so they match, too. (Though Rachel doesn't participate of the latter. Noah wholeheartedly refused to do something stupid like color coordinating.)
But when the big night comes, it's not Noah Puckerman who appears at her front door.
Jesse St. James shows up at her doorstep like some sort of knight in shining armor (or a knight in Giorgio Armani). "Hello." he greets, his smirk is as enticing as ever. He looks like just like Prince Charming –his tux is perfectly fitted, he has a corsage that amazingly matches her Zac Posen marigold-yellow gown, his dark curly hair is still ridiculously perfect, and he's still…Jesse: charming and cocky and infuriating and wonderful all in one neat package.
Many things can be said about Rachel Berry (she's loud, bossy, obnoxious, the list can go on and on), but she has rarely (never) been called speechless. And yet, at this moment, no other word fits her better. Because quite literally the last person she ever expected to see at her doorstep is him. "J-Jesse..." she stutters, the utter surprise temporarily robbing her of words.
"Rachel." he returns with a grin, stepping inside and dropping a delicate kiss on her cheek. "You look beautiful tonight –then again, you always look beautiful." he smoothly amends. "I was wondering if you'd allow me the honor of escorting you to Prom this evening."
It's meant to be a question, but both of them know it isn't. "The honor would be all mine." Rachel responds, linking her arm through his.
He's got a Hummer stretch-limo waiting out front and her jaw gracefully drops at the sight… "You didn't."
"Prom's supposed to be a big deal, isn't it?" Jesse shrugs off as he opens the door for her, "I want to do it right for you. You deserve a perfect evening –limo, corsage, dress…fastidiously groomed escort. You're getting it all tonight."
Rachel stares at him curiously for a second. There are plenty of things she'd like to ask right now. Instead she settles on, "How'd you know?"
He smirks in that mysterious way of his and she knows before he even speaks that she's not going to get a straight answer. "I'm Jesse St. James." He says as if it's the answer to all of the world's questions. And for tonight, Rachel's willing to accept that answer. Because he's Jesse St. James and she's Rachel Berry and tonight he wants to give her everything. Why try to muddle it with questions?
Prom is at the William McKinley High Gym –it's only slightly tacky and Figgins didn't completely strangle the budget like he usually did.
Jesse looks around with curious eyes. He notes the different couples around: Santana's with Finn, Brittany's with Artie, Mike's with Tina, Quinn's with some guy with dyed blonde hair and big lips, Mercedes is with Matt, Kurt's with a dude with spiky hair and frosted tips, and Puck's...well, Puck's Puck –he's stag and hitting on any and every girl that passes by him. (He's a sex shark, after all.)
"Things have changed at McKinley. Who's the New Kid?"
Rachel smiles, happy to explain, "Well, last year Matt transferred, but that turned out to be a temporary thing and when he came back he sparked a sudden romance with Mercedes. Tina dumped Artie during the summer; she and Mike have been going strong ever since. The boy escorting Quinn is Sam Evans. He joined the club and started dating Quinn –but all of this happened while Noah was in juvie so when he came back he had a...'throw-down' with Sam. They sort of detest each other. The one with the silly hair is Blaine. Kurt quite literally dragged him out of the closet. As for Brittany and Santana, well...Santana insists they don't have a relationship and Brittany feels somewhat rejected by that fact. Long story short, they're both here with other people though I believe they'd prefer to be here with each other."
"My, oh, my," Jesse lets out a low whistle, "New Directions has been anything but static in my absence."
Rachel smiles and Jesse notes that that bright red shade of lipstick makes her lips look practically irresistible. So he has to ask, "And what's the story of Finn and Rachel?"
"You know the story." She assures him, "I couldn't forgive him again. There comes a point when enough's enough."
"Tonight's all ours, then."
Quite frankly, the rest of prom is considerably trite, but nicely so –Jesse talks her into trying the spiked punch (spiked by Puck, of course), they take a picture in front of the cheap backdrop, Azimio and Karofsky attempt to prank the Glee club but are quickly halted, all the usual stuff.
Then a Neil Diamond song starts to play and Puck winks at Rachel playfully, "C'mon, Rach, you gotta dance this one with me –Neil Diamond's, like, ours, y'know?"
She relents because the candidness of the moment does not escape her. They're graduating tomorrow and Noah's the one true friend she's always had in New Directions. Dancing at Prom to a Neil Diamond song is nothing if not fitting for them.
He confesses to 'having called St. Douche to come down'. He claims that 'he'd make a better date than me, anyway' and 'Berry-pants deserves an amazing night'.
Jesse takes the moment to sneak in a dance with Quinn. They catch up with each other's lives in less than the three minutes the song lasts. Quinn asks him what he thinks of Sam. Jesse smirks in that way she finds truly annoying. "He's okay. But Puckerman's still got a hold on you. He hasn't stopped staring all night. Besides, he looks at Sam like he wants to beat the ever-living crap out of him."
"I'd forgotten how obnoxious you were." Retorts Quinn with an impish grin.
"You've also forgotten how I'm always right."
The blonde cheerleader rolls her eyes, "There's an after-party at Santana's," says Quinn, ignoring his previous statement, "I've no idea if she's invited Rachel, but you should come. It'll be…fun. And those of us who're graduating tomorrow will be completely whipped out in the morning."
"We'll be sure to check it out, then."
Jesse makes his way back to Rachel and when Tony Bennett's cover of The Way You Look Tonight he walks her out into the dance floor. He's been taking ballroom dancing lessons (waltz to foxtrot to tango) since he was five, so he moves with grace and ease. He pulls her close against his chest, sings along in her ear, "Lovely, never, never change. Keep that breathless charm. Won't you please arrange it? 'Cause I, I love you, just the way you look tonight…"
When the song is over and she pulls back, staring into his ocean-blue eyes, she smiles and leans forward to softly kiss his lips. He gently cups her face and kisses her again. Foreheads resting against one another, he grins, "It's been a while." She nods, "I've missed this."
Rachel nods once more, "I wholeheartedly concur."
The rest of the night goes by pretty fast: Quinn and Sam win Prom King & Queen (apparently the new kid had completely purloined Finn's role at school), Puck looks pissy about it and beats up Jacob Ben Israel just because, Jesse and Rachel don't notice most of it happening –they're too caught up in each other.
Santana's party is cheesy in the greatest way: plenty of booze all around, guys with their ties tied around their heads, Puck tossing any geek who dared to crash into the pool, all the usual stuff except it was the last time; this was their last party as students of William McKinley High School. (And quite possibly the last party they all had together because, really, how many of them were actually planning to keep in touch after they got their diplomas in their hands?)
Mike and Matt start a break-dancing competition in the living room. Outside, Quinn, Santana and Brittany take hands and jump into the pool, gowns and all. Now that high school was officially over, they could put all the petty rivalries behind and spend their final night together as friends.
Jesse and Rachel watch everything with mildly curious looks. He takes off a clip and lets her black hair cascade down her shoulders. "There," he says, twirling a few strands between his fingers, "Perfect."
Rachel hmms, "Come on. Dance with me, Jesse." There's an old Elvis Costello song blaring in the background and he twirls her around in time with the beat, pulling her back in against his chest gracefully.
They dance in silence for a few minutes and then: "Hey, I never asked you who you took to prom," says Rachel, curiosity gleaming in her eyes.
Jesse grins, pulling her closer against his chest, "Well, I was an immature jerk back then and I ended up being a total ass to this unbelievably beautiful and talented girl who would've gone with me. So," he explains, "I ended up going alone."
"Wow," replies Rachel, "sounds like you were sort of an ass…thank god you've put that behind you. This Jesse is much better than the old one."
He shrugs in an almost diplomatic manner, "Maybe I just grew up."
The night seems to stretch on endlessly. New Directions performs the Beatles' In My Life. The party goes on till almost five am (which is around the time to call it quits because Graduation starts in a few hours). Jesse's tie is tied loosely around his neck, his coat hanging loosely off Rachel's shoulders, her strappy heels in Jesse's hands –they look disheveled and spent, and yet they're still the picture of perfection.
The limo is still parked outside and Jesse opens to door for Rachel and she'll practically have just enough time to home, shower and change.
They sit back, stretched across the comfortable leather seats still laughing over basically nothing. He leans forwards and cups her cheek, leaning down to peck her lips. But Rachel grips his hand and pulls him closer, makes the kiss deeper.
He smiles into the kiss, whispers against her skin, and says: "I can feel your heart beat through my shirt." And as he kisses her again, it occurs to him that this is all he wants, and all he's ever wanted.
Their lips part and she looks up at him slowly and evenly before kissing him again. Her dainty hands began to unbutton his dress shirt, but he halts her for a second, his ocean-blue eyes burning into hers. "You sure?" He has to ask because Rachel Berry deserves epic romance and he won't do anything unless she wants to.
She's fully aware that loosing her virginity on prom night in the back of a limo is just about the biggest cliché ever, but right now she doesn't care. Because he somehow manages to make things perfect for her even when they're not. And his body on top of hers, his lips against her skin are erotic and romantic all rolled up into one. So, she's sure.
To answer his question, she brings her lips up to meet his vigorously and he responds in kind. His kisses are delicate and gentle but at the same time heavy and urgent and passionate, and they make her feel good and beautiful and wanted in way that's entirely new to her.
His hands expertly roam her body, carefully slipping her out of her dress as she slides his shirt off his broad shoulders. As his mouth gently kisses the pulse point on her neck, she closes her eyes and allows her thoughts to jumble together and get lost in the haze of pleasure until the next minutes blur together.
Later, Rachel's settled atop Jesse's chest and they both lie there feeling satisfied and content and no moment's ever been better. They agree that they need a song so Jesse reaches for the controller and turns on the radio.
My gift is my song, and this one's for you.
And you can tell everybody this is your song.
Elton John's Your Song is playing and it's settled –they have their song for the night.
Jesse wraps his arms around her waist, hugging her closer to his chest and kissing the top of her head lovingly. This night's been perfect and he doesn't want it to end, doesn't want to let her go, wants to make it last longer. "At the risk of being banal," he starts, "I have to ask, what exactly happens now?"
"Um…I have to get home and get ready for graduation." Replies Rachel casually, "Dad and Daddy said they wouldn't wait up for me, so hopefully they won't be asking why I've just gotten in. And you should come to my graduation."
Jesse grins at her offhand demeanor, "I'd love to come watch you graduate, but that's not what I was referring to." He says running his smooth hands against her bare back, "I meant with you and me. We go back to being…us? I get you a weekend a month? What happens now?"
"Oh, us." starts Rachel, adjusting her weight against his chest, "Well, I got accepted into this little school called University of California, Los Angeles. You might've heard of it, Jesse. It's in Los Angeles."
Then she smiles and he smiles and he kisses her lips lightly, "Yeah," Jesse nods, "I think I know where it is."