I went to so many different lyrics sites to confirm the real lyrics of this song, because I always thought they're what I've written, and according to the world wide web, they're not. But for the story's sake, let's pretend Rachel used some artistic license and changed the words a little for her own purposes :)
He knocked once on her door because it was locked. Her door was never locked unless she was sleeping and even then usually it only took one knock to wake her the hell up and answer it. Well, she locked it when she wasn't there either, duh, but she said she'd be in there all afternoon studying for her stupid theory test or something, and Rachel never lied to him. But he waited for a bit, and ... nothing. So he knocked again.
Again, nothing. What the hell?
"Hey, Rach?" He called, trying not to feel like an idiot for actually needing to call her to come answer the door. Still nothing.
Why wouldn't she be in there?
Unless maybe she had ditched study for another run-through of her songs for her recital. Nah, that couldn't be it; he was with her this morning when she did that, and she wouldn't go through all that again just a few hours later. It'd strain her voice or something and then she'd be all hoarse and shit and not be able to perform to her standards, and ... whatever. That last time she had a cough her voice went all low and husky and he told her it sounded sexy as hell, but she refused to sing some jazz numbers for him because she didn't want to put that kind of pressure on her vocal chords. Which, you know, he totally got. Still, it would've been hot.
But he'd let her get away with it because he told himself it probably wouldn't be a good idea to watch her strut across the stage singing 'Fever' at him like he'd suggested. Just imagining it gave him enough of a 'problem' without having the real thing running through his mind. Which it would. Again. And again, and again ...
But you know, that would be wrong, because it's Rachel.
Somehow between the end of high school and this last year of college they'd become best friends and he didn't want to go screwing up another friendship by screwing around with said friend. He'd already made that mistake and one adopted baby was enough.
Shit, what the hell was he doing anyway? Puck just realised he'd been standing lamely outside Rachel's door, just staring off into space as he thought. Stop daydreaming, he told himself, pushing away from her door and making his way down the hall, determined to find her now that she wasn't where she'd said she would be.
He checked the practise rooms anyway, just in case she actually was squeezing in another run-through. Nada.
He checked his room, thinking that maybe she'd gone there to talk to him or something. Again, nothing.
He checked the mess hall, because maybe all that studying had gotten her hungry. No sight of Rachel Berry.
Scowling now and frustrated that he couldn't find her, Puck palmed his phone and hesitated over calling her. It wasn't like he needed to know where she was, he was just worried now that he couldn't find her. If something happened to her, he'd never forgive himself. Not that something would happen to her anyway, that was just his mind being all stupid. But you know, just in case, maybe he should try calling her.
But a few months ago, when he finally realised what that awkward twitchy feeling in his chest was, he realised that he needed to back the fuck off and stop hovering over her like a protective boyfriend. As Santana had kindly pointed out, Rachel hadn't been hit on in months because everyone believed he and her were an item. Which wasn't a bad thing, but Santana again pointed out that maybe Rach didn't think the same.
Which had made him feel all cold and unhappy, and things started making sense and Santana had looked at him like he was the biggest idiot in the world for not realising sooner. Seriously, Santana Lopez had realised sooner than he had that there was something going on in that head of his. How stupid was that? But the point was, he didn't want to smother the poor girl so he left well enough alone.
Sliding his phone back into his pocket, he turned to leave the mess hall – and caught a flash of his favourite pleated skirt and a pair of sock-covered legs disappearing around the corner.
And it was like his whole day lit up. He was such a goner.
Jogging to try and catch up with her, Puck was almost around her corner when he heard her hushed voice urgently talking to ... someone.
"You swear you won't tell him what I'm about to say next? Please? Because this is really important, and I swear if you ruin this for me—"
"Oh my god girl, would you shut up and just tell me?"
Definitely Santana. What the hell were they talking about? Curious, Puck hung back a bit, sticking his head carefully around the corner of the wall to the hallway that lead back toward their dorms. He could see Rachel standing there, nervously fiddling with the fabric of her skirt as Santana stood in front of her, arms crossed and foot-tapping impatiently.
"Tonight's the night," Rachel blurted out, seemingly unable to meet the other girl's eyes. "It has to be tonight, because otherwise he won't know that the song is for him!"
Ah, yes. The song.
There was an impromptu performance going on that night in the massive auditorium, where a heap of the graduating performance students were basically just going to show off their talents for the rest of the college. So, of course Rachel was the main act.
And the song she was singing? Well, he didn't really care for the movie and he was pretty sure the song was sung by a dude anyway, but hearing her belt out those words? It made his chest do that stupid tightening thing, and then his heart would beat a hundred times faster when she happened to look his way while practising it.
So, of course he'd kinda hoped that maybe there might be the slightest possibility, even the most remote, miniscule one, that she could be singing it, you know, to him. But it was totally just wishful thinking, and from the sounds of it he had better knock that thought from his mind right now. He'd known Rachel long enough to understand that she rarely (read: never) picked a song if it didn't mean something to her, but to hear that confirmed right now? Yeah, talk about a blow to the gut.
"I'm pretty sure that when those big, brown, lovesick eyes of yours lock with his, he's gonna fuckin' know, babe."
"But what if he doesn't? You know how obtuse that boy is. I have a sneaking suspicion that even if I do tell him tonight and then sing that song to him, he'll still manage to look at me blankly and tell me it was a good performance."
"'If' you tell him tonight? Are you or aren't you? 'Cause honestly, I'm getting tired of this shit."
"Santana!" Rachel replied, her tone scandalised.
Unable to help snickering to himself at the exchange, Puck moved to hide behind the wall, leaning back against it and letting his head tilt back until he was looking up at the ceiling.
So Rachel was singing the song for some idiot that didn't even know she was interested in him. Could his life getting any worse, seriously? And who was this dude? Because clearly he needed some sense knocked into him.
Puck decided to listen in for a bit longer, just in case the girls mentioned the numbskull by name.
They'd stayed silent for a while there but Santana finally piped up again, asking, "So tonight's it huh? When? Where? Do I need to distract everyone so you two can go at it in your room before the show?"
"Santana!" Rachel said again and he swore he could hear her stamp her foot in annoyance. "Don't be so perverse, nothing like that is going to happen ... not tonight anyway." Her voice had turned all coy and girly at that last part and Puck almost couldn't stifle the groan that threatened to spill from his throat. Rachel wanted to fuck this dude.
"But yes," she continued, her voice now sounding a little breathy and ... scared? "Tonight's is it. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but tonight I am going to tell Noah I'm in love with him."
His heart, which had been doing that stupid cold, thumpy thing at the thought of her screwing some random guy, suddenly stopped all together and Puck snapped his head upright again so fast that he almost gave himself whiplash.
Did she just ...?
As if knowing he hadn't quite heard her properly – because seriously, in what world could she what had said possibly be true? – Rachel then giggled and repeated, "Oh god, I really do love him. It feels so odd to finally say it out loud, but ... I love Noah Puckerman." Again she giggled and Puck thought he could hear Santana scoffing in the background, but he couldn't really tell because the sound of his heart beating a hundred times a second made it damned hard to hear.
Rachel loved him. Rachel Berry. Loved him.
Fuck. Fucking fuck.
"So what are you going to do about it, huh? You gonna keep standing here like a giggling idiot or are you gonna go tell him?"
Trying to concentrate again, Puck listened in carefully, attempting to quiet down his suddenly harsh breathing so he could hear what Rachel said. Nothing seemed more important than whatever it was she was about to say next (besides the few words she had spoken a second ago, duh. Holy hell, Rachel loved him!).
"I'm going to go tell him. In fact, I'm going to go tell him right now. Now that I've said it, I feel like I can't contain the words anymore. I need to tell him, Santana."
"Well, get a move on then."
Punching the air, unable to contain the huge grin that was now plastered on his face, Puck did a tiny little victory dance in the hallway. He couldn't believe his luck. Rachel Berry loved him!
But then he heard footsteps and his mind sprang into action. Darting away from his public dancing spot to hide in a conveniently located storage cupboard, Puck watched through a crack in the door as Rachel walked by.
And damn did she look awesome right about now.
Her cheeks were flaming red, which he could totally understand given the circumstances, but the flash of her he'd seen showed that she had that real determined look about her, one he'd seen on her face over and over again since their years in high school.
In the past that determination meant that Glee club was about to rehearse like they had never rehearsed before, or, more recently, that he was going to ace that assignment and she was going to be the one that helped him do it. Actually, he'd seen that look on her face pretty damn often when it came to him and her wanting to clean up his act. Considering how he felt about the girl, he hadn't minded in the slightest.
But never had he seen that look get put to this kind of use before. So knowing that he was pretty much the one to put it there? Fuckin' awesome.
But then it dawned on him. Why was he hiding in a damned storage cupboard? He'd pretty much longed for this day for years (shut up, he had alright?) and now that it had come he was hiding like a pussy in the cupboard. He wanted her to tell him those three little words to his face and clearly he had a bit to say on the subject as well, but ... here he was. Hiding.
And yet, it wasn't because he didn't want her to tell him. It's just that he didn't want her to tell him now. He didn't want to give Rachel the satisfaction of telling him how she felt when it was on her terms. He wanted things to go the way he wanted.
Starting with that damned song, the one that had him in knots for three weeks now.
Oddly enough, while he'd been too busy doing the lamest dance imaginable out in the open hallways for anyone to see, his mind had already been formulating a plan to make sure she couldn't tell him before that performance tonight. He didn't even question his own motives, he just went for it.
If she was going to say her thing then there was no way he wasn't going to say his too and he'd be damned if anyone dictated how that shit went down, even if that person was Rach.
He had four hours to burn before the performance started. These would be the longest four hours of his life.
And if he thought he'd been thorough in his search for Rachel just a little earlier? That was nothing compared to how dogged she was being right now.
He thought he was being pretty sly when he just followed her around while she looked for him, but when she suddenly rounded a corner he'd only seen her disappear behind a couple of seconds earlier, he'd never ran down a set of stairs faster in his life. Then when she happened to start walking up and down the aisles of the library after he'd decided that was a knock-out place for someone like him to hide, he swore at himself for ever revealing his favourite secret make-out place to her (not that he'd used it at all recently – actually the only reason he'd taken her there in the first place was to make use of said make-out place. She hadn't taken the hint).
So he did something stupid.
He hid in Santana's room.
"Dude, Rachel has been looking all over for you. Where you been?"
"Avoiding Rachel," he said in reply, quickly locking the door behind him and moving into a corner of the room that he was sure couldn't be seen from the window or the door if it magically opened any time soon.
"Why are you avoiding her? And why are you doing it here?" Santana asked, dropping onto her bed and staring at him with her usual smirk-cross-scowl.
"Because she's got some something important to tell me and I don't want her to do it now."
He'd never seen Santana turn pale before. Seriously, the girl was just too damn dark to pull off pale anyway, but here she was turning a milky kinda white as she looked up him in horror. "You don't want her to tell you? But I thought ... I mean you two have been like ... what the hell, Puckerman!?"
Trying not to laugh – because he'd lose his balls in an instant if he did – Puck said, "Because she's not controlling how this shit goes down. And I want her to do that pretty little number of hers on stage first." He smirked at that. Oh yeah, it was gonna feel so fucking great to sit in that audience just knowing that she was singing it to him, for him.
There was silence for a short moment. Then ... "Puck, you are the biggest idiot I have ever met. Do you know how long I've had to listen to Miss Priss go on and on? About how she'll never be your kind of girl, that she's not experienced enough or some shit, and how you've always seen her as your little high school friend, and ... Oh god you two are the dumbest idiots I have ever met. Like, seriously. I can't believe I'm actually friends with you."
Standing there in shock, not really able to believe what this girl was telling him, Puck eventually cleared his throat and asked, "How long?"
"H-how long has she been saying all that?"
Rolling her eyes, Santana flopped backwards on her bed, scooting up so her head rested against the pillows. "Forever. Seriously, I've seen girls moon over you before – duh, I was one of those idiots for while there, but I snapped out of it. Thank fuck. But I've seen girls go all goo-goo eyes over you, and Rachel takes the cake. That girl has been panting after you since, like ... I dunno, just ages, okay?"
"Wow," Puck said, collapsing back against the wall behind him and then sliding down until his ass hit the floor. "Just ... wow."
Rolling her eyes again, Santana pulled one of her pillows out from behind her head and threw it at him. Hard. "Yeah and you're in here hiding from her and probably making her all upset 'cause you're, like, avoiding her. Way to make the girl regret wanting to tell you."
His resolve wavered for a moment there as he picked up the fallen pillow. He really did feel shit for doing this to her, but if this was it – like, really it, that moment – then he wanted it go be right and he didn't want her to think he was just saying it 'cause she said it, or something stupid like that.
Throwing the pillow back at her Puck said, "No, it's gonna be all good in the end, okay? I got this."
Throwing her hands up in the air in exasperation – an interesting feet considering she was still lying down – she took the pillow and stuffed it back in the pile behind her head and shoulders, muttering a dark, "Whatever," before rolling over so her back was to him. "Show starts in like an hour. She will be getting warmed up, so you better figure out the rest of your plan soon."
A little distracted by the idea of Rachel 'getting warmed up', Puck just nodded dumbly and stayed sitting in Santana's room for a while. Eventually his mind moved onto a slightly less important topic and he started to think about what the hell he was going to do next.
Really, he hadn't planned on keeping this avoidance thing going longer than her solo – because that'd be just plain cruel, for both of them – so whatever he was going to do, it had to be after that. But ... well, what was he going to do? He wasn't entirely sure now. He kinda wanted to be the one to say it first. Well, technically with that song she would be the one to say it first, but he would actually say it, not sing it to a crowd of random people, so it still counted.
Puck couldn't plan this kind of stuff. He'd gotten through his whole life just winging it, moving from day to day and moment to moment and so far it had done him well. Yeah, he'd spent a bit of time in juvie and that shit had been scary, but that's what had started Rachel's vendetta to clean him up a bit, which had lead him to this whole drama, so in a way it was worth it.
She was worth it.
Which was why he tempted fate a bit to see her just moments before she walked on to perform her little number, and it was also why he slipped up.
It wasn't like it was a mistake. It just kinda ruined the full effect of his master plan. But whatever, it was totally worth it.
"Hey, Rach!" He called, walking down the hallway that led to the rooms at the back of the stage. Rachel was pacing outside, quietly talking to herself – psyching herself up – but she looked up when she heard him, and the way her face lit up ... yeah. This girl. Totally worth it.
"Noah!" She said, dashing down the hallway and flinging herself into his arms. "I thought I wasn't going to see you before I performed."
Wrapping his arms around her tight, Puck buried his head against her shoulder, letting himself breath in her scent – the apple scent in her hair and the flowery kind of perfume she always wore – and just held her tight for a moment, enjoying being able to hold her and knowing for the first time in ever that this wasn't just a hug between friends.
He wasn't sure how long they stood there like that, but after a while she pulled back a bit and started to speak. "Noah, I've been looking for you all afternoon. I've needed to speak to you about something very important." Taking a deep breath, she tried to pull out of his arms completely, but he wouldn't let her go. He just couldn't, not right then. So she gave up and just stared up at him. "You see Noah, I haven't been entirely honest with you—"
"Rachel! You're up!"
Someone had perfect timing. Stupid theatre majors. But Puck was relieved because he'd kinda been stuck there while she was looking up at him like that, and knowing what was about to come out of her mouth was a heady thing because even though he wanted to put off hearing her say it, he really badly wanted to hear her say it!
"Go knock 'em dead, Rach," he murmured, smiling down at her. Untangling himself from her arms, Puck tried to walk away from her.
But Rachel wasn't having any of it. "No, Noah, just wait ..."
Turning, he saw her jogging to catch up with him and so he stopped and fully turned around to face her.
"I need to tell you this now, before I perform. Noah ... Noah, I—"
He didn't let her finish. He couldn't. Dragging her back into his arms, Puck leaned down and crushed his lips to hers, pulling her in tight against his body. His lips moulded over hers and even though he had shocked her with the move, Rachel still eagerly opened her mouth further when he slid his tongue against her bottom lip.
He was finally kissing Rachel Berry again. And she tasted better than he remembered.
His hand had moved down her back to cup her ass and he used that hand to tug her even closer against him, fitting her body to his intimately – and nothing had ever felt so damn good.
Seriously, those guys needed to go fuck themselves.
"Babe, go," he murmured against her lips, grinning broadly. "Do your thing."
Pulling back from him slightly, Puck was damn pleased to see how flushed her cheeks were, and loved the sound of her heavy breathing. With all the songs he had ever heard her sing, nothing had ever sounded sweeter. "But, Noah—"
Kissing her again quickly before she could get the words out, he then abruptly pushed her away from him and toward the backstage entrance to the auditorium.
Then he hightailed it out of there. He needed to get to his seat so he could listen to her belt out that song. He'd managed to get a seat dead centre in the middle of the auditorium seating, so that when Rachel looked out at the audience she could look straight at him.
Because she would be.
"Ladies and gentleman, for our final performance I am proud to once again present the star of the graduating class, Miss Rachel Berry!"
The band started up, soft and barely there, and Puck almost closed his eyes for a moment, knowing what was coming next. The sound built and built, until a spotlight flashed on, highlighting his girl standing to one corner of the stage, and he was pretty fucking proud to see that her cheeks were still flushed.
Yeah, he was the man.
But then she started singing, and his thoughts were wiped clean.
"My gift is my song, and this one's for you." Her hand stretched out to point at some vague spot in the crowd, but Puck knew. He knew. "And you can tell everybody, that this is your song. It may be quite simple but now that it's done."
Her voice was quiet, hushed, and the audience just watched. He could bet that if he looked around every single woman in this place would be smiling like an idiot at hearing those first few lines, and every single guy would be sitting up in their seats, praying to anyone that would listen that this gorgeous girl would sing this song for them.
But they could all go to hell, because she was singing to him. Because she was his.
And she was totally going to know it as soon as this thing was over.
"I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is now you're in the world."
Puck shook his head. He didn't mind. Not one bit.
Rachel moved forward then, stepping slowly down the raised section of the stage floor, pausing and looking up at the ceiling, closing her eyes and reaching and grasping at thin air as she sang her next few lines. "I sat on the roof and I kicked off the moss. Well, some of these versus, well they ... they got me quite cross. But the sun has been kind while I wrote this song." Shifting her gaze back to the audience she added, "It's for people like you that keep it turned on."
Stepping down the last raised block, Rachel moved to the front of the stage and pressed a hand over her heart before the next verse.
That was when she saw him, and man did her face light up. Puck couldn't help it – he grinned so broadly at her that his cheeks started to hurt, and even then he couldn't stop. This girl ... this girl ...
"So excuse me for forgetting 'bout these things I do. You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue!"
They're hazel, babe, he thought to himself, feeling his stomach start to churn and his heart start to pound because he knew what was coming next.
This totally didn't count as her saying it first. It didn't.
"Anyway the thing is, well I really love you, and yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen!"
Shit. That totally counted. Rachel's eyes didn't leave his for a moment, and that same blush in her cheeks that had only disappeared when she started singing flared back to life, and then for the briefest moment she couldn't meet his eyes.
Look at me, baby, he pleaded mentally, suddenly needing her to look at him again. She'd said it. His heart was going a mile a minute, and she wasn't looking at him.
Finally she did, and that 1000-watt smile was back in place, and he was just ... yeah. This girl.
The rest of the song went in a blur, and as she hung onto the last note Puck leapt from his chair, pushing past all the other people in his row and jogging down the stairs so he could get out into the hallway again and grab her as soon as she walked back stage.
The auditorium erupted behind him as she finished, and his heart did the whole flippy thing again. His girl was the shit.
Skidding into the hallway, Puck jogged over to the backstage entrance and pulled open the door just as Rachel was about to do the same. They just looked at each other for a split second ... and suddenly Puck felt nervous. He'd never been shy in his life, so now his mouth decides to clam up? Right when he was about to say the most important words that he'd like, ever say again?
But Rachel was just smiling up at him, for once completely silent. She knew. She totally knew.
But he had to say it. Well, he had to say something.
"So," he started, clearing his throat. "Nice song."
"It was, wasn't it," Rachel replied, and he swore she smirked. He'd know that smirk anywhere, that was his smirk. Damn. Clearly she hung out with him way too much. He kinda liked the look of his smirk on her.
"Yeah." God, he was such a dumb shit. Hurry up, Puckerman! he thought. "I especially liked the part where ... you know, where ..."
But Rachel was just shaking her head, laughing softly.
"Shit, c'mere," he muttered, dragging her forward and leaning down to kiss her again. If he couldn't say it just now, he'd show her.
But all it really took was her being in his arms again, feeling her all warm and pressed up against him and feeling so damn good, for him to realise that it really wasn't that hard.
"Love ya, Rach," he muttered, only breaking away long enough to say the words before crushing his mouth against hers once again. But he could just feel her smiling against his lips.
Or maybe she was still smirking.
He didn't know, and he didn't really care.