Part 5

Rachel's POV

I found myself staring at my reflection Monday morning. I felt a little odd in the jeans that Kurt and Mercedes had gotten me. They looked very nice, but I felt like I was hiding. I had spent the weekend in pants and felt fine, but now that I was ready to go back to school, I suddenly felt like wearing these pants was giving David Karofsky some kind of power over me that I didn't want him to have. I took a deep breath and changed into my favorite plaid skirt. I looked back in the mirror and smiled. I then grabbed my things and headed down to get something to eat.

"Are you sure you are up to this?" My father asks me as I enter the kitchen.

"Yes I am, Daddy," I say for what feels like the 100th time. My dads had arrived home Saturday and spent the rest of the weekend hovering over me. Noah hadn't left until last night when I assured him that I would be fine and that I was sure his mother and sister missed him. He reluctantly agreed and said he would be back bright and early in the morning to drive me to school. Everyone had seemed very shocked that I planned to return to school Monday morning, but I did my best to explain that waiting wouldn't make it easier or do anything to help the crazy gossip that I knew was going to be running rampant. Tina and Quinn had volunteered to come over and help me cover up the bruise on my cheek. I refused, explaining that I wanted people to see it. I didn't want to give them any reason to think that what happened to me was less then what it was. I reasoned that if the bruise was covered up people could rationalize that my attack was exaggerated.

I heard the doorbell ring and my dad answer. Then he and Noah entered the kitchen.

"Am I running late?" I asked, quickly checking the clock and seeing we had a half an hour before we needed to leave to get to school.

"Just wanted to check and make sure you were sure you wanted to do this, Berry," Noah tried to shrug nonchalantly. "People are going to be all over you."

"As I have explained over and over," I sighed, "Whether I go back today, tomorrow or a month from now, people will still be 'all over me' as you say. I think the longer I stay away, the more the speculation will get out of control. I talked to Quinn briefly on the phone last night and she even said she had heard at Cheerio's practice that I was pregnant with Karofsky's child but wanted the child to be yours and that is what caused the drama."

"Well who wouldn't?" Noah joked. "I get it, Rach, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. There are only so many asses I can kick at the same time!"

"No violence," I admonished. "I plan to go about my day like I always do. People talked about me before and they will talk about me now. I just want to get it over with. Besides, I'll have you, Tina and Mike with me."

"Don't forget Mercedes, Sam, Quinn, Artie and Britney," Noah added. "I am kind of waiting for either Mercedes or Quinn to bitch slap someone."

"Just be careful, pumpkin," Dad said. "If it becomes too much you can just come home."

"We're very proud of you, though," Daddy added.

"Thank you," I say as I give both of my father's hugs then I turn to Noah. "Ready?"

"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" Noah asks with a smirk before he slings his arm around my shoulder, kisses my temple and pulls me towards the door.


As Noah pulls his truck into the parking lot I take a deep breath.

"We can always go back," Noah reminds me, squeezing my hand.

"No," I state firmly, "I will not let what happened to me control my life. I will not let David Karofsky hold any type of power over me. I will not let the student body of this high school dictate what I will and won't do."

"Been practicing that in your head?" Noah chuckled a little. "All I was thinking was that I wouldn't mind spending the day at your house, alone, making out with my girl. Screw everything else."

"Noah!" I feel myself blushing. "As much as I enjoy kissing you, we can not use it as an excuse to miss school. Our education is very important for our future. That is not saying that the idea in and of itself is not a very pleasant one, but we will just have to wait until the end of the school day for that."

"So you are agreeing to spend the evening making out with me?" Noah asks, seeming to want to clarify what I am saying.

"Yes I am," I say, my voice sounding a little breathy to me. "School is out at 2 and my fathers won't be home until around 5. That should provide us with around 2 hours of private time."

"I'm not sure that is enough time, Berry," Noah smirks and slides across the bench seat next to me, pulling me closer to him.

"How, um, much more time would you like?" I stumble over the question as I feel myself flush at his nearness.

"I think I could spend hours with you wrapped up in my arms and not get tired of it," Noah murmurs against my ear and I shiver involuntarily at the feeling. He then lays gentle kisses on my jaw, neck, nose and chin before moving to my lips.

I squeak and pull away as someone begins to knock on the truck window. Both Noah and I look to see Quinn smirking at us.

"Can't you see we were busy?" Noah growls as he opens the door and helps me down,

"That's why I'm here," Quinn rolls her eyes at him. "Everyone could see how 'busy' you were. We," and she gestures to our friends waiting at the doors to the school, "thought that you guys getting it on in your truck wouldn't help the rumors that are already going around."

"Why is everyone else over there?" I ask as we begin to walk towards them.

"Mike and Sam were worried that Puck would kill them," Quinn laughs, "and Tina was too embarrassed."

"Noah wouldn't have hurt Mike or Sam," I say indignantly, but then notice both Noah and Quinn looking at me like I was crazy, or at least crazier then normal. "What?"

"I so woulda done something," Noah smirks and puts his arm around my shoulder. "Guys have rules. You break them, you pay the consequences."


As I step out of 3rd period I sigh in frustration as all conversation seems to stop and everyone begins staring at me again. Noah is waiting for me and takes my hand as we walk towards my locker. Since I had walked into the building it had been like this. I enter a hallway and all conversation dies, everyone turns and stares at me, the whispering starts then a few of the braver souls step forward to talk to me. Between 1st and 2nd Finn even had the nerve to approach me to 'check and see how I was doing'. I told him I was fine, but that he didn't need to check again because I was not going to be used as a way to help his popularity since the schools sympathy seemed to lie with me. Noah had laughed at the look of shock on Finn's face at my dismissal of him.

When we were about half way to my locker, a group of 4 Cheerios approached us and blocked out path. Then they all started speaking at once.

"Are you okay, Rachel?"

"What really happened?"

"Are you really pregnant?"

"Are you having sex with Puck so he will protect you?"

As the questions kept pouring out of their mouths, I don't know what came over me, but I think I snapped.


As the hallway became quite again, it took me a minute to realize that I was the one who had just yelled. Everyone is looking at me with shocked expressions. Even Noah, but his is tinged with concern.

"I have something to say," I begin, "and I want everyone in this hallway to pay attention. You can then tell everyone else in the school who isn't in the hallway. This is all I am going to say on the matter and after my statement is over, all future inquiries as to how I am will be met by either Noah or Quinn."

Since walking into school Noah was taking care of the guys who harassed me and Quinn was dealing with the girls.

"David Karofsky attempted to sexually assault me in the girl's locker room on Friday," I state. "I will not go into what had happened earlier in the week since I am sure most of you witnessed it. Before anything could happen Noah and Mike Chang stopped him. As you can see from the bruise on my cheek, David did hit me when I screamed for help. I am dealing with everything in the best way I can with the help of my friends. That being said, if you are not one of my friends, I would appreciate you not asking how I am. Previous to Friday most of you couldn't stand me. You ignored me, made fun of me, harassed me, vandalized my locker, threw slushies on me, etcetera. You can all, basically, be put into 3 categories. There are those of you who bullied and actively made my life difficult. There are those of you that allowed it to happen because you were scared of it affecting your popularity if you stood up to the bullies. And finally, there are those of you who remained silent so you wouldn't become a target yourself. None of you were concerned about me when he grabbed my backside on the hall. None of you were concerned when he groped my breast and put his hand under my skirt against my locker. Don't think I didn't hear the murmured 'she asked for it' and 'if she is going to wear skirts like that she should expect it'. To me, each and every one of you holds a little responsibility for what happened to me. How do you think a bully gets their power? It's from the majority that allows them to behave as they do. If I heard you saying how I deserved it, don't you think he did? Actually, I am sure there were several of you that actively encouraged him. While I don't think most of you thought it would escalate to the point it did, it got there because of both what you said and what you didn't say. So in my mind, you don't have the right to ask me how I am. You don't get to suddenly care because you feel guilty or something. I am not here to make you feel better. Thank you."

By the time I finished speaking there were tears in my eyes and my voice was a little forced. Noah pulled me into his arms and I am sure he was glaring at all those around us, daring them to say something. Suddenly, I heard clapping. Surprised and curious, I looked up to see Coach Sylvester looking at me while she applauded. Soon I heard some more and I looked around to see Mike, Tina, Quinn, Sam, Mercedes, Artie, Coach Beiste and Mr. Shue all clapping for me.

"You heard the girl," Coach Sylvester announced to the crowd. "Leave her alone. She isn't here to validate your silly little existence. Anyone who bothers her from here on out can expect to be spending some quality detention time polishing my trophies. Now get to class!"

With that most of the people in the hall seemed to scatter.

"Puckerman," Coach Beiste said, "why don't you take Rachel to my office and calm her down. I don't think either of you is ready to go to class."

All my friends say they will see us in glee as Noah leads me down the hallway to Coach Beiste's office.

"That was fucking amazing!" Noah exclaims when we get into the office. He sits of the small sofa and pulls me down next to him. "Almost makes me think you might be a little more badass then I am."

"I didn't mean to," I reply meekly. "I don't know what came over me."

"I do," Noah snorts. "You finally unleashed all that shit you've kept bottled up inside of you for years. You told those assholes what someone should have told them years ago. As a mostly reformed bully, I can say that I think if you had unleashed that on me a few years back, I would have been impressed with your BAMF abilities."

"I am far from, um, BAMF," I can't help but giggle slightly at what I said.

"You are way more badass then you give yourself credit for," Noah argued. "You got a teacher fired, sent a rival to a crack house…Hell, you dumped ME! No one dumps me!"

"Santana dumped you," I point out.

"Santana and I never dated," Noah corrected. "We had sex."

"Thanks for the reminder," I reply wryly, not enjoying being reminded about that.

"None of that, Berry," Noah told me sternly as he put his finger under my chin to lift my eyes to meet his. "Santana's a slut. She'll sleep with anything wearing a letterman's jacket or Cheerio's uniform. I have never wanted to date Santana. Never felt the urge to introduce her to my mom. Never wanted her to wear my jacket so everyone knew she was mine. Didn't give a crap if someone else hit or her or anything like that. I like that my mom wants you to join us for Sunday dinner. I want you wrapped in my jacket so people know you're mine. If some guy even THINKS about hitting on you I will beat him down."

"That's the most romantic thing anyone has even said to me!" I feel tears in my eyes at the declaration. It wasn't wine and roses and the things of Disney movies, it was so much better. It was Noah Puckerman. He wasn't trying to say what he thought I wanted to hear, he was saying what he felt. For so long I had thought that I was on love with Finn. He was the Disney prince that rode in on the white stead and saved the princess. Only he really wasn't. I've also come to realize that isn't what I want. What I want is sitting beside me. He is flawed, frustrating, caring, hot headed and absolutely perfect.


When it was time for glee club, I'm feeling better. When I walk through the halls people are still looking at me, but it is different now. Maybe it was like Noah said and because I finally stood up for myself I was granted a modicum of respect. The threat from Coach Sylvester probably didn't hurt, either. When Mr. Shue entered the classroom I raised my hand and asked if I could sing something.

"Before I begin I just wanted to thank most everyone in this room," I smiled at my friends, though my eyes avoided Santana and Finn who were sitting alone in the top corner of the risers. "To be honest, I have never really had friends before and I just want you to know how much it means to me. While some of the friendships might have been sped up by circumstance, I believe they would have happened regardless. I don't think I would have been able to make it through the last week without any of you."

I then give a warm smile and nod for the music to start.

Here's wishing you the bluest sky,
And hoping something better comes tomorrow.
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness.
I know that better things are on the way.

Here's hoping all the days ahead
Won't be as bitter as the ones behind you.
Be an optimist instead,
And somehow happiness will find you.
Forget what happened yesterday,
I know that better things are on the way.

It's really good to see you rocking out
And having fun,
Living like you just begun.
Accept your life and what it brings.
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things.
I know tomorrow you'll find better things.

Here's wishing you the bluest sky,
And hoping something better comes tomorrow.
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the drudge and sadness.
I know that better things are on the way.

I know you've got a lot of good things happening up ahead.
The past is gone it's all been said.
So here's to what the future brings,
I know tomorrow you'll find better things.
I know tomorrow you'll find better things.

-Better Things by The Kinks-


Authors note – Hope everyone enjoyed the story…I might do a little happy sequel in the future, but right now I need to finish 'Picking Up The Pieces' and I have this weird idea for a Rachel/Sam story stuck in my head…