DISCLAIMER: I neither own Glee nor the characters, They are the property of Ryan Murphy and FOX. This is purely for fun. Enjoy! :)
A/U: Welcome, my loves, to the epilogue of Escape. I am so thankful to have such amazing readers who support my writing, and I hope you enjoy the final installment!
In the back office of a little diner on the side of a Michigan highway, an apron-clad woman with puffy gray hair ran her fingers along the outside of a crisp white envelope that was addressed directly to her. She sat down at the ancient desk that her husband had once built her and ripped open the paper, smoothing out her letter and smiling when she noticed the return address on the front. With a shaky smile, she unfolded the pink stationary (pink stationary?) and a small photo fell out of the paper. She put the photo to the side and started to read.
I know it's been a while since the last time I wrote to you, but things back in Ohio have been crazy! My glee club is on their way to New York to compete nationally and we're all so stoked! I know I was never able to sing for you while I was there a few months ago, but maybe I can have my step-dad send you a copy of the recording he made of us at Regionals. I'm sure you would enjoy it.
Rachel is poking me in the back, bugging me to say hi, so, Hello from Rachel. This is her paper, if you couldn't tell. I ran out of looseleaf after my Spanish essay today and her pink paper was the only one I could find. Things between us have been really good since I got home, and we haven't had to go to a single couple's therapy session, which I am super happy about. Those things are useless, but please don't tell her I said that. When we do fight, everyone always says we sound like a married couple, and I can't tell if that's a good thing or not. Rachel always gets smiley and happy after someone says it though, so I guess she thinks it's a good thing. Me, I'd rather not fight at all. I feel like we've fought enough to last a lifetime already! But it's never really serious stuff, mostly about glee club and other drama that's going on in the school. We've been really tight since I got home, and we're still going strong.
I know you never had a chance to meet her, so I sent you a picture of the two of us at Regionals. I know she's really short, but I love her anyways. In the background of the pic you can see my mom, step-dad and step-brother too. We're all planning on coming up to Detroit this summer, with a special rest stop at Danny's of course, so you can meet everyone in the family! My mom is dying to meet you; she wanted me to tell you this:"From one mother to another, thank you." I guess that's super secret mom-code for something, but I'm sure you get it. Rachel wants to meet you too, and she's planning on doing all the cooking when she gets there.
So I guess we'll be seeing you soon! Tell Rich I said hi, if he cares.
Putting the letter down, she picked up the photo in her hands and pushed her reading glasses as close to her face as she could so she could make out the shapes in the picture. She could see Finn's mother, smiling brightly while she held onto her husband's hand in the background. She could see a thin, lithe boy standing off to the side with a smirk on his face and a deep blue blazer draped over his shoulder.
Then she looked right at Finn and his girl, Rachel, and couldn't help but smile.
They were holding one another around the waist, and looking at each other instead of the person taking the camera. Marion couldn't believe how tiny the girl was in comparison to Finn, but she could see the glowing smile on her face as she gazed up at Finn lovingly in the photo. She had never seen Finn look so dapper, or happy, and she knew deep down in her gut that he was back where he belonged.
She took the photo and put it in an old frame, dusting off the glass and placing it on the wall next to the other pictures that had accumulated there over the years. There was a black-and white photo of Marion and her beloved Danny standing on the side of the highway on the day the diner opened. Underneath that was a picture of her darling Brandon with his fiancée Jessica in Grand Rapids on the night of their Engagement party.
She placed the picture of Finn and Rachel directly under her son's picture, making him the newest addition to the family. She stared at the picture with a soft smile when she thought about meeting the young couple and tried to ignore Rich yelling at her from across the diner. She really needed to find some new staff for this place.
"Shut up, you greasy bum!" She yelled as she threw her order book at him, whacking him right in the face with a loud slap. Feeling satisfied, she returned to her work, humming a tune along the way.
She couldn't wait for the summer.
Barely two-hundred miles away from the little diner on the side of the Michigan highway, Rachel was cuddled with Finn on her bed while they tried to do some reading for English class together. Shakespeare was never an easy read for anyone, but Finn was particularly struggling with the material and she had offered to help. It was a lazy afternoon where they didn't have glee rehearsal, and Rachel was enjoying the alone time they were able to spend while her parents weren't home. Burt had this rule where Rachel wasn't allowed in Finn's bedroom alone, but at least she could have Finn over as long as her dad's were aware that he was in the house.
She loved that her dad's trusted her so much.
"I hate this." Finn said angrily as he tossed the book to the side in frustration. "I can't understand a damn thing."
She placed her book down softly and tried to be as compassionate and understanding as possible. Shakespeare wasn't the easiest topic to read about, but at least it was just Romeo and Juliet and not something more complicated like The Tempest or Othello. "Well, what part are you up to?"
"I don't know! The priest guy. . ."
"Friar Laurence. . ." She interrupted.
"Yeah, him. He killed Juliet, well, not really, but everyone thinks she's dead and he wanted to send Romeo a letter but he never got it and I don't understand why." He fell back against her pillows with a huff and she crawled over to him to playfully poke his side.
"Well, they're trying to trick everyone into thinking she's dead so she could run away with Romeo."
"Why?" He asked as he lifted up his head.
"Because their families hated each other and wouldn't allow them to marry."
"So what about this letter thing?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "Well, Friar Laurence sends him the letter so Romeo knows that Juliet isn't really dead. But Romeo finds out from a friend who doesn't know the plan that she 'died', and Romeo flips out and goes on a rampage."
He looked as if he was deep in thought. "So he never finds out that Juliet was just faking?"
"Nope. And he kills himself before she wakes up to join her in death. Therein lies the tragedy."
He was quiet for a long time, deep in thought. He sat up straight after a minute or two and faced Rachel on the bed. "It's like us."
Her face scrunched up in confusion at the comparison. She hoped Finn would never kill himself over her! "What do you mean?"
"The letter." He said softly, and the pieces started to fit together in Rachel's head. "If Rich had never given Marion the letter you left me, I might still be in Michigan and you would be at Bernadette's."
"Finn. . ." They rarely brought up their painful past these days, almost as if it had never even happened. His correspondence with Marion was the only reminder of his time in Michigan. "You're right. That would have been a tragedy."
"You know I loved you, right? Every second that we were trapped together and we were fighting and angry, it was because I loved you so much and I was so angry."
"Me too, Finn." Why was he getting so upset about this?
"And it wasn't the sex that changed how I felt about you. It was never like that."
She placed a soft kiss on his temple and hugged him tightly. "I know that, Finn. What's gotten into you?"
"I don't know. I'm just thinking about that letter and how different things would have been if I had never read it." He looked her straight in the eyes and it was almost as if she could feel his pain radiating off of him in waves. "I was willing to throw away everything I had ever loved for no reason. We almost missed our second chance."
"But we didn't. Marion gave you the letter the day she took it from Rich. You made it back just in time. I had barely filled out the application."
He still wasn't consoled. "But Rachel. . ."
"But nothing, Finn. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to. We shared something really special together during our time alone, and it wasn't just the sex. We allowed ourselves to trust one another again, and stop resisting what we knew was natural. We opened our hearts to one another and shared something passionate and beautiful. It wasn't the sex that changed us, Finn. It was the love that we'd been bottling up and hoping would go away. Once we had succumbed to the pure feelings and the deep emotions, we realized that it would be impossible to go back. Well, that's what I felt about it, at least." Her face burned from embarrassment at her rambling confession of love and she peeked up at Finn to gauge his reaction. He was staring at her softly, with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye.
"You really felt that way?" He whispered softly and she could feel her body burning up under his steady gaze.
Her fathers really shouldn't trust her so much.
"I still do." She whispered in the quiet room. They had done the deed a few more times since Finn had returned home, but it wasn't like they were humping like bunnies all of the time. That only made it more special, though, and Rachel knew by the look in his eye that tonight would be another precious memory for them to share. He closed the distance between them with a kiss and held her close for a quiet moment where she sunk into his embrace, and let the steady beat of his heart lull her into a trance.
"I never said I was sorry, you know, for running away from home." He murmured into her hair softly while she smiled against his chest. "I'll never do it again."
"You better not!" She poked him twice in the side for emphasis and he laughed as he pulled her down onto the bed. She flipped herself over to straddle him playfully as his eyes dilated from the mix of shock and excitement. She ran her fingers down his chest to tease him as his smile became glowing. "Because, seriously, you can run, and you can hide, but there is no escape from Rachel Berry." She kissed his nose playfully and he flipped them over again so he was the one towering over her.
"Oh, believe me, I know." He said, and he sealed the statement with a kiss.
Salut mes amis!
It's been one hell of a ride! Thanks for sticking with it!
Until next time, my loves, sings, Don't Stop. . . Reviewing!
Merci Mille Fois