Author's Note: I am so sorry for the delay on this story. I was on a real roll but then I had a couple of life events pop up that put me on a delay. I will say, Glee in its current state has made me hypersensitive with misogyny and I spent a lot of time second guessing everything I wrote trying to make sure I didn't fall into the same trap where men were making all the right choices for their women because they knew better or whatever, so I hope that I stayed on the right side of the line on that one. Anyway, thank you everyone who stuck with this story, I hope you enjoyed it! I'll probably try to stay away for multi-chapters for a while (since I suck and all) but I do have some one parters lined up (ie floating around in my head). Thanks again for reading!


Chapter Nine: Don't Stop Believing That I'll Finally Get It Right

Finn Hudson paced nervously in front of the apartment door as he dragged his sweaty palms across his dress slacks. Taking a deep breath he lifted his hand to knock, his heartbeat so loud in his ears that he could barely hear the muffled chatter on the other side of the wall. Shaking his head, he dropped his fist in defeat and resumed his pacing.

The ceremony was due to begin at 3PM. He was running out of time.

He felt his phone buzz in his pocket.

Where are you?

The text read. Finn frowned. Kurt was on the hunt for him now. He really was running out of time.

Slipping the phone back into his pocket he turned back to the door for one last attempt to knock. If he didn't do this now, he'd never be able to. His life would be relegated to passivity for the rest of his natural born existence. That or drawn out court battles and legal fees.

The problem (he had learned at the last possible moment) was that he had a habit of being a little dense. He was known to make mistakes... rather often. Sometimes the same mistake more than once. And that morning when he woke up in Kurt's spare bedroom and his eyes landed on the tuxedo hanging in the closet, his first thought was this is a mistake.

Rachel was gone. Most likely in New York by now, and she was leaping back into the fire with no job or friends to stand by her all because she was never willing to settle in life. She was a fighter, no matter how many odds were stacked against her. And here he was about to get married in t-minus six hours because that was what Lima expected him to do, because that was the safe choice and he was too terrified to ever do otherwise.

That didn't seem fair though, to anyone really. He cared about Allison, loved her even. She was someone he really did like (especially before all the Bridezilla stuff). Someone that he could really build a life with if only that life was one that he wanted.

But she wasn't Rachel. And nobody would ever be Rachel. It was like one of those taunting epiphanies (he'd experienced them plenty times before and they pretty much always led back to her) when everything seemed so obvious and simple. If you loved somebody, it was supposed to be easy. You were supposed to be with them, cue ending title sequence, insert sappy love song from the soundtrack.

And so here he was, about to make or prevent the biggest mistake of his life. Only time would tell.

Years ago, at the end of senior year, the glee kids had gathered at Santana's house for a bonfire to celebrate the end of an era. Finn had found himself sitting by the flames with only Quinn as company and she had sat down beside him and laughed wistfully. "I still can't believe you broke up with me at a funeral," she had said.

If she could only see him now.

Pressing his lips together, he turned on his heels and pivoted towards the door. He could do this.

Hey Allison! Oh no! Is that you in your wedding dress? Well that's it, this marriage is jinxed, but hey, at least we tried.

He chuckled dryly. Yeah that would work. A quarter past never.

Taking another lap around the corridor he watched the entrance with laser like precision. Maybe the door would swing open to reveal some hunky pool boy that Allison was carrying on a sordid affair with. Then he would be able to end the engagement with righteous indignation and stop hating himself so much. Where was Puck's skewed girlfriend stealing moral compass when he needed it?

He shook his head. This was all on him.

Lifting his hand a final time, he knocked on the apartment door.

"It's open," came the muffled response.

It didn't matter if the door was unlocked he had a key, after all it was his apartment. But he knew that there were rules for these types of situations. "Is Allison in there? I need to talk to her."

"Finn?" He could hear Allison shriek from the other room. "What are you doing here? You know you can't see me yet. Did you forget something? Why didn't you just send Kurt?"

He could feel his chest become impossibly tight and when he opened his mouth to speak, his throat was too dry to make a sound. Unbuttoning the top few buttons of his collared shirt, he cleared his throat.

"I need to talk to you," he repeated.

There was a long pause and Finn could hear the clunk of her footsteps approaching the door carefully. "What is it, Finn? Why can't this wait?"

"Look, can I come in there or you come out here?" Digging his hands into the pockets of his slacks, he bounced on his heels anxiously. "It's kind of important."

"You're not seeing me before the ceremony," came her defiant response.

Finn took a deep breath, shut his eyes tightly and braced for impact. "I don't think I can marry you," he said quickly.

It was silent then, like the calm before the storm. In fact the eery silence seemed to linger long enough that he was convinced that he was dead. That sniper riffles had been assigned to the loft across the street for such a moment. She was ready and waiting for him and he would pay for it.

"What?" Allison said carefully, as if perhaps she hadn't heard him right the first time.

Finn blinked a few times. He was alive. But for how long? Recognizing his out, he considered taking it all back. Pretending that he left his cummerbund on the sink and that this whole exchange was just one huge misunderstanding.

But then the words tumbled out of his mouth before his brain could comprehend them. Like when his hand was caught in the cookie jar and instead of blaming it on the invisible dog, he would begin weeping and apologizing like he was caught with the Crown Jewels or something.

"I'm just really messed up in my head right now and I don't want to do something that either one of us is going to regret."

She laughed incredulously. "Like canceling your wedding?"

He was stuck with this now. He started with the truth and now he was going to have to roll with it.

"I just need some time."

"Time for what?" She hissed with unrelenting concern that he should have anticipated.

"Time to figure out what I want," he explained, still with some level of confidence from the anonymity of only having this conversation with a six panel door. "What my dreams are."

"Time to be with Rachel?"

Finn flinched, he should have expected that. "Allison, can we please talk about this."

The door crept open slowly, revealing the ivory gown she was going to wear to marry him. Her makeup wasn't finished and her hair was still suspended by a few large curlers but even so she took his breath away.

"Wow you look..." before he could finish his thought he felt the sharp snap of her palm against his jaw. He wanted to talk to the door again.

"You are not doing this to me, Finn," she said pressing a pointed finger against his chest, her green eyes drowned in the glisten of impeding tears. "We worked through this. We figured things out. You can't just go changing your mind now."

He stumbled a few steps back from the petite blonde's rampage before regaining his footing.

"I'm not changing my mind," he snapped in defense. He was suddenly struck with his survival instincts. The ones that told him that whatever verbal diarrhea he was spewing was a great idea. "I'm just for once actually telling you how I feel. I'm sick of living my life like a child with everyone telling me what I should do or how I should feel. I'm done with that. Enough!"

Allison folded her arms across her chest and lifted her chin coldly. "Fine Finn," she sneered. "What do you want?"

It was a simple question. Or so he thought. But as Finn's eyes traced along the hallway floorboard, unable to meet his fiancee's glare, he was again at a loss.

"I want to stop feeling like such a failure."

"Would you stop?" She spat, venom dripping from each word. "You have a steady job, a home, a woman that loved you, that's hardly a failure and you know it. This is about her and the fact that you couldn't make your life fit with hers. To make it work. And now you're always going to be bitter for the rest of your life because you weren't good enough for her. Well get over it Finn, not everyone has impossible expectations."

"Is this what you want?" He countered. "Be honest. You and me. Do you really want to marry me? To spend the rest of your life with me."

There was a moment of hesitation. Her brows lifting from the stern expression plastered across her fragile face. "I could," she said softly, barely above a whisper.

"But would you be happy?" He prodded.

Her glistening eyes met his and he could feel his heart shattering into a thousand pieces because he knew that it was all his fault. "No, not with the memory of how I felt in this moment."

"You're settling just as much as I am, Allison. And you don't deserve that. You're awesome and hot and you are really good at getting what you want when you put your mind to it."

"Except for you," she said sadly.

"Consider yourself lucky. I suck. Like totally. You can ask anyone," he offered, receiving a small smile from her. "So it's settled then."

"It's not that simple Finn," she shook her head, slamming on the breaks with a screeching halt. "Do you know how humiliating this is?"

"I never meant for it to be this way," he said, taking the moment to sweep forward and place a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Incredulously, she brushed his hand away and took a few steps back to distance herself from him.

"Then why couldn't you have done this two hours ago before I put on my dress?" She asked tearfully. "Or 24 hours ago before I made a fool of myself by enacting our vows in front of our friends and family? Or 48 hours ago before my family flew in from all over the country to see me get married? Or six months ago before you put a ring on my finger and asked me to marry you? Why did I get caught in the crossfire of you finding yourself?"

"I'm sorry," he offered weakly, as if he hadn't imagined how his decision could possibly affect the other member of this relationship.

"No you're pathetic," she bit back.

If there was one thing Finn Hudson didn't like, it was the prospect that someone did not like Finn Hudson.

"Allison, please," he begged, nearly tripping over his feet to comfort her.

"Get out," she said simply. Turning on her heels to move back into his apartment. "I never want to see you again," she threw coldly over her shoulder before slamming the door behind her.

The problem with canceling your wedding on the day it was supposed to take place, besides the constant threat of running into your former fiancee's friends or relatives lurking in every shadow to belittle you, was the fact that the wedding vendors were not at all sympathetic towards your situation.

The cake had already been baked and decorated. The Chicken French was already 90% prepared the night before. The flowers had already been cut. The photographer was already with Allison in her dressing room before he had even gotten to her. And he had already picked up his suit. What on Earth was he going to do with eighty-eight servings of Chicken French?

Finn sat stubbornly at Table 12 and ripped open another sack of yogurt covered almonds. Lifting his gaze to the giant ice swan, he watched another drop of water fall from its beak before popping an almond into his mouth.

He was that guy.

The guy that ballroom waiters shuffled nervously around in polite silence and whispered about discreetly in corners. He was the guy that was sitting in the middle of an empty reception hall in a rented tux trying to live out his lonely wedding for one.

"I spoke with the caterer," Kurt said, slipping into the chair beside him. "They said we can buy the pans, but it'll be $130 each."

Finn turned his eyes on his brother disbelievingly. "For a pan?"

Finn was not sold.

"If you want to save eight pans of chicken, you're either going to have to put it in something or you're going to have to eat it all before 10PM when we lose the ballroom."

"Fine then," Finn said and unbuttoned his slacks. "Go get me a plate."

"You can't be serious," he rolled his eyes. "You going to finish off the salmon and mashed potatoes too?"

"I'm not buying those pans!" He barked.

Kurt took a deep breath and waved over one of the caterers. "Get me a chardonnay and a scotch and keep them coming."

"Kurt it's like 11:30 in the morning."

"If I don't get a drink," he smiled tightly, "then even I am going to break up with you."

Finn narrowed his eyes at him and reluctantly took his drink. Taking a healthy sip he resumed looking at his ice sculpture.

"I tried recovering that Tupperware set from your apartment, but all I got was an expletive laden diatribe on where I could shove said Tupperware that I'd really rather not repeat," Blaine said, approaching their table. "What are you guys doing?"

"We're watching the ice, dear," Kurt explained. "We don't want the ice to go to waste."

Blaine positioned himself between the boys and lifted a thoughtful finger to his temple. "Well if we broke it up, I'm sure we could fit in in the freezer."

"It's for people to look at, Blaine," Finn grumbled. "We paid $500 for people to look at it, not mix it with their drinks."

Blaine flashed a dry grin before shrugging his shoulders. "Would you like me to invite some of the Warblers over then? The more eyes we can get on this thing, the more likely we'll run that tab up before it turns into a swimming pool."

"Blaine, darling, you're not helping," Kurt said pointedly. "Did you find anything for the food?"

"Yes," he said revealing a box of Ziploc bags. "We'll probably need more, but this should be good for now. I'm still not sure what we're going to do about the cake."

"Lauren volunteered to take any layers that were chocolate and I'm sure any of the leftovers that we brought to the shop would be gone in a flash," Kurt said. "Brittany and Santana are coming to pick up the flowers on the pretense that they'd bring them to the hospital, but I'm pretty sure I overheard Brittany say something about turning their apartment into some sort of woodland fairytale retreat for their pet garden gnome. And Coach Sylvester is using the photographer for her Cheerios of McKinley calendar."

"Really?" Blaine asked incredulously.

"She's donating the proceeds to Special Education in public schools, so it's not really something you can argue with." Kurt lowered his voice, "I did talk her out of making the donation in the name of 'Finn Hudson, The Poster Boy for McKinley's Inability to Service Those with Special Needs."

Finn rolled his eyes and threw back the rest of his drink.

"Anything else we need to get our money's worth from?" Blaine asked and positioned his back to Finn while he and Kurt plotted for a way to clean up hismesses leaving Finn feeling absolutely mortified.

It wasn't just the fact that they had to take care of him. It was the fact that they were not at all surprised to be doing it. Like Oh,Finncanceledthewedding?ImplementPlanB,Iguess.Wewerereadyforthisanyway.

Kurt paused for a moment before grinning. "The limo driver. He was very rude to me earlier when I attempted to cancel his service. Mercedes has agreed to use the limo for a day of diva pampering as a show of our thanks, a sacrifice for her, I know."

Blaine chuckled, "You're looking for someone to be difficult? Where's Rachel Berry when you need her?"

This pinched a nerve that was throbbing to explode, and wordlessly Finn rose from his seat and kicked over the neighboring chair before stalking out towards the kitchen.

"I'll go give the driver directions to Mercedes' house," Blaine said with a flinch.

The kitchen was still buzzing with the low murmurs of caterers, no doubt talking about what an idiot he was and when he saw one of the cater waiters dump a tray of hors d'oeuvres into a garbage can he absolutely lost it.

"What are you doing?" He barked, crossing the entire length of the kitchen in three long strides.

"Wedding was canceled, dude." The waiter shrugged, obviously blissfully unaware that a jilted groom with a bruised wallet was wreaking havoc on the venue.

"Give me that," he growled as he wrestled the serving tray away, sending the waiter cowering away in terror.

Letting out a frustrating breath, Finn turned his attention to the garbage, fishing out each bite sized Beef Wellington and placing it back on the platter.

"We get it," Kurt said. Pressing a fresh drink in Finn's hand, he plucked away the serving tray. "You're upset."

Finn clutched the glass tightly in his palm and took a long swig, too stubborn to speak.

Kurt peered over the edge of the garbage can and reluctantly reached a hand in to rescue the discarded food. "But you brought this all on yourself," he finished.

"Don't you think I already know that?" He snapped.

"You did the right thing though," Kurt offered with an encouraging grin.

Obviously Kurt hadn't peered a glance at the inbox on his cellphone, which was filled with moderate threats and several implications of the size of his manhood, or lack there of.

"Yeah? Tell that to Allison and her family."

"Of course," he chuckled, his face contorting in disgust as he rearranged the rancid smelling appetizers. "You're not really going to eat these, right?"

Regaining some sense of pride that he had previously watched evaporate into the thick summer air as he tried to untie five dozen already inflated customized balloons in hopes of getting a refund, he shook his head.

Kurt let out a sigh of relief and he dumped the tray back in the garbage before turning a sympathetic eye to his brother. "What are you going to do now?" He asked.

Finn ran a hand through his hair and shrugged. "Figure out what to do with all this food, I guess."

"That's today," he said. "What about tomorrow? Or the day after that?"

"I don't know," he leaned against the stainless steel counter top and frowned. "I didn't think that far ahead." Sipping on his scotch, he lifted a contemplating shoulder. "I can't stay here. Everyone hates me."

"Everyone doesn't hate you," Kurt said and moved to stand beside him. "Only the Potter's do and they live far enough away to lull you into a false sense of security."

"Well they hate me enough for the entire state of Ohio, believe me."

Silence swept between them and for the first time in a long time Finn had the sense that everything was going to be okay. That no matter how many stupid and asinine decisions he made in life, he'd always have someone beside him jumping into dumpsters to help recover all his belongings as they rained down from his apartment window right into the garbage because when you loved someone, it didn't matter how insanely expensive your designer suit cost, you would always know where to send the dry cleaning bill.

"Thank you, Kurt," Finn said, leaning over to nudge him with his shoulder. "For like being my brother and stuff even though you didn't have to."

Kurt reached for his chardonnay and smirked. "Well everyone was always expecting for you to look out for me in high school, I figured it was about time I'd return the favor. Because you know, contrary to popular belief I am the older brother."

Finn chuckled, "But I'm bigger."

"So," Kurt said and lifted an eager brow. "Now that you owe me one, how about you answer the million dollar question."

"And what's that?"

Playfully tipping his glass towards his lips he rocked his shoulders playfully. "When are you leaving for New York?"

Finn pressed his lips together and arched a thoughtful brow. That was the obvious conclusion in the grand scheme of things, but something felt empty and unearned about the whole thing.

"I'm not," he said after a long moment.

"Really?" Kurt scoffed with a hint of disappointment. "After all that? You're not even going to try?"

Finn lingered with the thought for a moment before pushing it aside.

"I can't keep on following other people's dreams anymore," he said with a surprising amount of determination. "I have to figure out my own for a while."

"And how do you plan on doing that?" Kurt inquired. Unable to resist a good bit of gossip, his eager curiosity was transparent as his eyes lit up with anticipation.

With no small amount of amusement at his brother's piqued interest, Finn pondered this for a moment, before he was struck with a moment of brilliance. A slow smile spread across his lips as he stood to his feet.

"Call up Puck," he finally said. "Tell him to pack his bags and gas up the truck."

…...

Rachel Berry took a deep breath and hefted the worn duffel bag of freshly cleaned laundry higher onto her shoulder. The lamp in the hallway fluttered faintly, obviously on the latter end of its days, causing the corridor to be quite dim. Lifting her hand with a dismissive wave she continued up the steps. Her lease was up in three days anyway, what did she care of the hallway aesthetics?

Rounding the corner towards the next flight of stairs she heard the distinct and muffled sound of her cell phone through her handbag. Swinging the satchel from her shoulder with practiced ease, she plucked the phone from her purse and grinned at the name on the Caller ID.

"Yes Daddy?" She chirped as she continued her trek up the steps. "Of course I can't wait to see you. I won't be done packing yet, but I get to pick my keys up in the morning." Halfway up the fifth flight she began to fish for her keys, quickly snatching the jingling ring before twirling the keys around her pointer finger. "No don't bother, I have rehearsal till six. No you can not sit in the audience and watch! I have just gotten my foot back in the door in this business and I will not be stamped with the stigma of being a Daddy's Girl!" She laughed. "Of course I'm still a Daddy's Girl! They just need to know me as the powerful and independent woman that I aspire to be," she paused on the last step and lit up with a content grin. "Of course I'll re-enact the whole play over dinner! It will be like you were there and you'll have the benefit of hearing my superior vocals on all the lead roles."

Rachel hoisted her dripping laundry bag back up her shoulder as she shifted her phone to the crook of her neck. Making her way down the hallway towards her apartment, she paused when she saw a figure sitting outside her door. "Daddy, can I call you back?"

Cocking her head curiously, Rachel felt an overwhelmingly familiar swell from the pit of her stomach. "Finn?" She called out.

The man on the floor looked up at her in startle. "Rachel, hey," he said quickly, a smile spreading across his lips although he made no attempt to stand.

"Finn what are you doing here?" She asked, moving to set her laundry down before sinking down beside him.

He paused, taking in all his surroundings again like even he was surprised to be there, sitting before her.

"I, uh, I didn't go through with the wedding," he said bowing his head shyly.

Rachel nodded slowly, trying to display the appropriate amount of sympathy. "Kurt filled me in. I'm so sorry." Truthfully, she was ecstatic at the news. So much so that she found herself accepting an invitation for drinks amongst her competition at that days audition to celebrate. A type of gathering she would never attend before last summer's ordeal.

"No," he shook his head. "It wasn't your fault or anything, it was just... it was just the right thing to do, you know?"

Rachel pressed her lips together to force away the smile threatening at the corner of her lips and placed a comforting hand on his knee. "Whatever makes you happy," she agreed.

"Yeah," he said wistfully. A lull swept between them and Rachel found herself mesmerized by the sight of him. He was here in her world again and he was happy.

"I heard you left Lima," she said after a long moment. In fact he had left six months ago without a word. Only occasionally sending a postcard to tell her how "awesome" his current destination was.

He nodded eagerly, his joy contagious as she found her eyes lighting up with the same wondrous excitement. "Puck and I, we went on a trip. It was awesome, like one of those old movies where they hop trains and go hitch hiking and stuff," he said animatedly, blabbering on a mile a minute. "Did you know you could camp in the Grand Canyon?" He asked abruptly as if it were some well kept secret. "I mean it smells like donkey crap but it's like the coolest thing in the world."

"Yeah?" She appeased his excitement, even though to her camping was only acceptable in five star hotels.

"Totally."

"I got something for you," he continued before ruffling through his large worn duffel bag. Pulling out a plaque, he presented it to her. "I got it in LA. It's a star on the Walk of Fame," he explained.

Rachel traced her finger across her name listed above the theatre symbol, her heart somehow aching with joy, punishing her for not feeling this happy all the time.

"I mean it's not really on the Walk of Fame or anything," he said, bowing his head sheepishly. "But I bet it will be some day. And you know some people buy stars for people that are, like, real stars, which is pretty cool too I guess. But I don't know, I was thinking about those, metaphor things and I thought this kind of fit."

She smiled politely. The radiating sphere version of a star would have been a metaphor, she wanted to correct, this plaque was just wishful thinking.

"It's wonderful," she said, folding it closely against her heart.

There was a slight pause before his eyes again lit up with excitement. "I heard you got cast in the revival of WestSideStory."

Rachel set her souvenir on the floor beside her and tucked her legs off to the side to adjust her skirt. "Well as Anita's understudy," she shrugged. "But that only puts me third in line for the role of Maria and there are still three weeks left in rehearsal for that casting mistake to be rectified."

"I hope those girls have good insurance," he teased with a knowing smile.

Rachel nudged him playfully with her shoulder before dropping her gaze to her folded hands in her lap. There was a growing sense of anxiety brewing with in her. The sober reality that his return in her life was but a mere figment of her imagination.

"So how long are you in town for?" She asked hesitantly.

"A while," he said simply.

She narrowed her eyes inquisitively in an attempt to decrypt the possible meanings, but Finn seemed to sense this and elaborated.

"When we were in New Orleans, they were working on this documentary for the history of jazz. Like one of those mini-series that play on PBS while they sell you burlap sacks and DVD sets for a hundred bucks. Anyway, they needed someone to go through their catalog to pair music with all the different segments and apparently that's something that a guy with a communications degree is qualified for."

"That's great, Finn."

Finn's lips settled into a lopsided grin and he reached up a hand to run through his hair before letting out a nervous chuckle. His eyes darting to every corner of the corridor, sparkling with exhilaration. "The producer. He really liked me I guess, and he has this production company in mid-town and he offered me a job."

"In New York?" She said slowly, her brows knitting slightly with confusion. "You have a job in New York?" She repeated just to be sure it was real.

"Yeah," he confirmed. "It's kind of my dream job actually. I mean wasn't that what glee club was about? Finding the perfect song to express the emotion of the moment. And he says I have what it takes to be a producer too, so that's kind of cool."

"No, it's amazing!" She shouted. "Sorry," she cleared her throat and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear to contain her excitement.

"It's not just the position that makes it my dream job," he added quickly. "It's that it's here, in New York, with you."

"It is," she agreed carefully, casting her gaze to her lap.

"And for once I feel like maybe I can be a part of your life without holding you back. And I know I shouldn't expect you to just take me back after everything that happened but I want you to know that I'm here, finally and not just because it's what you want but because I want it too. It's where I want to be."

Suddenly she could feel his eyes on her boring into her with that familiar intensity. "Look Rachel, I should have picked you," he said earnestly. "No. That didn't come out right. I should have tried harder. To figure out how to make this work instead of just assuming it never could. I know I don't say this enough but thank you."

Rachel lifted her eyes to meet his and arched a curious brow. "For what?"

"For always believing in me and never stopping, even when I deserved it."

She was lost in his gaze for a moment and had to clear her throat and look away to come up with a coherent thought. "It's funny," she finally said. "What you were saying about using music to express the emotion of a moment. When I was losing you," she explained, "I was trying to find the perfect song to recapture what we had. Like a theme song to our journey. I thought it might be Separate Ways, but I was wrong."

That light that sparked whenever they were on the same wavelength ignited in that moment and Finn nodded in understanding before he cringed.

"Please don't tell me it's Open Arms. I hate that song."

"No," she giggled. "We needed a reprise."

He narrowed his eyes. "I'm not sure I know that one."

It seemed so obvious, like it had been glaring her in the face since the moment she had been haunted by their relationship.

"Often in theatre they'll reuse a song from the opening act as the climax or the closing number to kind of show that the same song can apply to different stages of a story," she explained. "Do you remember the first song we ever sang together?"

He pressed his lips together thoughtfully, his eyes dancing as if reliving every moment they shared together before he grinned playfully. "You're the One That I Want?"

She looked at him pointedly and shook her head. "I mean really sang."

His eyes darkened knowingly because it was a secret that only they were in on. "So what are you saying, that you want a reprise?"

"If you want," she said with bated breath.

"I want to," he said. Reaching for a lock of hair that framed her face, he twisted it around his finger before tucking it behind her ear. Lowering his voice to a whisper he sang. "Don't stop believing."

She reached for his hand and laced her fingers with his. "Hold on to that feeling."


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