Disclaimer: Glee is not mine
I don't know how you do what you do
I'm so in love with you
It just keeps getting better
I want to spend the rest of my life
With you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do
Baby, I'm amazed by you
One year later…
Rachel smoothed the front of her dress nervously, checking her appearance in the mirror for the thousandth time. This was it. There was no going back now.
"Rachel? We just wanted to come in and see how you're doing. Are you nervous?" Mercedes asked, sneaking into the room with Tina behind her.
"You look so gorgeous," Tina said, admiring her dress.
"Is everyone out there? Where's Finn? He's here, right?" Rachel babbled nervously, feeling like she was going to throw up.
"Finn's here, he's waiting for you to come out," Tina assured her.
Give us a hug," Mercedes demanded. All three girls gathered together in a hug just as a knock sounded on the door.
"Alright, girl, we're gonna get out there. Good Luck!" Tina squealed, giving Rachel one last hug before she and Mercedes slipped out the door.
A knock sounded on the door again. "Are you ready, Rachel?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," Rachel replied, following the stagehand out the door and towards the stage.
"Welcome back! It's time for the segment we like to call Local Literaries. This week, we're going introduce a new local author, one who's creating quite a buzz. Her first book, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, is about to hit the shelves and is quickly becoming the talk of the literary world. Everyone please welcome Rachel Berry!"
Taking her cue from the stage manager, Rachel walked onto the Coffee Break with Tom and Liza set, a dazzling smile on her face, hoping she didn't look too nervous. Her eyes scanned the crowd immediately, searching out Finn. She spotted him in the front row, Carole and Burt on one side, and her fathers on the other. Kurt, Mercedes and Tina were just behind them.
She made eye contact with Finn as she shook Tom's and Liza's hands and took her seat, the support emanating from his eyes instantly calming her.
"So Rachel, tell us, how did the idea for this book come about? I understand it's based on real life?" Liza started, looking at Rachel expectantly.
Rachel exhaled before beginning. "Yes, it's based on how I met my boyfriend."
"Really? For those who don't know, the characters in the book are both using each other for their jobs. Tell us the story!" Liza prompted, smiling at Rachel.
"Well I was working at Maquillage as the How to Girl, when I was randomly picked to do an article. I was supposed to torture a guy using all the classic things girls do to drive men away at the beginning of a relationship," Rachel recited, having told the story many times over the past year. Quickly, she told the rest of the story. "So there I was, depressed and alone. I'd locked myself in my room, refusing to see anyone, listening to Barbra Streisand's Since I fell for you over and over as I reflected on my life."
"Love that song," Liza cut in.
Rachel smiled. "I do too. Anyway, I realized that I'd done more living in the past two weeks than I'd had in the last seven years, thanks to Finn. I'd had one horrible relationship before him, back in high school and that one experience had made me turn off of guys and life for years." Her eyes traveled over to where Finn was sitting, feeling his eyes boring into her. "The night we met, he'd asked me what was stopping me from writing a novel, and as I reflected, I realized that nothing was stopping me. I'd used excuse after excuse and after everything blew up in our faces, I felt like I owed it to him and to myself to write that novel. For two days, I let no one in my room; I ate nothing and barely slept. I wrote and rewrote the story of the 10 days."
"Did you really bring him to a Tupperware party?" Tom asked incredulously. "I would have dumped you right there."
Rachel laughed; the entire thing was funny in hindsight. "I did, among other things."
"Other things? Do we want to know?" Liza demanded. "Did you call him constantly or give him a nickname? I've done that," she admitted, giving a small chuckle.
"Let's see, I redecorated his apartment, making it super girly. I did give him a nickname, and frequently used it in front of his friends, I got him punched in the face by a woman-" Rachel replied, ticking them off on her fingers.
"What?" both Tom and Liza exclaimed.
"As Finn likes to say, that woman could easily have played in the NFL. I didn't realize how big she was until she stood up, but by then it was too late," Rachel defended, still smiling.
"Now I understand that you two got back together? Are you still dating?" Tom asked curiously as the crowd gave a chorus of "aww" when the screen turned on behind them.
Rachel's smile grew wider as a picture of her, Finn and Vlad came onto the screen. She particularly liked this picture; it had been taken this past 4th of July, at Burt and Carole's. They'd been at the beach all day, and it was one of those unplanned, unposed pictures. Finn had simply pulled Rachel and Vlad onto his lap when they'd returned to his parent's house, feeling the need to capture the moment. They were both in their bathing suits, their skins covered in a combination of sun block and salt water. Rachel had held Vlad up and snuggled in close to Finn as he'd held out an arm and took the picture. Vlad had actually cooperated, so all three were looking at the camera. The downward angle of the picture created a feeling of intimacy among the three, since their heads were close together and it was mostly from the shoulders up. Carole loved the picture also; it was displayed on top of her piano.
"Yes, some friends and family got sick and tired of us being weepy and depressed. I'd locked myself in my room, refusing to see anyone or do anything but write, and from what I heard, Finn had alternated between trashing his apartment and refusing to talk to anyone but our Chihuahua. They hatched a plan which involved getting us in the same room and not letting us out until we made up."
Both hosts laughed at Rachel's explanation while the picture switched to one of the two of them on the cruise they'd gone on with Kurt, Blaine, Mike, Tina, Artie, Mercedes, Noah, and to Rachel's annoyance, Quinn. This time, they were dressed formally, posed in front of the staircase by the ship's photographer.
"Oh, isn't that lovely? And you're still together?" Liza asked, as the crowd gave an awww again.
"Yes, for a year now." She smiled in Finn's direction.
"Wait, is he here?" Liza asked as she followed Rachel's gaze.
"He's sitting over there," Rachel said proudly as the camera turned on Finn, showing him on the screen while the crowd began cheering. A stagehand immediately walked over and handed Finn a microphone.
"So Finn, tell us. You must be so proud of Rachel," Liza commented, smiling.
"I am. I always knew she could do it." Finn's eyes maintained contact with Rachel, not even noticing the hosts of the show.
"Was there ever any moment during the 10 days that you were like I've had enough, I'm done?" Tom asked curiously.
"Well, I wasn't thrilled about being at a Tupperware party, having to miss poker to get her tampons and getting punched in the face by a woman definitely sucked, but when Rachel was acting like her normal awesome self, I'd forget about those things because I just wanted to be with her." He smiled in Rachel's direction, knowing from the way she was biting her lip and looking down that her eyes were tearing.
"Alright we're running out of time. I'd like to thank Rachel Berry for being here. Her book How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days comes out next Friday; don't forget to pick up a copy! Up next Chef Bart shows us what to do with those pesky leftovers!"
Rachel continued smiling until the camera light went off, unsure of what to do. An assistant came over and unclipped her microphone telling her she could go relax in the Green Room until the show was over.
She followed the assistant back to the Green Room, making a beeline for the food spread out on the table. Finn had made her breakfast this morning, but she'd been way too nervous to eat anything, resulting in him eating both his own meal and hers.
She'd just managed to fill a bowl with fruit, when a bouquet of flowers appeared around her shoulder. She smiled, recognizing the large hand that held the bouquet. She placed the bowl of fruit on the table, feeling a hand slip around and come to rest on her stomach.
"You were wonderful out there," Finn whispered into her ear as she took the flowers.
"You didn't have to get me flowers," Rachel said as she turned around in his arms, hugging him tightly.
"I didn't. The flowers are from Vlad. I got you this." Finn pulled a small box out of his pocket, handing it to Rachel. She pulled herself away from him, opening the Tiffany blue jewelry box to see a pair of solitaire diamond earrings set in platinum.
"Finn!" she gasped. "These are gorgeous!" She shifted the box, admiring the way the light made the earrings sparkle.
"And Kurt approved," Finn added, smiling at how excited she was. She'd already yanked her own earrings out of her ears and was now putting in her new ones.
She pulled his face down to hers, kissing his lips repeatedly. "Thank you. I love you so much," she kept repeating between kisses.
"I love you too." He pulled away from her to look into her eyes. "Ready to go? The show's just about over, and my mom and your dads are dying to see you. Everyone's waiting outside."
Rachel slipped her hand into his, allowing him to lead her out of the studio, where her friends and family were waiting.
"Princess! You were fantastic!" Leroy cried, sweeping her into a hug. Next to him, her other father Hiram was dabbing at his eyes with a tissue, a bouquet of flowers in his hand.
"Rachel, you were amazing," Hiram blubbered, thrusting the bouquet into her hand as he joined in the hug.
"Thanks Dad, Daddy," Rachel said as she hugged them for a moment before pulling away.
Carole came next, hugging Rachel tightly. "Rachel, I'm so proud. I can't wait to read it."
The rest of them all gathered around to hug Rachel. Kurt, of course, noticed her new earrings right away. "Aren't they fabulous?" he squealed. "I was very impressed that Finn managed to pick them out himself. Ordinarily, I require that I be present for all jewelry purchases made by either Dad or Finn, but this time I didn't even know he was going." He pulled Rachel closer, whispering in her ear, "You better let me know what kind of ring you like, so when the time comes, I'll be ready. There's no way he's doing that without me."
"I'm one step ahead of you. I have pictures," Rachel whispered back. She'd started saving pictures of engagement rings the week after she and Finn got back together.
"What are you two whispering about?" Finn asked; placing his hand on the small of Rachel's back.
"Nothing," Kurt and Rachel answered together.
"Right. Like I believe that." Finn smiled at the two of them, shaking his head. "Burt's got cabs, so let's go. We're going back to our apartment to hang out and have some lunch. Your dads are going to meet us there. They wanted to finalize everything at the restaurant for the celebration tonight." Finn watched in amusement, holding open the cab door, as Kurt and Rachel continued whispering and giggling and slid in.
"So Rachel, when do we get to read the book? Draw Two, Kurt," Carole called out excitedly, as Vlad jumped into her lap.
Rachel's fathers were hosting a dinner in Rachel's honor later, but until then, they'd all headed back to Finn and Rachel's apartment to relax and discuss the morning's events. Since the group had a while to kill before the dinner, Finn had broken out the Uno cards immediately after lunch. As the group sat around the apartment playing and taking turns getting ready, the conversation had once again turned to Rachel's new book.
Rachel emerged from the bedroom, dressed for the party and smiled at the sight of Vlad on Carole's lap. Whenever Vlad saw Grandma, he ignored everyone else, including Finn and Rachel. Not even Finn's stomach could tempt him away from Grandma. "I'm afraid you'll just have to wait Carole, till the publisher sends me copies. Hopefully it'll be this week. Is it my turn?" she asked, taking the empty seat next to Finn and picking up her cards.
"No, it's mine. And Mom, I haven't even read it yet." Finn added, putting his arm around Rachel as she sat down next to him. She smiled at him, one hand caressing his knee, while the other hid her cards from his wandering eye. "Rachel won't let me even see a page until the book is published." He shuffled through his cards, looking for a yellow or a four, finally finding a yellow Skip card. "Sorry, Ray, but even though you look amazing in that dress, I'm skipping you."
"Really? You haven't read it? Why not?" Carole asked, stroking Vlad softly and smiling at Rachel's put out expression at being skipped. Over the course of the year, Rachel had honed her Uno skills, and she was quickly making her way up the standings, currently third behind Finn and Blaine.
"I didn't want anyone to see it until it was completely done. Only Vlad knows what's written on those pages, and that's only because he was next to me while I was writing every day. Plus, he can't talk, so he never had anything bad to say about what I read to him," Rachel explained, laughing at the memory of her reading to Vlad.
She glanced down as her cell phone vibrated on the table, picking it up and reading a text. Her eyebrows shot up in excitement for a second, before resuming a normal expression as she quickly typed a reply.
"Everything ok, Princess?" Hiram asked, noticing Rachel's facial expressions.
"Fantastic Daddy," Rachel replied, reading the text again. Finn craned his neck trying to see the text, but Rachel closed it too quickly. She noticed him trying to read her text, and murmured, "Later, Finny."
"Hey Rachel, how accurate is this book? And more importantly, how big of a role does my character have?" Kurt demanded, placing a Reverse card down. "I insist on proper credit for helping Finn those two days. You have no idea what I went through. I had a Chihuahua ready to kill me and I almost died from flying objects, not to mention the smell of an unshowered Finn."
Rachel laughed. "Don't worry, Kurt. You character gets all the credit he deserves in the story."
"Yeah," Finn added, deciding to rile Kurt up. "Rachel told me that your character's a buyer for Wal-Mart."
The room went quiet as all eyes turned to Kurt, who gasped and held one hand over his heart, while the other gripped Carole's arm tightly. "Rachel!" he hissed. "Tell. Me. That's. Not. True."
"No no. Kurt, it's not true," Rachel hastened to assure him. Kurt removed his hand from over his heart to glare at his brother, amid the laughter now permeating the room. "Finn's just being a jerk. He's upset because I made his character a bad kisser," she added innocently as the laughter grew louder.
"Wait, what?" Finn did a double take at Rachel's comment, only to see Rachel suppressing a laugh.
She reached over to caress the hurt expression off his face. "Relax baby. I'm just kidding. You know I don't think that's true."
As if to prove her point, she pulled his face towards hers, letting her lips meet his. He intended to resist her, planning to pout a little, but once he felt her soft pliant lips against his, his mouth took over and he began responding automatically, unable to help himself.
"Nope. Definitely not true," she commented as she released his face. "And Draw Four Finn," she added smugly as she placed the card down.
Finn's cell phone started ringing before he could reply. He glanced at the screen surprised to see his office calling. Rachel leaned on his shoulder, peering at the screen. "Why is work calling you? They knew you weren't coming in today."
"Dunno," Finn said, shrugging as he answered the phone, the other occupants of the table pausing the game to wait for him. "Hello?"
"Mr. Hudson, sorry to bother you, but I have a bit of a situation here." Finn groaned at the sound of his new secretary's voice. Marc was young and perfectly capable, but he had an annoying habit of calling Finn and asking him about every little thing. He'd been upset when Will had transferred Allie over to Design. They'd worked together for three years, and she knew how to run his office without bothering him about little things, unlike Marc, who once called Finn during a meeting to ask him what color Post-Its he preferred.
"What's up?" he asked, praying that this 'situation' would actually be something important and not a repeat of the Post-It incident.
"Well, it's just that a Sue Sylvester keeps calling and demanding you submit both yours and Mr. Chang's bats for testing. She said she was sending over someone to pick up the bats, because she doesn't trust curly haired men or freakishly tall ones to bring the bats for testing. In addition, she wants proof that Mr. Chang was born in the United States, and will only accept an original birth certificate with a raised seal, as well as proof that you yourself are, in fact, an employee of Schuester's and not someone hired just to play softball. I told her you were, but she claimed her calls could be routed to your apartment and I could just be your - and I quote - 'Lady Trousers of a brother' answering for you. She won't stop calling and now there's a girl named Becky here waiting for the bats, and I just don't know what to do."
Finn sighed, running a hand through his hair in frustration while Rachel rubbed his leg, her head still on his shoulder as she talked quietly with Carole and Kurt. "Look, is Mike or Artie there?"
"Mr. Abrams is at a meeting downtown, and Mr. Chang is in a meeting with Mr. Schuester," Marc confirmed, his voice still slightly panicky.
"Fine. Here's what you do. Tell Becky that Sue will not be getting our bats, because last time she demanded they be tested, she doctored the results. Nor will she be getting a copy of Mike's birth certificate. Remind her that last year when she demanded it, the league determined that it was a violation of privacy and that if we were really going to import people to play on our team, we'd try to get pro players, like she did when she got those Yankees to play on her team. If she calls back, and she will, direct her call over to Will Schuester," Finn directed, noticing the looks of amusement around the group and rolling his eyes. He could hear Marc scribbling down his instructions furiously.
"What should I tell Becky about you?" Marc asked, finally caught up on his notes.
"Tell her to tell Sue that I, along with my 'Lady Trousers of a brother,' will see her on the softball field tomorrow night and that I'm particularly in the mood to kick her ass," Finn said, pinching his nose. "Is that it? I'm kind of busy. It's a big day for my girlfriend."
"One more thing. You told me you needed more printer paper, but did you have a specific brand of printer paper you prefer? I wasn't sure, so I didn't fill your printer tray yet."
"No. Whatever you have is fine. I really have to go. If you have any other problems, ask Artie what to do," Finn said wearily, trying to temper his annoyance. Rachel could sense his frustration and picked her head up to kiss his shoulder while her nails began grazing his back lightly. "Ok, Marc?"
"Oh, but wait, I just thought of-"
"No. I really have to go; my girlfriend and family are waiting for me. Ok? Bye," Finn said firmly, hanging up before Marc could say anything else.
"Lady Trousers of a brother?" Kurt demanded instantly as soon as he saw Finn end the call.
"Yeah, Sue thinks I'm not an employee at Schuester's and am just having you answer my phone here pretending to be my secretary," Finn explained, rolling his eyes at the absurdity of it. "God, I miss Allie. She would have never bothered me with crap like that. I don't know why Will transferred her."
"Who knows? I'm sure Will had his reasons." Kurt rationalized, exchanging looks with Rachel, Mercedes, Tina and Carole. They'd long ago decided to leave Finn in the dark as to the reason why Allie was transferred, as well as the fact that she'd requested the transfer. This way, since he still occasionally saw her at work, there would be none of the awkwardness that they all knew Finn would feel if he knew the extent of her feelings.
"Finn, don't you need to get ready? Everyone else is already changed," Carole asked quickly, deciding to change the subject. "Kurt, didn't you pick out a new suit for Finny to wear?"
"Yes, it's all laid out on your bed. Let's go." Kurt jumped up and started pulling Finn into his bedroom to get ready while glancing at Carole with a knowing look. He emerged a few minutes later, pausing at the door to yell back into the bedroom, "Finn don't forget to wear your wine colored tie with the suit, it'll be a nice contrast to Rachel's dress." He rolled his eyes as he came back to the table and picked up his cards.
"Hey, Kurt?" Finn yelled from the bedroom.
"Yes Finn, the wine colored one is the red one," Kurt called back, knowing immediately what Finn was going to ask. "Men," he commented, shaking his head as the girls giggled and Burt looked as perplexed as Finn probably was.
"Kurt?" Finn called again.
"Bring it out here and I'll tie it for you. I have to do Dad's anyway," Kurt yelled back, again knowing what was going on in the bedroom without actually being in there.
When Finn emerged, he sheepishly handed the tie to Kurt, who quickly tied it before moving onto Burt's tie. "You two really should learn how to tie a tie. I don't know how I can make the instructions any easier. Maybe I should just show Carole and Rachel."
"Why should we learn how to do it when you do it so well?" Finn asked, Burt nodding in agreement beside him. "Besides, you'd just say it doesn't look right and then retie it anyway." He glanced at his watch, noticing that it was just about time to go. He walked over to where Rachel was standing, kissing her on the nose as he looked around at his family. With a big smile he placed his arm around her petite waist and exclaimed, "Let's go celebrate!"
"Excuse me, I'm new in town. Can I have directions to your place?" Finn asked teasingly, coming up to Rachel and handing her a glass of wine. It had become an inside joke between the two of them to greet each other with lame pickup lines, since as Finn liked to say, lame pickup lines kind of brought them together. Rachel laughed at him as she looked around the private room her parents had rented. Her fathers were talking animatedly with Carole and Burt, introducing them to various Berry family members, while Mercedes, Tina, Mike, Artie, Kurt and Blaine were all scattered around the room in small groups.
"Sure, but you have to wait until my boyfriend leaves," Rachel responded playfully, standing up on her tiptoes for a kiss.
"Do you two ever fucking stop?"
Rachel reluctantly pulled away from Finn. "Hello, Noah. Impeccable timing as always."
Noah quickly pulled her in for a hug, before greeting Finn with a man-hug. "S'up Dude? You get any dressing room action this morning?"
Finn just laughed, but Rachel played into his hands. "God Noah. You are so vulgar. I would have thought that dating Quinn for the past 4 months would have meant that sex would be on your brain less."
"I'm a guy, Berry. It's a requirement."
Finn looked around. "Where is Quinn? She said she was coming at work yesterday."
"She's here. She's in the crapper," Noah replied, flagging down the waiter and ordering a beer for himself and white wine for Quinn. "She's got big news."
"Let me guess. You finally got a girl pregnant. How many times have I told you-" Rachel guessed, ready to launch into a lecture about safe sex.
"Oh, God. Don't go breaking out the pamphlets again, Berry. Q's not pregnant." Noah cut in. "She's got news for Finn. Oh, there's Mrs. H.! She have any cookies?" he added hopefully.
"Honestly, Noah, what do you think? Carole just carries cookies in her purse just in case she runs into you?" Rachel asked sarcastically.
Quinn came up to them at that moment, placing a hand on Noah's arm before he could retort. She greeted Rachel with a small hug. Rachel was still wary around her, due to her partnership with Santana during the whole bet, but she'd been more willing to forgive after Noah filled her in on Quinn's drunken closet confessions at the Gala. Once Noah started dating Quinn, she was around Rachel a lot more, and although she could be snobby and a little bitchy, she seemed to make Noah happy, so Rachel put up with her.
"Did you tell them?" she asked Noah.
"Nope. Berry was talking about how she likes her sex, so I got distracted." He smirked at Rachel's horrified expression and subsequent "Noah!"
"Why do you do that to her, Puck?" Quinn scolded before turning to Rachel and Finn. "So, big news! Guess who's done with her anger management course and suspension from Schuester's?" She paused, waiting for their reactions.
"No!" Rachel gasped. "Santana?"
After her arrest, Will had suspended Santana indefinitely, citing the fact that several clients were now nervous about the reputation of Schuester Advertising and that her arrest was an embarrassment to the firm. She'd been ordered to go to anger management classes by the courts and had had to pay a hefty fine. Will himself required that she complete one thousand community service hours at various charities before he'd consider giving Santana her job back.
Quinn nodded. "She's going to be starting at Schuester's again on Monday, but Will isn't giving her her old job and clients back. She's only got one client, a new one and guess who it is." She paused again, waiting for them to guess.
"Who?" Finn finally asked.
"Sylvester Total Fitness." She grinned at the expressions of joy on Finn and Rachel's faces. "Santana's really going to have to apply what she learned in anger management when she works with Sue. You know how difficult she is."
Finn laughed. "She called my office last week to tell me that she's filed a petition with the softball league office because she checked the rule book and she's pretty sure that having a team mascot is illegal because it incites the fans. At first I thought she meant Vlad, but it turns out she was talking about Artie."
Rachel laughed along with Quinn and Noah, as they walked over to a table and sat down, while Finn left to use the bathroom. The waiter began placing salads at each place, pausing when he got to Rachel.
"Why, hello Rachel. You're looking lovely tonight as always."
Rachel smiled politely at the Jewfroed waiter, willing him to leave. "Hello, Jacob."
"Can I get you anything? More wine?" Jacob asked breathily, hardly daring to believe that he was here with Rachel, and Gigantor wasn't.
"Um. I'll take a glass of White please," Rachel replied, more to get rid of him than anything. She watched as Jacob scurried off into the kitchen, just before Finn walked over to the table.
"What's with Jewfro?" Noah asked, his eyes also following Jacob.
"The night I met Finn, Jacob was feeding me the lamest pick up lines I'd ever heard, and Finn pretended to be my boyfriend to get me away from him. He followed us around until we left the bar," Rachel explained, laughing. "He works at this restaurant Finn and I go to, and needless to say, Finn's not high on Jacob's list of people that he likes. I guess he works here now. Watch how he treats Finn," she added laughing at the memory.
"So, he has the hots for you, Berry?" Noah asked, watching as Jacob practically ran over to Rachel with her wine.
"Do you need anything else Rachel?" Jacob asked, ignoring the rest of the table. "More bread, beer, wine?"
"No, I'm fine, Jacob. But do you need anything Finn?" Rachel asked as Finn sat down next to her.
"I'll take a beer," Finn replied, noticing Jacob for the first time and sending an annoyed glance at Rachel.
"Sorry, we're all out," Jacob replied shortly, turning his attention back to Rachel. "If you need anything, let me know."
"I'll have a beer," Noah piped up from Rachel's other side, grinning.
"Of course, Sir. Coming right up," Jacob replied as he turned to go, his eyes instantly detecting Quinn's arm intertwined with Noah's, which meant that Noah posed no threat when it came to Rachel and therefore could be served.
Finn watched Jacob go, groaning. "You've got to be kidding me. I'm having flashbacks to that night."
Rachel rubbed his arm soothingly, trying not to laugh at the same time. "Sorry, baby."
Jacob's abuse of Finn continued all through the salad course, to the amusement of Noah, who constantly ordered things he knew Finn wanted but was denied by Jacob.
"Noah, really, why are you doing that to Finn?" Rachel chided, after Noah substituted a side of mashed potatoes with his meal instead of string beans, despite Finn being informed by Jacob that there were no substitutions on the menu.
"It's too fucking funny, Berry," he answered before turning to Finn. "Why don't you kick his ass? You could easily level him with one punch, Finn. I bet there's a dumpster in back we could toss him into."
"Nah, he's harmless. He can eye fuck Rachel all he wants, but at the end of the day, I'm the one who actually gets to fuck her," Finn said, shrugging.
"Finn!" Rachel rebuked, embarrassed at his vulgar words. "Language! I expect that kind of vulgarity out of Noah, but not from you." She turned to Noah, ready to scold him also. "This is your influence, I know it."
"You know you like my boy Finn talking like that, Berry," Noah responded, smirking.
Rachel huffed in indignation, secretly agreeing with Noah. "I'm going to talk to your mother now, and when I get back, you better have found something nicer to talk about." She stalked away, heading towards Carole and Kurt.
Noah leaned over. "Lemme guess. Berry won't let you kick his ass right?"
Finn exhaled. "Nope."
Rachel returned a few minutes later, relieved to see that Noah, Quinn and Finn were talking about Santana again. She was about to join in the conversation, when she heard glasses clinking together. Curious, she looked up to see her both fathers standing near the front of the room.
"Ahem." Rachel's father Leroy cleared his throat, earning the attention of the room, which instantly went silent.
"Dad? Daddy? What's all this?" Rachel asked, taking the glass of Champagne Jacob offered her, not noticing when he skipped over Finn and gave the rest of the table Champagne.
"I'd like to propose a toast," Leroy answered. He looked around the room expectantly, waiting till everyone had a glass of Champagne in their hand, Finn managing to swipe one from a different waiter.
"A year ago, our Little Star," Leroy boomed, looking lovingly at Hiram, "started an assignment that would forever change her life. At the same time, Finn took on a bet that changed his life. These two wonderful people fell for each other due to circumstances beyond their control. They had their ups," which everyone gathered cheered for, "and their downs," which earned a collective groan from the same people. "But they realized their dreams were too important to have others hold them back, and that has brought us to today. Rachel finally followed her dream after meeting and falling in love with Finn to write and publish a book!"
Everyone cheered as Leroy tried to get them to quiet down. "I'm not done yet folks. Finn; I admit that I gave you a rough time in the beginning for taking my baby girl away, but I'd like to thank you for believing in our Little Star and showing her that dreams do come true when you are with the one. Princess, Daddy and I love you very much and are so proud of you, of what you have accomplished and done with your life!"
He raised his glass, waiting until everyone else did also. "To Rachel and Finn!"
Eventually, the last glass of champagne had been drunk and the final congratulations had been offered. Finn and Rachel had headed home, happy to find themselves alone in their apartment for the first time all day. Finn had quickly walked Vlad, hoping he and Rachel could continue to celebrate privately after he was done, but to his disappointment, he returned to find Rachel looking through a box in the kitchen, wearing decidedly unsexy pajamas.
The same pajamas she wore when she was exhausted or when she was mad at him and wouldn't let him touch her.
Sighing, he walked into the bedroom, shedding his suit quickly and putting on his pajama bottoms, forgoing the shirt. He settled onto the bed, turning on ESPN as Vlad jumped on the bed and circled on his lap, finding the perfect spot.
"I have a surprise for you, Finny." Rachel walked on her knees toward Finn on the bed, her hand holding something behind her back.
"Oh really? Does it involve Vlad being sexiled?" he asked hopefully, tearing his eyes away from the TV and looking at the Chihuahua asleep on his lap. As if he'd understood Finn's comment, Vlad suddenly got off his lap, glancing up at Finn with an indignant look on his face before making his way to the foot of the bed to find a new spot to sleep in.
"Not exactly, although I wouldn't rule it out tonight. Close your eyes," Rachel directed. She waited until she was sure his eyes were closed before placing something in his hands and settling next to him. "Ok, you can open them."
Finn opened his eyes to see a brand new copy of Rachel's book in his hands. "Baby! Your book came? When? Why didn't you say something?" He leaned over to kiss her tenderly, his eyes showing how proud he was of her.
"It came today, when everyone was here, but I wanted you to be the first to see it and read it. That's what that text was. Francesco was texting me to tell me they came. Open it up," she said excitedly.
Finn did as he was told, opening up to the title page. "Ooh, I've got an autographed copy! I must rate," he teased, nudging her with his shoulder.
"Oops, sorry. This copy is supposed to be for my boyfriend. I'll go get you a new one." she quipped, pretending to get off the bed, only to feel Finn pull her back.
"Very funny." He kissed her temple before turning his attention back to the inscription she'd written. "To Finny-Bear. All my love, Ray." He looked at her proudly, leaning in for another kiss. "Thank you."
"There's more. That's just in your autographed copy. Check out the dedication page that's going in every copy ever printed." She thumbed through the pages until she found what she wanted, handing the book back to him.
For Finn, who rescued me from myself, helping me find everything I never knew I wanted, including him, and didn't laugh when I told him I secretly wanted to be Canadian.
Finn looked up at Rachel, his mouth unable to form any words. He simply climbed on top of her, kissing her all over her face and neck.
"Finn! Don't you want to read it?" Rachel asked as she felt his hands start to slide under her pajamas. "You've been begging me for months."
Finn pulled himself off of her, giving her one final kiss. "You're right. Can I get a personal reading from the author?" he asked, giving her his best puppy dog eyes as he placed his chin on her chest and looked up.
"You're pushing your luck," Rachel said, running her hand through Finn's hair.
"Come on, Vlad got read to everyday," Finn pouted. "I'm starting to think you like him better than me."
"That's because I do like Vlad better," Rachel teased. "Finn!" she shrieked as he pounced on her, tickling her all over in retaliation for her comment. "Stop!"
Vlad awoke with a start and came to Rachel's aid immediately, yipping at Finn and grabbing at his pajama bottoms.
"Nope. Not until you take that back and agree to read to me," Finn said, tickling her stomach and trying to fight Vlad off at the same time.
"Alright! Fine! You win!" Rachel screamed, gasping. Finn stopped immediately, handing her the book as she snuggled into him. Vlad released his hold on Finn's pajama bottoms to climb into his lap, forgiving Finn for tickling Rachel when he started stroking the Chihuahua in his favorite spot between the ears.
Opening to the first page, Rachel cleared her throat as she began to read. "Chapter 1: The Inspiration." She glanced at Finn to make sure he was paying attention before continuing. "Wednesday Night. "I'm sorry, why are we here again?" Gina looked around the crowded Karaoke bar with distaste. This was so not her scene."
Rachel snuck a look at Finn again as she snuggled into him even more and continued to read, her mind never failing to marvel at how perfectly she fit into his side. "Because Emily asked us to meet her and Tom here and we're being supportive. You know how excited she is about Tom," Lisa replied, sipping her drink. Secretly, she agreed with Gina. Listening to tone deaf people belt out "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was not high on her list of great ways to spend an evening. Emily, however, loved Karaoke, and since she was the one who orchestrated the meeting, Lisa was willing to go along with it."
She paused as she felt Finn's hand start playing with her hair, reveling in the feeling of his hands. She turned her head to look at him, resting her chin on his chest. His eyes were closed in contentment as he listened, his fingers continuing to play with her hair, Vlad sleeping soundly on his lap. She bit her lip as that feeling of home washed over her. Slowly, she closed the book, quickly grabbing Vlad and claiming his former place on Finn's lap.
Finn's eyes flew open as he felt Rachel straddle him. "What are you doing? I thought you were reading to me?" he asked, his hands automatically coming to rest on her thighs and rubbing small circles.
"It can wait." She ran her hands along his bare chest before she leaned down to kiss him in that way.
Finn's eyebrows shot up. He knew that kiss and what it meant.
Vlad was about to be sexiled.
"What's this?" he asked, sitting up and pulling her closer as he kissed her neck. "Is this part of the chapter?"
"It's only in your copy," Rachel said, a moan escaping her mouth as she felt him hit that spot behind her ear. She pulled her head away to look at him. "Vlad."
He sighed as Rachel climbed off of him. He grabbed Vlad, escorting him towards the door. "Come on dude. You know the drill."
Rachel watched as he climbed back onto the bed, kissing his way up her body. "You sure, baby?" he asked as he reached her mouth. "We can read more if you want."
"The only thing I want right now is you," Rachel murmured against his lips, her fingers ghosting the waistband of his pajama bottoms.
"Far be it from me to deny a famous author," Finn said, running his hands up her sides and pulling her pajama top up and off her body. Rachel lay back in pleasure, her eyes shutting as she felt his ministrations against her skin. She didn't mind that they weren't reading her book right now.
After all, they'd have a lifetime together to read it.
A/N: Thus ends the story of the 10 days! I'm sad. However, keep an eye out for Finn, Rachel and Vlad in 10 Days to a Lifetime! There's some stuff in this epilogue that I alluded to that will be addressed in 10 Days to a Lifetime. I'm going to Six Flags today otherwise I'd post the first chapter, but it'll be up on Monday, since I have off.
Happy Memorial Day to my American Readers!