Author's Note: Every time I watch 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', I have the feeling that tiny sideways glance Rachel shoots Finn's way was the last nail on the coffin for Jesse. What would have happened to Glee's drama royalty if Drama Queen hadn't looked at the unworthy?
As for the lyrics, italic is Rachel, bold italic is each one of the boys, bold is Jesse and Rachel.
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here, there... everywhere
#1: and I need you now tonight
Rachel stands in front of the stony-faced glee club members, her three male leads on her ill-fated video scattered around the seats. Hudson sits at her right, and Puckerman sits right in front of her (his pregnant girlfriend by his side).
He sits at her left.
Brad starts playing and he bites back a bitter grin. He recognizes the song at its opening chords. Figures Rachel would pick a power-ballad from the eighties to express her feelings.
Hudson sings. Turn around.
Hudson sings and Rachel doesn't spare him a glance. She looks on the verge of tears but she never looks twice at her former beau and his biggest rival for her heart.
(His heart does not heal a bit at her blatant indifference at that talentless oaf).
Her eyes are glued to his as she sings her part. Every now and then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round. She sings and she seems to be struggling to keep her breath stable enough so her voice won't crack halfway through the verse. He keeps looking straight ahead, shooting small glances at her through eyes that he knows are furious and broken. "You broke mine first", he just told her, and truer words haven't been spoken yet.
Then Puckerman sings. Turn around…
Puckerman sings and a smirk curves his lips as he watches her, with the intimacy of a longtime knowledge. But it's not only a broken relationship that ties the queen of the gleeks to McKinley's self-proclaimed badass. It's a lifetime of shared faith, of missing parents (his father, her mother – Jesse's now former coach), of slushies to the face and honest apologies in McKinley's bathroom. It's a bond born from proclamations of blossoming love in the shape of a Neil Diamond's cover solo and of a difficult choice that was made, of decisions that meant more than words could say.
Still, Rachel's eyes remain focused on Jesse, and Jesse only. She never wavers and she closes her eyes tightly as her fists clench and her voice is heavy with heartbreak and regret. Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears.
He takes the next verse. Turn around. His voice, flawless thanks to his years under Shelby's hardcore tutelage, meshes seamlessly with hers, and he allows his wounded pride and broken heart to inject the two words with emotion – and he's sure, he's absolutely sure, he never sang so soulfully before. Vocal Adrenaline refined his technique. New Directions (Rachel) gave him the emotion.
Tears bubble to the surface as she opens her eyes and they lock with his. Every now and then I get a little bit nervous that the best of all the years have gone by. Every now and then I get a little bit terrified, and then I see the look in your eyes. She's singing, she's singing and she's begging, pleading with him. Not Hudson, not Puckerman, but him. Her eyes never leave his and this gives him the courage to take over the male lead.
It's her apology. Her declaration of devoted love. As long as she keeps looking at him with those supplicant eyes, he knows he's the one she's picking. And he needs this. He needs the reassurance of knowing she's sure of whom she wants. He needs the reassurance of knowing she's picking him. He sings again, feeling jealous eyes burning at him. Hudson, of course. Turn around, bright eyes.
Every now and then I fall apart. He knows she does. He knows she falls apart, whether because of her own insecurities, or because of being picked apart by her peers. She would fit so beautifully into Vocal Adrenaline, he's sure of it.
And I need you now tonight. And I need you more than ever. She sings and he questions. Does she? Does she really need him – can she not live if he's not in her life? They're together for a really short time – less than a month – but she's already such a big part of his routine, such a big part of who he is. He cannot imagine life without her, does not want to imagine life without her. He never believed he could find a woman who would accept being less important than his career, but then he met Rachel. And he wants everything – everything– with her. Marriage, children, a family, a life. But does she want the same?
Her eyes are pleading to him when she carries on with her song, and his heart swells with hope. And if you only hold me tight, we'll be holding on forever – and we'd only be making it right, 'cause we'd never be wrong. His eyes soften as they meet hers, but he doesn't allow a small smile to curve his lips – not now. But she picks on the subtle change, and her whole demeanor relaxes, eyes shining. His own eyes sparkle, and Hudson apparently picks on the mended bond between them, because he shifts in his seat and huffs in annoyance. Jesse bites back a smirk of pure triumph.
Rachel ignores Hudson. She doesn't look away from Jesse. Jesse himself feels more and more secure in their relationship. So, yes, she slipped. She gave in the desperate urge to kick up her bad reputation a notch by triple-casting him, Puckerman and Hudson on the same role of Joey to her Julie. It happens. It won't be her first or her last mistake. She's not perfect. Neither is he (the secret he's keeping from her weighs down on him). But they're perfect for each other, and this is more than any of the other couples in the room – hell, it's more than any couple in the planet can say of their relationship.
Together we can take it to the end of the line – your love is like a shadow on me all of the time. I don't know what to do, I'm always in the dark – we're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks. Yes, they're giving off sparks. Their attraction, their chemistry, is too powerful for them to resist, and will likely combust, leaving them burnt and hurt in its wake. But for her, he muses, he'll take that leap.
I really need you tonight. Forever is gonna start to tonight. Forever is gonna start tonight.
Once upon a time there was light in my life, now I'm only falling apart. There's nothing I can say, total eclipse of the heart. There's still light in her life. He'll make sure of it. Rachel deserves nothing but happiness, and he'll make sure to give her all of it. Happiness, joy, elation. She deserves all the good feelings there are in the world, and he wants to be the one to give it to her.
Jesse glances briefly at Hudson, whose eyes are narrowed as he watches Rachel focus more and more in her current beau. Once upon a time her eyes would wander up to her former boyfriend, but not anymore: her eyes never leave Jesse, never give Hudson any hope that he still has bits and pieces of Rachel's heart.
Hudson doesn't have a hold on New Directions' lead female. And Jesse allows all his repressed emotions to blow up when he sings. Rachel's eyes are brimming with tears when her voice joins his, hesitant and fearful, but nonetheless firm, full of feeling. She's a diva, a queen – how can Schuester even entertain the hypothesis of not giving her every single solo in New Directions? Rachel is New Directions' one true star – and he'll spend the rest of his life making sure she never doubts the true extension of her talent.
Turn around, bright eyes – every now and then I fall apart. Turn around, bright eyes – every now and then I fall apart.
Hudson apparently gives up on trying catching Rachel's eyes and gets up. His eyes linger hopefully over Rachel in a last, desperate attempt to reassure himself he still has some sort of chance with her, but Jesse realizes Rachel's so focused on him that she doesn't even notice Hudson rose. His heart speeds up in joy. She's finally free of the freakishly tall teen's grasp. Finally.
And I need you now tonight, and I need you more than ever. And we'll only be making it right, cause we'll never wrong. Together we can take it to the end of the line; your love is like a shadow on me all of the time. I don't know what to do, I'm always in the dark – we're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.
Tears threaten to spill from her eyes and little by little the other gleeks leave the room, following Finn's footsteps. Puckerman has Fabray's hand encased within his, and Jesse briefly wonders if Quinn knows just how lucky she is that Rachel doesn't really want Puck, how lucky she is that Rachel isn't nowhere near as smitten with Puck as Puck is with her. Jesse is quite sure he's the only who is fully aware of how strongly Puck feels for Rachel, not even Puck knows how much of his heart Rachel has in her hold.
And Rachel's own heart is fully his now.
I really need you tonight. Forever is gonna start to tonight. Forever is gonna start tonight.
Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I'm only falling apart. There's nothing I can do, total eclipse of the heart.
As this realization sinks fully into him, joy bubbles deep within Jesse as he rises from his seat, heart clenching at the spark of panic in Rachel's eyes and tears explode down her cheeks when their voices come together. No female lead had sounded better with him before her, no woman was a more perfect match to him as she is. They're the perfect pair, soulmates physically, intellectually and vocally. He comes to a stop in front of her, eyes locked as she stops singing, holding back her breath when his hand comes to cup her soft cheek, feeling it sticky with the crystal drops.
Turn around, bright eyes, he sings and his lips crash against hers in a sweetly possessive kiss. She relaxes against him, hands clutching at his shirt as she pulls him closer and deepens the kiss. She's his and he's hers and no one will come between them. No past idea of love, no secret.
The secret he's carrying – the identity of the one who took advantage of his barely hidden interest on her after 'Don't Rain On My Parade', the one thing he knew about her and her past before they sang their hello in that music store – weighs down on him. He has to tell her.
But later. For now he just wants to enjoy having her fully for the first time.