A/N - So I am suppose to be working on like two big BIG deals but in my defense, I am down with the flu and banned from my office because of a little (read high) temperature and a few (ok fine, a lot of) sneezes and icky bodily fluids. I'm stuck at home with no new Glee although the new Grey's Anatomy musical episode did give me a good laugh but I digress... So no new Glee and under medication and having watched Original Song an embarassing number of times..I wrote this.
Get It Right
I get Finn and you get heartbroken….
What Have I done?
It had taken Rachel exactly twenty eight days, six hours, thirty two minutes and a few seconds to give up her dream, taking down the posters of Broadway musicals that adorned her walls and putting away every cast recording her daddies had ever bought her. In their place, she puts up pictures of her and Finn. She didn't have enough of them and cut the rest out of the Glee Club pictures and even Finn's football and basketball team pictures. It was difficult to give everything up but Rachel was nothing if not persistent and in the end, she convinced herself that her new dream was even better.
She would get the happily ever after and prove to Quinn that she would get it right because she knew exactly what she wanted and she was convinced what she wanted was Finn. That morning, dressing for school she decided to forgo her usual animal sweater and short skirt, instead pulling out a summer dress of pale blue and a white cardigan. Rachel does not acknowledge her dad's surprised look and smiles at her daddy's compliment even as she pushes her breakfast away, conscious that she needs to lose a few pounds.
That first day at school, her life now transverse into her before life of wanting a Broadway career to her current need to have Finn be her future, she walked through the doors a new Rachel Berry. Dressed more like Quinn that she would care to admit but focused on the singular need to win Finn Hudson back.
It started with coy looks in the hallways and small smiles each time their eyes met but instead of boldly talking to Finn, as she was prone to do, she demurred and left him alone, a confused expression on his face as she would pass Quinn and him in the hallways.
Quinn had been faster to catch on, confronting her in the bathroom a week later, backing her into the doors of one of the stalls. "I know what you're trying to do and it won't work." Her low voice hissing and a sneer on her face as she looked down at the smaller girl. But Rachel did not give her the satisfaction of responding, instead, she pushed back, adjusted her pink cardigan and walked out, not responding to Quinn's threat leaving the blond surprised and speechless in her wake.
Surprisingly enough, her new look and quieter nature also played a part in taking her off the radar of slushie facials, Santana and Brittany were not as lucky but that was also because of Coach Sylvester's constant need for revenge because she had lost Nationals again.
Day by day, week by week, her plan slowly worked out. During Glee, she would always acquiesce to duets which more often than not meant her and Finn singing to each other but each time a solo came up, she would sit on both her hands preventing herself from raising them, knowing that she should not volunteer. Ignoring the slight ache she felt in her heart, telling herself that her new dream was better than her old one.
In classes they shared together, she would ask Finn about his day, which new video game had caught his attention or even how practice had gone for whichever sport her was playing at the time. And each time he would ask after her, she would give a short answer and turn the conversation back to him, basking in the lopsided grin he would give her as he launched into yet another story about his breakfast burrito.
She ran every morning, forsaking her elliptical for a more thorough workout, taking time to curl her hair instead of practicing her scales, putting on makeup instead of memorizing song lyrics. Her transformation so much of a change yet seemingly gradual, that her nomination of Prom Queen did take her slightly by surprise.
Only slightly because she still had her plan and Jacob Ben Israel was still a sniveling idiot with a crush. Bribing him with her real underwear and garnering every single vote from the AV Club to the Zionist student movement had got her into the running. It was obvious that nerds, geeks and outcasts outnumbered the popular kids five to one and with enough planning, making them actually vote was actually easier to accomplish that she had ever thought.
Finn's congratulatory hug in the middle of the hallway had been worth it even as she wiped the grape slushy from her face, courtesy of Quinn Fabray. It was so worth it because she had done it in front of her boyfriend who had gasped in surprised as soon as the ice cold liquid hit her face. More importantly, he had called Quinn on it right in that hallway, in front of her, Rachel Berry.
Finn had demanded Quinn apologize and her heart had been beating so wildly, she was sure all of them could hear it but everyone was focused on the train wreck they all knew was coming. Quinn stubborn as always, refusing as she sneered at Rachel, and Finn finally, coming to his senses as he broke up with Quinn right there. Gasps heard throughout the halls followed swiftly by the utter look of surprised mingled with defeat on Quinn's face as she finally met Rachel's eyes.
Recognizing the death of her own dream and the fact that against all odds, Rachel Berry had won over Quinn Fabray at her own game. That somewhere in the past six months, Rachel had slowly usurped Quinn's dream, taking Finn, her one shot at Prom Queen and the future that she had seen so clearly once.
Only, it didn't hurt as much as she thought it would, standing there surrounded by her peers. Quinn expected to fill empty, spent. Only she didn't and instead felt freer, lighter somehow. And it felt so much more like relief when she let the dream go and Quinn understood that perhaps she could have a life outside of Lima, to do things she had only read about and seen on TV. So she turned away, not wanting to acknowledge yet that the tears in her eyes were not of regret but of actually finding a reprieve.
Rachel tried not to smile in triumph but Finn's hand on her elbow, slowly steering her to the nearest handicap toilet was so sweet. He even told Artie that he had to wait until she was all cleaned up. Only when she felt his hands in her hair and the calluses on them scratch at her cheek, she could not help but shiver. At that time, she had been convinced that it was because she was so in love with him and was just amazed that he finally picked her. Although in time, she realized it was out of fear at the fact that this would be the happiest she would ever get to feel in her life.
I wish I could run,
Away from this ship going under
10 Years Later (Rachel)
She hears the shower running and turns over in bed, trying to get back to sleep but knowing that he'll expect breakfast as soon as he finishes. Her daily schedule already mapped out years ago, unchanged by time and set by inertia. Rachel pushes herself up and does not look in the mirror opposite the bed, not wanting to see the tangles in her hair or the defeated look on her face. She feels like she's drowning, like she's a hair's breath away from falling apart.
She convinces herself that all she needs is coffee to perk her up so that she can acknowledges how lucky she is to have gotten her dream, how happy she is with her life. She measures out the beans and starts the machine before rooting around in the fridge, hoping that they're out of eggs.
Her vegan lifestyle didn't survive high school and at OSU with Finn, he finally made her choose. The choice more difficult than giving up the last solo at Nationals to Mercedes but it was all for her dream and she settled for being vegetarian. Not good enough but settling was something she was used to doing by then.
She finds the last two eggs as she feels his arms go around her waist. "Grab me some OJ as well, will you." He kisses the top of her head and her eyes shut, as she reminds herself that he loved her, had chosen her and this was what she had always wanted.
She grabs the eggs with one hand and the carton of juice with another as he fiddles with the radio in the kitchen. Rachel wants to tell him to stop, that it hurts more to listen to music but she holds her tongue as he finds a Journey song and starts bobbing his head and singing along as he makes her a cup of coffee. They used to have a TV in the kitchen but their heater broke last month and Finn sold their two TVs and DVR in order to pay for the repairs.
"Do you have a showing today?" He gulps his coffee, eyeing the eggs that she's frying along with the strips of bacon." She does not know the provenance of the question but knows that he has a mortgage payment on the shop coming up and he hates asking for her help even if she always gives him the money before he can ask the question.
"Yeah" Rachel tries not to gag at the smell of the meat even after all these years, her head turning away as she puts the food on the plate. "I have the Sullivan twins' music lesson at four and then a showing on Grove Street." They had got married senior year of college, after a pregnancy scare that had Finn dragging her in the middle of the night to a justice of the peace wanting to do the right thing by her. She had said yes because he had been so earnest and she had been convinced she would love him forever.
Her wedding band was actually his high school championship ring, their future not as bright as she had hoped but she ignored the same small ache in her heart that she would feel each time she heard a familiar song on the radio or when she sang which she did less and less of. Finn made the second string team in college but never managed to move past that, always comfortable with what he had.
When they graduated, they had moved in with Burt and Carol, Kurt hugging her tightly even as his eyes hinted at the pity he felt for them. She was glad when he moved to Miami to understudy under a flamboyant designer, telling herself that he deserved to chase after his dream considering she already got hers.
Finn was on his way to take over Burt's shop and she gave music lessons on the side. It was a link to her past that abated the ache in her heart. Only the economy in Lima was a few years behind most of the other states and people didn't change tires as often as they should. So she studied part time and got her realtor's license, forgoing some lessons in order to make a bit more money.
"Isn't that the three bedroom house with the heated sub-basement?" Rachel nods distractedly as she places the plate in front of Finn before grabbing her coffee and standing by the open window. "How much do you think it's going to go for?"
She's expecting the question, knowing that he's slowly doing the sums in his head, working his courage up to actually ask her for the money even as she sighs and stops him. "I forgot to tell you..I didn't need buy a new piano, the old one just needed tuning and we saved so much from the coupons this past month." It's a lie as she turns to grab the money from her purse.
The fourth hand piano in the living room already so off key that she doesn't use it unless she really has to. She's a good realtor but even she can't make miracles happen when public schools are being closed and people move away from Lima because anywhere else was better.
"Rach" His large hand engulfs hers as he pulls her towards him. Finn loves her but she finally realizes that she does not love him. She had fallen in love with happily ever after and the chance at getting back at Quinn, at taking away the one dream she had vocalized.
She pats him on the back gently, not wanting to push him away but needing some space. "Its fine, you're going to be late. We're having ribs for dinner tonight." The more she accepts that she does not love him, the more she tries to make up for it, staying with him, ensuring that he wouldn't be behind in the mortgage payments, cooking his favorite foods.
She feels his hand on her abdomen and knows he wants a child to call his own. A baby from her with brown hair and a lopsided smile, only that's where she'll draw the line. She was not going to bring a baby into the world knowing that she didn't love Finn. He could beg and plead and he had but each time, she would tell him that it wasn't the right time. They didn't have enough money saved up and she still needed to work.
She would see his face fall but it had been the truth and sometimes she hated herself so much for choosing this, for believing that this was what she wanted and for pulling him into her delusion. Only now it was too damn late.
Just trying to help
10 Years Later (Quinn)
"Quinn, your phone's ringing." The loud voice echoes in her apartment even as she burrows further under the covers, the pillows already over her head as she tries her best to ignore the sound because the pounding in her head is already loud enough to drown out everything else.
However the voice is persistent, "You know how I know its ringing." She feels the covers being dragged from her grip. "It's because I'm the one calling you." The cheery voice right next to her ear as she reluctantly pops one eye open.
"Hi." The bright smile and loud voice causing her to wince. "I see someone partied too hard last night." Jackson Gellar was her ex-boyfriend, current best friend and agent in that order. And he was the only one allowed to call her on her shit.
She loses the battle with the covers but at least holds on to one of the pillows which she covers her head with, praying that he'll get the message and go away or at least talk just slightly above a whisper.
"At least you're alone." He cranes his neck to peer into her bathroom. "You are alone right? I mean I really am not paid enough to get rid of any guys.." Quinn's head comes out from under the pillow, one eyebrow arched. "Or girls this early in the morning" She smiles at him before slumping back down with a heavy sigh. So far, in the past ten years, she's had exactly three relationships including Jackson, the last one with Selena, a studio lawyer with a penchant for arguing and legs to die for despite her small stature.
She was pretty sure that if her parents hadn't already disowned her for moving to LA and never visiting Lima in years, they would when they saw pictures of her and Selena at various parties they had been invited to. By then, she knew why she had been attracted to Selena although it was the lawyer who had pursued her relentlessly, she never said no because she always wondered what it would feel like to finally say yes even if it was to someone else and not who she wanted.
"So I'm going to cut you some slack because you just won an academy award but seriously, you do need to answer some of your calls. Opportunities tend to dry up really fast around here and you won for a documentary so you're still going to have to prove yourself to the big boys." He's known her for six years, ever since she hit him up for funding for a student film she had been making. His father made his fortune with a string of convenience stores that sold everything from digital content to condoms and left him with more money than he wanted or needed.
She had been upfront with him from the beginning, honest in telling him that she needed him to fund her project and that she knew of his trust fund. Initially, he had wanted to sleep with her so he hadn't said no, listening to her speak so passionately about her project made him more enamored that he cared to admit. Jackson had made his move exactly a month after she first approached him and had been surprised when she said yes, never questioning how he got so lucky. Short, Jewish guys like him, no matter how cute rarely got the quintessential blond goddesses.
He was even more surprised when she refused to take his money for her project, instead maxing out her credit cards and getting grants and other friends to chip in. They dated for two years before he finally understood that Quinn was different, that she didn't see the world like he did or anyone else he knew for that matter.
She was searching for something, always looking for it, restlessness permeated her life and she was only with him because she hadn't found what she was looking for. A U2 song as her anthem and he was just brought along for the ride. Only to slowly realize that she knew exactly what she wanted but just couldn't bring herself to go for it and therefore settled for others instead.
"Why do you put up with me?" There is wistfulness to her question, an uncertainty coloring it that he's not used to. She hates showing her weakness to anyone and the glimpses he's had of it can be counted on one hand. She finally disentangles herself from the bedding , props herself on her hand as she stares at him.
"I love you." He will never admit that he's still in love with her because she would run so he smiles and hides his feelings, "And you are going to make me a lot of money." The slight fear he sees in her eyes at his initial words, dissipating as he allows her to reset the boundaries of their relationship.
"Ok, so what do I have to do?" Quinn can't believe the night she's had. To be honest, she can't believe the last ten years of her life. Each decision made that led up to the amazing time last night, the culmination of all her hard work and dreams. Something that she would never have thought she could have achieved if it weren't for one person. And knowing that it wasn't the end either as she needed to do more, finally make a difference.
"Hey, you ok?" She feels Jackson's hand on her face, his thumb catching the tear falling from her eye as she blinks the rest back, not sure if she really wants to think about the past.
"Yeah, I'm just…well, it's a bit overwhelming." She wonders if her parents had seen the news or even if they caught the ceremony on television. But they're not who she's thinking about as she looks at Jackson. He was just an inch taller than she was with brown hair and big brown eyes, half Jewish and if she wore heels, she would still look down at him.
It took her a year to realize that she was dating a facsimile of Rachel only male. A whole year of laughing at his jokes and wondering what she saw in him to make her say yes. She never questioned his good intentions or the fact that he really seemed to love her despite her prickly nature.
It was when he surprised her with a trip to New York. His parents had asked him to come home for thanksgiving and he knew she wouldn't fly back to Lima. So he surprised her with plane tickets, a hotel booking and a matinee performance of the newest musical on Broadway. As the lights dimmed and the music started and Jackson started to hum the opening bars under his breath, it finally hit her that he reminded her of Rachel Berry.
She didn't break up with him straight away, instead she planned on making him hate her because she hated herself for using him like that. He was supposed to catch her making out with one of the actors of her short senior film. Only she couldn't go through with it even after a few shots and three beers.
Jackson sensed something though as he held her gently as she retched for most of the night. He stayed with her when she started crying and couldn't stop and in the end, he did what she was too cowardly to do. He broke it off with her, citing his need not to feel tied down even as she could see that he was lying.
"Which is why I'm your manager and as the talent, all you need to do keep directing what you love and look pretty." She laughs at his words and wishes not for the first time that she was braver than she actually was.
"So what do I have to do?" Her words already spurring him to get on with the reason he had come over as he pulls out the mail that he collected for her and he rattles off the interviews and meetings that he had lined up for her.
"Two interviews, one with E and the other with the Today show in the next week as well as print interviews with Vanity Fair who wants to do a spread on Directors who could belong in front of the camera." He sees her scoff at his words and it still surprises him that she chose to remain in the background even though she could have easily made it onscreen.
"But more importantly, we have a development deal meeting with Universal and a later one with a Producer." He holds his hands up when he sees she's about to protest. "I know you want to remain independent and pick your projects." He's caught glimpses of the script she's been working on for like forever, never pushing to see it but wondering when she'll trust him enough to show it to him. He knows exactly where she keeps it, in the drawer next to her bed, the pages dog-eared and the back filled with her own writing.
"It's where the money is and with your current win and my amazing negotiating skills, we should be able to iron something out that will allow you to work on your own script." He sees the surprise on her face as his words sink in. So far he's done really well for her, picking a few music videos for her to work on in between her documentaries and short films, letting her make a name for herself as someone with personal artistic flair and taste.
"It's…I'm not….The script's not..…" She's at a loss for words. Her plans so well executed that she had to pinch herself last night when they had announced her name. Each decision she had made all leading up to an end game that she had only dreamt about and never really articulated. Winning the award was just the beginning.
"I'm not going to tell them about it but just letting you know that when you think it's ready, we should be able to line up funding and backers and such." He's surprised when she launches herself at him, her arms pulling him closer as he inhales her scent.
He's content to just stay in her arms but he can feel her heartbeat through her thin cotton shirt and knows that it beats not for him, he just wonders and hopes that when Quinn does reveal who she's been searching for, the decision would finally make her happy. "So even though I love the way you smell of lavender and mint, the alcohol on your breath could probably get me contact drunk so go have a shower and I'll sort through your mail."
She nods and makes her way to her bathroom as he looks longingly at her back, averting his gaze to the pile of envelopes when she turns around. He almost throws the last one in the pile away, thinking it was a solicitation for donations only to realize it was an invitation, more specifically a High School Reunion invitation for McKinley High's Class of 2012.
End Part 1
SO, should I continue writing under my medicated induced haze :)?