This is it. The final chapter.
Words can not express how grateful I am to all of you for sticking with this from the very beginning, all the amazing reviews that I get both here and on tumblr encouraged me to continue with this. So I just want to thank you all for your kind words and I hope you enjoy this final chapter
I have to thank tiltingaxis for helping me in the beginning of this story, if it weren't for you I don't think I would have started this, thank you for planing and plotting with me all those months ago as well beta-ing the first few chapters. Thanks to Pea, Wendi and Marcela for listening to my rambles about this story and convincing me to continue with it when I really didn't want to.
"What do you mean she's gone?" Finn asks in horror as his mother hands him a very family pink post it. He looks down at the note, his hand shaking as he reads Rachel's neat cursive.
Thank you so much for your hospitality and welcoming me into your home. It was so nice to meet you, Burt and Kurt you are all as wonderful as Finn says you are.
Can you tell Finn I'm sorry I didn't say goodbye, but I hope he stays as wonderful as he is and I wish him all the best in the future. Once again it was lovely meeting you.
"Why didn't you call me?" Finn asks in frustration, as he crumples the paper in his hand, "When did she leave?"
"I don't know honey, when I got up this morning and it was on the dining room table." Carole says calmly.
Finn growls not believing his luck, last night everything was finally settling into place, things were looking up, he and Quinn talked and he thought for sure today would finally be the chance he and Rachel were hoping for. He was hoping to talk to Rachel last night but that did not go as planned.
Finn suddenly turns to Kurt, who is currently sitting at the table eating pancakes, and Finn's not even surprised that his brother isn't nursing a hangover. "You said she came back to the ranch because she wasn't feeling well."
Kurt snorts, "Finn, I was two drinks away from telling you that I was running off with the circus and left Blaine for some acrobat or something."
Finn growls two steps away from wanting to throttle his brother, "If I had known you were talking out of your drunken ass! I would have gone after her."
"So are you telling me, you woke me up at the ass crack of dawn for nothing?" Puck grumbles, but despite his words he's already helping himself to some pancakes. Finn had enlisted his best friend to occupy Rachel for the day while he made finalized his plans to well to put it simply, woo her.
"Finny what's going on?" His mother asks with concern, "I don't understand, did you and Rachel have a fight? Was it about Quinn?"
Finn looks across at his mother in surprise, although he really shouldn't be, she just has a way of knowing everything about his life, she was the only one that picked up that something happened between him and Rachel when he got home all those months ago, "I'm in love with her."
"I'd hope so, or else you being with her for the past six months would have been the stupidest thing you have ever done." Kurt says in between bites, pointing a fork at Finn, "And that's saying something."
"He's talking about Rachel, you idiot." Puck says with a laugh, helping himself to another pancake.
Finn shakes his head as Kurt flips Puck off and completely ignores their mother's protest, but instead turns to Finn his eyes gleaming, and Finn is bracing himself for what's to come, "You are in love with her? Why did I not know this? More importantly why are you here? You need to go after her!"
"Kurt, give the boy time to breathe." Burt says on the opposite side of the table shaking his head, he looks across at Finn, "Son, I'm glad you have figured out things and it's clear that Rachel obviously cares for you, but what about Quinn?"
"Dad who cares. Quinn left Finn's ass on the curb over 7 years ago. I say let her get a taste of her own medicine. Forget her. Finn should just go after Rachel, make up or out or whatever before tomorrow night, so I can go to the Tony's with you."
"Kurt!" Finn and his parent's screech at Kurt, while Puck claps in approval.
"Twinkle toes, you finally grew a pair. I'm proud, but lay off Q, it's not her fault Rachel was the best sex Finn ever had."
"Puck." Finn growls, he knew he shouldn't have told Puck about that, he doesn't dare look at his mother, Burt is trying to hide a smirk behind his coffee, while Kurt currently has a finger in each ear as he sings to not hear anymore.
"Would you behave?" Carole reprimands slapping Kurt on the back of the head, which both Finn and Puck immediately snickers, she sends them both a glare, which immediately sobers them up, "Now are all three of you finished acting like teenagers?"
"Yes Mom." They all chiming in, something they use to do since they were kids, including Puck.
Sure enough, Finn's Mom rolls her eyes at their behaviour and then looks back at Finn questioningly, "Burt's right though, what about Quinn? I know hurting her is inevitable in this instance but I hope you respect her enough to speak to her."
"Why? Not like she considered Finn when she left his ass for Paris."
Finn shakes his head now wishing he did not announce to his family about his feelings to Rachel, "Quinn actually was the one who told me to go after Rachel."
"Still can't believe she was the one to give you back your balls only for you to go and hand them to Rachel."
"Noah!" Carole says in exasperation slapping him on the head and glaring at Kurt and Burt who are both chuckling behind their coffee mugs, when he turns to Finn, Finn looks at her innocently after having flipping off Puck as well, "Now what happened with Quinn? I'd hope that she'd warm up to Rachel after you three went out yesterday, but I didn't really expect her to just give up on your relationship."
"Why, she did before didn't she?" Kurt cuts in, but holds up his hands in defense when their mother glares at him, Finn's not even mad at his brother, he's gotten so use to those kind of remarks he never says anything, partially because he knows the truth behind Kurt's snark and he also gets it because Kurt was the one that helped Finn through that break up with Quinn.
"Finny, can you please explain to me what's going on?" His mom says calmly, but her tone alone tells both Kurt and Puck they are not allowed to give their input.
"Well last night after I sang that Sinatra song to Rachel...I mean, fuck I didn't mean to..."
"Oh please you were eye fucking the chick from the beginning," Puck says dryly.
"Oh I knew it." Kurt says excitedly, "One step closer to rubbing elbows with the likes of Broadways best."
"Hummel you didn't even see the performance you were busy hysterically crying into your phone telling your boy toy how much you miss his..."
"I was slightly inhibited." Kurt cuts off Puck sending daggers at Finn's best friend. Finn watches on in amusement.
"Okay, enough you two." Burt speaks up, "Let Finn tell his story before Carole decides to make Finn an only child and friendless."
Finn watches as Kurt huffs not amused , but he continues with his story when his mother looks at him pointedly, "So after the song Quinn and I spoke."
"Are you in love with her?" Quinn is standing in front of him, her hands on her hips, but her expression isn't one of hurt, pain or even anger. Finn can't read her expression at all.
"I...what... why.." He stutters in surprise because he was not expecting this at all,
When Quinn's shoulder slump in almost defeat she repeats her question, "Just...just answer the question Finn."
"I'm so sorry." Finn says earnestly, "I thought that it was just a phase. It would pass when I was away from the close confines of that cottage. But then she came back and...I'm sorry Quinn. I didn't do this to hurt you."
"No, we both should have stopped holding on to something that wasn't there." Quinn says quietly, "We both knew this was ending long before that girl was ever in the picture."
Finn bites his lip to refrain from mentioning that Rachel was always in the picture for him since Quinn came back, "I know a lot of things happened between us, but I need you to know I'll always love you Quinn. You were my first of so many things. No one is going to replace those memories for me."
He watches as Quinn wipes a stray tear from her eye and she smiles at him sadly, "You see when you say things like that you remind me why I love you."
They share a small smile as Quinn continues as she looks at Finn in the eye, "I see the way you looked at her when you sang that song. It's the same way she's been looking at you since she got here."
Finn heart speeds up at the thought, but he resists from questioning her further, he knows its Quinn's job to observe people and he can't help but feel his heart swell at thought as Quinn takes his hand in her own.
"Promise me something?" She asks and Finn gulps, nodding as he sees her eyes fill again, "Never let...don't let yourself make the same mistakes we did. I think she really loves you Finn, I wasn't watching you through out that song, but her. She really loves you Finn, I've never seen love like that before. The unrequited love is something I only...Don't let go of it Finn."
Finn looks at Quinn closely as she wipes away some of her tears, he didn't think she'd get so emotional over another woman's feelings for him, until it hit him, "Quinn, who was it? Who was the guy that broke your heart?"
Finn watches as Quinn face crumbles and she wipes her eyes furiously, "He didn't break mine. I broke his. I missed my chance and so I came back to Boulder hoping I could fix my past and wouldn't have to worry about the present anymore. Fat lot of good that did me. Six months later and I'm still alone."
Finn sighs and tugs her into a hug, placing a brief kiss on her forehead, "Maybe you should take your own advice."
When she sends him a withering glare, Finn holds up his hands in defence, knowing when to push his luck and when to leave well enough alone, "Okay minding my own business, although if we're going to get technical you..."
"Finn just go talk to Rachel." Quinn says shoving him by the shoulder, he looks at her in horror at which she simply rolls her eyes and presses a kiss to his cheek, "Don't be a stranger okay?"
"That's all so very touching, but your girl is already halfway across the country." Puck points out stuff a piece of bacon into his mouth, he's like the worst Jew ever.
"Wait I want to know who the guy is that Quinn was talking about!" Kurt protests.
Finn scowls at his brother, "No, you are going to help me find a way to get in contact with Rachel."
"Well you obviously can't do the whole running into the airport and stopping her thing, since we don't know when she left," Kurt says, placing a finger against his chin in deep thought, "Ooh, what about going to her doorstep, now that's romantic. I happen to know that she loves lilies and I know the perfect place in a little shop close to my office that sells them. It would be perfect!"
"Only one problem with that Romeo." Puck remarks, "He doesn't have her address, and somehow I don't see Rachel being listed in the phonebook."
"Oh, I know where she lives." Kurt says breezily,
Finn looks at his brother incredulously, "Dude, violation of privacy much?"
"Shit Hud, if you do don't sweep in and take this chick, I think Hummel would go straight for her." Puck says in a low whistle.
"Boys." Finn's mother calls out again, she looks at Kurt shaking her head in disbelief, "I'm not even going to get into this Kurt, but you'll help your brother out though. Take him to her."
"Already a few steps ahead of you mother." Kurt says pulling out a piece of paper from his back pocket, "I took the liberty in calling the airline soon as you told Rachel left. Granted it was more selfish reasons, when I realized that she and Finn clearly had a fight. I booked a flight for Finn hoping he will make up with her so that I could get an invite to the Tony's tomorrow but seeing as its for more romantic reasons I am more than happy to..."
"Would get to the point already twinkle toes?" Puck says in exasperation.
"Rude." Kurt glares at him but continues anyway and turns to look at Finn, "I booked us both a flight, I'm not letting you run loose in Manhattan again."
"You're awesome dude!" Finn says brightly pulling Kurt into a hug, "Creepy as fuck with your obsession with Rachel, but a lifesaver."
"One problem?" Kurt points out, "All the flights were booked for the day and I couldn't get one till lunch time tomorrow."
"Fuck." Finn says with a groan plopping down on a seat, "But she has her awards thing tomorrow."
"Well I know for a fact that, she gets ready at her apartment, her stylist and makeup artist is one of her best friends." Kurt says matter-of-factly, "And people don't arrive at those things till much later in the evening you have plenty of time."
"This is the one time, I'm glad for your unhealthy obsession with things." Finn says gratefully.
"More like he's stalking your girl, if want to look at it like that." Puck remarks, ducking when a dinner roll flies across the table at him. Carole's voice ringing throughout the room as Burt chuckles on in amusement.
"So we're really not going to talk about this?" Santana asks as she stands in front of Rachel, who is currently sitting on a chair, dressed in shorts and a tank while Santana does her makeup.
"There is nothing to talk about." Rachel says determinedly as she closes her eyes allowing her best friend to put on her eye shadow, "I went. We talked. I met his family. It didn't work out, end of story."
"You do realize that the more you say that, doesn't mean it will suddenly be true right?"
"Can you just drop it?" Rachel says with a sigh, clenching her eyes closed tightly and breathing in deeply hoping to prevent the tears from falling, "If I get into it I'm going to cry."
"Can't have that, don't want to mess up the makeup." Santana says with an understanding smile, "Save that for when you win tonight."
Rachel opens her eyes, her heart racing at the thought, "I just want to focus on tonight and nothing or no one else."
"Tonight's your night, Rachie. I can feel it." Santana says determinedly, grinning at Rachel, "You're going to wipe the floor with those bitches, you're up against."
"San! Those women are multiple Tony winners and nominees! They are the most respected women in the business!" Rachel says with a laugh.
"Ha, well Rachel Berry is gonna kick their asses." Santana says with a smirk, moving on to grab some blush from the table, she then looks at Rachel seriously, "If anyone deserves this, it's you babe."
"Thank you." Rachel smiles her eyes filling with tears, "San, you're going to make me cry."
"Please bitch, that's what waterproof is all about, can't have you looking like a racoon when you go up to make your speech, that would look bad on me."
Rachel giggles as she places her feet on the chair and hugs her knees to her chest, the butterflies in her stomach increasing tenfold at the thought of tonight, "I'm nervous."
"I know." Santana says softly squeezing Rachel's shoulder, "But you know Aaron and I will be there cheering you on, no matter where we are sitting."
"You two are sure you're okay with giving my Dads your seats in the front with me?" Rachel asks, originally Santana and Aaron were going to sit with her and the cast of Beauty and the Beast as Rachel's guest but, Rachel's best friends told her she should take her fathers to the Tony's.
"Rach, you've been dreaming about this moment since you were 6 years old." Santana says, "Hell I've been forced to some of your pretend award ceremonies. Your first Tony nomination your Dads need to be there with you. Your dreams are coming true."
"I really think I may have a chance at this." Rachel says quietly, voicing her hopes for the first time, she may be confident in her abilities, but when up against these amazing women for the first time, she's obviously weary but at some point she honestly believes that Santana may be right."
"Of course you do." Santana says breezily as though its a sure thing, "Now enough of this sentimental crap, we have to get you in this dress and all sexy. Hopefully that brother of Finn's makes him watch the show and he can eat his heart out for letting you go."
Rachel smiles at her friends words, allowing Santana to finish put on her makeup, not bothering to point out that she was the one that left with a word and without discussing anything with Finn. Maybe she should have fought for him more, or the very least told him how she felt and let him decide what he wanted instead of giving up yet again.
Rachel shakes her head and focuses on the now. Tonight is about her and only her, she's not going to let anything else get in the way.
But yet as Santana moves to do her hair, Rachel can't help but wish Finn was here with her.
Rachel sits between her fathers, each other them holding her hands in a vice grip as the presenter slowly introduces the nominations for lead actress, Rachel finds herself squeezing her father's hands and smiling brightly as they saw her name and the camera pans in her direction. She feels her purse vibrate on her lap and she knows its Santana texting her. Her best friend specifically said she'll texting her during and after the announcement.
As one of the presenters slowly pull open the envelop with the winner, Rachel feels like she has lump in her throat the size of a basket ball, blood rushing through her ears like a tidal wave, her entire body buzzing in anticipation, her heart beating rapidly in her chest, she's pretty sure its beating as loud as a drum.
When she hears her name, her body freezes, time stops and she's almost certain she imagined it and its someone else's name they called. But then everyone is cheering around her, her father's are pulling her into a two way hug and she finds her body being pulled to her feet and people are hugging and kissing her as she walks to the stage.
As she walks along the aisle towards the stage, and the announcer giving a little summary of her work, her heart swells and she can't even stop the tears if she tried. When she goes up on stage and accepts her away after hugging the two presenters, she looks on at the audience and her mind goes blank, the feeling of the heavy award in her hand, the screaming audience has her overwhelmed and for the first time in her life she's at a loss for words. She takes a step towards to the microphone, trying to compose herself when she hears it.
The sound of someone whistling then a yell, brings her out of her shock, "Go Rachie Rach!"
Rachel laughs into the microphone smiling at the audience silently thanking her best friend and that was the little push she needed and suddenly she's overwhelmed with words as she begins to thank everyone under the sun for her award, her cast and crew, the directors, everyone. When she finally reaches the most important people in her life she smiles through her tears as she looks in the direction where she knows Santana and Aaron are sitting.
"...I just want to thank my best friends, who...if it weren't for these two people I would not be standing here today. You guys pushed me, and believed in me when no one else did, when I gave up on my dreams and started to break under the pressure, you held my hand through everything...I don't know what I would do without you too. I love you both more than either of you can imagine.
To my Dads, its no secret that we've had our differences, but it means the world to me that you are here, thank you for encouraging me to dream big when I was younger and going to every recital and music competition I've ever been in. I love you both.
And finally to someone very near and dear to my heart, he may not know how I truly feel, but I just want to thank him for saving my life, for teaching me about forgiveness, showing me that there is more to life than work, that there is more to me than my job and that I'm capable of so much more. I know I missed my chance, but you always told me its better later than never, so I just want you know that I am so in love with you, and I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. Thank you for everything, Finn."
Rachel takes a deep breath, not bothering to wipe her way her tears as she smiles at the camera and bows to the audience, "Thank You."
As she allows people to usher her off the stage, she wipes her tears finally feeling like a weight has lifted off her shoulders. She knows the likelihood that Finn saw her speech is slim to done and it doesn't change anything, and she didn't say it expecting anything, but it was good to get it off her chest and finally say it out loud.
A few hours later Rachel walks tiredly into the lobby of her and Aaron's apartment building after thanking the guard at the front for his congratulations. She squeezes the Tony in her hand and grins excitedly, after celebrating with her cast, crew, best friends and Dads, she's exhausted and just ready to collapse into bed, before she has to do a few more interviews in the morning. The entire night has been so surreal to her she doesn't think there are enough words in the dictionary to express her mood right now. She looks at the award yet again and giggles to herself, she's about to press the button at the elevator when a familiar voice stops her dead in her tracks.
"That award looks good in your hand, Princess."
Rachel eyes widen as she turns to her left and gasps when she see's Finn leaning against the wall his arms folded across his chest as he gives her a crooked smile. She looks at him in shock, her fingers tightening around the neck of her award as he slowly makes his way towards her, his eyes softening as he takes in her entire outfit.
"What...how...what are you doing here?" She asks in amazement, her mind reeling, her heart thumping against her chest, the deserted lobby is deafening her.
"I saw your speech." Finn says softly taking a step towards her, her breath hitches as she waits for him to touch her, but instead he leans behind her and presses the elevator button.
When the doors ding open, and Finn gestures for her to step in. She silently follows him and once the door closes and she presses the code for her floor she turns to look at him at a loss for words as he takes steps towards her again, this time tucking her hair behind her ear, "I wanted to congratulate you on your win."
"You came all this way to congratulate me?" Rachel asks softly, as she turns her face into his hand which is now resting against her cheek. Her own hands hanging loosely at her side, her Tony still grasp between her fingers.
Finn shakes his head in the negative, his thumb rubbing against her cheek, her heart speeding up at his next words, "I came to tell you I love you, only for you to beat me to it and tell the entire world. How is a guy supposed to compete with that?"
Rachel chokes back a sob as her eyes fill with tears at his words, "Maybe you should tell me anyway."
"I love you Rachel." Finn whispers his eyes boring into hers, "And I'm done with hiding and pretending I don't feel the way that I do. I'm not going to let you go."
Rachel gasps as Finn continues, " I had more things to add, to convince you, but you kind of were two steps ahead of me as always."
Rachel giggles between her tears and presses her forehead against Finn, "Finn, just kiss me."
Finn smiles and finally lowers his mouth to hers, he nips and sucks at her bottom lip, taking her lip between his own before he prods her closed lips with his tongue. She gasps against him as he pushes her gently back against the elevator wall kissing her soundly, his hands cupping her cheek as she puts everything that she's feeling into this kiss, she can taste the saltiness of her tears mixing as their tongues duel , and when he finally pulls back, his forehead against hers as the both breathe deeply.
"You told the whole world how you felt about me," Finn says softly his breathing still laboured, his voice teasing as he smiles down at her, "Think you could tell me now?"
Rachel laughs as she gets on her tip toes again and presses a firm kiss to his lips, "I love you too Finn."
They both smile at each other, their lips gravitating towards each other yet again, when the elevator chimes signalling they reached Rachel's apartment.
They both look across as the doors open and Rachel looks at her living room then at Finn, smiling teasingly "Wanna come inside? We have all night."
"No we have the rest of our lives, "
Rachel giggles echo throughout the room as the elevator doors close. Finn's words might be totally cheesy, but he's never been more right.
This is just the beginning of the rest of their lives.
I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did writing it. Thank you all for reading :)