Not funny enough to come up with my own Chuck Norris Facts so I had to borrow a few. Apparently, the last chapter wasn't up to par so, hope this one doesn't disappoint. If it does, eh…I enjoyed writing it anyway.
Both remaining teams held their breath, waiting for the announcer to reveal which of them came in third, "…Burning Down Broadway." In that moment, New Directions went wild, jumping up and down, screaming, and hugging each other like they were professional huggers, at a hugging convention.
Once Burning Down Broadway left the stage, Rachel glaring at several members as they passed, the team stepped forward and claimed their trophy. It was, rightfully, placed in Mike's hands and he passed it to Will who held it above his head triumphantly, with tears in his eyes. The team shook the judges hands and posed for pictures.
As the crowd cleared, thegroup and their families mingled with the judges on stage for a few moments and Puck immediately placed himself next to Chuck Norris, "You died ten years ago but death is too chicken shit to tell you?"
"Not true…as far as I know."
"No signs of life on Mars because you've already been there?"
He laughed, "Not true. But I have been to Death Valley."
"So badass." Puck said, more to himself than Chuck.
Tina, Mercedes, a few of the mothers, and Rachel's Dad surrounded Matthew Morrison, staring at him adoringly and asking to touch his hair. It would have been creepy if it didn't happen all the time.
John Stamos was speaking to Brittany, "So, how old did you say you were again?"
Santana came up and put her arm around her shoulders, glaring at the man, "She's taken Uncle Jesse. Move on." She waved him away.
Rachel was going join Puck with Chuck Norris but was unexpectedly pulled in a different direction. She turned to see Jesse smiling down at her, "Congratulations!" He wrapped her up in an uncomfortable hug.
"Thank you Jesse." She broke free then turned back to look at Puck and smiled as he was now learning how to roundhouse kick from Chuck. She saw a hand waving in front of her face and remembered she wasn't by herself.
"Did you hear anything I just said?"
She shook herself free from her Puck haze, "No, I'm sorry. What?"
"I did it all for you. I made a mistake last year Rachel. You're all I've been able to think about since we crushed your team at Regional's. And this was my way to prove to you that I could change…be a better boyfriend. Of course, I'll probably have to serve a few years, once news of my initiation induced drug dealing comes out, but you can wait for me." He tried to graze his fingers along her cheek but she leaned away from him, like Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix.
"That's very flattering Jesse but, I'm not interested. Excuse me." His face fell as she walked away. And, that quickly, that easily, Jesse St. James was out of her life, only to be remembered vaguely as the second boy who broke her heart. She headed for Puck, who was now talking to Mike, showing him the roundhouse kick, then making fun of him because he was Asian and couldn't do it. He was surprised to feel a smack on his ass and turned around to see her, smiling up at him, batting her eyes, "Good game."
"Good game." He didn't want to reciprocate the ass smack just in case touching her in that manner would be the catalyst that lead to them both being naked, in the middle of the stage, while Chuck Norris' beard took pictures. He decided to change the subject since his brain was able to focus on dirty thoughts again, "What did the pretty boy want?" He had seen her with Jesse and yet, didn't storm across the stage to drag her away like a caveman, beating his chest along the way. He was maturing and she was proud of him for it. Although, she found herself half wanting Jesse to try to talk to her again. She kind of liked territorial Puck.
"To congratulate me and let me know he wanted me back." She said it like it was no big deal and wiped non-existent dirt from the front of his shirt, just another excuse to touch him.
"And what did you say?" He reached out and wiped the same non-existent dirt from her shoulder.
"No, thank you." One less ass to have to kick, and yet, one of the few he was looking forward to kicking. She looked down shyly then back up at him, "So, when you said 'later', how much later did you have in mind?" Where was this Rachel Berry last year? Flirtatious, confident, badass…oh, that's right, pining away for Hudson left her insecure and unhappy all the time. He liked his Rachel Berry much better than Hudson's but, he had to admit, he was in love with both of them.
She really hoped she wasn't being presumptuous about what was going to be happening later. He leaned down and spoke softly in her ear as she enjoyed his proximity, "I meant, when we get back to the motel and I can shut the door and have you to myself, without worrying about anyone watching us or trying to come between us because, once this starts…" He gestured between the two of them, "There's no stopping it. It's going to be a Jewpocalypse of massive proportions that the rest of the world won't be ready for until we've had at least twelve, uninterrupted, hours to harness and control the sheer epicness that is Rachel and Noah." Definitely not being presumptuous.
She raised her eyebrows at him, "Twelve hours?"
"Then, I suggest we start wrapping this up and get back to the motel as soon as possible."
"Agreed." They had been using hushed voices so it startled her when he looked up quickly and yelled, "Alright people, great show but it's getting late. Get your shit and get your asses in the van!"
"Actually," Kristin stated, looking up from her conversation with Artie, "We were talking about it and we'd like to take you and your families out on the town."
Eve added, "Yeah, your teacher said you won't get to stay in the city so we thought we'd squeeze an accelerated tour in for you tonight."
"Nothing wild." Matt assured the parents, "Just dinner then maybe a few sights. New York is beautiful at night." He smiled down at Finn's mother.
"It sure is." She replied, staring up at him with a dreamy expression and a sigh.
"I don't feel good Mr. Schue," There was no way Puck was wasting time touring a city he could give two shits about when there were things to do and a person to do them with, "Can I go back to the motel?"
"I'm not feeling great either." Rachel added quickly.
Her Daddy put his hand on her forehead, "Maybe you should come back to our hotel with us tonight." Puck tried not to glare at the man.
"That's not necessary. I'm sure all I need is to get out of these uncomfortable clothes and into bed." Puck began coughing, having choked on his own spit, and saw her fighting back a smile. Rachel Berry was screwing with him and he loved it.
His mother rushed over and felt his forehead for a temperature as well, "Noah, you're burning up. Maybe Mr. Berry has the right idea and you should come stay with me for the night." Rachel held back another grin.
"You know what? I actually feel much better and I think we should get going right now if we want to catch all the sights and get back to our rooms at a decent time. Some of us are looking forward to getting into bed tonight." He walked away mumbling something about how the universe is a fickle bitch that's back to hating him again.
"What was that about?" Puck's mother asked Rachel.
"No idea." She smiled at the woman and left to follow him to the van.
They rode next to each other but missed the back row, since Rachel wasn't enforcing her crazy seating arrangements anymore, and settled for the third row. Of course after Puck, once again, assisted Artie into the van. That sight would never get old, especially since they were all still in costume and his wife beater wasn't leaving anything to the imagination.
Santana walked up to Rachel again but, before she could say anything, Rachel beat her to it, still staring at Puck, "I'm working on it."
"Good girl." Santana replied simply, stepping up into the van with Brittany.
Finn and Quinn occupied the row behind them and he stared, or glared, at the backs of their heads as Rachel sat too close to Puck then let her head rest on his shoulder. He narrowed his eyes in anger when he saw his 'friend' lean his head down onto hers.
At the restaurant, she was swept away to sit next to her fathers while his mother pulled him with her. He was going to protest until he realized she was dragging him over to sit across from Rachel, Dad, and Daddy. He should have expected as much and guessed his mother probably already had appointments to meet with wedding caterers and florists to plan the Puckerman-Berry wedding of…Stop thinking about weddings! Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex! Get back on your game Puckerman! Then again, once you're married, you pretty much get to have all the sex you want so, yeah, one point goes to marriage for that. Then it would probably get another point for how beautiful she would look in that white dress, walking down the aisle toward him…Damn it! Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex!
Their food came and he almost choked on a fry when he felt a foot rubbing up and down his leg. He hoped it was Rachel because Sam was on the other side of Daddy, giving him that weird look again, but Rachel wasn't looking at him at all, just speaking casually with his mother and her dad about one of the women in temple who throws herself at Rabbi Burgman in an undignified manner. He had to know, so he reached down and wrapped his fingers around the foot, glad to see Rachel's eyes meet his right that second and smile. She was screwing with him again. His Rachel Berry was awesome.
"Just making sure it wasn't Evans." He said out loud, no one but Rachel knowing what he was talking about.
After dinner, their parents left them to their sightseeing, and went back to their hotels with a long round of hugs, pats on the back, and numerous declarations of pride. Once outside, Rachel linked her arm in Pucks and followed along as their celebrity tour guides pointed out the things to do and see in Times Square. Instead of paying attention, since she was confident of the fact that she'd be here again in the near future, she chose to let her mind wonder about all the possibilities that 'later' held.
Once the van parked at the motel a few hours later, Will and Emma disappeared, leaving the kids to make it to their rooms and go to bed. What the hell kind of chaperones were they? Leaving a van full of teenagers unsupervised? Puck wasn't really going to complain and carried Artie out of the van, at Rachel's insistence, then offered his hand to help her step out. She took it with a smile and, once on the ground, intertwined her fingers with his and wrapped her other hand around his upper arm as they walked. He finally made it. They were so close to the door to his room that he was shaking with anticipation. When the hell did he start shaking? Especially out of anticipation. Then, without warning, yet another, obstacle emerged in the form of Finn Hudson's fist connecting with his face.
"Noah!" Rachel exclaimed, dropping to the ground at his side.
"We agreed you were going to stay away from her." Finn looked down at him. The rest of the Glee Club watched in surprise, no one stepping in to do anything, but no one wanting to not see how this ended.
"Five on Puck." Mike spoke quietly, never looking away from the scene. No one took his bet.
"And why would he have to stay away from her?" Quinn asked, arms crossed, staring her boyfriend down, "I mean, they're two single-"
"Sexy as shit." Puck added getting off the ground with Rachel standing by his side. He couldn't resist.
"Sure." She agreed quickly and Rachel took it as the closest thing to a compliment she'd get from the girl, "...people and, the way I see it, they're more than free to lock themselves up in one of those rooms and screw each others brains out if they so choose. Now, unless you have a problem with that, I suggest you get out of their way." Puck knew there was something about Quinn that he liked, and it wasn't just the fact that she got drunk enough, off two wine coolers, to give it up to him. Which, looking back, he kind of felt terrible about. This whole having a conscience thing sucked a little bit.
"You don't understand Quinn. He's going to take advantage of her, just like he does with every other girl who's stupid enough to not see him for what he really is."
"You're saying I'm stupid."
"No! That's not what I meant."
"The what did you mean?"
Puck and Rachel briefly looked between the pair, watching them argue before she took advantage of the distraction, grabbed his hand, and pulled them away just to be stopped by another fist to his face.
"Are you shitting me?" He asked in frustration then stared up at the skay, "Come on!" He focused his attention on the fact that Lauren Zizes was hovering over him, Rachel again kneeling to help him.
"So this was why you needed to break up with me." The club was now torn between Finn and Quinn's screaming match and the second fight forming right before their eyes.
"Five on Zizes." Mike said. Again, no one taking the bet.
Puck stood up quickly and put himself between Lauren and Rachel, "Do what you want to me Lauren, but leave Rachel alone." He closed his eyes tightly, waiting for the blow that would knock him out until well after graduation, when Rachel would leave for New York and forget all about the boy in a coma who was this close to having a shot with her. The guy who should have ignored Mr. Schuester the night before Nationals and kissed the shit out of her when he saw the look in her eyes after finding out he was single. The guy who should have pinned her against the wall in the hallway after seeing her outburst at the stuck up bitches who made fun of her friends. The guy who sat next to her in a dark theater all day and didn't do anything but think about how good her hair smelled and how awesome it was going to be to roll up in school on Monday with her on his arm. That guy was a pussy who deserved to get knocked out.
"You're chivalry is appreciated Noah, but won't be necessary." Rachel stepped in front of him to face Lauren. Was Rachel Berry seriously about to defend his honor? Just when he thought she couldn't get any hotter, she stands in front of the female version of him (except tougher, stronger, and all around scarier) and doesn't even flinch. And here he was trying to push thoughts of marriage out of his head. To hell with that, he'd marry her tonight if she'd have him.
Santana watched the scene unfold and grew excited at the prospect of seeing The Berry Crusher re-emerge. That bitch was crazy and, with Britt as her girlfriend now, she was in the market for a new best friend. Then she realized she owed Rachel one for sticking up for them and that, in that simple act, the girl may have already slipped into her best friend spot. Now she'd probably have to have sleepovers and watch dance recitals or whatever but she didn't seem to mind all that much. And damn if she was going to let her new best friend die before she could get laid!
"Britt, I'm about to get my ass beat for Rachel Berry. The world has officially gone mad."
"If I were the world, and everyone walked all over me all the time, I'd be mad too." Brittany admitted, watching Santana exhale deeply, roll her shoulders, crack her neck from side to side, then step into the thick of things.
"Yo, Zizes! Glad you've finally decided to join us." She looked at Rachel then moved her gaze to the rooms, signaling to them to get out of there. They didn't have to be told twice as Puck dragged her to his room, pushed the door shut, put the deadbolt on, secured the chain, then pushed the TV stand in front of the door.
"What about the window?" Rachel asked.
"Right." He looked around the room then headed for the bed closest to the door and grabbed the mattress. She walked over to him and put her hand on his forearm causing him to let go and allowing her to press her body against his.
She gazed up at him, "I was joking."
"I'm not." She watched, amused, as he continued with his task, dragging the mattress off the bed, then leaning it against the window. He stared at his work briefly, waiting for something ridiculous, like an army of Zombies to burst through either entrance and try to stop the moment he had been waiting all day for from happening. After a full minute, he relaxed and turned to face her. Now that they were alone in the room, he had no idea what to do with her. Well, he knew what he wanted to do and what he normally would have done but this was Rachel and he was terrified of messing things up with her.
"So…today was interesting." That's the understatement of the century.
He laughed but had no idea what to say in response because all the words that were filling his head were cheesy, stupid, and not worthy of Rachel Berry. Instead, he did the only thing he could think to do that didn't involve words, but would still show her how he felt. He crossed the room to her in two long strides, recreated the final moment from their performance together, his hand tangled in her hair and his other hand on her hip, then crashed his lips into hers.
She was startled by the boldness of his move but gladly opened her mouth to welcome his home. After several minutes, he backed her up until her legs made contact with the edge of the bed and was surprised when it was her who pulled him down onto the mattress. Again, his Rachel…awesome.
They stayed there for a few more minutes, hands wandering, one of his ended up under her shirt but resting just above her hip and her hands snaked their way up the back of his shirt as her fingers ran up and down his back. He came to his senses, pulled his lips from hers, and she lifted her head from the pillow to try to reclaim them, "Wait." She opened her eyes in confusion, "This is wrong."
"Oh." She dropped her head down and looked as if she had been slapped in the face, "Okay." Insecure Rachel re-emerged and damn Finn Hudson for making Insecure Rachel such a prevalent part of her personality. He'd definitely be getting his ass kicked at some point in the near future. Puck would have done it out in the parking lot ten minutes ago if he didn't have more important matters to deal with, "I'll just go." She attempted to sit up but he pushed her back down.
"That's not what I meant…don't be stupid." Again, a slap in the face.
"So I'm stupid now too?"
He rolled his eyes, "Christ, Berry, just shut up and listen for a minute. I'm trying very hard to be the charming, caring guy you deserve but you're making that shit extremely difficult." Apparently, he hadn't changed as much as she thought and yet, she was almost relieved by that fact.
"So eloquent Noah." He gave her a look that told her to keep her mouth shut and she did.
He brought his hand up, resting it on her neck and gently rubbed his thumb across her cheek, "From the time I shut that door to when we ended up here which, trust me, is where I am more than happy to be…I skipped a step."
"What step?" She asked, back under his spell.
He looked like he didn't know where to start, stared down at the bed spread, and moved his hand from her neck, down her arm, to stop at her hip, "The step where I tell you…" He stopped then growled in frustration, "Shit, I hate words." She bit her bottom lip and waited, knowing he wasn't done. Finally, almost in a whisper, he began singing to the hem of her shirt that he was now tracing with his fingertips, "Well, all I really want to do is love you. A kind much closer than friends use. But I still can't say it after all we've been through." He trailed off at the end and clamped his mouth shut, afraid he said too much.
Wait. What? Was Noah Puckerman trying to tell her he was in love with her? She couldn't just say "I love you too" because, what if she misinterpreted the meaning behind his actions. It wouldn't be the first time she had looked too far into something a boy said to her. What if it was just his way of being, as he said, 'charming and caring', trying to be someone he thought she deserved.
Still, what if he meant it and she didn't say it back? What if he was waiting for her to say it back? Even though she knew, the things he'd been doing to her mentally and physically were love, it was too soon for her to be declaring it…right? It took her a few seconds to choose her course of action. She put her hand on his cheek, pulling his gaze back to hers and sang quietly, "And all I really want from you is to feel me. As the feeling inside keeps building. And I will find a way to you if it kills me."
She registered the look on his face as relief before his lips found their way to hers again, not in a crash this time but in a calm, gentle graze that held the promise of saying the actual words hidden behind what they sang to each other for later. It was followed by another soft kiss, then one more before she whimpered and ran her tongue along his bottom lip, convincing him to say to hell with being gentle.
They stayed that way most of the night, connected at the lips and limbs tangling together in a comfortable dance. Well after their shirts came off, when Rachel surprised him by asking if he had protection, he realized things were moving very quickly and forced himself to stop. Which was difficult because he was still Puck and she was still a half naked, beautiful woman laying under him, asking if he had a condom. She looked hurt for a second before he explained he wasn't ready and he wanted it to be, "Special or whatever". He then picked her shirt up, pulled it back over her head, and was content to lay there, her practically on top of him, and his arms wrapped securely around her. They drifted in and out of sleep, waking up to explore each others lips throughout the night and, sometime before sunrise, her shirt made its way to the floor again.
Morning came and they decided it was a good idea to join the others before Mr. Schuester came looking and found them rounding second. Which is where they were headed before Puck managed to, once again, find the self control necessary to stop. They slipped out of his room, hand in hand, to go to her room where they found everybody but Finn, Quinn, Lauren, and their chaperones sleeping peacefully. Why Sam was positioned on a bed between Kurt and Blaine, they'll never know and he'll never tell but said something about not being able to beat KUBLAM!
Puck sat in one of the chairs at the small table next to the window and pulled Rachel down on his lap, noticing Santana and Brittany spooned together under the table. She snuggled up against him and they waited for their friends to wake up. It didn't take long since Kurt was the first to open his eyes, take in the sight of them and ask in an excited, loud tone, "It's official?"
Santana shot up at the exclamation, smacking her head on the table in the process, "Shit!" She squinted her eyes then looked up at their positioning, "Please tell me it was worth me getting slammed into a snack machine over."
"The upside to that," Artie gestured to all the empty candy and chip wrappers scattered around room, "Free snacks."
"No," Santana corrected, "The upside to that better be that my girl got a piece last night."
Rachel was stunned at Santana's declaration of friendship and knew she couldn't let her down after what she had done for them. She almost managed to not blush when she said, "Well, this is Noah Puckerman we're talking about." Had she really just implied to all these people that she and Puck had sex? Sacrificing her rep to save his. He suddenly regretted not screaming that he loved her in the middle of Times Square for everyone to hear. She told him later, just before they climbed into the van, after Quinn pushed Finn forward to apologize and Lauren started to charge toward them before Mercedes, Tina, Santana, and Brittany stepped in front of her, glaring at the girl until she backed off, that it wasn't a lie. Not only did she get a piece but she got the whole thing. That was then met with an extremely vulgar, yet impressively descriptive explanation of what the 'whole thing' entailed and how she was going to be getting it, in it's entirety, very soon.