Disclaimer: Glee is not mine.
"Serendipity: Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for."
"Rachel Barbra Berry, will you marry me?"
Rachel stared at awe at the man down on one knee in front of her, holding out the most beautiful diamond ring. She glanced around, looking at the crowd that had gathered watching them, seeing her family members and friends sprinkled throughout the crowd. Jesse had chosen to propose by having the waiter deliver the ring on a silver domed platter surrounded by lit sparklers. When the waiter had lifted the lid, the sparklers caused the massive diamond ring sitting in the center of the platter to glisten, like the rays of the sun hitting ice. A crowd had immediately formed once Jesse went down on one knee and taken her hand. She couldn't even answer him at first, she was so in shock.
Why she was in shock, she wasn't sure. They had been dating for the past two years, so it's not like this was unexpected. They were the perfect couple according to everyone, and this was certainly the perfect proposal.
So why couldn't she answer him?
She loved Jesse, she was sure of it. They got along so well, very rarely fought and they had so much in common. Like her, Jesse worked on Broadway, having successfully landed the lead role of Curly in the revival of Oklahoma! Rachel hadn't been as lucky, only managing to be cast as extras or swing of several different shows, but that was ok for now. They shared a love of show tunes, singing, and old movies. They read all the same books, liked all the same TV shows and he got along well with her family.
They'd met when they were both working in the cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Jesse had charmed her, and eventually they'd started dating. The two of them had fallen into a comfortable routine, easily balancing work and dating. Jesse had wanted to move in together within six months, but Rachel had always negated that idea and two years later, they still lived in separate apartments. Jesse never pressured her about moving in again; instead he actually worked out a system for alternating apartments.
She looked at him now, down on one knee, eagerly anticipating the 'yes' answer everyone was sure would come out of her mouth. Jesse was so safe. Their relationship was so easy, so effortless and Rachel knew she was lucky. Jesse treated her like a Queen, giving her whatever she wanted and letting her do whatever made her happy.
She should say yes. She should.
She noticed Noah standing nearby, watching the scene in front of him with a bored expression. The sight of her cousin made a memory from long ago pop into her head.
"Nana, Noah won't play wedding with me," 8 year old Rachel complained as she climbed into her grandmother's lap.
"I'm not playing that stupid game! She always makes me dress up like a penguin and say stupid stuff!" Noah's voice called from the other room.
"Noah says no one would ever want to marry me because I have cooties," Rachel said worriedly, resting her head on her grandmother's shoulder.
"Don't listen to Noah. One day, you'll find your soul mate, just like I did. Did I ever tell you how I met Grandpa?" she asked as she cuddled Rachel closer.
"It was during World War II. Most of the boys my age were off at war, but one Saturday a month, my school hosted a dance and invited all the local schools to come, so there were always some boys at these dances. My friend Margaret and I would always go, and one Saturday, March 20, 1943 to be exact, Margaret came over to tell me that there was going to be a boy named Alan at the dance that she knew from her old neighborhood and she wanted me to meet him. Alan was home on leave, and according to her, was very dreamy. I had no intention of going to the dance, since my mother had decided I needed to help her at the Red Cross and I told Margaret so. Margaret kept insisting, and finally my mother agreed that I could go to the Red Cross next week instead. So there I was, standing on the side of the dance floor talking to Alan, who'd turned out to be a huge bore. I started watching the people as they came in, while Alan talked about himself and his car. Suddenly, the most beautiful man walked in. He must have been home from leave like Alan, because he was in uniform. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I suppose he felt me staring at him, because his eyes found mine. I kept staring at him as he started to walk towards me. I forgot all about Alan, handing him my punch glass as I started walking towards this handsome soldier I'd never even exchanged a word with. We met in the middle of the dance floor, he took my hands in his, and we started dancing. We danced and talked all night, until he had to walk me home. We spent the rest of his leave together and I wrote to him every week once he left. When the war ended, Grandpa came home and we were engaged and married within one year."
Rachel had listened to this story with wide eyes. Nana, lost in her memories, simply held her close and continued. "It was destiny, Rachel. Your grandfather wasn't supposed to come home till the next day and I wasn't even going to go to that dance. Fate made sure we both got to where we were supposed to be, because he's my other half, my soul mate. One day, that'll happen to you."
"What do you mean, my other half?" Rachel asked, looking down at her body as if she was missing something.
"She means the other half of your brain, Rachel, cause everyone knows girls are stupid," Noah added helpfully, having snuck into the room while Nana was telling the story, running his Matchbox car along the arm of the chair.
"Noah, that is not what I meant, and girls are not stupid. I'm a girl, you know," Nana admonished gently.
"No you're not, you're a Nana," Noah replied, confident in this theory. He continued driving his car along the arm of the chair, deliberately making loud vroom vroom noises to annoy Rachel.
"I may be Nana, but I was once a girl like Rachel." This idea made Noah stop mid vroom, as he paused to consider Nana ever acting as annoying as Rachel did.
"What did you mean then, Nana?" Rachel asked as she stuck her tongue out at Noah.
"Well, Princess, some say that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and two heads. Back in Ancient Greece, the head of the Gods, Zeus, feared that humans would be too powerful and usurp his power. To punish the humans, Zeus split each human right down the middle, forcing each person to spend their lives wandering around trying to find their other half so that they could be complete again."
"So then a soul mate's your other half?"
"It's more than that. A soul mate is the person who you have an immediate connection with, from the second you meet. It's so strong that you can't help but be drawn to them, like a magnet. That's what it was like for me and Grandpa. Our eyes connected from across the room and nothing could have stopped us from walking towards each other."
"And that's really going to happen for me?"
"You'll see. You'll be somewhere and it'll just happen. You'll find the one person who understands you no matter what and it will make you wonder if you've ever loved anyone else because you've never felt like this before. When you meet, it'll be like meeting an old friend, instead of a complete stranger."
"Really?" Rachel was visibly impressed by this idea, before a new worry got a hold of her. "What if I don't know?"
"Oh, you'll know, I promise."
"And everyone has one? A soul mate, I mean," Rachel stipulated, keeping an eye on Noah, who was now driving his car along the back of the couch she and Nana were occupying.
"Everyone." Nana shook her head firmly, before leaning closer to Rachel. "Even Noah."
Why had this memory popped into her head now?
Because Jesse's not your soul mate.
The thought came into her brain unbidden and she quickly buried it. Sure, kissing Jesse didn't make her feel a slow burn that spread throughout her body, but it felt nice. Kissing Jesse was something she did automatically now, and the initial attraction she'd felt for him had faded like fireworks over time, leaving behind a comfortable feeling in its place.
Rachel looked at Jesse, finally opening her mouth, just as another thought flew through her brain.
Jesse's not your soul mate. Sam Evans is.
Just as quickly as before, she squashed that thought, pushing it to the furthest recesses of her mind. So what if when she met Jesse it wasn't like meeting an old friend? She was done with all that soul mate stuff.
Turning to Jesse, who was still down on one knee, she opened her mouth once again.
A/N: And we're off! This story will be loosely based off of Marisa Tomei's movie "Only You."