Puck watches as Rachel stands in front of the trophy case staring, the same one he found Lauren in front of the day before. The thing is, he knows Rachel's not looking at the crown she's looking at her reflection. His suspicions are confirmed when she reaches up and touches her nose slightly. He gets this sick twisted feeling in the pit of his stomach and tries not to think about the picture she passed around in Glee, the weird Rachel/Quinn hybrid that was so seriously fucked up beyond belief it twisted his mind a little, and the sad thing was she didn't even see it.
"Puckerman, I'm about to go lay the smack down on the Princess, you in?" Lauren walks up to him with a file folder in her hands. She hadn't let him see what she'd found in Quinn's file, said it would ruin the suspense. "It's gonna be epic."
"Yeah," his attention is caught by a white jacket and a top hat moving down the other end of the hallway. "I got some shit I need to take care of, tell me how it goes later?"
"Whatever," Lauren rolls her eyes and walks away as Puck chases down the hall to catch up with Kurt.
"Yo Hummel wait up," he calls out when Kurt pushes through the doors and heads outside. He's almost to the parking lot before Puck actually manages to catch up to him, grabbing him by the shoulder and spinning him around. "Geez, I've been calling your name for like five minutes."
Kurt rolls his eyes at the dramatics, "Sorry it's just you calling my name in the halls of McKinley generally ended with me in the dumpster." They're both quiet for a second as they turn their heads to see that they are in fact right in front of the dumpster.
"I don't fucking do that shit anymore," Puck practically growls at him and Kurt raises his eyes. And so, okay, maybe he dumped Jacob in there like yesterday but he'd come up to Rachel and said that she couldn't get a nose job because he'd had fantasies about her nose being all up in his Promised Land or something and how could he not toss the kid in the dumpster after that. "Fine I don't do that shit to my friends."
"We're friends?" Kurt asked and Puck wanted to know why everyone was so damn surprised when he said shit like that.
"Of course we're fucking friends. We were on the football team together and Glee and you're like my boy or whatever, except kind of not cause I know you hate that saying but I didn't want to say you're my girl cause that goes to a place I'm sure neither of us wants to-"
"Ok, we're friends," Kurt says slapping a hand over his mouth, cutting him off so he doesn't keep trying to explain. "What can I do for you?"
"I know you've only been back for like two hours or whatever but you've heard about Rachel's whole nose job thing right?" Puck asks him.
"Yeah, I was getting hourly updates about it when I was still at Dalton." Kurt said. "Has it gotten worse?"
Puck pulls the folded up picture out of his back pocket and hands it to Kurt. "Holy Mary Mother of Fabray!" Kurt gasps. "What is this?"
"This is what Rachel wants to look like when the surgery's over with," Puck said.
"No," Kurt shakes his head and crumples the picture up into a ball. "No way, I won't allow it. She looks so generic, so not Rachel Berry, we can't let this happen."
"I was hoping you'd say that. I've got an idea, but I need your help," Puck slings an arm over Kurt's shoulder.
"Fine but on one condition," Kurt says tossing the picture in the dumpster. "If I help you, you have to answer one question for me with complete and total honestly."
"Fine," Puck shrugs because he pretty much answers every question with complete and total honesty, you know unless honesty was going to land him jail or something.
"What's up with you and Lauren Zizes?" Kurt asked. "If I remember correctly, when I left McKinley you were silently yet stoically pinning for the girl that got away, and I'm talking about Rachel here not Quinn, and I come back and you're following around Zizes like a lap dog."
"I was not pinning after Rachel," Puck narrows his eyes at Kurt.
"Like anyone actually believed you didn't go through with de-virginizing her because of Finn?" Kurt scoffed. "Well maybe everyone else did, but I didn't. I saw the way you looked at her in practice. I had a theory that you didn't do it because you wanted to make sure that if Rachel did ever sleep with you it was because of you and not to get back at Finn. Blaine agrees, he says it's romantic."
"I'm not romantic and what the fuck does Blaine even know about me and Rachel?"
"I told him all about you two, Puckleberry. He was fascinated. The good girl and the bad boy; it is one of the most epic love stories of all times after all Actually he's quite invested in the future of your relationship."
"There is no relationship," Puck tries to remind him. "There is no me and Rachel to be invested in."
"But there is a you and Lauren?" Kurt asks.
"Yeah, kind of. I mean she's never really said officially, but she's like cool and stuff. We have fun together and she's my Partner in Crime."
"Funny," Kurt chuckles. "Lauren is your 'Partner in Crime' but Rachel is your 'Hot Little Jewish American Princess'. And you don't think there's anything there."
"Look, whatever, she's hung up on Finn ok, she'll always be hung up on Finn and I can't do a damn thing about that no matter how hard I try but I can make sure she doesn't go out and mutilate her face to become some weird copy of his current girlfriend, so are you gonna help me or what?"
"I told you I would," Kurt nods.
"Great, so you did a lot of that flash mob stuff with the Warblers right?"
After getting Kurt on board, which wasn't too hard because the dude was like Rachel's best friend and never ever passed up an opportunity for a public performance, he just had to get all the other Glee clubbers on board. Then Mike and Brittany said they could recruit some people from their dance class and by the time he gets Rachel to the mall that afternoon, they've got about thirty people in on the whole thing.
"Why did you bring me here? Is there a sale at Claire's?" Rachel asks him.
"I brought you here to talk some sense into you," Puck sighed. "You won't listen to me, you won't listen to Finn."
"But you will listen to Barbara Streisand." Kurt said. "Thanks Puck, I'll take it from here, nice effort but only I can lead this Barbara-vention."
"Is she here?" Rachel asked.
"This is a mall in Ohio," Kurt reminds her as Puck gets on the escalator and heads down to the first floor. Kurt's got the words handled, his jobs the music. He slips the mall attendant at the sound system a hundred and tells him now would probably be a good time to take a break and the guy mumbles whatever and walks away leaving Puck alone with the sound system. He hooks in Kurt's iPod and cues up the song just as he hears a snap from the second floor. He smirks and hits play and the music pumps out.
The flash mob is ridiculous and actually a hell of a lot of fun and he sees Rachel smiling and laughing for the first time in a few days and figures even if it doesn't change her mind, at least it cheered her up. She gives Kurt a hug and then pushes past him to stand on her tip toes and drop a kiss to Puck's cheek and Puck sees Blaine grabbing Kurt's arm over Rachel's shoulder and looking at him and Rachel like he's watching some romantic comedy being played out right in front of him.
Puck rolls his eyes and slings an arm around Rachel's shoulder before pressing a kiss to the top of her head and saying, "Fro-yo on me?" Rachel beams up at him and nods and doesn't even mention how bad dairy is for your vocal chords so he figures that's something at least.
Then he looks over at Kurt and Blaine and cocks his head, telling them to come along and Blaine looks far too excited about the prospect of sitting across the table from them and he swears he hears him saying something about 'observing them in their natural habitat'. Normally he'd remind Blaine that this is not the nature channel and he is not an African Cat, although if he was he'd totally be a cheetah, but he just lets it go because Rachel hasn't even tried to pull away from him yet.
They get their yogurt and sit at a table talking about school for a while then Kurt and Rachel drift off into their own conversation about some show on the CW with the two guys who hunt ghosts and shit and actually it sounds pretty badass but all they seem to concerned with is which of the two male leads is hotter. He and Blaine actually get into a pretty heated discussion about college football and find that they both hate USC and that they both agree TCU never should have made it to the Rose Bowl last year, even if they were undefeated.
Halfway through talking about how Ohio State was going to have to really push it this year if they wanted to make it to a bowl game with all the suspensions Puck notices that Kurt is sneaking little glances at him, smirking, as Rachel goes on a tangent about why some dude named Dean is clearly superior to some dude named Sam. He narrows his eyes at the kid and Kurt very subtly nods to where Pucks fingers are absently twirling the ends of Rachel's hair. He rolls his eyes and goes back to his own conversation but doesn't pull his hand away.
As they're walking to the parking lot later, Rachel's arm firmly through his elbow and Kurt and Blaine next to her he thinks that was fun, it was relaxing and even entertaining and so much better than the 'dates' that Lauren makes him take her on. Even with the weird looks between Kurt and Blaine the whole night, some of which he knew were about him and Rachel and the other, well he really doesn't want to think about those, he realizes he wants to do this again.
Rachel hugs Blaine and Kurt and they head over to Puck's truck so he can bring her home. "Lauren didn't want to join us for yogurt?" Rachel asks as she buckles her seatbelt.
"I didn't ask," Puck shrugs and Rachel gives him a look that he knows means: you-went-out-for-yogurt-and-didn't-invite-your-girlfriend? "We got in a fight."
"You two fight?" Rachel raises her eyebrows at him.
"Everyone fights," Puck tells her as he starts the car.
"What was it about? Maybe I can help you resolve your issues. More specifically I can probably tell you what you did wrong and then you can apologize for it." Rachel smirks and he elbows her good naturedly in the side.
"I didn't do anything wrong this time," Puck says honestly. "It was that whole thing with Quinn."
"Ah, Lucy Caboosey," Rachel nods. "I thought that might have been Lauren's handiwork."
"Look Quinn's a grade A bitch and she's just as soon sell you for lip gloss money than actually be nice to you but that shit wasn't Kosher and I told her that."
"No it wasn't," Rachel said. "Still it is quite nice knowing that Quinn wasn't always the blonde goddess she portrays herself to be. Makes me think there's hope for me yet."
"You don't need hope Rach," Puck rolls his eyes. "You're fucking beautiful already and it seriously kills me that you can't see that."
"Thank you," Rachel whispers softly, looking down at her hands.
"Just tellin' it like it is."
"Rachel, boy in the house!" her daddy calls as Puck takes the stairs to her bedroom two at a time the next morning. He'd been on his way to school when he found himself driving by her house. He knew her appointment was this afternoon and he couldn't just let it go without one more try.
"Excuse me, man in the house," Puck corrects him as he grabs the doorknob to Rachel's room and flings the door open.
"Noah!" Rachel says in surprise, stepping off the elliptical machine. "What are you doing here so early?" she grabs her towel and wipes the sweat off of her face. "I was under the impression you didn't get up before nine."
"Yeah well I wanted to make sure I caught you before school, get your opinion," he shrugs and opens his jacket. "So what do you think?"
Rachel laughs when she reads the I'm with stupid and sees the arrow pointing toward his crotch. "I think it's very honest," she assures him.
"Well if you can't be honest with yourself who can you be honest with?" he shrugs. "You made your shirt yet?"
"Noah," Rachel sighs.
"Look I know that I promised if you listened to me yesterday I'd leave you alone forever but I just thought, one last ditch attempt wouldn't hurt," he pleads with her.
"You have five minutes," Rachel crosses her arms over her chest, already defensive so he's got to make this good.
"Come here," he grabs her elbow and drags her over to her vanity. He places his hands on her shoulders and turns her to face the mirror. "I've been with a lot of girls, like seriously a lot of girls and I've seen a lot of noses, but legit Rachel, your nose is my favorite."
"I highly doubt that," she rolls her eyes but doesn't look away.
"Look, I don't know what you see when you look at your nose but you know what I see?"
"If you tell me two thousand years of proud Jewish heritage then this conversation is over," Rachel rolls her eyes at him.
"That's not what I was gonna say," Puck shakes his head and stares at her reflection in the mirror, forcing her to keep his gaze. "I see the seven year old girl who baked me cookies, every Friday for a year after my dad left because she was still young enough to believe that cookies would make everything better. I see the twelve year old girl who stood up for me in middle school, refusing to let me get suspended for punching Chris Kaplan when he told you that your dad's were going to hell and they were taking you with them because you said that I was defending your honor and that my actions should be rewarded and not punished," Rachel smiled slightly and Puck knew he was getting to her.
"I see the fifteen year old girl who came to school and held her head up high, every day, even when she was getting slushie facials and being told she'd be doing the world a favor if she got sterilized." His grip tightens on her shoulders cause he knows he'd been one of those people that used to tear her down and hates himself so much for that now. She must know what he's thinking because she brings a hand up to cover his, forcing him to relax his grip a little. She slides her fingers in between his and strokes his knuckles lightly with her thumb. "And I see the sixteen year old girl who was willing to give me a second chance when no one else was."
"Let me finish," he closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before opening them again. "Do you know what I see when I look at Quinn's nose?" Rachel shakes her head slightly. "I see the girl who cheated on her boyfriend with me 'cause she was feeling fat. I see the girl who refused to acknowledge that she was having my kid because she was so ashamed. I see the girl called me a Lima Loser and told me I'd never get out of this town. I see the girl who gave me a beautiful daughter and then took her away from me."
Puck spun Rachel around so that he was looking her directly in the eye. "I don't want to see Quinn when I look at you Rach because when I see her nose I think about the baby that I know wasn't good enough for and when I look at your nose, I see the babies that I one day I want to be good enough for."
Her breath catches in her throat as he leans toward her and her eyes fluttered shut. She's expecting him to kiss her, he knows that and he wants to, God does he want to but he doesn't. Instead he drops a soft, feather light kiss to the tip of her nose and turns around to walk away before she opens her eyes and realizes that he basically just told her he wants her to have his babies one day, which he didn't even realize it until he'd fucking said it. So, yeah he was pretty fucked, but kind of in a good way. Now he just has to break the news to Lauren.