Again, I do not own Glee or the music of Dusty Springfield.
A/N: Thanks for the great response to this story; I'm having a lot of fun writing it! Is anyone reading not familiar with Dusty Springfield and listening to the songs that I'm using? Let me know! Dusty's the best, and part of the reason I wrote this was to spread the word how amazing she is. ~ C
Santana volunteered to go next, and Puck let out the breath he'd been holding and rubbed his sweaty palms on his jeans.
What the hell had he been thinking when Kurt talked him into doing this? Sure, he was a badass when it came to seducing girls with music. But this? Publicly humiliating himself with a song that wasn't even cool? And, okay, it wasn't as bad as he'd feared, because no way in hell he would've gotten up and ever belted the number that Kurt had. But this song was a little different than the standard 60s pop.
And honestly, he had to do something. It had been hell this summer, getting close enough to touch Rachel, earning her trust, but never quite getting there. Never having her look at him as something more than her mischievous friend.
He didn't know when he'd fallen for her; could've been over the summer, could've been last year. Hell, it could've been that too-short week sophomore year when they'd spent most of their free time rolling around on her bed fighting for dominance.
All he knew was one day, they were hanging out and she'd laughed and something had clicked within him. Suddenly, all of it – Quinn, Finn, Beth, Lauren – it had all made sense, because everything had led him to this moment when he could look at his best friend and known that he was in love with her. And not the "love" that he'd thought he'd felt for Quinn, which was more responsibility, or the twisted feelings he'd had for Lauren that came way too close to an Oedipus complex to make him comfortable. (And yeah, he totally knew what that was; and okay it was because Rachel had said it to him, and then he'd looked it up and been unable to look Lauren in the face ever since)
He watched, half paying attention to the Latina, as she stood in front of the whole group and sang something about being brand new.
This is my same old coat
And my same old shoes
I was the same old me
With the same old blues
Then you touched my life
Just by holding my hand
She and Brittany smiled at each other, and while Puck would normally be all for a little lady loving, he was too distracted with his own thoughts.
Now I look in the mirror
See a brand new girl
I've got a brand new walk
A brand new smile
Since I met you, baby,
I got a brand new style
As the song wound down, Puck breathed deeply through his nose and wondered what a heart attack felt like. Then he cursed himself. He was Puck, resident badass, and nothing – not even declaring his love – for Rachel Berry was going to change that.
The club clapped as Santana sat next to Brittany and locked pinkies.
Mr. Schue stood and looked around. "Great job, Santana. Who's up next?"
Puck was up and out of his chair before he registered moving. "I am, Mr. Schue." Behind him, he heard Kurt smother a squeal.
He turned and faced the club, then nodded at the Brad and the band.
It isn't the way that you look
And it isn't the way that you talk
He looked up and locked eyes with Rachel, leaving no doubt who he was singing to.
It isn't the things that you say or do
Make me want you so
It has nothing to do with the wine
Or the music that's clouding my mind
And never before have I been so sure
You're the someone I dreamed I would find
He thought back to the dream, the sign from God. There's no way Hummel could have known about that. Right?
It's the way you make me feel
The moment I am close to you
It's a feeling so unreal
Somehow I can't believe it's true
The pounding I feel in my heart
The hoping that we'll never part
I can't believe this is really happening to me
Soft color filled her face along with confusion. Puck forced himself to smile a little and keep going.
I close my eyes and count to ten
And when I open them you're still here
I close my eyes and count again
I can't believe it but you're still here
He poured every ounce of love for Rachel into this song, and hoped she could feel it across the room. Once he was done, he shifted nervously on his feet for the few seconds before the impact hit the room. There was a mixed reaction. Kurt and Blaine were clapping enthusiastically. Finn looked pissed. Everyone else mostly just looked confused. Including Rachel, who legit looked catatonic. She wouldn't even meet his gaze.
His stomach fell to his feet.
"That was great, Puck," Mr. Schue said in the awkward silence.
Puck shuffled over to his seat, avoiding everyone's glances as Mr. Schue cleared his throat and asked for more volunteers.
The remainder of rehearsal dragged on as Mercedes, Tina and Blaine did a mash-up of "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Wishin' and Hopin'".
Finally, it was time to go, but Rachel finally made some kind of noise, which immediately set everyone on high alert.
"I have another song I'd like to sing, please," she asked meekly, and Puck was pained. He had done the impossible: made Rachel Berry soft-spoken.
Mr. Schue looked around the room, and when no one protested, he shrugged and allowed it.
Puck chanced glancing up, to see Rachel watching him. As the music started, he saw her mouth something. Something that looked a little too much like "I'm sorry". And then she started singing.
Don't say it, baby
Don't say it's only me for you
It's not true
I'm still young and there's so much I want to do
Don't say it, baby
Don't say the word that you'll regret
I'm a girl who's learned to take what she can get
Today I could never belong to one boy
And while you wait for tomorrow
You'll find your heart broken in two
Don't say it, baby
Don't be a fool for anyone
Have your fun
Go away, live every day
While you're young
Puck stood as soon as the music stopped and walked out, ignoring Rachel's cry of "Noah!"