And so we come to the final installment of Holiday. I just want to thank everyone once again for all the reviews, alerts, favorites, etc... I can't reiterate how much it means to me. It kept me motivated to write and I'm just so glad so many people enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun to work on. Thank you!
It was Labor Day yet again but this year, Finn and Rachel weren't spending it at a lake they shouldn't be swimming in. They were in New York City and had been for about a week and a half. Rachel's classes hadn't yet started but the whole week previous had been just for Freshman Orientation. She moved into Hayden Hall on August 26th, along with Blaine who had made it into the same building, and had spent the week getting to know her new roommate and her future classmates.
Rachel couldn't believe she had finally really made it. Getting to New York was half the battle and now that she was there, she wouldn't let anything stop her from achieving her goal of Broadway stardom, especially not her stuck-up, privileged roommate. Her name was Éponine Carter and she had dreams of Broadway as well. She blathered on about it being in her blood as her mother had been the star of a few shows herself and her father was a director of many Off-Broadway productions, plus she shared a name with a Les Misérables character.
"I'm only going to college because my father is paying for it. He said it would 'help me hone my craft' or some junk. I'm sure I could easily get a part in any production I auditioned for if I wanted. This is all just a formality," Éponine explained to Rachel as they were setting up their room. "Someone like you actually needs the schooling."
Rachel's mouth fell open slightly. "What do you mean 'someone like me actually needs the schooling'?" She continued unpacking her suitcase, not looking at her new roommate as she waited for her answer.
"Someone with as little experience as you have. You're from Ohio. It's not exactly culture capital of the world," Éponine laughed at the thought of being from anywhere besides New York.
"I have experience. I've done community theatre and I was the female lead in my high school's glee club. Obviously Tisch thought I was good enough," Rachel countered.
Éponine whirled around to face Rachel and looked at her seriously. "That's exactly my point. If you and I auditioned for roles tomorrow, chances are you would get shot down and I would get the part. You really need the schooling so that you won't get rejected. Plus, you don't really have the look."
Rachel looked down at herself. She was comfortable in her skin and had come to embrace her look but the way Éponine had just tore her down brought back old memories and insecurities of not being good enough. "What do you mean I don't have the look?" Rachel asked quietly. She knew better than to ask but she had to know what the girl meant.
"I mean you look like a five year old whose mother dresses her, not a college freshman at NYU. All I've seen you pull from that suitcase are animal sweaters, skirts and frilly dresses. Do you even own a pair of jeans?"
Relief washed over Rachel when she realized Éponine was only criticizing her wardrobe. While she still wasn't too happy about it, she could handle that better than being told she needed a nose job for the thousandth time. It got old after a while. "I like my outfits. I think they're cute."
"Cute won't get you noticed, Rachel. Especially by guys; they don't want cute, they want hot and sexy." Éponine sat on Rachel's bed and stared at her.
"Guys aren't really the reason I'm going to college. I'm here to learn to be a better actress so I can make it on Broadway someday. Besides, I already have a boyfriend and he likes how I look." Rachel blushed at the thought of Finn. She loved telling people she had a boyfriend. For some reason they were always surprised.
Éponine's eyebrows went up. "You certainly work fast. You've only been in Manhattan for like a day."
Rachel laughed. "We've been together for over a year. As cheesy as it sounds, he's my high school sweetheart; really he's more than that. We're 'tethered' as Finn likes to say."
Éponine snorted at Rachel's lovey-dovey expression. "I give you guys a month before college splits you apart. Everyone I've ever known who went to college with a high school sweetheart, left college with a different sweetheart…or single."
"I know everyone thinks they're the exception to the rule when it comes to high school relationships making it in the long run, but Finn and I really are the exception. We will make it because we are both very dedicated to one another and we want the relationship to work." Rachel was getting tired of having to defend her relationship. Every person she knew had been trying to tell her that she and Finn would break up eventually and that high school relationships don't transfer to college and beyond, but she refused to believe them. Finn and her had been through so much together, she couldn't imagine her life without him in it. Why couldn't people just accept that they were staying together?
"Where does he go to school?" Éponine asked simply.
"Hunter College. He's majoring in music education," Rachel crowed proudly.
Éponine looked bored. "Well, you two might stand a chance since you'll at least be on the same island." With that the girl hopped off Rachel's bed and went back to unpacking her own belongings.
Every interaction Rachel and Éponine had that week had been very similar; Éponine saying something to subtly deride Rachel and Rachel having to assert herself. She had a feeling it was going to be a very long semester living with Éponine. Thankfully, Finn was having an easier time on the roommate front.
As Hunter College only had one building to house only about 600 of their 20,000 plus students, Finn had been denied housing there. Fortunately, the school provided great alternative housing and Finn had managed to get a single room at the New Yorker Residence. He wouldn't have minded a roommate but when presented with the option of getting a single, he jumped at the chance. This way he and Rachel could have alone time whenever they wanted.
Unlike Rachel, Finn didn't get a full week for orientation. He got two days over the summer and the week that Rachel had been having fun getting to know NYU, Finn had started classes. He was determined to keep his grades up now. This wasn't high school, this was the big leagues. If he wanted to make it in New York he'd have to try harder than ever before but he was willing to put in that effort.
What he hadn't been expecting was that he'd actually like the classes. Finn had always assumed college would be harder and the professors would expect more from him, but really, it seemed easier. He felt engaged in what he was doing and for the first time he was truly absorbing and not just pretending to pay attention. The professors were also pretty cool. All of Finn's professors told their classes on the first day that they were not babysitters, they wouldn't be there to hold their hands, they wouldn't push them to get their work done on time; the students were adults who would have to be responsible for themselves. This just made Finn want to prove that he could accept that challenge and own it. That Labor Day weekend however, Finn was putting the challenge on the backburner to attend to some needs that hadn't been filled since the weekend prior.
That Monday morning when Rachel had awoken as the little spoon wrapped in Finn's arms, she could feel that at least little Finn was awake too. Subtly, she glanced back to see if big Finn was conscious but all she saw were closed eyes and a horny little smirk on his face. Feeling a little randy herself, Rachel decided to assist Finn by backing herself up onto him then grinding slowly. It didn't happen often but Finn loved it when Rachel woke him up with sex.
Rachel threw her leg over Finn's to get a little more comfortable and moved her hips forward and back taking him into her deeply each time. She threw the blanket off of them and shifted away from Finn's chest slightly then propped herself up on one elbow so she could watch herself ride him. Nothing turned Rachel on more than watching Finn's length glide in and out of her over and over.
She wrapped her arm around Finn and gripped his back then slowly ran her hand down to his cute butt. Using all the muscles in her arm, Rachel pushed on his body to force him to move further into her as she came down on him. Unfortunately her arm grew very tired and she had to stop after only about a minute. However, shortly after this, Rachel noticed Finn started moving on his own. Once Rachel felt the arm hook around her and pull her back against the hard body behind her, she knew Finn was awake. He started bestowing open mouthed kisses to Rachel's neck and gently bit down on her shoulder once there, eliciting a low moan from Rachel. As it turned out, Finn wasn't the only one who appreciated a good love bite.
Finn grunted as he started picking up the pace. He ran his hand up to Rachel's breast and pulled on her nipple. Rachel let out a breathy sigh and bit her lip. She turned her head to look at Finn and he propped himself up on his elbow to be able to kiss Rachel on the mouth. They were slow and passionate kisses, laced with everything Finn and Rachel felt for each other. The pair weren't just having sex, they were making love. While they both loved fast paced, rough, animalistic, need-you-now sex, Finn and Rachel loved making love even more. It wasn't about the end result and getting there quick, it was about feeling each other and taking care of each other and showing the other that nothing else mattered but them. When Finn and Rachel made love, everything else fell away.
Rachel moved her hand to cover Finn's and placed her fingers between his snuggly. Together they massaged her breast as Finn continued to pump into her. Deliberately, Rachel pulled Finn's hand from her breast and ghosted it down her body leading him to where she needed him. She controlled his fingers and made him circle her clit gently. Her nerves were ablaze and her breathing was heavy; her chest heaved and her skin was dewy with sweat. Every time her body rocked against Finn's they stuck together. As the intensity built up, Rachel's mind was going completely blank. She wasn't blacking out but she was going to a place of ecstasy she had only reached a handful of times. Losing her grip on Finn's hand, he took over himself and finally with a single quick swipe over her throbbing little nub, everything fell into place and Rachel came hard with a high pitched wail.
As Rachel was feeling all this, Finn had similar sensations; he could feel his orgasm building not only below the waist but everywhere else. His heart raced in his chest and his breath came out harsh. He moaned every time he thrust into Rachel and his stomach clenched with trying to keep himself together long enough to take care of his girlfriend first. All Finn could think about was Rachel; she was all that mattered and he had to let her know. He could feel her walls pulsate around his length as she came and all he could manage to utter before feeling himself let go was her name.
"Rachel," he moaned into her ear as he nuzzled against her once they both came down from their natural highs. "I love you."
She didn't reply but pulled herself off Finn, pushed him onto his back then straddled his waist. Smiling, Rachel leaned forward to kiss Finn lightly on the mouth then whispered, "I love you." Her head rested in the crook of Finn's neck and shoulder and he hugged her body tightly against him.
"I wish there was a word stronger than love. It doesn't really seem big enough for how I feel about you," Finn confessed as he ran his fingertips up and down Rachel's back. "And it gets thrown around so much; like when people say 'I love cheese' or something."
Rachel drew away from Finn. "Am I competing with cheese now? I don't think cheese can give you the same satisfaction that I just did," she quipped.
Finn's lips turned up into a smile and his eyebrow rose slightly. "I don't know, cheese is pretty damn gouda."
"You are such a cheesehead," Rachel replied in a snarky tone.
"Oh baby, don't say that," Finn whined with mock hurt as he sat up quickly, pulling Rachel against him and earning a squeal from her. "You're making me blue."
"Why do I put up with you?" Rachel asked inquisitively as she sat in Finn's lap, toying with his hair.
"Because I've got the cheddar," Finn continued.
Rachel looked pensive. "Pretty sure that's not why considering you don't have cheddar. And seriously, cut it out."
"Or should I cut the cheese?" Finn raised his eyebrows playfully and gave her a big goofy smile. Clearly he thought he was being amusing.
"One, the cheese jokes are getting old now. Two, that's disgusting."
"I can't help it I'm muenster good at it." Finn was trying hard to keep from laughing at Rachel's frustration.
She rolled her eyes and sighed then got off of Finn's lap. "Okay, I'm done." She got off the bed and started in the direction of Finn's private bathroom. He sat on the bed watching her.
"Rach, come on; don't leave me provolone." Rachel gave him an exasperated look as he stood up to head into the bathroom with her. "You can't string me along." As Rachel walked into the bathroom, right before Finn could enter too, she slammed the door in his face. He stood there stunned for a moment then tried to open the door which was now locked. "Okay, I get it. No more cheese jokes. Please let me in, babe. I have to pee." There was silence. "Babe? Rachel? Please, I really have to go." He bounced on the balls of his feet. Finn didn't realize just how badly he needed to pee until Rachel had locked him out of the bathroom. The shower went on and it only made matters worse. "Rachel!" Finn tried one last time. Finally, the lock clicked open.
"If you make one more cheese joke, you can forget ever getting another wake-up call like that again," Rachel said as she walked out of the bathroom to let Finn pee in peace. A few minutes later they were both in the shower discussing their plans for the day. "Since we've been holed up in your room for the past two days, I was thinking we should actually go out and do something today. Manhattan has so much to offer and we only scratched the surface the last time we were here."
"Whatever you want to do Rach, I am cool with it. As long as it doesn't cost too much; I only have so much money," Finn said as he washed his hair.
"Finn, you don't have to pay for everything. I have money too," Rachel protested while she rinsed her body. Finn shook his head in disagreement.
"No, I'm taking you out today. This day is all about you. Whatever you want, you get." He smiled brightly at her.
Rachel was not amused. "You're trying to make up for the cheese thing, aren't you?"
"I like your wake-up calls! I don't want to lose them." Rachel chuckled at Finn's genuine fear. She had only been kidding of course, Rachel loved her wake-up calls just as much as Finn did, but apparently he didn't realize that.
About forty minutes later they were both finally ready to leave the dorm. On the way out, they ran into Finn's neighbor. "Hey Chuck," Finn greeted.
"Hey Finn! So's this the little minx that's been makin' all those crazy noises all weekend?" he asked noticing Rachel. Her face went red and she stared at the floor. "Sounded like you two had a very good mornin'." Chuck winked at Rachel.
Finn got the gassy infant look on his face and averted his eyes from Chuck. Being heard by the neighbor wasn't as bad as getting caught on the dining room table by seven friends, but speaking so bluntly about it with an almost perfect stranger was making Finn uneasy. "Uh, yeah, Chuck this is my girlfriend Rachel. Rachel this is Chuck. He lives in the room next door," Finn introduced.
Chuck took Rachel's hand in his and pulled it to his mouth. "The pleasure is mine, Rachel." He kissed the back of her hand. As Rachel pulled her hand away from Chuck, Finn wrapped an arm around her shoulders possessively.
"Well, we should be going. Rachel wants to go exploring today," Finn said steering her away from his new neighbor.
"You two have fun. Stay out of trouble," Chuck wiggled his eyebrows bawdily then headed into his room.
The first thing Finn and Rachel did was get some food at a vegan place not too far from Finn's building. There they discussed what they should do and the order they should do it in to best utilize their time. While Manhattan was only roughly 23 square miles, it held more than anyone could imagine within it.
"You know there's a Museum of Sex?" Finn asked as he looked at Google Maps on his phone. "It's only a few blocks over." He gave Rachel a suggestive stare.
Rachel leaned forward and looked him in the eye. "We are not going to the Museum of Sex, Finn; at least not today. Remember how you said today was all about me? Well, when we have a day all about you, then we can go there if you really want to."
"I'm holding you to that." Finn really wanted to go there. "What do you want to do today then?"
"I feel like we should get the really touristy things that we haven't already done out of the way first. That way we can focus on more real New Yorker things further down the line. I'd like to go to the Empire State Building and Times Square again and maybe Madame Tussaud's or MoMA and the Natural History Museum and we should take a romantic stroll through Central Park and we can stop at Bow Bridge to reminisce. Oh and we should go to Battery Park and take the ferry over to Staten Island so we can see the skyline. Also the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island would be fun. I'd really love to see some shows too."
Finn was overwhelmed by all of Rachel's suggestions. "All that stuff sounds totally awesome Rach but I don't think we'll be able to do it all today. We'll be in New York for a while so maybe we can just stick around Times Square for now. That's the biggest touristy area of the whole city."
"You're right. We have plenty of time to do everything on our list. New York isn't going anywhere and neither are we," Rachel beamed at Finn as she took his hand in hers. "I'm so happy you're here with me Finn. Everything means so much more to me knowing you'll be there with me every step of the way. I love you so much."
"More than cheese?" he said, testing Rachel's breaking point. Surprisingly she didn't get mad at him.
"Much more than cheese considering I'm vegan and don't eat cheese…unless it's vegan cheese." They smiled at each other and Finn leaned in to give Rachel a chaste kiss on the lips.
"I love you too," Finn said looking into Rachel's eyes as he pulled away.
Once they were done eating they headed in the direction of Times Square. Being that it was a holiday weekend the area was packed. They managed to make it to the Toys R Us where Rachel picked out a collectible New York Barbie and Finn bought a Force Action Lightsaber. Neither understood why the other had chosen those items but they didn't question it. They went to the Hershey Store as well and the Disney Store and after Rachel almost got knocked over by a large group of Japanese tourists, Finn decided they needed to head to a less crowded area. Rachel remembered there was a Build-A-Bear Workshop on the corner of 5th and East 46th Street so the pair went in that direction.
On the way there, Rachel came up with the idea that they each make the other a stuffed animal but they weren't allowed to reveal them until they were properly dressed and named. When they arrived Finn spotted the perfect pink pooch. Rachel headed over to the clothes and accessories while Finn stuffed the dog for her. He felt kind of stupid making his personalized message for Rachel and rubbing the little red heart on his head and heart when the lady doing the stuffing told him to but the woman behind him thought he was just adorable.
Finally the dog had been stuffed and he had to go find an outfit for it and avoid Rachel so she wouldn't see. He sent her a text saying she could stuff her animal now and went looking for an outfit Rachel would love. Rachel headed over to the stuffing area and found the most adorable Yorkshire terrier. She chose to make her own message for Finn as well and went through the whole process of stuffing the dog. Since she had already picked out its outfit, once she was done she went straight to the computers to give him a name.
Finn and Rachel met up with each other at the front door after they each paid, Rachel had insisted since they were so expensive to make, and handed each other their boxes. Rachel opened hers first.
"Oh my gosh, Finn, it's adorable!" Rachel squealed taking in the pink dog's outfit. It wore a pink and black French Cancan dancer outfit complete with little shoes and headdress. Rachel looked at the certificate that came with it for the dog's name. It was Roxanne RaspBerry. "Roxanne RaspBerry?"
"Well she's pink like a berry and your last name is Berry and I just like the name Roxanne. I think Roxanne RaspBerry flows well," Finn explained.
"I love it. Open yours!" Rachel exclaimed excitedly. Finn pulled out his Yorkshire terrier to find him dressed like a Scottish Highlander. He had a little hat on and a little pouch over the red kilt. "His name is Ian MacRuff."
"Thanks Rachel. I love him," Finn pulled Rachel in for a hug and kissed the top of her head. "Oh, you didn't press her paw." He grabbed Roxanne's little paw and held it up to Rachel's ear so she could hear his message. Finn pressed the button and his voice came out saying, 'I ruff you, Rachel.' "I know it doesn't make sense to have my voice coming out of what's supposed to be a girl dog, but I thought you'd like it more than the other ones."
Rachel looked up at Finn. "I love it. Now listen to yours." She held Ian's paw up for Finn and squeezed then her voice played out, "I ruff you, Finn.' They both started laughing at having chosen the same cheesy message.
"That was really original Rach. It must have taken forever to come up with," Finn joked as he put the dogs back in their boxes.
"Not as clever as yours if you ask me. That was some real prose! You should make greeting cards," Rachel teased. Finn threw his arm around Rachel's shoulder and pulled her against him as they exited the store. For the rest of the day, Finn and Rachel meandered around the city just taking everything in and making mental notes of where things were. As it got darker out they headed back in the direction of Times Square as Rachel thought it might be less crowded.
The lights were practically blinding when the couple made it back to Times Square. It was much more impressive seeing it with their own eyes as opposed to through a television screen or in pictures. Though Rachel had only been there once before oddly, it felt like home as she stood there in the middle of it all holding Finn's hand.
"Can you believe this is where we live now? We've come a long way from Lima," Finn said as he looked from the large bright screens down at Rachel. She stared up at him with big eyes and a huge shiny smile.
"It's a dream come true." Finn had told Rachel they would make New York their own and now they had. Nothing was going to change that. Rachel was getting to move forward with her dreams of Broadway but she also got to bring the best part of home with her: Finn. She looked up at him, dropped her bags next to her on the ground then moved her hands to Finn's face and pulled him down to kiss him.
As they kissed in the middle of Times Square, everything fell away until all that was left was Finn, Rachel and the promise of the city they now called theirs.