Alright, I'll keep this short here. It's Finchel! Yay! Enjoy, and I'll see you at the end.
For the song: Rachel: italics, Finn: bold. Both: both.
Disclaimer: I intend to have a duel to the death with Ryan Murphy for ownership of this series, but until then, I don't own it. He'll probably kick my ass anyway.
Edit: I also don't own the lyrics to Party for Two by Shania Twain. Just in case anyone was wondering.
Chapter One: A Party
One hundred and four. That was how hot the television said it was. Finn thought it must be closer to three hundred, the way he was baking. With a tired yawn he continued to fan himself with the folder in his hand, his mind wandering to ice cream and Popsicles.
"But what if..." Kurt mumbled somewhere at his side, and Finn heard the furious scratching of a pencil as the mumbles became incoherent. A breeze swept by and Finn sighed happily at the brief respite. The hammock he was lying in rocked slightly with the wind. Between the heat and the comfort of the hammock, he could have nearly fallen asleep.
The two of them were out in the back yard of Kurt's - their - house, enjoying the afternoon sun while they waited on the others to arrive. Kurt had gotten his father to agree to a Fourth of July barbeque for the Glee club. Finn was looking forward to it, for more reasons than one. This would be the first time in weeks that the club had been together as a whole. It would also be the first time in days that he had seen Rachel - she had gone on a vacation with her dads to Florida to visit family. As it was, he couldn't get his girlfriend out of his head, and it was with a... slightly compromising image of her in his mind's eye that Kurt finally broke the silence.
"This just isn't working right now," he groaned, and Finn heard the shuffle of paper. Rolling over in his hammock, he cracked an eye open to see the smaller boy sliding his notebook across the picnic table he was working at, frustration evident on his face.
"Creative block?" Finn asked lazily, followed by a jaw-cracking yawn. God, but it was a tiring day.
Kurt managed to snort delicately. "Just a small bump. I'm sure it'll clear up by morning." He turned to face Finn, crossing one leg over the other and clasping his hands around his knee. "I suppose I'm just too excited for tonight." A grin split his face.
"Yeah. You have been talking about it for a few days." Kurt was in the same pot as Finn; Blaine had been away for nearly two months, and Kurt was getting slightly anxious. "It's not for a few hours yet, anyway. We just had lunch."
"Well, I can't focus anyway." There was a pause, and then: "I should go check on that soufflé. Hopefully Dad didn't flatten it again with his drilling." Kurt moved to get up from the table, and Finn let himself roll back into the hammock. He nearly had his image of Rachel reconjured, when a rather cheery "Kurt!" broke through his thoughts. So much for Kurt needing patience.
He gave a lethargic wave in Blaine's direction, and listened as the two retreated into the house to check on Kurt's soufflé, whatever the hell that was. With another yawn he shifted positions and made another attempt at reforming that image. He couldn't blame Kurt for being impatient to see Blaine. The prospect of being with Rachel tonight made Finn groan happily.
It was amazing how quickly his relationship with Rachel had blossomed in the weeks since their loss at Nationals. They had talked about everything under the sun - their relationship, musicals, how to win at Nationals next year. Rachel had even taken a slight interest in the workings of football, though Finn knew it was only to make him happy. She even let him touch her breast - under the shirt! They had spent nearly every minute possible with each other, right up until she left for Florida. The past few days had been near agony.
Other images floated through Finn's head, and he let out a contented sigh. How he had been able to get a girl so beautiful, so talented as Rachel, he would never know. Maybe he had pleased the gods in some way.
"Well hey there ol' buddy, ol' pal, ol' friend," Puck's voice broke through the silence. Finn winced slightly at being interrupted once again, and forced himself into a sitting position. His eyelids seemed glued together, and he shuddered as another massive yawn racked him. Maybe he wasn't getting enough sleep?
"Aren't you a little early, Puck?" Finn mumbled, rubbing at his eyes.
"It's almost five, dude," Puck replied. "Rachel was just asking where you were a second ago."
Five? Finn glanced at his watch, and then at the sun to make sure the device wasn't lying to him. The sun had made a significant leap west, the shadows in the yard slowly beginning to stretch out.
"I must have fallen asleep..." Finn muttered. And then the rest of Puck's reply sunk in, and he flung himself from the hammock. Rachel was there.
Forcing himself to slow to a jog, Finn kicked his shoes off at the screen door and slid through the house. The sound of laughter echoed through the halls, and among the noise he could pick out Rachel's giggles. His heart beat a pace faster, and he could feel his breath catch as he came around the corner.
"Oh, there he is. Did you fall asleep or something?" Kurt asked as Finn slowed to a walk, but he ignored the question. His focus was on one thing only. Standing there, in the door, was Rachel, smiling back at him.
Without a word he wrapped the smaller girl up in a tight hug, eliciting a slight "Oh!" She wrapped her arms around his waist with a laugh, burying her head in his chest. She felt so good, so right against him. Half a week was too long to go without seeing Rachel.
"I missed you..." Finn whispered into Rachel's ear.
"I missed you too, Finn," Rachel pulled back a bit so she could smile up at him. Finn's own mouth seemed to be trying to split his face in half.
"Oh, get a room, you two," Mercedes interjected, pushing her way into the small lobby. "I swear, if we have to put up with your googly eyes all night..." She smiled, taking the bite out of the comment.
"They couldn't keep off each other on stage at Nationals," Santana followed Mercedes into the house. "Why would they be able to here?" Finn wasn't quite sure if the woman was joking or not - he hadn't seen any indication that she'd forgiven them for their impromptu kiss.
Finn turned his attention back to Rachel, and just let himself sink into the moment. Her hazel eyes, the old-fashioned blouse, the slight hint of peppermint perfume. He loved everything about her, and simply wanted to stand in the lobby holding her for forever.
The others had other ideas, however, and a few moments later Finn found himself back outside, seated comfortably at the picnic table, watching Mike and Brittany show off some new dance moves. The smell of cooking hot dogs and hamburgers wafted through the air from the large barbeque to the side - manned by Burt himself, who apparently didn't trust anyone else with it - and the sound of laughter was interspersed between the excited chatter.
"-move this scene over here, it might make for a better transition," Rachel was saying beside him. She was in deep conversation with Kurt about his play, but from what Finn had caught, they weren't getting very far.
"No, no. If I do that, then the development is all wrong for this scene. What about splitting this scene..." Kurt trailed off in a sigh.
There wasn't much that could ruin this day, Finn thought, not now that Rachel was back at his side. He stretched, his stomach growling at the smell of food. There wasn't much that could ruin the summer, for that matter. For once in his life he felt completely content. No worries about school, or football, or even his future. At that moment he didn't care if he ended up serving tables the rest of his life. As long as he could spend that life at Rachel's side, watching her grow and become the star she dreamed of being. That would be a life worth living.
"Huh?" Finn glanced around to see Kurt watching him, an amused expression on his face.
"Never mind," Kurt replied, closing the notebook he used to work on his play. "I was going to ask you something, but you were zoning out. Besides, I doubt you would have been able to comment on it anyway." Leaning back in his seat, he took a whiff of the air. "Oh, I'm getting hungry," he mumbled. "I hope those hamburgers are organic..." With a slight frown he pushed himself from the picnic table to join his father by the barbeque.
Rachel shifted in her seat, leaning in close to Finn. "Nice day out today, isn't it?" she asked absently. Finn wrapped an arm around her shoulders. They sat there like that, enjoying the feel of each other's warmth for a few minutes. Kurt returned, balancing three plates, each laden with a hot dog and salad. Finn took one with a thanks, his stomach grumbling once more. He really was starved.
"So..." Rachel began as she skewered a piece of lettuce on her plate.
"So..." Finn replied in the same tone of voice, biting off a piece of hot dog. He didn't know whether the hot dogs were organic or not - he really didn't care - but man were they delicious.
"My fathers were talking the other day," Rachel continued. She sounded hesitant, as though she were about to drop a grenade into a box of fluffy kittens.
Finn scrunched up his forehead, slightly worried. Whenever your girlfriend brought up her parent's "talks", you knew you were in trouble. Probably doubly so in his case, since Rachel had two fathers.
"They want to have you over for dinner," Rachel finished, crunching down on a carrot.
Ever since that night two years ago when Finn had told Quinn's parents that she was pregnant, he had gained a slight... anxiety toward having dinner with other people's parents. It wasn't as though Rachel was knocked up or anything, so he didn't have that to worry about. He just wasn't sure he would be able to hold his cool under their scrutinizing glares. He was sure they would be glaring.
But anything for Rachel.
"Um..." Rachel's face suddenly split into a smile, one that didn't touch her eyes. "It's okay if you don't want to, of course. I mean, we've only been back together for a few weeks. I suppose I may have... raved about you slightly while in Florida..." She coughed lightly before continuing, "I just think it would be nice for my dads to know who you are, you know? So they don't think you're some raving lunatic waiting to kill me at any second."
"They think that?" Finn asked surprised.
Rachel shook her head. "No, no, of course not. But... yeah..." She dropped her eyes to her plate.
Biting his lip - he knew he would be getting one very awkward evening out of this, but it would make Rachel happy, that he was certain - Finn said, "Alright, plan a day and we can... have dinner." He couldn't hold the deep sigh that trailed the sentence.
This time when Rachel beamed, it lit up her face like fireworks, and Finn couldn't help but smile back. Christ, but he lived for her smile. "Awesome! I'll let my dads know as soon as I get home, and I'm sure we can work something out. They're not big on cooking, so we'll probably have Chinese food or something, but I'll make sure it's something that you like." She let out one of her cute, involuntary giggles, and Finn's heart skipped a beat.
"Alright, alright. Gather around, gather around," Kurt was now standing in the center of the back yard, Blaine at his side. The yard went silent, but when it was obvious that nobody was moving, Kurt sniffed in offense and continued his speech. "This is the Hummel residence, and here, at the Hummel residence, we don't just throw a party without entertainment. However, in my... dereliction of duties as party host, I completely forgot to come up with any entertainment. I mean, after the original cast from Wicked rejected my letter requesting a charity performance in my back yard." Finn couldn't tell if Kurt was joking or not. "In any case, I'm sure a Glee club such as ourselves can procure some entertainment, no?"
"Spin the bottle!" Puck called from a corner of the yard.
"I don't think so," Kurt responded without much thought. "It probably wouldn't be appreciated among some of us with higher stan-"
"Booze guzzling contest!"
"Puck, if you're not going to suggest something appropriate, then shut up."
"How about a singing competition?" Rachel suggested.
Kurt stood for a moment, nodding to himself, before replying, "Predictable, but probably the best idea we'll have. Alright, let's do it."
Ten minutes later the back porch was cleared to make a "stage", and they were debating the rules for the competition. Burt and Carole had been named judges, and it appeared the option to sing a solo or a duet would be left up to the performers.
Finn sat back in one of the lawn chairs he had drudged up from Burt's shed, listening to Rachel bounce song ideas off him as Kurt drew a name from a hat to see who would go first. The next fifteen minutes consisted of a rather angry song sung by Santana, a mushy but lively song between Kurt and Blaine, a depressing song from Quinn, and a old rock song by Sam. By the time Sam had sung the last of his song, Rachel had pulled up a song that they both knew the lyrics too. And just in time - their names were the ones called next.
Feeling lightened by the friendly competition, Finn placed himself on stage, ready to improvise dance steps and sing his heart out. He loved this feeling, whether on stage at Nationals or in his back yard - staring into Rachel's eyes, preparing to pour his emotions out onto the stage for the world to see. Anyone who made fun of Glee or signing had never stood where he stood now.
"Hey Finn," Rachel began in as sexy a voice as she could conjure.
"I'm having a party. Wanna come?" Rachel purred, sliding up to him.
Music started running from the stereo, upbeat and vibrant. Finn's leg bounced involuntarily, but he managed to school his face to be aloof, and turned his back on his girlfriend. "Nah, I don't think so, baby," he said, and winked at Brittany out in the "audience".
"Oh, come on," Rachel slid gracefully in front of Finn while still managing to face out from the stage. "It's gonna be lots of fun."
Finn glanced at Rachel, forcing himself not to stare. "Yeah? Huh." He bent down and gave Tina a suggestive nod. The song swung into full motion then:
I'm havin' me a party
I don't think I can come
Ah... This ain't just any kind of party
Nah, I think I'll stay at home
Ah, oh no... It's gonna be really, really hot
It's startin' to sound good
I'm gonna put you on the spot
Baby, maybe I should
And there'll be lots of one on one
I guess I could be there
Come on and join the fun
What should I wear?
I'll tell you that it,
It doesn't matter what you wear,
'Cause it's only gonna be you and me there
They moved and twirled together, Finn's terrible dancing hindering only slightly. They both knew the lyrics off heart - they had sung it more than once when in need of a good pick-me-up. From his position, he could see that the rest of the club were tapping and clapping with the beat. He couldn't help the huge smile that broke on his face as they both launched into the chorus:
I'm havin' a party
A party for two
I ain't inviting nobody
Nobody but you
They continued through the song, their voices complimenting one another, their moves working off the other's. Finn couldn't help the sense of euphoria that built through him. He couldn't explain how happy he felt at that moment. There were no words, only the raw emotion that came with preforming with Rachel.
"That was great!" Rachel said as the song came to an end, and the way her eyes shone, he knew she meant it. She was breathing as hard as he was.
"Yeah," Finn replied, and the music played its last note. The two of them both broke into a fit of laughter that mingled with what already rose through the yard. Finn led Rachel back to their seats, chuckling happily.
The rest of the club took the impromptu stage for their pieces, but Finn only paid them half a mind. The rest was focused completely on Rachel. Once the high that came from preforming wore off, he allowed himself to stare at her, to lose himself in her eyes once more. Christ, but she was beautiful. His heart refused to slow, his breathing remained ragged, and with a half-smile he leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. Explosions lighted in his head, and all other thought winked out.
"-ave your attention!" Was the next thing he heard, but he ignored it. Couldn't the outside world see that he and Rachel were expressing their love? "Attention. Atten- oh for god's sake, someone break those two up. They're worse than my Aunt Hailey."
A hand grabbed Finn's shoulder and shook him gently, and then roughly, pulling his lips from Rachel's. Rachel gave an audible squeak as she herself was pushed back into her chair.
"Wha...?" Finn mumbled, the haze of desire still clinging to his mind. Trying to process anything but the memory of Rachel's hand against his... uh... pelvis area was like trying to swim through molasses. Very thick molasses.
"Right, thank-you." Finn's vision focused on Kurt standing atop the patio as he nodded satisfactorily. "I suppose we'll announce the winner now. If our... uh... lovely judges could come up on stage?" It was obvious Kurt was making things up as he went.
A moment of quiet discussion later and Burt and Carole stood on the patio, looking lost. Kurt coughed, and Carole blinked.
"Oh, yes, winners," she muttered. "We uh..."
"We think..." Burt added unhelpfully before trailing off himself.
"Well to be honest..."
"It was a hard..."
"Not a choice that..."
"And I mean..."
"Tell us who the hell won, already!" Puck called impatiently. "I want some of that damned cake!"
"Oh shut your pie, Puck," Carole snapped back. "You'll get your cake soon enough." She sighed audibly, calming herself, before continuing, "After much... deliberation, we decided to award the winner title to," she paused for dramatic emphasis and a deep breath, "Mike Chang."
Mike cheered, and Brittany, who was beside him, clapped him on the back. Everyone else remained silent. Finn supposed they were stunned at the results or something - he just wanted to go back to making out with Rachel.'
"But it was a singing contest!" Mercedes broke the silence, followed close by Santana's, "I call a recount!"
"Oh, hush," Carole waved a hand, cutting off any other objections that might have been raised. "We liked his dancing. If you want to complain, you can take it up with the show's manager." She nodded absently at Kurt. He took on a slightly horrified expression as he watched the mock glares turn to him.
Burt lowered himself back onto the grass, obviously relieved to no longer have everyone staring at him, and said, "Now, who wants cake?" The false tension in the yard broke, and there was a mad dash for the picnic table. Finn sat where he was, not interested in cake. Staring at Rachel, he couldn't help but feel like that moment was the happiest he had ever been in his life.
Alright, just a few words: That's not it. There's more, despite the self-contained fluff story this chapter makes. Also: a huge thanks to my friend Niki (FFN Pen: Shinki) who made sure this wasn't horrid. And thank you all for reading, and reviewing if you do! Yay!