Rachel isn't really living the life she planned.
The plan was to go to New York and take Broadway by storm. She went to New York for college, sharing an apartment with Kurt and Blaine, and absolutely loving every minute. Getting her degree is a snap, but lighting up Broadway is harder than she thought it would be. Every role she auditions for somehow slips through her fingers. She's just never enough: tall enough, pretty enough, strong enough, and then she's not young enough.
After years of auditioning, she knows that if her dream was going to happen, it would have by now. She can't keep living off her dads, who are more than happy to continue supporting her while she pursues her dream. She goes to one last audition so that she can say that she gave it everything she had, but the role goes to a blonde girl from Canada who is six years her junior and has no formal training.
The day after she hears that news, she tells her dads her plan to go back to school. She loves New York, but she's not sure she can continue living in a theatre town when she's not on the stage. As always, her dads support her with every fibre of their being and just want her to be happy.
She has literally just come back from mailing applications when she gets the call. It's a casting director that saw her at her last audition. He has a role for her, but it's not Broadway. He's casting for a small role in a pilot. If the pilot gets picked up, there might be the opportunity for a recurring role.
Rachel immediately says yes because they're offering her a role, no audition, and a paycheque is a paycheque. She doesn't ask questions.
To say she's shocked when she shows up in Los Angeles is an understatement. Rachel thought this would be like a million other pilots that get shot every year, unknown hopefuls trying for a bit of rare television gold.
There isn't one person in the main cast who hasn't been on a hit show: David Boreanaz, the Latina girl from NCIS, Kristen Bell, one of the guys from Lost, and the dark-haired brother from One Tree Hill.
The script is extremely well written. It's about two sets of extremely rich siblings who have been feuding for years. Rachel has been cast in the role of Ava, the sister of David Boreanaz and the girl from NCIS, who has left the fold because she's sick of the fighting. Ava had been in a relationship with the dark-haired brother from One Tree Hill, but it had been torn apart by the fighting.
Everyone is professional and nice, and the two weeks she spends shooting the pilot are fantastic. She'd love for the show to get picked up, not just for the script, but for the people. And if they want her again, she'd jump at the chance. The show is just too good not to make it to air.
Rachel goes back to her life. She gets accepted to UCLA and makes the move out west in February. She wants to be well settled before she starts school. She's sad to leave Kurt and Blaine, but she knows it's all for the best.
She spends her days at the book store where she works and her evenings exploring the city. It's completely different than New York.
She's been in LA for six weeks when she gets a call from the creator of the show asking for a meeting. She's sure that they're about to tell her that her part has been cut and wonders why they can't just tell her over the phone.
When she arrives at the studio the next day, she's surprised to see not just the creator, but several of the writers and producers.
It turns out that the network loves the show, and apparently, they loved the chemistry between Rachel and her co-star, James. They want to develop the storyline and her character, promoting her to a main cast member and re-working some of the pilot to include her. They need her answer by the end of the week. That happens on Wednesday.
She talks it through with her dads. Her daddy, who is a lawyer, is in LA on Thursday morning and by Thursday afternoon, Rachel has agreed.
Rachel's life suddenly becomes a blur of agents, managers, contracts, and filming.
Puck never really had a plan for life except to get the hell out of Lima, Ohio.
He's basically been flying by the seat of his pants. He goes to college because it's expected of him and it's the best way to get out of Ohio. He's just taking a general arts degree when one of his professors says he should consider architecture. Suddenly he's got a focus.
He interns at one of the best real estate development firms in the country and works his ass off. They offer him an entry-level position before he's even graduated.
He keeps working his ass off and it doesn't go unnoticed. He makes a fuckton of money and moves up the ladder pretty damn fast.
He's living in southern California and working all hours when he first hears about Rachel.
The old glee club keeps in touch, mostly thanks to Kurt and his inability to keep his yap shut. They get together once or twice a year, whenever a few of them are going to be near each other. And for the past couple of years, Rachel hasn't been herself. The Broadway thing didn't work out for her and he knows that she was planning on going back to school.
So when he picks up a copy of Entertainment Weekly and sees her picture in a section on new fall TV shows, he couldn't be happier for her. Puck thinks it would've been a waste if the world never got to see her talent.
He watches as her show becomes the breakout hit of the season, and Rachel suddenly becomes a massive star. The critics are calling her charming and witty. Every magazine going seems to have her on the cover.
He normally wouldn't be caught dead buying People, but Santana tells him that her cast made the Most Beautiful People issue, so he picks one up. The whole cast may have made the cut, but Rachel is obviously the most beautiful person in the photo.
It's clear that Noah Puckerman isn't the only person who's landed on their feet.
Rachel gets what is considered a "small" salary bump when her show gets picked up for a second season. She was already making more per episode than her fathers made in a year. When she tells them she wants to do something nice for them, they insist that the best thing she can do for them is invest wisely and get herself on the property ladder.
She still lives in the same apartment that she moved into when she came to LA. It's in a good neighbourhood, but her apartment is tiny.
Rachel decides that if she's going to lay out the money for a decent place, she may as well get exactly what she wants. She knows exactly who to call.
When Rachel calls him and asks him to design a house for her, he's initially stoked. It's not every day celebrities call him to work on huge projects. Unfortunately, he doesn't technically have the experience to do what she's asking. He can be involved in the project, but he can't run it. So he puts her in touch with a more senior architect at the firm and hopes like hell that he'll get to work on it. Technically, he brought in a high-profile client that has the potential to attract more business to their firm.
She makes it very clear to Mr. Lewis that while she is sure that he is extremely good at what he does, she will be spending a substantial amount on this project. She wants Noah to be in charge.
Puck gets called into a senior staff meeting. He usually only attends these meetings if he's on a big project. He definitely hopes that he's getting assigned to Bill's team.
He's in shock when the whole project gets assigned to him. Bill will be there if he needs a hand, but this is his own project. It's made very clear to him that if this goes smoothly he'll be senior staff. He doesn't want to think about what will happen if he screws it up.
He gets down to work as soon as he leaves his meeting. He has a lot riding on this.
Rachel starts filming the second season in mid-July, and they need to at least have land picked out by the time she goes back to work. Everything else they can work on during her downtime, but she can't choose the land where she's going to live from a studio lot. She has to see it.
She picked Noah because she trusts him and also because she wants to share her good fortune with her friends. It may have been years since they've been close friends, but he's still her friend. Those may have been her reasons initially, but Noah? Noah is excellent at his job. She can't help but compare him to the boy she once knew. He was always confident and self-assured, but now he's also mature, smart and calm. She definitely made the right decision when she fought for him.
They find the perfect spot for her new house, and he works on a custom design that, with some minor adjustments from Rachel, will eventually be her home. He hires the best team that he possibly can and everything is running smoothly. They're even ahead of schedule.
His bosses are happy, and more importantly, Rachel is happy.
Rachel knew things were going too well to continue. Some of the materials come in over Noah's proposed budget, and he almost blows a gasket over the quality of the tile work in the bathroom. She personally budgeted for unanticipated costs, and she never would have noticed the tiles in the bathroom if he hadn't pointed it out.
She goes to the site as often as she can, just to make sure that he's not going crazy. Sometimes she and Noah eat a meal there long before the crew arrives, or long after they've left for the day. Rachel had forgotten how much fun it is to spend time with Noah. His sense of humour is still risqué, and she still blushes every time it comes to light.
Her life is so different than it was a few years ago that it's nice to have someone who knew her way back when, even if that person has come just as far as she has. He remembers things about her that she didn't think anyone would, some superficial and some far below the surface. She thinks it's sweet that he remembers so many things about her, not because she told him a million times, but because he paid attention.
Rachel has a lot of friends these days, but she thinks she'd like this friendship to continue long after this project is over.
Noah does one final run through of all the paper work with Bill and has the guy come out to the site to inspect the property before he wraps the project. Bill tells him that with the kind of work Puck's been doing, he's about to skyrocket up the ladder. It's high praise from a guy that's been in the business for almost 30 years.
Puck knows that he's good at his job, but Rachel was the driving force here and he's not about to let her slip through his fingers.
They've just started into their third season when she gets asked if she wants to try her hand at directing an episode. Most of the cast have taken a turn, and while they call her the baby cast member, she wants that to be a cute nickname, not a reflection of her abilities.
She gets the script for "her" episode on the same day that Noah calls to tell her she can do a final walkthrough of her house. It's one last chance for her to make sure everything is the way she wants it before Noah brings in the final cleaning crew and then hands over the keys. She doesn't think she could possibly be any more excited. She feels like she's walking on air.
But that's nothing to the way she feels when Noah asks her if she wants to go to dinner once she's all moved in.
Puck gets requested for a job in Texas. The office there is short-staffed, and he's the perfect man for the job.
Professionally, this is an amazing opportunity. Personally, it sucks ass.
He and Rachel are getting serious. He's been serious about her since the minute she really walked back into his life, but they've gotten really serious over the past few months and he doesn't want to be away from her right now. Rachel tells him not to be ridiculous, that everyone deserves a chance to shine and they'll see each other as often as possible.
There's some buzz surrounding the latest season of their show. The writers have really outdone themselves in terms of story, and everyone has done exceptional work.
Rachel is spending her summer break in Texas with Noah. It's been fantastic to spend time with him away from the craziness that is her life. No long hours on set, no running off to New York or wherever to do publicity, no being stalked by the paparazzi 24/7. Just a relatively normal life.
On the morning that the Emmy nominations are announced, Rachel is lying in bed with the TV on, lazily waiting for the announcement before she starts her day. Noah left before the sun was even up. He's been working so hard that she wants to clean the house and make him a nice dinner. He's hoping to be away from the building site at a reasonable hour, and she wants to spend the evening just sitting on the patio with him.
Rachel is a bit surprised when she hears Kristen's name read out in the Supporting Actress category, not that she got a nomination, but rather that she isn't being considered a Leading Actress. No surprises either when two of her other cast mates receive nominations.
She is shocked when her name is listed under the Leading Actress category, both for the category and the nomination itself.
He's in the middle of a meeting with the contractor on this project. Things are on schedule and he may only be a couple of weeks behind Rachel in heading back to LA. But he has to be on top of things, no messing around.
Rachel is the only thing keeping him sane at the moment, so when her call comes through, Puck dismisses the contractor and answers. She's doing this weird half-laughing, half-crying thing and when he finally understands that she's been nominated for an Emmy, he decides to ditch work for the rest of the day. It's not every day your girlfriend gets nominated for an Emmy.
Rachel's life has been even more of a whirlwind than normal since the nomination. She's back on set before she knows it and the time before the Emmys is filled with interviews and publicity for the new season. She's letting herself be run into the ground.
In the week leading up to the Emmys, she's exhausted, but she soldiers on, catching naps whenever she can during the day. On Wednesday, she feels a little dizzy coming out of wardrobe. It's probably because she's been on set for 12 hours and hasn't stopped by Kraft Services since she arrived. She grabs a sandwich and prays that her scenes go quickly and then she can go home.
She's in the middle of a scene with her onscreen siblings when she has a tiny little fainting spell. The director and her cast mates make a huge deal out of nothing, despite her telling them that she's fine. She gets bundled into an ambulance and sent off to the hospital, effectively ending her day.
Puck got back from Texas last week, and he's taken off a couple weeks so he can unpack. He and Rachel have decided to move in together and as soon as they made the decision, Rachel hired movers to pack up his place. She had the whole place packed, cleaned, and ready for him to inspect by the time he got back. He wants to finish unpacking today because people are going to start arriving tomorrow afternoon for Rachel's big night. He's the only one going to the ceremony with her, but her dads, Kurt and Blaine and Sam and Mercedes are coming to town to help her get ready and celebrate with her when she wins, which she will, even if she doesn't think so.
But when he gets the call from Rachel's assistant telling him she's been taken to the hospital, he forgets everything and everyone else pretty damn quickly.
He gets to the hospital in record time, considering LA traffic. Rachel is in a private room, arguing with a nurse about leaving when he gets there. He settles the argument pretty fast when he tells her that she's leaving over his dead body if she hasn't been cleared by a doctor. They're just as stubborn as each other, so she knows he's deadly serious.
They ride home from the hospital in complete silence, both processing the information.
As soon as Rachel gets home and sees the state of his unpacking, she flips a switch and goes into her usual mode. Noah tries to get her to slow down, but he knows it's not a battle he's going to win.
Everyone arrives and Puck barely has a minute alone with Rachel. Her daddy, Kurt and Mercedes immediately drag her away for spa appointments and a final fitting of her Kurt Hummel original dress. That leaves him to entertain Rachel's dad, Blaine and Sam.
Before he knows it he's sitting next to Rachel in the back of a limo heading to the theatre.
Rachel slips her hand into Noah's when they're sitting in the back of the limo and lets her other hand graze the vivid blue material at the front of her dress.
Noah squeezes her hand tightly when she tells him how happy she is.
His girl wins, exactly like he knew she would. She sits in shock until he leans over and kisses her.
She didn't write an acceptance speech, even though he told her to, but she says that she's accepting the award on behalf of every little girl who had a dream and worked hard to see it come true.
Puck doesn't think he's ever loved her more than he does right now.
They go to two after parties before heading home. In the car between the two parties, Noah tells her she's only two awards away from the trifecta (Emmy, Oscar, Tony).
Rachel doesn't think she's ever loved him more than she does right now.
Puck's a little worried that Rachel's going to try to overdo it during her pregnancy. She has this full throttle mentality when it comes to her job, and he just wants her to take it easy. He has a hard time believing it will happen.
The decision to write her pregnancy into the story makes Rachel extremely happy. She knows that there's a distinct difference between Rachel and Ava, but she's over the moon about this pregnancy and doesn't want to hide it at all.
Puck watches Rachel growing larger week by week as her pregnancy progresses. Her episode order is down six episodes this season to accommodate her pregnancy. He still knows that she's worried about after she gives birth.
The people she works with are very accommodating and have no problem with kids on set, and Puck has already arranged paternity leave, but he knows that she still worries.
She has always had excellent timing, if she does say so herself. She has literally just wrapped her final scene when her water breaks.
Rachel gives birth to Ella Jane Puckerman, 7 lbs. 8 oz., 15 hours later.
Puck wasn't really prepared for the love he feels for Ella. He loves Beth, but he pushes that into a small corner of his heart, because if he really felt it, he thinks it would break his heart.
His love for Ella grows every day he gets to hold her and watch her grow. It just can't be contained.
It's a group decision, really, to end the show. Every one of them wants to go out on a high note and now is really the best time. It doesn't mean she isn't sad about it.
He's just put Ella down for the night and goes to join Rachel in the dining room. She's going through the stacks of scripts that come in every day. She's very Rachel about it and has a system that covers their entire dining room table. He likes to go through the scripts in her reject pile and mock them, even if it does earn him a smack every time.
Puck is shocked when he sees the script for a well-known musical in the reject pile. When he calls her on it, she tells him that their life is in California. He tells her she's crazy if she thinks he's letting her walk away from Broadway.
Rachel has already given him his dream; he'll give her dream to her if it kills him.
Standing on the stage listening to the applause after her first show, Rachel knows that life doesn't get any better than this. A beautiful daughter, a man who knows her inside out and still loves her, and a job she loves.
Rachel Berry isn't living the life she planned. The life she has is so much better.