Disclaimer: Don't own Glee, Speed, or Train. I don't read Mike/Tina stories so I'm not sure if this storyline has been done with them yet.
Puck stared across the hall where Finn had his hand placed on the wall behind Rachel's head, leaning down to whisper to her while she craned her neck to look up at him, probably giving herself permanent neck damage in the process. The sight caused that burning to flare up in his stomach again and he had to look away. It wasn't a new sensation but it had been growing in intensity since they returned from summer vacation. Maybe it was because, at the end of June, he realized how amazing Rachel Berry was. He always, kind of, liked the girl, even when everyone else, including her boyfriend, was giving her a hard time. He couldn't help it. She was determined, talented, good looking, and she always spoke her mind, even if it meant losing the small amount of likeability she had going for her. Add 'badass' to the list and he'd be describing himself. He flashed back to a moment on the football field last year, "Let's kick some ass!" Plus she sent that Sunshine chick to an abandoned crack house. While he didn't agree with her tactics, it was a pretty Rock-N-Rolla thing to do. "Tastes like pink!" Ok, so not badass but, looking back, it was pretty friggin' adorable. Yeah, she was perfect for him.
Anyway, he realized how incredible she was when he was cleaning her pool and she was on her deck, laying in the sun, wearing this awesome pink bikini and, no, that's not why he fell for her. He's not completely superficial. Only mostly superficial because, staring at her legs and toned little stomach was the reason he wasn't paying attention to what he was doing, slipped on the sidewalk of the pool, smacked his head on the edge, and fell into the water. He was sure he was dead because, just before his eyes closed, he saw an angel, outlined in the bright rays of the sun, swimming toward him. The next thing he knew a beautiful, but panicked, voice was calling his name. No way should he be in heaven. Things got mixed up in the soul separating process and, somewhere in Jew Hell, which wasn't exactly pitchforks and fiery pits but probably sucked in its own way, a Rabbi is looking around saying, "This is bullshit!"
He finally opened his eyes but had to squint from the intensity of the sun when a slender body leaned forward and cast shade over his face. Rachel Berry, soaking wet, with her chest directly in his line of vision, hovered over him. Still convinced he some how beat the system, he spoke to her cleavage, "I won't tell anyone I'm not supposed to be here if you don't. To hell with that Rabbi."
"What? You're delirious." She began speaking louder and slower, "What was Barbra Streisand's first film role? What is the third note in the arpeggio of the F major scale?"
"Damn Berry. First of all, stop talking to me like you do to that Spanish maid your dads have come in every Tuesday. Second of all, ask me something I'd know."
"Right." She took a moment to consider his statement and chose a question, "What are the factors to consider, for optimal levels of embarrassment, when throwing someone into a dumpster?"
"Trash pick up schedule, effort involved in the coordination of the dumpees outfit, and…" He noticed she was on edge, concerned for his well being, so he struggled with the last one, waiting just long enough before finishing, "…external temperature. The hotter the better."
She smiled down at him, relieved, "You should be fine."
"You hit your head." She lightly grazed her fingers over the spot on his forehead where a goose egg had already formed.
He winced slightly and, when she attempted to move her hand away, he grabbed it quickly and kept it pressed gently to his face, "You saved me."
"We saved you." He was broken from the moment by the masculine voice and shifted his gaze to see a very wet Finn Hudson standing over him. Definitely not in heaven.
"You're actually lucky Finn arrived when he did. I don't think I could have done it on my own." Rachel added.
"Please tell me I didn't need mouth to mouth." Rachel and Finn shared a stare with one another that didn't go unnoticed by Puck, "Please tell me Finn's not the one who had to give me mouth to mouth."
"It's not gay if I didn't like it, but slipped my tongue in anyway, right?" Finn asked, looking at Puck in all seriousness before he and Rachel started laughing, "I'm just kidding man. Rachel got to you first, pulled you to the surface, and breathed life back into you. All I did was get you out of the water for her."
"You're quite sturdy Noah." She added, as if, had he been anyone else they knew, she could have slung them over her shoulder and carried them, with ease, to safety.
"It's all the muscle." He explained.
"Nah, I think it's the fat in your head." Finn corrected, smiling at his friend.
"The ambulance is on it's way!" An overdramatic voice screamed from the back door, Kurt.
Puck groaned, "An ambulance? Ma's gonna flip." He extended his had to Finn and was helped to his feet.
A still concerned Rachel jumped toward them, "I don't think standing is the best idea Noah." Before he could argue with her, the dizziness took over and he swayed slightly. Rachel quickly put herself under his arm and steadied him with one hand on his back and the other resting on his chest, over his heart. Finn grabbed his other arm and they helped him to one of the deck chairs, easing him into it. While Finn was able to step away, Puck managed to keep a hold on Rachel because, "I'm still a little shaken up. Could you just hold me for a little while?" She stayed beside him and didn't lower her arms from their supportive positions around his chest until the EMT's arrived then, at his request, rode in the ambulance with him, holding his hand and stroking his hair the whole way.
After going to the hospital, to make sure his brain wasn't any more messed up than he already knew it was, Puck was released to his mother who insisted he invite Rachel to join them for dinner. When Puck reminded her that Finn helped too, she replied, "It's a traditional Jewish meal and a prayer will be said. Finn would feel uncomfortable."
"Do you even know any Jewish prayers?"
"I'll Google it." When Puck rolled his eyes, his mother invaded his personal space and jabbed him in the chest, "Do you want to get the girl alone or not Noah? I saw the way you were looking at her and, I love Finn like he's my son but, I don't want Rachel Berry to be like a daughter in law. I want the real deal. Don't you ruin this for me!"
So, Rachel came to dinner that night and, after an over exaggerated wink across the table to her son, Mrs. Puckerman managed to make the meal a weekly event, claiming it was the only way she knew how to thank Rachel for saving her only son and keeping her dream alive of gaining a nice Jewish girl into the family someday. When his little sister asked, "What about me?" Mrs. Puckerman sent her out of the room to finish her homework before continuing, "You know, when Noah manages to find such a girl and marries her."
Every week, his mother would find a reason to leave the table, grabbing her daughter by the back of the shirt and dragging her out of the room, in order to give the teens time alone together. The first few meals were awkward until Puck caught on to what his mother was doing, since the huge grin and double thumbs up as she left the kitchen weren't enough of an indication. After that, he took full advantage of having Rachel alone and used it for deep conversation that was, occasionally, laced with sexual innuendos and 'accidental' touches.
By the end of the summer, Rachel and Finn were still together and Puck was still just her friend. He wanted more but went through this strange transition during the beginning of August where he realized all he wanted was for her to be happy. And, as far as he could tell, she was ridiculously happy with Finn. He had no idea where this new found urge to sacrifice his desires for another person's happiness came from, but he didn't like it one bit. Besides, what would she want with a guy like him? A juvenile delinquent who was already a father to a child that would never know him, he didn't know where or if he was going to college or what he would major in if he ever, by some miracle, ended up there. He had nothing to offer her but Finn did. Burt and Carol already told him, if he wanted to go to school in New York with Kurt (and Rachel), they'd find a way to pay for both out of state tuitions. Finn knew he wanted to be a teacher, probably from the influence of being Schue's BFF, and Puck knew New York was just full of schools looking for stupidly tall, uncoordinated, easily distracted by shiny objects, teachers to shape the future leaders of America. Their story was already written and Puck's only place in it was the first chapter and a short mention later in the form of, "What ever happened to that boy we were friends with? You know, the one who was always getting himself into those wacky situations. Like, when he impregnated your girlfriend or that time he tried to steal an ATM. What a character!"
He'd been watching a lot of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies and wanted to jump up, spin in the air, and kick Finn in the face (He got the kick down and even the jumping, spinning thing. It was just doing them at the same time that was holding him back) every time he saw them together and he almost threw up when Rachel asked him for sex advice, "Not that I'm ready to have intercourse yet but, I will be someday, and I'd like to be prepared." He told her, no matter what anyone else says, boys prefer a girl who wants to wait…the longer the better. Even if Finn is begging for it, it's a test to see how easy she is and, despite evidence to the contrary presented in film, television, radio and print, boys don't like easy girls. He figured it could at least buy him until the end of the school year. Then he'd be far enough away from Lima that he wouldn't have to hear about how magical it was from all the gossips who had nothing better to do than talk about the sex lives of the town's teenagers.
As much as he wanted to come between the pair, and as much as his mother tried to, he just didn't have it in him. Not because of his friendship with Finn, but because of the way her eyes would light up when 'Finnocence Lost' (To Santana of all people…well, not that unbelievable really) walked into the room, the way she smiled at him, and the way she would just go on and on…and on about how great the guy was. He could argue with her over it, giving several examples of what a douche he actually is (see above), but that would probably just result in her pushing Puck away for trying to ruin her perfect little love story.
Puck reached into his locker and began switching books out for his next class, when a severely depressed Mike Chang leaned into the locker next to his and began thumping his head against it. He tried to ignore the noise until it got increasingly louder and people started to stare. Puck placed his hand between the other boy's head and the locker in between thumps and, when Mike smacked into Puck's hand, and left it there, he finally asked, "What's up Chang?"
He whimpered then responded, "I think Tina broke up with me."
"What do you mean you think?"
"Yesterday she started talking about marriage and kids and what neighborhood we're going to live in based off the ratings of the surrounding school systems." He brought his pointer finger up and started tracing designs into Puck's wrist while staring at it hopelessly, "I told her that, maybe, we shouldn't be planning that far ahead since it might jinx us."
"Bad move." He yanked his hand out from under Mike's head and it smacked into the locker once more.
He ignored the pain, "Apparently, because then she said, if I thought our love wasn't strong enough to overcome a jinx, we shouldn't be together at all, and that I was afraid of commitment. She's not answering her phone or replying to texts, she even changed her face book status to 'It's complicated'." Puck winced knowing that, as far as he was concerned, nothing good ever came of 'It's complicated."
Puck caught a glimpse of Finn and Rachel walking, hand in hand, down the hall when the words just spilled out of his mouth, "I'll help you get her back." Wait, what? Where the hell did that come from? First, he's giving up his own happiness, now he's trying to play cupid. That near death experience is going to destroy his rep. Next thing you know he'll be giving Jacob Ben Israel a ride to and from school everyday and staying after to help teachers clean their dry erase boards.
Mike's eyes lit up, "Really? What do you have in mind?"
He thought about it before remembering the one thing that always got him into a chick's good graces, except that one time he picked the worst possible song for Zizes, "Sing to her, girls go crazy for that shit."
He smiled, "Great idea…" Then realized the problem with that plan and returned to his depression, "…but, I'm not the best singer."
"Right." Puck thought briefly before replying, "But you are the best dancer."
Mike's smile re-emerged, "I am. And, last I checked, as far as the guys go, you're the best singer."
"Of course I am."
"So, why don't the best dancer and the best singer team up for an epic performance dedicated to the future Mrs. Chang."
Puck looked off, confused, "How does that work exactly? I mean, since you guys have the same last name, does she even have to change hers?"
Mike was baffled as well, "Huh. You know, I'm not sure. We'll have to research that."
"We'll add it to the list of stuff we need to do before Glee Club this afternoon."
"Indeed." The boys walked down the hall, in search of the library. Neither one had ever actually been in it but Puck heard rumors that it was next to the auditorium. You'd think, as many times as they've been in the auditorium, they would have remembered passing a library but when they stood in front of it, literally right next to the auditorium, both boys were perplexed by it's appearance.
Mike stared into it, awestruck, "It's like the Room of Requirement."
"You know, from Harry Potter."
"Why the hell would I know that shit Chang? Don't make me regret helping you by bringing up your dorky Asian Club shit."
As Puck walked away from him, through the doors of the mythical library, Mike mumbled, "It's not from Asian Club. It's from the Future Wizards of America Club," before he followed his friend.
At lunch, Rachel watched Puck and Mike huddled together at the other end of the table, whispering and looking up occasionally to make sure no one was listening in. Puck's face was one of complete concentration and determination. It was a very serious face that was seriously adorable. She came to terms with the fact that she had feelings for Noah Puckerman long ago. They were always there, even when she was sitting on the bleachers telling him their week long relationship wasn't going to work out. The problem then was, they were never as strong as her feelings for Finn so they were easily pushed aside and ignored. The problem now being, those feelings might have intensified when she was kneeling beside his body, watching his chest rise and fall with the breath she was pushing in, terrified that she was going to lose him forever. Instead of breaking up with Finn and pursuing Puck, she brushed the new emotions off as being enhanced by the extreme moment they shared and, as she learned from watching Speed over and over during her Keanu phase, "Relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last." Preach Sandra…preach. Then again, "We'll have to base it on sex then." Can't argue with that logic.
Rachel was certain it was just a matter of time before things leveled out and Finn returned to being her number one. In the mean time, she would over compensate to make sure no one could tell he wasn't. She'd smile extra wide when he walked into a room and spend all her time gushing about him, if nothing else, then to convince herself of what a wonderful guy he was. Four months later and Puck was still the one she fell asleep thinking about, her first thought in the morning, and the face she saw in daydreams about her future where she should have been seeing Finn's. After realizing whatever she felt for Puck wasn't going away, she decided the best thing, for everyone involved, was to ignore it and concentrate on her future with Finn, who was now applying to every college in New York…for her. Because, why would a guy like Noah Puckerman ever want a stuck up, self centered, controlling girl like Rachel Berry?
During one of his glances around the table, Puck noticed Rachel staring. She offered him the soft smile she couldn't fight sometimes, when their eyes would meet, and was glad to see it returned with one of his own. Just as she felt the weight of Finn's arm across her shoulders, Puck's smile fell into an expression that looked like pain, that she only saw for a second, because he dropped his head back down to whatever the boys were working on. Before lunch ended, she noticed Jennifer Swanson, a junior Cheerio, approach the table. She was tall, thin, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and absolutely gorgeous, even more reasons to remember why Puck wouldn't want her. When the girl placed her hand on the back of Puck's neck to play with the hair there and smile down at him, Rachel collected her things and left for class early. She missed him pushing the hand away and turning back down to the work in front of him.
She didn't see him again until their seventh period English class. Rachel took her seat next to him, still upset about lunch, crossed her arms, and leaned as far away from him as she could get, without falling out of her chair. He knew something was wrong when she didn't say hello or even look his way, "Everything alright?"
"Everything's great." She still wasn't looking at him and he could see that her jaw was clenched tightly.
"If this is what great looks like, I'd hate to see you on a shitty day."
She turned to face him but was still hostile, "Let's not talk about me Noah. Let's talk about you."
He shifted his eyes around, unsure of why she was giving him such an attitude, "What about me?"
"How's your mother?"
"And your sister?"
"Pain in the ass.'
"How'd you do on your Chemistry test?"
"Got a B."
"Any plans for the weekend?"
She narrowed her eyes at him in suspicion, "Not even with Jennifer Swanson?"
He made a face to match hers when he answered, "Why would I have plans with Jennifer Swanson?"
"I don't know, maybe because I saw the two of you talking at lunch and she seemed to be sending the very clear message that she wants to get better acquainted with you."
"Yeah. Me and every other guy on the football team."
Her expression softened, "So, you're not interested in her?"
"She's not my type."
"This time last year she would have been."
He laughed slightly, "This time last year, any girl in this school would have been."
He looked away from her, finding his desk very interesting, "Doesn't matter."
"Of course it matters." She placed her hand on his and he swallowed nervously at the contact, "Why would you think it doesn't?"
He looked back up into her eyes, really looked at her, and responded, "Because, there's only one girl I want and she's taken." They continued their staring contest until the teacher came in saying something about it being a beautiful day for sonnets and Puck turned away, not saying another word for the rest of class. When the bell rang, he shot out of his chair and practically ran out of the room.
Shortly after, in Glee rehearsal, when Mr. Schuester asked if anyone in the group wanted to sing their feelings, Puck was the only one to raise his hand. No one was sure why he took a seat on a stool next to the band instead of right in front of everyone, "So, this song is for a special girl in this room." Rachel straightened in her chair and looked around. A girl in this room? The girl Puck was talking about, the only girl he wants, is in this room? A girl who is taken. She did a quick inventory of the girls in the room. Mercedes, taken by Sam, Quinn was dating a transfer student who was already campaigning for Homecoming King, Santana and Brittany, taken by each other, Tina and Mike are 'complicated' but not officially broken up. Even Lauren had recently gotten together with her Krav Maga instructor. Well, that didn't narrow things down at all. Wait a second! She was taken by Finn. Oh! Her heart began to pound at the possibility of Puck singing to he-"Hope you enjoy it Tina." Nope, not Rachel. She slumped back in her chair, not realizing she had worked her way to the edge of her seat in anticipation. Tina?
As Puck played his guitar and began to sing Train's "Marry Me", confusion filled the room and everyone turned to the subject of the serenade for an explanation. It was no secret that Puck got around the club and Tina was the only girl he hadn't, at least, made out with. So, it sort of made sense that, on the tail of her pending break up with Mike, Puck would make his move. When they didn't get answers from Tina, the teens looked to Mike for some sort of reaction and were disappointed that he hadn't already shot across the room to kick Puck's ass and what was he doing tapping his foot? It's not like they wanted to see Puck get hurt but the group was bored since the club had been lacking in drama recently. No one was pregnant, no one had been arrested or the subject of a hate crime, hell, even Rachel and Quinn were getting along.
Speaking of Rachel, she wondered why Puck wasn't looking at Tina while he sang. It's the romantic thing to do when you're trying to win a woman's affection but, she didn't have long to think about it because, when he reached the first chorus of "Marry me. Today and every day…" Mike stood and everyone held their breath. Rachel readied herself to stand between the two boys. Even though he didn't feel the same way about her, it was no reason to not want to protect the man she loved. Loved? Yeah, loved. When did that happen? Officially? Probably on July 13th, 2011, at 2:03pm. He was wearing a white t-shirt that was snug around his biceps and a pair of black and red board shorts on their way to a pool party, at Brittany's house, that Finn couldn't attend. They were driving through town in his truck, the windows down, radio blaring, and he encouraged her to sing as loud as she wanted to Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" by singing with her, even at red lights when the people in the other cars would look over and stare at them. Then, at the corner of Jefferson and Roosevelt, he smiled at her in a way she had never seen Noah Puckerman smile, pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, and let the backs of his fingers lightly brush her cheek, then graze down her arm, giving her goose bumps and a fluttering in her stomach that didn't go away until the next day. Yeah, that might have been when it happened but she's still a little hazy on the specifics.
The level of confusion reached an all time high when, instead of heading toward Puck, Mike turned to Tina, smiled, and pulled a brightly colored magicians flower from his sleeve and handed it to her. She smiled, surprised, and took it as he began dancing around the room gracefully. He would pause briefly in various spots, pulling more flowers out, one from the back of Brad's shirt, one out of Mr. Schuester's vest, one from the bell of a jazz band members trombone, continuing to build a colorful bouquet throughout the entire song.
The moment Puck chose to look up from the spot on the floor he had been staring a hole into was when he sang, "I love you and you're beautiful." He felt it was safe to assume that Rachel was watching Mike and he could finally sing the words he had been wanting to say to her for months. Months? Yeah man, try to keep up here. He was shocked to see her staring right at him with the same smile on her face he saw at lunch. He didn't have the strength to look away again and spent the next few minutes smiling at her while he sang. After Mike appeared to pull a flower from Artie's ear, Finn quickly turned to Rachel, to see if she was watching, and noticed his girlfriend was caught in a very intense eye lock with his on again, off again best friend. Not cool. Definitely off again.
"That was the smoothest thing I've ever seen." Sam commented just as Mike knelt down in front of Tina, presenting her with all the flowers, at the end of the song, "Tina, if you don't want to marry him, I totally will. We'd have awesome Whasian babies and can name them after the dudes in Hanson. Your smile and my hair. Don't worry bro, I'd be the 'stay at home' so you can pursue your dance career." He looked around at all the eyes staring back at him, "What? I'm not putting our kids in daycare for someone else to raise."
"Yeah." Puck answered, setting down his guitar, "Cause that's the only problem we have with what you just said. Now, keep your weird ass commentary to yourself and let my boy do what he came here to do."
Just when Tina thought Mike was done, and was already willing to take him back, he pulled out a small, hideous band of metal and held it out to her. The sound of every jaw in the room hitting the floor echoed off the walls, "It's nothing special. Puck and I made it during metal shop."
"You don't have metal shop." Tina couldn't look away from it.
"Don't tell Mr. Wilson that. I got the only 'A' I'll ever see in this school on the candleholder that matches that ring. If this goes well, expect it as a wedding present someday…surprise." Puck interjected, still perched on his stool. Rachel fought a grin at his comment.
Mike continued, "It can be a promise ring, it can be an engagement ring, it can be whatever you want it to be but, I wanted to give you something to show you that I have every intention of spending the rest of my life with you." She took the ring from him and stared at it, still in shock, "And, we looked it up, you don't have to change your last name. Hell, I'll change mine to Cohen-Chang if that's what it takes."
She finally looked up, "What about jinxing us?"
"Are you kidding me? No jinx can stop this." He gestured between the two of them, "No superstition can keep us from getting married, having beautiful babies with your smile and my hair. I totally didn't steal that from Sam, by the way, it was in the speech I've been working on all day for you. Puck." Without looking away from Tina, he signaled to his partner, who held up a folded piece of paper.
"It true. We originally had your ass and Mike's chin but we changed it at lunch when he kept going on and on about your smile being the best part of his day and how much he hoped your kids had it too. I still say your ass is way better than your smile though." Puck didn't miss the laugh from Rachel and Finn didn't miss Puck's smirk and wink at her. So not cool.
Mike smiled up at Tina, "There is, absolutely, nothing in this world that could stop the life I planned for us. Not even my grandmother with her insistence on an arranged marriage between me and Susie Chang."
Both teens turned to the others and added, "No relation."
In case she didn't believe him, "Seriously, I planned it all out today." He gestured to Puck again who started reading from the piece of paper.
"Graduate from high school, postpone college and get a job to help Tina pay for art school because there's no way her parents will pay for a degree that doesn't involve math or Asian studies, get married under an archway covered in calla lilies, because they're Tina's favorite, while she walks down the aisle to a song, to be named later, performed by good friend, and Broadway star, Rachel Berry-"
Rachel smiled and turned to the couple, "It would be my absolute pleasure. I'll start my search for a song that will highlight my voice but not overshadow you on your day Tina."
Puck cleared his throat and Rachel spun back around to face him, "Rent a tiny apartment in the city until Tina sells her first painting and we can afford a house in a nice neighborhood, have lots of kids that I stay home and take care of, until they're old enough to start school, because I don't want a stranger raising our children."
"We have so much in common." Sam added, earning a nipple twist from Mercedes.
"Grow old with Tina, watch our children grow up to have children of their own, retire, and spend the rest of our days as those old people who are still totally hot for each other and embarrass their kids by getting caught doing it in public places…like the library."
"Next to the auditorium." Mike added with a smile, proud of his new found knowledge. He wrapped his hands around the one Tina was using to hold the ring, "So, please, take this ring and marry me on the day of your choosing, a week from now, ten years from now, it doesn't matter. All that does matter is that you know how completely committed I am to you and our future together."
"Somewhere between a week from now and ten years from now…" She acted like she had to consider the offer before responding with a smile, "Yes, I'll marry you."
As he slipped the ring on her finger she was surprised it fit perfectly, "I held Puck's hand for like twenty minutes trying to get the dimensions of your finger right."
Puck shrugged, "I didn't hate it. Dude has soft hands." He was pleased to get another laugh out of Rachel.
"Well, I'm glad you guys got that straightened out…" Mr. Schuester walked to the front of the room, "So now we can start rehearsal."
"Actually, Mr. Schue, I have something to say." Finn stood and turned to Rachel who let out a terrified gasp.
"Oh God, he's jumping on the teen marriage bandwagon. Mercedes, cover Sam's ears before he catches a ride too." Santana, who had been silently observing, for once, finally spoke.
Rachel never thought the nervousness in the pit of her stomach, on the brink of a proposal from Finn Hudson, would be caused by dread. Maybe if she diverted his attention elsewhere they could postpone this awkward moment, "Open faced turkey sandwiches in the cafeteria tomorrow."
"Really?" He smiled wide, "Sweet." Then remembered what he was going to say and let his smile fade, shaking his head, and returning to seriousness, "You're in love with Puck."
Rachel's eyes widened, "What?" Not a proposal but, not exactly a preferable alternative.
"And Puck's in love with you."
"Finally." Brittany's voice sounded through the room, "I was wondering when someone else would figure it out."
Rachel tried to argue, "Finn, I don't know-"
"No, Rachel, stop. I'm not upset. Well, I mean, I'm upset that you didn't say something sooner. But, if we're not on the same page, if you want to be with someone else, then I can't force you to stay with me."
She wanted to keep up her act, to deny everything, but decided to finally accept defeat, "You're right."
"He is?" It was one of those zany moments from a predictable sitcom, where a room full of people say the same thing at the same time, that you never expect to experience in real life.
"About half of it at least. I am in love with Noah but, I know there's no way he feels the same about me. Since you do care about me and, while I don't feel as strongly for you as I do for him, there's no one, other than him of course, I'd rather be with than you."
He squinted his eyes, processing the words, trying figure out what she said. When he finally got it, "I should totally be pissed you just said you were settling for me because I'm your second choice but I'll let it go because it's probably a very close second."
She decided to humor him, "Definitely."
"Do I get a say in any of this?" Puck, who had just gotten over the shock of Rachel's admission, realized she was under the impression that he didn't want her, a problem he was going to have to rectify immediately. Finn stepped back, out of their way, as the rest of the club watched, glad to have their weekly dose of drama back in full force.
Rachel readied herself for the rejection as Puck seemed to slowly step toward her, "Sorry if I gave you mixed signals." No, he's never been the type to apologize. The space between them diminished steadily and she found herself wondering how close he needed to be standing to her to say, "I like you. I just don't like you, like you." The upside was, thanks to the proximity, maybe he'll say it quietly enough for the others to not hear the method he uses to break her heart, "You're not my type. I told you, I only have eyes for one girl but she's taken. I was talking about Amy, the saxophone player." Her eyes flashed for a second to the zit faced, braces wearing girl, the only other taken girl in the room, who was leaning into her trumpet player boyfriend, watching with interest. Her eyes shifted back to Puck and, how the hell long does it take to get from one side of this room to the other? Maybe she'll get lucky and he'll just strike quickly, laugh in her face, and leave the room. Hopefully, this whole embarrassing situation doesn't lead to a revisiting of the slushy facials. She was so enjoying not having to bring an extra set of clothes to school everyday.
As she reached her final thought, if her favorite dry cleaner was still in business, Puck finally stood directly in front of her, mere inches away, "Totally wasn't singing that song to you."
Well, that's one way of doing it, "I never assumed you were."
"Because I'm not ready for marriage and babies and houses in areas with low crime rates."
"Neither am I."
"Then we're agreed?"
"Yes." She wasn't sure what she just agreed to but, all in all, not the worst way to be rejected.
"Good." He placed one hand on her lower back, pulling her body closer to his, wrapped his other around the back of her neck, and dropped his lips down to hers. Come to think of it, it was a really great way to be rejected. When she finally registered the fact that Noah Puckerman's lips were gliding against hers, rather passionately, she slid her hands up his stomach and continued until they came to rest on his chest, sighing contentedly into his mouth.
"Huh." Kurt asked out loud to no one in particular, "Who knew?"
"I did." Brittany explained, exasperated by the ignorance of the rest of the group.
Was Finn happy that he had just lost another girl to his childhood friend? Not really but, Jennifer Swanson was checking him out the other day. Getting back on the dating scene might not be a bad idea. To prevent the same thing from happening again, he started to wonder why his girls were all drawn to Puck. Maybe it's the mohawk. He ran his fingers through his hair, contemplating the change.
"Some people can rock the hawk, some people can't." For some reason, Santana knew what the boy was thinking, "You can't." When she saw disappointment flash across his face, she took pity on him, "But you could totally pull off a nipple ring." He smiled at the thought and the possibility of a tattoo to go along with it. Maybe Puck needs someone to take over his pool cleaning business, and all those cougars, now that he'll have his hands full with Rachel. It could totally be like in The Princess Bride, he watched it for the fighting and Andre the Giant, not the romance crap, when Westley inherited the title of the Dread Pirate Roberts from the other guy who retired. He wondered if Puck was willing to give up his nickname to Finn and all the sexual power that came along with it. If he was then they were totally on again.
Meanwhile, Rachel's arms had made their way around Puck's neck, while his were both wrapped tightly around her waist, her back arched as he bent down to her. Maybe they could get Mike to give them a ride home, he owed Puck after all, and they could work it so their lips never had to come apart before they made their way into a bed. Then again, there's a perfectly good floor right there.
"Puck, Rachel…" The teacher was standing beside them, desperately wanting to start rehearsal. Without looking at the older man, Rachel stepped backward, pulling Puck with her, relinquishing the center floor position to Mr. Schuester, who was not pleased when, instead of gaining the attention of the group, all eyes simply followed the couple during their shift to the left, "How about we just call it a day. Make a fresh start tomorrow." No one moved. Fed up with his lack of control in the room, he walked over to Rachel and Puck, put his hands on their foreheads, and pushed their faces apart. The dazed couple, with swollen lips, turned to look at the intruder, "Go home." Puck didn't have to be told twice as he quickly looked back to Rachel, wiggled his eyebrows, and shot out of the room with her. Without a floor show to distract them, the rest of the teens made their exit.
In the parking lot, after kissing Rachel thoroughly for several minutes, Puck pulled away and asked, "You heard Schue. Your home or mine?"
She eyed him suspiciously, "Oh no, you're not fooling me with that."
"Fooling you with what?"
"I have it on good authority that boys don't like easy girls so, I think you should go to your home and I should go to mine." She smiled up at him mischievously and trailed her hands down his biceps, glad to finally be able to touch them instead of simply staring from afar…completely worth the wait by the way.
He played along, "Of course boys don't like easy girls." He kissed her again, softer this time, "Lucky for you, I'm a man. And men…" He kissed his way along her jaw, "Love women who are smart, funny, and beautiful…"
Her eyes were half closed as she questioned, in a trance, "Beautiful?"
"Breathtakingly." She felt his breath tickle her ear, "Women who are strong and assertive…"
"Bossy." She corrected, still caught up in the moment.
"You can boss me any day babe. In fact, boys are intimidated by bossy women, men find them incredibly sexy."
"Incredibly?" He pushed his hips into her, to give her proof of how attracted he was to just the thought of her bossiness, "Oh."
He worked his way back down her neck, "Boys take girls for granted but men like to remind women, regularly, of how appreciated they are."
She asked breathlessly, "Regularly?"
"Daily." She whimpered, wondering what exactly was included in his idea of 'appreciation'.
While he kissed her shoulder, she pressed her lips against his ear, "When you put it like that…my home." Puck didn't have to be told twice as he quickly pulled his head back, startling her by the unexpected loss of contact, practically threw her into the truck, crawled frantically over the hood to get to his door, which was difficult considering it was up on a lift, and sped out of the school parking lot.
Mike and Tina watched the scene as they leaned against his Civic, her back pressed against his front with his arms wrapped around her, "Maybe we can return the favor and you can sing at their wedding."
"If I know Rachel, she'll probably want to sing herself down the aisle." Tina answered, turning in Mike's arms and holding the bouquet of fake flowers up to him, changing the subject, "Future Wizards of America Club?"
"Don't be silly Tina, wizards don't use fake magic and cheap parlor tricks."
"So, Magic Club then."
"Of course. It was going to be rabbits but Schue was pretty resistant to me sticking one in his vest."
"Don't know why." The startled teens looked to see Coach Sylvester leaning against Mike's car, right next to them, neither sure of where she came from, "They'd fit right in with the rodents living in the rats nest on top of his head." She looked them up and down, disgustedly, and walked away humming, "Marry Me". No one ever needed to know that she hid a camera in the choir room and tuned in weekly to watch the drama unfold. Things were slow for the past few weeks and she was thisclose to moving it to the Guidance Office but, thankfully, things picked up. A proposal, a golden couple breakup, and a glimpse at the next potential teen mother to walk the halls of McKinley…she headed back toward the school, wondering what tomorrow's episode would bring and if she could sell the show to a major network. If the rest of the country was anything like Lima, they'd be chomping at the bit to hear about the tangled love lives of teenagers. Right?