Four Months Later
Okay, ladies and gentlemen, if we could have your attention please. I want to take a minute to introduce you to some of the people who are going to be helping to taking care of you on this little project of ours.
The murmuring of conversation ebbed and Charlie felt everyone's gaze shift in their direction.
"You'll have to forgive us. Not everyone is on set this morning, " he explained offhandedly. "We've been working to smooth over some of the usual bumps in the road you get with this big a project. Lots of personalities to mesh and whatnot,"
"Of course, I understand," Charlie nodded.
She easily read between the lines that he was glossing over the fact that shooting had barely just started and there was already tension on the set. She stood quietly, scanning faces, as her companion worked his way through the introductions.
And believe it or not, this lovely lady will be your technical advisor/go-to person for just about everything we're going to be doing outside – riding, roping, you name it. She's as smart as she is pretty and trust me when I say she knows what's she's talking about." he continued, hand gripping her shoulder.
Charlie offered a forced smile.
"Pleasure to be here," she said, "I look forward to getting to know each of you."
There were a few whispers and snickers. Charlie fixed the closest instigators with a cool glare and their muttering stopped quickly.
This was definitely going to be interesting.
"Well, that's all for now everyone. I thank you for your attention and we'll let you all get back to your work."
The group dispersed slowly. Some scurried quickly away while others lingered, breaking off into smaller groups and pairs and talking amongst themselves.
Several people approached Charlie individually, introducing themselves and making polite conversation. She chatted amicably with everyone, but quietly slipped away at the first opportunity she found.
She walked across the bustling set, nodding and smiling to everyone she encountered, noting as their eyes often shifted to the all-access pass she wore around her neck before returning her greeting.
Moving deliberately she approached a cluster of high-end RV mobile homes, trailers and large tents that was set apart from the main location and she could hear the steady humming of generators. She quickened her pace and, for the first time, actually felt the flutter of nerves.
"Hello," Charlie nodded to a natty young man who approached her. By his demeanor, she could see he was visibly agitated about something.
"Hey yourself," he huffed brusquely. "Oh hey, where are you headed?"
Charlie nodded toward the tent beyond the clearing and the man scoffed loudly and rolled his eyes.
"Oh, that one" he spat out, rolling his eyes exaggeratedly. "Yeah, well good luck with... whatever."
"Thanks for the warning," she said.
"No, no, no, I don't think... that's not at all what we discussed. I distinctly remember saying that I could not be expected to have back-to-back calls at that hour. Well that isn't my problem now is it? There is just no way I can be adequately prepared working a schedule like that."
Charlie could hear the voice rising in anger from where she stood and frowned. She strode quickly closing the distance and ducked inside the doorway without knocking.
A harried young woman with a striking blue streaks in her long black hair came rushing toward her, both arms outstretched, hands waving frantically as though trying to ward off Charlie's approach.
"Oh, oh, I'm sorry, I'm afraid she isn't available for anything right now, " she stammered out, clearly frayed to her last nerve and determined to keep Charlie's unannounced intrusion from making her day even worse than it already had been.
"I'm sure she isn't," Charlie agreed, but stood her ground. "She's impossible when she gets like this."
The PA gasped softly and stared at Charlie.
"I, I can't do that. No. Unacceptable. No. No, I won't do that." she stated emphatically, now pacing and gesturing animatedly, her back to the door.
Charlie watched a few more moments then sighed deeply.
"Rachel Berry, so help me, if you don't stop driving these people crazy..."
Rachel gasped loudly and spun on her heel, phone still held up to her ear. Somewhere behind her, Charlie could hear the PA groan loudly as though in genuine pain.
"The phone," Charlie instructed firmly. "The cell phone. Rachel, give her that cell phone," Charlie motioned to the PA, who was now staring wide-eyed with her hand to her mouth. Rachel opened her mouth to protest but closed it when Charlie held up her hand. "Give. It. To. Her," Charlie repeated pointedly.
Rachel bit her lip, narrowed her eyes and then deliberately placed her cell phone in the frazzled girl's grasp.
"Thank you." Charlie said quietly, then she turned and smiled warmly at the PA.
"Berry? Berry? "a tiny, distant, furious voice could still be heard coming from Rachel's cell phone. "God damn it, Hobbit,, what the actual fuck?"
"Will you please let the charm-school graduate on the line know that Miss Berry will be calling them back in just a little while?" Charlie asked pleasantly.
The girl nodded vigorously.
"Thank you. What's your name?" Charlie arched her eyebrow in question.
"Yes, thank you, Tina," Charlie smiled even brighter. "And can you be a lifesaver and go find me a really big cup of coffee? Just black, please. I haven't had my caffeine jolt today and no one, I mean no one, should ever deal with Miss Berry without their caffeine."
"Ha ha," Rachel muttered sarcastically.
Tina nodded, looking frantically back and forth between Charlie and Rachel, then she brushed past Charlie as she practically ran out of the tent.
Charlie leaned up against the frame of the doorway, a smirk on her face. Rachel stared, scowling and tight-lipped. She squared her shoulders, folded her arms across her chest and traced her tongue across her upper lip. It was her turf now.
"I don't like being "handled." she huffed.
"That's not what I've heard," Charlie said, quirking an eyebrow jauntily.
"And who are you again?" Rachel asked coolly.
Charlie just smiled and shrugged.
"Do you really think you can just come strolling in here after all this time and act like that?" Rachel fumed.
"Yes, I do," Charlie said evenly.
"Wow, Ms. Fabray, "Rachel said, shaking her head. "You certainly have a high opinion of your...
"Rachel," Charlie said softly. "Come here."
Rachel's annoyed facade crumbled as she squealed excitedly and raced across the tent, throwing herself at Charlie and raining kisses across her face.
"You did miss me," Charlie laughed, relishing the onslaught and then finally molding her lips firmly to Rachel's.
"Not at all." Rachel deadpanned, pulling away. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You are such a good actress." Charlie said in mock admiration before pulling her back for another languid kiss.
"Oh my God," Rachel panted out breathlessly against Charlie's lips. "I've missed that. I can't believe you're really here."
"I am." she said, pressing her lips to Rachel's temple.
Rachel pulled back and looked at her, brows furrowing.
"You cut your hair." she said finally.
"I did," Charlie said, nodding. "Nothing gets by your keen powers of observation."
Rachel pinched her hard and raked her eyes over Charlie's face, her fingers fluffing in the much shorter, scruffy locks. Her fingertips trailed lightly over the dark streaks.
"Pink?" she hummed.
"Fuchsia," Charlie said seriously, nodding again.
Rachel reached behind her head and took a handful in each fist, tugging lightly, eyes still flowing over Charlie's face. Finally she smiled.
"Still you." she said quietly.
"Still me," Charlie parroted back to her.
"Still mine." Rachel added, nodding. It wasn't a question.
Charlie nodded, eyes serious.
Rachel sighed and relaxed. Charlie cupped her face and kissed her until they both were smiling.
"So tell me, why are being such a holy terror?" she murmured against her lips.
Rachel pushed her away and slapped her arm, hard.
"I'm not," she said, pouting. "They're mean."
"Oh please. Mean? Rachel, seriously, you should be ashamed of yourself." Charlie scolded. "What did you do?"
"Fuck you," she said lightly.
"We'll get around to that." Charlie teased.
Rachel cut her flashing eyes up at her.
"Why is it my fault?" she huffed indignantly.
" Because you've always done something." Charlie said with a laugh.
Rachel rolled her eyes dramatically.
"You know what I think," Charlie asked.
Rachel eyed her suspiciously.
"I'm sure I don't. Do I dare to even inquire?" she said cautiously.
Charlie bent down close to her ear and whispered, "Sexual frustration." Then she licked her ear and bit her softly on the neck.
Rachel squeaked happily and laughed loudly. A happy Rachel was a loud Rachel. Anyone within earshot across the set looked up startled and several sets of eyes darted around in surprise. It was the first time anyone had heard her laugh like that since the project had begun.
"I can fix that, you know." Charlie teased, her lips and hands moving to any bare skin she could find.
"Ohhh, I know, "Rachel said with a groan and blushed furiously, burying her face in Charlie's shoulder.
Charlie held her tightly, resting her cheek on the top of her head.
"Mmm." she hummed contently.
She glanced around the tent and smiled.
"I guess it really worked, didn't it." Charlie remarked.
Rachel shook her head.
"What worked?" she asked, puzzled.
"That falling star," Charlie said. "It looks like you got what you wished for." She motioning around her with one hand.
Rachel pulled back slightly and brought both hands up to caress Charlie's face, velvet brown eyes holding her gaze.
"I did get my wish" she said softly. "but none of this is what I wished for."
"Well then what..." Charlie started to ask but then suddenly found herself speechless. She shook her head, chuckled softly, and was surprised to find her eyes suddenly threatening to spill over with tears. She turned her head away and took a deep breath.
"Oh no, no, no. Charlie Fabray, so help me, if you start crying on me..." Rachel threatened.
Charlie threw her head back and laughed, blinking away tears.
Charlie?" Rachel asked softly, fingertips twisting the buttons on Charlie's shirt.
"Yes, Rachel," she answered dutifully.
"It's been a while and all. Are you still a liar?" she asked eyes flickering over Charlie's face anxiously.
Charlie smiled and kissed her softly.
"Not anymore," she said without hesitation. Rachel's face fell almost immediately.
"I love you, Rachel," she said without reservation "I love you. I have from practically the first moment I laid eyes on you. I can't be here with you and be worried about saying it anymore. So if that's not what you want to hear you better..."
Rachel was back in Charlie's arms before she even finished her sentence. Charlie laughed and lifted her off her feet.
"I guess you're okay with that, huh?" Charlie teased.
" Yes," she whispered breathlessly, so exited she couldn't speak the words. "Me, too, Charlie. Me, too."
When Rachel pressed those glorious lips firmly to hers Charlie's eyes closed and her heart flooded wide open.
It felt like galloping at full speed with no reins. Somehow she knew that it would.
Charlie finally set Rachel back on her feet, but only because she couldn't hold her up anymore. She never let go of her hand.
"So..." Charlie said, "About that handling..."
Rachel squealed with delight.
"Ooo, look, Rachel. A kitchen." Charlie taunted, tugging at Rachel's hand.
Rachel followed her, laughing.
"Hey, they have a counter right here," she said in mock surprise. "What was that you said? I can't seem to remember now."
Rachel was trying to put her hand over her Charlie's mouth.
"Oh yeah. Come here, Rachel," Charlie said, "I want to show you something."
Charlie grabbed at Rachel, but she squeaked, side-stepped and ducked away.
Rachel's laughter was everywhere.
Finally she threw her arms around Charlie's neck again and Charlie lifted her off the ground, putting her hands under Rachel's knees and wrapping her legs around her waist.
She started walking down the hall. Charlie opened the door to what she hoped was Rachel's bedroom.
"So Rachel?" Charlie asked innocently. "Where's the last place someone kissed you?"
Charlie walked inside and kicked the door shut behind them,
A/N: It's been my experience that some stories are meant to be told so much so that they write themselves and the author just dictates. There are certainly worse voices to have walking around in your head than Rachel Berry and Charlie Fabray. I even have a very soft spot for Quinn and I think her tale is yet to be told .
Thank you to everyone for taking your time to read this story. Hopefully you've been enjoying reading it as much as I did making it come to life.