Author's Note: As a good friend of mine recently pointed out, I don't usually delve into the T-rated archives. However, this prompt from a great reviewer was too good to pass up, so I omitted some of the curse words that wrote themselves naturally and gave it a shot. I seriously want to take some time to say THANK YOU to everyone who reads and reviews my stuff - I know I scared some of you there with that Finchel piece, but don't worry; I prefer writing for the dark side. :)
Please enjoy and let me know what you think!
Puck watched with a bemused expression as Rachel moved around the basement like a hummingbird. Bordering the line between buzzed and tipsy, she was still fluttering to each person at the party like the perfect little hostess she was bred to be. She could barely hold her own cup anymore without spilling and yet she was asking everyone else if they needed a refill or if she could do anything to make their stay more comfortable. Sam had made some crude remark about having a few ideas but knowing better to say them considering Puck's proximity.
Legit, Ken was plastered and he better watch what he said otherwise Barbie was going to ruin his week. Quinn was already insanely jealous sober; add two shots of tequila chased with some girly concoction Rachel had whipped up and thrown into a punch bowl and even Puck was keeping his distance from the thin blonde. Which was more than Finn could say, who at the current moment was getting an earful about ruining Quinn's chances at prom queen last year.
Yes, last year.
She still wasn't over it even though they were seniors now and prom season was right around the corner again. Quinn was on the ballot this year as well, only this time it was with Sam, her boyfriend, by her side. They had a pretty good chance considering both of them were so popular, and Sam was a cool enough dude that he was friends with everyone. Puck had tried hating him when he transferred to McKinley at the beginning of junior year, but he couldn't. The surfer wannabe had taken all of Puck's jokes and pranks in stride, and then legit landed some kiss-ass seats to a sold out concert in Toledo for all of them.
Now Sam was probably his best friend, which was only kind of gay to Puck.
"Can Artie fly?"
Puck turned at Brittany's insane question, his attention moving from his thoughts to the conversation in the corner. The blonde dancer looked more quizzical than usual, her eyes glazed over but trying to focus on Santana. The Latina was quietly explaining that Artie couldn't fly but rather made it down the stairs with the aide of Finn and Mike. To everyone else, Santana was abrasive at best, but she was always so gentle and patient with Brittany - except when they were making out; that shit got hot and heavy.
"I can fly!" Tina exclaimed, Puck's head whipping around to the other side of the room so quickly that he swore he heard his neck crack. The goth-looking chick leapt from the top of the couch, hands and legs spread eagle in preparation for her epic flight. Mike ruined everything by catching his girlfriend and securing her back on the ground, though. The Asian probably would have tripped over Mercedes (who was lying in the middle of the floor laughing) if he weren't so damn light on his feet.
"Yo, Mikey!" Puck ushered the limber dancer over, extending a shot out. "Drink this."
Whether it was because he'd been thirsty or because no one argued with Puck (except Rachel), Mike downed the shot without blinking. Puck figured he was still keeping an eye on Tina, who had thankfully moved to the safety of the floor beside Mercedes to giggle over whether the grammatically correct to say penises or peni. Matt was watching Mercedes with a similarly bemused expression that Puck had used for Rachel's behavior, and absently Puck wondered why their old pal never transferred back to McKinley to be closer to his girlfriend.
Then again, it wasn't like they didn't see each other all the time. The glee kids hung out at least once a week if not every day in one way or another. Almost all the guys were on the football team together, then basketball and then baseball. The girls were all split up on the social hierarchy at McKinley, but they still managed to be together all the time, too. Shopping, school projects, pillow fights … Puck wasn't really sure what they all did together. He kinda hoped Brittany and Santana convinced all the girls to play nice like they did, but he knew life wasn't that awesome.
"This party is shit. Let's play a game."
Despite Santana's comment coming from his left, Puck moved his gaze to the right, just in time to see Rachel crumble a little at the Latina's words. Her lip jutted out and quivered just a touch, enough to cause his feet to move in her direction, his arms enveloping her in comfort. She was so tiny that her nose hit the top of his pectoral, her head eventually turning to rest more comfortably against his chest while her arms came around his back. She rested each of her tiny hands on his shoulder blades, and Puck dipped his head down to plant a soft kiss onto her bare shoulder.
"She's just being a bitch, babe. Everyone's havin' fun."
The group had arrived at Rachel's empty house around ten and it was nearing midnight now. The Berry fathers had an extensive amount of alcohol in the cabinets, and Puck hazily remembered that he'd have to find a way to replenish all the booze the group had consumed come morning. With no one looking like they were planning on stopping anytime soon (everyone was going to stay the night either in the basement or in one of the guest rooms upstairs), he figured he was going to owe his of-age contact big for tonight.
"Promise?" she mumbled into his chest, breathing him in like she always did when she needed something to make her feel better.
They'd been dating for two years now, so he was pretty well versed in all things Rachel Berry. That wasn't to say he didn't manage to fuck everything up at least once a week, though, which either meant he was really stupid or really, really talented. But she stayed with him through it all, even at the very beginning when Quinn was pregnant with his kid. They hadn't been a couple then, though; they'd dated for a week and then broken up when they'd both realized they weren't together for the right reasons. She refused to let him brush her off afterward, and she was actually the only one who seemed to be on his side during the whole ordeal with Quinn.
It was that level of commitment and that kind of understanding that had Puck, quicker than he thought possible, fall for her (for the right reasons). And when she realized what she had hoped to get from Finn had been what she felt with Noah, the two of them got back together. A week later Quinn gave up their daughter for adoption, and even though it sort of freed him of certain obligations, it hadn't been the easiest thing for him and Rachel to overcome as a couple. The emotional side effects aside, they had to deal with the social stigma that came along with fathering a child at just sixteen years old. Puck's promiscuous past certainly wasn't a secret, but not everyone was as understanding as Rachel.
Then again, her dads had eventually come around. Puck had to be on his best behavior during temple and every single time they were at the Berry house, but they trusted him now. They knew that people made mistakes, and had told him that true men learn from them instead of denying they ever happened. That's what, they said, Finn did last year by dating Quinn again. Leroy and Hiram were convinced the tall teen was setting himself up for heartache, and they didn't even know the half of it. The saga between Sam, Quinn, and Finn was probably still going on (probably would well into college). Everyone was just glad they could all be in the same room together after everything.
"Cross my heart and shit," he responded, his one hand left on her lower back while the other trailed up, pushing her long brown hair to one side. His lips moved to the nape of her neck, pressing gentle caresses on the sensitive skin before his tongue peeked out. He teased her hairline for a few seconds, then skimmed across her neck once her head dropped back. With more room to work with, Puck moved from the left side of Rachel's neck, probing her pulse point before moving to the right and then up to the silky skin behind her ear. She shuddered against him as he pulled back with a wide smirk.
Rachel just rolled her eyes, shrugging out of his embrace and gliding to the other side of the room. He looked over his shoulder to watch the calculated sway of her hips, noting the way the backs of her knees were flushed. She was a pretty good actress who could hide her true feelings better than most if she needed to, but she couldn't disguise everything. They'd been screwing for more than a year and Puck knew how to tell when his girl was horny.
"I'll remind you, Santana, this was never meant to be a party." Rachel moved to the cabinet by the stage, pulling out the projector and snapping her fingers at Artie to hook it up. Even completely hammered the kid was a whiz with the IT stuff. "We're here to watch our performance at regionals so we can be better prepared for nationals next month."
"Rach, we're gonna be awesome."
Even though Finn and Santana were together in some weird science experiment of mating, Puck hated it when Finn shortened Rachel's name. It was like a subtle reminder that the two of them had once shared something that didn't have anything to do with Puck. And, in case you're new, Puck didn't like to share. Rachel was his girl and he liked that to be known regardless of the situation. Rachel said it was barbaric of him to act on his jealousy, but after four beers and a few shots, barbaric might be better than the next possible step: destructive drunk.
He took three long strides and planted himself on the floor in front of the wall where the video would play. He braced his hands on each of Rachel's hips, forcing her down into his lap. She giggled into his gentle but strong manhandling, her hands shaking on the remote to the projector as she hit the power button. Artie synced up her laptop to the device, and soon the unsteady but clear picture of the stage in Sandusky appeared on the wall.
"If we're going to do this," Santana began, stomping over to the table housing all the alcohol and grabbing all the bottles of liquor she could hold, "then let's do it my way."
"Santana," Rachel scolded instantly, disapproving of whatever idea was spinning inside the Latina's perfectly groomed head. Because of Puck's close friendship with the misunderstood girl, Rachel and Santana were forced to be together a lot more than they probably wanted. They'd gotten over their initial hatred of each other sometime last year, but even though they'd learned to tolerate one another their connection wouldn't ever be a real friendship.
"Lighten up, midget." Santana walked back to the table, this time grabbing enough shot glasses for everyone. As she passed them out to every member of the group, which now totaled fourteen thanks to Kurt's boyfriend, Blaine, transferring and then the addition of Matt tonight, her attention remained on Rachel. "What is something we're watching for?"
Rachel looked back at Puck, wondering if it was a trap, but he just shrugged. "Dance steps. We all need to be in sync during our dance numbers."
"Aight. Every time you see yourself mess up a dance step, take a shot." Santana smiled wickedly, then tossed an unopened can of beer to Finn. "You just take a sip of beer. We can't have anyone dying of alcohol poisoning."
The group laughed at Finn's expense, the tall teen used to jabs about his lack of skills on the dance floor. He wasn't the only one who got singled out, though, Santana making a rule that was clearly a shot at Blaine and his spotlight-stealing ways before going over the rest of the rules of the game. Every time someone was off key (Rachel would tell them), they had to take a shot. Every time someone messed up a transition, another shot. If you weren't singing and weren't smiling, shot.
"What about Rachel? She's not going to have to drink anything; she's perfect."
Rachel's tongue smacked against the roof of her mouth, her eyes shining with happy tears. "Thanks, 'Cedes!"
Santana didn't even pause to consider a flaw, instantly responding, "Every time you close you close your eyes while singing you have to take a shot."
"Ridiculous because we don't have that much alcohol," Kurt mumbled, him and Blaine sharing a quiet laugh despite Rachel's death glare.
"It's either that or you can drink every time you lift your arms up over your head when it isn't part of the routine."
Rachel frowned, her eyes moving to the makeshift screen and noticing just where Artie had paused it that she had her one hand high above her head in presentation of the group. She again looked back at Puck, who was trying desperately not to laugh at Santana's observations but failing miserably. Considering how badly he'd botched their last dance routine he already knew he was going to have to force down at least a handful of shots. No matter what, Rachel wasn't going to like him by the end of the night.
Looking back at Santana, Rachel finally reasoned, "How many times could I possibly close my eyes during our performance?"
"Famous last words," Sam joked before Artie pressed play.
The performance was approximately fifteen minutes long, half the allotted time they would have for nationals if they made it to the finals. That was, however, a big if because in that short amount of time the group managed to polish off all the leftover alcohol in the Berry house. Finn alone was forced to down two cans of beer in addition to all his shots, and he'd started taking pretty small sips after the first dance routine. He was just lucky the group's last number was a duet with him and Rachel where he didn't have to dance at all. Everyone else added an average of three shots each to their blood alcohol level, but by far the person who had to drink the most (after Finn) was Rachel.
"I only do it on a long, high note," she pouted quietly, her head resting heavily on Puck's shoulder.
"I know." He chuckled, turning to Sam with a wink. "Trust me, I know."
"You're a pig," Quinn responded, their eyes moving back to the screen.
The camera had filmed the announcement that New Directions had won the competition, and despite everyone cheering or celebrating in their own way, the group focused on Rachel. They really had no choice considering her father had zoomed in once standing up to applaud with the rest of the audience, but even if they did they wouldn't have been able to look away. After hugging Kurt and Mercedes in a weird three-way embrace, Rachel had jumped into Puck's arms and assaulted his mouth. The couple had kept their hands in relatively safe areas, but the heat of their kiss was almost tangible.
"A pig, but a good kisser," Rachel remarked dreamily, her lips sneaking underneath Puck's jaw line from her head's reclined position.
He tipped his head back a little to let her keep teasing him, but his tone was not nearly as accommodating. "Good?"
"Great," she amended quickly, giggling slightly. "The best."
Puck nodded triumphantly, his eyes scanning the group to make sure they all had heard. Everyone else was looking at Rachel, though, who when he turned back to face her didn't look nearly as happy as he did. It caused him immediate concern considering Rachel was usually a happy drunk; handsy, too, which was why he convinced her to drink more than she wanted to sometimes. Other times he refrained because it was a fine line between touchy-feely drunk and needs-carried-upstairs drunk. Rachel wasn't exactly a lightweight - two years of dating Puck will increase anyone's tolerance (both of booze and of his personality) – but she didn't know when to stop. It was actually a problem she faced in her life in general.
She glowered deeper, turning in his lap to face him more squarely. "And me?"
"Oh!" Puck's eyes widened. That shit should have been obvious; maybe he drank more than he thought. "You're the best, babe."
"Uh, objection!" Santana cut in before Rachel could interrogate Puck further. She stood faster than anyone that small and had consumed as much alcohol as she did should have been able to. "Just because you don't want to fight with Smurfette here doesn't mean you have to lie to the poor girl."
"I ain't lyin'." Puck rubbed Rachel's back soothingly, his eyes moving to Santana. "Sorry."
Santana looked outraged, her attention flying to Finn. "Tell the truth, Frankenteen, or I'll cut off your balls with an old razor blade." She crossed her arms tightly over her chest. "Who's better, me or the hobbit?"
Finn turned white as a ghost, his breathing shallow and sweat forming on his brow. The group watched in fascination as his eyes moved from Santana's to Rachel's to Puck's and then back again. His Adam's apple bobbed nervously, the first syllable coming out choked and dry.
"She's … you're … it's different."
Every other guy winced at Finn's response, watching Santana shift from pissed to nuclear in record time. She grabbed the closest thing to her, which sadly had been Puck's guitar, and lifted it up high in the air. Puck sprung from the floor, Rachel dropping off his lap rather unceremoniously, and stepped in the way of his two friends. He didn't really care if Santana killed Finn or not, but the guitar cost more than he made in a month working for Kurt's dad at the garage.
"Calm down, psycho." He ripped the instrument from her hands, placing it safely next to the pool table Leroy had gotten for Christmas the past year. "It's not like you suck. Rachel's just better."
"Yes!" Finn added. "You're way better than Quinn!"
Quinn's eyes narrowed. "Maybe it was you, asshole."
"No," Rachel defended quickly. "Finn is a lovely kisser."
Puck swirled around to face his girlfriend. "The fuck, B?"
"Yeah." Santana nodded mockingly. "Stings, doesn't it?"
"I'm just trying to alleviate the situation, Noah. We'll go in circles if we aren't being honest." Rachel turned her attention back on the head cheerleader even though she was addressing everyone. "Finn is very tender and gentle, but Noah is far superior because he possess the ability both to be sweet and to be completely uninhibited at any given moment – sometimes in the same moment."
"Puck being the best kisser is not the debate," Santana snarled. "Raise your hand if Puck is the best kisser."
Every single girl in the room raised her hand (some more reluctantly than others) and so did Kurt – Puck refused to play spin the bottled ever since that night. The men looked offended, but couldn't really do anything about it. Everyone knew Puck's reputation, and even though he'd been serious with Rachel for as long as he had, it didn't mean people forgot. If anything the monogamous relationship made it worse; Puck's marital status was practically announced over the PA system every morning at school just in case.
"I know this is the Jack talkin', but I kinda wanna kiss the dudes just so it is unanimous."
"I'd vote for you," Sam slurred, Quinn not even reprimanding him considering she'd just admitted that she'd choose Puck, too.
"Vote!" Santana suddenly shouted, stomping up the stairs without another word. Everyone looked around wondering if they were meant to follow, but then she reappeared in a flash. In her left hand was a notepad and random writing utensils and in her right were a handful of scarves. "We're putting this to a vote."
"I'm not old enough to vote," Brittany pouted.
"The guys will stand in a row, blindfolded," Santana ignored her friend, her words rushing together. "Each girl will kiss the row of men – no touching and no talking – and then the guys will rank the kiss."
"It will be on a scale of 1 to 10, and we'll do overall kiss, softness of lips, and technique."
"Why do you make me do your homework if you can exert so much effort on some dumb vote for best kisser?"
"Because she's busy doing my homework," Brittany answered Artie, moving to the table to help her friend make ballots.
"This is a waste of time," Puck reasoned, his arm sliding over Rachel's shoulders. "I've kissed every chick in this room and plenty outside of it." Rachel jabbed him in the ribs with her stupid pointy elbow and he amended his train of thought. "If I legit say Berry is gonna win, you should just take my word for it."
"We'll see," Santana brushed him off, moving a completed ballot to the done pile before starting on the next blank sheet.
"Speaking of which, how are we supposed to see the ballot if we are blindfolded?"
"I thought Asians were supposed to be smart?" Santana muttered. "After the girl has kissed all the guys in the line, she'll step back and then the guys will take off their blindfolds to cast their vote."
After a moment, Rachel spoke again. "What if I refuse?" Met with blank stares and the brewing of a patent Latin temper, she cleared her throat and tried to state her case more clearly. "I understand this is important to you, Santana, but I am willing to forfeit my alleged title if it means none of us have to participate in this ridiculous game you've concocted. I sincerely believe we all have just had a copious amount of alcoholic beverages and …"
"Are you even drunk?" Sam wobbled closer to the petite brunette.
"Santana's game has sobered me slightly," she explained to the lightweight before moving her attention back to the Latina. "Frankly, I'm uncomfortable with the lackadaisical attitude regarding fidelity and …"
"Cut the shit, fun size. It's just spin the bottle without the bottle." Santana lifted up the completed ballots in celebration. "Men, on the line."
"Do Blaine and Kurt count or …"
Rachel smacked Puck in the arm, then came to her friends' defense. "If Santana is on the girls' side, then Blaine and Kurt go to the boys'."
"Oh, snap." Artie chuckled, wheeling to where the other guys were congregating.
Brittany kissed him on the cheek, tying a blindfold over his eyes like the other girls were doing for the boys. Once everyone was finished, Santana handed each of them a ballot and a pen, making sure to put one in each hand so no one would try to identify the kisser by touch. Just in case, though, she went over the rules one more time, adding a few new ones for good measure – tongue was evidently encouraged.
Tina was picked to be the first kisser, and she started on the left. She put her arms behind her back just so she wouldn't accidentally touch any of the boys (specifically Mike). Taking a quick breath, she leaned forward and pressed her lips against Sam's, holding the kiss for the pre-designated ten seconds before releasing him and moving on to the next boy. When she was done, she stepped back toward the girls, wiped her lips self-consciously, and nodded to Santana.
"OK, boys. Take off the blindfold and rate kisser number one!"
The game continued on without mishap, excluding Brittany and Artie's kiss extending beyond ten seconds and Mercedes refusing to give anything more than a quick peck to anyone but Matt. Quinn was surprisingly competitive, clearly trying to outshine the other girls. Santana wasn't going to be outdone, though, her embraces long and passionate even though she'd lost the coveted final spot to Rachel. The petite brunette, on the other hand, simply kept to the rules of the game, placing tender kisses on the lips of everyone in line without caring if she won or lost.
It was a bit awkward kissing Finn again after so long, but it helped that Puck was blindfolded. Still, she could feel the tension radiating off him when she stepped away from Finn and in front of him. She fought the urge to reach out and soothe Puck's worries, but instead used her lips. Rachel kissed him harder and deeper than any of the other suitors, and when she pulled back and saw his lazy smirk take shape she knew he felt better.
"Alright, remove the blindfolds and rank the last kisser. Once you're done, hand your ballot to Mercedes because apparently I can't be trusted." Santana moved past each boy, grabbing the scarves from their grips. "And Trouty Mouth? There's some mouthwash in the upstairs bathroom. Do us all a favor."
"I'll go with you," Kurt said, leading the stumbling blonde. "I need to get the lady taste out of my mouth."
"There's somethin' 'Tana's never said.'
"You neither, Puckerman," Santana volleyed back, walking over to Mercedes was counting the votes. "So what's the verdict, Aunt Jemima?"
"Don't get all diva on me." Mercedes looked up from where she was totaling the numbers, the calculations taking a little longer than usual considering she was three sheets to the wind. "That's my job."
"Just tell her so we can all move on."
Mercedes frowned at Quinn's words, holding the paper out in presentation. "I don't think we'll be moving on any time soon."
"She won?" Santana shrieked, the paper crumbling tightly in her firm grip. "How did she win?"
"I'm not a math whiz, but she got almost a perfect score. You …"
"… not so much," Tina filled in, looking over Santana's shoulder at the paper. "Neat. I got fourth!"
"You were perfect to me, sweetie."
Just as everyone was swooning and moving to their significant other, Santana grabbed Rachel's arm and twirled her around. She placed both of her hands on Rachel's cheeks and leaned forward, grasping the tiny brunette's lips with hers. It took Rachel a few seconds to realize what was happening, but when she did she pulled back on a gasp and took a step back from the Latina.
Slowly, Santana's eyes fluttered open, her mouth slightly ajar before she slid her tongue over her lips. "Holy shit."
"Toldja." Puck smirked, sliding his arm over Rachel's shoulders and curling her into him so he could slant his lips over hers for a quick but powerful embrace. "The best."
"Thank you, Noah," Rachel responded bashfully.
"Berry … I … you … we …" Santana shook her head, still looking slightly dazed (and not because of the alcohol). "Let's be friends."
Rachel lifted one of her eyebrows, looking up at Puck in amusement before turning her attention back on Santana. "Thank you, but I'm perfectly happy with our relationship as it stands."
"Wow, she's even great at rejecting people," Blaine remarked.
"Just ask Finn," Kurt added.
"Oh, snap," Artie repeated, causing everyone to laugh some more.
"Ya know," Puck began, mischief in his tone. "Berry is legit the best in the sack, too."
"Noah!" Rachel reprimanded immediately.
Her admonishment was cut short, however, when Sam's booming voice cut through everyone else's laughter, especially Puck's. "Let's put it to a vote!"