Wow! I was so amazed with the response to this story. I wasn't expecting so many people to review, favourite and alert. Thank you!
I hope that the second half is as good as the first.
She thinks that she might just about cry. How dare she ruin this!
It's their thing; it always has been and it always will be. So why is he bringing her? Ellie doesn't say a word on the walk to the bowling alley because she's still angry. No, she's furious.
Ever since she was little, they've come here weekly without fail. Just the two of them. It's their family thing, as her daddy has said so himself many times. That's what he'd told her when she wanted to invite a friend from school. "It's just for me and my favorite girl," he'd smiled, ruffling her hair.
So what does this mean? Is she not his favourite girl anymore?
She glances towards Rachel who is holding his hand, swinging it gently back and forth. She holds his other hand, her small one almost completely covered by his large fingers.
"Hey, are you alright Ellie?" Finn smiles down at her, "I can normally never keep you quiet when we go bowling."
"I'm fine daddy," she replies, looking at the ground. She doesn't notice the look that the two adults share afterwards.
He frowns, before an idea pops inside his head. He nudges the girl slightly, "come on, we're almost there. I'll race you."
She grins now, running off before he says go.
"Hey, you're cheating!" he shouts after her, his longer legs making it easier to catch up.
"No," she corrects, "I'm winning."
Finn laughs, scooping her up in his arms before she reached the door. "Now you're not," he says smugly.
She playfully hits his chest and then crosses her arms, "that's not fair."
"Oh," he raises an eyebrow, "but you going before I say so is?"
"Rachel?" he turns to the woman for backup.
She merely shrugs, "your height gives you an unfair advantage anyway." Ellie sticks her tongue out at him when his face falls at her words.
"See daddy?" she says stubbornly, "so I win."
"Okay, okay," he holds his hands up in defeat, "now let's go in."
It turns out that Rachel is really, really bad at bowling. Ellie doesn't even bother to stifle her laughs when most of her attempts end with the ball in the gutter. And Finn is laughing right alongside her.
Finally, it is Rachel's last turn and she gives out a small huff as she takes the ball.
"Rach, c'mere," Finn motions, "let me help you." He wraps his arms around her as he tries to line up the ball. "You have a natural curve when you throw it, so aim a little to the left." His hands pull away, lingering on her waist for a while.
"Okay," she nods, her eyes stuck on the pins. They watch as she bowls it, Rachel covering her eyes instantly so that she can't see what happens.
There's a tense moment when it almost goes toward the gutter, but it curves quickly afterwards and goes straight for the middle, knocking down the majority of the pins. Ellie watches in disbelief as the last one wobbles uncertainly before toppling over.
"No way," she says to herself. Is this the same woman that she's just watched throw the ball into the wrong lane?
"You did it!" Finn jumps up from the seat and pulls a slightly bouncy Rachel into his arms. He lifts her up, holding her close to his chest as they stare into each other's eyes. Finally, she leans forward for a kiss.
Ellie gags, "oh God." She picks up her grape slushee and takes a few sips. Looking down, she notices that her shoelace is untied and slowly makes her way over to Finn. "Daddy, can you tie my sho-" She doesn't get a chance to finish the sentence as she trips up on said shoelace and the slushee in her hand spills all over Rachel. Ellie herself takes a tumble to the floor, banging her knee against the wood.
Glancing up, she sees her father split between the two girls, trying to figure out who needs his help the most. Rachel is kind of stood there with a shocked expression, so he quickly picks up Ellie and gently rubs her knee. He picks her up before standing next to Rachel, whose wiping the purple ice from her face.
"Rach, I'm so sorry," he panics, "Are you okay?"
"It's fine. It was an accident," she says, but certainly doesn't sound fine. Ellie feels guilty as she notices her new top, which she'd bragged about for a good five minutes on the way here, has got most of the damage. She can already see the purple stain setting in and looks away, ashamed.
Rachel's smile falters, "I'm just going to go to the bathroom to clean up a little."
Worry is swimming through Finn's brown eyes. "Rache-"
"I'm fine," she repeats, "I'll be five minutes."
As soon as she's gone, Finn sits Ellie down on the seat, checking out her knee. "Does it hurt sweetheart?"
She shakes her head. It's really just a dull ache. "Daddy, I didn't mean to spill that on Rachel. I-I tripped." Even if she doesn't like Rachel, it doesn't mean that that should have happened to her. Maybe she won't want to come bowling with them again. This may be a blessing in disguise.
"I know," he pulls her into a tight hug, quickly glancing over to the bathroom door to see if Rachel has come out yet. He begins to tie her shoelace. "Before there are any more accidents," he laughs nervously to himself.
It's more like fifteen minutes later when Rachel finally re-emerges. Finn lets out a low whistle, eyeing her up with what only can be described as hunger. Ellie even notices that he licks his lips. She goes to look at Rachel herself, though she doesn't understand what the big deal is.
She's taken off her shirt, leaving on a small tank top, one that keeps riding up and revealing a small patch of skin on her stomach. Her hair, which was dripping with slushee, has presumably been rinsed out and dried and is now flowing down her back and she's reapplied her make-up.
Ellie frowns at the way that Finn is looking at her.
"Hey," she says quietly when she arrives back at their lane, sweeping a hand through her hair, "do I look alright?"
"Alright?" Finn questions with shock. "You look…" he gives Ellie a side glance before saying, "really pretty."
Rachel laughs before sitting down next to Ellie on the bench. "How's your knee?" she asks with concern.
"It's just a little sore," she looks down guiltily, wishing that she didn't feel so bad for doing that to Rachel. "I'm sorry for…not being more careful."
She shakes her head instantly, "don't worry about it. I've had worse."
She isn't given a chance to dwell on that as Finn pats his belly and says, "who's hungry then?"
Rachel stays over that night. Well, really it's the third night in a row. And Ellie realizes that the house is starting to smell like her, all flowery and girly. She went into her daddy's bedroom yesterday and was almost suffocated by the sweet smell. This is the room that used to smell of sweaty socks and old sandwiches.
To make things worse, the waiter at the restaurant they went to called Rachel her mom. That is the second time it's happened and she is annoyed. Why does everyone think that Rachel is her mom? As she thinks about it, she realizes that it's going to happen more and more. She's never met her mom, nor does she think she ever will but she's not about to let Rachel take her place.
For instance, she's a nightmare about cleanliness. Everything suddenly has a place. She even tries to get Ellie to join in with the cleaning, but she quickly runs out to the garden with the excuse of being "too warm inside".
The funny thing is Finn doesn't seem to mind at all. She remembers when they used to make fun about how girly and clean Uncle Kurt's house was but now, theirs is even worse.
She tries to test Rachel's patience with it all: leaving all her toys out; not bothering to do any of the dishes; and maybe, one or twice, purposefully getting muddy footprints throughout the entire house, but the woman has yet to crack.
To make things worse, her daddy drops a bombshell on her that night.
Rachel is in the kitchen making some dinner when he ushers her over for a talk.
"You're going where?" she demands to know.
"Shush," he tries to calm her, hugging her a little tighter, "I'm going to Lima for a few days with Rachel."
Her head is spinning, "why? What is there in Lima that there isn't here?" And then she asks the most important question, "and why aren't you taking me?"
He looks guilty for a second. "Ellie, baby, I'm going to be gone for four days and you get to stay with you Uncle Kurt."
"But I want to stay with you!" she whines.
With a sigh, he says, "you've got school. I can't let you miss that."
"You have work," she shoots back.
"They're giving me the week off," he explains, "and I'll be back before you know it. You'll be too busy having lots of fun."
She huffs, hoping that he can't see how much she wants to cry. "Why is Rachel going with you?"
"She's, um…" he clears his throat, "I'm meeting her dads."
Ellie freezes, "Y-you are?"
He nods, hesitant, "they invited us up to go this week, but I told them that you have school and they couldn't get any other time off from their work, so me and Rachel are going to go up instead and you can come the next time."
He's lying. He has to be.
This is Rachel: she's trying to steal her daddy away from her and, even worst, she's succeeding. And she can do even more damage while she's alone with him for four whole days. What is she going to do?
"It's not fair," she says more to herself.
Just as he opens his mouth to speak, Rachel's voice calls through the slightly ajar door. "Dinner's ready!"
She stares at him briefly. "I'm not staying at Uncle Kurt's!" And then she spins on her heel into the dining room, hearing Finn's exasperated sigh in the distance.
She doesn't get to argue her point after that as, every time she brings it up, Finn hushes her. Rachel at least has the decency to look sad about not taking her with them, but she knows that it's just an act. It's probably all her idea.
In the morning, after Rachel arrives, she slips away from the table at breakfast to get her things. Upon seeing Rachel's travelling case, she feels a tug of curiosity and somehow ends up looking through it. She can't even stop herself, but she doesn't want to, either.
Every few seconds she looks to the closed door in hope that nobody is coming through them. All she hears is Rachel's loud laughs.
Her small fingers diligently search through the layers of clothes, finding other things among them. Nothing is really of any use to her, especially since she can't break them up with any of Rachel's things.
She frowns when she finds a packet of pills at the bottom of the case. What could Rachel need them for? Is she sick? Some of them have already been taken. Peering closely, she notices that the days of the week are written above each of the individual pills, and the one for that day hasn't been taken.
Suddenly an idea pops into her head. Rachel obviously needs the pills. If she takes them, then she and Finn will have to come back from Lima.
With a wicked grin, she places them in her front pocket and zips up the case once more, returning it to how it was previously placed.
In perfect timing, Finn walks out of the kitchen just as she takes a step back from it and she instantly pretends that she is looking for her coat in the hall.
"Hey squirt," he smiles, "We'll be going in a few minutes. We'll drop you off at school first, so we'll say goodbye there."
She only nods, putting on her coat and running upstairs to get her school bag.
When she returns to the hall again, she sees Finn and Rachel in the middle of a kiss. Rachel's wearing a red raincoat, a white beret perched on her head. She makes a point to avoid the woman's gaze and opens the front door before heading down the garden path. A cab is already waiting outside and she climbs into the back. Finn and Rachel follow behind, Finn carrying both of their cases while she locks the front door.
Soon she finds herself between the two of them in an uncomfortable car ride.
Rachel is checking through her handbag, making sure that she has all the appropriate things. "Do you have your ticket?" she asks Finn for the hundredth time.
"Yes," he sighs, "just calm down Rach. Everything's fine. Stop panicking."
She nods, though she looks a little tenser afterwards. Ellie thinks that maybe those pills make her less crazy and almost regrets taking them.
"I expect you to behave for Uncle Kurt," Finn tells her.
"Yes daddy," she replied in a monotonous tone, clutching her bag a little tighter.
It's a little awkward as they say goodbye. Finn, of course, spends most of the time hugging her and peppering her face with kisses. She also receives a tight hug from Rachel who tells her that she's sorry she can't come with them. She must be a good actress because Ellie almost believes her.
"Why have you been so miserable?" Blaine asks her on the third night of staying at Uncle Kurt's.
She sighs, pushing a piece of broccoli around her plate. "Nothing."
He doesn't take her simple answer, "you miss your dad, right?"
If only he knew she thinks, but silently nods.
"Hey, don't worry," Blaine grins, "He'll be back tomorrow and then you can spend all your time with him."
Her frown is deeper than ever because she is sure that, when her daddy gets back, he'll be spending all his time with Rachel despite having spent the majority of the week alone with her. Her plan to make them come back hasn't even worked. The pills mustn't have been important enough for anything because Rachel seemed to be doing just fine without them.
Ellie had thrown them away as soon as she got into Uncle Kurt's home.
She sighs once more and tries to eat something, though she isn't in the least hungry.
"Ellie!" Uncle Kurt calls, walking into the room, "you dad's on the phone."
Her mood lifts slightly and she runs toward her Uncle, grabbing the phone off him. Her daddy has been calling every night at around the same time to talk to her and. At least she knows that he hadn't completely forgotten her.
"Hi daddy!" she says breathlessly.
"Hey baby," he replies, "How are you?"
She returns to her seat, "I'm okay. Blaine took me to the park today."
"He did," he sounds interested, "what did you play on?"
"Everything," she smiles absently, "and then he bought me two snow cones. Two!"
Finn laughs on the other end, "that's great sweetie." He pauses, clearing his throat.
"Are you alright daddy?" she frowns.
"Ellie, listen. My stay is gonna be a little longer than expected."
Her mouth runs dry. "What?"
"It's only a couple more days," he says quickly, "and when we get back we can do anything you want."
She doesn't reply, she can't find any words. Why does he want to stay for longer? Does he know that she misses him? Tears are prickling in her eyes.
"Ellie?" he questions.
"I-I should go," she says, "it's almost time for bed and Uncle Kurt will get angry if I don't go soon."
"Ellie, listen, I'll be back on Saturday morning. I promise."
She sighs, wiping at her eyes. "Okay."
"Is that alright?" he asks.
No, no it isn't alright at all! It's the complete opposite. Rachel is doing it again. She's stealing him. "It's fine daddy."
"I'll take you to get a big ice cream and you can have whatever you want on it," he tells her. "Just you and me." And probably Rachel, she thinks.
"Okay," she fakes a yawn, "I'm tired daddy. I should go to bed."
"I love you sweetheart. So, so much."
"I love you too daddy," she says, "goodnight."
"Sleep well baby. Will you put Uncle Kurt on for me?"
"Yes," her voice is quiet and she silently hands over the phone before rushing up to her room. She feels Uncle Kurt's and Blaine eyes on her the whole time.
She hugs her friend Veronica tightly as they say their goodbyes. It's the weekend after Finn and Rachel's trip and, due to Finn's overwhelming guilt, she's been able to get nearly anything off her desperate father, including her first ever sleepover.
He's always been sceptical about it, but he couldn't argue when she practically demanded it. And thankful, she's only seen Rachel for about half an hour over the full twenty four hours, which is all good. She's only caught a glimpse of her before she'd gone into her daddy's room and she'd made them breakfast that morning, then she'd gone shopping.
Just as she opens the door, Rachel steps in with a few bags in her hands. "Oh thanks," she smiles, walking straight past them into the kitchen.
Finn sits on the sofa, reading the paper with little interest.
"Thank you for letting me stay at your house Mr Hudson," Veronica says politely when she sees her mom pull up. She turns to Ellie, hugging her again, "says thanks to your mom for me too, okay?"
It repeats itself over and over.
Mom. Mom. Mom.
She is bombarded by a mixture of emotions. First and foremost is anger.
She's had enough of this.
"She's not my mom!" she almost screams, her stomach dropping when she sees Veronica's panic stricken face.
"Watch your tone!" Finn tells her immediately, his expression cross though she can see a little bit of hurt.
Veronica silently steps backwards out of the house, then mutters a quiet "see you tomorrow" and is getting in the car seconds later. No one notices as they stare at each other intensely. Finn is shocked: he's never heard her shout like that and it takes him by surprise.
Ellie is still seething inside. "But she isn't my mom," she repeats, her volume the same as before, "and I'm sick of people thinking that she is. And it's not fair." She stomps her foot, "she isn't!"
"You've made your point," he says with a stony expression.
"You lied!" she yells through teary eyes, "you promised me." She takes off the locket that he gave her for her birthday, "when you gave me this you said it will be just you and me forever, and you lied."
He stands up, trying to take a step toward her but she quickly retreats. "And now," she continues, "you love Rachel more than you love me! It's not fair."
"Ellie, I love you more than anything in the world," he tells her, looking heartbroken.
"She's taking you away from me!" she cries out, "and you're just letting her."
Finn shakes his head, "of course she isn't."
"You don't play with me anymore," she whimpers, "and whenever we go out you always take her too. We used to do everything together…alone."
"But I don't want them to change!" she screams, "I just want my daddy. A daddy who doesn't leave me alone for a full week. One that actually wants to spend time with me. One that loves me."
His eyes go wide. "Hey! Don't you ever say that I don't love you. You know that's not true."
She nods because she believes him. "Why do you love her more than me?"
"It's not the same anymore," she looks to the ground, "Rachel changed things. I don't like it."
"She's not to blame for this Ellie," he says softly.
She stomps her foot again to get his attention and throws down the locket too, stamping on that, "She is daddy!" her bottom lip quivers, "she's horrible and wicked and…and I hate her! She ruined everything."
He tries to come near her again but she shoots him a look and he stops dead in his tracks. "I hate her," she says again, "I hate her. I hate her. I hate her."
She doesn't know why she says it. She doesn't hate Rachel and she knows that she'll never be able to hate her. Ellie is just jealous of her: why does she get to spend so much time with Finn when she doesn't?
"Stop it!" he shouts at her for the first time ever.
Her mouth clamps shut and she lets the tears fall silently. She can't do this and she knows she can't. She doesn't want to argue with her daddy, to make him dislike her, but it has all just been kept concealed for so long that those feelings exploded.
Shaking her head, she runs upstairs leaving Finn wondering what the hell just happened.
He hears the kitchen door open and footsteps behind him.
"I-I should go."
He knows that she heard. Oh God, how could he let this happen?
"Rach," he starts, turning around to meet her sad face, "Plea-"
She shakes her head adamantly, "go and talk to Ellie. She's your daughter." She begins to walk away, "I'll call you, okay?" She quickly wipes at her eyes.
She's halfway out of the door when he says, "I'm sorry Rachel."
Her eyes meet his, "me too."
Ellie sits in her room crying for what feels like hours. She's hurt her daddy and she feels terrible about it. She wants to go and apologize, but her legs feel like jelly and all her energy has gone into the tears.
She reaches for her locket when she realizes that she broke it and then cries even harder.
A knock on the door startles her and she stares at it, unable to form any words.
Eventually, Finn walks in.
"Hey Ellie," he says softly, his face falling slightly when he sees her, "can I come in?"
She nods before burying her face in her pillow once more.
He's at her side in an instant, holding her close to him. "Shhh," he rubs her back, "don't cry." To be honest, he's never been so good at consoling her when she was like this and it still kinda freaks him out how she'd shouted. She is growing up so quickly.
"I'm sorry daddy," she mumbles into his shirt, which is no doubt covered in tears and snot.
"For what?" he asks.
She looks up at him with large, upset eyes, "for saying all those things. I didn't mean to hurt anyone."
"I know," he tells her, "of course you didn't." He sighs, "But I should be apologizing. Ellie, sweetie, I've been so stupid."
Ellie wipes her nose with her sleeve, sniffling loudly. "Why?"
Finn sets her down next to him, taking hold of her hand. "I never even spoke to you about my dating. Or how you felt about it." When she doesn't speak, he continues, "and I should have. It was so easier when you were little because you didn't know what was going on but sometimes… I just forget how much you've grown. You have feelings and you understand so much more than you used to."
"I wanted to talk to you, but you were always with Rachel and then I told Uncle Kurt and he told me not to worry because you'd break up with her…but you didn't. He lied. He lied like you lied."
"I'm so, so sorry," he says again, his eyes brimming with fresh tears. Ellie has never seen her daddy cry in front of her before and it breaks her heart. "I did this all wrong."
She brings her knees up to her chest and hugs them tightly. In small voice, she asks, "what do you mean?"
"I…I didn't…" he searches for words, "I should have introduced you properly. I mean, I wasn't even there when you met her. And I just assumed that you were okay with everything when you aren't. Of course you aren't…" Finn shakes his head, "God, how did I mess up so bad?"
She can't give him an answer.
Finn drops his head in defeat, "will you ever forgive me?"
"No," he frowns, "I just completely ignored your feelings. I ignored you. You must hate me."
"I-I could never hate you."
He pulls her into a tight hug, squeezing her tiny body as if afraid that she'll pull away. "I love you so much Ellie. I'm going to make it up to you. First rule, communication. I want to know how you feel about everything. That's my problem. I don't talk to you about things. I just don't think about it 'cause I'm a guy and stuff, so it never really occurs to me, but you're not a guy. And it's going to get harder the older you get."
She nods, though he can't see as she's leaning into her chest.
After a few minutes of silence, he speaks again.
"And honestly, I don't think that you're ready for me to be seeing someone else," he frowns, "and it would be unfair for me to force you into anything."
She nods, wishing that she could form sentences right now.
With a smile, he kisses her forehead lovingly, "I wished that I knew about how you felt sooner. Before…"
He sighs, "Before I fell in love."
"Oh," she turns away guiltily.
"Hey, hey," he says, "don't blame yourself. It was me, all me. I was just so caught up in it all. I honestly didn't expect anything to come out of the first date."
"Really?" she asks quietly.
Finn nods, "love surprises you, but I guess you'll find that out when you're older." He's thoughtful for a few minutes before he peers down at her and gives a small smile, "anyway, are you okay?"
"Yes," she lies. She still feels so guilty, especially when she looks at Finn.
"And, who knows, maybe in a few years I'll be able to start dating again?" he kisses her cheek, "because you're more important to me than any woman on Earth, understand?"
"Yes," her voice is quiet.
"Good," he says instantly, "how about we go and play some basketball? Make up for lost time."
Ellie quickly agrees yet she can't help but feel like her daddy is trying to hide his own feelings. She should know: she's been doing it for months. His smiles don't always meet his eyes and he doesn't mention Rachel for the entire day.
The days regress to what they had been before they'd met Rachel, although Finn sometimes still finds reasons not to play with her. Occasionally, she spies him sitting in the garden, sitting there for hours, and just thinking. His expression is always sad.
When she asks him about it, he plants on a huge fake smile and distracts her with something. She doesn't like it one bit.
"Will you play basketball with me?" she asks, sitting on the couch next to him with the ball in her hands.
Finn snaps out of his silent mood and stares down at her. His eyes are tired and his whole appearance dishevelled. "Maybe later," he says so quietly she can barely hear it.
"Well then, how about you help me color?"
He shakes his head once more, "I'm not really in a coloring mood."
"Then we cou-"
"Ellie," he interrupts, "Sweetie, can I just have a little time to myself? Why don't you go and play with George next door?"
She nods, feeling the disappointment sink in quickly. "O-okay daddy. Love you."
It takes him a little longer to reply, "Love you too honey."
So she spends the majority of the day at her neighbors, trying to get rid of the nagging feeling in the back of her mind. She and George make mud castles in the back until Mrs Schuester almost has a heart attack from seeing them so dirty. George is immediately brought in and she sadly marches back into her own house.
It's quiet as she steps through the back door.
The living room is dark and she wonders how long she's spent next door. Looking down at herself, she notices her muddy knees and hands. Her dad will probably have to run a bath for her. She goes to find him, frowning when she sees him asleep on the sofa.
"Daddy," she says, walking up to him.
There are some empty bottles on the table beside him and a few crushed cans. With a deep frown setting in, she shakes his limp body, "daddy wake up."
His breathing is heavy and she can smell something funny on his breathe.
"Daddy," her voice is tiny, scared. She pokes his chest repeatedly. "Stop pretending," she says, hoping that he's just playing a game with her.
She pushes him again, much harder, before shouting, "Wake up, wake up!" He just groans like he's in pain, but his eyes don't open.
She does this only thing that she can think of; she calls Uncle Kurt.
"Uncle Kurt," she cries into the line, "Daddy won't wake up. I told him to but he won't get up."
"What do you mean?" she can hear the fear in his voice.
Ellie chokes back the tears, "he's just lying on the couch and I can't wake him up and his breath smells really weird."
Uncle Kurt sighs loudly, "Ellie, honey. I know what your silly daddy's gone and done. I'm on my way now. You stay with him Ellie and you keep him safe, okay?"
She nods to herself, "okay."
"Everything's going to be fine," he reassures her before he hangs up.
When she opens the door for him just over five minutes later, he immediately wraps her up in his arms and she can see Blaine following him into the house. "I'm so, so sorry that you had to see this," he tells her, whispering, "you did the right thing by calling me."
He then passes her to Blaine and his face changes to one of fury. He storms into the kitchen, returning with a large bowl full of something. She flinches when he tips said bowl over the sleeping Finn and she then sees the water fly out, drenching her father and the couch.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Kurt seethes, taking hold of one of the empty bottles. "Drinking!" His voice is abnormally high, "you have a seven year old daughter!"
Finn, now that he's over the shock of the icy, cold water, at least has the decency to look ashamed of himself.
"Blaine," Kurt glances over to them, "go and put Ellie in the car. I'll be out in a few minutes." The man nods, taking away the scared child, so that she doesn't have to see Kurt smack Finn.
"Where are you taking her?" Finn asks, recoiling from his brother.
The man shakes his head, eyes narrowed, "to my house! You're in no state to be looking after a child. You can't even look after yourself. What if I hadn't been there to answer the phone? What if she'd had to call the ambulance service Finn?"
"I don't know!" he growls in frustration, "I didn't even realize I'd had so much!" He unsteadily stands up, "I just wanted to forget about it all and one drink turned into…" his body slumps, head in hands, "I'm such a failure. Ellie's going to think I'm the worst father ever."
Kurt has nothing to say to this, only raises his eyebrow.
Still thinking, Finn tries to explain his actions, "I'm just so depressed about this Rachel thing. It was all so perfect before…"
His brother looks at his sympathetically, "what's happened has happened Finn. You have a daughter that you need to take care of." He takes a step forward, placing his hand on Finn's shoulder, "I'll take her tonight and then you've got to step up to the mark again. You used to be so good with her. Don't let that change."
He begins to walks towards the door when hearts Finn call his name.
"Tell Ellie that I love her," he says, "please."
Kurt nods, "I'll call you before I bring her back."
His face crumples, but he doesn't argue.
And then Kurt leaves.
"Daddy's sad, isn't he?" Ellie asks as Uncle Kurt tucks her into bed.
He sighs, sitting next to her on the mattress. "He's acting the way he is because he misses Rachel," he explains. She knows that Kurt's heard about what she'd said about Rachel and he's been very good at avoiding her altogether in conversation. "He's hurting right now."
"I know," she agrees with a small shrug, "why?"
"Because he loves her," Uncle Kurt replies with the smallest of smiles, "it's like he loves you and he misses you when you're not around."
"I don't think he does," she says quietly.
Uncle Kurt lets out a tiny gasp, "oh, of course he does. You're the most important thing in the world to him."
She hesitates, "he loves Rachel more than me."
"Is that what you really think?" he frowns, "is that why you said all those things about her? That you… hate her."
Ellie sighs, fidgeting with the sleeve of her shirt. "I don't hate Rachel," she finally says, "I just wanted daddy to spend more time with me. He was with her all the time. I thought that I was – "
"Losing him," Uncle Kurt finishes with a knowing smile.
"How did you know?" she stares up at him in awe.
He shifts on the bed to get a little more comfortable, "let me tell you a story."
"What about?" she asks curiously.
"Listen," he smiles, "and then maybe you'll understand." She nods and he begins without delay, "When I was growing up, it was just me and my dad. My mom died when I was a kid, so we only ever had each other and I adjusted to that. I liked that. We did lots of things together and it was fun and we were so close."
She frowns, "what happened?"
"Well, my dad met a woman." As he says it, she feels her stomach drop. "They hit it off straight away. They were just two lonely people who needed a bit of love." He wraps his arm around her, pulling her against him, "now, this woman had a son. I thought that it was going to be great because I liked him and we got along well enough."
"It wasn't, was it?" she mumbles.
"My dad started taking her son out to places. Football games. A camping trip. He even started letting him help with the mechanic store and that was something that only I did for my dad. I started to get jealous of him and I hated that my dad liked to spend time with him so much."
This story sounds all too familiar for Ellie and she presses her face into Uncle Kurt, closing her eyes.
"But," Uncle Kurt begins, "I realized something. My daddy was happy. I mean, he'd always been happy enough with just the two of us, but he became happy and lively and he was always smiling. I understood that, by sharing him with these two people, it was making him happier. I just…I didn't want to have to share him because he'd always been mine."
She hears sniffling and looks up to see her Uncle Kurt crying. "And when I stopped letting the jealousy get to me," he ruffles her hair, "I became happier too, because I'd gained a brother and a mom. We were a family.
"I know exactly how you feel," he looks straight into her eyes, "and it's horrible, that jealousy, because it doesn't make you realize how lucky you actually are, to have so many people love you. I used to just have my dad, but then suddenly two more people loved me."
He leans closer, "and can I tell you a secret?"
She nods slowly.
"Even if you didn't like Rachel that much, I think you should know that she loved you," he smiles, "I didn't believe it at first, but then I'd just see the way she looked at you. She really did." Uncle Kurt looks off into the distance before saying, "I remember when she and your dad were going to visit her dads and she begged and begged your dad to take you. She almost cried when he said no." He lets out a small laugh.
Thinking about it, Rachel was always so warm towards her. She just assumed that she was always like that.
"Why didn't my daddy take me?" she questions, hoping that Uncle Kurt would have the answer.
"I think that he, in his own stupid way, thought that he was protecting you. Maybe he didn't want you to feel like things were moving too fast," he says, "but it's clear that he did a bad job of that. He may have been overthinking it, which of course leads to a major problem for your dad.
"Anyway," Uncle Kurt says, "that doesn't matter now, does it? All that matters is keeping your daddy happy and you happy too."
Ellie nods again, wiping at her eyes to prevent any tears. "Can I tell you a secret?"
"Of course," he smiles.
She takes a deep breathe, "I actually sort of liked Rachel." Ellie looks everywhere but at Uncle Kurt, "she was really nice and kind and pretty. When she came bowling with us, I fell over and dropped my drink on her and she asked me if I was okay."
"So why," he pauses, "may I ask, did you get so upset with your dad that day? When Rachel called me she was a mess."
She feels so, so guilty and she wishes that it would all just go away. At least she can be honest with her Uncle Kurt. "I like Rachel," she states again, just so he knows, "but my friend thought that she was my mom and, I don't know why, but it upsets me when people think so. Well, not so much anymore, but…" She sighs and shakes her head, "I have a mom somewhere and I don't know how I'd feel replacing her."
"Ahh, I've been through this, too," he tells her.
It's making her feel better now that somebody understands.
"But I'm just going to give you the shortened version because it's going way over your bedtime."
"Okay," she gives him a small smile, letting it increase when he takes hold of her hand.
"Don't think that you're replacing your mom. Mom isn't the name of the woman who gave birth to you. It's the name that you call the woman who loves you unconditionally, whether you're their child or not. And you know what; you can always have more than one mom in your life."
She's thoughtful for a second, "do you think that Rachel would have made a good mom?"
Uncle Kurt tenses up a little, but he answers nonetheless. "Yes, I think she would have."
As she thinks about it more, she realizes that Uncle Kurt is probably right. He's pretty much always right.
"Anyway," he smiles, "time for bed."
He kisses her goodnight and tucks the cover up to her neck. "Night," she says, plucking up the courage to ask one more question, "do you think there's still a chance that my daddy and Rachel will date again?"
"You did hurt her very much with what you said," he says honestly and all she can do is nod because she knows that she did. Rachel is the type of person that gets overemotional about these types of things. "But it may work itself out," he carries on, "after all, he was going to ask her to marry him."
"He was?" she asks, not sure whether the news saddens her or not.
Uncle Kurt nods, "but only time can tell sweetie. We'll be there for him though, won't we?"
"Yes," she says indefinitely, "of course."
"Sweet dreams Ellie," he switches off the light and closes the door.
Her head is swimming with new information, especially her newfound sympathy for Rachel. Or maybe it's been there for a while…
Anyway, she knows what she has to do.
She has to make her daddy happy again and the only way to do that is to get Rachel to come back so that he can purpose.
She falls asleep thinking of ways to do exactly that.
The ride to the theatre in nerve-wrecking as Ellie tries to calm down her racing heartbeat. She doesn't know what she's going to say to Rachel, but she is almost positive that there should be an apology somewhere in their conversation.
She peers to her Uncle Kurt, who is surprisingly calm. It was surprisingly easy to convince him to bring her and she was so thankful that Rachel had sent him tickets to her newest show, that of which they were going to see before they talked to her, or Ellie did.
"I'm scared," she admits to him, in hope that he can offer her some more advice.
His face softens and he glances in her direction. "I know, but you'll have time to get rid of those nerves during the entire show. Maybe you'll feel better when you see Rachel."
Yeah, maybe she will.
She certainly does not feel better. As soon as she recognizes Rachel, will a little help from her Uncle Kurt, the guilt overwhelms her and she sinks in her seat, hoping that the woman doesn't notice her there.
Uncle Kurt takes hold of her hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze, then returns to being absorbed in the show.
By the second half, she's relaxed enough to enjoy it too and she'd be lying if she says that she isn't impressed by Rachel. It's strange to see her in a different environment, one without her daddy, but she just seems to shine so brightly on the stage. She's in her element.
She finds herself joining the crowd as they give the actors and actresses a standing ovation.
"That was amazing!" Uncle Kurt is buzzing from the performance, holding the playbill to his chest tightly, as if he's almost forgotten what they have to do.
She tugs at his hand when he begins towards the exit and his face drops before he nods. "Right, we have to go to find Rachel," he says, "if they let us anywhere near her dressing room."
Ellie eyes the security guards glumly. They may be a problem.
"We need a distraction," she announces, "if you can distract them, then I can sneak past and go to Rachel."
He eyes her warily, "what exactly do you have in mind?"
"I am not going to flirt with him!" he huffs, giving her an incredulous stare.
"I didn't say that" I said to go and talk to him. You said flirt! What does that even mean?" she demands to know.
"I'm not telling you and there's got to be another way to get past them," he says, crossing his arms. Normally, she knows not to argue with him when he gets like this, but she's desperate. Beyond desperate actually.
Luckily for them, a commotion outside means that the two guards a momentarily distracted and they hurry down the corridor before they can be seen.
Uncle Kurt grins, "Breaking into theatres. My favourite past time."
"What?" she frowns.
"Oh honey," he says, "I'll tell you when you're older. Now hurry up."
"But we don't know where we're going?"
"Of course we do," he rolls his eyes, "we're looking for a door that says Rachel Berry." He glances around, his hands on his hips.
As they talk, a woman walks by, obviously having heard their conversation, "You're looking for Rachel Berry?" she questions and the two nod.
"I'm Ellie," she says, in hopes that the name means something to her. Thankfully, her face lights up.
"Ellie!" she grins," of course and, are you Finn? I must say, you don't really look like Rachel described."
He frowns, "I'm his brother"
"Kurt, yes," he deadpans and Ellie nudges him for his tone.
The woman doesn't seem to notice, "Her dressing room is just down that hallway." She points to the left, "it should be pretty easy to find."
They thank her and are on their way again. Ellie hears Rachel's voice before she sees her, and she can't help but smile at how pretty it is. The door has 'Rachel Berry' on in bright gold letters, accompanied by a gold star underneath.
Ellie lifts her hand up to knock and freezes. "I can't do this," she says, looking to her Uncle Kurt for support.
Before she can do anything, he knocks for her, sending a grin in reply to her glare.
"Come in," she hears Rachel say and all the nerves return with a vengeance. Her hands feel sweaty while she feels dizzy and her heart is beating wildly. Uncle Kurt, of course, takes this as the perfect time to go autograph hunting.
"Is that 'Glinda'?" he almost screams, running off down the hallway.
With a deep breath, Ellie takes the door handle and slowly opens the door, instantly being overwhelmed by the smell of Rachel's perfume. She actually coughs a few times, causing the diva to spin on the spot from her mirror and stare in shock.
"Ellie?" she gaps, "what are you doing here? Are you by yourself? Is everything okay? You're not hurt, are you?" She walks over, her eyes scanning the little girl for serious injuries, although the only problem is that she's overwhelmed by the amount of questions.
She takes a minute to compose herself and eventually replies to the panicked woman. "I'm fine," she says, adding a bright smile that she doesn't feel was quite right.
Rachel noticeably tenses. "Are you here all alone?" she repeats, looking outside for anyone. "Because you're only seven and that's very dangerous and irresponsible an-"
"I'm here with Uncle Kurt," she cuts her across before Rachel gives herself a heart attack.
The brunette nods, before taking a step back. She crosses her hands across her chest and observes Ellie. "I assume that there's a reason you're here, especially after what you had to say about me."
She tears her gaze from the floor to look straight into Rachel's deep brown eyes. "I came to apologize. I-I was being stupid when I said those things." She smiles slightly, "and I don't hate you." Unable to think of what to say next, she goes to sit down on the couch at the far wall. Though she's staring in the opposite direction, she knows that Rachel has sat next to her as it shifts under her weight.
"You don't?" she asks, sounding a little hopeful.
Ellie shakes her head, "not at all." She then sighs, "I was jealous of you."
When she finally turns to Rachel again, she sees understanding on the woman's face and feels a little better than before, though her palms are still really sweaty.
"I've never had someone be jealous of me before," she admits, "and strangely enough it doesn't offer the satisfaction that I thought it would." She catches Ellie's stare, "sorry, I know that this is hard for you. Communication, I mean. You get that from your dad."
"I know," she says a little shyly.
Her features are thoughtful for a moment, "why were you jealous?"
"Because," she mumbles, shifting away again, "I… well, to be honest, most of the time I was just jealous that you got to spend more time with him than me. I mean, before you came, it was always just the two of us." She shrugs, "even when he did have dates, they never changed anything. I guess I didn't like it when things started to change."
Rachel nods and Ellie's glad that she's not being bitter about any of this. She's shocked when she feels Rachel's hand on hers, but she doesn't pull away either.
"Ellie, let me tell you something," she catches her full attention, "there is no way that your daddy could possibly love any girl more than he does you. I've only known him for seven months and even I know that. There is nothing for you to be jealous about."
She feels the tears again, threatening to fall. Why does this always happen when she talks about her feelings and stuff?
It isn't long before Rachel notices because she feels herself pulled onto her lap and it's sort of comfortable, especially with her head pressed against her chest. This is different from hugs from Uncle Kurt or her daddy. It's special.
"Let it all out sweetie," she says, running a hand through her hair.
"My daddy misses you," Ellie mumbles into Rachel's robe, "he's really sad without you."
It takes Rachel a while to answer, "I'm sad without him, too."
"Then you have to be with him!"
She pulls back, "What?"
"You have to call my daddy right now and tell him that you want to be together," she explains, her eyes desperate.
"Ellie, your daddy cares about what you think more than anything else and you aren't happy when we're together," she looks sad, "and he only wants you to be happy."
"Well, I'm not happy right now," she huffs and Rachel cracks a smile at her dramatics. "He loves you!" she cries.
Rachel laughs softly, "I know sweetie, but it's not always about what we want. There's you to think of, isn't there?"
She's beginning to get desperate. Thankfully, she's not above begging. "Please Rachel, come back, for the both of us. I-I want you there too. The food you cook is actually nice and doesn't make me feel ill and your voice is really pretty and you make the house really nice and you're just really nice."
"So, I'm not horrible and wicked?" she chuckles.
Ellie grows red in the face. "Rachel, I'm really, really sorry. I just…didn't want to share my daddy with anyone, but that's not true anymore because I want to share him with you. You make him really happy."
Rachel seems to be debating with herself, "but what about you? He's first and foremost your dad. Are you okay with me dating him?"
"Yes!" she shouts emphatically
She looks unsure, "promise?"
"Promise," Ellie grins. She decides now that she really likes Rachel. She does seem to actually care about her, which is more than could be said for some of Finn's previous partners.
"Come on," she jumps up, tugging on Rachel's arm.
"Wait," she panics, "I have to get dressed and do my make-up… and I need something to make up for not calling him for the last few weeks."
"He likes food," she says helpfully.
Rachel's smile grows, "I'll make my famous sugar cookies!"
"Can I help?" she doesn't realize what she said until she's actually spoken the words and she blushes at her own forwardness.
The brunette smiles fondly, "of course you can. Let me just get changed and then we'll go to my apartment. How about you go and find Kurt?"
She nods, hoping that he hasn't gone too far. Before she leaves, she looks Rachel up and down, reaching forward and tightly hugging onto her. "Thank you, I really am sorry about everything," she mumbles.
Rachel smiles fondly, "I get it. You're a daddy's girl. So am I. And I have two dads. I'm about as extreme as they get."
With a grin, Ellie hugs her once more and exits.
By the time Rachel registers what happened, Ellie is already out of the room.
It's already dark when Uncle Kurt's car pulls outside of their house. Ellie is the first one out, excitedly running up the garden path with the box of "I'm sorry" cookies in her hands. Rachel and Uncle Kurt follow closely behind, smiling at the little girl.
Finn opens the door before she can and lifts her up into his arms quickly, "ahh! I missed you." He peppers her face with kisses, "I'm sorry about yesterday Ku-"
He stops when he sees Rachel and continues to gape at her.
But she marches right up to him and smacks his arm so hard that he winces, "ow! What was that for?"
"Kurt told me that you were drinking with Ellie in the house!" she says, clearly annoyed, "and I don't think that I even need to explain to you how wrong that was. I hope that you've apologized and intend to make it up to your daughter because I never thought that you of all people would do that."
"I-I," his eyes are wide but no more words come out.
Eventually, Rachel sighs, "I'm sorry. I know it's not my place but it really upset me hearing that. What happened?"
Finn looks guiltier than ever before, "I feel terrible about it Rach."
"And so you should!" she smacks his arm again but this time he doesn't say anything. When Rachel's a little calmer, she says, "let's go inside to talk."
"Are you going to hit me again?"
She shakes her head.
Not being able to do much else, he just nods. When they all occupy the couches, she takes the cookies from Ellie and thrusts them into his hands, "we made them for you."
"We?" he asks.
"Ellie and I," she says.
He frowns, looking from one to the other, "I don't understand. Ellie I thought that you didn't li- err…enjoy Rachel's company that much."
She crosses her arms and rolls her eyes, "that's all in the past daddy. Me and Rachel are friends now. We bonded over baking cookies." Rachel nods along.
"And we had a big heart to heart before," she smiles, "I personally feel enlightened."
"W-what did you talk about?"
"Our relationship," Rachel clears up, motioning to her and Finn, "and Ellie has given us her blessing." She laughs as she finishes the sentence.
Finn turns to her in shock and hope. "Really? Because, Ellie, I don't want any of this to upset you. I care about all your feelings and stuff."
From where she's sitting, she wraps her small arms around him, "daddy, I'll be really happy if you and Rachel start to date again. Anyway, she said that she'll teach me how to bake. Isn't that cool?" As his daughter hugs him, he looks to Rachel, who is smiling right back at him.
The moment is perfect and he feels whole again for the first time in weeks.
"Daddy, are you going to ask her yet?" Ellie tries to whisper, tries being the operative word. Uncle Kurt's eyes bulge and he shakes his head at Ellie.
Finn frowns in confusion, "Ask her what?"
She leans up, talking into his ear. "To marry you."
Uncle Kurt's head falls into his hand as he sighs while Finn freezes and Rachel's mouth falls open in shock. Finn's sends a glare to Uncle Kurt, who is trying his best to avoid it.
Rachel is struggling to find any words at this point.
"Did I say something wrong?" Ellie frowns. "Uncle Kurt said that you were going to ask her…" She looks over to him for confirmation and he's doing a pretty good job of sinking lower and lower into his seat in hope of not being noticed.
"Y-you were?" Rachel is staring at Finn as if he's just grown another head.
Ellie feels his tense up under her arms. "Well, I-I was thinking… I got a ring and- yes."
Rachel nods, though a smile is slowing melting onto her face, along with a faint blush. She bites her lips nervously as she looks into Finn's eyes.
A little impatiently, Ellie huffs, "just do it already!"
He stares down at his daughter before smiling. He can do this and now there's nothing stopping him. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the dark velvet box (he's been carrying it on his person for weeks.)
A little wobbly, he kneels down in front of Rachel, who covers her mouth with her hand and has her eyes brimming with tears.
"Rach," he clears his throat, "I…we've only known each other for a short time, b-but I love you so, so much and I would be the happiest man in the world if you'd be my wife. So, "he takes a big breath, opening the box to reveal the engagement ring, "Rachel Berry, will you marry me?"
She doesn't speak; she can't speak. So she nods her head quickly, feeling the fresh tears fall. This is by far the best day of her life.
"Really?" Finn asks, as if surprised that she said yes.
Her voice is shaky as she speaks, "really." She nods again. Finn lunges forward, catching her lips in a deep kiss. She wraps her arms around his neck, pulling his closer to her.
When they pull apart for air, Finn goes to put the ring on her. Both their hands are trembling and he almost drops it, but they succeed in the end.
"I love you," she grins wildly, her forehead pressing again his as they share a moment. They're holding hands and laughing and smiling, and Ellie's glad to see her daddy happy once more.
"Right, bedtime for you," Finn says, noticing that Ellie is already half asleep anyway and she only mumbles a few incoherent words. He slowly picks her up, her arms lifelessly dangling by her side.
"Goodnight," Rachel smiles from her spot on the couch.
Ellie takes a few seconds to absorb what she said before yawning, "night Rachel." She closes her eyes as Finn takes her upstairs and she's thankful that she's already brushed her teeth for the night because she does not have enough energy to even stand up. Gently, he places her on the bed and pulls the cover up, tucking it around her sides.
"I know that you're about to pass out," he laughs lightly, "but I just wanted to say thank you for talking with Rachel. That was a very grown up and nice thing of you to do and… I'm really proud and happy that you did it."
"I just wanted you to be happy," she mumbles.
"I am," Finn says, "because I have the most special daughter in the entire world."
Ellie smiles at his words, her eyes open sleepily. "And I have the best daddy."
He leans down to kiss her forehead and he rubs her arm affectionately. "You still think that? After what I did?"
"Uncle Kurt said that you were hurting," she explains, "and when people hurt they do stupid things."
"I really am sorry."
"I know," she says with more seriousness than a child of her age should have. "But you can buy me an ice cream after school if you like, to make it up to me."
He laughs, "I think it will take more than just one ice cream to make it up to you." He hugs her again, "but I will. And I'm sure that Rachel will keep me in line."
Ellie nods with a giggle, remembering Finn's face as the tiny woman repeatedly hit him.
She yawns, "I think she's very good at that daddy. She's good at lots of things." With a soft smile, she adds, "Uncle Kurt took me to see the play she was in."
"Oh?" he says, "and was it good?"
"It was awesome," she grins, "we should watch some more. Uncle Kurt got excited and said that he'll take me to see some. Isn't that good?"
"Yup," he agrees, "now he'll stop begging me to go."
"Why did he never take me before?"
"He didn't think that you'd enjoy it. Do you remember when he tried to make you watch the sound of music but you started screaming because you just wanted to play outside?"
She blushes, "oh yeah."
"Anyway, I'm sure that he'll be whisking you away to watch every imaginable production out there now that you've shown an interest," he grins. He looks to the clock on her wall, "right, time to go to sleep."
"But I don't want to," she whines.
"It's almost ten. You should have been asleep hours ago."
She frowns, "okay daddy. Goodnight."
Finn grins, "Night princess."
She smiles, turning onto her side and pressing her face into the pillow. Finn laughs lightly before leaving the room.
The wedding plans get underway immediately, with both Finn and Rachel insisting that they want it as soon as possible. This kind of makes Uncle Kurt, the esteemed wedding planner, a bit cranky.
"I don't understand why you don't want a nice fall wedding. Why do you want it in April?" he demands to know, "what if it rains?" They're sitting at the kitchen table, Ellie in the middle of the adults working on her homework, her tongue stuck out in concentration
"We're having the wedding inside," Finn sighs loudly, "it doesn't matter if it's raining."
This earns a defiant glare from Uncle Kurt, who throws his hands up in exasperation, "fine, fine. You can have your wedding in April if you want."
"Oh thanks," Rachel says sarcastically, "how kind of you Kurt."
He simply waves off her comment and continues writing notes down quickly. "Are you having a ring bearer?" he asks, still looking at the sheet.
The share an glance before Finn shrugs, "I just thought that you'd carry the rings in your pocket or something."
"How romantic," Uncle Kurt mutters under his breath and Blaine nudges him lightly, though he is clearly amused.
Ellie giggles at the two, though quickly looks back at her work when she catches Finn glaring at her. "Come on Ellie, your homework's due tomorrow."
"I don't get it!" she grumbles, "You make fractions confusing daddy. It makes my head hurt."
She catches Rachel glimpsing at the page and, before she can say anything, she's explaining it to her through drawings, which actually kind of works. "Does that make it easier?" Rachel asks with hopeful eyes.
Smiling, she takes her pencil back. "Yeah, thanks." Rachel beams, before offering to check through her answers later as well.
Ellie rolls her eyes as the woman goes on and on about the house. Why can't she let them just look around already? She catches Finn's eye and he makes an expression that causes her to giggle, which she quickly covers up.
This is the last house that they're looking at for the day. A four bedroomed house with the biggest garden Ellie has ever seen.
Eventually Rachel says the words that they all want to hear. "This tour is lovely but do you mind if we just look around ourselves?" While the woman tries to babble a response, Rachel grins and grabs both of their hand before leading them up the stairs, "thank you!"
They go through the first door, finding the master bedroom.
"This is nice," Finn says, walking around and then he notices that large flat screen TV on the wall, "I definitely like this one."
Rachel chuckles, "you're such a guy." Then her eyes wander, "Oh, it's got a walk in wardrobe!"
The second bedroom is another double bedroom, the large bed central. "This would be the guest room, right?" Rachel questions, "For when any of our parents come."
"Yeah," he agrees, "my mom would love the view."
And then they come to an all pink room and Ellie's pretty sure that Rachel squeals form excitement. "This is so cute!" the woman grins, "what do you think, Ellie?"
The little girl glances around, getting a feel for the room. It's definitely a lot bigger than her old one and she does like the color… "It's good," she smiles, "I like it."
After they've gone past the bathroom, they arrive at the fourth room. It's a little smaller than the previous one, but still big enough to squeeze a double bed into. The walls are off white and the carpet is pretty similar.
"A little bit of decorating and it'll be perfect," Finn says, wrapping his arm around Rachel.
Ellie frowns, "perfect for what daddy?"
He pats her head gently, "you'll see sweetie."
A month later and they've moved into the new house. It doesn't take Ellie long to fall in love with her room. Her daddy lets her paint it whatever color she wants, which ends up being a soft yellow and she even gets her own new bed. It's almost twice the size as her other one and she covers it with her large collection of stuffed animals.
Rachel buys her a cat teddy which is white and fluffy, and is really nice to hug. She calls it Star for Rachel and puts it on her pillow.
She jumps as more thunder strikes, feeling as though it shakes her whole room furiously. Cowering under her cover, she can still see the flash of lightening as it hits and she clings to some of her stuffed animals.
It happens again, this time louder and she shrieks to herself. She doesn't like being scared by storms. She knows that she's supposed to be grown up, but that doesn't stop it from happening. Grabbing her nearest stuffed animal, which happens to be a monkey, she climbs out of bed and creeps down the hallway to the master bedroom.
All she can hear is her daddy's loud snores so she assumes that they're both asleep. They hopefully won't notice if she gets into the bed with them. She'll be safe there, she's sure of it.
But she soon realizes that she isn't the only one awake in the house.
As she steps into the room, she sees Finn sprawled out across the bed, tangled in the covers and then she notices Rachel in the chair by the window, her eyes stuck on the view outside. Another flash appears and the woman winces, closing her eyes.
The floorboard creaks and her head snaps over to Ellie. She smiles at her and gestures for her to come over. Ellie does so, crawling into Rachel's lap. "You scared of the storm too, huh?" she asks.
"Yeah," Ellie's voice is barely there. Rachel locks her arms around her, hugging her against her warm chest. "Wait, you're scared? I thought that adults didn't get scared."
"Everyone gets scared," she confesses, then sighs, "I've always hated thunderstorms. When I was little, my daddies would sit with me for what felt like hours. They'd hold my hands and hug me close and wait until I fell asleep."
She nuzzles her face into Rachel's neck as the thunder erupts once more and she can get a small whiff of Rachel's soft perfume.
She hears Rachel begin to sing and she can't even concentrate on the words as her voice lulls her into a drowsy state. Her eyes slowly close and her breathing slows until she falls into a sleep once more. It's strange how quickly it happens, but she's not complaining.
It's safe and comfortable in Rachel's arms, too.
Ellie smiles as she looks at herself in the mirror. Her hair has been gently curled and her Grammy put it a yellow headband, one which matches her yellow dress. She even put a bit of makeup on her, but made her promise not to tell her daddy.
"Do I look okay?" she asks her, adding in a twirl.
"Oh honey, you look wonderful," she pulls her into a tight hug.
She smiles eagerly when Carole stands up again. "Can we go and see Rachel now?"
"Yeah," she held out her hand, "let's go and see if she's ready."
When they reach the door and knock on it a few times, Uncle Kurt opens. "Ah, ladies," he smiles, before his eyes drop down to Ellie, "well, look at you. You look so grown up!"
"Do you think I'll be a good flower girl?" she questions.
"Of course!" he exclaims, ushering her into the room, Carole following close behind. She sees Rachel stood in front of the mirror and halts in her tracks.
Her hair is up, a few loose curls of hair framing her face which has been subtly highlighted with make-up. But it's her dress that catches her attention. It's white and simple, showing off her curves perfectly before running into a small train, one which is sparkling with the tiny gem stone patterns that Uncle Kurt designed himself.
Rachel beams down at her. "Oh, you look so beautiful."
She's still gaping at Rachel. "Rachel," she says softly, "you look like an angel."
"Thank you," she replies, "that means a lot to me." Leaning down, she wraps her arms around Ellie and hugs her gently, her warmth radiating to the little girl.
There's another knock at the door and in comes Blaine. He has a similar reaction to Ellie. "Wow, Rachel…wow." She smiles modestly as she wrings her hands together nervously. Blaine smiles, "We're all ready for you in there."
"Okay," she nods, taking a deep breath, "oh, I'm so nervous!"
"Don't be princess," Uncle Kurt opens a box before pulling out a veil and delicately placing it on her head, "you look perfect." Rachel hugs him tightly, her eyes closed. She does the same with all the people in the room and then follows Blaine down the hall.
As they do so, she holds on Ellie's hand tightly.
Once they're outside the room they meet Rachel's dads, who almost break down crying when they see her. They take their place on either side of her, smiling proudly. Carole slips into the room, not before kissing Rachel on the cheek and offering her good luck.
The music starts up, the bridesmaids and best men walking out first.
Then it's Ellie's turn. Gripping the basket of petals in her hands, she begins to walk.
The party is in full swing and hardly any time has passed at all. Ellie dances with her Uncle Kurt and Blaine for a while until her dad finds her, hoisting her up in his arms. "Hey Ellie, my little girl!"
"I'm a big girl today," she says, leaning against him, "Uncle Kurt called me grown up."
"Well, you'll always be my little girl," he says, "do you wanna dance?"
"Will you stand on my feet?" she giggles, remembering how clumsy he can be.
He frowns, "good point. How about we get something to eat? You can never fail with food." With a grin, she skips after him to the buffet table where he piles his plate with food. Just as he's getting another sandwich, Rachel's voice stops him in his tracks.
"Really Finn? You're going to eat that much?"
He shoots a panicked look to Ellie before putting on a huge smile and spinning around to her. "Hey beautiful."
"Don't hey beautiful me. Finn, you're going to be sick if you eat that much. At least save some room for the cake."
"I am," he defends himself, "that's why I'm only having one plateful instead of three."
She rolls her eyes, though still wraps her arms around him and pulls him down for a kiss. "Don't go blaming me when you're sick."
He slides his arm around her waist, bringing her closer. "I won't be. Don't worry Rach."
Sighing, she says, "Finn, please? I'll make it up for you." She gazes up at him with intense eyes and he suddenly wears a goofy smile.
"Oh yeah…okay," he puts down the plate, only taking off a sandwich and Rachel beams. "Rach, are we gonna tell everyone that news yet? You know, before they get drunk and everything?"
"Good idea," she says, eyeing some of the relatives who've already got a bit tipsy. Tugging on her hand, she pulls him up onto the stage. Ellie grins as he almost trips over his own feet though Rachel is there to set him straight again.
Behind Ellie, her Grammy appears, taking hold of her shoulder. "Are you having fun angel?"
"Yes," she says, stuffing some food into her mouth.
On the stage, Finn taps the microphone. "Is this thing on? Oh look, it is," he smiles at Rachel who grins in reply. Everyone's attention slowly falls on them until the room is silent. "Hi guys," Finn starts, "we, as in me and my wife, would like to thank all of you for coming, especially those who came a long way. We really appreciate it! We're not going to talk for long because we want you all to enjoy yourselves…" The crowd cheers, holding up their wine glasses, "but we have some news…"
A few people murmur amongst themselves but Rachel eagerly leans forward to say it.
The room erupts into another cheer and Finn and Rachel make a quick exit from the stage before Carole drags Finn away to ask why she didn't know sooner. She also sees the shocked expressions of Rachel's dads – who had told her to call them granddad and Papa, though she doesn't remember which one is which…
Ellie stands a little awkwardly on her own, looking for somebody that she knows. She sees Rachel smiling at her and the older woman motions for her to go over while holding out her hand. "Come on," she says, "I want to talk to you."
She leads her out of the party room and into a smaller place, both of them sitting down facing each other.
Rachel stares at her for a few minutes and then says, "You really do look very pretty."
Ellie smiles, "what did you want to talk to me about?"
"Oh," she replies quickly, "I wanted to know how you felt…about the baby. I know that Finn told you, but I just wanted to make sure that you were okay with it."
"I'm fine with it, really."
Rachel doesn't look convinced.
"I've always wanted a little brother or sister," she confesses, "and now I'm getting one."
"You're sure that you're fine? I don't want you to feel like your dad's replacing you or something," she frowns.
"You worry too much," she laughs and Rachel eventually breaks through her panicked face to show a smile.
She takes a deep breath, "I'm sorry. It's in my nature."
Ellie shrugs, "it's nice…that you care so much about other people's feelings. I'm glad that my dad married you and not some evil step-mom like in Cinderella."
She laughs, "I'm glad too."
"Hmm?" she smiles.
There's a long pause, "what's it like? You know…having a mom?"
"I don't know," she tells her honestly, "two dads, remember?"
All of a sudden, Rachel becomes much more serious. "I don't exactly know what I'm doing. As you know, this is all new for me, but I promise you, I will do everything I can to make sure that you're happy and loved and safe, okay? I may not know how to be a mom, but I'm going to try my hardest. You'll help me, right?"
"Yeah," she nods, "thank you."
Rachel grins, "What do you say we get back to the party then?"
"Okay!" she jumps up, instantly reaching for Rachel's hand. As they walk through the hall, she says, "You know, now that you and daddy are married, I should starting calling you mom."
"Oh," her smile falters, "you can call me whatever you feel comfortable with sweetie."
She grins, "whatever you say, mom."
Well, there's the end. I hoped that you liked it!
Your thoughts? Please review :)