Author's Note: So this story exists in an alternate universe, where it is to be assumed things went sour between Finn and Rachel sometime during the summer between junior and senior year. Everything else could very well be true if Puckleberry was even on RM's radar of interest. Other than that, I just want to say thank you in advance to everyone who reads and reviews. Also, a quick disclaimer that the title and lyrics used below are from the song "Whispering" from the musical Spring Awakening; they are not mine and you can't sue me for using them.

To carrie4angel, I hope you like it (well, that actually applies to everyone, but whatever)!

Puck knitted his eyebrows together, picking up his fast walk to a slow jog as Rachel started to pull away halfway through the parking lot. He had to take the steps up to the front entrance of McKinley High School two at a time just to match the speed she climbed them. Granted, he wasn't usually ever very eager to start the school day, but it wasn't like he was dragging ass or anything. He could usually keep up with her fast-paced gait with just the long strides of his legs. Right now, though, she was like a hummingbird on crack, not really walking into the school by floating into it.

"Yo, Berry," he finally called out.

Rachel didn't stop, but she did slow down and peer at him over her shoulder as she walked. "Yes, Noah?"

"Ya got a hot date or what?" He asked in a huff of breath, not able to accomplish his patent swagger when he was basically speed walking next to the tiny brunette.

"Of course not. Don't be foolish." She rolled her eyes, moving her gaze forward once again. She made an effort to slow down, but her feet were matching the pace of her heart. The vital organ was pounding wildly in her chest, just like it had been doing for the past two days since she'd finalized her plans. She still couldn't believe it was actually happening, and it seemed her disbelief and anxiousness was now becoming noticeable.

"Yea, what was I thinkin'?" He shook his head in mocking. "Rachel Berry gave up dating after Finchel-take-five."

Rachel stopped in her tracks, turning and scowling at him. "It was our third attempt and it was nearly a year ago." Her eyebrows lifted then, a sparkle entering her otherwise dark eyes. "Something you are well aware of considering your affinity for bringing it up every day."

Puck smirked, knowing what she was implying. Truth was she wasn't too far out of her mind, but he liked messing with her more than he wanted to push her against the lockers and kiss her. Well … OK. That probably wasn't true, but it was definitely the safer and not to mention smarter option. He was pretty sure the mauling would result in a swift slap to his face and a void in his stomach when she stopped baking him brownies and shit (and yes, he was only going to consider the void that would be left in his stomach and not the one that would surely be left about a foot higher and a few inches over). Legit, his grades had dramatically picked up when Berry issued a prize for every good grade (as if passing his classes wasn't a good enough reward, as she said).

"I'm just sayin'. You seem a little higher strung than usual." He leaned against the lockers by hers as she switched out the books she'd taken home for those she'd need for the first and second periods. "Push the tampon up too high?"

"That's revolting, Noah." Rachel scrunched her nose, zipping up her pink bookbag and swinging it around her right shoulder. "And highly inaccurate."

She left it at that, knowing sharing the timeline of her menstrual cycle would be far too much information to share, especially with a boy and especially with a boy like Noah. He'd certainly pinpoint the fact that she was on birth control like a bloodhound, and then Rachel would have to deal with even more lecherous comments from him. Typically she welcomed the attention, but she couldn't afford the distraction right now. The start of her career was on the line, and she couldn't let hormones derail that, no matter how strong they were.

"Hey," Finn said as he approached the two. "I was hoping I'd see you before glee." He handed out a small box to Rachel. "It's the snow globe I got in New York at nationals last year. I want you to take it with you this weekend." He shrugged self-consciously. "For luck, or whatever."

Rachel beamed up at the tall teen, her eyes watering a little. "Thank you, Finn."

"We fuckin' lost." Puck snorted. "How lucky could it be?"

Rachel and Finn shared a small smile and it really pissed Puck off. He muttered an insult aimed at both of them before stalking off toward his first class. Halfway down the hallway, though, the rest of what Finn had said rang in Puck's ears. Take it with her this weekend? Where the hell was Berry going? And why did Finn know and not him? He turned around abruptly, seeing the two still standing by the lockers, and walked right back up to the pair.

"Where are you going?" He interrupted.

Rachel angled her body so she was facing both Finn and Puck equally, smiling shyly into her response. "I'm going to New York. Father, Daddy and I fly out tomorrow evening."

"What for?"

She sighed this time, her eyes lifting in exasperation. "I told you I had an audition, Noah."

"I thought you meant like, here!" He justified loudly.

"Perhaps if you spent less time staring at my legs on our morning rides to school and more time listening, then you'd feel less alienated," she teased, toying with the small globe absently.

"I wasn't starin' at your legs," he defended lamely, noting Finn's smirk. "Now your tits …"

"Noah!" Rachel chastised quickly, shaking her head a little. She knew it was no use to reprimand him; he'd never stop (and she wasn't entirely sure she wanted him to). "I'll see you in sixth period."

"What about lunch?" He asked even as he started backing up the hallway with Finn toward his class.

"You boys will have to survive without me," she answered with a smile, spinning around to walk toward her class, in the complete opposite direction.

If the skirt had been just an inch shorter, Puck would have gotten a flash of panty. Unfortunately life wasn't that good to him. Instead he had to suffer through four boring classes until lunch, when apparently he wasn't even going to get to torture her. Instead he was probably going to have to watch Finn shove an entire chili dog in his mouth, or listen to whatever inane conversation was happening between Brittany, Artie and Tina today. Legit, Berry could talk for days but at least the stuff she talked about seemed to matter.

Or at least her tongue gliding over her perfect pouty lips before she said them mattered.

"Dude, you coulda told me it was in New York."

"I thought you knew," Finn answered on a laugh, sliding into his seat after Puck. "She's only been talking about it all week."

"I just thought it was some dumb community play, like during Christmas." Puck groaned, remembering the three nights she made him watch that production like they were just yesterday. She was cool and whatever, but the musical was totally lame. He legit almost fell asleep the third night, but didn't because Rachel Berry was the type of person who would stop the entire production to berate him. She almost did it at regionals this year when he'd missed one of the steps; he was pretty sure he didn't get an earful for that only because they won.

Now they were vying for nationals, and even though it was a big deal and Rachel was on their case every day during rehearsal, it seemed like small potatoes compared to an actual musical in New York. They were all just in high school, most just coasting now that their senior year was almost finished and colleges had been decided. But then there was Rachel Berry, proving once again that she wasn't like anybody else – and that she was better than everyone else.

"She's gonna work with Schue during lunch in the auditorium," Finn whispered as the teacher discussed the day's lesson.


Finn rolled his eyes and Puck tried not to notice. Things were cool between them, and had been for awhile now. They were back to being best friends, which was pretty important to Puck (even if he'd never admit it). He'd known Finn since they were in pee wee football together, and it was going to be weird when the tall teen went off to State in the fall and Puck … well, he wasn't sure what he was doing. Senior year had been pretty awesome, and he'd ended up with a passing grade in all his classes, which meant he didn't even have to take his finals. Legit, he didn't know why that information wasn't explained to him sooner; he might have actually tried the other years. But, even still, school wasn't for him so he hadn't applied anywhere.

His Ma gave him the silent treatment for about a month after he made that decision, which was pretty fucked up considering she wouldn't be able to pay for college in the first place. She'd come around eventually, though, mostly thanks to Puck's wicked charisma and persuasiveness. And, you know, Berry's urging that she felt he was making the right decision. His mother legit thought Rachel Berry was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; it just led to more jokes about her being a leprechaun – which was about the time his little sister would pipe in saying, "But she's your leprechaun!"

Complete bullshit.

"See ya in fifth," Puck said to Finn after the bell rang to dismiss them to their next class.

"What about lunch?"

"Fuck you," he grumbled, hearing the girly tone his friend's voice took. Legit, for a kid who used to have his tongue down Rachel's throat as much as it was in his own damn mouth, Finn was a little to eager to point out that Puck had the hots for the same chick. It was all Kurt's fault; gossiping was probably contagious or some shit. Finn had already started to dress better, which without a girlfriend on his arm and his mother no longer putting out his clothes so he was ready for college could only mean Finn sought Kurt's help. It wasn't a terrible idea since the guy (and that term's used loosely) cared about fashion almost more than he did about picking the gayest songs ever to sing in glee – a-fucking-lot.

But what probably pissed Puck off the most was that Frankenteen was right; now that he knew where Rachel would be for lunch, he was going to find an excuse to be there, too.

Rachel shuffled through the two stacks of sheet music, still mulling over which one to choose. Both songs were incredible and she'd perfected them constantly through the years, but they were widely different. They each showcased her range in a completely different way, and she couldn't decide which was better suited for her audition. It could very well be the decision that makes or breaks her career, and she wished Mr. Schuester would arrive sooner rather than later to help her decide.

"Sup, Berry?"

She turned from her spot in front of the piano, instantly scowling. "What are you doing here?"

"S'free country, babe." He smirked, coming to stand right next to her, his elbows resting on the shiny surface of the piano. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Nothing that would interest you," she answered flatly before adding a teasing lilt to her voice. "I plan to be fully clothed the entire time."

Puck smirked – he liked when she got feisty. "Not up here," he leered, pointing up to his temple. She simply rolled her eyes and went back to focusing on the papers in front of her. "What? No snappy comeback?" He paused a beat to see if he could egg her on so easily. No luck. "Man, you must be nervous."

"Of course I'm nervous." She shook her head. "I still can't believe you assumed I was auditioning for a community theater production. Of course I would get the part if it were just Lima, even Ohio. I'm incredibly talented."

He laughed at the way she sounded so entirely confident while talking about being worried. It didn't make any sense, and yet it totally did because it was Rachel Berry. "Then it should be a piece of cake."

She huffed in reply to his lackadaisical reply. "This is Broadway, Noah. Broadway. Nothing is a piece of cake."

"Broadway? Like, for real?" The look she threw him nearly turned him to stone. Not quite, though, so he was still able to back up a few inches just in case. "Fine. I was lookin' at your legs."

Rachel's eyes softened, a light laugh actually escaping. "Thank you, Noah."

He nodded slyly, moving around the piano and grabbing one of the stacks of sheet music on his way. He looked it over quickly, setting it upright and placing his hands in the starting position. He toyed around with the keys a few times to make sure he could handle the notes and transitions, then looked up at her. She had that crazy look in her eye that she got whenever he was playing an instrument, a weird mix of lust and pride. He sorta dug it.

"So what happens if ya get it?"

Rachel sighed dreamily, visions of her perfect life playing out in her mind. "It's everything I've been working toward my entire life. It would be the lead role in a major Broadway production." The nerves fluttered in her stomach. "It would be the jumpstart to my entire career."

Puck nodded absently, lost in his own thoughts. He'd listened to her answer and whatever, but he couldn't help but think about his own. What would he do if she got it? Graduation was a few weeks away and he hadn't really given much thought to what was going to happen next. There was still nationals and then the entire summer before any one of them really had to face the fact that it was all over. He couldn't just drive by her house and drag her to a party. He wouldn't see her in temple anymore. She couldn't bring her car into Burt's shop to get a free oil change from him.

He knew it would be weird to not see Finn or Santana or even Artie every day, but Puck didn't know if he could go a day without seeing Rachel anymore.

"Ya sure it's legit?"

She scoffed at the notion. "While based on a highly controversial play from the late eighteen-hundreds, the rock musical adaption has been extremely well-received."


"Yes, Noah. You would enjoy the story actually." Rachel bit her lip, her eyes falling self-consciously. "You are very similar to the male lead. Handsome, charismatic … sexually fluent."

Puck looked up from the piano then, noting her uneasy expression with a smirk. He and Rachel continued to have moments like this, where he swore she was trying to let him know she was interested. He was typically so good at reading people – especially women – but he couldn't bring himself to assume anything with Rachel; one wrong move and he'd lose all the progress he'd made since winter break last year. Maybe he was a pussy, but he needed her in his life and he'd settle for friends if he had to.

"I don't enjoy you goin' out for some fruity-tooty musical where a sexually fluent dude is gonna grope you onstage every night." He dipped his head back down, focusing on the piano keys as he restarted the song again. "But since we know you're gonna get it, it don't really matter what I think." Then he dropped his voice lower like his head. "But maybe I'll need to be there to be a bodyguard or somethin'."

Rachel didn't blink, just stared at the top of his Mohawked head. She waited at least a full minute for him to look up, never once getting her wish. Her heart continued to pound in her chest regardless, the real vision of her perfect life flowing through not just her mind but her veins, too. She saw herself onstage, bowing to a thunderous applause every night and humbly ignoring whispers of her shoe-in for a Tony nomination. And, in the crowd, while occasionally she saw her fathers or even her friends, the one face she saw consistently was his. Noah.

Her male lead.

Puck slowed his ascent toward Rachel's bedroom about halfway up the stairs, her powerful voice penetrating his ears and requiring his full attention. He'd listened to her during glee and should be used to her blowing the roof off basically anything (and that was including the phone book – if people even used those things anymore), but this was different. Even ten feet from her partially closed door, Puck could feel her entire heart being poured into every word of whatever song she was singing. He could hear the emotion in her tone, and he almost felt like it was encroaching on her privacy when he finally pushed open the door and just watched her finish the performance.

Had a sweetheart on his knees

So faithful and adoring

And he touched me. And I let him love me.

So let that be my story


For the hope, for the new life

Something beautiful, a new chance

Hear its whispering

There again

"Let's start negotiations on my hiring fee 'cause ain't no way you're going to lose singin' that song."

Rachel turned away from her camera, smiling shyly at both his compliment and just at his appearance. He was wearing the exact same thing he had at school, and she'd seen him just a few hours ago in glee, but she'd missed him. It was entirely too strange for her to dissect at that current moment, so instead she busied herself by turning off the camcorder. Typically Rachel drowned out those thoughts by talking over them, but this time she wanted him to speak first. She wanted to know why he was here.

"Don'tcha think ya should give your voice a break? Ya sang all through lunch, in glee, and now here."

"I'm taking a vow of silence starting tomorrow until my audition."

"This I gotta see," he teased, watching her take a seat on the edge of the bed. "We both know you talk more when you're nervous." She shrugged because she couldn't argue, and he laughed. "I know makin' it big is your dream and all, but don'tcha think you're takin' this audition a lil too seriously?"

"It's a very powerful story, Noah." Rachel took a deep breath, looking over at him. "It tackles the trials and tribulations of adolescence in a time less forgiving and less informational than ours. And yet, even with the centuries of knowledge, the emotions portrayed in the story – insecurity, confusion, love, shame – won't ever change. The way those kids felt then are exactly how we'd feel now in the same situations."

"So it's like a chick flick," he stated, taking the spot at the foot of the bed next to her.

"No. Not necessarily." Rachel bit her lip, not focusing on the warmth she instantly felt surround her. "It's about a young girl whose mother shelters her from growing up, specifically in regards to sex. She ends up making love to a classmate of hers and becomes pregnant. She's indignant with her mother for not explaining the consequences of sex to her, and the mother arranges a secret abortion. The boy was sent away earlier and when he finds out about the baby, he rushes back home to be with Wendla, but ends up stumbling upon her grave."

"She dies?" His voice cracked, and he wasn't willing to think about why.

"Yes. And Melchoir is going to kill himself, too, but then he sees her spirit as well as the spirit of their mutual friend who committed suicide earlier in the story and they tell him to keep living."

"So they save his life?"

"Just like he saved hers." Rachel smiles shyly at Puck's confused expression. "The song I was singing is Wendla's last song before her death. It's about her accepting the pregnancy, about her refusing to feel guilty or even ashamed of what her and Melchoir shared."

"The sexually fluent one?" He asked, a teasing lilt in his voice covering up his suddenly shallow breaths.

"She and Melchoir used to be friends, but they grew apart. Then they share this incredibly tender moment and it changes them both forever."

Puck wasn't sure why she was whispering, but it only made the voices in his head seem louder. They screamed at him to see the opportunity when it presented itself, Rachel Berry sitting next to him (on a bed) telling him with different words that she related to the story. She cared so much about the audition because she understood the female character. She knew what it was like to be confused and sheltered. She knew what it was like to be friends with a boy and then them grow apart because of school and whatever. And, maybe, she knew if something happened between her and said boy, she wouldn't regret it for a single second.

Rachel turned her head just an inch to the right, looking at him through the corners of her eyes. She could see the torn expression even through her thick eyelashes, and she wished she could know what he was thinking. Puck was always so guarded, and she couldn't tell if she'd overstepped the very thin line they'd drawn between friendship and something more. The last thing she wanted to do was scare him away; even if he was going to be in Ohio and she in New York, she could fathom him not being in her life.

"Why did you come over, Noah?"

Puck ticked his head a little to the left, noting that their faces were only an inch or two apart. He could easily close the distance and kiss the question out of her, but something about their conversation earlier at lunch and again just now made him feel like he owed her something. It wasn't like they hadn't kissed before. They'd kissed a couple of times this year and they'd brushed it off as nothing, but he didn't want to brush this off. This wasn't nothing. It was something.

"I missed ya."

She let out a short, uneven breath at his rough confession before they met in the middle. They'd last kissed just a couple of weeks ago at prom, but she was always surprised by the smoothness of his lips and the jolt of electricity she felt course through her whenever they touched hers. He was capable of being so gentle and caring and yet exhilaratingly possessive and demanding that the butterflies she felt fluttering in her stomach would burst into flames at even the simplest of touches. Tonight it was the slow, steady stroke of his callused thumb on the exposed skin of her lower back. It was calming and exciting at the same time, and it made her moan in pleasure.

Puck slid his tongue into her open mouth, his right arm crossing his body so he could tangle his fingers in her long, brown hair. He groaned low in his throat at the silky feeling of both her hair and tongue, slowly lowering them down to the mattress. His fingers curled around her slender neck, his thumb keeping her chin propped up while their mouths glided over one another's. Rachel ended up winning the fight for dominance when she hiked her left leg over Puck's hip, the warmth from her center penetrating his like fire despite the barriers between them. He used the hand that was still resting on her lower back to press her closer to him, both of them moaning at the new contact.

"Noah," she whimpered, rolling her hips into him again to try to relieve some of the pressure she felt building inside her. His lips had moved to her neck, teasing her even more than his hands as they trailed quietly but purposefully down her body. Her head fell back a little when she felt his feather-light touch on the inside of her thigh, the action only giving him more room to explore with his lips. His tongue found her pulse point by the column of her throat, and paired with the guttural moan she felt wisp against the lingering moisture when she rocked into him again, Rachel's head sagged over and down until her forehead rested on his shoulder.

"F-fuck," he stuttered when her teeth nipped at the skin over his collarbone, his grip on her ass tightening at the surge of need that tore through him. Puck moved from his side to settle between her thighs, pressing her into the mattress and him with an equal amount of force. Her one leg was still wrapped around him and he still had an arm wound around her waist, but he wanted her closer. She must have thought the same thing, as her hands moved just as feverishly as his did to rid him of his shirt while he was working on removing hers.

Bare chest to bare chest, their hands moved to explore the newly exposed skin. She was transfixed at the way his abs clenched in response to her nails running over his smooth, broad torso. She memorized every contour of his back, the pads of just a few of her fingers trailing up and down the skin while she, too, tried to focus on the feel of his hands on her. Her eyes closed tight when she felt his tender touch on her breasts replaced by the warm heat of his tongue. She arched into him, bringing her chest closer to him; bringing her heart closer to him.

"Please," she begged, not even sure what she was asking for. Luckily Puck was willing to give her whatever she wanted, moving to pay her other breast the same loving attention he'd given the first before trailing even lower. She squirmed when his tongue swirled around her bellybutton, her breath ragged when he went even lower and pressed delicate kisses to the inside of her thighs. She pried her eyes open to find his through the distance, watching him slowly peel off her skirt and underwear. His eyes roamed her body for a few moments, but what she knew she'd always remember was the way his focus seemed to stay right on her face, gauging her reaction to every new move.

Puck knew she hadn't gone all the way before, but he wasn't surprised when she confidently moved to her knees on the bed, her eyes locked on his while her hands worked to unbuckle his belt. He could see the blush on her cheeks, and he found all his machoism filter out of his body as he leaned forward and pressed his lips against the tinged pink skin before capturing her lips once again. She lost herself in the embrace for a few seconds, but then he felt his jeans and boxers fall to his ankles and her small hands meander to each of his sides to pull him forward. He braced most of his weight on his hands and then his forearms, absorbing the feel of her naked body flush against his.

"This is a first for me," she admitted shyly, unsettled by his penetrating gaze.

The corners of Puck's mouth turned up, a soft, incredulous chuckle escaping when he nodded his head a little and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. "Me too."

She blinked at his admission, not needing an explanation for his words but needing time to absorb them nonetheless. It was no secret that Puck was far from a virgin, but the idea that Rachel was the only one who'd seen this side of him made her heart swell. She didn't focus on whether she'd get to see the other side, the one who drove her crazy in basically every definition of the word. Instead, she stayed completely present in the moment as it unfolded, threading her fingers through the short strands of his strip of hair and lost herself in the sensory overload his mouth and hands were creating.

Puck was no slouch in the bedroom, and was generously a generous lover, but there was something innately satisfying about watching Rachel react to him. Usually he just gave to receive, but with Rachel it was different. He was fascinated by her morphing expressions and the tiny noises that echoed into the room depending on where he touched, and it brought him an intense sense of power, too. Not the kind of power he used to expect to feel in this situation – conquering the Holy Grail. This was something stronger, something more deeply rooted in his happiness and peace of mind that he hadn't known it existed until it happened.

"Y'sure about this?"

His voice was gruff and she never expected him to ask such a question, especially when she was all but laid out on a platter for him. Her chest was rising and falling rapidly, her lungs desperately trying to refill with oxygen at the same time Puck's mission had seemed to be to rip the necessary air out of her with his touch and now his sentiment. She knew she couldn't trust her voice even if she'd wanted to, so she just nodded and tried to urge him back on top of her even as he pulled further and further away. A soft pout spilled out of her when he left her completely, realization dawning on her face when he lifted up a small foil square in presentation.

Her mouth quirked up into a lopsided smile, her hands reaching out to take the condom from him. She opened it carefully and took her time putting it on, her eyes eventually moving back up to his, a sparkle dancing in them. "Unlike Wendla, I've done my research; after all, it is the informational age."

Rachel expected a witty retort or even his patent smirk in response, but instead all she was met with was a predatory look. Her breath caught in her throat when he encircled her waist with one arm yet again and moved her effortlessly so her head lay on the pillows. She exhaled a shaky breath when he settled between her legs once more, his index stroking her cheek until she opened her eyes again. She bit her lip as she stared into his dark gaze, the usual hazel color clouded by lust but somehow clearer than she'd ever seen it.

"Get ready to take some notes, babe," he said, his arrogance drowned out by the husky tone and then further by the soft hiccup from Rachel when Puck swiftly connected their bodies (and maybe more) as one.

Rachel walked nervously into the school building, fooling herself into thinking she wasn't immediately searching for him. Last night had been incredible and the post-coitus awkwardness that everyone else seemed to feel was nonexistent for her. She'd never been more at peace and more sure of herself than in those moments when it was just him and her, breathing heavily as they came back down from their highs. They hadn't spoken much afterward, but she could feel everything he wasn't saying in the methodical stroke of his fingers up and down her back while she nestled into his side. Now, three hours into her vow of silence trying to pinpoint the boy she normally rode to school with but couldn't today because her fathers were picking her up early to head to the airport, she wanted to feel more.

"Hey, Rach," Finn greeted when he spotted her from his locker. When she simply smiled instead of talking his ear off like usual, he couldn't help but grin. "Puck and I have a bet that you won't last the whole day without talking."

She looked at him thoughtfully, extracting her small notepad and pen from her shoulder bag and writing her question down before tearing out the piece of paper and handing it to him. He looked down at her perfect script, knotting his eyebrows together in confusion before reading it again. She watched his eyes skim the short amount of words, half expecting his lips to move as he read.

"You just missed him. Coach Bieste needed him for baseball somethin' or other." Finn shrugged, his trademark goofy grin slowly crossing onto his face. "He told me to tell you not to leave before lunch."

Rachel shook her head, indicating she hadn't planned on it. Her fathers couldn't leave work until noon, which meant they wouldn't arrive to the school until almost one. Their plane left at four and was set to land in New York City a little before six. They were going to enjoy a lovely dinner with a couple who lived in Brooklyn and had gone to school with her father. Then she was assured she get her full eight hours of sleep plus two extra so she'd be completely rested for her audition in the morning. Then, no matter how things went, they'd all arrive home later the same night in time for her fathers to finish up a big case they'd been working on for months.

"Want me to tell him you were looking for him, but only if he asks me first?"

She rolled her eyes, picking up on his less-than-subtle attempt to rouse her before scribbling down the words Bite Me. He let loose one of those rare belly laughs that made her smile wide before she waved goodbye and made her way to her first class. She'd made little cards for her teachers to explain that she would not be talking all day, and they seemed more excited than put-off. One teacher had actually joked that he bet she wouldn't make it the whole day, which would have upset her if it didn't immediately remind her of Noah. But when she entered the cafeteria and saw him waiting for her, she forgot all about the bet.

"Sup, Berry?" He greeted her just like he always did, and she wasn't sure whether to be disappointed or relieved. "Still not talkin', huh?"

Rachel shook her head, coming to sit in the spot next to him. They'd been friends for the entire year and even though they didn't always sit next to him at lunch, it wasn't a big deal if she did. Except now, after last night, it felt like it was. She could feel the heat radiating off his body, and his inconspicuous but casual placement of his hand on her thigh seemed more meaningful than it may have before. Her gaze drifted down to the appendage, her breath catching when he squeezed lightly and then invaded her space, his lips inches from her ear.

"Betcha I can make you say my name."

He pulled back, smirking wider at her resulting smile. Even after what had gone down between them last night, she still blushed at his lecherous remark. He'd think after knowing him since they were eight and really knowing each other now there'd be nothing he could do to surprise her. Then again, what happened last night surprised the hell out of him. He shook his head, not letting himself think about it until he knew where her head was at – and he knew she probably wasn't going to give it any thought until after her audition. Then again, she was hiding her little notepad from him as she wrote something down, so the question is what was she thinking about?

Bet I can make you say my name.

"Fuck, Rach," he whispered hoarsely, his fingertips denting her soft flesh. She giggled and bumped her shoulder into his, creating some space between them before unpacking her lunch. Puck didn't move his hand or stop thinking about what she wrote, but he managed to engage the other glee clubbers in random conversations about nationals, graduation, and summer. Before he knew it, the lunch period was over and Rachel's dads were calling to tell her they were waiting out front. Everyone wished her good luck (even Santana, which gave him pause) and then her eyes shifted over to him. They stared at one another for a few seconds, and without words he somehow offered to walk her out.

Rachel knew she was in a hurry, but she could feel her steps slow just to prolong her time with him. It was never her intention to have her life so closely resemble the character for which she was auditioning, but now that she could not just sympathize with Wendla but empathize with her, Rachel wished she couldn't. Her entire being yearned for Puck, and she was lost in a million emotions about whether he felt the same.

"Before ya go, I gotta question." He pulled out a piece of paper, extending it toward her. "I already wrote it down for ya and everythin'."

She unfolded the piece of paper, looking over the question with her breath held. Her heart leapt in her chest when she read his simple question, her eyes moving off the paper only when he extended a pen out toward her. There were tiny boxes for yes, no, and maybe, and she was apparently supposed to check the correct answer to his question of whether she'd miss him. She thought it was obvious and wanted to show him just how much, but she could see her fathers outside the front door window and unfortunately had to settle for just checking the yes box.

Puck grinned at the answer, tucking the pen back behind his ear before winking at her. "Knock 'em dead, B."

Rachel literally ran from her house to his, not at all deterred by the three block trek or the moon-guided path during the night hour. It was too late and it was Saturday so she knew better than to think he'd be asleep; she was more nervous about whether he'd be home. Knocking on the front door, she made small talk with Mrs. Puckerman before dashing up the stairs and into his bedroom. He was sitting at his desk chair strumming on his guitar, his head lifting up and his eyebrows knitting together at her sudden appearance.

"I got it!" She announced merrily, closing the door and waiting for him to set the instrument aside before she jumped into his lap, her arms wrapping around his neck. "I got it! I got it! I got it!"

Puck chuckled into her assault, rubbing her back a little until she finally pulled back. "Toldjya."

"That's all you have to say?" Her heart was racing and she knew it had more to do with finally feeling his body next to hers and less with her announcement. "I was just offered the lead female role in a Broadway musical and you just want to remind me that you said it would happen?"

Puck shrugged, not really having an answer. His hands lingered on each of her thighs, his eyes focusing on her hands' nervous wringing of his loose T-shirt. "Think your fathers would be cool with us sharin' a place in the big apple?"

"As my bodyguard or …" Rachel trailed off, her eyes eventually lifting up to his. "Or as my boyfriend?" She held her breath, waiting for his answer. Seconds felt like hours and aside from her vow of silence, Rachel had never been very good with not talking. "Because while the other night was incredible …"

"Damn straight," he interrupted. She scoffed at him and opened her mouth to continue whatever nonsense she was going to say, but he moved one of his hands off her thigh and placed it over her lips. She glowered at him and he just smirked. "I'll be your boyfriend or whatever."

Rachel's eyes danced and she puckered her lips to kiss his palm, her smile widening when he removed the appendage from her mouth. "Will you help me with my lines?"

"Sure," he answered casually, reaching over to his desk where a copy of Spring Awakening sat propped open. "In fact, I was lookin' this over and know the perfect place for us to start."

She looked down at the page, scanning the sheet before looking over the edge of the book in exasperation. "The sex scene, Noah?"

Puck smirked, standing up so Rachel was forced to wrap her legs around him. "Ya know, Wendla doesn't question Melchoir. Like the song says, 'And he touched me. And I let him love me.'"

Rachel's heart stopped and then beat faster when the word love fell off his lips so effortlessly, her hold on him tightening while he brought them down to his bed. "So let that be my story."