THE WEDDING DAY!
Lima Grand Hotel
Quinn and Puck had disappeared from the cocktail party turned riot the night before while Finn and Rachel were still in hiding under the buffet table, so Rachel hadn't had a chance to talk to her sister until now.
"Rachel, what are you doing?" Quinn cried out in surprise when she felt Rachel's small hand grip her upper arm.
Stone-faced, Rachel kept a tight grip on her sister, despite the slippery satin of her ice blue robe, and dragged her into the bathroom of the bridal suite. Interestingly, Santana and Brittany didn't twitch a finger to stop her, even though they didn't know just how much turmoil Quinn's bait-and-switch of grooms had thrown her life into. Maybe Kurt had filled them in yesterday morning?
Rachel locked the door behind them, and leaned against it.
Quinn laid one hand on the marble sink, and her whole body tensed, as if she were bracing herself for a blow.
Rachel had spent roughly a third of the previous night thinking about Quinn, and Noah, and all the signs she should have seen, but mostly about her sister's betrayal. She'd spent a third of the night reveling – almost wallowing – in the glorious memories of Finn's kiss, and more than a few heated fantasies about 'soon', and a third of the night just dreaming about him, after her exhaustion had finally sent her crashing into sleep.
Rachel's voice was flat, devoid of all emotion as she addressed her sister. "I spent a lot of time last night thinking about the past two weeks, and performing a thorough analysis of my feelings about this whole mess. In the end, there's really only one thing I need to know."
Quinn gulped. "What's that?"
"Why didn't you tell me?" Rachel nearly screamed. All the angst and fury she'd gone through for this, and she hadn't even been kept in the loop?
A shame-faced Quinn bit her lip. "I'm not really sure. I think I forgot."
"Oh." There really wasn't anything Rachel could say to that.
"Then when that nosy perv Ryerson caught me coming home in your jacket – you were so angry, Rachel. I'd never seen you like that before, and I was terrified that you'd blow the whole thing open just to get back at me."
"I seriously considered it, even when I thought about what Terri might do to you. Or to Noah. But let's face it, she wouldn't have believed me, anyway."
Quinn's eyes widened, and she shook her head, "No, Rachel, I'm sure she would have-"
"I was never the daughter Terri wanted," Rachel stated. "I was just the child she put up with because Dad wanted me. When I helped Dad take over and replenish the Glee club, the same club that she saw as an interloper in their marriage... that was it for her." Rachel lifted her chin proudly, feeling a sense of peace wash over her. "It doesn't matter. Emma may not be married to Dad yet, but she's already more of a mother to me than Terri ever was. When I'm eighteen, I may even search for my birth mother. In any case, Terri no longer holds any importance in my life."
"And me?" Quinn asked tentatively.
Rachel smiled. "We don't always get along, Quinn, and we don't have much in common but you're my family, same as Dad, despite our late start in life together. You're my sister, and I love you." Stepping away from the door, she moved forward and into Quinn's outstretched arms for a long hug. After a minute, Rachel loosened her grip just enough for her to look Quinn in the eye.
"Now, let's get you married," Rachel told her.
Quinn laughed, her eyes wet, and nodded.
* MOH *
Lima Grand Hotel
Top Hat Ballroom
Several hours later
Sitting at the head table for a minute to rest her feet, Rachel slumped back in her seat and smiled, looking around the ballroom. She'd just come off the stage, where members of New Directions had been alternating sets with the DJ – actually, now that she knew that Puck was the groom, not Sam, there were a few decisions about the wedding that now made much more sense. Sam would have insisted on a live band, and the bridal waltz probably would have been a duet – or an instrumental piece from a sci-fi movie, knowing him.
The choice of a Queen song, even with such romantic lyrics, for the bridal waltz was so obviously Noah's idea that Rachel had trouble believing she hadn't realized something was strange before. Her slow, acoustic arrangement (with Artie on guitar, and Kurt on piano) had turned out even better than she'd hoped, and Finn had gazed at her the whole time with a dreamy, loving look on his face that made her heart flutter in her chest.
Her Dad had smiled widely throughout the whole of his dance with Quinn, even as a few stray tears trickled down his cheeks, and Quinn had been suspiciously dewy-eyed and sniffly at the end herself. That had been a couple of songs ago, and Rachel had just finished her second performance, of Adele's 'Rolling in the deep'. Now, Leah was dancing around the stage as she belted out Paramore's 'Playing God' – Rachel wondered if anyone caught how well the lyrics fit her Dad's ex-wife?
On the dance floor, Quinn was dancing in a loose circle with Santana and Brittany, and Rachel thought all over again that Kurt deserved some sort of fashion medal. The Golden Pincushion, perhaps? He'd not only removed nearly all the excessive adornments and re-done the sashes and sleeves, but he'd somehow managed to swap Brittany and Santana's dresses, giving each girl the color that actually suited her. He'd even managed with the considerable difference between their cup sizes, without butchering or re-making the bodices from scratch. Maybe Santana had a lower-cut neckline with a wider satin trim than Brittany or Rachel, but that suited her down to the ground anyway.
"There you are. Can't you stay in one place for five fucking minutes?"
Rachel looked up, startled, to find her new brother-in-law looming over her chair. In the exultation of Finn's now-returned love and the sheer confusion of the catastrophic party, she hadn't noticed that Noah had shaved off his mohawk for the wedding, and the even, almost-bald look suited him.
"Did you want something, Noah?"
Puck rolled his eyes. "No, I left my wife and came over here to see if I could fold a napkin into an origami swan."
"Origami is only for paper folding, Noah-"
"What the fuck ever, Berry, just dance with me."
Rachel laughed and stood, letting him lead her to the dance floor. As she'd been doing most of the afternoon and evening, she quickly scanned the room for Finn. She smiled, when she saw that Carole had already managed to drag him onto the dance floor (earlier that day he'd told her firmly that there was no way he was setting foot on the thing until everyone else was at least halfway drunk). As Noah slid an arm around her waist, a familiar voice floated to her ear, and she grinned.
"What's so funny?"
Rachel giggled. "Just as we all thought, Dad couldn't resist the urge to hop on stage himself. Judging by the clock over the door, I won the Glee club pool as to when."
"Yeah, how much?" Puck asked, with the professional air of one who has managed more than one betting pool himself.
"We only put in five dollars each, but seventy-five dollars should still be enough to take Finn to Breadstix for dinner."
Puck grinned. "Taking Finn out to dinner? Don't tell me you two finally got your heads out of your asses and hooked up!"
"If you mean that Finn and I confessed our mutual love and have now embarked on a relationship, then yes!" Rachel couldn't stop the huge grin spreading across her face; she didn't want to. Kurt had caught on to their new state immediately, and had apparently kept Finn up half the night begging for details (in between filling up the inbox on her phone with texts), but this was the first time she'd actually said it out loud.
Puck let out a whoop, lifting her off her feet while he spun in a circle, before depositing her on solid ground again. "About fucking time! I was starting to think you two were going to waste years waiting for the other to make a move. Guess I got you just the right present."
Rachel raised her eyebrows. "A bridesmaid present? But Quinn already gave us the Swarovski crystal earrings this morning." Quinn had picked the various pairs of stud earrings with a good eye for the recipients; Brittany's were blue cats, Santana's were red high heels, and Rachel's had been plain crystal, shaped into stars. Rachel had already decided that hers were going to be a good-luck charm.
Puck shook his head. "No, this is a 'thank you for covering for us, even though we've put you through all kinds of shit' present. Just from me to you. I knew me and Q already owed you big-time, but San cornered me during the photos and passed on what Hummel spilled to her during the epic dress fixing. I had no idea you could have missed out on Tisch, Rachel. I know you'll make it to Broadway whether you go to Tisch, UCLA or Bumfuck U, but I've got a pretty good idea what it would have done to you to lose out because of me and Quinn. So – remember when I went to juvie, between junior and senior year?"
"Do I not!" Rachel rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Noah, if you'd pulled that stunt even two months later you would have gone into the adult system, and what would that have done to you?"
Puck grimaced. "I only think about that in nightmares. Tell anyone else – even Q – and I'll deny it, but juvie scared the shit out of me. It was such a shock to the system, it started me on the road that led me back to Quinn." He grinned, throwing off his dark mood. "But I did learn a new skill!"
Rachel smirked. "I'm better."
Puck snickered. "Still can't believe that out of all the Gleeks, you turned out to be the best lifter. Anyway, it's in my-"
"Left inside pocket?" Rachel asked politely, showing him the plastic rectangle in the hand that wasn't still resting on his shoulder.
Puck looked at her in admiration. "Fuck, you're good."
"And all this for a piece of plastic?"
"No, it's a key for room 1017. Tenth floor, north-east corner, deluxe room with living area, flat screen TV with cable, and en suite bathroom." Puck nodded to the keycard in her hand. "We couldn't have pulled this off without you, Rachel, so that room's all yours until 10am tomorrow, everything paid for. You want to get Kurt, Mercedes, Tina, Mike and Artie and watch pay per view all night, clean out the minibar and order one of everything off the room service menu, go ahead. But since you've been pining over the Finnster for about three years, and you've kinda been dating off and on with Kurt chaperoning for almost that long – even if neither of you realized it – I thought that maybe you might want a party for two." Puck looked at her levelly. "Trust me, if you ever want to get laid by Finn, you're going to have to make it happen yourself. He's too caught up in being honorable and shit."
"There's nothing wrong with being honorable, Noah," Rachel told him primly. "Not that you'd know anything about that."
"Fuck, no," he retorted. "If I was honorable, Quinn would have married Sam today, I'd be eating my heart out over her for the next ten years, and we'd all be fucking miserable."
"Hmm, you do have a point there."
"So?" Puck grinned lewdly.
"None of your business, Noah. And if I ever catch you asking Finn about our sex life in the future, I'll get Quinn to make you sleep on the couch for a week."
A subtle cough made Rachel turn her head, to find her dad standing beside them. She hadn't even noticed that 'Sway' had finished.
"Mind if I steal my daughter for a dance?"
"Sure thing, Mr. Schue." As Puck stepped back, he noticed that the keycard in Rachel's hand had vanished, even though she didn't have a handbag or pockets, and he hadn't seen a thing. Damn, she was good. With a nod to his new father-in-law, Puck strolled away, wondering if he could persuade his wife into consummating their marriage in the linen closet.
In his wake, Will and Rachel moved in perfect time to the music, as the DJ played Rascal Flatts' 'My Wish'. Given how appropriate the lyrics seemed, Rachel wondered if her dad had requested it.
"So... you and Finn are a couple now, huh? How did I miss this?"
Rachel smiled. "You didn't, Dad, it happened just yesterday. You've had other things to occupy your time – just staying sane being one of them."
Will's eyes were solemn. "Does that really matter? I still believe that I owe you an apology, Rachel. You're my daughter every bit as much as Quinn is, and I feel like I've badly neglected you. I don't want you to think for a moment that you're any less important or loved than your sister, even if she has been the main focus of my attention for a good while now."
"I never doubted you for a moment, Dad," Rachel assured him. "You think I didn't notice that you took the lion's share of Terri's insanity? You haven't been spending much time with me lately, true, but that's because you've been shielding me from her."
Will smiled, and nodded. They danced for a few verses in companionable silence, and Rachel made a decision. If she was going to have an adult relationship with Finn, she needed to act like it. She'd never been very good at hiding things from her father, and trying to now would be not only fruitless but immature.
"Dad? Just to let you know – you and Emma will have the house to yourselves tonight. I'll make sure I'm home in time for lunch. I didn't plan it originally, but I've been handed an opportunity and I intend to make the most of it."
Will looked at her, his face neutral. "Are you sure this is the right decision?"
Rachel smiled, and did her best to look like woman in love, not a girl.
"Yes, I'm sure. I love him, Dad."
"I know, sweetheart, you've loved him for almost three years. I was never against you and Finn; in fact, I've always thought you'd be a perfect match. But I know you, Rachel, and you never do anything half-way, including falling in love, and that scared me. But I really believe you're finally grown up enough to handle it."
Rachel smiled, and hugged Will around the neck.
"But sweetie? Do me a favor?"
"If you and Finn ever decide to get married... could you please give serious thought to eloping?"
* MOH *
SIX YEARS LATER
Rachel threw her head back and laughed as she and Kurt finished a modified version of the swing-dance routine that had helped them win Nationals their senior year. Modified, because the ankle-length skirt of her wedding dress - cream, with a stream of glittering golden stars woven right into the fabric, sweeping from her left shoulder-strap down the bodice and all the way down and across the skirt to her right ankle - was too full to pull off the complete routine without getting tangled up.
As the music segued seamlessly into Cole Porter's 'Night and Day', Kurt swung her into a foxtrot, steering her expertly across the floor.
"I have to say, Rachel, I'm fairly sure that an elopement means the bride and groom run off together and don't tell anyone they're married until after the fact. Having one person, two at the most, come along as witnesses is acceptable. But bringing along the groom's parents and brother, the bride's father, stepmother and birth mother – along with her adopted child - as well as her sister, brother-in-law and all her best friends from high school and several from college? I don't think you can justifiably call it an elopement anymore."
"But you were the only one who knew about the wedding part," Rachel pointed out. "Everyone else thought we were just getting together for a vacation. We didn't even tell anyone that we had a special surprise planned for one afternoon and evening until we got here. Heck, Dad, Emma and Shelby didn't even know Quinn and Noah were here, let alone Mercedes, Tina, Artie and Mike."
Kurt snickered. "They did all look satisfyingly gob-smacked when you came down the staircase to the Terrazza Di Sogno in your bridal gown. I can only imagine Mr. Schue's face when he opened the door to his room and you asked him to walk you down the aisle in ten minutes! I have to commend you for your impeccable staging – you even managed to get the fountains to go off in time with your first kiss!"
"I couldn't have managed it without my years of experience running the musical," Rachel admitted modestly. "We also couldn't have done all of this without you, so thank you." Her whole face lit up as she continued, "Now you're my brother, too! Kurt, the way your BFF resume keeps expanding, I'm going to have to be your surrogate mother or something to balance the ledger."
"You're my sister now," Kurt replied fondly. "Seeing you and Finn so happy is all the thanks I need. Mind you," he added, "a set of 1200-thread count sheets would be nice as well."
"Only if you don't mind getting them after we've broken them in a few times," came Finn's voice from behind them.
"Oh, eeuuuwwww," Kurt grimaced.
While he was occupied trying to banish the images Finn's words conjured up in his brain, Finn seized the opportunity and snatched Rachel from his arms, neatly depositing a laughing Shelby Corcoran in her place. Almost as smoothly as Kurt, he steered her back across the floor.
"We're not leaving already, surely?" Rachel teased Finn. "We have guests, after all. Even if we do always have awesome sex after weddings."
"Ever since the first time," Finn replied, an intimate smile lighting his face at the memory. "But no, not quite yet. We've got a special request to do first," her new husband grinned.
Rachel raised her eyebrows and snuggled closer. While some of Finn's ideas of 'romance' should go down in the record books as things not to do, when he did romance well, he did it incredibly well. His proposal to her, in the McKinley High auditorium the evening of his fifth-year reunion, had so completely overwhelmed her that she'd forgotten to actually say 'yes', just put her hand out for the ring and attacked him on the picnic rug. They never did make it to the reunion.
When the next song began, Rachel knew from the very first bars that Finn had done incredibly well again. As 'Faithfully' played, Rachel leaned her head on his chest, and they both hummed along in perfect harmony.
Coincidentally (or maybe not) they were right at the doors when the song ended, and Puck jumped up on the table and began to serenade Quinn with a loud, over-the-top version of 'I was born to love you'. Even as Quinn laughingly tried to pull him down, Finn whisked Rachel out the doors and into the gardens. Hand in hand, they half-ran through the grounds in the twilight, slowing down to a fast walk when they entered the hotel proper. Judging by some of the grins on the people they passed on their way through the lobby, and in the elevator, they weren't fooling anyone.
They'd chosen the outdoor terrace rather than the more luxurious indoor rooms for their reception, because they wanted to indulge themselves with a suite for their honeymoon. As Rachel pointed out, they'd be spending most of their time in bed, anyway.
Once they entered the foyer of their Salone Suite, Finn picked Rachel up in his arms, and carried her down the foyer and across the living area to their bed. True to the Bellagio's standards, housekeeping had made the bed impeccably, despite how thoroughly they'd rumpled it the previous night.
Finn laid Rachel carefully on the bed, and stood up just long enough to shuck his shoes and jacket, because Rachel loved undressing him herself. Normally, Rachel would be watching him with bated breath, but this time she was too busy admiring her wedding ring, three diamonds shaped like stars embedded in the gold band.
"Have I told you how much I love the inscription?" Rachel asked him.
"Yeah," Finn replied as he crawled onto the bed beside her. "But you can tell me again, if you'd like."
They'd both agreed on having their names engraved inside the bands, but Finn had had a last-minute inspiration and asked the jeweler to make the script smaller, in order to fit three more words in.
'One and done'.
Finn rolled on top of his wife. "Or, why don't you show me how much you love the inscription, Mrs. Rachel Berry Hudson?"
Rachel looked up and gave him a heated smile. "Why don't I just show you what I'm wearing underneath this dress, instead?"
Well, that's it for Maid of Honor! Thank you for the pleasure of your company.
If you want to save the whole story in one file, you can find my original edit at the hetbigbang archive, hetbigbang. weebly. com/ maid-of-honor-by-taleweaver. html (just take out the spaces). There's a few typos, and one flashback not in italics; I didn't like pointing it out to them when I had to send them corrections for the HTML codings once already. But you can also find a couple of nice pieces of artwork that supersyncspaz7 made, and links to a whole bunch of uniformly AWESOME fics written for the bigbang. I'm the only Glee author there, but you might find something in another of your fandoms!
For anyone who's interested in such things, right up until I signed up for het_bigbang, the only scenes written were the Dresses of Doom scene in the bridal shop, and Finn and Rachel's makeout session underneath the buffet table. (Next time I finish a fic this big, I hope I remember to keep the DVD commentary notes for it.) I wound up picking this fic from about 3 partly-written stories for the ficathon because this was the one with the most detailed outline, and I figured I had the best chance of finishing it in time!
Again, much praise to mida212, who not only managed to beta about 80% of this fic in a single week (my procrastination, not hers), but also gave me many helpful suggestions and even contributed to a couple of scenes - she pretty much wrote Rachel and Finn's phone conversation outside the dress shop in part 4, and the bitchfest between Terri and Sam's mother in part 5, as well as hashing out the details of what parts of the Bellagio were used for Finn and Rachel's wedding; I was originally going to have them go to the Crystal Phoenix Hotel from the Midnight Louie mystery novels. If you liked this fic, it's a good bet you'll like her stuff, too! She even helped inspire this story in the first place; in my reviews for her story 'How to lose a Finn in 10 days' I had a running gag about hiding underneath the table to avoid the stuff hitting the fan at the gala; that led to the ongoing mental image of Finn and Rachel hiding underneath a buffet table at a formal event. I even posted it as a prompt at the Glee Kink Meme, and got a lovely response, but it wasn't enough and I wound up with the idea for MOH.
Thanks again to everyone who's fav-ed me and sent me reviews - it really gives me a lift to know that other people (some of whom are authors I follow myself!) enjoy my work! I hope you come back for my next Glee story!