Second Thoughts – A Short Story

It's the night before her wedding and Rachel Berry is having second thoughts. She's paced back and forth for so long that she believes she may be wearing a long slender path in her pristine white carpet. But that's certainly not a concern to her right now. The carpet is replaceable. A wedding? Not so much. It's permanent. Forever. Curtain closed.

She called Kurt first. He's her best friend and quite possibly the only person who would truly understand her predicament. After all, this is the biggest stage she'll ever be on and this event, well, it's truly life altering in every aspect of the word. As she expects, he gets it and spends the next hour and a half trying to help but to no avail.

She calls Blaine next. He's completely prepared when she does, seeing as Kurt has been texting his boyfriend the entire time he was on the phone with her, and immediately starts chattering off advice and recommendations. But it doesn't matter; she's still convinced it just feels wrong. An hour later, she thanks him anyway and throws her cell phone on the couch.

She's not sure how long it is after she hangs up with Blaine that she hears a loud knock on her door. She glances at the clock. 11:02. She typically refuses to answer her door after 9 p.m. without a text or call first as a forewarning. This is New York City after all, though Blaine always teases her about it, saying that no burglar or rapist is going to actually knock on her door, regardless of time. Another knock rings through her quiet apartment followed by a familiar voice.

"Open the door Rach," is all he says, his voice soft and soothing but she immediately notices the hint of worry in it. She feels a slight pang of guilt in her stomach when she does.

Taking a few seconds to compose herself, she walks to the door and opens it slowly. Standing on the other side, his arm resting high on the frame as he leans into it, is her groom. Noah Puckerman.

"Hi" is all she can muster right now, shyly keeping her eyes away from his.

"You know," Noah says, slipping past her and into the room, "it's really kinda scary when Hummel calls you the night before your wedding and tells you that your bride is freaking out." He turns around, stuffing his hands into his pockets and staring at her. "So should I be worried, Rach?"

She narrows her eyes on him, shutting the door with a gentle push, and then shakes her head. "No . . . what? No." She throws her head back when she realizes what is going on and then lets out a soft chuckle.

"It's not funny, Rach, because I'm starting to kinda freak out myself. So you need to tell me right now if you are having second thoughts. So I can either talk some sense into you or save myself some heartache."

Smiling then, she takes a few steps closer to him. "I am having second thoughts," she says softly and watches as his breath hitches, "but not about you, Noah. Not about us. I do not have one shred of reservation about marrying you. I know it is right."

She sees the relief wash over his face and he starts to shake his head, smiling. "Then what in the hell was Hummel talking about?" He stops then, his expression growing more serious when he looks at her again. "Wait, what are you having second thoughts about?"

"Obviously Kurt is very dramatic so I would believe his call to you, which I'm sure was simply out of concern, likely came across as something very different than what it was. I am having second thoughts and perhaps freaking out a bit because I'm certain that the song I've chosen to sing tomorrow is not the perfect one."

His eyebrow darts up as his eyes grow wide and his mouth falls open slightly. "Are you fucking kidding me," he laughs, "Kurt scared the fucking life out of me because you are second guessing a song choice?"

At first, she is relieved that he is laughing about this. She's fairly certain that if the tables were turned and she believed he was backing out on their wedding, she would be quite angry. But then the perfectionist in her kicks in and she puckers her lips and places her hands on her hips, staring back at him wide-eyed. "I have you know, Noah Puckerman, that this is a very important decision for me and one that I will not take lightly. Just like I did not take my decision to accept your proposal lightly."

His face softens on her but the smile never leaves his lips. "It's a song, Rach."

"I know," she nods quickly, "but it is our wedding song. And it has to be perfect because once it is done, it is done, and I can't decide on Sunday or two weeks from now that there is a song that would have suited us and our wonderful occasion more appropriately. So I don't want to regret the song I choose to sing. It must be perfect."

Once again, he just shakes his head, laughing all the while. "But baby, it's still just a song."

She feels the slight irritation brewing in her body and she stamps her foot at him. "Obviously you do not understand the complexity of our relationship, Noah. It is not just a simple song. I can't just open some songbook somewhere and pick out a song and expect it to fully convey my overwhelming feelings for you or the intensity of our love. The song has to be perfect. Because it's for you." Her shoulders slump when the words come from her mouth and she feels the weight of the evening wearing on her.

Noah watches her for a few seconds before he reaches forward and pulls her strongly into his arms. He kisses her forehead gently. "You realize that you could sing Baby Got Back up there and I would still think it was the greatest song I'd ever heard. Baby, I realize you want this song and this wedding to be perfect but there is no such thing as perfect. And you and me? We aren't perfect but we sure as hell are right and that's all I need. I don't need it to be perfect, I need it to be right. In that moment. And honestly, as long as you're walking down that aisle sandwiched in between your dads, any song would be right." He plants his warm lips on her forehead again. "And if you decide next week that there is another song you would have rather sung, you can sing it to me then. And I will listen to you sing every single time. I promise."

She nestles her head into his chest and wraps her tiny arms more tightly around his waist. "What did I ever do to deserve you, Noah Puckerman. By some stroke of luck, you decided to choose me. Me. When there are so many others who would love to be in my patent leather shoes."

She hears him chuckle warmly and that familiar twinge sears through her heart. It's a feeling she knows well now, one she ignored for a very long time but once she admitted to herself it was there and opened her arms to him, she's refused to let go.

He pulls her back ever so slightly so he can gaze into her eyes. "Rach, there is one thing I don't want you to ever forget. It's that I will always choose you. I don't care what the situation is because it will always be you. You're my girl and tomorrow you're gonna be my wife and I can honestly say that there is nothing in the world that could make me happier than I am right now."

Pulling her back to his chest, he leaves lingering kisses on the top of her head and occasionally runs his hand through her hair. His arms feel amazing to her and she's quite content with the thought of staying there forever. And she will.

"Noah," she says after a few minutes, "I'm sorry I scared you. It's why I didn't call you. I expected Kurt or Blaine to be able to assist with my trouble and I'm sorry that it all got conveyed incorrectly and you thought I was getting cold feet."

"It's alright," he says softly, "I should be used to Hummel and his flair for the dramatics by now. But as soon as he said you were freaking out, I was out the door. I know you love me, Rach, so I just figured that if you were backing out, you just needed me to calm you down."

She nods against his chest, pulling her hands up to it and drawing circles atop his shirt. "I'm neurotic, Noah. I overreact and sometimes, well often times, I'm difficult to deal with. Are you sure you want that?"

"Every bit of it," he says, kissing her head again. He waits a few seconds before he places his hands on her shoulders and pulls her back from him. "You better?"

She nods, smiling softly, "You have sufficiently calmed me. You may regret that when I sing Bootylicious tomorrow."

His laugh echoes through the room. "No, babe, because that would be totally hot and YouTube worthy."

Running a finger along his chest, she raises her big doe eyes up to him. "So, you know I want everything to go perfect," she stops momentarily, remembering his words earlier, "right tomorrow." He just nods, likely hoping she is not slipping back into the Bridezilla mode he has seen (and dealt with beautifully) many times over the past few weeks. "So maybe we should practice for the honeymoon."

She sees the surprise slip across his face but it is quickly replaced by a mischievous, if not slightly apprehensive, smirk. "Oh I'm always up for more practice, Rach, though I'm fairly certain we have fucking perfected that art. But you know, it is almost midnight and I figured you would want to make sure I didn't see you on the day of the wedding."

"Are you turning me down, Noah Puckerman," she laughs, cocking an eyebrow at him.

"Hell no, I'm not turning you down. If you want me to stay, I'm all game for that. But if you want me to go, I'm ok with that too. Doesn't matter to me as long as you marry me tomorrow."

She starts pushing him back until he reaches the couch and falls down with one final push. Straddling him, she starts kissing a line along his jawline and up to his ear. "I'm gonna marry you tomorrow, Noah. Not even Barbra Streisand herself can stop me from doing that. But tonight, I want you to make love to me for the last time as a single man."

With that, he tangles his hand into her hair and finds her lips with bruising intensity. Within minutes he has her on her bed, clothes off and he is kissing a trail of light kisses along her body. He touches her just right that night . . . the way he always has. The way she knows he always will. Their passion so intense that it literally leaves her breathless. It's a passion that only he can bring to and from her.

The next morning there is a new pounding at the door and Noah sleepily pulls himself away from her, grabbing a sheet from the floor and wrapping it around his waist. She hears Kurt's high pitched scream when he opens the door and him mutter something about not seeing the bride on the wedding day and that he has to get her to the hairdresser. He adds "STAT" with a yelp once he sees her disheveled shape, still lying sleepily in the bed.

Kurt has her out of the bed and dressed in no time, chattering incessantly the entire time about not ruining his first try at being a wedding planner. Rachel stops him long enough to give Noah a lingering kiss as Kurt pulls her out the door and tells him she can't wait to see him at the altar. That she cannot wait to become Mrs. Noah Puckerman. The smile that lights his face warms her heart instantly.

Hours later, after the vows have been said and the rings have been placed on each other's fingers, she slips away from him and to the microphone. "Noah, I honestly do not believe there is a song in existence that does justice to the love I feel for you. The mutual love that we share. But I realize that our love, well it is song. It's just one that never ends. And that song is what makes me feel safe and warm and protected and loved and every other emotion that you make me feel." She can see the tears start to shine in his eyes as he places his chin on his hands and stares at her. "I tried very hard for a very long time to ignore those emotions. And you stood by me, patiently playing the role of friend until I figured it out. And when I did, I felt whole for the first time in my life. So thank you, Noah Puckerman, for showing me what true and unwavering love really is. I will forever return that same love to you."

She watches as a tear slips down his cheek and he quickly wipes it away, his brilliant smile never leaving his face. "But while there isn't a perfect song. There is one I want to sing to you. So here it goes."

Raising the microphone to her lips, she starts to sing to him, for him . . . . for them. It's the song she originally planned on and the one she kept coming back to even when she was looking for something else.

All the things you are to me
Darling you have set me free
I'll always give you what you need
and what you deserve
All the joy and all this love
I know that it is from above
and now together there is enough
to fill this world

Cause you are the love of my life
you are the love of my life
and now we are man and wife
Of all the things that you will do
Yet now I'm standing next to you
Darling I will see you through
the rest of our lives
With you beside me I am one
I'm glad I've waited for so long
there is no doubt that
you are the one for me

Cause you are the love of my life
you are the love of my life
There'll be times
and there'll be things
but everything
is going to be fine
now your in my life
So I give you my heart and soul
It's yours to take where ever you go
and through the years you'll always know
it's yours to keep

But then she stops abruptly, holding her hand up to stop the music as well. When she starts to laugh, a new guitar chord echoes through the hall and she sees Noah's mouth instantly fall open. Then there's the gleam in his eye. She'll never tire of seeing that.

For the next two minutes, she belts out the familiar lyrics to Let's Get It On with Kurt and Blaine joining in to sing backup. Noah joins in near the end, stepping up behind his new wife and placing his hands on her tiny hips. He leans down and starts to slowly nibble at her neck, making her screech into the microphone.

He whisks her away soon after, helping her into the waiting limousine as he slides in beside her. And as she rests her head on his shoulder and intertwines her fingers through his she decides that he was wrong last night. They are perfect, if only for each other.

The song though? Well she's sure she'll find many more that she wants to sing to him. She has the rest of her life to find their perfect song.