So, here's my new story. It's a long one-shot and it took me almost a month to put it all together, but I really like how it has ended up. I hope you guys feel the same way, if you manage to read everything to the bottom! :)
The title is from lyrics of "All the same" by Sick Puppies.
To Sandra (sandra-wfg), who loves angst and has aways been supportive of me.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
And in Between It Always Seems Too Long
The storm is approaching; the wind is blowing in furious wisps and the rain is pouring in violent sheets.
The house is still and quiet, contrasting with the weather, and if there were any passersby outside at that late hour in the February night, they would say that it is empty, for there are no lights on. Soon enough, a light flickers on behind the front door before it finally stills.
Inside, Finn has his hand wrapped tightly on the doorknob, ready to turn it, while Rachel stares at him, her arms folded in front of her chest. On the floor, next to him, is a suitcase and he almost opens his mouth a couple of times but nothing comes out. It's as if he has lost the ability to speak. Rachel also tries to say something and fails, which considering her talkative personality, is very unusual.
They stay like that, silent and staring, for a long moment, waiting for the other to take the initiative and speak or move or anything. She makes a few attempts to approach him, but her feet seem to be glued to the hard wooded floor. He almost takes a tentative step in her direction, but instead grabs his suitcase and turns the doorknob and opens the door. The wind instantly gets in the house and it's really cold and her hair is flying in every direction but she doesn't even move to tuck the rebellious strands behind her ears.
And then he leaves, closing the door silently behind him.
She has always thought that if this day were to ever come, she would be crying hysterically. Yet, there she is, her arms still in front of her chest, a hollow feeling inside her, but not a single tear rolls down her cheek. And that astonishes her.
Especially when there were no goodbyes, no last kisses or no last words. Just emptiness inside her chest and the realization that everything is definitely over. That they are broken beyond repair. That neither of them is willing to do anything to try and fix it.
Young Rachel Berry knew that her relationship with Finn would come to an end, eventually. Even at a tender age, she knew that they had an expiration date; it was only a matter of time. Drama queen as she has always been, she used to think when that day came, she'd mourn for months.
So, when the time actually comes, she finds herself reading a good book before going to bed, instead of crying her eyes out. In fact, since he has left, two days ago, she hasn't shed a single tear.
She remembers how things were when they were younger. They had been so proud of their relationship that they used to brag about it. And after they had gotten married, they rubbed it in everyone's faces, especially the ones who never believed they'd go the distance.
But that was before. Before everything started to fall apart and before they had lost the strength to fight. Maybe those people were right, after all. Maybe getting married the first year after they had graduated from college was not the smartest move of their lives. But they were so happy.
They used to say they were tethered, but she has always known that even tethers aren't unbreakable and she knows deep down that strings and tethers can only take so much before they break. Their tether has lived longer than they'd expected, even with all the blows it took. And she will be forever grateful for that.
"You look so beautiful," she whispered in his ear.
"Babe, we've talked about this before. You don't call a dude beautiful. You call him handsome, at best."
She giggled and her face buried in his chest as they swayed accordingly to the slow pace of the song they'd picked for their first dance as a married couple.
The ceremony had taken place in a lazy August afternoon and it had been simple and intimate and their vows were even simpler (which surprised everyone; the whole world knew how Rachel Berry loved big and complicated words). His mom had cried from the moment she had laid eyes on Rachel, with both of her dads taking her down the aisle, until the end.
Only their families and close friends had been invited, so, obviously, the entire glee club was there. Finn started to regret it as soon as Puckerman had decided to tease him about his dancing. Rachel told him he shouldn't be worried about that, because he'd rehearsed a lot for this and he'd been doing perfectly fine with it. He believed her, of course.
"Are you ready to spend the rest of your life with your husband, Mrs. Hudson?"
"Say it again," she begged with the biggest smile on her face.
"What? Mrs. Hudson?" She nodded and stared into his eyes, waiting for his next words. "I love you, Mrs. Hudson."
"I love that you call me that," she paused, resting her head on his shoulder. "And I love you too, Mr. Hudson."
Eventually, people joined them at the dance floor and sooner she was taken from his arms and pulled into one of her fathers'. Then she danced with her other father and then with Burt, then Kurt and, at some point, she even danced with his mother.
When Puck was about to pull Rachel to dance with him, Finn was quicker and grabbed her first. "Sorry, dude. Try again later. I miss my wife." Rachel threw her head back in a fit of laughter and it was so infectious even Puck smiled.
"We have all the time in the world, Finn," she said, softly.
"I know," he replied. "Our life is just beginning."
And she kissed his lips.
"How did we come to this," he asks over the phone, later that week.
She wishes to have an answer to that.
She doesn't cry anymore. She figures it's because her tears have dried a long time ago. Either that or she has shed them all already.
Most of the times, when she's in a really bad day, she feels like crying. However the tears fail to fall from her eyes. So, whenever the pain is too much to bear, she sobs, as if she can ease it, and she shakes and in the end her heart still aches as much as it did before.
But she sucks it up and goes to work and lives her life as if nothing life-altering has happened. Sometimes she calls Kurt and other times he's the one who calls. More often than not, he's the one who takes the initiative and checks up on her. It always ends up the same way: he asks her out for a cup of coffee or brunch or shopping and she denies saying she's too busy or sick or just not in the mood. Eventually he picks up on that and stops trying to talk to her.
There's this sunny day in early March when she decides to go for a walk in Central Park and she bumps into Kurt. He asks her if she wants to grab a cup of coffee at the nearest Starbucks and she obviously can't say no, because there's no plausible excuse she can make up in time. He asks her how she's doing and keeps saying that the first month is the hardest so "don't hesitate and call me if you need to talk." She most definitely doesn't want to talk. She doesn't want to talk about hers and Finn's decision to go separate ways; she doesn't want to talk how her bed is so much colder since he has left or how she's been craving for McDonald's French fries or pepperoni pizza, because those were her guilty pleasures and she has only eaten them in his company.
So, she politely tells Kurt that she has absolutely no desire to go back to the darkest times of her life to relive it all and she hopes that he understands her decision. But her friend has always seen through her almost as sharply as Finn used to.
"Why are you pushing people away," Kurt asks, frustration dripping from his voice.
"I'm not. I guess I'm just used to people not wanting to get close to me," she answers, honestly, and for a moment she feels that insecure girl who was picked on in high school all over again.
"I want to get close to you, Rachel, you just don't let me," he retorts, upset. "And okay, you don't want to talk about what happened, fine, we don't talk about it. We'll do it as you please. All I want is to help you to get out of that funk you're in and you won't let me!"
She knows how right he is. He's so right that she can't even look him in the eye.
"You're not alone, Rachel, remember?"
Yes, she remembers. And she knows she's not exactly alone. But then why does she feel so lonely?
Days pass by slowly and her life is still the same dullness as it has been for almost two months. She lives her life on auto-pilot and every day she performs the same ritual: she wakes up at the same hour, she takes a shower, she eats when she doesn't forget to, she rehearses her lines, she heads to the theatre, she dresses up in her costume for the play, she performs the play she's been in for almost two years now, she gets her standing ovation, she goes back to her dressing room, she changes to her street clothes, she gets back home and she sleeps.
It has been this way for a long time now and even though she wants to change this routine, she doesn't find the will to do so.
Even getting to the theatre, to the dream she has worked so hard for, doesn't feel right.
She gets to be every night on a Broadway stage, performing as Elphaba in the biggest Wicked revival of all times. It has been so successful that on its one year anniversary, the production got another year. Which means that she has four more months with that play ahead of her and, as much as it costs her to admit it, four months are too much.
Rachel couldn't wait to get to their tiny apartment and tell Finn the good news. And it was beyond great and a happy coincidence that those news had been delivered to her precisely on their marriage's first anniversary.
As soon as she got home, she called him in a sing-song voice, and when he didn't respond, she started to look for him in the bedroom. When she got there, to say that she was mesmerized at the sight in front of her was an understatement. Finn had splayed candles of various sizes, colors and scents all over the floor, the furniture, the window sill and even the bed (she would hold that for later and lecture him about how irresponsible it was to have a heat source so close to the bedspread and how he could have set their apartment on fire) while he stood in the middle of the bedroom, pink tulips in his hands and a soft song playing in the background.
"Happy anniversary, babe," he greeted her with one of the biggest grins she had ever seen.
She squealed and threw herself into his arms and he caught her and held her tightly against him.
"Happy anniversary, Finn," she managed to say between happy tears. "This is amazing and I can't believe you went through all this work! Not that I'm complaining and I definitely don't think you weren't capable of pulling off something like this. I guess I'm just surprised."
"Okay, now that you stopped with the crazy talking, can I kiss you?"
"By all means, be my…" and he cut her off, attaching his lips to hers in a searing kiss. When they parted, he shoved his nose in her hair and inhaled deeply, taking in as much of her as possible, while she smiled happily against his chest.
"I have some news," she informed, breaking the silence, and he cocked his brow, curious. "They're good ones."
"C'mon Rach, don't be a tease."
"Remember that audition I went to a couple of weeks ago?" He nodded, staring intently at her. "Well, I got the part."
He smiled so open and widely that she could swear his face had broken in half. "What?"
"You're looking at the new Sophie in the Broadway revival of Mamma Mia. Isn't it just lovely, Finn?"
"Lovely? Rachel, it's freaking awesome! I'm so proud of you." He truly was and so was she. Up until recently, she had only had a few minor roles and the only production she had starred had only a few shows left. And they were all off-Broadway productions. So, on top of being Mamma Mia it was on Broadway. Her dreams had finally come true and, along with hers, so had his.
Their life was perfect and that was something they had to celebrate. Preferably all night long.
Kurt calls saying he has great news for her and he seems so utterly happy, even over the phone that she can't tell him off. She asks why is he so overjoyed and he answers with the last thing she has ever expected to hear.
"Alex and I… well, we're going to fill in for adoption." Her mouth goes dry and she knows she should be happy for her best friend and his partner of five years, but she just can't, because other thoughts, unpleasant and hurtful thoughts, flood her mind and she doesn't know how to react to them. It's been a long time and she has honestly thought she had moved on and let the past stay in the past but she isn't so sure now.
"Rachel, are you still there?" She hears Kurt's frantic voice on the other side and she has to say something and her eyes are burning but she still can't cry and she just can't breathe.
"Yes, I am," she manages. "Those are great news, Kurt."
"Please, don't be so happy and excited," he shoots, sarcastically, "I'm only telling you that I'm ready to try parenting, it's not that big of a deal."
She feels bad. She is ruining her friend's moment, probably the best moment of his life so far, and she feels terribly for it. She apologizes and hopes he accepts it.
"It's okay," he says, "I know you've been through a lot lately and I was unloading all my happiness on you, while you're clearly very unhappy. It was very inconsiderate of me and for that I'm truly sorry, Rachel."
She definitely doesn't deserve a friend like him, but she accepts his apology, even though there is nothing to apologize for. Then she tells him she's late for work and vows to call him back later, even though both of them know that is not going to happen.
A few weeks later, she runs into Finn and it's pouring like crazy. For a moment they don't know what to say and it is awkward and all she wants to do is run in the opposite direction, but she's not a teenager anymore and, besides, she has never been one to run away.
They exchange pleasantries and they try some small talk.
"This isn't working," he mutters under his breath, but she can hear him perfectly.
"I didn't plan to run into you, you know? Otherwise I would have prepared myself with some guidelines for this conversation."
At this, he chuckles and she finds her lips twitching in a soft smile. "I've missed you, Rach, you know that?"
He seems so sincere and it would be so easy to just ask him to move back in with her. Instead, she shrugs and tells him she should be going.
"I'm sure Kurt has told you this already, but I've been staying at his place. I didn't want to, because I know I'm being a burden for him and Alex, and I know I'll be a bigger burden once they get their baby, but he didn't let me have it my way this time."
No, Kurt hasn't told her that and she stares at him, feeling foolish. She wishes she has something to say, something that could hurt him and maybe hurt her in the process. She has been so numb all this time that all she wants is to feel something. Instead, what fall from her lips are six simple words, spoken softly.
"Why are you telling me this?"
"I don't know," he admits. "I thought you might want to know that I have some place to stay. And I know I can't call it a place of my own, but I can almost call it home."
She doesn't know why, but that single sentence sends a venomous sting straight through her heart.
Curiosity was taking over her. She hadn't the slightest idea of where they were heading and the fact that he'd blindfolded her was making everything worse. He had been cryptic all week long and he had even asked her to call in sick for the day. When she'd asked him why, he had replied with "your understudy will be grateful."
Of course, she hadn't minded so much, because this was their third year anniversary and she had already thought of giving herself the day off. Yes, she had planned a more intimate and domestic afternoon, but apparently he had other plans. Plans that he had worked really hard to keep hidden from her, which had gotten her thinking that whatever it was, it sure was something very important.
The car finally stopped and she took her hands to the blindfold, ready to tear it from her eyes, but Finn's hand prevented her from doing so.
"Wait just a little longer," he pleaded and she obliged. Then, he got out of the car, opened the door for her and guided her through half a dozen of steps, before finally stopping and asking, "Are you ready?"
She nodded vigorously and, at last, he removed the blindfold from her.
Her eyes grew bigger and wider than they'd ever been and she looked in awe at the tiny but perfect house in front of her. It was painted in white and the front door was blue and it even had a white picket fence. There were other houses like that around and she imagined they were in the suburbs.
"What is this, Finn?"
"It's a house, Rachel," he answered, quite mockingly.
"I know it's a house," she retorted. "I mean, what does this mean? Did you buy this house? Are you crazy? You should have talked to me first. These aren't things to be taken lightly, Finn, and this was supposed to be a decision made as a couple…"
He stopped her rambling with a peck on her lips.
"Would you relax? Do you really think I would buy a house on my own, without telling you first? You're so crazy sometimes, Rachel Hudson!"
She frowned and folded her arms in front of her chest, waiting for an explanation, while he just stood there, smirking at her. "Care to tell me what's going on, then?"
He laughed and pulled her into a hug and she relaxed and dared to smile, as well. "I really do love you and as you may have noticed this is your third anniversary surprise gift."
"But you said you didn't buy a house."
"And I didn't. But we are going to buy one today," he stated, with a lopsided smile.
"Is this why you've been so strange all week?"
"Yes, I had to find a real estate agent and then I had to book a meeting with her. I was really afraid that she would call and you would pick up. That would ruin the surprise."
"I would've loved it anyway," she replied cheekily. "So, where is this agent?"
At that exact moment, they heard heels clacking on the floor behind them and turned around to be faced with a red-headed woman seemingly the same age as them.
"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Hudson," she stuck out her hand to them. "My name is Tanya Adams and I'll be at you service for the day. I've marked a handful of houses in the suburbs for us to visit today, and I made sure that all of them fill in the requirements that Mr. Hudson has provided me. Now, if you'd be so gentle to follow me into this lovely house…"
They exchanged glances and entered the house after the woman, both thinking that was going to be a long day.
It turned out that it wasn't that long. They'd visited every house Tanya had selected and they were all very homey and cozy and great places where they could raise their kids, but only one stood out the most and they both had fallen in love with it, at first sight. The porch needed some repairing and the walls needed to be repainted, but the front yard was huge and the back yard had enough space to install a pool, if they wanted to. The real estate agent had tried to thwart them from signing the papers, because that house would need a lot of work and they would have more expenses with it, but they were resolute.
Later, in their little apartment, they had laid in bed talking about the events of the day.
"Why did you pick that house," Rachel asked.
"Well, I know it needs much more work than any of the others we've seen, and we'll also have to spend money with the repairs and all. But if we spend some time working on that, I think that's what will make it a place of our own, you know? It's what will make it our home."
She nodded and smiled into his shoulder, happily. Yes, she knew what he meant because that was exactly the way she felt about it.
She doesn't like to remember things like these. They are only a reminder of how things could be but are not; of how happy she was before everything became unbearable.
It's not that she doesn't like the happy memories of before; she does. But the bad ones come right after the good ones, tainting them. Besides, every time she goes down memory lane, there's this feeling at the pit of her stomach that doesn't let her breathe or think or cry. It just stays there until she is too tired or suffocating. Those are the moments when she wishes they weren't so broken.
Those are the moments when she wishes for Finn.
They're in the last week of April and it's a hard time for her, so she calls her producer and says she has to take the weekend off. He takes it pretty well and tells her to get better. Afterwards, she calls Kurt and invites him for dinner at her house. He's thrilled that she has finally called and they "have so much to catch up on, you have no idea, Rachel." She almost regrets it, but the last thing she wants is to spend the entire weekend alone.
He gets to her house a little earlier and helps her with some final touches on the meal. She cooks a veggie dish that she knows Kurt likes and adds two slices of ham to his plate(even though she doesn't eat meat, she still buys it out of habit, when she goes grocery shopping). When they finally seat at the dinner table, Kurt notices how much fun they were having and "we should do this more often" to which she simply nods.
They talk about this and that and work and trivial things and Kurt fills her in the latest McKinley gossip. She is pleasantly surprised to know that all of their friends from the New Directions are doing well in life. She wonders how Kurt knows about all this, but she figures he still talks to Mercedes quite often.
When they reach time for dessert, she gasps in horror. She hasn't baked anything in a long time and, thus, she has completely forgotten to bake something for the night. She can't be more embarrassed. Thankfully, Kurt has brought vanilla ice cream (vegan, of course) and, after she apologizes and thanks him, they feast themselves with the treat, while Kurt goes on and on about his and Alex's four day trip to the Greek islands, two weeks ago.
On any ordinary day among family, someone would ask Kurt to "just shut up and let other people talk". She was usually one of them, but right now, she's just thankful that he talks nonstop about his life. This way, she can keep her mind off of the creeping thoughts that assault her on a daily basis. That's why she has invited him, in the first place.
They get to a point where he runs out of mishaps to tell and, without even thinking, she asks him the first thing that comes across her mind. She'll be heartbroken and she knows it, but what kind of friend is she if she doesn't ask him about the adoption?
"How's the adoption going?"
His lips twitch. "It's going pretty well. They have finally fully examined our applications and now we're just waiting for them to contact us and introduce us to kids."
"Wouldn't it have been simpler if you'd gotten a surrogate mother?"
"It would," he starts. "But Rachel, there are so many abandoned children out there and if I can help them and give them a home, why wouldn't I? What if he or she is a little older? It doesn't really matter. I'll love him or her unconditionally, no matter what age."
She almost – almost – tears up and slides her hand across the table to squeeze Kurt's. "You'll be a wonderful parent."
He squeezes her hand back and mutters "thanks" and there's a moment of silence between them, until Kurt speaks up again.
"By the way, how are you? Finn told me."
Those simple three words knock the wind out of her. Her eyes go wide, in full alert, as she plans an escape, but at the same time she chokes and she can't breathe and she's just so broken.
Kurt must have noticed the panic in her features, because he sends her a worried look.
"What did he tell you about," she barely chokes out.
"Nothing special. Just that he ran into you while I was in Greece."
She lets out a long, loud and relieved sigh. "Oh, that. Yeah, we… we talked. I didn't know he was staying at your place."
Her best friend nods, thoughtfully. He seems conflicted about something.
"He is. But only until you figure out what's going on between you two and fix whatever that is," he pauses, studying her expression. "I'm going to be a father soon and I can't have him around the house when that happens. The apartment is already too cluttered as it is."
She looks at her hands on her lap and murmurs, "I don't know if we'll ever fix our marriage, Kurt. I don't think we are capable of doing so. Not after all this time."
He takes a deep breath. "He asks about you all the time, you know? He's miserable. And you are too, there's no use in denying it. I can see it in your eyes. So, for both of your sakes and mine, you need to fix this, Rachel."
"I can't do it," she insists.
"I'm not telling you to fix it alone. You have to fix it with him! That's the only way." Her napkin seems, suddenly, much more interesting than him. "See, this is what I'm talking about! The Rachel Hudson I know would never just sit there, looking at her freaking napkin, in complete silence! She would fight back and argue and she would stubbornly turn my own opinions against me and have me bowing at her feet, telling her she was correct all along," he pauses, searching for her eyes and when he finally meets them, he says, "You… you are just a blurry shadow of the fierce woman I know and love."
She furrows her eyebrows and there's a spark inside her somewhere that almost makes her snap at him. "Kurt, people change."
"I know, and I won't argue with that, but… Rachel, I don't know how to deal with you two anymore. You used to be so open and you would talk about everything and Finn used to be reserved and quiet all the time. Now, it's like your roles are reversed and that's strange to me," he pauses and lets his words sink in. "I don't know what to say to you to make you talk to me and I don't know what kind of advice my brother needs. That had always been your job."
He stops talking and they sit there in silence for a couple of minutes. She knows Kurt is right, but… Things are not so simple anymore. They are not as young and oblivious about life as they were fourteen years ago, when they met. And they are not as blissfully happy, not even remotely, as they were almost seven years ago, when they got married. They have made mistakes in the past couple of years that neither of them can undo. And, even though it hurts and almost rips her heart out of her chest, it's something that she has already come to terms with. And she's certain that Finn has as well.
That doesn't keep Kurt's next words to stab another wound to her already bruised heart.
"You were best friends, Rachel. Now that you're separated, you're just going to forget about it?"
The work load the play had been dumping on her for four months now was almost unbearable. It had been even harder since they'd started it a little over a month ago, but she couldn't be picky or protest about it. It had been her dream of a long time to play Elphaba on a Broadway stage and when she was finally offered the role, she hadn't thought twice before she accepted it.
Finn wasn't too happy about it, though. They had talked about expanding the family and Rachel begged for him to wait for Funny Girl to be over and then they could think about it. However, after she had been nominated for a Tony award for her role as Fanny Brice, she was considered for various other productions and when her agent called her and said that "Wicked producers are very interested in you" she hadn't looked back and just went for it, without talking to Finn first. They had had a couple of fights since then and things hadn't been the same. He had been at the premiere, front row, center stage, like he'd promised, but something felt off. She didn't think they would last after she'd tell him the secret she'd been holding, though, and that scared her to no end. Or maybe not; maybe he'd understand her reasons and they could move past that. She certainly hoped so.
However, when she got home that day, a little after midnight, all her hopes flew out of the window. He stood by the kitchen threshold and stared hard at her.
"Where have you been," he asked, curtly.
"At work," she retorted, the same way.
"I've been waiting for you for hours, Rach! You could've at least called."
She frowned. "I was on stage, as you well know. What was I supposed to do, leave it and come running home?"
"Well, you used to do that for us to celebrate our anniversary. And this is our fifth. Half a decade should mean something to you," he shot back.
She was taken a little aback. She had completely forgotten about their anniversary and that was not like her, but she had been so busy and so worried and she could only take so much at a time.
"I forgot," she admitted.
"You forgot? C'mon, Rachel, I know you've been busy, but this? This is ridiculous!"
"Well, it is my life. You already knew that when you married me, so I'm sorry if I'm doing something I love!" She snapped at him, furiously. She had planned to tell him that day, but how could she do it, when they were fighting so vigorously? It would only make things worse; a thousand times worse.
"I'm not mad because you're doing something you love. I've always supported you to do so, Rach. I'm mad because you don't include me in your life anymore! All you care about now is work and I have to walk on eggshells around you every time I want to tell you something or do something with you. It's frustrating!"
"I'm sorry that I have to work twice as hard to prove that I'm worthy to my producers, because in a few months I'll look like a whale," she blurted out. Okay, the secret was out. Finn looked at her, agape, taking in the implications of that sentence. Then, his lips stretched out in an open wide smile.
"Pregnant? Yes, four weeks along, but…" And then came the hard part. She was almost positive that after this they wouldn't be the same, ever again. "I can't have this child, Finn. This play is my dream and if I get pregnant now, I can't perform. And I can't not perform right now."
He furrowed his eyebrows at her, confused. "Are you saying…? You don't want to have a baby?"
"Do you want to do an abortion? No, you can't be serious. I won't let you do it," he stated, adamantly.
"I love you, Finn, but it's not your decision to make. I'm an independent woman and if I want to do an abortion, I…"
"No!" He had never yelled at her like that. "I'm not gonna let you do it, Rachel, because we're married. And this decision has to be made by both of us. We're not kids. We have an economically stable life and we have unlimited supplies of love to give to this kid…"
"I don't want it," she spat, shouting. "It will ruin my life."
He looked like his whole world had crumbled around him and she wished things were different, so she could hug him and comfort him. But she needed comfort, too. She felt like she was losing him, now more than ever, and he had his reasons, of course, but she just couldn't have a kid right now.
"You know if you get an abortion, I'll leave you, right? Because I will, Rachel. I love you and I always will, but if you do something like that, we're over."
She knew he was being deadly serious. She wished she had another option.
She's a wreck. And it only gets worse with time. Her cast mates notice, Kurt notices and even her fathers notice how broken and not herself she is. She always dismisses it as something as unimportant as talking about the weather, but the fact is that all those people can see past her façade and maybe – just maybe – she should drop it and let them help her.
It's not that easy, though. She has always been stubborn and that's one of her personality aspects that won't go away so simply. So, even though she has admitted to herself that she's lonely and hurt, she is not yet ready to let others know. Showing weakness has never been her thing. The hard part is that her acting skills are not enough to hide it anymore. And that is what has been the hardest to deal with.
Because, when all else is failing, her career is all she has left.
It takes almost a month for her to gather enough courage to call him.
"Rachel?" That is his greeting and she can almost feel him frowning in confusion.
"Do you think about me," she blurts out before the courage vanishes.
"Rach, I…" She hears the hesitation on the other end and her heart breaks a little more.
"Do you ever miss me? Do you ever miss us?"
Silence. More hesitation. Another piece of her heart shatters.
"Of course I do."
"Just not as much," she finishes for him, before hanging up.
June and July pass by in a blur and suddenly it's closing night for Wicked. After two years of performances, hard work and heartbreak, she decides this is going to be the performance of her life.
And it is.
She is perfectly flawless in every line she says, in every move she makes and in every word she sings. When it's finally over, her cast mates engulf her in a group hug and, for a moment, she remembers the group hugs at McKinley, which brings a smile to her face. After that, they all promise to contact each other often and she plans on doing so, especially with Alice, who has been the best Glinda she could ever wish for and also her best friend inside the cast.
After changing her clothes in the dressing room, she makes her way to Kurt, who starts praising her as soon as she is next to him, telling her how magnificent she was and that "Idina would be so jealous, if she'd seen your performance." She loves the attention (she still has a little bit of self-centered Rachel Berry in her) and every compliment that goes her way is a big boost, both to her confidence and self-esteem. She dares to smile, really smile, for once in a long time.
And then she sees him, in all his six foot three glory, a kind smile on his handsome features and a red rose in his hand. He makes his way up to her, his steps growing confident as he approaches her. The only thing she can do is stare at him with wide eyes while studying him.
"You were amazing. Congratulations," he says with a nervous grin.
"Thank you," she replies, still a little dumbfounded. He sticks the rose in her direction.
"This is for you. I know that you usually prefer tulips, but I didn't think I'd be able to be here, so this was kind of in a short notice and this rose is all I could get."
She tells him that it's okay and that the intention is what counts. And it's true. Just the fact that he has been there to see her means a thousand more than all the flowers in the world. However, now that he has said what he's come to say, there's nothing more to talk about and they stand there awkwardly, like two teenage kids. Like themselves at age sixteen.
"I tried to call you right after you hung up that time," he states, breaking the silence.
"I was in a place with bad reception," she lies and she knows that he knows it's a lie, but he goes with it anyway, nodding.
"You can call me anytime you need to talk," he informs her.
That is nothing new, honestly. She has known all along that she could always count on him, even when they were broken or separated or, in this case, both. It just isn't easy to even fathom being around him only as a friend. And she is sure he feels the same way.
So, she responds with an uncommitted shrug. She still doesn't think she is ready to be that close to him, but she doesn't think they should be that apart, either. Maybe they should try again, now that they've had the time to think and to weigh everything they'd done wrong; now that they've had the time to forgive each other, maybe they can work it out.
Swallowing her pride, she asks, "Would you like to join Kurt and I for a couple of drinks?"
"I'd love to," he answers and her heart skips a beat, like the love-struck schoolgirl she had been once, "but I have to be at work earlier tomorrow."
It seems a made-up excuse, but she refuses to show any kind of sadness and dismisses the subject with a flick of her hand. Sensing her discomfort, Kurt, who has been standing on the outside of the conversation, nudges her elbow and says they have to go.
"But," Finn continues, pretending his brother isn't even there, "maybe we could set up another date, another time. I just wish this happened on any other day. Then, I'd have the time to go with you."
She eyes him carefully and gives him an almost imperceptible nod. "Okay, we'll set up another date in another time."
Then they say their goodbyes and head off the theater. It takes only a minute for Finn to catch them and she looks at him, curiously.
"I'm still not going out with you two, but, just so you know, I do miss us. Now more than ever."
She woke up to bright lights, white walls and an aseptic smell. She squinted and tried to move or speak, but couldn't. There was something very wrong with her: she felt something pierced to her left arm, her head was aching and her throat was sore. She closed her eyes again. Maybe that way all the pain would go away.
Something or someone squeezed her right hand and she forced her eyes open again. The bright lights almost blinded her for the second time, but now she was greeted by someone's soft smile. It was Alice.
"What happened," she asked, hoarsely.
Her friend gave her an empathetic smile. "I found you passed out this morning in your dressing room in a pool of your own blood."
Panic started spreading within her as she remembered what had happened. She had felt dizzy and some discomfort ever since she had woken up, but she had to go to the theatre, so she'd ignored it. However, when she got there, it had only gotten worse forcing her to sit down for a while and wait for the dizziness to go away. That was when she'd felt the worst cramps of her whole life and blood had started to soak her Elphaba dress between her legs. That couldn't be possible, she had thought. She wasn't menstruating. And then the darkness had taken over her as she slipped onto the floor, to be found later by her cast mate.
"You had a miscarriage, Rachel," her friend continued, oblivious to the deep pain she was in. "Did you know that you were pregnant?"
She lied to her friend, shaking her head no. "Apparently you were nine weeks along."
"Why am I still here?"
"The doctor said you needed to rest."
"Can't I rest at home?" Her friend only shrugged and said she was going to call the doctor so she could talk to him.
When the doctor had come to talk to her, she'd asked him the same question. He had said that she should rest at the hospital, so they could look over her, but since it hadn't been anything too serious (yeah, not to you, you insensitive bastard), she could also rest at home. He'd taken only a few more minutes to give her some advices as she should rest for a couple of days and after that she could be back to work as if nothing happened.
Before heading home, though, there was something else she needed to do.
"Alice, you can't tell anyone about this, okay? Please," she begged, hoping that her friend would agree. She wasn't ready to let anyone know that she'd been pregnant. Nobody could know what a failure she was.
Alice nodded. "My lips are sealed, you can trust me." She thanked her for all the support and for the sworn secrecy and then they parted ways.
She'd spent the entire trip home thinking on what and how would she tell the bad news to Finn. But when she got home, all thoughts left her mind. All the lights were off and he was watching TV, with a beer firmly clutched between both hands. He looked so tired and sad and defeated. It was like he already knew something bad was coming.
She realized that she'd known that too. Ever since they'd had that fight about keeping the baby, things had been very distant and cold between them. Maybe now that there wasn't a baby to keep they'd go back to what they were before. She hoped so, with all her heart, but even she knew how unrealistic that was.
"Rachel, you're home early," he stated, glancing at her for a second, before staring at the television again.
"I didn't perform today." At this, he looked back at her, waiting for more details and explanations. "I just came from the hospital."
He stood up from the couch hastily and gripped her wrists, worriedly. "What happened? Is everything okay with you?"
She pondered her next words. There wasn't an easy way to let him know, so maybe she should just spill the beans and hope for the best. "Everything is okay with me, but I lost the baby."
He released her hands and took a step back, looking into her eyes as if he needed reassurance that she wasn't lying. As if she would lie about something like this.
"What," he asked, his voice wavering.
"I lost the baby, Finn. I passed out this morning in my dressing room and Alice found me and took me to the hospital." She answered as nonchalantly as possible. She needed to stay strong for him, to support him in this hard time. Of course, she needed support too, but someone had to keep it together and help the other and Finn seemed to be the more disturbed of the two of them.
"Have you really lost the baby or did you do an abortion?" The words hit her like a punch in the chest, leaving her breathless. How could he even fathom that possibility? Yes, she had referred to it, when she'd first told him she was pregnant, but to actually doubt her word at that moment was painfully hurtful, to say the least.
"How can you say that, Finn? Why would I lie to you?"
"For me not to leave you, for starters," he exclaimed, furiously. "But, guess what, Rachel, I'm not your trophy husband anymore!"
She took two steps back, appalled. There was anger in his voice she had never heard before.
"What are you saying? You were never a trophy husband to me. I love you!"
"Yeah, but not enough to keep that baby," he shot back. She could see how frustrated he was and in all honesty, she was too, but there was nothing she could do, was it? If only he'd let her explain.
But no; he still went for it and inflicted the final stab. "I hope you're happy now." And he left, just like that.
The irony of the situation was that she had accepted that child and was not planning on going forward with the abortion. But she had never told that to Finn and he probably wouldn't believe her anyway.
Karma was a bitch. She hadn't wanted that baby at first and now the baby hadn't wanted her. She was a failure; a big, capital f, failure.
That was when she broke down. She cried for her lost son or daughter that she already loved so much, she cried for her husband who had just left in the worst day of her life to god knows where, and she cried for her broken heart. There was nothing she could do now. He was thoroughly convinced she had lost their baby purposefully and on top of that he wasn't even at home.
She cried almost non-stop for those reasons and then more during two whole days and he returned home after a week. He said he was sorry for being away from home for so long and for treating her like that, and that he believed her. She nodded during the entire conversation and he pulled her into a hug, letting his teardrops fall into her hair. She let herself feel and cried into his shirt, soaking it, while her whole body quivered with violent sobs.
They made love that night. In a desperate, frantic way, tempered with their salty tears and their whimpers of the deepest pain. She wasn't fully recovered from the miscarriage, but neither of them cared.
None of them knew that would be the last time they'd make love as a married couple.
She wakes up in cold sweat. It was only a nightmare, she reassured herself, repeating the mantra over and over again. It's not real. Although, the fact that she knows it isn't real, doesn't really help her or soothe her.
In her dream, there was a baby covered in blood, clutching at her dress and whispering "please, don't let me go." However, no matter how hard she's tried, she couldn't keep him from disappearing. But the baby kept coming back. The last time he's appeared, Finn was there as well and when, once again, she couldn't save him, the baby has taken Finn's hand and has said "since you're not gonna save me, I'll take him with me." Then, they've both disappeared and she woke up, screaming.
It is a terrible nightmare that she has no intention to revise, but for some odd reason her brain keeps replaying the terrifying images. Maybe because in a less gory way, that's exactly what had happened.
She glances at the calendar in her kitchen and notices the date. She's not surprised to see it's the day of their seventh anniversary. This day was supposed to be perfect and sunny and with Finn. Instead, it is far from perfect and it's raining outside and she's all alone.
He comes by that afternoon.
She startles when she opens the door and faces Finn. She isn't expecting him. In fact, he is the last person she's expected to see there. Especially considering the date.
She greets him politely, refraining herself from asking the million questions that pass through her mind. He makes it easier and reveals a bottle of red wine in one hand, a small bouquet of pink tulips in the other and his trademark crooked smile that makes her knees go weak.
"I felt I should pass by and claim that date we've talked about," he says, softly. "Happy anniversary, Rach."
Her heart thumps restlessly against her ribcage and she thinks this might be the pain and the hurt attacking her, all at once. Instead, she finds herself smiling and taking the flowers.
"Thank you, Finn," she says, heading to the kitchen with him on her tail. She puts the tulips in an elegant vase and waits. For what, she is not sure.
"Don't you have work today," she asks, genuinely curious.
"Nope. I called in sick. What about you? No new plays to worry about?"
"Nope. I asked my agent to give me at least two months of well-deserved vacations. The time off will do me good."
She should feel wary about this situation, because it's been so long since they were together alone in the same room. Plus, they are separated. It should feel weird and wrong. But… this is Finn, and they've know each other for so long, they've been best friends above all else, so she pushes the concerned sentiments aside and decides to enjoy the time with him.
"Would you like to stay for dinner," she asks, beaming at him.
It's no big surprise when he says "yes" and she feels glad that he does. He helps her with the dinner and she is pleasantly surprised that he can now fry vegetables without letting them burn. While he's occupied with the vegetables, she sets the table and pours wine into their glasses.
They talk, tease, laugh and talk a little more and it feels so homey and familiar that both of them dare to only live in that moment, not worrying about anything else.
"Hey, do you remember that time in junior year of high school when we threw the duet competition away for Sam and Quinn and we performed that awful song at glee rehearsal," he asks, excitedly.
"Yes," she shrieks. "And do you remember when we first invited Puck over, during college?"
At this, Finn laughs until his lungs hurt. "Oh my God, yes! He tried to hook up with a transvestite!"
They've spent the entire meal, reminiscing to their high school and college years, picking the funniest memories and leaving out the painful ones.
She takes the dishes to the dishwasher and when she turns around he's already halfway into the living room. She follows him and when she gets to the living room, he's pouring the rest of the wine into their glasses. He hands her one and she sits on the couch next to him, but not too close. He doesn't take his eyes off of her, though, and for a second she lets herself believe that he's still in love with her, that he still wants her.
"You know, all this conversation made me think: what happened to us, Rachel?" She takes a sip. She's sure they've had a similar talk before and it didn't end well.
"We grew." It's the easier answer, but she knows it isn't the right one. And she knows he knows that, too. She watches him take a sip from his drink while gazing intensely at her.
"We had grown before we got married and during it, too. So, at some point, something changed. What?"
"I don't know," she admits. "I don't have all the answers and you were part of this marriage as well." She pauses, weighing if she should say what she wants to say next. "I used to think it was your entire fault that we were separating, because you cheated on me. But then I realized things weren't exactly great with us ever since my… pregnancy," she forces out the word, "and maybe even before that. And that's on me. All on me. So, whatever happened to us, it's because of what I brought upon us. And that's something I will never forgive myself for."
He nods, slightly. Not because he agrees a hundred percent with her – they are both at fault – but because he's taking in every word.
"Cheating on you was the second biggest mistake of my life and you should know that I will regret it for as long as I live. Nothing will ever erase that."
"What was the first?"
"The biggest mistake was going out that door in that February night like a coward and not trying to fix what was wrong between us."
And there it is: the sting of the tears she has thought she had forgotten how to shed. They fill her eyes and there's a lump in her throat that almost doesn't let her swallow. And Finn approaches her and takes her face in his hands and touches her lips with his. They haven't kissed in so long – too long –, but his lips still taste the same and they are still as soft as she remembers.
Their tongues mash with each other and the kiss grows urgent and passionate until she stops them. She breaks the kiss and connects their foreheads, with her eyes still closed, keeping the tears from falling. She knows that as soon as she lets the first one escape, she won't be able to stop. She also wants to keep kissing him and make up for the lost time, but she honestly has no idea what they are doing. They still have so much to talk about.
Between ragged breaths, she chokes out, "my biggest regret is not stopping you from going."
"Rachel," he murmurs, before capturing her lips again, greedily. His fingers are tangled in her hair and he pulls her even tighter in his embrace. His tongue begs for entrance and she knows once she concedes it, they won't stop; they won't be able to.
She places her hands on his chest and starts to unbutton his shirt, while he reaches out for the zipper of her dress and they start to frantically undress each other. They are not so urgent that they want to stay on the couch but they are too eager to lose time and go to the bedroom, so they slip onto the fluffy rug on the floor, their clothes forming a messy pile not too far away. There's only underwear between them now and he kisses her neck and shoulder and her face, and the tears threaten to spill in no time.
He takes his time disposing of her bra and panties, testing every inch of her body all over again. He teases, he nibbles, he caresses, eliciting moans and gasps from her. She lets her hands roam over his broad chest, his back, his arms, rediscovering him. When she finally gets rid of his boxer briefs, he lets out a guttural groan into her mouth.
"I love you," he breathes into her ear as he slowly and steadily pushes into her.
And that's when she loses it. All the repressed tears from the past couple of years spill now at full force, running down her cheeks.
"Are you okay," he asks, concerned.
"Yes. Just overwhelmed," she chokes out, between sobs. He gives her an uncertain look, but she reassures him. "Please, keep going."
He complies and keeps thrusting into her slowly. They make love on the floor and the only thing missing is the lit fireplace to reenact their first time. They move slowly and tenderly, holding each other for dear life as the pleasure intensifies and she cries out his name and he whimpers hers. When they are finally over, panting and content, he rolls over so he doesn't crush her underneath his body.
He interlaces his fingers with hers and pulls her hand up to his lips, kissing each finger gingerly. He then puts a finger under her chin and forces her to look at him. "Rachel, I love you," he assures her once again and she can't help but cry even harder. He sighs and pulls her closer to him, so close that she can listen to his heartbeat perfectly.
She rests her head on his chest and his fingers run absentmindedly through her now mussed hair. She has missed this and the way she connects with him when they make love and just him; she now realizes. With that simple thought in mind and his arms wrapped comfortingly around her, she dozes off into a blissful sleep.
The first rays of sunlight wake her up. Her eyes flutter open and she takes in her surroundings. She's on the floor in her living room; that much she can tell. Her back hurts a bit and her muscles are tense. At least, Finn has grabbed a blanket and a pillow for her.
It wasn't a dream, right? It can't be. She doesn't sleep naked on the floor just because. So, why are there no signs of him ever being inside the house? He is not lying there next to her and when she props herself up on her elbows, she can only see her clothes folded neatly on one arm of the couch. The tears begin to sting again.
She wraps the blanket around her and gets up, stretching her stiff limbs in the process. She heads to the kitchen as if she can find a proof that he's been there and everything wasn't just a figment of her imagination, but there are no wine-stained glasses on the sink and the dishwasher is empty and everything is stacked up in the proper places.
She is starting to doubt herself. However, there is no way she could imagine him inside her or his whispered words of love so vividly. She comes to the hardest conclusion: he has left again and it's ten thousand times worse this time.
There's a lump forming in her throat and she wonders if this is what it feels like to be drowning, because all the pain and hurt don't let her breathe. She tries to keep the menacing tears from spilling, but it's to no avail, so she hides her face in her hands and gives in.
For a moment, she wishes she would completely forget how to cry again.
On their sixth anniversary, none of them brought that subject. They were still hurting from what had happened the previous year, and besides neither of them wanted to pretend anymore. They spent the whole day inside the house, him on the couch watching reruns of some sitcom and her in the bedroom reading some book.
Later in the afternoon, she heard a soft knock on the door. Not that he needed to knock (he still slept there).
"Rachel, I need to tell you something," he started. She gave him a nod for him to continue. "Remember that weekend in May that I had to spend out for work?"
She nodded. She didn't know what was going on, but considering the guilty look on his face, she wasn't expecting good news.
"I… I cheated on you." She looked him in the eye, measuring if he was telling the truth or lying only to make her feel bad. "I didn't mean to, Rachel, you have to believe me. But I drank a little more that I should have and she threw herself at me and we were just so broken, Rach."
"What's her name," she asked, cutting him off.
"I don't even know. I'm… I'm so sorry, Rachel. We can still get past this, I know it."
Her hands were resting in her lap and he tried to grab one, but she didn't let him. She wasn't quite sure how to react. She still loved him and she doubted she would ever stop, but this was a little bit of a bombshell to ignore altogether. On other hand, for many people, this would be the final stab on a relationship that was already only hanging by a thread.
"Rachel, please say something," he pleaded. His eyes were filled with tears and all she wanted in that moment was to forget everything and hold him against her, but she couldn't pretend nothing had happened. However, maybe that wasn't such a bad idea. If they'd pretend they were still a happily in love couple for long enough, maybe things would go back to normal.
"Okay," she mumbles.
"Okay? What do you mean?"
"I mean it's okay. Let's put this behind us," she said emotionless.
He looks at her, incredulously. They both knew it was not okay. "That's it? Are you even worried of what can happen to us?"
"Yes, I am!" she exclaimed, a hint of frustration in her voice. "That's exactly why I'm choosing the easiest path. Let's not make a big deal out of this and move on and forget about this. Pretend it has never happened."
He stood up and looked at her as if she was a stranger. "I don't know what happened to you, but you're not my Rachel anymore. I'll sleep on the couch tonight." And he left the bedroom.
She didn't understand why he was acting that way. She thought he'd be happy that she had wanted to forgive him right away; instead he had gotten upset with her.
However, as the months passed by, she knew that hadn't been the best decision she'd ever made. They didn't talk anymore, he had been sleeping on the couch more often than not and to put it simple they were the unhappiest they'd ever been. She'd started to blame him.
That was why they had decided to separate in February, which ultimately had come to his decision to move out of the house. They were both exhausted of pretending.
She's standing outside Kurt's door for about five minutes now. It was foolishness to think that she could muster up all the courage she needed just by being there. When she is finally able to, she rings the doorbell and not thirty seconds later Finn is at the door. The look on his face is one of confusion mixed with something else that she can't decipher. Is it sadness? Maybe longing? Fear? She stops trying to figure it out when his voice resonates in her ears.
"Kurt's not home," he says, curtly. No 'hello Rachel, how are you doing? I think we should talk about the other night.' No smiles. Nothing. It's as if they don't know each other; like they are only acquaintances.
"Actually, I came here to talk to you."
He nods slightly and encourages her to go on. She can already feel the tears prickling at her eyes, but she can't let them fall. She can't allow herself to be vulnerable right now; not when she's so close. She draws a deep breath and starts.
"I hadn't cried, I hadn't missed you and I hadn't even thought of you. Until you eased your way back into my life with a bouquet of pink tulips, a bottle of the finest red wine and that smile of yours," her voice falters and she pauses, regaining composure. "I want that again. I don't want to be constantly in pain and I don't want to be permanently reminded of how happy we were only to have those memories crushed because they've turned into a nightmare of drastic proportions."
He looks as broken as she is. She wishes to be able to take back some of the things she has said, especially because they are not the truth, but she's too hurt, too broken.
"I can't take it. It's too much," she manages to say as she lets out a strangled sob, before she breaks down crying. "Please Finn, help me forget."
He pulls her into his arms and lets her cry, while his own eyes fill with tears.
He has taken her inside and has pulled her into his lap, soothing her, wiping the tears with his thumbs and kissing her hair. At first, she has thought that would only rub salt in the wound, but it seems to be working and she relaxes against him.
"Do you feel better," he asks, as the gentleman he is and always has been.
She nods. It really feels great to be this close to him, even if her heart might get broken again in the end.
"Rach," he murmurs, drawing her attention, "I didn't know you felt that way."
"You do now." She doesn't mean to sound so vulnerable, but the truth is that's exactly how she feels. And maybe talking about it will make it better. It can also make everything worse, but it's worth the shot, right? It's an 'all or nothing' situation.
"That night," he pauses, "did you feel that way, too?" She nods and he sighs in relief. "I thought you only pitied me and then you'd regretted it."
This is a twist. She has no idea what motivated him to think that way, so she asks him. "Why would you think that?"
"Rachel, you cried the whole time! From where I was standing, it looked a lot more like regret than anything else."
She can't help herself, but she actually giggles. He frowns at her, clearly not finding the situation as amusing.
"I told you I was overwhelmed."
"I know you did, but… I thought you didn't want anything to do with me anymore and suddenly we were about to have sex and then we were having sex and you started crying. What would you do, if the tables were turned?"
Thinking back to the day, she completely understands why he feels so unsure. However, she teases him.
"I didn't hear you complaining at the time."
"Well, call me selfish, but I couldn't pass up the chance to have sex with the woman I love." The familiarity of the moment hit her in the best way possible and it is almost impossible to hide the emotion that's bubbling up inside her.
A month ago, if someone had asked her if she'd expected to reconcile with Finn, the answer would have been a plain "no," but now she feels glad that she'd been so wrong. However, that is one thing that has been bugging her mind.
"Then why did you leave during the night without saying anything?"
"I freaked out. You wouldn't stop crying and… Rachel, being with you that evening, having dinner together, was the happiest I've been in these past six months. Hell, it's the happiest I've been in the past couple of years! Don't ever doubt that, okay? The sex was only a plus I'll never complain about."
"So, you do love me." It isn't a question. She realizes now that she has always known that's the way he's always felt about her. Even when they were fighting or apart.
"Of course I love you, Rach. I always have and I doubt that I'll ever stop." She smiles at him and he leans in for a kiss. "Even when I cheated on you… you were all I could think about."
She tenses up a bit. After spending an entire year dealing with that fact like it hadn't really happened, it is not logical to be upset right now, but the fact is that she feels uncomfortable when he brings up the subject. It's hard as it is that they were apart for too long; she doesn't need to hear all about a nameless, faceless woman, who had her man during that time.
"We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to."
He seems to consider the offer, but there's this resolute glint in his eye and she knows she won't win this battle.
"I don't want to, but we have to talk about it. Not talking was what got us into this mess, in the first place. And… and I'm already so fucking lost without you, Rachel," he manages to let out in a choke.
"So, where do you want to start?"
"We weren't okay back then and I was still coping with our baby's loss. And that's not an excuse, I know, but it was the main reason why I got wasted. Well, that and the fact that we practically didn't talk to each other anymore. You have to understand, Rachel, what I did was not meant to hurt you. I have almost no recollection of that night and if I could go back in time, I would never do that again. And then when I told you, it hurt so much when you acted like you didn't care, you have no idea."
Tears have started to pool in her eyes and she sees a tear sliding down his cheek. She is glad that they have each other now.
"I know you never meant to hurt me. As you said, we weren't okay, but for a long time it was easier to blame you for everything that went wrong with our marriage. I realized later that I was as much at fault as you were, because you would never have to seek comfort in another woman's arms if I hadn't pushed you away," she states, sniffling. "You know I never wanted to lose him, don't you? I wasn't going forward with the abortion."
"Our baby. I truly lost him, Finn. I would never lie about this," she chokes out.
"Did you know it was a him?"
Only Finn would worry about that and she lets out a tearful chuckle. "I didn't know for sure, but I felt it was a boy. I also did the math… he was supposed to be born in the last week of April. That doesn't really matter, though. I lost him and then I lost you. That was the worst week of my entire life. I have never felt so broken and useless and unwanted. A complete failure."
She starts sobbing again and he holds tightly. She lets her tears fall down her cheeks and into his shirt and his own tears join hers shortly after. However, he still manages to reassure her. "It's okay, Rachel. You're not a failure. On the contrary! You are so amazing! And you didn't lose me. I'm here now."
That's the thing. He is there now, and even though she is happy, she can't have her baby back. She voices her concerns and he jokes saying they'll "make another one."
"You know what, that might not be such a bad idea," she informs him and she can tell he is caught off guard.
"Are you sure," he asks, cautiously. "We don't have to do this just because…"
"Of course I'm sure," she interrupts him. "I love you, Finn and you are already thirty, and I'll be thirty in a few months. My fertility is decreasing by the minute. The clock is ticking against us."
He chuckles at her drama. "So you want this baby as much as I do, right?"
She smiles up at him. "Yes. I really do. But you have to move back in with me."
He kisses her, hungrily, his tongue darting into her mouth. And his hands are making their way up her blouse. She stops him. "Finn, we're at your brother's. He can come in at any minute."
"I know, it's just… I'm really happy," he admits, smiling at her and she smiles back.
"What if I helped you pack your things, so you could already sleep home tonight?" she suggests.
"Sounds like a perfect idea."
Half an hour later, Kurt gets home to find his brother and best friend kissing next to a half empty suitcase. He smiles to himself.
Kurt has called that morning inviting them for dinner and saying it was a matter of life and death that they couldn't escape from. She knows he was being overly dramatic, but she has accepted the invitation anyway.
Now, at Kurt's front door, with Finn by her side, she wishes to have said no. She'd rather be at home, enjoying a quiet afternoon with her husband, but she also knows she couldn't escape from Kurt, no matter how hard she'd try.
"Good evening, my lovelies," Kurt greets. "Alex is in the living room, Finn. Go and let me talk to Rachel." Finn chuckles lightly and pecks her on the lips, leaving to search for Kurt's boyfriend. "Oh please! Enough with all the sugary and the lovey-dovey attitude. No one can stand you guys!"
She knows Kurt is only trying to mess with her and she laughs. "How are you, Kurt?"
"Oh, I'm fine. You, on the other hand, are fabulous! Your skin is glowing, Rachel. What moisturizing are you using?"
"It's called the 'lots-of-sex'. You should try it sometime," she retorts with an evil glint in her eye.
He laughs, amused. "Touché. I'm glad you two are still in the honeymoon stage. Though, I still think you should go somewhere more tropical to enjoy it."
She beams at him and they head to the living room to meet Finn and Alex. The two men are perched on the couch, catching up with a baseball game, but Rachel notices that Alex is rather fidgety. "What's wrong with your man," she asks Kurt.
"Nothing," he replies, evasive. Then he disappears into the kitchen and Alex stands up.
"There's a reason why we've invited you here today," Alex starts.
Kurt approaches them again. "Guys, meet Micah Hummel-Johnson." He steps aside to reveal a little boy, who clutches tightly to his leg. "Micah, sweetie, these are my brother Finn and his lovely wife and my best friend Rachel. Say 'hi' to them."
Little Micah mumbles his greetings from behind Kurt's leg, with his cheeks in a crimson red and his gorgeous green eyes wide open. She gasps in adoration and Finn's grip on her hand is stronger.
"You're parents!" she shrieks with enthusiasm. "Congratulations!"
Finn runs to his brother and pulls him into a bear hug while she kisses Alex's cheek. Then, she approaches her best friend. "I'm gonna hug you now." They let out tearful giggles and hold each other almost squishing the child between them.
During dinner, she learns that they have Micah since the beginning of the week, but have said nothing about it, so the kid could adjust better to them. She also learns that he is six years old and starts school next week, and that Kurt and Alex are already wrapped around his six year old finger.
When they leave Kurt's house, she slips her hand around Finn's arm and murmurs, in a sigh, "I really want a child, Finn."
"Me too, Rach. We have to be patient," he mutters, softly, and then adds with a sly grin, "And, you know, practice more."
She smacks his upper arm playfully, but she will never admit she was thinking about that as well.
Things have been really good. By early October, when Kurt is not busy spoiling Micah – which takes up most of his time – he is teasing them about the honeymoon phase that has yet to wear off. Not that either of them cares, anyway.
That day, Finn returns home to find her sitting on the couch, scanning the pages of a magazine. She quickly goes over to him and kisses his cheek.
"How was work," she asks.
He shrugs. "Fine. How was your day?"
"Eventful." He raises an eyebrow, curious. "My agent called. They want me for an important role on a Christmas play."
His lips twitch on a wide smile. "That's great! I know how much you miss performing."
"I turned it down," she blurts out.
He looks at her in disbelief. How can she explain things to him? It's not that she doesn't want that role, but she wants other things more.
"What's the play?"
"It's the Broadway revival of A Christmas Carol. I've been offered the role of Scrooge's wife."
"Then why the hell didn't you accept it?"
She takes a deep breath. "Finn, we've talked about this. I really want a baby and I can't perform if I'm pregnant."
He chuckles lightly at her and sitting on the couch, pulls her into his lap. "Baby, I think you're overreacting and over thinking this. It's only a Christmas play, so it will last for, what, a month or two, tops. Even if you were pregnant right now, it still wouldn't show in December. Just relax and accept it, okay? You know how much I love Christmas so, do it for me, all right?"
She nods. He's right, of course. She's just being the drama queen she has always been, and she's glad she has Finn again to keep her grounded, but she will never do the same mistake she'd done in the past and that's the main reason why she has sought for his approval on this.
She mutters "thank you" and he urges her to call her agent right away and tell him she accepts the part. She happily complies.
It feels really good to have his full support again.
Christmas is in a week and the play has been on stage for a month. She has been busy since it has started, but her marriage with Finn has not suffered any blows this time and she is beyond grateful for that.
And now she lies in her tub, almost submerged in the now cold water, unable to get out and look at the stick that's on the bathroom cabinet. At first, she has thought that all the stress from rehearsals and the play were getting the best of her and that was why she was so tired. When she has started to throw up every time she had eaten something, she thought she'd caught some kind of virus. But the sickness wouldn't go away and she thought that maybe it wasn't sickness at all.
That's why she's ended up purchasing a pregnancy test. Well, that and the fact that her period is, at least, two weeks late.
Finn gets home that second and finds her in the bathroom, in the same position she's been for half an hour. He rushes to her, worried.
"Rachel, what's wrong?" He helps her standing up, grabs a dry towel and waits for her answer.
The skin on her fingers is all wrinkled. She hasn't meant to stay in the cold water for so long, but she hasn't had the courage to come out, either. What if she is not pregnant? She doesn't think she'll be able to get past that; to get past of the big failure she can be.
She wraps the towel around her and gets out of the tub.
"I can't look at it, Finn."
He gazes at her, confused. "Look at what?"
She says nothing, but points at the pregnancy test and his eyes almost bulge out of its orbits. And then he smiles. A really big, bright, capable-of-curing-cancer smile and she can't help but smile at him, even though her heart is tight in her chest.
"Don't smile like that!" she exclaims, only half serious. "I don't know what the result is, yet." She pauses and looks at him, tears prickling at her eyes. "What if I'm not pregnant?"
He grabs her shoulders, firmly, and she averts her gaze to the floor. "Rachel, look at me," he pleads and she does as he says. "If you are not pregnant, we just have to keep trying until you are."
"But what if I can't have children?" Now her tears are running freely down her cheeks.
"I think you're thinking and worrying too much about it. But if we can't have our kids for whatever reason, I'm not going away and I know we can move past whatever challenge life throws in our way. Plus, we have adoption as a resource."
It's hard for her to listen to reason, after everything that has happened in the past. He forces her to look at him again.
"Rachel, I know that you see yourself as a failure, but you're Rachel Berry. You can do anything you set yourself up to."
He looks so much the teenage boy she has fallen in love with, in that moment. She manages a tearful smile and says, "Hudson." He cocks his eyebrow inquisitively. "I am Rachel Hudson."
Then he kisses her lovingly. When they break the kiss, he asks her if she's ready to see the result, but, even after his pep-talk, she feels too anxious and nervous to look at the test.
"Do you want me to check it out?" She nods, as he takes a glance at the stick. "This thing's got a blue plus in here. Does this mean we're having a boy?"
Her eyes grow wide, and she answers, a little dumbstruck, "No, it only means I'm pregnant."
"Good. 'Cause I kinda want a girl."
And she finally gets out of her trance and squeals, jumps into his arms, and peppers his face with kisses. Happy tears are pooling in his eyes, as well as hers.
This is the happiest moment of their lives so far and they're afraid that a single word can ruin it. However, as they look at each other, she can't stop herself. "We're pregnant."
He smiles. "Yes, we are."
The pregnancy goes well, even with all the concerns her doctor has because of her previous miscarriage, and apart from a few things, she can do pretty much everything.
After A Christmas Carol is over, she tells her agent she won't perform until after she delivers her baby.
She goes to every appointment the doctor schedules for her and Finn is always by her side. In one of the appointments, they learn they'll have a daughter.
They discuss girl's names for over a month, because Rachel wants to name the baby after a Broadway musical character – "Evita is perfect, Finn. Why can't you see it?" – and he wants to name her after food – "We could name her Apple like Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter. And did you know that Mel is the Portuguese word for honey?" –, so long story short, they never agree with each other.
She wins her second Tony in June, with a seventh month pregnant belly, for her role as Elphaba. In her acceptance speech, she cries hard, remembering all she went through with Finn, while playing that role, and she barely manages to say her thanks. When they get home that night, she displays the Tony next to the other one she'd won as Fanny Brice, and they cry in each other's arms until they fall asleep.
On their eighth anniversary, she gets into labor, two weeks before scheduled. The contractions are extremely excruciating and she vows to Finn she will never have sex with him again and that he'd better not leave her side while she's delivering. She clutches to his hand (and he isn't absolutely sure that she hasn't broken two of his fingers) just to make sure he doesn't leave. However, after eight hours, with her perfect little baby girl cradled in her arms, she decides that she wants more. Not right now, of course. The pain is still too present.
Two hours after their little girl is born, they both agree on the name Melody (Finn is ecstatic, because that way he can call her Mel, and even though she'll never admit it, she likes that, too), because music was what brought them together in the first place.
Four days later, Melody Hudson is placed in her comfortable crib, under the intent gaze of both her parents.
It's their tenth anniversary, but somehow that is nothing compared to Mel's second birthday. It's hard to believe how quickly time passes by. They end up forgetting their plans and go to Central Park instead. Kurt joins them and a after a while they're watching Kurt chasing Micah, who is chasing Melody.
Their marriage seems to be even more passionate than before, much to Kurt's chagrin, who constantly informs them that they are nauseating and that after ten years together their relationship should have cooled off by now. The thing is that has happened before and neither of them wants it to happen again, so they do everything in their power not to fall into routine and to keep their tether intact.
A year after Melody's born she called her agent and asked specifically for small roles, until six months ago, she has quit Broadway altogether. As much as she loves the stage, it will never be as much as she loves her daughter and she doesn't want to miss a thing during her growing up. They've saved enough money to be economically stable right now. Plus, Finn's incoming is pretty good, so she doesn't mind at all being a housewife.
She misses music and singing, but some of her colleagues have decided to leave Broadway and to record albums, and they've invited her to sing some songs with them, which she has gladly accepted and has kept her satisfied.
She doesn't worry too much about it, anyway. She has made her decision and she is happy with it. Maybe she'll be back on stage once her offspring is all grown up. It might take a while, though.
She eyes Finn from the corner of her eye and he has this dopey grin on his face.
"What are you thinking about," she asks, nudging his side.
"Just that I'm glad we've found our way back to each other." He gives her a wide smile and then resumes his task of observing their daughter.
She nods, slightly, with a soft smile playing at her lips. "It was bound to happen, sooner or later."
"Because of the tether?"
"Because of the tether."
It never gets old and whenever they are with friends, they still brag about it. Yes, there were times when they thought that any connection they'd had was completely obliterated. Now, looking at the smaller version of both of them playing with her cousin, they are glad they were proven wrong.
"I think we should try again," he says, taking her out of her thoughts.
He doesn't need to explain himself better; she knows exactly what he is referring to.
"Actually," she starts, "I don't think I want to."
His expression changes drastically and he is now frowning deeply. "What do you mean?"
She giggles at him. "I don't think I want to try, because I'm already pregnant."
He grabs her face and pulls her into a searing kiss. They hear Kurt shouting "There are children here! Behave, for Christ's sake!" in the distance, but they promptly ignore him, focusing only on them and that blissful moment.
"Happy anniversary, Finn."
Okay, that's it! For those of you who waited long enough to read eveything, I love you and thank you very so much! :)
Let me know what you think!