The house is askew, toys there, sheet music here. Anything of any value secured behind the baby gate in a haphazard fashion. The small loft apartment was quiet without the sounds of little Lea's feet pitter pattering across the floor. Rachel lay asleep on the sofa her head nestled in the plush arm. Will tiptoed slightly to her, kissing her forehead gently. "Rachel" he whispered.
Rachel snapped up, her hair sticking up on one side. "Lea? Its ok Mommy's here. I. . ."
Will laughed, sitting down on the coffee table. He took her hands in his. "Lea's still with Kurt and Blaine. I just talked to them. They're bringing her over soon, along with dinner. Why don't we go. . .Freshen up?"
Rachel blinked, yawning loudly. "Oh my god what time is it?"
Will looked at his watch "Almost four thirty."
"I've got to go! My audition is at five!" She said slipping on her flats, grabbing her purse.
"I love you!" she called as she ran out the door.
"Love you too! Brush your hair!" Will called after her. He sank down on the couch, still warm from Rachel, flipping on the TV. Her soft perfume lingered and he closed his eyes for a minute, thinking of her. He rarely got to see her now, between her auditions and school, the baby, and him opening a business. A musician's shop was not something New York was necessarily lacking and even after he had added vocal coaching, he was still barely making ends meet.
"Knock, knock babies R us! Did someone order an adorable little girl?" Kurt said knocking on the door.
Will opened the door only to be greeted by Lea's high pitch squeal. "DADA!" He scooped up the toddler swirling her around. "Baby girl!" he spun her around, the little girl lifting her hands high into the air, one of her glittery pink Converse flying off. "Shoe! Bye Bye!" she called.
He chuckled sitting her down on the ground. He picked up the shoe holding it out to the 16 month old. "Say it in Spanish Lea."
"Shoe. . . .Zapato" they said in unison, Lea's version sounding like "Zapadoe."
"She's so smart!" Blaine gushed, smiling down at the little girl. Smart she was. She could count in Spanish with help, she knew some Spanish words, and she hummed along in perfect key. She was certainly Rachel Berry's child.
"I hope you don't mind Fu Changs. I know its Lea's favorite." Kurt said sitting the paper bag he was carrying on the table.
"And your favorite" Blaine said, elbowing him in the rib.
"Fu Changs is fine. Come on in, sit down." Will said, carrying Lea into the kitchen.
"Where's Rachel?" Kurt asked, looking around.
"She scurried off to some audition. She overslept." Will said, placing long Lo-mein noodles on Lea's plate.
"Everything ok? With you two?" Kurt asked, passing Blaine the General Tso chicken.
"Everything's fine." Will said cutting the noodles. "Except I never see her" he added in his mind.
Rachel sat down on the subway, replaying the audition in her mind. Her high F was too sharp. She should have added a little more "jazz" to her Jazz hands. The same old thoughts that ran through her mind after every audition. Every audition she never landed a role with. Her neck ached with stress. She was the best student in NYADA and despite countless auditions she didn't even get a callback.
"Rachel? Rachel Berry?" the voice broke through the subway clatter. It was smooth like velvet and sent chills down her spine.
"Jesse?" she said looking past the strange man standing in front of her, blocking her view.
"Rachel!" Jesse said, coming into sight. "You look amazing!"
Rachel giggled. "Thanks."
She scooted over and he sat down next to her. "How's life been treating you?"
"Great. I have a little girl now." She said flipping open her phone to show him a photo of Lea on her first birthday, icing all over her face.
"She's beautiful just like you. What's her name?"
Rachel smiled, nothing made her happier than her baby girl. "Lea. Lea Cosette."
"Lea Cosette. Cosette from Le Mis? Finn certainly didn't pick that out." Jesse said, laughing to himself.
"It.. . .She. . . I'm with Will."
Jesse's faced paled. "Will? Will Schuester? Leader of New Directions?"
Rachel nodded, she never knew what to say to people, how to tell them she was dating her ex teacher.
"YOU'RE THE GIRL THAT BIG TRIAL WAS ABOUT!" Jesse shouted, everyone in the subway car glaring at her.
"Shhhh!" She said smacking him with her purse.
He shook his head. His voice came out in a whisper. "Sorry. It's just big news."
She smiled. "Isn't everything big news in little Lima?"
They talked and chatted the rest of the ride, discussing Broadway, NYADA, and theater things. Jesse informed her about his new role in a small off Broadway show. "You would be perfect for the role of Posy!" he said, his eyes full of excitement.
"I. . . I don't know. . . .I've had about enough with auditions for a while." Rachel stammered.
He took out a scrap of paper from his leather messenger bag and jotted down a number. "This is my number. Call me tomorrow and I'll sit you up with an audition."
She took the number from him as he stood up to exit the train. "Ok. I will."
He nodded waving to her. "Bye Rachel. It was nice talking to you again! Don't forget to call me!"
As the doors shut she rested her head against the window, trying to catch some sleep before she got home.