a/n: Hi! This little plot bunny attacked me yesterday while I was re-reading some old reviews so I wrote the whole thing on my iPod last night and then typed it up this morning. In my one-shot "Rum Punch Honeymoon", there's a paragraph that talks about how Rachel and Noah met. Ever since I wrote that story, that part begged to be explained and it was always in the back of my mind. Since the bunny attacked (with great big sharp pointy teeth), I wrote it! This is the short little prequel to "Rum Punch Honeymoon" so I hope you enjoy it. Thank you again for the continuing support. I adore you all! I don't own Glee or Phantom of the Opera.


It was gonna be a long day.

First, Rachel woke up late for her first rehearsal in an actual Broadway musical. Then, she couldn't find the thin sweater she'd planned to wear so she had to go with an off-the-shoulder t-shirt over a tank top. To top it all off, by the time she made it to Starbucks, the line was all the way past the front door and she desperately needed her venti Soy Caramel Macchiato before she was fit to be around other human beings. The universe just didn't seem to be on her side.

Eventually, the line started to move and Rachel found herself three people away from the counter. She was at the end of the line and could see the ridiculously long list of coffee drinks the woman in front of her planned on ordering. It would be a while before she actually spoke with a barista so Rachel took her phone out and began to dial her director's number to tell him she would be later than she'd originally thought. He was a lovely man so she knew he would understand.

She'd barely hit the 'send' button when someone bumped into her shoulder and knocked the phone from her hand as they stepped in front of her. The phone fell to the floor, its back cover came off, and the screen went black as the battery popped out. Rachel glared at the phone pieces on the ground before stooping quickly to pick them all up. When she looked up to see who had bumped into her, all she saw was the back of a shaved head and a blue plaid shirt. Her glare instantly intensified.

"Excuse me," she tapped on the man's shoulder. He turned around and had the nerve to look right over her head. Despite the fact that he was ridiculously attractive, her anger only grew at his oversight. When he began to turn back around, she cleared her throat. "Hey lumberjack, down here. You broke in front of me." The man turned around again, this time looking down to meet her fiery gaze.

"Sorry babe, didn't see you there."

Okay so that was a lie. Noah had seen her. But, in his defense, her head had been down and, considering the woman's height, clothes, and slept-in French braid, he'd thought she was a teen waiting on her parents or something. Therefore, breaking in front of a kid who wasn't actually in line wasn't such a big deal. But looking at her now, he realized his mistake. Chick was all woman, all angry woman. She cleared her throat again and his attention went from her one bare shoulder back to her anger-flushed face.

"Yes, while I realize that my height makes that an excellent excuse for you, I don't buy it. When someone is clearly standing in line, you don't cut in front of them. I don't know who you think you are but you picked the wrong day to mess with me and I will not tolerate it. Just because you're some Neanderthal halfwit with more muscle than brain does not excuse you from general social etiquette. Now step aside so I can get my coffee and be on my way." Rachel tilted her head up in an attempt to make herself appear both taller and more imposing.

Noah had to grin. Despite the fact that the woman was clearly pissed off at him, her anger only made her hotter. "What's your name?" he asked. He could tell that his question caught her by surprise.

"Rachel," she answered, her voice now almost void of its previous ire. Noah offered his hand to her and smiled his softest smile.

"Well Rachel, I'm Noah." Rachel took his hand with calculating eyes and tried to figure out what his angle was. When he pulled her up beside him and she felt his hand on the small of her back, she gasped. He smiled down at her again. "I really am sorry for cutting in front of you. Let me buy your coffee to make it up to you."

His smile was unnerving. Rachel found it impossible to remain angry with the man, this Noah. "That's really not necessary but thank you for the apology." He could tell she was trying to figure him out, giving him the side-eye. Finally, she turned back towards him. "I believe I should also apologize for calling you a lumberjack. And a Neanderthal halfwit. That was uncalled for."

Noah lifted his shoulder. "I've been called worse," he chuckled. Something about her just forced him to smile, even though she was still plainly flustered.

"I'm just really not having a very good morning and while it was wrong of you to break in line, it wasn't right of me to resort to childish name calling." Noah nodded his head as they finally made it to the counter and placed their order. While waiting for their coffees, she faced him again. "Really, let me pay you back for the coffee. It was all just a misunderstanding anyway. I'm just late for rehearsal so my mind is everywhere at the moment and you clearly had somewhere to be or you wouldn't have broken in front of me in the first place."

Noah shook his head. "M'not taking your money so don't even bother. What kind of rehearsal are you late for anyway that's got you yelling at fake lumberjacks in the middle of Starbucks?" Rachel gave him a sheepish laugh at his use of her insult and took a deep breath.

"I'm Christine Daae in the newest revival of The Phantom of the Opera. Today is our first rehearsal and I overslept." Noah suddenly got this look on his face like he knew a secret but Rachel couldn't figure out why.

"Two grande Americanos and one venti Soy Caramel Macchiato for Rachel and Noah," the barista called from behind the counter. Noah grabbed the drink carrier and walked over to the station with all of the coffee fixings. Rachel had to follow him since he still had her drink.

"Alright," Noah started as he poured an obscene amount of sugar into one of the coffees he'd ordered, "since you were late to begin with and my involvement has probably made you even more late, what do you say to me taking you out for dinner to make up for it all? You can tell me all about your rehearsal I made you late for." Rachel laughed nervously and took her cup out of the carrier.

"Are you serious?" Noah grinned and slid a napkin towards her. He took a pen out of his shirt pocket and held it up in front of her face.

"As a heart attack. At least give me your number." After a moment's hesitation, Rachel took the pen and wrote down her phone number on the napkin.

"There you go. I'm sorry but I really must get to the theatre before they decide my understudy should step in. Thank you for the coffee Noah." She gave him this fluttery little wave of her fingers as she backed away that made him smile. Rachel was out of the building and down the sidewalk before Noah remembered that he was late too. It was really hard to care about that though.

Noah stepped outside, his smile even more firmly in place, and looked at the slip of paper in his hand. Her digits were written in swirly numbers that were so girly they were cute.

"Hey dude come on," Sam said as he grabbed his own coffee from Noah's hands and returned the guitar case he'd been holding for his friend. "It was hard enough getting this job with the orchestra and now we're gonna be late on the first day. Did you memorize the guitar solo for 'Phantom of the Opera' yet? We'll probably run through it with the cast today." Noah looked up from staring at Rachel's phone number and nodded.

"Yeah I locked that down last week. Let's go."

They were almost to the theatre when Sam looked over at Noah and saw that the goofy grin on his friend's face had yet to leave.

"So, who was the hot brunette you were talking to back there?" Noah had to laugh at his blonde friend. With another look down at the napkin that he still hadn't let go of, even to put it in his pocket, he felt his smile get even bigger.

"That, Sam, is the woman I'm gonna marry."

-fin-

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