a/n: This is just a little one-shot I finally forced my muse to finish. Sorry the next chapter of ITROCA is taking longer than I originally expected but I hope you like this little present in the meantime. It's just a cute little A/U Puckleberry meeting fic. Please enjoy and tell me your thoughts! I don't own "Put Your Hands on Me" or Glee…
The second she walked into her apartment, she threw her purse down with all the force in her body. The guy who brought coffee to the theatre everyday mysteriously got her order wrong, using regular milk instead of soy. Not only did she know for a fact that he knew she was lactose intolerant, he also happened to be her understudy's boyfriend. Of course, Rachel had no real way of proving it, but she would bet good money that the little bitch had the guy do it on purpose to make her sick. The director had sent her home from rehearsal because she'd almost thrown up all over the stage. The smug little look that Lucy shot her way as she was leaving made her want to claw the girl's eyes out. Rachel knew that it was just an off-Broadway production but she was the lead damn it! And to be undermined by an understudy, who couldn't even hear the difference between a high F and a B flat, much less sing it, was ridiculously infuriating.
She went to her refrigerator and got a bottle of water. The taste of dairy was still in her mouth and she just wanted to slap her bitch of an understudy, and her little boyfriend too. Rachel sat down on her couch with a grimace aimed at her television set. She didn't want to watch television. She wanted to be on stage performing, or at least rehearsing like she was supposed to be doing. But no, that wasn't going to happen at the moment. The more she thought about it, the more pissed off she got. She'd learned very quickly that the best way to deal with her anger, or any of her emotions for that matter, was to sing. Knowing that if she started singing in her apartment, the old bat next door would just start banging on the wall for her to stop, Rachel grabbed her iPod and stuck the earbuds into her ears. She walked into her bedroom and lifted the window, sliding out onto the fire escape. With the way work had been going lately, she was seeing more of the rooftop than she was of her own apartment.
Puck was lightly plucking the strings of his guitar, retuning the top two, when he heard soft mumbling that made him growl just a little bit. He liked having the roof to himself. If he played in his apartment, the feeble old bitch who lived below him would just yell and threaten to tell the super. What made the whole situation idiotic was that he'd been to the lady's apartment once when she asked him to fix something for her and she couldn't hear you yelling from two feet away. Yet, she had absolutely no problem banging a broom handle on her ceiling if he fingered a G string too loud. Bitch was crazy.
The mumbling had stopped so he figured that whoever it was had left. He started to strum out the first few chords of his latest song, trying to figure out why the music just wouldn't flow the way it was supposed to, when he heard a sound that didn't belong to the instrument in his hands. There was soft singing coming from the other side of the roof, good singing too. He stood up from his spot behind one of the raised skylights and looked around for the source of the voice. Puck saw her dancing around, shuffling the pebbles under her feet, and belting out the lines of a Joss Stone classic. She had a tight body, long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, a tiny waist and legs that, even though they were covered in yoga pants, didn't seem to end. Each time she sang 'put your hands on me baby', Puck kept thinking it sounded like the best idea on the planet.
After a few minutes, he started to feel like a creeper for just watching her. But she was kind of hypnotic. Her voice was unlike anything he'd ever heard before and there was all this emotion pent up behind her words. It was like she was singing to prove something even though there was nobody else around. After a couple measures though, she started to sound a little strained, ending with a cough on a downbeat that he was pretty sure wasn't supposed to be there. She released a frustrated growl and stomped her foot but then continued right on singing, with more force than was probably necessary for the jazzy tune. Puck reasoned that she was most likely pissed about something and had the same idea as him, come up to the roof and blow off a little steam.
Puck then noticed how close the woman was to edge of the roof. There was a small lip and all she'd really have to do was trip and goodbye mystery singing woman. He didn't really feel like watching a hot chick accidentally fall off of the building so he slung his guitar around behind him and began to walk over to her.
"Hey," he tried to get her attention. Nothing. "Hey," he tried again, louder this time. It was like she was deaf or something, just dancing closer and closer to that edge. When Puck was only a few feet from her, he recognized her. Her name was Rachel something, she lived next door to the old bitch below him. Her mailbox was on the same wall as his so they'd spoken in passing a couple of times but nothing past that. "Hey," this time he yelled. That got her attention. Rachel whirled around with a startled shout and Puck understood why she hadn't heard him before. She had earbuds stuck in her ears and the music was loud enough that he could now hear it from where he stood.
Rachel had spun around so fast upon hearing the deep voice behind her that the pebbles shifted under her feet, causing her to slip. Suddenly, a blinding pain shot through her scalp.
"Oh fuck," Puck exclaimed as he reached out, too far away to grab on to her hand, and watched her head bounce lightly on the concrete lip of the rooftop. Discarding his guitar beside her body, he bent down over her. She was mumbling about her head hurting which meant she was still alive. Suddenly, all the first aid his mother had taught him growing up, plus plenty of experience landing himself in the ER as a teenager, started to come back. Talking of course meant she was alive but she'd hit her head to she could have a concussion. "Alright, Rachel," he questioned, relieved when she nodded slowly, "my name is Noah."
Even though her vision was a little blurry, not to mention her head was beginning to feel really warm and cold at the same time, Rachel just wanted to stare up at the attractive man floating over her. "You startled me," she weakly accused, no malice in her voice. The man chuckled softly. She mumbled again, "Noah is a lovely name. Don't you live upstairs?"
Puck couldn't help grinning. This chick looked kinda cute when she was dazed. "Yeah I live upstairs." In his head, Puck was considering the probability that Rachel would need a trip to the emergency room, just to be on the safe side, and how he was going to get her there. She didn't look very heavy and Lennox Hill wasn't that far away.
"My head hurts, and it feels wet." It hadn't rained in about two weeks, the roof was bone-dry, so why in the hell did her head feel wet? Rachel started to sit up, which he was pretty sure she shouldn't be doing but she didn't really strike him as someone who took 'no' for an answer, so he put his hand behind her head to add a little support. He felt what she was talking about then.
Blood goes 'round and 'round, air goes in and out. Any variation in that system is not a good thing. The warm wet sensation on his hand told him her head was bleeding.
His stomach lurched. Puck didn't really care for blood unless it was in a movie.
"Um, you're bleeding. And you might have a concussion. You should let me take you to the hospital." Rachel shifted just a little and her blood began to trickle down his arm. Even though head wounds usually looked way worse than they actually were, he still figured that she wouldn't want to get blood everywhere. Using his free hand, he pulled his free arm out of his plaid shirt and slid it down the arm still holding her head up. He bunched the shirt up and apologized when she hissed as he applied a little pressure. "Okay I'm gonna help you up now. Can you give me your hand?" Rachel's eyelids fluttered as she held out her hand. Once Puck got her up on her feet, she whimpered a little.
When Rachel realized that he was headed for the stair entrance to the roof, she remembered that she'd come up the fire escape and her window was still open. "I need to get back to my apartment to get my things, my purse." Her head was hurting more now that she was standing and she kind of just wanted to lie down. "I'm so tired. Can I just lie down for a second?"
Puck knew that wasn't a good idea. If she did have a concussion, lying down was the last thing she needed to do. "Nope, we're just gonna get your stuff and then you're going to the hospital." Rachel nodded at him but he was almost positive she didn't know what she was actually nodding at.
By the time he figured out where her extra key was (on top of the wall sconce? Really? Not the best hiding place.) and got her back in her apartment to get her stuff, she started mumbling about her window being open. Since he didn't see any windows in the living room open, he figured that her apartment was like his and the bedroom windows lead to the fire escape. Since they didn't know each other and this wasn't an instance where he really had any business in her bedroom, Puck let her go but kept a watchful eye on her as she made her way through her door. She came back out a few minutes later looking a little pale.
"I'm dizzy again," she whispered from the doorway. Rachel stared up at him when he stepped closer. If she'd thought she could focus on something other than falling, she would have taken the time to admire the soft bow of his lips and the strength in his jaw. But then the room started to move out from under her and she couldn't think of anything but his name, which she hissed out as she stumbled into his arms. Her feet felt like they weren't actually touching the ground anymore and her body felt very light, like she was floating.
The cab ride to the hospital was a little stressful. Rachel kept sort of drifting in and out of consciousness. When she'd passed out upstairs, Puck knew that it was no longer a question of if she needed to go to the hospital. He was just glad he'd gotten close enough to catch her. He'd wondered how much she'd bled out up on the roof because she was so damn light.
When the taxi came to an abrupt halt in front of the hospital's emergency room entrance, he tugged her back into his arms and carried her inside after paying the driver. The second the nurse behind the front desk saw him walking inside with Rachel out of it against his chest, she jumped into action.
It was a weirdly slow night in the E.R. so Rachel was admitted pretty quickly. Once she was taken back to a room, Puck tried to follow but another nurse stood in his way.
"You'll have to go back to the waiting area sir," she stated almost icily. Something about leaving Rachel alone in a cold hospital observation room didn't sit well with him. So the next words out of his mouth seemed like the best idea at the time.
"That's my girlfriend in there. I'm not going to the waiting room." So yeah, it was a big fat lie, but it worked. The mean nurse just nodded her head and backed off.
"The doctor will be with you soon. You should try to keep her awake."
Puck blew out a breath and walked over to the bed they'd put Rachel on. Her eyes were closed but he could tell by her breathing that she hadn't fallen asleep. He pulled the chair that had been pushed up against the wall over to the bed and sat down beside her.
"So, how you feeling?" Rachel turned her head at his question and opened her eyes.
"Why did you tell the nurse that?" Damn. He'd kind of been hoping that she'd been too out of it to actually hear what he'd said. No dice.
"Because otherwise you'd be all alone in a hospital. It's not like I can call next of kin or anything. Come on, I'm not that bad to be around. I pretty much saved your life tonight. I don't think being my fake girlfriend is that much to ask." He was relieved when the soft laugh came from her lips.
"I suppose that makes sense. Your name is Noah, right?" As he nodded his head, he looked down at her hands. They were really cute.
"Yeah that's me. And you're Rachel. What were you doing dancing that close to the edge of the roof anyway? You could've been hurt a lot worse, like possibly splattered all over the sidewalk." Rachel moved her hands to wipe at her eyes but the cord attached to the pulse oximeter got caught on the bed railing and prevented her from doing so. "Whoa hold on a second, you're a little tangled up." Puck righted the cord and had to smile at Rachel's grateful sigh.
"Thanks. I was up there because I had a horrible day at work. My understudy was being a conniving bitch again. Whenever that happens, I go up to the roof and sing my lungs out until I'm not frustrated anymore. I know it's bad for my vocal chords but sometimes, it just feels too good to get lost in the music. I guess I just got too lost in the music and stopped paying attention to where I was. I'm lucky you were there though." She stared at him for a second longer before she asked, "What were you doing up there?"
"Writing," he answered simply. Rachel's inquisitive look told him she wanted more of an answer. "Music, I was writing music." As the words left his mouth, he realized that he'd left his guitar in Rachel's apartment. Looked like he'd be seeing her again just for that.
"Oh that's right, you had a guitar with you when you saved me. So you're a songwriter?" Puck laughed a little that she thought he'd saved her or anything but nodded his head.
"Yeah, I also do producing for an indie label in the city." The smile that suddenly covered her face caught him by surprise.
"I think that's great." She stopped and winced, motioning to the back of her head. "It's hurting again," she whispered through her clenched teeth. A tear rolled down her cheek and Puck reached out to wipe it away. "When do you think the doctor will be coming in?" Something about her crying rather than just passing out from the pain just got to him. Puck leaned over the bed and looked into her eyes, a soft smile covering his face as he swiped another tear off of her face.
"As your official fake boyfriend, I'm gonna go find out." She released a pained laugh as he stood up and walked over to the curtain covered doorway.
It didn't take long for Puck to get a nurse's attention. A little flirting went a long way with a tired RN. Once he got Rachel checked out, they found out the gash on the back of her head was only about a half inch long and required only five stitches. He had to calm Rachel down when she thought the nurse was going to shave her head before stitching her up. Eventually, the only thing that worked was when he showed her the scar on the back of his own head that he'd gotten in a car wreck and told her that they would match. Rachel seemed to like that idea as much as she liked not having to get her head shaved. Puck was kind of grateful for that too. Rachel was hot but he had a feeling that she would not be able to work a bald head…or it'd at least take a little bit for him to get used to. He heard his own thoughts and realized it was a little odd to be thinking of getting used to Rachel since he just met her but whatever. They were already fake-dating for the sake of her medical care, things change.
"Okay," the nurse smiled at him, (he didn't miss the way Rachel's eyes narrowed just a little bit) "your sister's all stitched up now so I'll go get her discharge papers." Puck started to clear his throat but Rachel bit out,
"He's my boyfriend, not my brother." To her credit, the nurse nodded and left quietly. Rachel shrugged at the look he gave her. "What? You can be my fake boyfriend but I can't be your fake girlfriend? She was paying more attention to you than me and I'm the patient. I almost want to check to see if my stitches are straight. She was probably just trying to figure out the quickest way to find out if your shirt is true." Rachel motioned to the shirt he was wearing with a soft giggle. He looked down and realized it was one of his favorites that said 'Guitarists Finger Better'. With a shrug of his shoulder, he pinned her with a smirk.
"Don't worry, she's never gonna find out from me." Rachel bit her lip and suddenly her eyes took on a more smoldering quality. "You, on the other hand, as my fake girlfriend, are entitled to know the truth." She hadn't been expecting that, her gasp told him that much, but she laughed all the same.
The nurse came back in with the discharge papers and instructed that even though Rachel didn't have a concussion, it would be a good idea to take another day off from work to rest since her head would be sore in the morning. As they left, Puck placed his arm around Rachel's shoulders to make sure their 'relationship' looked believable…and because he really wanted to.
Rachel pushed open her apartment door with a sigh. She could feel Noah behind her as he followed her into her living room. He had to get his guitar, of course. Something about the man made her feel safe, protected. She turned to see him standing next to the couch and took the time to admire his arms, his broad chest and shoulders, his square jaw and hazel eyes. Going any lower than his stomach would only make her mouth water more and that would be a little embarrassing. The man, her savior of sorts, was absolutely gorgeous. She'd noticed earlier in the night of course but, now that she wasn't getting dizzy each time she moved or stood still, it was blindingly obvious.
"I know it's late," she started, "but I feel like I should thank you for everything. Would you like a cup of coffee, or my phone number?" Her own forwardness shocked her just a little, maybe the knock to her head had shaken something loose, but she stood by her offer. Noah laughed a little and stepped closer to her.
"How about both?"
What a difference a fall on the roof could make.