Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or anything else I mention in here.
He absolutely hates moving. The thought of packing up and never coming back blows his mind. No longer will he walk through the same hallway every single time he comes back from the office. Nor will he be able to hold the doorknob to his bedroom like he did millions of times before. And once the move is complete and everything is empty, there'd be no trace that a one Finn Hudson once lived there.
Seeing everything, wrapped up in some box, makes him feel that he's not only leaving his apartment behind, he's leaving behind the memories he made there. It's just a crappy apartment really, a room with a small kitchen and living space. But not to him, this place, it was his first home as a man. Most of his adult life has been spent building memories here, with her to be exact-and now that he's leaving, it's only natural to feel that he's leaving behind a part of his old life too. These memories, well they're the only thing he has left of her. It's also part of the reason why he has to do it. It's inevitable really; he has to move, for himself, because truth be told he hasn't considered this place to be "home" in years.
"Well, I'd say that's the last of it."
"Nice work Hud, you actually managed to pack up every piece of clutter you horded in your apartment. No wait, you didn't do a damn thing; I did. I was the one who put these pieces of junk into boxes while you sat on that ass of yours shoving potato chips in your mouth watching 1000 Ways to Die."
"No need to thank me. I didn't land you a job promotion for you in LA for you, I did it for me. I'm sick of seeing that moping face of yours every day in the office. I am, however, glad you accepted it. Let's face it, you and I both know you haven't been the same since she left, and I think it's for the best that you get the hell out of New York so you can finally move on with your crummy life."
As much as he'd hate to admit it, Santana was right. His life wasn't exactly going as planned. He came to New York ten years ago for love. He promised her he would follow her to the ends of the earth and what better way to seal that promise than with a ring-a piece of their little world into the big city. They agreed that it would be best if they have a long-engagement and wait until she went on Broadway until they got married. He was foolish to actually believe that both could have accomplished all of their plans and dreams together. Now here he is ten years later with a promising career and a broken heart beyond repair. And it was all because destiny decided to turn from being their best friend to their worst enemy just in one night.
Santana was no different, he heart got broken just as bad as his. Not only did she lose her girlfriend, but she also lost her best friend. However unlike himself, she masks hers well. She used her heartbreak to get to the top, dragging him along with her.
"I'm going to miss you Santana."
"Just promise me one thing."
"Promise me that you'll at least try to get laid."
"Who am I kidding, no one wants your sweaty body all over themselves. No, promise me that you try that new bakery in between Main and Second Street."
He scrunches his face at the randomness of her request. "Why?"
"Because knowing you you'll probably eat so much crap and I hear this bakery is supposed to be good for your health. No, I do not care about your health I care about your image, or more importantly the image of the company."
"Fine." He sighed, giving her one last hug before he left to drive to the other side of the country. "Take care Santana."
He hates making promises to people, because he lost everything the last time he did. It's Santana though, he owes her. Still he didn't like the smirk on Santana's face the moment he left because it's the same face she gives when she wants to blackmail the rivaling companies. Santana Lopez was up to something.
"Baby, would you stop worrying? You've been rehearsing nonstop for this night forever. You're going to be perfect out there."
"I don't know Finn, I mean what if the critics don't like me? I'm so close to Broadway I can feel it, but… what if I'm not good enough? My entire career as a future-Broadway actress relies on tonight."
"Rachel, look at me. You are going to shine tonight. You know how I know that? Because you're a star."
"Can you honestly promise me that?"
"I promise Rach. I swear, trust me."
Waking up from his dream, he glanced at the clock. 12:18 am. Every single damn thing reminds him of Rachel. He had hoped that after he moved to LA the dreams, or rather nightmares of that night, would succumb, but it seems that they've only gotten worse ever since he left New York.
He's been staying in a hotel for the past couple of weeks that he's been here, being that he's been unable to find a place that screams "home." Thing is, he doubts he'll ever be able to consider LA his home either. Not with pain, sorrow, and guilt still permanent in his heart.
He sees the line for this new bakery and it's so freaking long. Seriously, who would want to wait an hour for desserts?
He debates whether or not he should come back another day, because it's not like he's leaving LA anytime soon. On the other hand, Santana keeps harasses him about it every single damn time they talk on the phone, so he figures he might as well try it now since it's his day off.
Everything looks so god damn good and oddly familiar. He orders one of each item out and decides to warm up with a pecan cookie. He takes a bite of it and spits it out because he would know that cookie recipe anywhere. It tastes just like the pecan cookies Rachel used to make, but only it's not. He can't put his finger on it, but something's missing. That's when it dawns on him. He finally looks up and takes in the decorations of the bakery since he was too distracted with the idea of food to do so beforehand. It screams Rachel. When he sees the logo of the bakery that exact moment of realization hits him. Finn Hudson just ate a cookie that tastes oddly like the ones his ex-fiancée made at a place called Star Bakery. Coincidence? He doesn't think so.
He demands that the workers there tell him who the owner of the bakery is. Apparently that information is confidential so he asks for the next best thing-the manager.
He swears he's dreaming when he sees the one and only Brittany S. Pierce come out of the kitchen with a pink apron on with her hair in a ponytail and a headband that looks like it belongs to a little girl.
"Hi I'm Brittany, manager of Star Bakery how may I help you?"
"Brit, it's me!"
"Yes well all our products are vegan friendly, which is why they are not only delicious, but good for your body and society."
He smacks his hand to his forehead shaking his head. Knowing Brittany, she was probably trained to say all that stuff to whoever asks for her.
"Brittany, it's me, Finn Hudson, you know from high school."
"Every single review is highly valued and taken into consideration."
Looks like he has to bring out the big guns. "Hey, by any chance, do you know what FEK is?" Random but worth a shot.
"FEK, or Feline eosinophilic keratitis, is an immune-mediated inflammation of the cornea. "
He honestly didn't know what an FEK was until the other night when he was watching Animal Planet. Long Story. Anyways, he's making progress with Brittany, given that she switched out of manager mode into cat mode.
"Now, Brittany, do you remember you joined that high school game show with Artie?"
"Oh Artie! Did you know he and Sugar got married last year?" He doesn't, he hasn't been keeping in touch with the others, excluding Santana of course. Heck he's lucky if he even gets to talk to Kurt now that he and Blaine decided to travel the world.
"No actually I didn't. What about the others?"
"Well Mike and Tina are expecting their second child in June. Let's keep our finger's crossed that it's Asian just like the other one. Sam and Mercedes have the most adorable newborn. Puck's still touring with his band. Quinn's a pediatrician in Sacramento, we see her every couple months since she's only a couple hours away-"
"We? Who's we?"
"Me and Rachel of course." Bingo. Now he knows for sure that she's a part of this. Rachel, his Rachel. The same Rachel he's spent two years looking for, and ultimately had to let go, is here in LA.
"Now where was I? Right, so you of course know all about Santana. Who else?" She continues.
"Wait, hold up, you know about me and Santana?"
"Of course Finn. Santana and I still talk you know."
Well no wonder she hasn't been as depressed as he was. Then that must mean that Santana must have known that Rachel was here. That's why she recommended the bakery! If he didn't know any better, he'd say Santana was playing Cupid.
"Brittany, where is Rachel?"
"I wasn't finished! But now that you asked, she lives with me. In fact, she owns Star Bakery. All these recipes are hers."
He hesitates, "Can you take me to see her? Please." Her head tilts to the side a little, as if she's thinking whether or not this could end up good or bad. He's thinking the same thing, but he needs to see her if he ever wants to get closure.
"Fine. But just a little heads up, the Rachel Berry that owns this bakery is a different from the Rachel Berry you were engaged to."
Their condo is decorated in a resembling way that their, or rather his apartment back in New York was. He figures that if Rachel's décor is still the same, then she couldn't be that different from his Rachel.
"Rachel I'm home, and I umm… I have a surprise for you!"
He sees her come out of what he assumes to be her bedroom and he takes the sight of her in. She dresses the same way, her hair still dark brown but her bangs are styled more to the side. Her face, well it's still beautiful, but truth be told he didn't expect anything less. The only thing he can notice that changed is her eyes, they lost their spark, their soul. That bothers him a lot because he knows it's his fault, and he'd rather she'd change something different than her soul.
At the sight of him she drops the dozens of what he makes out to be flashcards on the floor. He can see panic, fear, and disbelief on her face. She grabs the mini whiteboard and marker on the kitchen table and scribbles something quickly before she shows it to them.
"Rachel, he went to bakery and asked about you. I couldn't say no! You and I both know that you need him, to help you with what you're going through, and I could tell he needs you too."
He's so confused. What exactly is Rachel going through? Could it be related to what happened two years ago? And why is she using a whiteboard? Does she hate him that much she can't speak in front of him?
He looks back at her and never has he seen her so scared. When his eyes met hers she shakes her head before retreating back to her room, closing the door and locking it.
He turns back to Brittany, looking for an explanation.
"We need to talk."
"You remember that night in New York right?
Of course he remembers that night. That same night that lost him everything. The night he's been trying to forget but can never seem to.
It was supposed to go off without a hitch. He promised her that she would be perfect out there. It just had to happen the night when the Broadway directors would be watching. The night that determined whether or not she was to be worthy of Broadway.
He sat in the front row as always. Eagerly pointing to Rachel's picture in the playbill saying "that's my fiancée" to the random people sitting next to him.
The moment the curtains went up all he could focus on was his the beautiful woman who was his. Her acting skills were amazing and the beginning of the show went by swimmingly. Everything was perfect, that is until it was time for Rachel's solo.
She's been practicing nonstop, singing any chance she could. He should have known. Especially with what happened their sophomore year. He should have told her not to sing too much or else she would strain her voice, but he didn't. Now here she is, on one of the most important days of her life, with laryngitis. She ran off the stage halfway during her solo. He followed her out into the streets where she broke down crying harder than he'd ever seen her in her life. He doesn't blame her for doing so.
He carried her back to their place, changed her out of her costume, and removed her smudged make-up. He held her close to him as possible and just let her cry. "It's over." She whispered.
"Don't say that Rach. You don't know that. For all we know, you could still get another chance."
"Don't lie to me!" she yelled at him. He drew back a little, shocked and hurt. Rachel never yelled at him like that. "It's over." She whispered again.
He guessed she meant more than her career because the next morning she was gone with only the ring he had placed on her ring finger placed eight years prior in her place.
"Well she came back to Lima, to her dads, to help her pay for the operation. Turns out that it wasn't as successful as they thought, because once she tried to sing again, she cracked. Since she couldn't sing, I guess she stopped talking. We became close during her stay in Lima, and we moved to LA together being that she needed someone to take care of her. She opened Star Bakery, but I'm the one who handles all the business, she mainly just stays at home."
"So you expect me to believe that she hasn't said a single word in two years?"
"Is that how she communicates with you? With the whiteboard?"
"Yeah, and you know those flashcards she was holding? They're her standard phrases of Hello Brittany or How are you?."
"I know it is, but were making it work. I don't think, however, that this is what is good for her. She misses you Finn. I catch her sometimes looking at her left hand, her ring finger to be precise. She needs you."
"It's all my fault, this should have never happened. She should be living her dream of being on Broadway! We could have been married by now…"
"You're right, it shouldn't have happened, but it did. Now instead of lingering on what you did wrong, think about what you can do to fix it."
All of people may think Brittany is just another dumb blond, heck he even thought that. But there's more to Brittany than most people know. Sometimes, she says the right words that a person just needs to hear. For her to stand by Rachel for two years, and to help her with the bakery is heartwarming. It's the same way Santana stood by him. Brittany is like the Santana to Rachel's Finn, if that makes sense.
"Brit, I have a very important question to ask you."
"And that is?"
"Would be alright if I moved in with you and Rachel?"
He takes her hug as a yes.
He moves in early the next morning. He takes the day off again, because he just wants his main focus to be on Rachel. Brittany left for work a half hour ago and according to her Rachel doesn't eat breakfast for another hour.
He cooks vegan French toast, because it was her favorite when they were living together. They made a deal, that if he cooked breakfast, she'd cook the other meals. Mainly because she knew that there was no way he would be able to cook an actual meal. Sure they had cereal and fruit more days than he would like to admit, but he always washed dishes and paid whenever they went out. He'd do anything for her really.
When she sees the French toast out on the dining table he could tell she knows that he made them. She looks around for him and jumps when he calls her from behind. She turns around and writes on her whiteboard.
What are you doing here?
"Oh! Silly me I forgot to introduce myself. Hi, my name is Finn Hudson, and I'm your new roommate." He jokes, sticking out his hand.
She starts to turn around and head back to her room but he grabs her arm. She still feels the same, he thinks, the spark that he felt whenever they touched.
"You're not going to let this all go to waste are you?" he asks, referring to the breakfast he made for her. He smirks because he knows he got her.
She slowly shakes her head defeated. He eats breakfast right across from her. He hasn't eaten breakfast with anyone since she left, and he hasn't cooked it since she left either. He's always made a big deal out of eating breakfast with Rachel, because to him eating breakfast with her meant that they spent both night and morning with each other, a luxury they hardly experienced until New York. He knows that's not the case here, but it's still nice to start your morning with the person who means so much to you.
I take it Brit told you everything. She writes.
He just nods and she nods back in reply.
He doesn't try to talk to her while they eat, because he knows his presence alone must be overwhelming to her. His heart does lighten up however when he sees her smile at the glass of soy milk he pours for her. He hasn't seen her smile in forever, and for a moment he forgets the situation they're in and just focuses on her smile. She's smiling because she remembers how the two of them used to joke that if she drank more milk she would grow taller and wouldn't look so short next to him. The fact that she remembers this and is smiling gives him hope, even if the life in her eyes is still gone.
She shows him a thank you card once she finishes and then proceeds back to her room while he washes dishes.
He doesn't see her for the rest of the day.
She must have taken food while he was in the shower and saved it for both lunch and dinner.
He tells Brittany this and they both agree that she just needs some time.
It's impossible to sleep on the couch, but once he finds his comfortable position he decides to just close his eyes and think. He does this a lot, think about her before he sleeps. It's hard to fall asleep though, the blanket Brittany gave him is way too short and his feet are freezing.
He's not sure if he's dreaming or not, but sometime during the night he hears the door open. He feels a blanket being placed on the lower part of his body, feet included. He thinks it may be an angel, but when he feels someone kneel next to his face, he knows it's his angel. He could just tell it's her, and he could feel her hesitation before her hand gently comes to caress his face. Now he knows it's her, because she used to do that to him every night when she thought he was asleep. Her gentle hand lightly stroking his face makes his whole body tingle and he has to try his best to make sure he could pass off as sleeping. After a few glorious moments, she leans down and kisses his forehead lightly before standing up and locking herself in her room. He touches the spot where she kissed him and he knows there's no way he could ever give up on her.
He wakes up the next morning and smiles when he sees a pink fluffy blanket covering his feet.
Even though he has to go to work today he still makes her breakfast and leaves her a little note just in case he got worried.
He doesn't really see her for the rest of the week.
But every night she continues her ritual of stroking his face and kissing his forehead.
For the first time in years, that presence of her alone makes him feel like he's home again.
AN: Well I hope you guys enjoyed part one of three in my new minific. I know Lea has been teasing us about her "white dress" but I preferred to write as if they kept a long-engagement in here for the plot's sake. Anyways, as stated by Miss Brittany S. Pierce herself (in my story) "Every single review is highly valued and taken into consideration." Thank you guys for your time and please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. The second part should be up hopefully in a couple of days and will show more development and have more explanations.