A/N: I wrote this a while ago, shortly after the regionals episode (I don't remember the name of it). It's sort of another one of my attempts at a "fix" to a canon episode. Special thanks to northstar61 for jogging my memory...I pretty much forgot about this story, since I've been working on my multi-chapter story (which for those of you who are reading that, I am working on the next chapter for that one).
Pretty much all of canon is the same, except Quinn doesn't get into a car accident, and Shelby and Rachel have been getting to know each other over the past couple of years instead of Shelby just deciding she wants nothing to do with Rachel. Anyway, I hope you all like it :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee :( If i did, continuity and character development wouldn't be foreign words to my writing staff :)
We need to stop this wedding. Fast.
It was like a mantra. The only thing keeping Leroy sane. His partner was pacing, and Burt and Carole kept exchanging worried glances. After learning of Rachel and Finn's plans, they knew drastic measures needed to be taken. Shelby Corcoran and Jesse St. James drastic. The only two people in the world possibly more stubborn than Rachel herself were her mother and her ex-boyfriend. Shelby had arranged for Rachel to transfer to the school in New York that she had gotten a job teaching at. This school had a show choir, which after she'd calmed down, they knew Rachel would like.
"Why are we doing this again?" Jesse asked his former coach as they practically ran into the Lima City Hall.
Shelby sighed and then said, "Because no matter what has happened over the course of the last couple of years, neither one of us can deny that we love Rachel and want what's best for her. Finn Hudson is not that. The fact that he's even considered letting her derail her career for him makes me want to shake the kid, and I don't even know him."
"I'd just like to punch him," Jesse said after a moment and with a firm nod of his head.
"Is that it?"
"No, but it would be the most effective."
"I see her dads, let's hurry," Shelby said when she spotted Rachel's dads down the hall.
Jesse nodded and then made his way towards the two men he still had hope would be his fathers-in-law someday.
"Shelby. Jesse. Thank God," Hiram said when he spotted the two newest arrivals.
"Why is he here?" Carole asked, glancing at Jesse.
Leroy, Hiram, and Shelby exchanged a glance before Shelby spoke.
"I know you don't know me, Mrs. Hummel, and I don't mean to insult your son, but he's not the one for Rachel. He won't like New York; he won't like the amount of time Rachel's going to be required to devote to her career if she truly wants to make it on Broadway."
"How would you know this?" Carole asked defensively.
"Because I was in a relationship similar to the one Rachel is currently in. We did get married, and he moved to New York with me. A month later, he was moving back to Ohio and filing for divorce. He couldn't handle it. I even went as far as to give up my dream and move back to Ohio to try and work things out with him. He became my entire world; I let my world revolve around him. That was the biggest mistake of my life. Granted, if I hadn't made the mistakes that I did, Rachel may not even exist right now, or she may be a totally different person, but I just can't sit by and watch my daughter make the same mistake that I did."
"Finn loves Rachel."
"We're not saying that he doesn't," Hiram said, stepping in between the two women, "But Rachel doesn't love Finn. She thinks she does. She's in love with the idea of who Finn could be. He's supportive now, but if something as small as Rachel's nighttime routine causes them to fight, I think that's saying something."
"Look, I'm not for this wedding any more than the rest of you, so let's just concentrate on stopping it. Carole and I are already upset about this," Burt added from Carole's side.
"I still don't understand why he's here," Carole insisted, pointing to Jesse.
"Rachel Berry is the love of my life. Regardless of the fact that she's clearly been duped by your idiotic beanstalk of a son, she knows deep down that I'm the only one who can truly understand her. I love her because of her supposed flaws, not in spite of them. I won't stand by and watch her make the biggest mistake of her life by letting her marry someone who's changed her, and not for the better like the majority of her so-called friends seem to think," Jesse answered, blue eyes flashing in anger.
"There's no need to insult my son, Mr…" Carole started.
"There's no need for you to know my name," Jesse muttered.
"Hiram, Leroy…" Burt spoke again from beside his wife.
"There's bad blood between Finn and Jesse. They will never like each other. Jesse does love Rachel, and to be quite honest, Rachel never quite got over Jesse. Finn is a nice, decent boy, and I'm sure you raised him the best that you could, but he's not the one for Rachel. But that's not the issue right now. The issue is we need to stop this wedding, and fast. I'm not even going to wait for the line asking if anyone objects, I'm getting her out of here now," Hiram said firmly.
"How?" Carole asked with a sigh.
"I'm going to go talk to Rachel now. I'm going to tell her that her dads and I wanted a minute alone with her before she takes this step. Leroy will physically carry her out of here if he has to, which I have a feeling he will. I don't know what you two have planned for Finn, but Rachel is going to New York and will never look back," Shelby answered, and Jesse instantly had a flashback of her "talking" to Vocal Adrenaline in that same tone so many times he'd finally stopped trying to count them all.
"What about him?" Burt asked, nodding towards Jesse.
Jesse simply smirked and said, "You don't need to worry about me. I'm not your son. Although, it's actually your son I like. Just not hers."
"Jesse, enough. Let's go," Shelby said with a sigh before anyone could say anything else.
Burt watched as Leroy, Hiram, Shelby, and Jesse all made their way towards the room where Rachel and her bridesmaids were waiting. After he watched them round the corner, he turned to his wife.
"Let's go do this. He's going to hate us for a while after this, but it's what's best."
"That was Jesse St. James?" Carole asked.
"Yes. Kurt insists that if he were asked to provide example of a male version of Rachel Berry, that it would be Jesse St. James," Burt said as he walked with his wife down the hall.
"I hate to see Finn's heart get broken."
"I know, but he'll thank us later. There is someone out there for him; I just think he hasn't met her yet."
Carole nodded and then took a deep breath before entering the room her son and his friends were currently occupying, her hand gripped tightly in Burt's.
"Mom?" Rachel asked upon seeing Shelby walk through the door.
Kurt looked over at Hiram and Leroy, who simply nodded at his silent question. As he watched Rachel with a small smile, he struggled with the urge to hug her and apologize for his part in the plan that will cause her pain, albeit temporarily. She was his best friend; the last thing he wanted was for her to hurt.
"Are you okay, Kurt?" Brittany asked as Rachel walked out of the room with Shelby and her dads.
"I will be," Kurt answered as the door shut behind the foursome and he turned to the group of girls in front of him, "There will be no wedding today."
"Rachel's in her wedding dress…" Tina said, confused.
"Oh thank God," Santana said, surprising Kurt.
"Rachel won't be returning to McKinley on Monday. She'll be starting at her new school in New York City on Monday instead," Kurt continued.
"All of this over a wedding?" Tina asked.
"Rachel lost her sparkle," Brittany said, earning confused looks from everyone but Kurt and Santana.
Santana patted her best friend's hand before she looked at Kurt once more, "They're really sending her to New York?"
"Yes. It's what's best for her. I'll be joining her there in a few months, as will Blaine, but she needs to become Rachel Berry again."
Once she was outside, Rachel gasped as she saw the one person she'd never thought she'd see again.
"Jesse," She whispered softly.
"Get in the car, Rachel. We're going to New York and never looking back," Jesse said.
"No. I'm marrying Finn and then he and I are going to New York together," Rachel insisted.
Taking a deep breath, Shelby led Rachel to a nearby step and asked her to sit down. When she did, Shelby crouched in front of her daughter.
"Rachel," She started, taking Rachel's hands in hers, "I'm sorry, sweetheart, but your dads and I…and Jesse too…we love you so much that we couldn't stand idly by and watch you make the biggest mistake of your life."
"It's not a mistake," Rachel insisted.
Shelby squeezed Rachel's hands before she spoke again, "I'm so, so sorry, sweetheart, but it is. Believe it or not, I was in this exact same situation when I was your age."
"What did you do?"
"I married him. We divorced less than a year later, and that was after I quit school and moved back here to try and work things out with him."
"I'd never quit school."
"You say that now, and I know that you think that's true. I just can't let you jeopardize your future like this. I know that if it hadn't been for those choices, you may or may not exist, and while that's something I will never regret, I don't want you to make the same mistakes that I did. Finn won't like New York, he'll hate all of the time you have to spend going to auditions, practicing your lines, song lyrics, choreography, on top of the time you will be spending on your schoolwork. You won't have a lot of time left and he won't like that. He can't be the center of your universe. Your world cannot revolve around anyone but you. I'm begging you, Rachel, don't do this. Come to New York with Jesse and me."
"I want to marry Finn."
Shelby dropped Rachel's hands and stood up.
"I'm sorry we have to do this to you, Rachel, we wanted you to be able to go willingly."
"What?" Rachel asked, frozen in place.
Leroy and Hiram walked over to their daughter and did something they told themselves they'd never do.
"Sweetheart, you're going to New York. That's final," Leroy said as he moved to pick her up.
"No! I won't go!" Rachel shouted, tears blurring her vision as she got up and began to run away. She only made it a few feet before she was grabbed from around the waist and pulled back into a body she instantly recognized.
"Let me go," She insisted, trying to get out of Jesse's grip.
This only prompted Jesse to pull her closer.
"Please, Rachel, don't make me beg," he whispered.
"Jesse St. James doesn't beg," she responded.
"Maybe not, but Jesse will if that's what it comes down to," Jesse answered before he turned Rachel in his arms and backed her up so she was pinned against the car.
"Jesse, please, let me go."
"Not a chance. You're going to get in this car and we are going to New York. I will physically put you in here if I have to. You're going to live with Shelby and finish high school in New York. Then you'll go on to Tisch, where you will meet up with Kurt and Blaine. You'll audition for plays, work your way onto Broadway. You'll be working in theater, doing something you love. Something that you've only dreamed about. Are you really willing to give all of that up to marry the idiotic Finn Hudson?"
Rachel suddenly felt weak in the knees. She had tears running down her face and she couldn't breathe properly. When the look in Jesse's eyes immediately turned from anger to concern, and felt him frame her face with his hands, she cried harder.
"Breathe. Listen to me carefully, okay?"
Rachel closed her eyes and took a deep breath before she looked at Jesse again. When he saw that he had her full attention once more, he began talking in a tone of voice she'd only heard him use a few times. The few moments they were able to steal where they were completely alone.
"Rachel, I love you. I know you need to get over Finn, and I can't make you give me another chance. The only thing I will force you to do is get in this car and go to New York. If you want me to be part of your life, I will be. You and I both know that the Broadway dream we share is an ambitious one, and many people try and fail, but we won't be one of those people. You, Rachel Berry, are going to win so many awards you won't know what to do with them all. Of that I have no doubt. It's an inevitability."
Rachel was uncharacteristically silent for a minute as she took in everything Jesse had said. When she finally spoke again, it would be brief, "Let me get in the car, Jesse."
"Gladly," He said before he opened the door for her.
Once they saw that Rachel had gotten in the car, Hiram and Leroy walked over to their daughter and embraced her tightly, whispering words of encouragement and love. While Rachel talked with her dads, Shelby walked over to Jesse.
"You did a good thing, Jesse. I'm proud of you," She said quietly.
Jesse nodded, keeping an eye on Rachel. When Shelby touched his shoulder, he knew she wanted his full attention.
"She'll come around. There's a lot of emotions she's feeling right now. I actually wish my parents had done this for me."
Jesse leaned his head back against the car with an audible thud, causing Shelby to look at him curiously.
"I never wanted to cause her pain." He whispered.
"Jesse," Shelby said, laying a hand on his arm to get his attention again, "We all know that. You came with me because of how much Rachel means to you, and how much her accomplishing her dream means to you. She'll be grateful one day."
"I don't want her gratitude," Jesse said, shoving away from the car and walking a short distance away.
Rachel was talking with her dads when she saw the exchange between Jesse and Shelby out of the corner of her eye.
"Is Jesse okay?" Rachel asked, this question directed at her mother.
"He's just feeling a lot of different emotions right now too, sweetie. You and Jesse are both very dramatic, very passionate people."
"Well, if you want your dads to, they can drive this car, my car, otherwise either Jesse or I will drive. You can have the backseat to yourself."
Rachel bit her lip as she contemplated her next question and took the veil out of her hair, handing it to her Dad.
"Jesse, let's go," Shelby said, suddenly panicking as she saw a bunch of blurs in the window, heading towards the front entrance.
Jesse, having seen the same thing, nodded quickly and was about to make his way to the other side of the car when he felt Rachel grab his hand.
"I don't want to be alone," Rachel said quietly.
Jesse nodded and motioned for her to scoot over. When she did, he slid into the backseat beside her. Shelby quickly got into the driver's seat and started the car, making their way down the road just as Finn, Burt, Carole, Will, Emma, Sue, and the remaining members of New Directions made their way outside.
Sitting in the backseat of Shelby's car with Jesse at her side, Rachel realized she suddenly felt content.
"Did my dads pack a bag for me?" Rachel asked softly.
"Yes. It's in the trunk. We'll stop in a little bit, once we get word from your dads that Finn is back at his house," Shelby answered.
"Oh," Rachel said, disappointment evident in her voice.
"I know you want to change. I expect you never want to see this particular outfit again."
"No. This wasn't my dream dress anyway. It wasn't my dream wedding either," Rachel admitted, looking out the window.
Jesse was silent as he watched Rachel. He ached to hold her, to make everything better, and he was actually a little curious as to why she wanted him back here with her instead of Shelby, or having the whole backseat to herself.
"You're staring," Rachel said, breaking Jesse out of his thoughts.
"Sorry," Jesse said before he turned his head to look out the other window.
Rachel sighed and then closed her eyes, suddenly feeling tired. After a couple of minutes of not being able to get comfortable, she opened her eyes and asked another question.
"Is there a pillow or something I can lay my head on?"
"I have an extra hoodie in my bag," Jesse offered, digging into the bag at his feet and offering Rachel a dark blue hoodie.
"This is the one you wore the day we met," Rachel said, recognizing it instantly.
"It is," Jesse answered with a nod.
Instead of folding up the hoodie once again like he had expected her to, Jesse was surprised when Rachel instead put it on, shoving her hands into the pockets after lifting the hood to cover her head. After kicking her shoes off, Rachel curled up on the seat, head resting near the door. Jesse smiled a little before he turned his attention back to the road.
"Are you okay?" Shelby asked, directing her question to her former student instead of her daughter.
"I'm fine," Jesse answered before he put his ear buds in and began to play music from his iPod.
Shelby sighed and shook her head as she willed time to go by faster so they could just get to New York already.
A couple of hours into the trip, both Jesse and Rachel were asleep in the backseat of the car. Sometime in her sleep, Rachel had switched from lying opposite Jesse to actually laying on him. Jesse had her cuddled close, her head pillowed on his chest and his head resting on hers. Just as she realized that she needed more gas, Shelby heard her phone ring. She picked up instantly, not wanting to wake the sleeping duo in the backseat.
"Hello?" She answered, not bothering to look to see who was calling.
"Leroy and I are just leaving. It took longer than we anticipated to get home."
"Finn derailed us, demanding we take him to Rachel. He nearly punched Noah and he looked like he wanted to murder Kurt, Santana, and Quinn."
"Is Kurt okay?"
"Kurt's fine. He's staying with Blaine for a few days while things cool down at home. How's Rachel?"
"What about Jesse?"
"Same. They're both fast asleep."
"Will you have Rachel call us when she wakes up?"
"Yes. I'll call you when we made it to my house. It's just outside the city."
A few hours later, once they had arrived in New York, Shelby woke Rachel and Jesse after snapping a quick picture of them to send to Hiram and Leroy, and to Rachel and Jesse at some point down the road.
"We're here," Shelby said, shaking Jesse.
Jesse blinked a couple of times before he nodded at Shelby and shook Rachel gently.
"Rach," Jesse said softly, "Wake up. We're here."
Rachel sat up and looked around for a moment before she put her shoes on and stepped out of the car and meeting Shelby by the trunk.
"Here's your bag. Your dads should be here in a couple of hours with the rest of your things. Welcome home."
"Home," Rachel repeated as Shelby placed a key in her hand.
"It's a key to the house. Go ahead and head on inside. Your room is upstairs, two doors down to the right. I hope you like it."
Rachel nodded as she made her way towards the house. When she put the key in the lock and turned it, hearing the clicking noise it made, she smiled a little. She'd figure out later why she wasn't feeling upset anymore, but for now, she wanted to look around her new home.
When Shelby knocked on Rachel's door a couple hours later to tell her that her dads had arrived, she found that Rachel had already showered and put on a different outfit. She'd even pinned her bangs back.
"Your dads are here," Shelby said softly.
Rachel nodded and then said, "I'll be down in a minute."
Shelby walked over to her daughter and hugged her tightly as she said, "I'm so proud of you. I know this is hard, but we'll get through it."
Rachel nodded, returning the hug. Shelby had just stood up once more when she saw Hiram and Leroy standing in the doorway.
"Dad! Daddy!" Rachel said excitedly as she hugged them both tightly.
Slipping from the room, Shelby made her way downstairs and to the kitchen, where Jesse still sat.
"Jesse," Shelby said, walking into the room.
"I know life can be a bitch sometimes, and I understand that, but what I don't understand is why every time I think I have a chance with the only girl I'll ever love, something gets in the way. The first two times, it's Finnbecile. Now she needs time to basically put herself back together after everything that asshole put her through, all the emotional damage he caused. Am I just not supposed to be with her or something?"
Shelby sighed and then said, "I can't answer that. I know I played a role in your first breakup, and I've apologize to both of you for that. She's going to need people to lean on, to help her through all of the emotions she's feeling. Her dads can only be here for a limited amount of time. You need to deal with the fact that you two are going to have to interact on pretty much a daily basis."
"I should go. I have homework," Jesse said as he stood.
"I'll see you Monday, then." Shelby said with a nod.
Jesse nodded and then made his way out the door and down the driveway to the street where his car was parked.
Six Months Later…
Rachel was sitting in her room at the house she still shared with her mother, working on an assignment for one of her classes, when she heard a knock at her door. Assuming it was just her mother, she called out for the person to come in.
Immediately recognizing the voice, Rachel dropped her pencil and whirled around to make sure she wasn't hearing things.
"Jesse?" Rachel asked, still unsure of herself.
Jesse had taken off immediately after school ended, saying he had some friends and relatives he needed to visit. Rachel hadn't thought anything of it at the time, as they hadn't gotten back together yet. She was still putting herself back together at that point. What she hadn't counted on was how much she missed him. They emailed or texted once in a while, but not enough for her liking. Now he was standing in her bedroom, looking as handsome as ever.
"I would have come by sooner, but I got back the day before classes started," Jesse explained.
Rachel felt tears forming in her eyes. Not trusting her voice, she simply stood and launched herself at Jesse, smiling a little to herself when she felt him wrap his arms around her.
"I missed you. So much," Rachel whispered.
Jesse let himself smile a little. "I missed you, too," he responded.
"You're back for good now?"
"Yes. I still have two years of college left; I'm not going to stop now."
Rachel pulled away enough so she could look up at Jesse. "You didn't…meet anyone while you were away, did you?"
Jesse smiled at her as he tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. "It's always been you, it'll always be you. Only you."
"So you still love me, then?"
"Of course I do. What's with all the questions, Rach?" Jesse inquired, starting to get confused, not wanting to let himself get hopeful.
"I just…never mind, it's stupid," Rachel said, walking over to her bed and sitting down.
"We're friends, you can tell me anything," Jesse responded, taking a seat next to her.
Rachel was silent for a moment as she contemplated her next few words. When she did speak again, it was barely above a whisper. "What if that's not what I want anymore?"
"Then I need you to tell me what it is you do want."
Unable to stop the tears, but wanting to look at Jesse when she finally admitted to him what she had known deep down for a long time, Rachel lifted her eyes to Jesse's. "You. Just you. I just need you."
Jesse felt his heart soar. 'Finally' he thought as he pulled Rachel into his arms again.
"Are you saying what I think you're saying?" he asked.
Rachel nodded. "I love you, Jesse."
"I love you, too, Rachel," Jesse responded before he bent his head to kiss her.
"I'm sorry I took so long-" Rachel started once they ended their kiss.
Jesse cut her off by placing a finger over her lips. "You don't need to apologize. I understand that you had to find yourself again, be alone for a while, before you could be with anyone else. I'm just glad you chose me in the end."
"I knew it was you the moment I saw you again. I just didn't want to make you think I was ready for something I wasn't. You didn't give up on me. You could always see the real me. You knew the person you met two years ago was still inside of me somewhere. I know just being my friend wasn't the easiest thing in the world to do."
"Honestly, Rach? It was kind of torture. I knew you needed to heal, to get better I guess you could say, but at the same time I wanted to be able to take our fresh start and run with it. I couldn't help but want to be around you, but I also was trying to protect my heart at the same time."
Rachel smiled as she ran a hand through Jesse's curls. "What about now that you have me back?" she asked innocently.
Jesse flashed her a grin as he pinned her to the bed. "You're not going anywhere."
Rachel blinked innocently at him. "What about out on dates with you?"
"I'll take you wherever you want to go," Jesse promised, "So long as you're mine."
Rachel lifted her arms to wrap them around Jesse's neck. "Could we go on one of those dates now?"
Jesse brushed his lips with hers before he answered. "Definitely."
After one more kiss, Jesse stood and held his hand out to Rachel. Smiling, she put her hand in his and laced their fingers together. They would both always remember the day when they finally got a fresh start to their happily ever after.