Title: Tonight, We'll Light Up the Stars
A/N: This is based on the Uptown Girl prompt, over at finchel-prompts, and as with all my other one shots… slightly unrealistic? Yes. It's AU (of course) and it's really just supposed to be sweet and simple... so I'm not sure if there's all that much of a plot? But I hope you guys enjoy.
(And - title is from the Goo Goo Dolls song, All that You Are. Don't own that, or Glee!)
Rachel Berry can't be positive, but she thinks that the hoodlum who is sitting on the other side of the subway car is staring at her; and not just staring at her, but leering at her, as if she's some sort of prize to be won at a carnival fair or something of the sort.
She bristles slightly, sits up a little straighter in her seat, and resolutely looks the other way. She's not sure when it became acceptable to just stare at people in a subway car, but then again, she's never actually rode on the subway before, so maybe this sort of thing is common. She did read on the news the other day about that perverted old man who kept flashing women his… his private parts during the morning rush hour, and maybe that sort of thing is common on public transportation. She wouldn't know. The last time she rode public transportation was when her car broke down outside of JFK and she was forced to take the shuttle to the airport in order to make her flight.
But still. What if repulsive people like that old man are just commonplace on the subway system? What if this hoodlum is actually going to flash her?
It would be somewhat exciting to be on the five o'clock news, as the stunning young ingénue who was accosted by the mentally unstable hooligan on the subway, but then she quickly remembers that in order to get on the news; she would actually have to be accosted. Horrified by the thought, she quickly looks over at the young man behind her shoulder, and then turns away again.
He doesn't look like he's about to flash her. In fact, he looked like he was sleeping. But that could, of course, just be a ploy to get Rachel's defenses down – and then, when she's least expecting it, he'll suddenly jump in front of her and just whip his pants off.
Rachel tries to calm herself down, and takes a few deep breaths. She's almost positive that she's overreacting in this situation because, even though it pains her deeply to admit this, she at times does have a tendency to do that.
For example, the other week she was convinced that she had absolutely nailed an audition for the hallowed and celebrated role of Eponine in Les Miserables. But then her agent had called her and told her that the director was hoping for an actress who was not only at least five years old, but also had a bit more life experience, which in Rachel's mind was ridiculous. Just because Rachel's life experience has been a bit more – lavish, than most peoples doesn't mean that she doesn't have any.
Immediately after that heart-shattering news, she had auditioned for a role in her school's spring musical. And of course, she received that role, but even then, Mr. Schuester said that Rachel had to 'toughen up a little' to properly convey the emotion of Carly – the streetwise and sassy sixteen year old protagonist of the play.
And when Rachel asked her friends what she should do to toughen up, their ideas were all atrocious and included but were not limited to, stealing food from the local grocery store, walking to school instead of having Maurice drive her, and staying up past eleven o'clock on a school night. Rachel is not willing to do any of those things, and finally her housekeeper, Emma, suggested that she take a trip on the subway.
This disgusted Rachel almost immediately, because subways are dirty, smelly, and just overall completely unhygienic. But the more she thought about it, the more she thought it was a perfect idea – and besides, Emma rides the subway every single day, and she's perfectly safe and besides, she swore up and down to Rachel that Brooklyn isn't nearly as bad at the movies portray it to be. Rachel trusts Emma, because while her housekeeper is lovely, she also has extreme OCD, and if Emma thinks riding the subway is okay then it has to be.
And besides, Rachel's been to Brooklyn before. Her and her dads have driven through there on their way to The Hamptons.
She decided that she would make her sojourn to Brooklyn on a Monday afternoon, once school let out. She's sure that any bad crimes that happen don't occur in the middle of the day, and besides, Mondays are the only days that she's not completely busy with school or the play, or Glee club. So she bought a ticket and got on the first train that appeared to be going towards Brooklyn.
And now here she is, sitting on a subway train and scared out of her mind, convinced that some man is going to show her his nether region. Honestly, sometimes she questions why she's so dedicated to her craft that she's willing to put herself in legitimate danger, just so that she can bring her many adoring fans (namely, her fathers and Emma) a properly researched performance.
Sighing, she hesitantly looks over her shoulder again. The young hoodlum is awake now, and he's looking out the window. As if he can sense her watching him, he turns to look at her, and he smiles; just a little half smile that looks entirely too innocent, and Rachel imperceptibly pulls her purse closer to her body.
The guy just smiles at her again and Rachel's not entirely sure what to do in this situation. But then she thinks about what Carly would do, and she clears her throat and pushes a hand through her hair. She tries to look extremely confident and – and brazen, and she says,
It's perhaps not the toughest way she could've introduced herself, but she reassures herself that all actresses have a difficult time conforming to new characters at first. And besides, while 'hello' may not scream mature, streetwise teenager, it is a perfectly acceptable form of greeting, and she thinks that even Carly has to have said 'hello' at some point in her life. In between caring for her five sisters and brothers and singing about life and the troubles it's brought her, of course.
The hoodlum nods at her, and he says, "hey." He doesn't say anything for a moment, and then, "are you lost?"
Rachel reaches her hand inside her purse and searches inside for a second, before she tightens her grip on the mini bottle of pepper spray that she had bought for the occasion.
"No," she says, and her voice cracks just a bit. "I live here."
"Here?" the hoodlum asks, raising his eyebrows. He laughs. "Sorry. I just – you don't look like you're from around here."
Rachel looks down at her outfit; she's still wearing her private school outfit, which means saddle shoes, knee high socks, and a grey and red jumper. She swallows and looks back over at the hoodlum, who's staring at her with an amused look on his face.
"Yes, well. I travel far for school," Rachel says defensively. "My parents are using their life savings in order to further my education. It's really a very tragic story."
The hoodlum nods slowly. "I'll take your word for it."
"Would you like to hear it?" Rachel presses, because this seems like a perfect opportunity for her to practice her improvisation skills.
The hoodlum stares at her for a second, and he almost looks uncomfortable as he says, "no, that's okay." Rachel looks a bit disappointed, and he quickly adds on, "thanks, though."
That's a very strange thing to say to someone who's offering to share a tragic story, but Rachel thinks that maybe the young hoodlum just hasn't been faced with tragedy very often, and therefore he doesn't know how to respond to matters of such epic emotional value.
She smiles empathetically at him. "Don't worry. I understand. It's always difficult hearing about someone else's troubles in life."
The hoodlum looks at her as if he's slightly astounded that she'd say that to him, but he just nods, and then turns to look back out the window. He doesn't appear as if he's going to say anything else, which is fine by Rachel, because she's already learned valuable information from this encounter.
For instance, the next time she wanders over to Brooklyn, she should probably make sure that she actually knows where she's going first, so that people don't accuse her of being lost. And she should also develop a solid and well researched back story, just to be on the safe side.
The hoodlum speaks up again a few minutes later. "Are you sure you're not lost?" he asks again. "Because if you are, that's totally fine. I could like, help you."
"Why do you think I'm lost?" Rachel asks, momentarily annoyed. "I already told you that I live here."
She sits up and she pulls her Coach purse even closer to her, because if this man keeps insisting that she's lost, that means that he thinks he can take advantage of her – and she prepared for this situation, because she made sure to take her biggest handbag. It has a rather large buckle on the front, and Rachel reasons that if necessary, she can use it as some sort of weapon.
She's not sure how she'd use it as a weapon, though. Maybe she'd throw it at him to create diversion, and then rush off the train at the next stop. The more she thinks about it, the more she thinks that seems like the most logical plan.
"Um. Yeah, I know you did," the hoodlum says, and he shakes his head, as if he's embarrassed or something of the sort. "Sorry. I just – I know you. And I really, really doubt that you live in Brooklyn."
Rachel raises her eyebrows, and the hoodlum quickly continues, "you go to Reynolds, right? And you're in Glee?"
She nods slowly, and she can feel her heart starting to race a little faster because she's almost positive that she's coming face to face with her first stalker. And while some would find this situation a bit terrifying and nerve-wracking, Rachel Berry knows that in order to be a star, one has to be able to handle their fans in whatever shape or form they come in – and all the best stars have stalkers.
She also finds it extremely humbling that she has a stalker and she's only performed in one Broadway play, and that was back when she was four years old. Not everyone can be so lucky.
Graciously, she smiles at the hoodlum. "Yes. I go to Reynolds." She's about to offer to sign an autograph for him, when he continues,
"Yeah, you're their insane captain. My school's competed against yours in Sectionals. You totally kicked our ass," the hoodlum says, and he frowns. "We couldn't compete with the glitter cannons."
The smile immediately drops from Rachel's face, because first off, she is not insane, she is dedicated, and obviously his school couldn't compete with the glitter cannons. No one can compete with the glitter cannons, which is precisely why Reynolds uses them. It's those minor, minor details that really put a Glee Club over the top.
"Well, I'm sure you tried your best," Rachel says politely. The hoodlum shrugs.
"I mean, we came in second, which is way better than where we placed last year." He doesn't say anything for a minute, but then he says, "so what are you doing in Brooklyn, anyway?"
Rachel loosens her grip on the pepper spray, but only slightly.
"I'm – I'm researching for a role," she says, and she feels wholly embarrassed for a moment; the silly little rich girl, researching a role in Brooklyn. He's going to think she's a complete and utter idiot.
"Oh," the hoodlum says, and he looks mildly interested. "Cool. What role?"
Rachel shakes her head. "You wouldn't know of it. Our Glee teacher wrote a fabulous original musical for our spring production. I have the lead role," she informs him, "even though I'm only a junior. That's almost unprecedented." She pauses, because maybe this hoodlum doesn't know just how good of a performing arts high school Reynolds is. But he has a big smile on his face, and he says,
"Wow. That's great – congratulations." And he sounds very sincere when saying that, so Rachel thinks that he must have somewhat of an idea of just how amazing it is that she, Rachel Berry, has the lead role in Reynolds Academy's spring musical.
Just thinking about it makes her excited, giddy, and anxious. Maybe she didn't get the role of Eponine, but Broadway can wait. She has to absolutely kill the role of Carly first.
The train shudders to a stop, and Rachel looks around, because it's getting a bit dark out and she still has no idea as to where, exactly, she should even be going in Brooklyn. She has her iPhone on her, and she supposes that she could just look up a random bakery or something of the sort. And, she could even just call Maurice and have him drive over to pick her up at the bakery while she's eating her cupcake.
But no. No, she came to Brooklyn to really embody the role of Carly, and that's what she's going to do.
She turns back towards the hoodlum. He's not getting off at this stop; he's still leaning back in his seat as if he doesn't have a care in the entire world. Rachel clears her throat loudly, and he looks over at her, eyebrows raised.
"Yeah?" he says.
"My name is Rachel Berry," she says, introducing herself. "And you're right – I really don't know where I'm going," she says, admitting slight defeat. "But if you're not busy, and if you assure me that you're an upstanding gentleman… maybe you could show me around Brooklyn for a while? Not the dangerous parts," she quickly adds. "The nice area." And then, "I'll even dedicate my performance to you, if you'd like."
"All of Brooklyn's nice," he says simply, as if there's no room for argument. "And um – you don't need to do that." He looks at his watch, thinks for a moment. "I have to be home to make dinner soon," he says, a bit awkwardly.
Rachel has to literally sit on her hands to keep herself from clapping in excitement because the possibility of actually seeing a home in Brooklyn? That's almost too much to handle. The wealth of information she could receive would be incalculable. But then she remembers that she doesn't even know this hoodlum's name, and if Emma knew that she was going over to a random stranger's house, she would probably be beyond upset.
"I'm going to the store to get some stuff for dinner," the hoodlum says. "If you want you could go with me? And then you could call someone from there or whatever, to come pick you up."
Rachel appreciates the fact that he realizes there's no way on God's green earth that she would ever consider taking the subway again. It's endearing.
"That sounds wonderful," Rachel says, and she smiles brightly. The hoodlum smiles back, and she says, "but I don't know your name."
"Oh – I'm Finn," he says. "Finn Hudson."
Rachel smiles at him again. "It's very nice to meet you, Finn Hudson. Thank you so much for doing this. Really, I was nervous for a moment that I was going to have to leave Brooklyn without really experiencing it."
Finn laughs – but it's a nice laugh, like he's laughing with her and not at her. It's the sort of laugh that Rachel doesn't hear all that often, not unless she's with her best friends. Reynolds is a competitive school, and it's not the most conducive environment in which to make friends.
"I don't know what there's to experience," Finn says. "It's just." He shrugs. "Just Brooklyn. It's home. I've lived here since I was born and I really couldn't imagine living like, anywhere else."
It's entirely too adorable to hear him talking about his hometown like this, and now that she's getting a better look at him, she can see that he looks remarkably clean for someone who (apparently) rides the subway on a regular basis. Even his nails look clean; it doesn't seem like there's any dirt underneath the nails at all.
Rachel stands up, and she moves to sit next to Finn. He quickly moves his backpack off from the seat, and she sits down.
"I think this will be a great time," she says.
He smiles at her, and she notices that his eyes are a remarkable brown color, like dark chocolate or something. For a hoodlum, he's certainly very handsome. And he smells nice, too; that nice, soapy smell that Rachel always associates with teenage boys. She can feel her cheeks growing hotter and hotter because now that she thinks about it, she thinks this might be the first time she's ever actually hung out with a boy before on her own – or at least, a boy who isn't Kurt.
Her heart is thumping in her chest, faster than ever.
"Yeah. It'll be fun," Finn says, and he gives her another half-smile. The train shudders to a stop a few minutes later, and Finn stands up. "This is my – well, I mean, our – stop," he tells Rachel. "Ready?"
Rachel thinks about it seriously for a just a second. Here she is, embarking on an absolute adventure with one Finn Hudson, her own personal guide to all that Brooklyn has to offer. It's completely thrilling, and now when Mr. Schuester asks her to delve deep and pull, pull at the emotions that are tearing Carly apart, Rachel will be able to say that she knows exactly where Carly is coming from.
"Yes," Rachel says brightly to Finn. "I'm ready."
Finn tells her that his mother works a couple of jobs and usually isn't home to make dinner, so he's the one who does the cooking around the house. Rachel almost asks why he doesn't just have his housekeeper cook for them, before she realizes that no, Finn doesn't have a housekeeper. So she smiles at him, and says that's the sweetest thing that she's ever heard of, a son cooking for his mother.
He smiles, bashful. "I'm not that good of a cook," he says, as they walk into the grocery store. "I feel bad because like, I'd like to make her something good for once. But all I can manage is grilled cheese and stuff." He picks up a shopping basket. "I'm making spaghetti tonight, though. It's pretty boss."
Rachel looks up at him – he's so tall that she actually has to tilt her entire head up so that she look into his eyes, and she finds that very appealing for some reason, the fact that he's so much taller than her. It's. It's… it's attractive.
But Rachel is not here to flirt, she is here to learn and observe. She mentally slaps herself.
"Do you make the spaghetti sauce from scratch?" Rachel finds herself asking, as they walk down the pasta aisle. Finn picks up a box of whole wheat spaghetti and tosses it into the basket. He glances at Rachel quickly before looking back at the shopping basket.
"I mean, it just depends, I guess. On how much money – I mean, you know, how much time I have," he says, and he doesn't look back over at her, just stares straight ahead as they walk over to the sauce aisle. He picks up a can of spaghetti sauce without saying anything, and Rachel almost feels as if she's losing all the breath that's within her lungs.
She's never actually known anyone who had to watch money to the point where they couldn't buy ingredients to make a spaghetti sauce. She's known people who are less wealthy than her, of course. But she's never really hung out with anyone who doesn't go to Reynolds and everyone at Reynolds is rather well off. Or, at the very least, everyone is well off enough to the point where they don't have to worry about how much money to spend on groceries.
Rachel looks at the can of Hunt's spaghetti sauce that is resting near the package of spaghetti for a moment, before impulsively, she grabs onto Finn's arm, and starts pulling him over to the produce section of the grocery store. He protests lightly,
"I need to get milk!"
Rachel ignores him, and stops when they're in front of the vegetables. She grabs a bag, and starts filling it with tomatoes, then grabs another bag, and starts filling it with onions, peppers, and garlic.
"I love making spaghetti sauce," Rachel tells him. "It's practically my specialty. My dads request it at least once a month."
Finn frowns. "I mean, you might want to just buy this stuff back in Manhattan. It's gonna suck if you have to wait a while for your ride to come pick you up, and you're just like, chilling out with a bunch of tomatoes or whatever."
Rachel resists the urge to roll her eyes as she looks up at Finn. "This isn't for me," she says slowly. "This is for you and your mother." She doesn't add in the word father because Finn hasn't mentioned anything about a dad yet, and Rachel has the feeling that's because he isn't in the picture.
Finn shakes his head. "No – Rachel, no. I don't need you to make me spaghetti sauce or whatever." He shifts a little on his feet, clearly uncomfortable. Rachel ignores him, and reaches for a bunch of parsley.
"I'm not doing this because I pity you," Rachel says. Finn winces and Rachel feels bad for just a second, because she's been told multiple times by multiple people that tact is perhaps not one of her most evident qualities. However, it's better to get to the heart of the matter rather than just dance around it. And she can tell that Finn is a rather prideful person, and she certainly doesn't want him to think that she's just viewing him as a charity case.
"I'm not," Rachel repeats. "I just – want to do something nice for you. Since you've shown me around," she says, and Finn lets out a laugh.
"We walked around a couple blocks, and you gave money to some homeless people," he says. "That's really not doing that much."
"Yes, but imagine if you weren't here," Rachel says. "I would most likely still be riding around on that subway, or I would be crying in the middle of a street somewhere, just waiting for Maurice to pick me up so that I could forget this day ever happened." Finn still doesn't say anything, and Rachel reaches for another bunch of parsley.
"I don't think your dads would be okay with you going over to some random dude's house," Finn says, and Rachel places all of the items into his shopping basket. She lifts one shoulder up delicately, and she tries to think, if there's any other items that she'll need for this dinner.
"You're not some 'random dude'," she says. "You're Finn. My new friend." It thrills her a little, to be able to say that he's her friend. Not only because she enjoys making friends, but because he's also possibly the cutest friend that she's ever had in her entire life.
Tina would die if she saw him.
Finn smiles ruefully at her, and she looks around. "We need parmesan cheese," she informs him. Finn sighs.
"There's no way I'm going to be able to convince you not to do this, is there?" he asks, but with his tone of voice, it comes out more as a statement than a question. Rachel smiles widely at him.
"No. There's absolutely no way," she says. Finn laughs, and he leads her over to the dairy section of the store.
"I thought you were just crazy when you were like, singing for Glee," he tells her, as she puts a brick of cheese into the shopping basket. "But it turns out you're kind of crazy all the time."
He doesn't say this to be intentionally hurtful. Rachel knows this because usually when people are trying to hurt her feelings, they say sentences like that in snide voices, or they say it with a sarcastic tilt to their words that just makes her want to scream. But Finn's just being honest, and the way in which he says it makes Rachel think that maybe he doesn't entirely mind her craziness.
Not that she's crazy. She's passionate. There's a marked difference.
"I'm choosing to take that as a compliment," Rachel says, and he picks up a half gallon of milk, and puts it in the basket next to the tomatoes and the peppers. He smiles at her, and he says,
Finn's apartment is quaint. That's a nice word, Rachel thinks, as he unlocks the door to let them inside. It's not dirty, and it looks like it's cleaned quite often. The furniture looks old but still comfortable; the dining room table is scratched a bit on the legs, but it's certainly usable and it looks like it's used quite often, judging from the cereal box that's resting on top of it. Finn blushes.
"Sorry – I was late for school today. Didn't get a chance to put stuff away," he says, and he drops the grocery bags off in the kitchen, goes to take care of the cereal box.
Rachel follows him into the kitchen and places the purchases on top of the kitchen island. The kitchen is a bit… it's a bit smaller than hers, and the appliances look like they've seen better days. But it's certainly usable, and Rachel is a fabulous chef, and chefs don't need high powered gadgetry in order to cook a meal.
She feels like this is all quite surreal, as Finn takes the vegetables from her so that he can wash them in the sink. She's in a random boy's house, cooking dinner for him and his mom. It's certainly one of the strangest things that she's ever done in her life – and even though she's quickly discovered that Finn is about as harmless as a teddy bear, it's still thrilling and it still feels dangerous.
"So," Finn says, depositing the vegetables back in front of her. "What set list are you guys doing for Regionals?"
Rachel giggles as she starts to slowly chop the tomatoes up. "Trying to cavort with the enemy?" she asks lightly. "Your team came in second. You're still going to be at Regionals."
Finn smiles and he grabs a pepper. He starts to chop it up, too. "I mean, I can't even have like, a hint?" he asks. "I just showed you around my entire neighborhood."
Rachel laughs. "We went to the grocery store and then straight to your apartment," she protest, and Finn nods seriously.
"Right. I showed you around my entire neighborhood." Rachel laughs again, and Finn smiles at her, and his smile; gosh, it should be illegal or something, for him to be able to look that cute while smiling.
She looks back down at the tomatoes; she's chopped them so fine, way finer than they should be, and she frowns a bit. Oh, well. She'll just have to make it work because she promised Finn her world famous spaghetti sauce; it can't turn out horribly.
Sighing as if he's causing her immense pain, she says, "Fine. I'll give you one, tiny, miniscule detail."
Finn immediately puts the knife down, and his eyes get all big and wide, as if she's sharing with him the secrets of the world. Tapping her finger against her chin, she says,
"Hmm. Okay," she says, deciding on the hint. "You would never, ever guess our ballad. Not in a million years," she tells him. He stares at her expectantly. "That was your hint."
"You can't be serious."
Rachel doesn't know why people say that, because when she's taking the time to tell someone something, obviously she is going to be serious. Why would she waste her time with a joke that's just confusing to people? It makes absolutely no sense.
But she tells Finn, "Yes, I'm serious. That was the hint."
His forehead furrows. "But there's like, a thousand songs I can't imagine you singing."
Rachel is highly offended by this and she almost wants to throw the stupid tomatoes in his face.
"I am a versatile singer," she says, almost angrily. "I can sing practically any genre known to man."
Finn looks at her, and there's something in his eyes; almost like he's teasing her. "Oh, really?"
"Yes," she insists, "and don't bother trying to test me. My friends try to play that game all the time, and I always prove them wrong. I'm very competitive," she says, and Finn just smiles at her, and he's looking at her as if she's some stubborn puppy that keeps trying to jump up onto the bed but can't quite reach. It's infuriating. She looks back down at the onion, grabs it so that she can start to chop that up, as well.
"I didn't mean to piss you off," Finn says. "It's just – that's not a hint."
Rachel looks up at him. He's staring at her honestly and openly, and she almost, for about a half a second, tells him the song. But then she reenters reality, and she reminds herself that telling Finn the competition song would be akin to just handing his school the trophy and a ticket to Nationals. No. That is definitely not happening; he may be adorable, and he may have helped her with her research, but he is not going to weasel this information out of her.
But if he wants a better hint, she can give him an even vaguer one.
"Okay," she says. "Tonight."
Finn questions, "Tonight?"
"Yes. That's one of the words in the title," Rachel says smugly, and she chops up the onion a little more. Let him stew over that one for a while. She thinks that there must be about five hundred potential songs with the word 'tonight' in the title. And, given that everyone within the Glee club world knows that Rachel Berry is obsessed with West Side Story, he'll probably think that she's just singing Tonight.
She almost wants to give herself a round of applause for how absolutely brilliant she is.
Finn leans over and he grabs a piece of the onion, tosses it back into his mouth.
Rachel glances over at him. "You have to give me a hint about your Regionals song now," she tells Finn. "It's only fair." He laughs, and he nods.
"Okay. I'll give you a hint," he says. "It's a song from this decade."
Rachel's eyebrows rise practically past her hairline. He actually gave her a decade? Does he realize how dangerous that is? Rachel is nothing if not a talented sleuth. Goodness, all she has to do now is look over his school's past ten set lists for Regionals – she's sure she'll be able to narrow down a theme and by process of elimination determine exactly what song they're singing.
Finn smiles at her knowingly. "You won't be able to guess."
"How do you know?"
"Do you know how many crappy songs were released in the past few years?" Finn questions her. "Seriously. You'd never be able to guess. But you can try."
Rachel bristles slightly, and she scoops up the onions in her hands and drops them into a skillet that's resting near the stove. She puts a few pinches of garlic in as well, and she turns the stove on, lets the ingredients simmer for a few seconds. Finn appears next to her after a second with olive oil in his hand. She smiles gratefully, and pours a bit over the vegetables.
"I bet you I will," Rachel says, not even looking at him. She just watches as the onions and garlic sizzle, popping just a little as they mix with the oil. "I'm fantastic at process of elimination."
Finn shrugs. "Even if you had ten years, you'd never be able to guess the song."
He's goading her now; she can tell, because this is the same way she used to act whenever she was trying to get Jesse St. James' attention, back when she a freshman and he was a senior. She was obsessed with him, and she used to think that the only she'd ever be able to get him to pay attention to her was to be loud and insistent. She never did get his attention, but she rationalizes that it's for the best. Her star is simply much too big for someone like Jesse St. James to handle.
She looks over at Finn, who's pushing the garlic and onions around with a wooden spoon, and she immediately slaps his hand.
"Stop!" she says. "They'll get too soggy and limp." She grabs the spoon out of his hand, pokes him in the chest. "Clearly, you have much to learn."
He takes a step closer to her, and gosh, there's that smell again. She tries to breathe in as deeply as she can - quietly, so he can't tell. And he's standing so close to her now that when he moves to grab the spoon out of her hand, his arm brushes against hers and she can feel goosebumps spreading across her skin.
Maurice calls her at nine o'clock to let her know that he's parked right outside the building. Rachel tells him that she'll be out soon, and she looks over at Finn. He's on the couch, flipping between some sports game and a news show. She clears her throat, brushes her hands against her jumper a bit nervously.
"I'm going to be leaving now," she says. "I hope when your mother gets home that she enjoys the sauce."
Finn's eyes light up. "She'll love it. Seriously, it was like, the best I've ever had," he says, in one of the most sincere tones that Rachel's ever heard.
She smiles at him, and she picks her purse up off from the ground. Finn quickly stands up too, and he grabs her coat off from the back of the couch; handing it to her, their fingers touch, and for a split second, she almost thinks that he's going to try to hold her hand or something of the sort.
But he doesn't, of course. He just hands her the coat, then awkwardly places his hands inside his pockets, like he doesn't know what to do with them. Rachel puts her coat on and then clasps her hands in front of her. She wants to say something memorable, but for once, she's drawing a blank as to what would be appropriate to say.
There have been very, very few times in her life where she has simply had no idea as to what to say. Normally, it makes her uncomfortable – those silences that seem like they can't be filled. But this one, just standing here in this living room with Finn, it feels… it doesn't necessarily feel bad.
Finn rocks back and forth on his feet slightly, and Rachel thinks that maybe he's at a loss for words, too.
Suddenly, he says, "You know, I used to think everyone from Reynolds were just… assholes." He blushes immediately after he says that, and he quickly adds on, "But I know they're not now. I just – I feel bad for like, making fun of your Glee Club all the time." He sighs, as if he knows that he just said something silly that he shouldn't have, and he says, "Not that we made fun of you guys all the time."
Rachel looks down at her shoes, and she can't help the smile that's spreading across her face. She bites at her lip to try to stop it, but she can't. This cute, lumbering boy is nervous around her. It's completely surreal.
"Well, I'm glad that I helped to prove you wrong," she says, and she tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear as she looks up at him. He nods, and he pushes his hands deeper into his pockets. His hands look like they're balled into fists, and she wonders if he's thinking the same thing that she is.
She wants to kiss him. She wants to kiss this boy from Brooklyn whom she just met and made spaghetti sauce for. Goodness. If she'd known that her first ever subway ride would result in this, she certainly would've made it much, much sooner.
She lets out a little breath, a little sigh, and she shoulders her purse. Looking out the window, she can see Maurice standing out by the car. He looks so out of place, in his black suit and black hat, and the Mercedes idling in between an old Ford Explorer and a beat up looking Jeep.
He doesn't belong here. Not in this neighborhood. Rachel wonders what her dads would say if they could see her right now, hanging out in an apartment that she's sure is on their list of places within the New York City limits that Rachel should never go.
Glancing back over at Finn, she clears her throat, and holds onto the straps of her purse a little tighter.
"Thank you again, for helping me with my research," she says suddenly. Finn looks confused a little, a bit stunned, before saying,
"Yeah, yeah. Your research. I'm glad you got all the, uh. The information you needed for it," he says, and then, "If you need any more help or anything, you can just like, call me or whatever. I mean, I work on the weekends, but I can always – always try to switch shifts or something."
"No. I wouldn't want to cause you any sort of…" she trails off, because she's not sure how exactly to say what she wants to say. She doesn't want to make him lose a shift, because she wants to make sure he has enough money? She doesn't want him to lose a shift just to show some privileged rich girl around his neighborhood, like it's a museum, like it's so far outside of her realm of normality?
Finn nods, though, almost in a self-deprecating sort of manner. She thinks that he knows what she was going to say without her even having to say it. He seems to be very good at reading emotions and situations. He'd probably make a fantastic actor with a bit of training, and she wonders, briefly, if she could convince her acting teacher to give him a lesson at some point.
Finn takes a step closer to her. "Your ride's probably wondering where you are," he says softly, and he's so close to her now that his breath is ruffling her bangs. She can feel the hair brushing against her forehead.
"Yes, I should get down there. He'll be nervous," Rachel says, and she looks up at Finn. "Not that there's anything for him to be nervous about."
Finn stares at her, an eyebrow raised. "Really?"
"Really," Rachel confirms. "I feel perfectly safe here." She inconspicuously looks over at the door. "I mean, you have three locks on your door. That seems like the perfect amount of locks to keep an intruder at bay."
Finn laughs, and he sort of reaches an arm out, so that he can place his hand on Rachel's shoulder. It's a little awkward and a little wonderful, all at the same time. But Rachel takes a step closer to him, and the hand that was previously just place on her shoulder now sort of – it sort of curls around it, so that his thumb is brushing against the collar of her coat and his fingers are resting against her back.
She thinks that he has to be able to hear her heart pounding.
"I'm sure I'd be able to protect you," Finn says, lightly. "Just in case the locks give out or something." He doesn't take his hand off from her shoulder, and Rachel takes another little step closer to him.
She's not sure where this sudden burst of confidence is coming from. While one would think that all the boys would be on her like white on rice – after all, she's an accomplished singer and soon to be Broadway sensation, once she accurately portrays Carly and shows that inane Broadway director the true meaning of emotion – it's not the truth. She's never even truly been on a date.
But she says to Finn quietly, "You can kiss me if you want to."
He stares at her for a second, and she's worried that once again, she's reading too much into a situation, that he's going to think she's just a silly, strange girl he met on the subway who's trying to make out with him like a freak, who took advantage of his hospitality by throwing herself at him right as she left.
(She hopes Maurice already has Adele on in the car, because she's feeling an emotional crying session coming on, and she likes to have those moments with a soundtrack. This is so that once she's through crying, she can try to harvest any leftover emotion and release it through a song. And, of course, Adele is the perfect option for such an emotional moment.)
But Finn leans down, and just as his lips are about to press against hers, he whispers, "I want to."
And he kisses her. His lips are a bit dry and chapped, but it's wonderful. She closes her eyes, and it's – it's just wonderful.
He pulls away after a second, then kisses her bottom lip sweetly. She can feel the tip of his tongue against her skin for just a brief second, and certainly, she feels that she is about to melt into the ground.
"I – thank you," Rachel says, unsurely, because she's not exactly positive as to what the appropriate response is to someone who has just given her a first kiss. But thank you seems like it applies in most situations, and Rachel Berry is nothing if not proper and well mannered.
Finn smiles at her, teasingly. "You're welcome."
Rachel's phone buzzes in her pocket, and it's as if the moment has snapped in half and she's being pulled back into reality. She fumbles with it for a second, and looks at the screen. Maurice is texting her, and she quickly replies that she'll be down in a second.
Looking up at Finn, regretfully, she says, "I have to go. Seriously this time, otherwise I think he might try calling the police."
Finn laughs and Rachel doesn't have the heart to tell him that she is really not joking. Maurice is very serious about her safety.
"Will I see you again?" Finn asks, and he almost sounds nervous.
"Yes," Rachel decides. "Yes, you will. Would you – I mean, would you like my phone number?"
Finn nods, and he pulls out his cell phone. She gives him the number, and then puts her phone in her purse. She's not sure the proper way to exit. Normally, she would always go for the most dramatic exit possible, in order to make a lasting impression. But she thinks that maybe in this situation, she doesn't need to do this. She's almost positive that she's made enough of an impression on Finn already. And a good one, at that.
"Well, thank you again for today," she says. "It was – certainly not what I was expecting at all," she says honestly. "But it was a lot of fun."
Finn nods. "Yeah. Sorry I couldn't get you out to see a drug bust or gang murder," he says jokingly, and he scratches at the back of his neck with one hand. Then, impulsively, he leans down and he kisses her again, cupping her cheeks with his hands. His lips move against hers, and he tastes like spaghetti and peppers and Rachel feels like she might spontaneously combust into a million pieces.
"Sorry," he says, pulling away again after a moment. Rachel shakes her head immediately.
"No – no, you have no reason to apologize." She smiles at him, then motions towards the door. "I should get going, though. Maurice really was serious about the police comment."
Finn walks with her towards the door, opens it up for her, and then holds onto the doorframe as she walks out. She turns around, and Finn calls out,
"Be safe. Those stairways, man – most dangerous place in Brooklyn."
She turns around, her jaw dropped, and he laughs. She narrows her eyes, and says, "You shouldn't joke about things like that, Finn Hudson. I almost had to whip out my pepper spray as a precaution!"
He laughs again, and she's starting to think that his laugh is one of the best sounds in the entire world. Perhaps not as wonderful as her singing voice, of course, but still, it's on par with just about every other beautiful noise that she adores.
Finn visits her at her apartment the next weekend. She doesn't tell her dads that he's coming over, because her dads are off in some foreign city – Milan, perhaps, or Rome. They've been traveling for the past month and a half, celebrating some sort of event that occurred at one of their jobs. Rachel's not sure exactly, but it doesn't necessarily bother her. She has Emma and Maurice, and they take care of her as if she were their own child. Sometimes she misses her dads, but she knows that missing them is a bit of a waste of an emotion – it's not going to change anything.
Finn's jaw drops the minute that he walks into the front foyer. She tries to act nonchalant, and like it's absolutely no big deal that they have a ten thousand dollar chandelier hanging from the ceiling, but then she fears that maybe she's acting too nonchalant; that he's going to think that she just doesn't value money at all. It's a rather fine line that she's trying to walk here, and she's constantly nervous that she's going to say the wrong thing, or push him away.
But he doesn't seem like he wants to be pushed away. He actually seems like he really likes her.
"Are you hungry?" Rachel asks, as she leads them into the kitchen. "I just got back from dance class, so I was going to make up a light lunch for us, if you're interested."
Finn slides onto one of the chairs at the table, and he shrugs. "I grabbed a bagel before coming over, so I'm okay."
Rachel nods, and she opens the fridge. On the top shelf, there are always at least ten bottles of her favorite flavor of Vitamin Water stocked, and she pulls out two. Turning back to Finn, she smiles.
"I hope you like the lemonade flavor. I didn't tell Emma to buy anything special for today, so I'm afraid that you're stuck with the things that I like," she says, walking over to him and handing him a bottle. He takes the bottle and smiles at her.
"It's fine." And she nods, uncapping the drink so she can take a little sip. She's not exactly sure what they're planning on doing today, to be honest. They texted all week – silly, inconsequential things about how their days at school were, what they were eating for dinner – and on Friday, Finn said that he wanted to see her this weekend, and that he didn't have to work on Saturday until five.
(She locked the text, and she must've read it at least twenty times since he first sent it.)
He puts down the bottle, and he reaches out. Gently, he places his hands on her waist, pulls her a little closer to him. She can feel that fluttering sensation taking over her body, and she stands so that she's in between his legs; his knees press against her legs, making her stay close to him.
She doesn't even look that nice this morning. She didn't have time to change after coming back from dance, and so she's still wearing her leotard, tights, and athletic shorts, her hair pulled back into a bun and a stretchy headband around her head. She must look awful, and yet he's still staring at her as if she's –
Well. He's staring at her in a way that she's never been stared at before.
"What did you want to do today?" Finn asks. Rachel licks her bottom lip, a nervous habit that she's never been able to break, and she says,
"I was thinking we could go to this record shop that's right by here," Rachel says. "And I guess since you're not too hungry right now, after that we could maybe go somewhere for lunch?"
Finn nods. "Yeah, that sounds like fun." He taps his fingers against Rachel's hips. "Do you want to change or anything?"
She giggles, nods her head. "Yeah, I do. If you want, you can wait here. It'll only be a second," she says, smiling. And she leans down and quickly kisses the top of his head before she walks away. Her bedroom is right down the hall from the kitchen, and when she steps inside and closes the door, it hits her for a second.
Her room - her bedroom - is the size of Finn's living room. Her bed probably costs more than anything in his entire apartment. And the dress she'd picked out for today is certainly worth more than anything he's ever owned in his entire life.
She swallows thickly as she brushes her fingers over the dress, which she'd had Emma lay out for her that morning. It's pretty and silky smooth, and it has a cute bird pattern all over it which she thinks that Finn would like. And she feels a bit uncomfortable, because she's starting to wonder if she's going to have to worry about things like this, for the entirety of the time that she and Finn are friends.
Will she always have to question what she wears? Or how she presents herself? Who's going to pay for lunch? Is he going to expect her to stop going to Broadway shows on the weekend, to the Hamptons for random weekends in the summer?
She hears a knock at the door, and she calls out, "Hello?"
The door opens just a crack and Finn pokes his head inside. "You almost ready?" He looks down at her bed, sees the dress and smiles. "That's really pretty, Rach."
She smiles at him, and she picks the dress up, holds it to her body. "Really? I thought you might like it," she says shyly, embarrassed. But Finn just keeps smiling, and he says,
"Yeah. It looks great."
She tells Kurt and Tina about Finn about a month later. It's not that she was trying to hide him from them or anything - it's just that the relationship was so new and she didn't want to risk jinxing it by telling her friends every single little detail. But she and Finn have gone on seven (seven) dates now, and she thinks that's an acceptable amount of time, in which it's now safe to inform her friends about her budding relationship.
Besides, Regionals are in a month and a half, and everyone will know by then that she and Finn are together. It's not as if the chemistry between them will be ignored. It's palpable, Rachel feels, and she knows that the minute they're in the same room together, people will be shocked at just how beautiful of a relationship the pair of them have after only two months.
So she asks Kurt and Tina to meet her at their favorite café one Saturday afternoon. She orders them all a wonderful brunch, courtesy of Daddy's Amex, and she almost jumps out of her chair in excitement when she finally says the words :
"I have a boyfriend." She puts a bit of emphasis on the word 'boyfriend' so they're completely aware that she's talking about a boyfriend, and not a boy friend.
Tina's mouth immediately drops, and Kurt spits out his mouthful of coffee. It sprays their omelets a little, and Rachel wrinkles her nose, and is also a bit offended (because the idea of her having a boyfriend isn't that ludicrous, and it's highly rude of Kurt to just spit out his breakfast in shock over this development.)
He starts coughing and Tina has to whack him on the back a few times to get him to calm down. He takes a big gulp of his coffee, and he finally wheezes out,
"You? You have a boyfriend?"
It can't be all that shocking of news, and Rachel's suddenly regretting telling them because she's nervous that maybe this is a slightly bigger deal than she originally thought. But she nods nervously, and then looks over to Tina quickly, before looking back at Kurt. He looks as if he's seen a ghost, and his mouth opens and closes a few times, without any words actually coming out.
"But - but who?" he asks. "I didn't even know you were seeing anyone."
Rachel glances down at her plate, traces the rim of her glass with her fingertip. Unsure, she says, "You wouldn't know him. He doesn't go to Reynolds."
Kurt and Tina exchange a glance, their eyes wide as saucers. Rachel shifts uncomfortably in her seat, and Tina motions the waiter to bring over three new glasses of water, then leans over the table, closer to Rachel.
"You have to tell us everything. I want a name, details, where you first met, why you haven't told us yet. Oh my gosh, Rachel. Are you dating Jesse?" Tina asks these questions in rapid-fire, and her cheeks are red and flushed by the end of the interrogation, and when she mention Jesse's name, her eyes go even impossibly wider.
Rachel immediately flinches because, no offense to Jesse St. James, but Finn is essentially the exact opposite of him, and it feels a bit offensive to even compare the two. Finn is chivalrous and handsome and nice and funny and does not make fun of Rachel by calling her a spoiled little rich girl who will always depend on her fathers to get her everything.
So Rachel tells Tina, "Absolutely not. His name is Finn Hudson, he is almost seventeen years old, and we met on a - on a subway car."
She finishes the sentence awkwardly, but confidently, and she sits up straighter and pushes her hair behind her ears and her shoulders. Because there's nothing to be ashamed of - people meet their significant others out in public all the time, and she knows for a fact that Finn would not be embarrassed whatsoever to tell his friends that he met Rachel on the subway.
Kurt's nose immediately wrinkles when he hears the word subway, and Tina looks at Rachel with a look that can only be described as skepticism. This is to be expected, of course. Tina is even more suspicious of the subway than Rachel had previously been.
"That's where hookers meet," Kurt says conversationally. Rachel's jaw drops, and he continues, "I swear it. Hookers meet up on the subway to discuss deals and prostitution rings. I swear it."
"You're lying," Rachel says, rolling her eyes. "You've never even been on the subway, Kurt. You don't know. It was actually a very… enjoyable experience. Very - humbling," she says, then closes her eyes and shakes her head. "No, I didn't mean it like that. I meant that it was humbling in a… in a way that showed me that not everyone I'll meet in my life will be lucky enough to have a driver, or be able to afford to go to schools like Reynolds."
"We already knew that, though," Tina argues, before taking a sip of her water. "We always go and perform carols at that one homeless shelter over on-."
"That is not the same," Rachel interrupts, rather annoyed. "We don't actually know those people. I know Finn."
And she does know Finn. She knows that half of his paychecks go towards helping his mother pay the bills, and she knows that he almost had to quit the Glee Club this year in order to take up another part time job, and she knows that when he bought her flowers on their second date, it most have cost him an absolute arm and a leg, and she tried to protest that she didn't need them, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. So now the flowers are currently hanging upside down in her room and drying, because she just can't bring herself to throw them out.
"You know him," Kurt says, "After… what. Two weeks?"
"A month, actually," Rachel says, unsure of where her best friend is leading this conversation.
"And what school does he go to?" Kurt asks, and Rachel sighs.
"You haven't heard of it, Kurt. It's just a public school. But we actually perform against them regularly in Glee," Rachel says, brightening up a little. If there's one thing that people who go to Reynolds love more than money, it's performing. And if she tells them about how fantastic of a performer Finn is, they'll realize that she's not crazy for dating him.
"Oh, wonderful. So now, you're not only dating a boy who's probably just trying to take advantage of the fact that you're one of the richest girls in New York City, but you're also dating a boy who's going to sabotage our chances at Regionals in order to have his school win the ticket to Nationals," Kurt says, as pleasantly as if he were discussing their plans for afternoon tea. He pulls his cloth napkin off from the table and spreads it across his lap, never taking his eyes off from Rachel. "Wonderful," he repeats.
"That's not fair, Kurt," Tina says quietly, shooting a small, supportive smile at Rachel's way. "We don't know this guy. He might be nice. And Rachel's happy."
"I am happy," Rachel confirms, glaring at Kurt. "And yes, while I know that our differences in socioeconomic status may be a bit extreme, I don't think that matters. Honestly, it hasn't affected us once yet."
And it hasn't.
Kurt stares at Rachel, almost in a challenging sort of manner. "Where does he work?" he asks, and he pulls out his iPhone. Rachel looks at him, confused.
"What?" she asks, dumbfounded, because she honestly can't see any sort of reason for why Kurt would want to know where Finn works.
"Where does he work?" Kurt says again, calmly.
"He - he actually works at one of your father's garages," Rachel says, and she can feel her face blushing bright tomato red because no, no, no, it doesn't matter that Finn works an after school job at an auto shop, that doesn't mean anything. But in the back of her mind, she can't help herself - it is humiliating to see this look on Kurt's face, which is clearly stating something along the lines of, 'your boyfriend works at my father's grimy auto shop. Ha. Ha. Ha.'
Kurt takes another sip of his water. "Let's go visit him."
"Road trip!" Tina exclaims, clapping her hands excitedly. "I'll text Brittany!"
"No!" Rachel says. "We're not interrupting him at work; that's so rude and unprofessional."
Kurt looks at her innocently, places a hand on his chest. "Rachel - those auto shops will, sadly, belong to me someday. I need to know the people who are working at them, understand what they're all about. I'm just doing this to get closer to my father and the family business. Really," he says, waving his fingers at Rachel, "it has nothing to do with spying on your little boyfriend and seeing if he's good enough for you."
It has everything to do with that, and even though Rachel protests as loudly and passionately as she can, it doesn't change the fact that twenty minutes later, she, Kurt, Tina, pick up Brittany at her apartment, and then drive over to Brooklyn to Burt Hummel's Auto-Shop #5.
"Now, is he actually a grease monkey or does he just do paper work?" Kurt asks, as he steps out of the Mercedes. He readjusts his Ray-Ban sunglasses as he looks back at the girls, who are climbing out of the car, one by one. Rachel pulls at her sundress, and puts her sunglasses on, as well.
"If by grease monkey, you mean someone who helps to work on the cars, then yes," she says, a bit bitterly, as the four of them walk into the garage.
Kurt waves at the secretary, walking in as if he owns the place - which, technically, he does, but still. He saunters over to the front desk, leans on the countertop. Lazily, he says,
"Jill - could you get someone to bring us four coffees, please? Oh, and bring Finn - Hudson?" he asks, turning back to Rachel to confirm. She nods slowly, and Kurt turns back to Jill, "Yes, Finn Hudson. Bring him here, please."
Jill nods, then picks up the phone, asking for the coffees and for Finn to report to the front office. Rachel, uncomfortably, looks around the auto shop's front area. It's very pleasant and very clean. If Finn has to work at any job, she supposes that this one isn't so bad. It seems like the mechanics are friendly, and Jill seems nice enough. Rachel's watched The Devil Wears Prada numerous times, so she knows that assistants and secretaries can be very cruel at times. It's nice to know that Finn doesn't have to deal with that, certainly.
Brittany comes up to Rachel, smiles at her. "So, your boyfriend's totally poor? Tina texted me. That's so cute! It's like a real life Titanic love story."
Sometimes, it's difficult to follow Brittany's logic, and Rachel sighs irritably. "Britt, this is not a Titanic love story, because Finn isn't going to die."
Brittany shrugs carelessly, and Rachel is about to open her mouth to retort again, but she looks up towards the door that's in the back of the front room, and suddenly Finn is walking through it, looking confused as hell and carrying a coffee carrier holding four coffees.
A smile immediately spreads across her face, contagiously, and she quickly walks over to Finn. He looks shocked to see her, and he just opens and shuts his mouth a few times, like a fish, like he can't even begin to process what's happening.
He doesn't look happy. And Rachel's starting to feel like she just made a very big mistake, and nervously, she takes her sunglasses off so that she can look at him properly.
"Hi," she says, holding her sunglasses in her hands. He doesn't say anything, just stares straight at her, not even bothering to look over at her friends. She tries again, and she reaches a hand out, brushes it against his arm. He doesn't move, and she says, "You even manage to make coveralls look adorable," Rachel says quietly, and she swipes her fingers at a little patch of grease on the elbow.
Finn just stares at her, then at the coffees in his hands. "You called me to bring you guys… coffee?" he asks, slowly, and Rachel can quickly see that maybe this is actually an issue of pride. She doesn't understand why, though. It's not a big deal. So he has to work at an auto shop. That's completely acceptable, and a valued form of work. He shouldn't be embarrassed to be seen working in front of her friends.
Kurt walks over to them, takes the coffees from Finn. His sunglasses are still on, and he says, "Kurt Hummel. My father owns this shop."
Recognition quickly flashes in Finn's eyes, and he wipes his hands on the front of his coveralls. Hesitantly, he holds his hand out to Kurt. Kurt stares at his hand for a second, then looks up at Finn, smiling briefly.
"You'll understand if I choose not to shake your hand," Kurt says, and he holds his hands up in the air. "Eighty dollar manicure," he adds, as a way of explanation. Finn looks for a brief second as if he's been slapped, and then he turns to Rachel, who currently wishes that a huge, giant hole would open up right beneath her and just suck her in.
"Did you need anything?" he asks, his voice tight. "Did Maurice's car break down or something?"
"N-no," Rachel stutters. "We just - my friends, they wanted to meet you, because I've told them so many wonderful things about you." She puts a heavy, heavy emphasis on the word wonderful, and she looks encouragingly at him.
"Yeah," Tina speaks up. "I'm sorry if we're interrupting your day. We were just so - excited to meet Rachel's boyfriend." She looks over at Rachel, and smiles kindly, before looking back at Finn. "I don't think we realized how busy you would be. I'm so sorry if we interrupted your work."
Finn says, "It's a Saturday. And I have like, four more cars to look at before I get to go on break."
Kurt waves his hand carelessly. "I'll get someone else to look at them. Come, let's go for a coffee and we can discuss your budding relationship with our beloved - beloved - Rachel."
Finn sighs, and he motions to the coffees in Kurt's hands. "I just brought you all coffee."
"This coffee is rancid," Kurt says, his voice flat.
"Dude, you haven't even tried it."
"I don't need to," Kurt says. "I can smell it."
"Rach, can I talk to you for a second?" Finn asks, turning towards her. She nods quickly, and he takes a hold of her elbow, pulling her over to the opposite corner of the auto shop. She looks over at her shoulders at her friends, and she tries to smile in a manner that shows that this is just a silly misunderstanding. Finn finally stops walking once they're fully ensconced behind one of the big, fake trees that are scattered throughout the room.
"What are you doing here?" Finn asks, staring at her seriously. He has a little smudge of black underneath his eye, and Rachel licks the tip of her finger so that she can wipe it away. Finn sighs irritably, knocks her hand away. "Rach."
"My friends wanted to meet you," Rachel says, and she folds her arms across her chest defensively. "I didn't suggest this. They practically demanded it."
"I'm at work," Finn says. "Work. This looks so stupid, having my girlfriend and her friends show up randomly? And especially since your friend is Kurt Hummel? And why didn't you tell me that your friend was Kurt Hummel? I feel like a fucking idiot."
"Why?" Rachel says, and she's feeling so flustered right now, so absolutely flustered. "It's not a big deal. Kurt's a great guy, and I just - I didn't want you to feel uncomfortable, because you're technically working for my friend -."
"Because I'm technically poor as shit, and I need to work at your friend's family business in order to pay bills?" Finn interrupts, and Rachel squeezes her eyes shut, shaking her head angrily. Why isn't he listening to her?
"No. I don't care about that," she retorts. "I just didn't want you to feel uncomfortable about working for Kurt's dad, because I know how much you love this job, and I didn't want you to feel awkward about it just because of our relationship. Okay? It has nothing to do with you being poor," she says. "Stop saying that."
"I just - I feel like some stupid zoo animal to you guys or something," Finn says, his voice devoid of emotions. He runs his hands over his hair. "Like, let's go see Rachel's boyfriend. He's that poor kid who works at the auto shop on weekends. How adorable."
"Finn," Rachel whispers, her heart breaking. But she doesn't know what else to say, really - because even if she doesn't see him that way, she can't speak for her friends. And she knows how they are. They're good people and they're not trying to be rude, but - Finn's different. They haven't been around people like him before. And maybe a small part of them does view him that way, as an anomaly to their everyday lives.
She can feel her eyes filling with tears, and she puts her sunglasses back on. Finn looks down at the ground. They're silent for a moment, and Rachel tries to cry as quietly as she can.
"I have to go. Enjoy the coffee," he says finally.
"Will you - can I call you later?" Rachel asks, desperate, and Finn stares at her for a second before looking away.
Rachel stands there, just watching as he walks away, and the minute the door behind him closes, she sits on a chair and cries.
Rachel goes over to Finn's apartment later that night. She decides against having Maurice drive her; she's not sure why, exactly, but she just wants to take the subway. And so she does, and she holds her purse close to her the entire time, and she ends up sitting next to an old lady who smells like pistachios and old perfume. But she's nice, and they discuss the weather and their love of cats. It's an enjoyable conversation, and ends with Rachel singing the woman a song from Cats. Impromptu performances always make her feel better.
When Rachel finally ends up at Finn's apartment, she texts him to let him know that she's there. For a brief second, she's worried that maybe he's going to try and turn her away, or tell her that he needs more time to think things through, or to get over his hurt or anger. But he texts her back after only a minute, and tells her that she can see herself in. He doesn't sound particularly enthusiastic about her being there, but she reasons with herself that it's only because he's still a bit hurt. That once he actually sees her, he'll realize what a huge misunderstanding this entire thing was.
She walks up the stairs quickly, so fast that she almost trips over herself. Once she reaches his apartment, she has to take a deep breath to calm herself down, because she feels as if she might hyperventilate.
It's just not fair. She finally meets a boy, a wonderful, handsome, funny boy, and she barely gets time to be with him, and then suddenly it all goes to hell! It's just not fair.
Finn opens the door the second after she first knocks.
He's not wearing his coveralls anymore. He looks freshly showered, his hair still damp, and the collar of his white undershirt spotted with water. Glancing down at her, he notices the box that she's carrying in her hands.
Curiously, he asks, "What's that?"
Rachel smiles nervously at him, and opens up the top of the box. Inside are two dozen of her world famous (or perhaps, just within the Berry family, famous) sugar cookies. She doesn't know how she managed to bake and ice them so quickly, but they look delicious - she even frosted them with blue and green colors, which are Finn's absolute favorites.
(She knows they're his favorite because when he went with her to Nordstrom's the other day to pick out new bed sheets for her bedroom, and she convinced him to let her buy him some, too, he picked out light green sheets and dark blue pillow cases.)
Finn looks at the cookies for a second, then back at Rachel.
"You didn't have to do that," he says, and then sighs, opening up the door a little more. "I'm - I'm sorry I got so weird today, at the shop."
Rachel shakes her head, and she walks inside the apartment. Finn closes the door behind her, relocks all the locks. She stands in the middle of the living room for a second, unsure of what to do or where to go. It's strange, because in the month or so that she and Finn have been dating, they've never truly fought. They've had minor disagreements, mainly over who's going to pay for dinner (a fight that Rachel always wins, because she is remarkably fast at pulling her credit card out of her wallet), but they've never actually had a serious discussion. Or a serious… fight.
Finn just stands by the doorway for a second, and then he says, "Do you want to go to my room?"
Rachel nods, and Finn leads her down the narrow hallway that leads to his bedroom; a small little space that is decorated with posters of bands, and faded old cowboy wallpaper lining the walls. It's very neat and tidy though. Rachel thinks that because it's so small, it's a necessity that it be taken very well care of.
She sits down on his bed, tucks her dress in underneath her legs. Finn takes a seat at the chair at his desk, and he takes a cookie out of the box, eats it quietly.
"I didn't mean to embarrass you today," Rachel says, breaking the silence. Because she just can't take the quietness, she can't take this tension between them. It's not right, not when things were going so well between them. "And I'm so sorry if I did. Finn, I honestly - I honestly didn't mean to hurt you, or make you uncomfortable, or make you feel like you were some sort of… some sort of novelty for my friends to ooh and ahh at." She looks down at her hands, brushes imaginary wrinkles out of her dress. Clearing her throat, she says, "I know it must seem so foreign to you, sometimes. My life, and my friends' lives, and why they'd be so interested to see you working at an auto shop."
Finn scoots his chair over closer to the bed, places his hands on Rachel's knees for a brief second, then takes them away as if he's been burned, or if he's just not sure how to act or appear in this situation. He says, "Rachel, I know that you're rich, and I know your friends are rich. I'm not stupid, okay? I know that we're from like, totally different worlds. I don't - I don't care so much about that, though. When we started dating, it was because I like you."
Rachel swallows and she clasps her hands tightly in her lap.
"Like, as in, present tense?" she asks, her voice soft.
"Yeah," he says. "Like, as in present tense. But like, we have to kind of figure out how this is gonna work. Because - I mean, I have to work. And I'm not going to be able to -." He breaks off, blushing, and he scratches at the back of his neck. "I can't. I just can't afford the types of things that you're used to. You know?" he says, and he nervously looks at her, his eyebrows drawn tightly together and his lips pursed, as if he's bracing himself for an oncoming storm or something of that magnitude.
Rachel takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "I don't – I don't care," she says, shaking her head.
Finn sighs. "You say that now," he says slowly, "but don't you think you're going to get tired of this?" He motions around his room. Rachel follows his motions with her eyes.
If she's being perfectly honest with herself, she might admit that she didn't necessarily think about all of the difficulties that might come with dating someone like Finn. Besides the fact that they don't go to the same school, and they don't live in the same area, they also come from two completely different backgrounds.
But – is that so bad? Is that such a difficult thing to overcome? It can't be. Less than a month ago, Rachel Berry had never even ridden on a subway. And now, she's ridden on it three times, and she's even walked around Brooklyn at eleven o'clock at night.
Those aren't bad things. Forgoing some of the things she's used to, like seeing a Broadway show once a week, or getting her hair done every other, so that she can take walks with Finn , or go to the park, or hang out with his friends and watch as they play marathon rounds of Halo – those things aren't bad. They're just different. And Rachel thinks that maybe after living so long as just the spoiled rich girl – maybe it's okay to do those things. Maybe it's good for her.
"No," she says, in answer to Finn's question. "I won't get bored. You're fun, and you're exciting, and no boy has ever been as nice to me as you have this past month."
Finn blushes an even brighter red, and takes another bite out of a cookie. Rachel leans forward and she places her hands on his knees, squeezing tightly.
"I don't mean to sound rash," Rachel continues, smiling softly at him, "but I really like you. And I think – I think we're a part of something special. It would heartbreaking if we just ended this before it really even began."
"Something special?" Finn repeats.
"Yes," Rachel says, "me, the stunning young ingénue from the ritzy part of town, and you, the rugged and hardworking boy who steals her heart. It sounds like the winning plotline of a Broadway show."
She makes a mental note to discuss these plans with Mr. Schuester the very next morning.
Finn smiles at her, and he leans forward, and kisses her. Rachel feels a tiny little flutter in her stomach, and she wraps her arms around his neck, pulling him closer.
"I told Kurt to stop being rude to you," Rachel whispers, pressing her lips against his ear. "But he didn't even mean to be, Finn – honest. He just -."
"He just didn't know," Finn finishes. He kisses the apple of her cheek, his tongue lightly licking her skin for a brief second. Rachel wrinkles her nose, and Finn laughs, pulling away. He stands up, stretching slightly, and then fakes a large yawn before jumping on the bed next to Rachel. She squeals immediately – because her dress was almost completely thrown up – and he pulls her on top of him, kissing her collarbone.
"Isn't your mom going to be home soon?" Rachel asks, giggling as he slowly lowers his hands down her back.
"Nope," he says, kissing her. "And we just got into our first fight. I kinda think we need to – you know. Fix that."
"And how do you propose that?" Rachel asks, shifting slightly, as his hands rest upon the small of her back. Finn shrugs innocently.
"I was thinking you could buy me tickets to the Yankees game." Rachel laughs and Finn looks mock upset. "I'm being serious. What's the point of having a rich girlfriend if she doesn't buy me everything I want?"
Rachel whispers, "I can give you everything you want." And she kisses him again before pulling away.
Finn's eyes widen and Rachel's so sure in that moment that no first love ever has been as absolutely perfect as her and Finn's.
It's a bit awkward dating someone who you're also competing against. Rachel isn't exactly sure what the proper etiquette is, and it's not as if Emily Post has any information on this particular topic. But she does know that even though she likes (possibly loves) Finn an incredible amount, she is also very well aware that she wants to win Regionals. And not just win, but annihilate the competition, so that Reynolds Academy is that much stronger going into Nationals.
But the problem with eliminating the competition is that in doing so, she'll be eliminating Finn's team. And she knows how hard they've worked – Finn talks about how long their rehearsals go, and how they cut into his hours at work. They also cut dramatically into his hours of seeing Rachel, but she doesn't mention that part.
She and Finn discuss it briefly, in passing, while they're working on homework over at her apartment, or cooking dinner at his apartment. It's always mentioned lightly, and Finn teases her, telling her that she can't burst out into tears when Reynolds is sent packing. And then Rachel will retort that the only person who will be crying on that stage Friday night is Finn.
Regionals is held at Reynolds Academy this year, and Rachel and Finn arrive together hand in hand. She's positive that this is seen as cavorting with the enemy, but she can't bring herself to care. Finn's wearing a suit with these gold suspenders, and his hair is all slicked back, and he looks so handsome – she can't just let him arrive by himself.
(And maybe she wants people to know that they're together, and maybe she wants people to see them together.)
"Your school is massive," Finn breathes out, looking at the architecture of the main foyer. "I knew it was nice, but I never knew it was this nice."
Rachel shrugs carelessly as Finn runs a hand over one of the marble columns. "Lots of rich kids with rich parents and grandparents," she says. "It seems like a bit of a waste of money." Frowning, she points to the library. "That's renamed about every other year – parents constantly paying more and more to try to get their name on it."
Finn's jaw drops, but he shakes his head quickly, almost as if he's trying to convince himself to play it cool, act like this is no big deal. Rachel tightens her hold on his hand, and they walk towards the auditorium.
"Are you going to tell me what song you're singing yet?" Rachel asks, as they walk backstage to the dressing room areas. "I mean, it's only a half hour before you go on. I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem if you just let another little hint slip now."
She doesn't even want to know for competitive reasons. She really is just truly curious at this time, and she wants to make sure that the song they chose to sing is conducive to Finn's range. She looked over his school's past set lists, and sometimes they have him singing much too high, and it bothers her because shouldn't they be utilizing his raw talent to the best of his ability? It just seems ridiculous.
Finn laughs, wraps an arm around her shoulder, and kisses the top of her head. "You're not getting anything out of me, Rach."
She pouts, sticking her bottom lip out as far as it can go. It's so thrilling, being able to have a boyfriend to finally do these things with. For years, she's had to watch Brittany and Tina flirt with their boyfriends, and kiss them, and do all sorts of cute things, but she's never been able to.
But now she has Finn, and she can pout all she likes, because whenever she does, he always leans down and kisses her bottom lip until she stops.
And he does kiss her, but he doesn't give in. She drops him off outside his dressing room, and he looks at her seriously.
"Don't cry when us public school kids kick your private school's ass," he says seriously. "It'd be embarrassing."
Rachel raises an eyebrow. "Don't worry. When my school wins, I'll make sure to send a very large check your school's way, so that hopefully next year this can be an actual competition and not just an automatic win for Reynolds Academy," she says sweetly, and she leans up to kiss him on the cheek.
He laughs and he gives her another hug before slipping inside his dressing room. Rachel smiles to herself, and she hurries back to the auditorium so that she can get a good seat to watch his performance.
Sitting in between Kurt and Tina, she watches as Finn's team absolutely kills their performance. It's breathtaking, and she can't even begin to explain the sense of pride that comes over her when she watches him.
She should be nervous right now. She should be scared, and nervous, because his school looks every bit as good as her school, and this might mean that she can't go to Nationals, she can't win that coveted trophy that she's wanted for so long.
And she is a bit nervous, but that nervousness is also combining with that feeling of pride, and that feeling of knowing that even if (God forbid) she loses … at least, Finn will win.
This might sound surprising, but for a long time growing up, Rachel was rather lonely. She had friends – Kurt and Tina are amazing – but she still felt lonely. Out of place. Not quite like she belonged. But as she watches Finn up on the stage, singing and dancing and looking like he belongs there, she thinks that maybe she's finally found someone who belongs with her.
She jumps up and claps the minute the song is over, and she may even let out a cat call when Finn leads the team in a final bow.
And later that night, when Reynolds Academy finishes in first place and receives that coveted ticket to Nationals, the first person who runs over to her and scoops her up in a hug, is Finn.
It's funny, she thinks, how love can just happen. No rhyme or reason, really, it's just two people who meet each other and realize that there's something more between them. Because certainly, Rachel never thought she'd meet her first love on a subway car. It just… happened.
And so when she tells Finn that she's ready to make love with him, that Friday night of Sectionals, he almost chokes on his Doritos.
"Are you serious?" he asks, nervously. "I don't want to like – I don't want you to think this is something we have to do."
He brushes his hands against his shirt, and she can already see him blushing and she can already see that he's turned on, just by the idea of what they're about to do.
"I want to," she says quietly.
They're sitting on her bed, and Emma thinks that they're watching a movie. But she doesn't need to know everything, and besides, she's asleep for the night, anyway. The possibility of her actually coming in to check on them is about one in a million. As long as Finn is outside by midnight so that Maurice can take him home, they'll be fine.
And so Finn sits up, and he puts the bag of Doritos on the floor. Rachel crawls closer to him, and she slowly starts unbuttoning his shirt. No matter how many showers he takes, he always smells a bit like gasoline and car things, but he's still her Finn, and he still looks wonderful.
She unfastens the buttons one by one, and she takes her time. Finn doesn't say anything. He just watches as her fingers linger at each button. Finally, she reaches the last one, and she pushes his shirt off from his shoulders. He takes it off fully, and he's left in his white undershirt. Rachel smiles at him, and she braces herself against his thighs as she leans over to kiss him on the lips.
His lips are smooth, full. And they taste sort of like spaghetti, just like they did that very time they ever kissed. She nips at his bottom lip gently, and he complies to her unspoken request, opening his mouth up just slightly. Innocently, she touches her tongue to his, and he places a hand on her back, scratching at her skin, trying to pull her closer.
She starts feeling this stirring in the pit of her stomach, the same one she always feels whenever they're together. It's exhilarating, and he pulls away for a moment so that she can take off her dress. He helps her pull down the zipper, and she holds her arms up straight in the air so that he can pull it off over her head. And just like that, she's almost naked on her bed with him; a position they've been in once or twice before, but never like this.
He stares at her for a second, and he reaches out, brushes his fingertips against her breasts. She's wearing a light green bra, and he smiles as he lightly taps at the rose pattern. She smiles. Sometimes they don't need to talk when they're together. She finds that very calming, the fact that they know each other so well, after such a relatively short amount of time, that words don't always need to be said. She's found that she likes the silence that envelops them at times.
But she wants words now. She needs words now.
"Is this okay?" she asks quietly, as his fingers press against her skin a little harder. He pulls at the strap of her bra, lowering it, exposing her. And he brushes his thumb against her nipple and these are things, these are motions, that they've done before. But it feels so much more real right now, so much more intimate. Because once they do this, once they have sex – there's really no going back, is there?
And Finn nods, and he says, "Yes." And he leans down, kisses her in the place where his thumb had just been. She threads her fingers through his hair, holding him there. It feels so good, and it's surreal to think that in a matter of minutes, she'll be feeling something so much more, something that will possibly feel even better.
Finn pulls away and looks up at her. "Can we – can we take this off?" he asks, and he places his hands against her tights.
She likes how he says 'we' – like this is a joint decision, joint effort. It's true, of course, but it's still adorable the way he says it.
She says, "Yes," and she sits back down on the bed, her legs straight in front of her. She feels like a little girl or something, as Finn eases her tights off from her legs, pulling at the fabric and making sure that he doesn't cause a run as he drags them down past her knees. It feels like her skin is on fire, and he kisses the inside of her thigh once the tights are fully off. He breathes in deeply, and he breathes out through his nose, and he kisses her there again.
And he places his hand against her panties, and he looks up at her, as if asking for permission. She nods, and he slowly lowers those down past her legs, as well. She can feel her heart pounding in her chest and she's just so in love with him, so completely and utterly in love with him that she could cry.
"I love you," he says, and she smiles, and he gently pushes at her tummy so that she lies down on her back. She closes her eyes, and she spreads her legs, and his fingers slip inside her, and it's insane, it's completely and utterly insane to think that he's going to actually be inside her soon.
Rachel Berry always knew, logically, that'd she have sex one day. She just never thought about it happening, how she would feel in the moment, or who it would be with. She always just assumed it would be with some spectacular Broadway actor, or perhaps Zac Efron. She never actually thought about it in a realistic way. She certainly never thought she'd be losing her virginity to some boy from Brooklyn who she randomly met on a subway car.
Finn leans down and kisses her, his tongue brushing against her gently, back and forth. He doesn't say anything when he does this, and he doesn't look up at her. It makes her too self-conscious, too nervous. But he knows that she loves this, because every so often, she can't help herself; she lets out a soft, "Finn." And he tightens his grip on her hips, presses his face to her a little more insistently.
Oh, she thinks she loves him. She knows she loves every single part of him, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.
She falls apart a few minutes later, and she shakes uncontrollably. And he kisses the side of her hip, his lips wet and his smile wide. She smiles down at him, and he sits up, pulling off his white undershirt. He scoots over to the side of the bed so that he can pull off his pants, too, and Rachel sits up so that she can help.
She climbs off from the bed, and she stands in front him. She hears him take a sharp intake of breath, and she unbuckles his belt, sliding it through the loops carefully. And when he stands up and pushes his pants down, she, automatically and without even thinking, reaches for him. He's already hard and firm, and he moans a little when she tightens her grip, his head tilting back and his eyes closed.
He lies back down on the bed, covers his face with his arms as she slowly licks the length of him, her hand tightening around him.
"Baby," he says softly, needlessly. "Baby girl." His voice cracks and he breathes in deeply.
Rachel thinks it's funny, how when she was little, she thought that boys had cooties and were hideous and ugly and dirty. And now she thinks that this boy lying in front of her is the most beautiful person that she's ever seen in her entire life. He's absolutely beautiful and perfect and hers.
She looks up at him, and he opens his eyes, dazed. He runs a hand through her hair, brushes his thumb across her cheek.
"Aren't you glad you showed me around your neighborhood that day?" Rachel asks. Finn smiles.
"Of course. Aren't you glad that you realized Brooklyn isn't all that bad?"
Rachel nods seriously, and Finn sits up. She starts to protest, and he shakes her worries off.
"No - Rach, I. I don't want to like, come when I'm not inside you," he says, blushing as he stammers through his words.
She just smiles though, and she reaches over to her bedside table. She bought a box of condoms the other day, on a whim, when she was at the convenience store. She's not really sure why she did, because it's not like her and Finn had decided that tonight would be the night in advance. She just had a feeling that she was ready, and when she passed by the condoms, she thought it might be better to be safe than sorry.
And as she opens up the wrapper, slides the condom onto Finn, she thinks that was a very, very good decision to make.
Nervously, she lies down on the bed, and Finn hovers over her for just a second. He looks down at her, and he shakes his head. "I don't want to hurt you," he says, "but I feel like - I just feel like it's going to." He sounds nervous, as if he thinks that Rachel's going to change her mind or something.
But she just - and oh, this sounds so crass - but she spreads her legs wider, because Brittany told her that it makes it a bit easier, and even though Brittany's advice isn't right all the time, Rachel has to think that she's right about this.
And Finn asks her once again if she's sure, and she says yes, yes I am, and he, as gently as he possibly can, pushes himself inside her.
It's strange. It's so strange because it feels exactly like she was expecting and yet not what she was expecting at all. Finn slowly starts to move above her, and she tilts her hips towards him, and he says, "No, baby girl, you're pushing me out." And he grabs onto her hips gently, and after a few seconds, she cautiously starts to move with him, their hips connecting. She wraps her legs around his waist, and, oh -.
Oh, it hurts so badly, but every so often there's a flash of pleasure, and she knows that after a while, there won't be any pain. It'll just feel good.
Finn leans down and he kisses her. She can still taste herself inside of his mouth.
He comes a few minutes later, his face scrunched up and his hands holding her waist so tightly that she's sure he's going to leave marks. She kisses him soundly and he lets out almost a whimper, and she rubs her hands across his back.
"I love you," she whispers softly. And he nods, kisses the tip of her nose.
"I love you, too, Rach."
Rachel Barbra Berry originates the role of Carly Swanson in the Reynolds Academy's performance of Those Brooklyn Nights on June 15th. Of course, she performs to a standing ovation, and she is showered with roses and other flowers almost immediately upon leaving the stage; Tina and Kurt are standing there with their arms wide open and tears streaming down their faces, and Kurt whispers that he's never seen something so beautiful in his entire life.
Rachel takes that compliment seriously, because Kurt rarely, if ever, lies to her. And so she takes their flowers and their hugs and well wishes, before she walks out into the lobby of the school to greet Emma, Maurice, and her dads.
They're all standing together, identical smiles on all of their faces, and they kiss Rachel repeatedly and tell her how absolutely wonderful she sounded – her pitch was perfect, her pronunciation magnificent – and they all rant and rave about how Broadway better watch out for the next Patti LuPone. And Rachel thanks them graciously, because, after all, the four of them will always be her biggest fans, and she needs to make sure that they know how much she truly appreciates them.
After a few minutes of talking things over with her parents and Maurice and Emma, she feels a tap on her shoulder, and she turns around.
Of course, it's Finn standing there, in a new suit that he paid way too much money on, and holding a bouquet of flowers that looks much too expensive. Rachel's jaw drops the minute she sees this, and she touches the flower petals gently.
"Finn," she says quietly, and she stands up on her tip toes, kissing him. "Finn, this is too much," she says, and he shakes his head, kissing her again.
"Just enough," he says, and she hugs him tightly, breathing in that clean, soapy smell that she loves so much.
Later that night, they'll ride the subway back to his apartment, and they'll stay up all night watching some silly movie, eating spaghetti and talking about the finer points of Rachel's performance. Then Rachel will demand that he go out with her tomorrow, so that she can buy them dinner and take them to see a Broadway show, where they'll spend the majority of the performance whispering about how Rachel would look up on that stage.
Finn will laugh and say, "whatever you want, Rach," and then he'll kiss her, and she'll be so, so thankful that Finn Hudson is her first love.
A/N2: I guess I just wanted to explore themes of first love with this piece, and I kind of got carried away with it. I hope you guys enjoyed, though! (Also... I know Kurt was a bit snippy in this piece - that does not mean I hate him, haha, just exploring another part of his personality. I think everyone knows that I love Kurt!)