With his hands in his faded jeans, his backpack thrown lazily over his shoulder, and his aviators blocking the hot Oklahoma sun from his eyes; Noah Puckerman trudged his way through the dirt driveway of his Nana Connie's large yard. His favorite blue heeler Keefer came bounding around the yellow house towards him and he couldn't help the giant smile that crept across his face. Sure, a summer spent in the boonies of Oklahoma helping his Grandma was not the vacation he dreamed of but he couldn't deny that it made him happy. His Nana was a sweetheart and the best damn cook known to man, he had acre after acre to run, fish, and just think, and he didn't have to worry about the drama that he couldn't escape in Lima.
'Nana!' He called as he took the front steps two at a time.
'Is that you Noah?' he heard her call from inside.
'Yes ma'am, the one and only!' he joked in response. He heard the familiar sound of his Nana's cane hitting the old wooden floor as he swung the screen door open. He looked down at her tiny frame and despite his height, suddenly felt like a child all over again. 'Hi Nana.' He said with a smile and kissed her forehead.
'Hello my baby, look at you! You're so tall and handsome, just like your Grandfather when he was your age. Come in boy and take your bags to your room, we have a lot to catch up on.' She patted his lower back and pushed him towards the small room just off the living room that had been his designated room since birth. It had drawings in crayon from his summers throughout his childhood, old baseball card with worn corners and faded pictures, and even some old socks in the drawer that hadn't fit him since he was 9. The smell of the room flooded him with memories, both good and bad. He threw his backpack on the desk chair and sat down on the edge of the twin sized bed covered in his personalized sports quilt Nana Connie made when his mom was pregnant with him.
The room seemed to take away the last of the worry that he'd been carrying on his shoulders over the past few months. Lima had become a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, high highs and low lows. The most troubling issue he'd been dealing with lately was his current relationship, or lack thereof, with none other than Rachel Berry.
It all started three months ago, the week Jean, Sue's sister, died.
'Berry? What the hell are you doing here? It's like 3 am.' Puck said rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he opened his bedroom window. She had only been to his house once before so he was pretty amazed she remembered not only where it was but which room was his.
'I'm sorry to bother you at this hour Noah but I couldn't sleep and I didn't know what to do… I just kind of ended up here.' He nodded groggily and motioned to his bed. She slipped her shoes off and began crawling across the bed.
'Wait, here…' he said handing her his McKinley jersey and a pair of clean sweats his mom had left on his computer chair for him to put away. 'Put these on, we have had to keep the heater off to save some money so it gets a little cold in here.'
'Thank you Noah.' She replied softly.
'No worries Berry, now hurry your little ass up, we have that breakfast with Rabbi Greenberg.'
'Oh I'm so sorry, I forgot all about it.' She said hitting her forehead with the palm of her hand.
'Berry, quit apologizing and get changed.' He stated firmly but gently and turned around so she could have a little privacy. She changed quickly and kissed the spot in between his shoulder blades to let him know when she was done. He froze at first, the shock of the affection catching him off guard. Once the realization of what she was doing set in, he turned, pulled her gently to him and using his finger lifted her chin to place a soft kiss on her lips. 'C'mon, let's go to bed.' He said softly, grabbing her hand and leading her back to the bed. He let her crawl in first then followed behind. She nestled her tiny body in the side of his and for the first time in his life, Noah Puckerman felt wanted. They both drifted off to sleep, no sex needed, no words to describe what they were feeling, just the warmth of one another and the comfort the other brought. The following morning he drove her home to change then together they headed to their temple breakfast. It was a casual day together. No expectations of a relationship or discussion of the past, just friends who cared more about each other than they ever imagined. Two days later was the funeral.
They rode together in his mother's car, neither wanting to be apart for something as sad as the death of someone so special. The ceremony went by quickly, Rachel trying to control the tears rolling down her face, Puck trying to appear unaffected.
'Noah, is your mother or sister home?' Rachel asked as she shut the passenger side door. He looked over as she straightened her skirt and fiddled with her hands nervously.
'No, her and Abby are at my Nana's for a week.' He answered, still watching her.
'Can we… can we go to your house?'
'Of course, are you okay?'
'Yes I believe so… it's just, well… what Sue said about Jean and the connection… searching for the person on the other end and feeling them not there… I'm afraid.'
'Afraid of what?'
'I'm afraid you don't feel it with me as strongly as I feel it for you.' It came out a whisper, full of fear and mixed with sadness.
'I'm not going to lie Rach, I'm terrible with emotions and stuff but… but I was thinking the same thing when we were in there. I mean, it's obvious there's something that keeps pulling us back together but I think it's… I think it's more than that. I couldn't help but think in there that if I lost you I would go fucking crazy, like legit – straightjacket, padded walls, throw away the key kind of crazy. I've never felt like this before… like, with Santana, Britt, and Quinn it was about sex, about the satisfaction of getting that notch on my belt; then with Lauren it was a challenge, someone who wasn't ever really going to be with me completely. But then there's you… it's not about the sex or the challenge… it's about you.'
'But didn't you say that when you're near me, I make you want to light yourself on fire?' She sounded so weak and broken that he couldn't help but hate himself that much more.
'It's true, every time I see you, hear your voice, hear your laugh, see you smile, see you cry, see you dance in those fucking torturous skirts… I want to light myself on fire; but not for the reason that you think. It's not because you're annoying or that I don't like you… it's that I feel like I'm going to explode, like I'm filled with all this sappy emotional shit I can't breathe and the only way I can get any relief is to kiss the hell out of you or light myself on fire.'
'Oh…' she whispered. 'I feel the same way Noah… I think that's why I chased after Finn so hard. I thought you didn't want me and it hurt so bad that I had to find a way to get rid of those feelings… I wanted to light myself on fire too.' She gave a weak smile that he returned with a squeeze of her hand. 'Can we give us a try again Noah?'
'I was about to ask you the same thing Rachel.' He grinned and leaned in to kiss her. Her laughter brought that feeling coursing through his body again. Luckily he had the water to drown the fire with her tiny hands running through his Mohawk and fueling another fire completely.
'Let's go to your house Noah.' She ordered breathlessly. He nodded and pulled out of the driveway quickly. When they finally made it to the Puckerman house, Rachel was the first one to the door, pushing it open and running upstairs before he had even made it to his front steps. He chuckled as he noticed a path of shoes, her cardigan, and even her purse thrown across the path to his room. He jogged upstairs removing his tie and shoes along the way in much the same fashion. Puck pushed the half opened door and had to relearn how to breathe when he saw Rachel standing, facing towards his bed, her dress falling slowly down her body settling low on her hips. He watched as her thumbs hooked on the edge of her dress and she dragged it until it puddled on the floor. His mouth went dry as his eyes traveled down her perfect body clad in only a pair of black lacy panties, her hair curling across her bare back. She turned her head and gave him a look full of insecurity with a hint of excitement. It took him a moment to remember how to use his legs but when he did he made his way to her and ran his hands down her shoulders, down her torso, until they wrapped around her and pulled her against him.
'You're so beautiful.' He whispered into her ear causing her to shiver and reach behind to pull his face to hers. The kiss was slow, painfully slow, but filled with two years worth of desire and need. She took control and pulled him towards the bed, pushing him down and climbing above him. He pulled her down until her entire weight was pressed across the front of his body. Her hands began working his shirt out of his pants and they regretfully had to part for a moment to remove it completely from his body, but the result was electrifying to both. The warmth of their smooth skin rubbing together in a velvety way that caused a moan to leave Rachel's mouth. The moment of weakness was Puck's opportunity to take control again so he rolled them over, taking the top position again. He kissed his way down her jaw, behind her ear and down her neck; he had never tasted anything better in his life and swore that he never wanted another girl beneath him again. He nipped gently as his mouth made its way down her chest, in between her perfect breasts, and down her flat stomach.
'Noah…' she said breathlessly as he kissed his way across the top of her panty line, teasing her. He smiled softly and began working his way back up while his hand ran softly down her body, his fingers ghosting a trail of goose bumps as he made his way towards the black lace. The combination of sensations caused by his mouth and hands caused Rachel's body to shiver and she found herself pulling him closer, trying to feel more of him against her. She felt his hand finally reach her core and inhaled sharply as his finger gently rubbed against her sensitive nerves. Puck felt her hand scrape softly against the back of his head and the other twist in the sheet as he used his fingers in the most intimate way.
'I love you Rachel.' He whispered against her lips as he inserted another finger.
'Oh God… I… I love you Noah… so, so much.' Her breathing was becoming heavy as he kissed his way back down her body, his mouth eventually adding to the sensation building in her lower body. Her hips bucked of their own accord and she fought to keep her moans contained but to no avail.
'Oh Noah… oh my… oh my God… so good… feels so good.' She chanted as he swirled his tongue and sucked gently on her delicate spot. He moved his fingers faster as her body reacted to his attention and he couldn't help but smile as her hand pushed him closer to her heat and her legs wrapped around his shoulders. He could feel the pressure around his fingers signaling the closeness of her pleasure and added to the sensation by gently using his teeth. 'I'm gonna… oh God… Noah… I'm gonna…' Her body arched off the bed, face in a silent scream, legs tightening around him as she became consumed by the orgasm. He continued his ministrations until he felt her body begin shaking and knew that she was close to being too overwhelmed by pleasure. He removed his fingers slowly and scooted his body up so that he could kiss her as the tremors left her body. He felt her lips form a lazy smile against his own after a few minutes and broke the kiss to look in her eyes; all he found was lust and sincerity in the words they had shared.
'Noah, will you make love to me?' He swallowed deeply and nodded before she began working at removing his pants. It didn't take long for him to be completely de-clothed and sheathed in protection. Rachel turned him around until he was in a sitting position against his headboard. She crawled up and straddled him, kissing the spot just below his ear that always made him shiver. Before he could really comprehend what was happening she was on his lap, slowly lowering herself on to him. 'I want you to hold me Noah.' She said softly, wincing as her body tried to adjust to the feel of him inside of her. He sat up straighter until he could hold her in his arms as she began to move slowly against him. He had to nestle his head in her neck as he felt her begin to move faster. The position they were in made it possible to feel everything in a way that he had never felt before. He could feel her chest against his, the way her muscles contracted against his and a deepness that left him breathless.
'Rachel…' he said gruffly, tangling his hands in her hair and kissing any piece of skin he could possibly reach.
'Noah… oh Noah…' she repeated like a prayer as her head fell against him and her nails scratched his back, her body's natural way of getting as close as possible to him.
Though their position didn't allow for much movement on his part, he trailed his hand until he found her sensitive bud again and rubbed it softly. He heard a choked sound leave her throat and felt her bite his shoulder. He knew she was close and was grateful because everything was too much and he wasn't sure he would be able to last much longer.
'I… I love you… oh God Noah… I'm gonna… ohhh…' She threw her head back as another orgasm gripped her tiny body. The feeling of her coming undone around him sent him over the edge, both of them clawing at each other as they came together, trying to feel some sort of reality in their oblivion. Her body collapsed against him, her muscles still tightening in a way that was still causing his to react. He used what energy he had left to move Rachel's curls from her face and hold her tightly to his chest, neither wanting to separate.
The next three weeks went by in a haze of happiness; he couldn't remember a time in his life where he felt so much love and contentment. Of course, as it always happens in Puck's life, everything changed instantly. One day they were sitting in complete solace at the lake, wrapped in each other's arms with no care in the world; the next she wouldn't return his calls and simply vanished.
It has been two full months since Puck's seen or heard from Rachel and it killed him daily. He was supposed to spend the summer on a road trip with Finn, Artie, Mike, and Sam but bailed the day they were supposed to leave. He just couldn't bring himself to try and act normal in front of the guys for that long… he needed time to think. So when his mom suggested he drive to Oklahoma and spend the summer helping his Grandmother he jumped at the chance.
'Noah, I have heated up some Matzah Ball Soup for you, it's the perfect remedy for a broken heart.' Nana Connie said peeking around the corner, her little red apron slung over her shoulder.
'How'd you know about my heart Nana?' He asked with a small smile. 'Ma go and blab again... Klip.' She shook her head and chuckled at his use of Yiddish.
'No Bubeleh, I can see it in your eyes. It only took me a second to see the hurt and loneliness in them so come eat and tell me what the little hussy did to my Noah.' She said it with a smile knowing that he loved the girl and that there had to be a story behind it. He chuckled and got up, linking his arm in hers as they walked down the hallway towards the kitchen.
Two hours and three bowls of soup later, Puck sat curled against his Nana, eyes red and puffy watching The Price Is Right. He had told her everything about his history with Rachel and Nana Connie used her magic Grandma skills to pull all of the deep rooted feelings out of him making him cry in her arms like a small child.
'Oh Noah, I forgot to tell you, you won't be alone here all summer. My friend Rose Cohen's granddaughter was supposed to go to camp this summer but it turns out she's pregnant so her parents decided to send her to live with Rose but Rose is going on a special cruise for the summer. She's been living there for a little while but Rose will be bringing her here this afternoon. I think she may stay throughout the entirety of her pregnancy.' She shrugged and kissed the top of his head.
'How old is she?' He asked curiously, knowing the girl had to be pretty young to have her parents send her away.
'I think she's about your age, apparently she's a very smart girl but very passionate. I think her name is Michelle or something, but you know me and my memory. I guess the father is Jewish but her father's wouldn't allow her to tell him.'
'That's really messed up. He deserves to at least know that he's going to have a child, what if he wants to keep it?'
'Well, from what Rose says, she's keeping the baby no matter what; but I guess they don't want her to settle with a boy and lose focus on her future; baby or not.'
'I get it… but it still not cool. I feel bad for whoever the father is.' She nodded and they both went back to watching the program.
Before he realized it he fell into a deep sleep, his Nana still running her fingers softly over his scalp. If it hadn't been for the strange alarm sound he probably would have stayed in that position for the entire afternoon. He rubbed his eyes like a child and noticed that the alarm was coming from the TV… yep, he was definitely in Oklahoma.
'Come on Noah, we need to get to the storm cellar. There was a cell spotted a few towns over so we better be safe than sorry.' He nodded and stood, holding his hand to help her of the sofa. Just as she got to her feet the doorbell rang. 'Oh dear, that must be the girl. Good thing she came when she did; who knows what she would have gone through. Go open the door for her.' He made sure she was steady before heading towards the door. He was sure this was going to make for an interesting summer; living with his grandma and a pregnant teenager. He'd lived with one before and it wasn't always rainbows and unicorns… once the cravings and the mood swings hit, they were all doomed. Fortunately he had a soft spot for unwed, teen mothers considering he was the cause of one himself. He swung the door open trying to catch a glimpse of the prizes on the Showcase Showdown. A small gasp brought his attention to the door and his world seemed to come crashing down.
'Rach…' She turned and ran from the porch. He couldn't bring his feet to move as the realization hit him… Rachel was pregnant… he was the father. The rain began pouring from the sky as he watched her running towards the road; her purple luggage with white stars sitting alone on the porch.
'Go get her Noah.' He heard his Nana's voice whisper in his ear. Suddenly his whole body went into overdrive and before he could comprehend what was going on, he was running at a full sprint towards Rachel.
'Rachel, stop!' He yelled, his voice lost in the pounding rain. He finally caught up to her when she collapsed underneath an old oak tree. 'Come on baby…' He lifted her and she curled into him, her body shaking with her sobs. Puck kissed her head and face over and over again, trying to feel as much of her as possible. He reached the porch in record time, grabbed Rachel's bag and carried them both inside.
'We need to get to the storm cellar Noah.' Nana Connie stated, her arms full of blankets and a flash light. He nodded, afraid to speak with the emotions that he was wracked with. He grabbed the umbrella and single handedly opened it on the back porch, holding it up for Nana Connie so she wouldn't become soaked like the two teens. It took quite a bit of effort when they finally made it to the storm cellar, he had to hold Rachel and the umbrella with one hand to open the heavy doors. Once inside he took the seat against the cement wall in the corner, rocking Rachel in his arms as she continued to cry.
'You need to get those wet clothes off of her Noah, she is in no condition to get sick.' He did as he was told, slowly stripping her soaked shirt and skirt from her body before wrapping her in one of the blankets his Nana had carried.
'I'm so sorry Noah…' she choked.
'Shhhh baby, it's okay. We'll figure all of this shit out okay?' He had tears falling down his face as he tried to comfort her. She gave a sad nod before snuggling closer to him. It only took a few minutes and she fell asleep completely.
'Are you okay Noah?' Nana Connie's voice caught him off guard and all he could do was shake his head as more tears began to fall.
'I ruin everything.' He whispered.
'Don't you dare say that Noah Ephraim Puckerman; you are not your father.' He looked up at her and simply shook his head. 'It's true my Noah. He was a man that had no heart; even his two beautiful children couldn't fix that. You are nothing like him. Do you know the whole story of your mother and father?' He nodded but she just waved him off. 'No you don't; your mother tells it from her point of view and was always afraid to admit to you children what he was really like. Emanuel Puckerman was a year older than my Abri Mehalia when they met her freshman year in high school. He was the quiet guy, the mystery man, and my baby girl fell into his trap. He never acknowledged her as his girlfriend, never took her on dates, never even attempted to meet your Grandfather or I. They would hang out at the park after he would help her sneak out and when she found out she was pregnant with you he skipped town for four months. When he came back he convinced her to move in with him and of course, she did. I told her it was a terrible idea. There was always a look in his eyes that he was about to bolt. When your mother was seven months pregnant he beat her so badly she almost lost you. It was terrible and I thought for sure that she had learned her lesson, but he begged her to take him back. She was scared of being alone so she did and the rest is history. He would beat her and she'd cover the bruises, he called her terrible names and she'd pretend they didn't break her heart, but worst of all, he wouldn't even look at you. This tiny beautiful baby boy was half of him and he pretended that he didn't exist. When your mother found out she was pregnant with your sister he pulled the same stunt… only this time he didn't come back. You are nothing like him. I can see how much you love this young lady and that you will do everything to make sure that she and your child are taken care of. Now, close your eyes and sleep for a little while. You want to be fully rested when that darling girl in your arms wakes up. She needs you.' Nana Connie stated with a smile. Puck couldn't help the sense of relief that had flooded him with her words so he just nodded and did as he was told, slipping into a comfortable sleep with the smell of Rachel's shampoo filling his nose and softening his heart.