Disclaimer: I do not own Glee, maybe if I did everyone would be failing by some technicality.
The first thing she notices is the lipstick stain on his shirt collar, its bright red and she doesn't wear bright red lipstick. She cannot bring herself to cry or even fully acknowledge the stain she simply puts the stain remover on it and throws it in the washer with the rest of their whites. Maggie is in the other room watching a movie and they have to leave in fifteen minutes to pick up her siblings from school. That night she is making dinner when he texts her that he is working late and to tell the kids he loves them before bed. When he slips into bed and kisses the side of her temple it's 11:15, tears silently fall down her cheeks she doesn't want him to know he's awake.
She's first awake, as always, and she slips in the shower spending an extra ten minutes two of them she spent scrubbing her body, feeling dirty after spending a whole night in bed with him, and 8 forehead laid against the cool tile while tears fall to the shower floor. She composes herself enough to do her hair and make-up and he brushes past mumbling a near incoherent 'morning' before getting in the shower himself. She wakes her children, gets them ready, and they are eating breakfast while she packs their lunch he's in his work clothes when he comes down the stairs. He's giving good morning kisses and saying goodbyes to three angry children who want more than a few seconds with their father.
"Are you going to eat?" She asks, not looking up from the three sandwiches she fixes.
"No, I need to get to work." He bends down to kiss her on the cheek and she flinches away.
"Tooth-ache," she mumbles.
And he's gone, again.
Two weeks later they are still fighting, he doesn't know what she knows, and she doesn't even know either. There is a small part of her still searching for an answer for the stains, the late nights, and his distance but there isn't any. He doesn't even show up for Chris' first soccer game of the season, is angers her more than anything that he cannot get his shit together for their son. She cheers for his three goals, and her heart breaks a little every time the 8 year old looks over for a father not there, only finding his mother and two sisters. That night the kids are in bed and she is folding laundry when he gets home.
"Sorry I'm late again," He apologizes. "Work has been crazy lately." His excuse makes her blood boil, and he goes into the closet to change.
"You missed Chris's soccer game, first one of the season. He scored three goals." She says nearly indifferently. He walks out in his PJ pants and an old t-shit.
"Shit," he runs his hands through his hair, "That was today?"
"Yeah, I've only been reminding you for a few weeks, so has Chris." Her voice rose a little bit and she stood from her spot on the end of the bed.
"You're angry, I get that." He said looking at her with fear, "But it's just one game, he's been playing for four years."
"It's not just a stupid game Finn, our life isn't just some stupid game." Her voice in a yell, "You're never home, I quit my job Finn I stopped doing what I love so I could be at home with our kids the kids who just want their father. Tonight every time he scored Chris would look for you in the stands, and every time I had to watch his face falter when you weren't there. And last week when Maggie had the flu and all she wanted was her daddy to lay in bed with her and watch cartoons. And you told Ali that you were going to take her out to dinner, she's been asking for a month when you are going to. You're never home anymore, and our kids miss their dad, I miss my husband." She had tears running in full streams down her cheeks now.
"I'm sorry it's been hard, I'm sorry I'm working my ass off for our family so what that I miss a few games, and break a couple promises," He screamed. "Maybe if you were working I wouldn't be working so hard to support our family, you seem to forget I gave up acting to get a better job so we could by your stupid house and have your stupid suburban lifestyle."
"Liar, you're a fucking liar, and you're a fucking hypocrite. We decided together it was best when I got pregnant with Maggie to settle down our life so our kids could have some sense of normalcy." She fought back.
"This isn't normal, were not parents anymore, we don't even act married. Were just two people raising three kids?" Finn shot back. "I mean when's the last time we even had sex, were not a family we barely speak at all."
"I think you're getting all the sex you need," Rachel said too calmly. "How are those 'late nights' working out for you?"
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Finn questioned.
"I know Finn, the late nights, the distance, you're so dumb, and I found lipstick on your collar." She narrowed her eyes at her husband.
"Rach" Finn's voice softened at his bawling wife.
"No don't just sleep downstairs or something."
She laid in bed alone for the third night in a row. There was a small crack in the door. "Mommy?"
"Hey Ali, you should go back to bed. You have school tomorrow." Rachel tried to hide her sadness; she has been working extremely hard to keep things together.
"Can I sleep with you?" She sighed.
"Yeah come on," Rachel smiled as the six year old crawled into the bed.
"I'm planning Ali's birthday party for next week," Rachel said one Saturday when Finn was sitting at the table working on some project for work.
"Yeah, she's going to be 7 it's kinda a big deal." Finn agreed.
"You're going to be here right?" She asked skeptically, since their fight Finn was making an effort for the kids despite the fact he was practically living in the basement guest room.
"Yeah of course." He said.
"Ok," She walked out of the kitchen leaving him to his work.
25, 6 and 7 year olds ran around her house and she was in the kitchen, finishing the homemade birthday cake for her daughter. "Hey sweetie, you okay." Kurt walked in the kitchen, after spending many coffee dates with his best friend, his relationship with his brother was just as bad as the one Rachel had with him.
"No, I'm not. My children don't understand what is happening they keep asking and I'm not even sure myself, my marriage is over, and my life is a mess." She falters
"Well let's look at the positive, your daughter is 7 years old, and your 3 beautiful children are the best behaved out there."
"My god Kurt, were old, I have an 8 year old, a 7 year old and a 4 year old." Rachel giggled her first genuine laugh, in a long time."
"It's okay sweetie you're still beautiful." Kurt grinned.
"You too," Rachel smiled. "Ok! Who is ready for cake?" she called into the dining room.
She was cleaning the dishes, all three of her children were sleeping off their sugar highs, when he carried in a stack of plates and started washing them. She would dry them off before putting them away. "I'm going to start looking at apartments around here, this is just too confusing for the kids, and I know it's hurting you for me to be here. I've hurt you enough." He tells her looking into eyes that have had her spark for life missing for months now.
"I think that would be best." She tells him earnestly.
"I'm thinking three bedrooms so Chris can have a room, and the girls can share one. I'll still pay the mortgage and the bills here though." He tells her.
"I want a divorce." She announced.
"Ok," He took a breath. "I'll look into what we have to do." Finn replied, "I'm really sorry Rach"
"Me too; goodnight Finn."
She was doing the kids laundry, when she saw his laundry basket with a white work shirt sitting on top, she didn't know why she did it but she picked up the shirt taking a big breath of the scent attached to it hoping for him, all she found was someone else's perfume. That when the tears started, it's all her life is anymore, kids, cooking, cleaning, and crying. She sat on the floor of the laundry room clutching a shirt that smelled like another women finally accepting that her marriage was over.
He moves out three week later to an apartment ten minutes away, she decides to take the kids to the Poconos for the weekend so she doesn't have to watch him load up his things into his truck and leave the life they built together, the life that was 14 years in the making. It turns out it was a bad idea, because when she gets home she spends the whole night walking the house mentally pointing out the things he took, a few pictures here and there, and a few things like his nick knacks he collected from the place they went they sat on a shelf in the living that was now empty, she did always whine about the stupid little mementos, but the tears still fall when she fingers the empty space. She regrets going downstairs where Finn had set up his man cave, the large TV she refused to allow upstairs was gone. So was the stand it stood on, the reclining sofa was no longer there, nor its companion chair. The only thing that was left was the toys on the other side, and the half empty DVD shelf, her musicals, a few romantic comedies, and their endless supply of Disney and cartoon movies. His x-box games and action movies she never liked were gone.
The worst part was the bedroom that had slowly been morphing into her own the past three months, it now seemed too lonely, his dresser empty and his few things that had littered the top gone, the closet that had been half empty for months felt even more empty, and his things were cleared out of the drawer in his bedside table. She couldn't bring herself to crawl into bed, and falls asleep watching TV downstairs.
He sits at the table in her lawyer's office waiting for her to arrive. He never thought he'd be here and it's his entire fault. She walks in looking beautiful as ever, in a pair of business pants and a frilly blouse he's never seen before.
"Good afternoon we are here to discuss the terms of the divorce between Mr. Finn Hudson and Mrs. Rachel Berry Hudson, before we begin we would like to keep in mind that not only does this affect the two parties, but the three children that the two share." Her lawyer drones on, he already told his own lawyer what he wants and he doesn't think it will be a problem.
"Mr. Hudson would like to handle the finances of the home that was shared while allowing Mrs. Hudson to live in the home with the children, while he will maintain residence in his own home. He would like full access to his three children, Christopher Liam Hudson, Alianna Carolyn Hudson, and Maggie Shelby Hudson, with two weekends a month where the children stay in his home and are under his care beginning from Thursday evening to Monday morning where he will drop them off at school." His own lawyer lays out the request.
"Well, Mrs. Hudson would like to emphasize the need for stability in her children's life which, includes getting picked up from school on time and being taken to sports games and dance classes." Rachel said with narrow eyes from across the table.
"I get it Rach, I screwed up. I'm trying to maintain my role in their life, without upsetting you." Finn shot back.
"You just want control of my life; I want alimony and child support, as well as taking full ownership of the house." She told her husband.
"Rachel I've been through this with my lawyer the amount of money that the court would appoint you is not enough to pay our household bills." Finn groaned.
"I don't want you to be in control of my life, I'll get a job if I need to, just give me the house." Rachel argues.
"I don't want the house, I want you and the kids to be comfortable and I don't want to make this harder, I screwed up and I'm trying to fix this the best I can."
"I want the Kids Thanksgiving, all 8 days of Hanukah, and New Year's, you can have Christmas, part of winter break, half of spring break including Easter." Rachel announced.
"Fine, but I get to take care of the house." Finn negotiated.
"Only until it's paid off then we will work on a new arrangement." Rachel countered.
"Fine," Finn sat back in his chair running his fingers through his messy hair.
"It seems we have the house and the children taken care of, we can move onto other assets shared by the couple"
She gets called to pick up Chris from school, he doesn't have a fever but there is a bug going around and the nurse wants to send him home anyway. "You're not sick, I know when you're sick and you're not," she tells him on the way home. "So what's going on you seemed really excited for your assembly this afternoon that you're going to miss now."
"I just didn't want to be at school okay." Chris told his mother, "I wanted to go home but you can take me back if you want"
"I'm not going to take you back, but sweetie I need to know what happened that made you not want to be at school."
"I just I was upset ok?" Chris mumbled.
"About what?" His mother pressed on.
"I don't want you and dad to be divorced. I just want things to be normal we don't even have a Christmas tree this year; I miss it when you and dad would sing carols to us, and we made Santa cookies and would watch 'The Year without a Santa Clause,' downstairs and now we don't even have a couch down there. I told Collin you were getting a divorce and he told me when his parents got divorced, he heard his dad say that he couldn't handle it anymore, and now he doesn't see his dad anymore, he only gets presents in the mail. Is dad going to be gone forever too? Doesn't he want us?"
"Your dad loves you soo much, and he isn't gone he'll never be gone he loves you too much. I'm not going to lie Chris, your dad had hurt me very much, not physically but emotionally and it just didn't work anymore and sadly that's life. But just because I don't have your dad doesn't mean you don't. Your dad is working on getting his new house together but he is going to have you stay with him for Christmas, and you're going to help him decorate the tree there and everything. I'll tell you what we'll watch 'The Year without a Santa Clause' just you and me and maybe this weekend we'll start a tradition of Hanukah cookies." Rachel tried to put on a brave face through the rearview mirror.
"When did you get so old?"
Christmas was lonely it was the first one in15 years that was spent with Chinese food and musical marathons. She sat in bed all day long, it didn't help that is was the first time the kids would be spending with their father in his apartment. She secretly hoped they hated it, and never wanted to go back. But when Finn had them call her they talked about their present Finn gave them, and the ones their grandmother mailed them.
"Guess what mommy." Maggie told her through the phone excitedly.
"What baby girl?" Rachel sighed at the four year old.
"Daddy is going to take us shopping and we get to pick out stuff for our rooms, I have to share with Ali but it's okay because my bed is pretty and Daddy says we will be good sharers."
"I'm glad you're having fun, can I talk to your dad please?" She sighs, hearing her daughter yell for her father.
"Hey" It was nice to hear his voice, he had picked the kids up from school that Friday, and they hadn't talked in almost two weeks.
"Merry Christmas Finn," Rachel said trying to be nice. "Try not to spoil them too much ok?"
"Merry Christmas Rach."
New York winters were worse than Ohio winters, it wasn't something that was new to her, this year trying to dig out her driveway was a struggle it was the first time since Finn moved out and she was waist deep in snow. She was about to give up when he pulled up in his truck with three kids in the back. She was just trying to get out so she could go pick them up.
"I figured you'd be trying to get out of this mess," He mused.
"I can get out of it you know," Rachel huffed.
"Sure you look like you're doing great, just take the kids inside and I'll do this. You don't even have snow boots on."
"I don't own snow boots, and I'm not going to need you forever." She called as she ushered the kids inside while he began shoveling her driveway. She brought him coffee an hour later.
"Thanks, for this"
"No problem, thanks for the coffee and get some boots."
Chris' birthday was uneventful, he wanted to go bowling with a few friends, so she set up the party and Finn showed up giving his son a hug and plopping a huge box on the party table. It was bittersweet to be at a bowling alley, they used to have many, many date nights at this same place, she in her pink shoes he surprised her with and matching ball, and him almost making himself sick on Nacho's coming home giggling like they were 16 again. Now she sat at a table with Kurt while she watched her son bowl strikes with his friends, his father giving him high-fives and showing off his own skills. "But you're doing alright, Rach?"
"Yeah, were good I bought a snow blower so no more getting stuck in my driveway," Rachel giggled. "I need to go get more soda and snacks from the snack bar, hungry third graders."
"You want me to come with you?" Kurt asked with raised eyebrows.
"I'm okay" She waited in line when he came up to her.
"You need help?"
"I'm fine Finn, but you can carry a few pitchers of Soda if you're here."
"Cool" Allowing the two to settle into awkward silence.
"I want you to take Chris tonight," She stated, "I mean if you want to of course. It's his birthday and he should spend it with his dad, not his annoying sisters and miserable mother."
"I'm sorry I made you miserable." He replied still looking forward. "But yeah, I'd love to have him tonight."
"Great he has things at your place so he should be set, and you didn't make me miserable, what you did to me made me miserable."
"He really loves you, you know. Chris, he always talks about you like when they are with me. They all do, they all really love you." He looks at her earnestly.
"They love you too, I hear for days after and before they spend a weekend with you." She tells him.
"I really fucked up." He says, "They don't deserve this."
"You're right you fucked up real bad, and they don't deserve this none of us do." She said taking two pitchers of soda motioning for him to take two more. "But what's done is done; now we just live with the consequences.
The divorce is finalized in March, it's been a long few months but the stupid piece of paper gives her no closure what-so-ever, what does is four large bottles of wine, Kurt, Santana, and Quinn. Plus Funny Girl cannot forget Funny Girl. (Her children were spending the weekend with their father) "Being single is better any way; I fuck who I want when I want." Santana yells.
"Please, I'm a mother, I have stretch marks and they ruined my body who would fuck me? My own husband didn't want to, that's why he found some hussy who wears red lipstick. I bet she doesn't have stretch marks," Rachel cackled. "That's why I'm alone," Still laughing, the women and Kurt sat around her on the sectional in her new basement where her new TV sat on a new table.
"No your Rachel Berry, and your beautiful and sexy and amazing and my brother is a dick and he got his head stuck to far up his ass this time for you to pull it out." Kurt looked at her face inches apart.
"15 years this May, that's how long we had 15 years of my life, I'm only 34 and all those people were right, high school romances don't last. He… He's the father of my babies, my beautiful babies. They are the only good thing in my life. I just want my life back. Sometimes I lie in bed at night wondering what I did wrong how I lost him."
"He lost YOU, Rachel Barbra Berry, Talented, Beautiful, Amazing actress and even better mother." Quinn trailed.
"Berry you've got balls, to leave that asshole and raise those babies who are amazing Quinn and I couldn't do that." Santana grinned.
"We're all a mess" She laughed.
"Chris, Ali, Maggie!" Rachel called as the tall man stood in the door. "Come on Dad's here"
"I need to talk to you," Finn said.
"You have five minutes until they get down here."
"My company is opening an office in Columbus; they want me to run it."
"Oh, are you going to go?"
"I don't know yet, it's a lot to think about. If I did, I'd fly out once a month, and I'd try to come more for like games, recitals and during the summer they can fly out too. I checked they are old enough. It's a lot more money, I could pay off the mortgage with just the bonus for taking the job, give you the house."
"Finn," Rachel closed her eye trying to compose herself. "I just need you to think long and hard about what is best for the kids, not for you or me. But for the kids that are confused enough already."
"They are a lot smarter than you give them credit for; I'm planning on talking to them about it."
"Do what you want Finn, just remember who is the one that is here, when you're not"
"Hey Dad," Chris announced, it was obvious he heard too much.
Preschool graduation, it would be the last one she would attend, Maggie kept spinning around in the purple sun dress, clicking her heals on the tile floor of the kitchen.
"Mag's calm down, I want a picture of my big girl!" Rachel gushed.
"Ok mommy but let's go I don't want to be late!"
"Oh so big," she smiled at her little girl with curly hair in pigtails on top of her head.
She sat alone in the classroom decorated in rainbow themed streamers and balloons.
"I'm not late am I?" He sat next to her, causing her to shift even straighter in her seat.
"No, and you live even closer to the school than I do. Plus I had to get her ready this morning and the other two kids to school." Rachel said looking forward watching the slideshow playing of the preschool class.
"Sorry I had to do some things this morning." He says motioning to the box sitting in his lap.
"Can I see?" She asked.
"Yeah it's pretty much the same as Ali's," he said handing her the box with the small charm bracelet with an M charm and a pearl for June.
"I completely forgot we did this for Ali when she graduated preschool."
"You've had a lot on your mind."
"Not as much as you have, are you ready to go."
"Not at all but I still have a week."
"Do you want to go out to lunch with Maggie and me, Maggie picked hamburgers."
"If you don't mind," He told her back.
"You're her father Finn, and you're leaving," Rachel told him.
"Thanks, yeah I'll go." Finn said as the preschoolers stood in a single file line in the front of the room.
"She looks adorable." Rachel smiled.
"She looks like you"
"You need to be good for your mom," he was kneeled down so he could look each one of his children in the eye. "I love you a lot, and I'll see you in two weeks when mommy brings you for the summer."
"I'm gonna miss you daddy," Ali cried wrapping her arms around her father's neck.
"Meee tooo," Maggie wailed Finn hold each of his daughter in his arms. Christopher stood there hands in his pockets.
"Come here bud," Chris wrapped his arms around his father too.
"I promise to see you real soon." He mumbled as the three children detached themselves from their dad.
She was at her parent's house alone. Her kids were staying at their grandmother's house and Finn was there too, his new apartment not ready for three kids. It was a miserable first two weeks of summer with three kids who were just waiting to see their dad. Now she slept in her childhood bed, alone. She missed her family.
It was a tradition, every summer they would all try to be in Lima at the same time, the whole club. Every year a few couldn't make it but this year they were all there. Kurt and Blaine picked her up and she sat at the end of the table next to her best friend. All the way on the other side of the table he was there, why wouldn't he, he lived here now. A few of her friends shot her sympathetic glances. No non-members were allowed which meant no spouses; it was always a joke that Finchel got special treatment for this rule now they were just two members at the opposite side of the table, if only it was that simple.
School started soon enough and life got back to normal, as they could it was this time last year her life began to unravel and that sucked to think about it. He flew out to visit for the first time since he moved the kids had spent over half their summer with him, so he let them have some time with their mother, but he wanted to keep his promises, he needed to be there for his children. Rachel took a job at the kids school as the music teacher, it turns out her major was good enough all she needed was to take a certification exam. Her three children enjoyed being after school later and they were on their way to her car when they saw him standing against his rental car. Two Daddy's and a Dad were heard, the trio ran up to their father who enveloped them in a hug.
"You're here early," she cannot help but grin, knowing her babies needed him.
"Couldn't stay away, can you blame me?" He said nodding to the two girls in either arms.
"No I can't, where are you staying?" She asks.
"My hotel doesn't have a room tonight, so I am going to find a different one for a few nights before my reservation this weekend.
"Why don't you just stay in the guest room?"
"I don't want to cause trouble."
"You'll be fine."
"Can I ride home with dad?" Chris asked, hope radiating from his face.
"Yeah but no front seat."
She doesn't work on Fridays, the school made cuts somewhere, she doesn't care it's not like she needs the money. Finn takes the kids to school and he lets himself in the back door while she is doing dishes.
"So working seems good to you, you seem happy" He tells her slipping onto a stool at the island while she cuts vegetables at the counter.
"I am. Is work going good there?" He leans back in his chair.
"Yeah, it's busy apparently when you are running the office you're in charge of hiring and every little crisis that goes on."
"Can I ask you something, something personal?" She asked stopping what she doing to look at him.
"Yeah, shoot" Finn said.
"Last year or whenever you got into your relationship," she starts. "Was it worth it?"
"No, it was the biggest mistake of my life, but it wasn't the stupidest" He answers.
"What was the stupidest?" She questioned.
"Not fighting for you." He tells her, "I still love you, I always will. You, our family were the best thing to ever happen to me and I lost it."
"I never slept with her, just a few drinks after work a few drunken kisses."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" She asks the tears running freely down her cheeks.
"No just," He envelops her in the first comforting hug, she has had from him in a year. "Don't cry, I just love you, ok. I was soo stupid." She looks him in the eye.
"You can kiss me if you want to."
"I want too."
"That was amazing," she sighs wrapping her sheet around her body.
"Yeah" he breathes.
"We cannot do this again," she tells him looking at him in the eyes. It's the first time in months they have shared a bed and she is about to break his heart all over again. "I just, we're just, we're divorced, we have three children."
"Yeah three children and 15 years of history."
"No three kids who we cannot confuse anymore, we live in separate state 12 hours apart. What am I supposed to do uproot my family's life to move back in with you? Finn I'm not sure if I will ever be able to trust you again. Not with my heart. This, sleeping together, it was a mistake a huge mistake." She says getting out of bed to pull on her robe.
"I'm going to get my things together and check into my hotel room." He announces pulling on his pants.
"Yeah that's for the best, I have the kid's things packed and you can take them with you to the hotel the kids will enjoy it, and just take them to school on Monday before your flight home if they are there a little early it's ok. I'll be there.
"Bye Finn," shutting the bedroom door behind to sink down her back against it the tears falling freely again.
"You look beautiful mom," Her twenty-nine year old son grins swaying his mother back and forth on the dance floor.
"I'm so proud of you, I know this is your sister's day but I'm proud of you too."
"She looks amazing doesn't she?" They peer over to the 27 year old dancing with her new husband. "Ali seems really happy."
"Yeah, and soon all three of my babies will be married and having their own babies." They turn their attention to young 24 year old with a flashy engagement ring on her own finger, arm wrapped around a handsome blonde.
"Can I cut in?" A tall handsome man with dark hair despite some significant thinning and a few grey spots asks.
"Sure dad, I should go check on the babies anyway." Leaving Finn the wrap his arms around his ex-wife's waist, as her hand slink around her neck.
"Feels like senior prom again." He muses
"Did you get voted most likely to be mistaken for a 54 year old man?" She jokes.
"Spot on, you know they grew up too fast, made us grandparent and in-laws too soon." He tells her.
"Sure sounds like the same Finn Hudson who held Ali in the hospital vowing that she would never date."
"Yeah I guess I feel short of that, I'm not sure about the hotdog Maggie has latched onto."
"He's a good guy, just a little too cocky." She assures him.
"She is too young."
"24 is not that young, we were married at 19." He raises his eyebrows at this. "This is different; I would like to think that all three of our children learned from their parents mistakes."
"I still love you Rachel Berry."
"Hudson, Rachel Berry Hudson, and me too," she tells her only true love. "I guess we could never get it right."
"We had 14 years of right, and I screwed it up"
"Let's not dwell on the past, and look to the future, planning another wedding, spoiling the twins, and I'm sure Ali will be quick to jump on the baby bandwagon now that Christopher has made her an aunt. She's been ready for babies since she started teaching."
"Too soon Rach, too soon," the two laughed; maybe this was better this way. Life would always be full of the 'what could have been' but they decided to focus on the 'what will bes.'
I cannot believe I posted this, I've started so many things I haven't finished but I just wrote all day today. I'm working on an AU fic but I want to get further into in, more invested until I post anything. I have so many started fics save to my hard drive but nothing that is near posting quality. Sorry for any errors, I tried to read through it but its 3 am, and I've been writing this all day when I have free time I just really wanted to finish it. Thx for reading, reviews are love, and favorites show you're interested.