Finn looked out the window of the limo watching as the scenery whizzed by, tuning out the other occupant of the vehicle as she talked on her cell phone. His mind was thinking back over the events of the past week, not noticing that she had hung up until she spoke.
"Ok Lurch, listen up," Santana directed from the seat across from him in the limo. "When we get there, you smile, you shake hands, be your normal goofy ass self but you don't say a word until I've reviewed the contract. We've got Schuester and Ryerson right where we want them; don't screw this up by saying something idiotic like 'gee I didn't really need that bonus, coach, I'd play anyway.'"
Finn glanced at his agent and nodded while he continued to drum his fingers against his knees. He'd been pursued by a few teams since free agency started, but one team had been on his mind from the beginning.
The New York Jets.
The team who made it to the playoffs last season and got eliminated in the second round. The team who had his best friend, Noah Puckerman, as Quarterback. The team that was closest in location to his family. And it certainly didn't count against them that they were also the team who, hands down, had the hottest cheerleader.
He smiled at the thought of her, not even realizing he was doing so until he felt a sharp kick to his shins, which caused his smile to turn to a glare. "What the hell, Santana?"
"You had that dumb ass grin on again; the one you get when you really like something or when you're thinking too hard." She shook her head at him. "One last thing. Just try and watch where you're going today: I don't want Schuester wondering if you'll run into players rather than around them when you play, got it? Remember: You walk through doors not into them, Mr. Smooth."
His felt the blush creeping up his neck at her words but was determined not to show her. "Yeah, I got it," he said nonchalantly.
"The only thing you got was hard from the sight of those cheerleaders," Santana snapped as she opened her make-up compact. "Keep it in your pants."
The blush suffusing his face grew deeper as he tried to think of a retort. "You keep it in yours. I saw you checking out one of them."
Santana snapped the compact closed with one hand as she stared at Finn. "Clever comeback, Tubs. I know it's been a while since you've seen what's in a woman's pants, but we've got nothing to keep in."
"Shut up," he grumbled. "Remind me why I don't fire you?"
"Because I'm good," she replied airily. "Now getting back to the matter at hand. Don't let them see that you want to be here, that's it's been the only place you've wanted to be since free agency started and are willing to take a pay cut to make it happen. Sandy gets a sense of that and he'll get more excited than when there's a sale at Sheets n Things."
"I told you, I got it," he replied tersely. His mind however, drifted back to the other day when he'd actually seen her.
A warm summer breeze stirred the air as Finn stepped out of the limo, sunglasses covering his eyes as he scanned the outside of the stadium. He stretched, more than ready to get inside and actually look around. Anxious, he began walking to the doors, ignoring the sounds of protest coming from the limo.
Hearing his name called again, he turned back with a sigh and jogged back to the limo. "Sorry Santana."
"This is why you haven't seen the inside of a girl's pants in so long," she snapped, waiting for him to help her out.
He sighed, wondering again why he didn't just fire her and get a new agent. He'd just held out his hand for her to take when he heard a melodic burst of laughter from behind him. His head lifted as he turned around to see who was laughing and immediately spotted a brunette in a little white dress laughing at something her blonde companion said. He barely noticed the blonde as he studied the brunette, swiftly giving her the once over from the top of her ponytail to the wedge sandals that made her legs look fantastic. She had an air of familiarity about her, but he couldn't figure it out. Forgetting all about Santana, he stepped towards them, trying to reach the door before they did so he could see her face. He was stopped in his tracks as he felt Santana tug on his arm.
"Jesus, Finn where's the freaking fire?" she snapped as she reached him. "Try not to appear overly anxious; you have to let them think you're not interested."
"Uh huh," he replied absentmindedly while he turned to try and find the brunette again. Unfortunately, she was already gone.
"Now, you remember just play it cool and I'll do the talking ok?" Santana briskly walked towards the stadium doors, yanking them open and giving a smile to the guard waiting for them. "Santana Lopez and Finn Hudson for Coach Schuester and Mr. Ryerson."
They stood and waited for a moment, eventually hearing the sounds of a conversation moving closer to them.
"I just don't know about offering someone that much money William. We're already paying Puckerman-"
"Sandy, you have to trust me on this."
"Excellent," Santana purred as the conversation reached her ears. "Will really wants you. This is going to be cake."
"But Sandy just said he wasn't sure," Finn whispered back just as a short stocky man wearing a sweater tied around his shoulders and a tall man with curly hair turned the corner and headed their way.
"Can it, Manboobs," she hissed, pasting a phony smile on her face.
"Finn!" the tall man exclaimed, offering his hand to Finn.
"Coach Shuester," Finn replied, shaking his hand. "You remember my agent."
Will nodded. "Nice to see you again. Miss Lopez," he said with a nod in her direction. He turned his attention back to Finn. "And may I introduce our owner, Sandy Ryerson."
Sandy gasped and pushed past Will to get to Finn, mumbling, "pay him whatever," as he grabbed Finn's arm. "Why don't I, I mean, we get started?"
Finn let himself be pulled down the concourse, tuning Sandy out as he walked and tried to get a sense of the facilities. They wound their way down to the lower level, Sandy pointing out stuff that would never pertain to him, such as the various types of food offered at the stadium on game day, but he figured he could pass that information onto his mother and Burt.
"We currently offer a turkey chili that's to die for," Sandy boasted as he pointed out a nearby concession stand. He eyed Finn. "Of course you look more like a meat and potatoes guy."
"Yeah, but um, my brother might like the turkey chili," Finn offered lamely, glancing uncomfortably between the grip Sandy had on his arm and Santana. His agent made a face that he knew meant let Sandy do what he wants and he sighed, listening as Sandy began pointing out the men's rooms, which again, he'd never be using since he'd be on the field.
Fortunately, Will soon took over, showing Finn the locker room and the weight room for players. They were just discussing Finn's exercise routine when he suddenly heard the strains of AC/DC coming from down the hall.
Sandy, who'd been listing all the food kiosks to Santana, paused. "What's what?"
"That music? I love AC/DC," Finn replied, glancing around and trying to find the source of the music.
Sandy waved a hand dismissively. "Oh, that's probably the Flight Crew practicing. Now if I could just draw your attention to this men's room, you'll see that we've-"
"I love this song," Finn commented, taking a step towards the door.
"Well then, let's take a look shall we? Maybe this could be your touchdown song!" Sandy trilled as he grabbed Finn's arm and led him down the hall. He paused in front of a wall of glass, behind which a group of women were dancing. "This is our state of the art rehearsal room for the Flight Crew."
Humming along with the classic "You Shook Me All Night Long", Finn stepped closer to the glass wall and peered inside, his breath catching as his gaze fell upon the brunette he'd noticed outside. Now he knew why she looked familiar.
She was Miss December.
The same Miss December from the 2011 annual Flight Crew Calendar and the owner of the face that had been in his dreams since Puck had sent him a copy, telling Finn that the girls were hotter in New York than Cincinnati.
Mesmerized, he continued staring, completely forgetting about Will, Sandy and Santana as he watched her dance. Her gaze lifted while she was performing and met his, allowing him to see the deep brown eyes that so often stared at him in his dreams. Their eyes locked and he took a step forward, not realizing how close he already was to the glass wall until he walked straight into it.
His head snapping back in pain combined with the loud thud caused Santana to rush to his side. "Jesus Finn, wipe up some of that drool and quit fucking staring," she bossed even though she herself was staring at a perky blonde.
"Shut up; nobody noticed," Finn hissed, absolutely mortified.
However, a woman in a tracksuit paused the music and picked up her megaphone.
"Schuester!" she barked. "What is the meaning of this? While you may think practice is a joke, I can assure you I don't."
"Sue, this is our new star, Finn Hudson," Sandy announced, once again placing a hand on Finn's arm. "We're giving him the tour."
Finn squirmed as Sue appraised him, his eyes drifting past her to where the Flight Crew was standing, waiting to resume practice. While other girls were talking quietly among themselves, Miss December was standing alone, her brown eyes trained on him. He offered her a tentative smile, relieved when she shot one back.
"New star, huh?" Sue questioned. "Looks like I'm the first to get your autograph." She gestured to the glass wall where the impact of Finn's face hitting the glass had left a large smudge on the otherwise immaculate glass. Finn immediately blushed, too mortified to look at Miss December again. Still glaring at him, Sue lifted her bullhorn to her lips. "Schuester! Get some windex and use that rag on your head to clean this now!"
"No can do Sylvester," Will chirped, tossing one of Sue's trademark phrases back at her. "Like Sandy said, we're in the middle of the tour. Guess you'll just have to clean it yourself." He walked up to Finn and clamped a hand on his shoulder. "Come on Finn, let me show you the field."
Finn let himself be led away, risking one last glance back at Miss December, spotting her talking to two blondes as she laughed. He turned away as he flushed, assuming they were making fun of him. He tried to push her out of his mind as he finished the tour, winding up where they began.
"Well, we appreciate that tour, Mr. Ryerson, Coach Schuester," Santana said crisply as she offered her hand to shake. She turned her attention to Sandy as she continued. "We'll be in touch."
Finn shook hands with both men and followed Santana out the door. He waited until they were back in the limo before speaking to her.
"This is it Santana," he told her firmly. "This is where I want to play."
"I figured that one out after you walked into the wall," she said dryly as she rolled her eyes. "Let me see what we can get out of them before we commit, ok?"
"Just make it work," he insisted.
And that was how he wound up here, one week later, back at Metlife Stadium ready to sign his contract. He stepped out of the limo, offering a hand to Santana to assist her.
She climbed out and eyed him critically before reaching over and unbuttoning one more button on his pale blue shirt. "I know you have like two chest hairs total, but can you pull one of them into view?"
"Whoa. What are you doing?" Finn demanded, reaching up to button the shirt again. "Do I even want to know why you're asking about my chest hair?"
"Just a little reminder to Sandy. Might just distract him into doling out an extra bonus now," she told him seriously. "God knows Puck in jeans did nothing for him. Maybe I should have let him sign shirtless like he wanted."
"I doubt that Santana," he replied, wiping his damp palms on the thighs of his black dress pants. "Wait- you let Puck sign in jeans? I'm over dressed then," he stressed.
"Puckerman was signing as a draftee. There wasn't too much I could negotiate for him," Santana reminded him. "You on the other hand, are coming in as a pursued free agent."
"Are you sure I'm not overdressed? Kurt picked it out," he blurted out, not willing to say he'd actually asked Kurt for help in case he saw Miss December again.
"You're fine. Trust me Lurch, I know what I'm doing." She spun on her heel and began to walk away. "Don't just stand there, let's go," she said sharply, annoyed at how flustered he was acting.
"Sorry," he replied, rushing to catch up to her. "I just really want to sign."
"Don't talk," she snapped as she walked into the building ahead of him, the door almost slapping him in the face as she pulled it back.
Finn followed her into the building, glad she had been paying attention on their tour as she led them straight to Sandy's office. She ignored the secretary outside his office as she knocked briskly on the door, waiting to gain entrance with Finn standing dumbly behind her. She had barely finished knocking when the door swung open.
"Ms. Lopez," Sandy nodded at her. "And Mr. Hudson," he said with a grin, his eyes lingering on the column of Finn's exposed throat as he ushered Santana and Finn into the conference room.
Finn followed Santana into the room, sitting to her immediate left. He nodded at the two men in the room, Coach Schuester and Jesse St. James, the attorney for the organization. Sandy rushed around the table to take the spot directly across from Finn, smiling as he sat down.
"We're so glad you decided to sign with us, Finn," Sandy preened. "Can I get you anything, I mean anything at all before we begin?"
"Uh," Finn stammered as he again rubbed his palms on his legs. "A water I guess?"
Sandy jumped up, not offering anything to anyone else and quickly strode to the mini fridge to get a water bottle. He handed it to Finn and sat back down.
"If we can get started?" Jesse asked the room at large, proceeding when he received nods from around the room. He slid a stack of papers across the table towards Finn, pointing to the spots on the paper marked with an X. "Just sign here and initial there."
"Hold on Curly Sue," Santana cut in. "I want to read it again; make sure the terms are clear." She pulled the papers towards her, a frown marring her face as she read. She looked up at Jesse and spit out, "What is this?"
"It's Mr. Hudson's contract," Jesse pointed out smoothly. "All the standard conditions are there."
Santana flipped through the pages once more, this time looking at Sandy when she finished. "Where are the bonuses we discussed? I only see the joke of a signing bonus."
"Well," Sandy began calmly as he drummed his fingers together in front of his face. "Some of it seemed a bit steep."
"And only four guaranteed starts? Are you kidding me?" she asked, looking at Will now.
"That's based on his time in Cincinnati," Will pointed out.
"I think what my clients are trying to say is that he didn't start out last season as a starter. We're unaware of how he'll perform over a full year as a starter," Jesse explained. "Sandy doesn't feel comfortable paying him that much when he's unproven."
"This is ridiculous," she proclaimed as she pushed the papers back across the table.
"It's a standard contract," Jesse insisted. "The same he would have gotten in Cincinnati."
"Same as Cincinnati?" Santana parroted snidely. "Then our work here is done," she decreed. "Come on Hudson-I've heard better spiels from the used car salesman who's still convinced the Winnebago's making a comeback." She pushed her chair back from the table and stood, waiting for Finn to do the same.
He stood awkwardly, his head down as he followed Santana towards the door. His mind was whirling over the last few minutes, hardly believing the direction negotiations had taken.
"Wait-" Sandy called out as he stood up and rushed around the table. Finn reached for the door, prepared to open it for Santana to storm through but before he could the door flew open, almost hitting him as a blur of nylon stormed past him.
"Wait indeed," Sue announced as she stopped in front of Sandy. "A little birdie told me that my pompom budget was getting cut, Ryerson."
"Sue, we'll discuss this later," Sandy told her. "We're in the middle of a very important contract signing."
She looked around the room, seemingly noticing the other occupants of the room for the first time. Her eyes fell on Finn still standing near the door. "Signing the guy that walks into walls? Sure fire way to get some wins, Schuester. That's about as brilliant a move as that mullet you were sporting in the 90's."
"Why are you here?" Will demanded, ignoring her insult. "We're busy now."
"I told you. Rumor has it my pompom budget is getting slashed and I simply can't have my girls using synthetic pompoms that contain more grease than your hair." She stalked around the table. "I'll just sit right here."
The entire group watched dumbfounded as she took Sandy's seat and pulled out her glasses, picking up the contract to rifle through.
"Sue!" Will cried, horrified. "You can't sit in on this-you have nothing to do with my team."
"Nothing to do with it? If I had feelings, I'd be insulted," Sue scoffed as she threw the contract at Will. "My pompom budget was cut by $4,000 for this," she jerked her thumb towards Finn. "Lump of cottage cheese's signing bonus."
"Sue, enough," Sandy said, clearly appalled. "Mr. Hudson is not a lump of anything." He looked at Finn in apology. "Please, sit down and let's see if we can't come to an agreement."
Finn looked at Santana, his eyes pleading with hers. She heaved a disgusted sigh and walked back towards the table.
"I'm assuming you've already deducted the cost of replacing that glass wall?" Sue asked Sandy. "I can still see where Tubs smashed his ugly mug."
"Sue!" Will shouted as he ran his hands through his hair. "Enough! Just let Miss Lopez talk."
"Thank you Coach," Santana said, ignoring the other woman in the room. She grabbed the contract and began going line by line. "Signing bonus is fine but let's see if we can't come to an agreement about what my client should get for a minimum of 50 catches."
"Now wait one minute Juggs," Sue exclaimed, slamming her hands on the table. "You think Herman Munster over there deserves a bonus for catching a ball?" She turned to Sandy and continued her tirade. "I'm appalled that my girls have to suffer so he can afford to buy more shirts that make him look like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever."
"Ten thousand," Sandy shot out, ignoring Sue.
"Fifteen," Santana countered, ignoring Finn's pinch to her leg.
"Thirteen," Jesse said, holding out his hand to stop Sandy from speaking.
"Thirteen five," Santana negotiated coolly.
"Done," Sandy blurted out. "Make the change," he hissed at Jesse who noted the change with a shake of his head.
"Anything else Miss Lopez?" Jesse asked as he looked across the table.
"As a matter of fact-" she began only to be interrupted by Sue.
"Speed it up Boobs McGee, I've got a press conference in twenty and I can't leave here until I know my budget has been fully restored." She turned to Sandy. "Plus I want a fog machine."
"You can't have a fog machine on the field!" Will cried.
Sue gave him a bored look before turning back to Sandy. "I'll expect it to arrive next week so we can begin practicing with it."
"Hey aging Madonna wanna be," Santana said sweetly. "If you'd shut up and let me finish you'd be back for your little local press conference," she continued coolly once she had Sue's attention. "With plenty of time to spare. You'd even have time to get a haircut from this decade."
"Watch it Juggs," Sue threatened, leaning forward on the table. "I'll take you down faster than it takes the room to clear at the Christmas party when Sandy starts singing his medley of Abba's greatest hits."
Not intimidated, Santana crossed her arms and stared at Sue. "Look you-"
"Can I have a minute?" Finn asked the room, finally bringing the focus back to him. "Just me and Santana," he clarified.
"Sure," Will replied, looking around the room and seeing nods from everyone but Sue.
"I'm not moving," Sue announced, lifting her track suit encased legs and crossing them on the table before she pulled her glasses off. "He probably wants to talk about the Flight Crew clause."
"The Flight Crew clause?" Finn repeated nervously.
"Yes, the clause that states that you will not associate with my crew in any way, shape or form," she said as she linked her hands behind her head. "Can't have that stench of loser that's always wafting from Schuester's locker room get within sniffing distance of my girls. You so much as breathe near my Flight Crew and I'm allowed to pistol whip you."
"Sue," Will interjected, a warning evident in his tone. He turned to Finn. "You can talk to the Flight Crew Finn," he explained. "We just have a no dating policy in place."
Finn nodded as he processed the information then turned to face Sue. "That's not what I want to talk about."
"Fine," Sue said as she swung her legs back to the ground. "You have five minutes."
"Take as long as you need," Will corrected as he led everyone from the room.
Finn waited until the door closed before turning to Santana. "I told you not to turn this into a circus. I just want to sign."
"And you will," Santana predicted. "As soon as they do what I want."
"Who cares how many starts I'm guaranteed? This is the only place I'll even consider playing," Finn retorted.
"Which is exactly why you need me to represent your dumb ass. I want to rework one more clause then I'll let you sign," she said as she patted his arm. "If they go for it, you sign."
"I'm signing even if they don't," he warned her as he stood, striding over to the door to open it. "Uh, we're good. You can come back now." He went and sat down as the others filed back in.
"Are you ready to sign now?" Jesse asked. "I reprinted those clauses we changed."
"Just one more thing," Santana replied. "Twenty thousand if he gets picked for the Pro Bowl."
Sandy worried his top lip between his teeth as he looked to Will. When Will nodded slowly, Sandy gave his answer. "Absolutely."
"Is that it?" Jesse asked Santana. He watched her nod and stood back up. "I'll reprint that, go ahead and look over the rest."
"I am appalled by this," Sue declared. "Simply appalled. This is worse than the time I was forced to witness Sandy's one man show of Cabaret."
"It's not your team Sue," Will commented tiredly.
"That's right-my Flight Crew actually wins awards in this league unlike yours," she sneered. "Maybe you should try spending less time fixing your hair and more time making plays that work."
Jesse reentered the room quickly and reclaimed his seat, causing the room to quiet as he slipped the contract across the table again. "Just sign where the X's are," he explained again.
"Hold on there, Hudson," Santana said as she placed a hand on her hand on his arm preventing him from signing.
Finn paused and looked at her, pen still poised in his hand. "What?"
She looked over a clause and nodded. "Just making sure everything was changed, including the number of starts," she said with a smile as she noticed the number had increased.
"We good?" he muttered under his breath.
"Go ahead and sign it," she told him calmly.
Finn placed the pen over the paper, aware that four sets of eyes were on him as he signed his name, officially becoming a New York Jet. He pushed the papers back to Jesse as Sandy clapped in delight and Will offered his hand.
"Welcome to the team son," Will said with a grin.
"Thanks Coach," Finn smiled as he shook the other man's hand.
"This love fest over Herman here makes me want to hurl more than the sight of your hair William," Sue announced as she stood. She fixed Finn with a glare, pointing between her eyes and him. "I'll be watching you. You better hope my budget gets restored or I'm gonna be on you like a cheap suit."
Finn gulped, wondering what he'd done to piss her off so much. He couldn't hate her though, since he supposed she had been the one to hire Miss December.
"Walk with me Ryerson," Sue commanded as she strode from the room, certain he'd follow.
Finn looked to Santana who was shaking hands with Will and Jesse. He repeated her gesture, telling Will that he looked forward to working with him. He followed Santana to the door and out down the hallway, waiting until they were almost exiting the stadium to speak.
"Ok, you're a kick ass agent," Finn admitted as they walked to the limo.
"I know," she said on a laugh. "Stick with me Hudson, I won't steer you wrong."
"You just care about your commission," he teased.
"Doesn't hurt," she quipped as the driver opened the door for her. She slipped inside and settled in, prepared to gloat more on the way to the office.
Finn paused outside the door, turning back to look at the stadium he'd now call home. A car door closing shook him out of his thoughts and he turned to see who else was there. His eyes fell on a bright red Fiat in the lot, and drew a sharp breath when he saw the person walking away from it.
He smiled as he looked at her, reluctantly climbing in the car as Santana snapped out his name. He kept his gaze on Miss December through the limo window until she entered the stadium.
Ignoring Sue's warnings about the Flight Crew, his mind set to work plotting possible ways to meet her. He just wanted to talk to her, to see if her voice was as sexy as he thought it would be. Maybe he could ask her what lip balm she used to make her lips so smooth, since his were always so chapped. And of course, he'd probably have to feel for himself how soft the lip balm made her lips.
His eyes closed at the thought, a small smile on his face.
"You grinning like a fool at the awesomeness the Jets offered you?" Santana asked.
"Yeah, something like that." He closed his eyes again, wondering if Santana could've negotiated it so that Miss December could be his personal cheerleader. With her cheering him on, there'd be no questions about his ability to start an entire season.
He guaranteed it.
A/N: Kicking off a new fic just in time for the Jets opening day! Thanks for the read and please feel free to review :)
I have to say thanks a million to mida212 who has dealt with almost daily emails and messages on twitter about this fic since April-yikes! If you laughed, it's because of her :)