hi! this was previously posted on my tumblr in parts BUT if you're thinking 'why would i read this again i've already read this' i've added several new parts in order to hopefully flesh it out more :)
this is for kerry, who requested that rachel be waitress at ellen's stardust cafe in new york city and that finn is coerced into going and meeting her :)
also for mary gael who assured me this entire thing wasn't pointless and dumb sounding!
you've got such a music box song
It definitely wasn't his idea to come here. He didn't even know this place existed until Kurt had burst into his apartment at 4:30 in the afternoon and exclaimed that he had just found the cutest restaurant and insisted that Finn come along.
So that's how Finn now finds himself in the middle of Ellen's Stardust Diner in Times Square, hoping to God he doesn't see anyone he knows. This just isn't exactly his scene, to say the least.
For one, everyone who works here sings. Like, a lot. They've only been seated for about five minutes, and three people have already burst into song. Kurt's completely delighted, but Finn's a little embarrassed, to be honest. What if they start making the customers sing along? Sure, he sings in the car and in the shower, but he's not really one for singing in public.
"Isn't this fabulous?" Kurt says excitedly, his eyes practically lighting up as he leans across the table.
"Um…" Finn doesn't really want to lie to his brother, so he just kind of leaves it at that, pretending to read the menu.
Thankfully, he doesn't have to say anything else, because their waitress appears.
"I'm so sorry for any holdup," she says, and Finn glances up at her to say that it's no problem, only he doesn't get to say anything, because the words kind of die in his throat.
Their waitress is like super pretty, but not in a traditional way, which is actually Finn's favorite kind of pretty. She has long, wavy, dark hair that comes down past her shoulders, and a smile that's dazzling and white and kind of like, touches his soul. (He makes a mental note not to say that out loud, because that could probably come off as kind of creepy.) She looks like she walked out of an actual 1950's diner, and he figures that's good, because they are sitting in a replica of one.
"I'm Rachel," she continues, and oh God the angel has a beautiful name to match, "and, on behalf of Ellen's Stardust diner, I'd like to welcome you today, and we really hope you have an enjoyable experience!"
She winks at Finn, and he gives her small smile in return.
Kurt, on the other hand, lets out a high pitched squeal, clapping his hands excitedly.
"Is this your first time at Ellen's?" Rachel asks, and Finn really hopes he's not just imagining that her gaze tends to linger on him as opposed to Kurt.
"Yes, and we're very excited," Kurt says, looking at Rachel intently.
"Well, I'm glad!" Rachel declares. "Now, have you boys decided what I can get for you?"
Finn just stares at her, so many less than appropriate thoughts running through his head, until he feels a kick to his shin under the table. He snaps out of his thoughts and catches Kurt's glare. Crap. He totally knows what Finn was thinking. It's really freaky how he does that.
Hurriedly, Finn looks down at the menu, scrambling to find something to order.
"I'll have the June Cleaver's house salad and a strawberry daiquiri," Kurt says, like he's ordered off this menu a million times.
"Excellent choices," Rachel notes with another smile, scribbling down the order on her notepad. She turns to Finn, looking at him expectantly.
He clears his throat, and then he orders the first thing he sees on the menu. "Would you recommend the, uh, the Philly cheese steak?"
"Oh, I'm actually a vegan," Rachel says with an apologetic smile, and she must notice the way Finn's face falls, because she adds, "but I've heard great things about it! It's really good; we have numerous testimonials." She punctuates this with another bright smile, and Finn can't help but return it.
"I'll just have that, then, and a plate of fries," he says.
She nods, taking down his order, her tongue sticking adorably out the side of her mouth, and then she adds, "And to drink?"
"Just a coke, thanks." He really hopes he doesn't sound as stupid as he feels.
"Alrighty, I will get that right in for you," Rachel says, tucking her notepad in her apron. Just then, the music changes, and a slow smile spreads across her face. "But first, I have a song to perform." She pulls a microphone out of her apron pocket, winking as she says, "Excuse me, boys," before climbing onto their table.
Kurt looks like Christmas has come early the moment Rachel opens her mouth and begins to sing, but all Finn can do is stare, mouth hanging wide open. She really, honestly, truly has the best voice he's ever heard. And he's not an expert or anything, but he's pretty sure she's one of the best out of, like, everyone who's ever sung.
She's singing "Love Potion No. 9," which Finn's mom used to dance around to in the kitchen when he was little, and her rendition blows the original out of the water. She gets really into her performance, and he can practically feel every note emanating from her, and he knows that connections like the one he's currently feeling toward her probably aren't normal. Her voice just touches him; he doesn't know how else to explain it. He can't help but feel drawn to her.
Once Rachel's number finishes, everyone claps, and she takes a little curtsy, her skirt flaring out a bit. (He doesn't mean to look, but yes, he does get a flash of her underwear. It's white and covered in gold stars and somehow he just feels like it's kind of perfect for her personality, which is a weird thought to have when he barely even knows her.)
He offers her his hand, and she gives him another smile as she takes it, dismounting from the table. He feels a little spark when her skin touches his, and he wonders if she felt it, too.
(He probably imagined it.)
"I'll go put your order in," she says with a little wink, and then she heads toward the kitchen.
"Well, she was rather magnificent," Kurt says, giving Finn a knowing look.
Finn swallows before shrugging, trying to feign indifference.
Kurt just smirks, seeing right through his little act, but he doesn't press the matter. He just says how this is practically the talent they would see in a Broadway show for an extremely reduced price, and Finn nods and tries to pay attention, but honestly, he's too busy daydreaming about their waitress, and her wide brown eyes that shine when she sings.
He's been thinking about her for three days straight. The guys at the station have been teasing him mercilessly (Puck especially) because apparently he looks like some sort of lovesick puppy walking around.
Finn knows that's ridiculous, though. He can't be a lovesick puppy when he's only known this girl for three days and talked to her for a grand total of five minutes. Things just don't work that way.
"Dude, you just need to bone her, for all of our sakes," Puck says, pulling up his suspenders on the other side of him.
"I barely even know her, okay," Finn says with a roll of his eyes. "It's – it's not even a thing."
"But you want it to be," Puck says knowingly. "You might barely know the girl, but you want to."
Finn supposes he doesn't really have an answer for that, so he just doesn't say anything.
"Look," Puck tells him knowingly, "you just need to go up to her, take her out on a date or something, and then fuck her. And then you can move on with your life and we won't have to see you walking around in here like you're in some daydream land. It's seriously getting to point where it's making me and the guys uncomfortable."
Puck's smirking, so Finn knows he's kidding. He slugs him in the arm, shaking his head. "Sure, man," he says, "whatever."
Puck grins, clapping Finn on the back. "See you out there, man. Let me know when the old Huddy decides to show his face, alright?"
Finn nods, says he will. But in reality, he knows he doesn't want to just fuck her and move on with his life. That's what Puck does; that's not the way Finn works.
He really wants to get to know this girl. He just has this feeling she's something special. He can't explain it; he just does.
He knows then what he has to do: He has to go back. He has to see her at least one more time.
Finn finds himself going back to Ellen's the next week, this time without Kurt. He feels weird at first, sitting at a table by himself, and there's a chance that Rachel might not even be his waitress, or that she might not even be working, but… he just had to come back. There was something about her, and he hasn't been able to get her out of his head.
He opens his menu, skimming it to see what he can try this time.
"Well, hello, stranger!"
He looks up to see Rachel's blinding smile, her eyes twinkling. "Back again already?"
He swallows, nodding. "Yeah, I, uh, I had a really nice time the other day."
Rachel eyes him, her lips pursed. "Really? Because I had a feeling your friend kind of dragged you along with him."
Finn feels himself blush. "My brother, actually. Kurt. And, uh, he kind of did, but I liked it, truly. I mean you… you can really sing, Rachel."
Rachel smiles, and he thinks he might be able to see every one of her bright, white teeth. "Well, thank you very much, erm…"
"Finn," he supplies. She looks momentarily confused, so he adds, "My name's Finn, by the way."
"Well, Finn," and his name sounds ten times better when she says it, "thank you." He thinks a light blush is tainting her cheeks. "Now, have you decided what I can get for you?"
It should be known that Finn is terrible at flirting. Like, God awful. Actually, he kind of sucks at talking to girls in general, but he figures that this time, things might be different, because he's never taken a liking to a girl right away like he has with Rachel.
"Actually," he says after he clears his throat, "I have a question for you."
Rachel's eyes are wide and earnest. "Sure, go ahead!"
"I was, uh, wondering if the, uh, if the Rachel's Mac and Cheese was named in honor of you."
There's a beat, and he's sure that his attempt at humor fell flat and she thinks he's a complete idiot, but then Rachel laughs, her laugh loud and beautiful, and he's pretty sure she's not laughing at him, so he chuckles a bit himself.
"Oh no," she says in between giggles, and she's definitely blushing now, "I can't say that I'm that important, to have a dish named after me."
Finn just smiles at her, trying not to sound completely stupid as he says, "Well, I don't see why there wouldn't be a dish named after you. You seem pretty extraordinary to me."
Rachel's cheeks grow redder, and she bites her lip. "Are you flirting with me, Finn?"
Finn feels his own cheeks pink. "I, uh…" She doesn't look angry at the possibility; her eyes are actually kind of sparkling, so he thinks that's a good thing. "Maybe I am."
She just giggles, shakes her head lightly before putting her pen back to her pad of paper. "But seriously, what would you like to order?"
He doesn't even hesitate, and he says, with more confidence then he's probably ever said anything to her, "I'll have Ryan's chicken pot pie."
"Ah," Rachel says, her eyes shining even more brightly, "now that one is named after one of the wait staff."
He narrows his eyes. "You're mocking me."
She just gives him a flirty little grin. "Coke to drink?"
He nods, handing her his menu. "You know me too well."
"I'll go put that right in for you." She leaves then, and he swears she even shakes her hips a little bit as she goes.
And, if he's not mistaken, he thinks he might have just successfully flirted with her. And, crazily enough, she might just be interested.
He drums his fingers against the table, looking around the restaurant. A waiter a few tables down is dancing on the tabletop with one of the other waitresses, twirling her around. Finn wonders if Rachel ever duets with anyone, or if she just sings "Love Potion No. 9." He makes a note to ask her.
He sees her waiting on a customer three tables away, apparently listening intently as she jots down their order. She seems to sense him staring, because she looks over and gives him a small smile.
He's a little embarrassed that he's been caught; his heart pounds against his ribcage. It's strange how he barely knows her, yet she has this completely profound effect on him.
She doesn't sing while he's there, and he's a little disappointed by that fact, but the food is really good, and he at least spoke to her, so he figures that's progress. (He really wanted to hear her voice again, though. He's convinced she really does have the voice of an angel.)
She asks if he wants dessert, and he says he couldn't possibly, but she just smiles and says she'll give him a slice of cheesecake on the house.
"Are you supposed to be giving away free desserts?" he teases.
She shrugs. "Not explicitly, no."
"Do you often give away free cheesecake, then?"
"Actually, you'd be the first."
Finn raises his eyebrows. "What, you'd break the rules for me?" He shakes his head, letting out a small laugh. "I'm nothing special."
Rachel tilts her head, looking at him curiously. "It's strange, but… I have a feeling that you are special, Finn. You just don't give yourself enough credit."
"You don't even know me," he points out.
"No," she allows, giving him a small smile, "I suppose I don't." She pauses, then adds, "I'll be back with your cheesecake."
He sighs as she leaves, running a hand over his face. It's crazy, isn't it, how he feels so connected to her when they barely know each other? Then why doesn't it feel that way?
She comes back a few minutes later with his cheesecake and the bill, and there's something different about her smile this time. Something more.
She tells him to have a nice day, and he furrows his brow as she leaves. He opens the folder containing the bill, and then he smiles.
Seven numbers are clearly printed at the bottom, along with the name Rachel Berry, followed by a gold star.
It takes him three days to summon up enough courage to finally call her. His hands are shaking when he finally picks up his phone, typing in the number he's practically memorized, he's studied it so much over the past few days. He takes a deep breath, looks it over one last time, then presses send.
A dial tone sounds in his ear. He's holding his breath, listens to the tone one, twice, three, four, five times. Then, there's a click, and then Rachel's voice finally fills his ear.
"Hi, you've reached Rachel Berry, future Broadway star. I can't come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and your number if I don't already have it, I'll be sure to get back to you! Have a lovely day!"
He sighs. Great. It's her voicemail.
The tone sounds, and he shakily begins to leave a message. "Um, h-hey, Rachel, this is…" He clears his throat. "This is Finn, from, uh, from the diner the other day?" God, he already sounds stupid. "But you left me your number on my bill, so…" He awkwardly trails off, swallows. He can do this. "I was hoping that maybe, you would…" He just needs to say it. "Maybe you would, I don't know, wanna get a – a coffee or something, sometime." He clears his throat again, and he wants to bang his head against the kitchen table. He sounds like an idiot. "Um, anyway, this is Finn, again, and you can reach me at 555-7893. I really hope to hear from you. So, um, bye."
He groans after he hangs up, running a hand through his hair. I really hope to hear from you? He sounded like a jackass.
The door to the apartment opens then, and Finn hears the click-clacking of Kurt's designer boots on the hardwood floor.
He sighs. "In here."
Kurt pokes his head into the room. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," he says, forcing a smile onto his face, "yeah, I'm fine, why wouldn't I be?"
Kurt just narrows his eyes, stepping farther into the room. "Finn, you are a terrible liar, so I suggest you just tell me what's going on."
Finn sighs, leaning back against the kitchen counter, running a hand over his face. "Um, you remember our waitress, when we went to that singing café a few weeks back?"
Kurt looks confused, but he nods.
"Well, I – I went back a couple of days ago."
"To the café?"
"I, um… I was interested in Rachel, okay?"
"The waitress," he clarifies.
Kurt raises his eyebrows. "So you went back?"
"Yeah," Finn says, and he knows this entire story probably sounds completely sad and pathetic. "I managed to get seated in her section, and we – we talked, or flirted, or whatever. And she's like, really talented, you know?" He sighs. "But anyways, she's totally awesome, and I'm kind of not, but she left me her number anyway, and I just called it, but I got her voicemail, and basically I sounded like a complete and total idiot and there's no way she'll call me back."
Kurt just stands there for a moment, his lips pursed, eyebrows still raised. "You went back to a singing café for a girl?"
Finn feels himself blush. "Yes," he mutters.
Kurt takes a few steps forward, and then he does the thing Finn's least expecting: he hugs him. Kurt's not exactly a 'public displays of affection' kind of person, so he's shocked to say the least.
Finn kind of awkwardly pats him on the back, and when Kurt pulls away, Finn swears he's crying a bit. He's totally freaked out.
"I'm so proud of you," Kurt says. "You willingly sat through not one but two musical meals!"
"For a girl!" Finn points out.
Kurt waves that aside. "Still, you didn't hate it, did you?"
Kurt just hugs him again.
Just then, Finn's phone begins to ring, and Finn hastily pushes Kurt off to pick it up off the kitchen table. His eyes widen as he sees Rachel's number flashing across the screen, and he mouths, "It's her," to Kurt.
"Well, answer it!" Kurt hisses.
Hastily, Finn hits the 'accept' button, fumbling as he presses the phone against his ear. "Hello?"
He thinks he could pass out; he forgot how lovely her voice was.
"This is Rachel."
"I know," he blurts out before he can stop himself. He really hopes she isn't just calling to tell him that he's a creep who needs to leave her alone. "I mean, I recognized your voice."
"Oh, well…" She giggles, so he figures that must be a good sign. "I was just returning your call! I barely missed you, you know. Or, well, I suppose you don't know. But I had five minutes left in my shift when you called, so obviously I couldn't pick up."
"Oh, I hope I wasn't, like, a bother…"
"Oh, no!" Rachel assures him, and Finn's suddenly hyperaware of Kurt's presence in the room. He's pretending to be expecting something on the fridge, but he knows he's listening in. He tries his best to turn away so that maybe he won't hear everything. "I was just letting you know that I wasn't avoiding you or anything."
"Well, that's good," Finn says, and he can't help but smile.
He hears Rachel laugh again, and then all he can hear on the other line is the sound of her breathing. He presses his phone closer to his ear, waiting for her to speak again.
Finally, she says, "So was there a reason you called me, or…"
He could kick himself. "Oh, um, yeah! Yeah, there was, actually…" His heart is pounding in his chest, thumping against his ribcage, and his palms are sweating. She makes him so nervous, and he's not even sure why. She's just – she's amazing. And he hasn't even known her for very long.
"You mentioned something about getting a coffee?" she prompts.
He lets out a sigh of relief. "Yeah! I mean, I kind of know a great little place if – if you're interested…"
"I'm interested," Rachel says quickly. He can almost imagine her biting her lip as she adds, "I mean, I would love that. When would you want to go?"
He does a little fist-pump in the air, because he just successfully asked out Rachel Berry, turning around to see Kurt watching him in amusement. "Um, when are you free?" he asks.
"Well, I don't work tomorrow…"
"Does two o'clock work for you?" His heart's still pounding.
"Great," he breathes.
Kurt clears his throat, so Finn adds, "I'll, uh, I'll text you the address later?"
He laughs a bit, adds that he'll see her tomorrow one last time, and then he hangs up.
"Well?" Kurt asks expectantly.
Finn bites his lip, trying (but most likely failing) to hide his grin. "I have a date tomorrow."
Kurt squeals, jumping up and down excitedly, clapping his hands, and Finn's not sure if he should be happy due to this reaction, or offended, because Finn has been on dates before. Sure, it's been a while, but surely it hasn't been that long.
"Oh, Finn, I'm so happy for you! And she's quite different from other girls you've dated! She has taste for one!"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Finn asks, narrowing his eyes, because it's not that he disagrees; he just feels like it's an insult.
Kurt looks at him like the answer is completely obvious. "Broadway, Finn."
Finn resists the urge to roll his eyes. "Yeah, well, we'll see how this date goes before you get too ahead of yourself."
"It's going to go swimmingly," Kurt says.
"You can't know that," Finn scoffs.
"Oh yes I can," Kurt says smugly, "because I'm helping you pick out your outfit."
Rachel's already sitting at the table at the little café when he arrives. She looks slightly anxious, biting her lip as she scrolls through her phone. He checks the time on his own phone to make sure he's not late; no, he's right on schedule.
She looks up then, and when she spots him, she smiles, wide and slow.
He can't help but smile back at her. He makes his way over to her table, and she stands when he gets there, wrapping her arms around his waist, hugging him tightly, catching him slightly offguard.
His heart swells as he somewhat hesitantly hugs her back. He feels like he knows her so well already; after their initial phone call yesterday, they've been texting back and forth ever since.
If he wasn't already falling for her, he certainly is now.
"This is a really cute place," Rachel says after they sit down, sipping from her own cup. He hasn't ordered yet, but he doesn't feel like he wants to. He just wants to sit here with her for a while, regardless of whether or not there's coffee.
"Yeah, I found it when I first moved here, and I've been coming here ever since."
"Not New York born and raised?" Rachel asks, a teasing glint in her eye.
He laughs, ducking his head a bit. "Nah. I'm from Ohio. But Kurt moved out here after high school, and he convinced me to come out here as well." He looks back up at her. "And I'm really glad I did."
Rachel blushes a bit, taking another sip of her coffee. Once she swallows, she says, "So you and your brother are really close then."
Finn smiles. "Yeah, I guess so. He's, uh, he's actually my stepbrother, but our parents got married when we were sixteen." He shrugs. "He feels like my real brother. We've been through a lot together."
Rachel's gaze is soft as she smiles at him over her cup.
"He actually insisted on picking out my outfit today, believe it or not."
Rachel snorts at that, and he thinks it's incredibly adorable.
"He's really into fashion," Finn adds in explanation. "He works for , believe it or not. And he was really taken by your voice the other day."
Rachel's eyes light up, and she leans forward slightly. "Really?"
He nods. "You're, like, really good, Rach. I mean, I may not be as musically educated as Kurt or whatever, but you've got the prettiest voice I've ever heard."
She blushes, biting her lip. "Oh, I don't know…"
"You really do," Finn says earnestly, and he takes a chance, ignoring the blood pounding in his ears, reaching across the table to rest his fingers gently on the back of her hand. "I mean it."
She just smiles. She doesn't move her hand. "You're really sweet, Finn," she says, her voice barely louder than a whisper.
"That's a good thing, right?" he asks, shooting her a little grin.
She bites her lip again, nodding. "A very good thing," she affirms.
He smiles wider. "Good."
A waitress comes by then, offering him a coffee, and he accepts gratefully, telling her he'll take it black.
"Black?" Rachel asks, wrinkling her nose. "I practically douse mine in sugar and cream!"
"Well, black's the only way to drink it," Finn tells her seriously, "otherwise it's not really coffee."
Rachel laughs, the sound of it kind of filling up the whole shop (as well as the tiny spaces in his heart), and things kind of progress from there.
He finds out that she has two dads, that she's lived in New York City her whole life, and that she just graduated from the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts in the spring with hopes to end up on Broadway. She's an only child – a fact she never really was concerned with growing up but now wishes may have turned out differently.
Basically, she's amazing, and he's still kind of confused as to why she agreed to go out with him. So, naturally, he asks.
She crinkles her brow in confusion. "Finn, you're… you're incredible, don't you know?"
He shakes his head. "I'm not though. I mean, I love my job, fighting fires, helping people, but I just…. I'm not really extraordinary. I'm just… ordinary"
Rachel moves her hand so it's on top of Finn's, lacing their fingers together. His heart pounds against his ribcage as she gently squeezes, giving him a small smile. "Finn, I agreed to go on this date with you because, within minutes of talking to you, I could tell that you're incredibly kind, generous, and completely oblivious to your charm and the affect you have on people. Don't worry," she adds, noting the confused look on his face, "it's incredibly cute." She takes in a breath, and he feels like she's looking past him and into his soul as she adds, "but I can also tell that you're so much more than that."
He stops breathing for a moment, but he recovers fairly quickly, shooting her a little grin, squeezing their joined fingers. "You think I'm cute?"
Her cheeks burn red, and she ducks her head. "Well, yes," she murmurs. "I'm glad that's what you got out of that."
"For the record," he says, and she looks back up at him, her brown eyes large and intent, "I think you're pretty cute, too."
If she keeps smiling the way she is, her smile is going to be permanently ingrained onto his memory. He doesn't think he'd mind in the least.
They stay at the coffee shop for another hour, discussing anything and everything, and he swears, bit by bit, he's falling head over heels in love with her.
She says she only lives a few blocks away, and he insists on walking her back to her apartment. She says he doesn't have to, but he says he wants to, and that's the end of that conversation. She calls him chivalrous, and he pretends he knows what that means. (He assumes it's a good thing.)
He follows her out of the café, his hand hooked around her elbow. She doesn't seem to mind the contact.
They arrive at her apartment complex all too soon, and he's unsure as to how he should say goodbye. Does she want to see him again? Because God does he want to see her.
"I had a really great time," Rachel says, curling a piece of hair around her finger as she smiles up at him. "Truly, Finn."
He smiles, taking her hand in his own. "Yeah?"
She nods. "Yeah."
"So…" He clears his throat. "Do you think you'd want to go out again sometime?"
"I think I would," she says, her eyes shining.
She laughs, swinging their hands back and forth. She's so adorable, with her wide smile, her eyes crinkled at the corners, that he just does it on impulse: He leans forward, pressing his lips against her cheek.
She's frowning as he pulls away, and immediately, he fears that he moved too fast. He's already ruined this before it's even really begun.
"Look, Rach, I'm really sor—"
"You missed," she says, cutting him off.
His brow furrows in confusion. "Um, what?"
She just smiles, taking a step closer to him. "You missed," she says again, slower this time. Then her fingers curl around his shoulder as she stands on her tiptoes to press her lips against his.
Kissing Rachel is kind of the best thing in the world. And he kisses her a lot now, because they're dating.
(Puck teases him about how the lovesick puppy look has been enhanced by ten, but honestly, Finn can't bring himself to care. He really, really likes Rachel, and he doesn't give a shit if that shows. She makes him happy, and he'd like to think that he makes her happy, too.)
Anyway, he really, really likes kissing her. She tastes like strawberries with a hint of vanilla, yet there's something incredibly Rachel about it all.
She's curled into his side, her feet underneath of her as his fingers comb through her hair. They're watching the first season of Friday Night Lights on Netflix, and he can feel her cheek press against his shoulder.
He glances down at her, running his fingertips lightly down her arm. She's watching the show intently, her mouth set in a slight frown, her eyelashes fluttering slightly.
She seems to know he's watching her, because she looks up at him, the corners of her mouth turning up. He smiles back at her, and then she tilts her head toward him, and he knows she wants a kiss. It's kind of crazy how he knows her so well already.
He complies, cupping her chin gently in his hand, leaning down and pressing his lips sweetly against hers. He feels her smile, and then her arms are snaking around his neck to hold him closer. He shifts so that he's pressing her against the couch, failing to bite back a groan as she slides her tongue into his mouth.
His hands settle on her waist and her fingers press against his shoulder blades, and he wonders if it's too soon to think he loves her. If he's not in love with her yet, he's certainly on his way.
"Rachel," he murmurs, but she just shushes him, pressing her lips against the hollow beneath his ear.
"Finn, I want…"
His breath catches in his throat, because he honestly didn't expect this to happen, at least not like this. It's not that he hasn't imagined it – because he definitely has – he just didn't think it would become a reality.
Rachel giggles, pressing a kiss against his nose. "Please, Finn," she whispers into his ear, and that's the only thing he needs to hear.
She squeals when he presses kisses against her jaw, down her neck. His fingers slip under her t-shirt, pressing against the smooth skin of her stomach, and he feels her breath hitch at his touch.
"You're amazing, Rachel Berry," he whispers before sweeping the fabric over her head.
It only takes a few minutes for all the clothes to be shed, for her breathy moans to fill his apartment, for his hands to find her hips as he pushes into her for the first time.
She groans out his name, pressing her lips against his collar bone as he moves against her, and in that moment, he knows that he's already so in love with her, with every sound she makes, with every flutter of her eyelashes. He's already in so very deep.
Afterwards, she hooks her leg around his calf, pressing her head against his chest, listening to the beating of his heart.
"It's yours, you know," he tells her, playing idly with her hair.
Her nose crinkles in confusion, so he adds, "My heart. It's yours."
She smiles then, soft and slow, splaying her fingers against the left side of his chest. "Yeah?" she asks.
"Well, I'm pretty sure you've had mine since the day we met," she tells him, drawing little circles on his skin.
He presses a kiss against her forehead, gently squeezing her shoulder.
"Rachel?" he asks.
"Do you… do you believe in love at first sight?"
She doesn't answer for a few minutes. "I didn't used to," she says finally. "But then… I don't know, there was something about you from the first time I met you. Something… more. And I don't know if it was love then, but… but I certainly think it is now."
She peeks up at him shyly, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear.
"Why?" she asks. "Do you?"
"Not until you," he tells her.
She grins, pressing a kiss against his chin. "Good answer," she whispers.
"It's the truth."
"I know," she murmurs in return, but before he can reply, she's already straddling his waist, pressing her mouth insistently against his.
She's in the kitchen when he gets home from a 48 hour shift, and he can smell something Italian wafting through the apartment.
"Babe?" he calls. "I'm home!"
She pokes her head out of the doorway, a wide smile on her face. "Hi!"
He smirks, noting that she's wearing his favorite skirt and sweater ensemble under her apron. "Hi. What're you making?"
"Your favorite lasagna!" she says exuberantly. "I know you've been working hard, especially this month, so I wanted to do something extra special for you."
He smiles, because she's actually the best, and he follows her into the kitchen, catching her from behind and wrapping his arms around her, burying his face in her hair.
"I love you so much," he tells her, pressing a kiss against her neck.
She laughs, swatting at him lightly. "There'll be time for that after dinner!" she admonishes, but she turns her head so she can give him a proper kiss.
He tugs at her apron strings, pushing her back against the counter, prying her mouth open with his tongue. He's just about to lift her up onto the counter so he can kiss her more easily, when she pushes him away, an eyebrow raised.
"Finn, I have been slaving over this lasagna for you! I am not about to let it burn because you're horny!"
He pouts, so she adds, "Later, I promise," before shooing him out of the kitchen.
He sighs, but he complies, plopping down onto the couch, turning on ESPN. It's a good thing he really does love her lasagna.
(And probably a good thing that he loves her even more.)
His palms are sweating. He wipes his hands on his jeans, knowing Kurt will yell at him if he leaves streaks, but honestly, he's just so fucking nervous. And when he's nervous, he sweats. Kind of a lot. So he's wiping his hands on his pants, hoping they don't leave streaks because honestly, he doesn't need for anything to go wrong.
This is a really big deal, after all. It's not every day that you propose to the girl of your dreams.
Finn and Rachel have been dating for about a year now, and Rachel got her big break on Broadway about six months ago. She keeps insisting it's not that big of a break – she's playing a supporting character in this new play that just debuted – but Finn knows it kind of is. It's a foot in the door, at least.
Anyway, they've been dating for about a year, living together for a little over seven months, and things are going really well. Ridiculously well, even. Like he's head over heels in love with her and he knows that she's the girl he wants to be with for the rest of his life.
So here he is, in the kitchen of Ellen's Stardust Diner, about to propose to Rachel Berry.
Kurt's taking her here for a "reminiscent visit," so hopefully she has no idea this is coming. She stopped working here a few months ago, after the Broadway thing took off, but she still kept in contact with a lot of the wait staff, so while she was taking a bath about a week ago, he copied a few numbers down from her phone. He informed the staff of his plan, and they agreed to help him.
"This is so romantic," Shelly, one of the waitresses, whispers to Finn, her fingers pressing against his arm as her eyes shine excitedly. "I don't think there's ever been a proposal at Ellen's before! Well," she amends, her expression becoming pensive, "definitely not one like this."
Finn swallows, offering her a nervous smile. "Thanks," he manages to get out. He kind of feels like he's going to puke, honestly.
"They're here," Michael, another waiter, reports as he scurries back into the kitchen. "Rachel and your stepbrother, at the table you requested." He seems to note Finn's panicked expression, because he adds, "Are you sure you're okay? You look like you might be sick."
Finn nods, trying to smile, but grimacing instead. "Fine," he says, somewhat unconvincingly.
"You know she's gonna say yes, right?"
Finn smiles for real. "Well, I hope she does."
"She will," Shelly says confidently. "She loves you."
"Yeah," Finn says, smiling wider, and he's not quite as nervous anymore. "Yeah, she does." He takes a deep breath, looking around at the wait staff. "Well, let's get this show on the road."
Michael smiles, and he goes over to the box that has the controls for the audio system in it, looking back at Finn for the signal. Finn, for his part, goes over to the double doors, giving Michael a thumbs up before pushing through them.
He grips the microphone in one hand, holding it close to his mouth as he begins to sing. "You're just too good to be true / Can't take my eyes off of you." He makes his way toward the table where Kurt and Rachel are sitting, by the window, the setting sunset casting an orange glow. Rachel's frowning as she looks at the menu. "You'd be like heaven to touch / I wanna hold you so much." Kurt gives him a small, encouraging smile, then nudges Rachel will his fingertips.
She looks up, sees Finn, and gasps. "Finn? What…" Her brow furrows in confusion.
He just winks, making his way to the table. "At long last love has arrived / And I thank God I'm alive / You're just too good to be true / Can't take my eyes off of you."
He stops right in front of the table. Rachel still looks confused, and he doesn't think she's ever heard him sing outside of the comfort of his car, but she's smiling, so he figures that's a good sign.
"I love you, baby, and if it's quite alright / I need you baby, to warm the lonely night / I love you, baby / Trust in me when I say…" He takes Rachel's hands in his own, kneeling on the ground in front of her. He's aware that everyone around them is staring, but he doesn't pay them any attention. He just focuses on Rachel, her little smile, and her wide, brown, probing eyes. "Oh, pretty baby, don't bring me down I pray / Oh, pretty baby, now that I've found you, stay / And let me love you, baby, let me you."
The music fades out, and Rachel's eyes are glistening. Is it a bad thing if she cries, or would this be the good kind of crying, like when she cried at the end of Across the Universe when they watched it together? He really hopes it's the good kind.
"Rachel," he begins, her hand still in his own. His heart pounds against his ribcage, his blood against his ears. "A year ago, my stepbrother dragged me to the café, and I didn't know it then, but that was the day that changed my life forever." He smiles, running his thumb over her skin. "It's the day I met you."
A tear slips down her cheek, but she smiles, wiping it away with her other hand. Yeah, he thinks they're the happy kind.
"I knew I had to get to know you, so I came back, and you gave me a chance," he continues, and now her hand comes up to cover her mouth as she starts to cry harder, "and I didn't know how I could get so lucky. You're amazing, Rachel, the most amazing girl I've ever met. And I'd just feel impossibly luckier if you'd agree to be my wife. So what do you say, Rachel Berry?"
Finn hears Kurt squeal behind him, hears the ladies at the table next to him audibly gasp, but he's firmly focused on Rachel.
"Oh, Finn," Rachel murmurs through her tears. "Of course I will!"
He hardly dares to believe it. "You – you will?"
Rachel nods, throwing her arms around him. "Yes, I will marry you!"
He laughs, standing up and hugging her tightly. The restaurant bursts into applause, someone (Michael, he suspects) wolf-whistling. He pulls back so he can press his lips against his, and he can taste the salt of her tears.
"These are happy tears, right?" he asks, just to be sure.
She grins, kissing him again. "The happiest," she promises.
Finn joins Rachel and Kurt for their meal after that, Rachel's new engagement ring sitting prettily on her finger (after Finn had dug the box out of his pocket and shakily put it on her). Rachel's just started in on her cheesecake when she turns to him, interrupting Kurt's rant about possible color schemes.
"You know," she says, "I always thought I was the lucky one, to have a guy like you interested in a girl like me."
Finn smiles, taking his fork and stealing a piece of her cheesecake. "Maybe we were both lucky," he allows. "Or maybe it was fate. Like we were meant to be together all along."
Rachel smiles. "I like the idea of that. Fated from the beginning, you and me."
He grins when she leans over to kiss his cheek.
"You two are disgusting," Kurt says, but he's smiling, so Finn knows he doesn't really mind.
He supposes he kind of has Kurt to thank for all of this, after all.
Kurt thinks that they should get married at Ellen's, but Rachel immediately disagrees.
"Why not?" Kurt asks, looking crestfallen. "It would be the romantic icing on the sickeningly sweet cake that represents yours and Finn's relationship!"
"Because," Rachel says, flipping a page of her bridal magazine (they totally have those all over the apartment now; Finn thinks it's adorable), "he already proposed there, and that in itself was perfect. There are already so many memories there, and I'll already think on it fondly because it's where we met, and basically where we fell in love, and obviously where he asked me to marry him."
"But that's why you should!" Kurt insists. "Finn, don't you think so?"
Finn's eyes widen, and he looks between his fiancée and his brother. "Um, I'm fine with whatever Rach wants, Kurt," he says quickly, and Rachel leans over to pat his hand.
Kurt hmphs in disapproval. "I should've known you'd side with her."
Finn shrugs. "Well, yeah, I mean she is my fiancée. And she kind of has more to offer than you do, especially when it comes to the art of persuasion."
"Gross," Kurt says, miming vomiting into his cup of coffee, but Rachel leans over to kiss Finn's cheek.
"But seriously, Rachel," Kurt presses, "why don't you want to get married at Ellen's?"
Rachel sighs. "Well," she says, "if you must know, it's kind of always been my dream to get married at the church my grandparents wed in."
Kurt's face softens, his demeanor completely changing. "That's so romantic!" he shrieks, clapping his hands together excitedly. "Oh, Rachel, that's kind of perfect! Where's the church?"
Rachel's eyes light up, and she begins to describe the church in detail to Kurt. Apparently it's just outside the city, and Kurt says they'll have to go out to see it right away.
Honestly, Finn doesn't care where they get married; he just cares that he's marrying Rachel.
They do get married in the little church just outside of the city, and Rachel looks beautiful in her strapless gown. Finn nearly stops breathing when he sees her, and Puck has to hit him on the back to keep him from choking due to lack of oxygen.
She's just so beautiful, and it's hitting him that he actually gets to spend the rest of his life with her.
She smiles then as she walks down the aisle toward him, her eyes already glistening with unshed tears, and he grins widely back at her, a sense of calm washing over him. He loves her, and she loves him, and today is the first day of the rest of his life.
Later, they sway on the dance floor, her head resting against his chest as she lets out a little sigh of contentment.
"Are you happy?" he asks, pressing his lips briefly against the top of her head.
"So happy," she assures him, looking up at him with a wide smile on her face.
"Good," he murmurs.
"Are you going to sing for me today?" she asks, a teasing glint in her eye.
He laughs, squeezing her side. "Maybe later," he tells her, "when we're alone."
She smirks, her fingers playing with the few hairs at the nape of his neck. "Good, because you have a lovely voice, Finn."
He snorts. "Not as lovely as yours."
She looks dubious, so he adds, "I fell in love with you the moment I heard you sing."
She grins then, standing on her tiptoes (even in her heels) to kiss his cheek. "Finn Hudson, I'm so glad Kurt dragged you to the café that day."
He just laughs, drawing her closer, hooking his fingers around her elbows. "Me, too," he says, resting his cheek against the top of her head. "That was the day that changed my life for the better."
"Mmm, mine too," she murmurs. "I'll have to thank Kurt."
"Later," Finn says, "because right now, you're mine."
She laughs. "I'm always yours, and I always will be."
He grins. He likes the sound of that.
thanks for reading!