a/n: So I've been avoiding the new fic I started because I just can't deal with anymore sadness or angst right now. But I have to write…so you're getting this one-shot. I came up with this idea while walking to work from the train the other morning. Too bad I didn't stumble upon my own Finn Hudson. I hope you enjoy because I'm absolutely in-love with this one-shot. Please let me know your thoughts.
He could still remember the first time he ever saw her.
It was a rainy Tuesday morning and she was doing this weird dance along Eighth Avenue to avoid the puddles that had formed along the sidewalk. He watched her, amused, as she bit her tongue in concentration and managed to navigate the tiny slivers of concrete that weren't covered in water. He was impressed. After half a block of tip-toeing she quickly ducked into a covered bus shelter and began brushing the droplets of water from her sleeves, her face breaking into a wide smile. She obviously was satisfied with balancing act
He'd been content to stand under the awning of some random building and watch the attractive brunette celebrate her accomplishment but of course his moment of amusement had to be interrupted. She had been looking down at what he assumed was her phone and she wasn't paying attention to her surroundings at all. A bus rumbled down the avenue and hit a large puddle perfectly, creating a wave of water that splashed against the girl, drenching her from head to foot. He watched as her eyes grew wide and she clenched her fists, anger radiating from the bus shelter. The moment he chose to laugh was the very moment she'd decided to notice he was there. She glared at his amusement and proceeded to march right over to him so she could chastise him for his rude behavior.
Instead he'd smirked at her eloquent vocabulary and finger wagging and kissed her. Full on the mouth. It wasn't his normal behavior at all; she just looked so adorable soaked in raindrops that he had to.
Her name was Rachel Berry, she'd said, and she was going to be a huge star on Broadway, she'd said. Neither one of them paid much attention to the rain as he followed her down 47th Street. She was already sopping wet and he didn't seem to care about much else than how her lips had felt against his.
"So, Finn Hudson, do you always kiss random strangers on the sidewalks of the Midtown/Hell's Kitchen border?" She raised an eyebrow at him and haphazardly spun around, using her umbrella for balance.
He tilted his face towards the sky and let the water fall against his skin. It was all completely out of character for him but he could've cared less. For the first time since he'd come to the city he felt like taking a chance and it made him feel alive. The only thing he knew about the tiny woman who walked next to him with dripping wet hair and wide doe eyes was that her name was Rachel. Other than that she was a complete mystery to him. She could have a boyfriend or even a husband. Maybe she was a lesbian. He hoped she wasn't a lesbian. The way she'd kissed him back didn't make him think she was a lesbian.
He grinned at her. "No…you're my first."
When she directed her smile only at him he felt like a million dollars. It didn't matter that it was still raining buckets; at that moment he felt like the sun was shining. He mentally patted himself on the back and silently congratulated himself for ignoring his gut for the first time in his life. Finn was a very 'by the books' kind of guy who went with the flow and rarely, if ever, let anyone down. He liked that he had a reliable reputation but, if he was being completely honest, it was exhausting. But it was different with Rachel Berry. She was a stranger…she didn't know about his past or overall hesitant personality. She didn't have to know about his demons or why he was in New York in the first place. He could be anyone he wanted to be. The prospect was intriguing.
"So what's your story?" Rachel asked, giving him a quick once-over. "You're obviously a transplant. I can smell it on you."
He laughed with a shake of his head and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "I'm not that easy to figure out." He pulled his left hand quickly back out of his pocket and glanced at his watch. "Well, I have to go. It was nice to meet you, Rachel Berry."
He started to walk away from her but her outraged shrieks caused him to stop. "Really? You kissed me back there and now you're just going to leave?" Her who face was distorted with bewilderment. "I don't know anything about you!"
He spun back around and shrugged his shoulders. "Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss."
The rain began to fall harder as he turned around and walked down the sidewalk away from Rachel. A smile spread across his face as he heard her groan with frustration. Oh yeah….nonchalant Finn Hudson was a total bad ass.
Apparently nonchalant Finn Hudson was also a complete douche bag. The next time he ran into Rachel had been on Ninth Avenue as she exited Pinkberry. Honestly, he hadn't even noticed her and the way that she'd bounced right into his chest indicated that she hadn't noticed him either. He did notice, however, that their collision had caused her to spill milky, pink frozen yogurt all over herself.
When she looked up and recognized who she had bumped into her eyes had rolled dramatically. "Oh you have got to be kidding me."
He grinned brightly at her and reached his finger out to swipe against the patch of yogurt-covered skin right below her collar bone. He licked the dessert from his finger and wagged his eyebrows at her. "Mmmm...strawberry. My favorite."
She clutched her empty dish in one hand and swatted him with the other. "Stop that! We can't keep running into each other like this. It seems like every time something disastrous happens to me you're never far away."
"Maybe I like running into you."
He catches that she smiles at him for a minute before she shakes her head and the familiar glare returns. "Well I can assure you that I most certainly do not appreciate running into you. You're conceited and presumptuous and…"
"Adorable?" He suggests.
Rachel giggled for a second but that was quickly replaced by her usual steely demeanor. "No!" She pulled a few tissues from her handbag and began blotting at the sticky mess she'd dumped on herself. "Can you just go? I have the worst luck around you and I really have somewhere I need to be."
He pursed his lips and bobbed his head. "I see. Well do you plan on going wherever you need to go covered in fro-yo?"
She scowled at his over-cheesy rhyme. "Cute. I had hoped not to, but I don't see how I really have any other choice now."
"Listen. I live right down the street. Why don't you come up really quick and you can get a wet towel or something to clean yourself up with? I kind of caused you to spill your yogurt all over yourself. It's the least I can do."
With his suggestion he felt a little more like himself and little less like the fictitious version of himself he'd created. His cockiness subsided as he watched Rachel standing in front of him, melting yogurt dripping from the bottom of her shirt to land on the sidewalk near her feet. She looked so small and so dejected and as much as he liked teasing her he couldn't be mean.
"Why would I go anywhere with you?"
He shrugged. "Because you want to?"
With that she agreed, her lips in a tight line as she followed him down the sidewalk.
Rachel's face was scrunched up as Finn unlocked the main door to his building. She looked up at the number on the brick structure and then took a step over the various piles of litter that had accumulated near the entrance.
"I don't think I've been this far west in the city before."
He laughed. No kidding. Her reaction was stereotypical Park Avenue behavior. He hadn't thought for a minute that Rachel Berry was the kind of girl who strayed any further west than Ninth Avenue, but at the same time why would she have to? "Upper East Side?"
She shook her head. "Tribeca."
Finn puckered his lips. "Downtown girl. I have to admit you had me fooled. I was pretty sure you had Madison Avenue written all over you."
She made a face at the pair of boxer shorts draped over the interior stair rail but looked in his direction out of the corner of her eye. "Well, I did go to high school on the Upper East Side."
He raised his fists in the air triumphantly. "Yes! I knew it. Hewitt?"
"That was my second guess."
She laughed. "I'm sure it was." She tiled her chin up to study the rickety, winding staircase. "So how many flights do we have to climb?"
He shrugged. "Just seven."
"Seven?" She repeated. "You live in a seventh floor walk-up? I didn't even know such things existed."
"I bet there are a lot of things you don't know exist, Princess." There it was. Cocky Finn had returned.
Rachel shook her head at him and started to climb the stairs. He followed behind her willingly, prepared to enjoy the view for the duration of their journey. As they reached the first landing she glanced at him over her shoulder and he didn't even attempt to be coy. He wagged an eyebrow at her and gestured for her to turn back around with his finger. She let out a throaty laugh and swung her hips suggestively as she continued her ascent.
By the time they reached the seventh floor Finn felt his boastful alter ego fully return. With every step they took he felt his jeans tighten. Apparently he wasn't the only one capable of teasing. Her swaying was slowly driving him insane.
"Is this it?" She asked, dropping her playful act immediately.
He groaned, hoping she couldn't hear, and adjusted himself through his jeans before stepping onto the landing beside her. "Welcome to my humble abode."
Finn unlocked the door and stepped into his apartment, holding the door open for Rachel. She took a few hesitant steps and he could tell she was judging him based on her new surroundings. He liked to describe his space as industrial and authentic when in reality it was sparse and shitty. There was plenty of exposed brick and duct work but there was also a kitchen with water that worked only when it wanted to and an electrical system that shorted out more often than not. Most of his furniture came from Craigslist or secondhand stores but it was his and it was better than the tiny studio in the East Village he'd gotten when he cared more about what other people thought of him.
Rachel spun around, her eyes darting everywhere from the chipped paint on the windows to the cat that laid on one of the couch's arm rests. He was prepared for her to bolt, more comfortable with the well-off atmosphere her Tribeca loft obviously afforded, but instead she dropped her purse onto his dining room table and looked at him expectantly.
His mouth opened to answer her but nothing came out. He gestured towards the room adjacent to where they stood instead and then followed her like a puppy dog. He watched as she immediately pulled the towel from the handle of the refrigerator and turned on the hot water. Luckily, it chose to work at that moment.
She babbled to him for a minute about the weather or some other nonsense he didn't pay attention to. He was distracted by the fact that she'd chosen that moment to lift her grey tank top over her head. She laid it against the counter and scrubbed it with the towel, apparently completely comfortable with the fact that she stood in his kitchen in only her baby pink bra and tight black pants.
After a few minutes she held the tank top up and smiled with satisfaction. "There. It shouldn't leave a stain." She spun around to face him and Finn felt all the blood drain from everywhere else in his body to take up residence in his groin. "What?"
With an audible groan he was instantly on top of her. He pressed his body against hers and ground his hips suggestively into her. His lips attached themselves to her neck and he sucked and licked at the spot right below her ear. He couldn't help it. She was entirely too sexy.
"Finn," she breathed. His libido increased at the sound of his name against her lips. "What are you doing?"
He grunted and ran his nose along her jaw. "Your fault." His lips found hers and he kissed her lightly, nipping at her bottom lip as his hands found her naked waist. He pulled her even tighter against him and continued his assault on her mouth. He ran his tongue against her lips and felt her immediately accept his invitation. He sighed, breathing her in, as his tongue slid against hers. He snaked his hands around her to back and let them travel towards her ass. He squeezed her through her jeans and she responded by winding her leg around his and rubbing herself against him.
He was going to die. The pleasure that radiated through his being was going to be the death of him. He was going to have to have 'Death by Rachel Berry' engraved on his tombstone.
Just as he prepared to find out if her underwear matched her bra she quickly pushed away from him and returned to the living room. He put his hands against the sink in an attempt to catch his breath and then followed her out of the room. She had already reclaimed her purse and had produced a dry tank top, not all that different from the one she'd been previously wearing, just a different color. She tugged it over her head and then turned to smile at him.
"Well thanks for letting me rinse out my shirt. I already appreciate the lower dry cleaning bill I'm bound to have."
He stared at her. Dumbfounded. Was she really going to walk out of his apartment just like that? He'd been almost positive that they were on the same page. He'd fallen for every one of her tricks and it seemed like she had taken a note out of his playbook. But she was going to leave him…high and dry.
"See you around, Finn."
He couldn't do anything else but watch her go.
She couldn't get Finn Hudson out of her mind. Who was this mysterious, smug man she kept running into? She didn't have any answers and she smiled to herself when she realized that she didn't want them. Rachel had never done anything just because she wanted to and there was no doubt that she wanted Finn. She could feel energy buzzing through her veins whenever he was around her and he made her feel like she was on fire, in the very best way.
She wondered what his story was, and there was obviously a story there. Where had he come from? What did he do? Why did he make her feel so alive? Her entire mind had been warped by a man she didn't even know. Being with Finn had reminded her just how lonely she was and how much her determined persona had interfered with her personal life. She didn't have a personal life, not really at least. Her entire focus was on the theater and the star she was destined to become. Sure, she might be stuck as an assistant musical director for the moment but it was only a matter of time before she was center stage, commanding the attention she deserved. Everyone had to pay their dues, right? It was just taking her a little longer than she'd thought.
Rachel pulled open the stage door at the Palace Theater and mumbled a quick hello to the security guard that sat near the entrance. She wound her way through the twisting back passageways of the theater, greeting those she passed on her way to the rehearsal space. The musical director, whose name was Brad, was seated behind the piano and was in the process of doing scales with the ten little girls that sat on the floor in front of him. While helping to wrangle a gaggle of preteen girls had never been her dream job she did have to admit that working on 'Annie' was fun. It was, however, rather disheartening to remember that the lead in the show was only twelve years old. When she'd been twelve years old she hadn't even been cast in her community theater's production of 'Annie'.
Don't get down on yourself, Rachel, she reminded herself. This isn't forever. You're making great contacts in the industry here. Something is bound to work itself out eventually. She slid down onto the chair next to the piano and flashed her best smile at the girls. It wasn't their fault that they were all already more successful than she was…and she was more than twice their age.
"Hey Rachel," one of the little girls called to her in a singsong-y voice. "There are flowers for you in your office."
Her head immediately snapped up. "Flowers? Are you sure they're for me?" No one ever sent her flowers.
The girl nodded. "Yup. They're yours. The guy who brought them said 'delivery for Rachel Berry' and then Brad took them and put them in your office."
She glanced at Brad in confusion. He just shrugged his shoulders and continued to play the piano. He raised his hand to get the attention of the girls and encouraged them to sing along. As their voices filled the small room Rachel popped up from her seat and took off down the hallway towards her office. There was no way she was going to be able to concentrate on getting the kids ready for their performance knowing there were flowers waiting for her.
As her footsteps echoed against the tile she racked her brain and she tried to think of who could possibly have sent her the sentiment. It seemed unlikely that either of her fathers' had done it. They'd never sent her flowers in the past so she couldn't think of any reason why they would start now. She didn't really have many friends due to her dedication to her career…plus, it wasn't any sort of special occasion that would warrant some sort of acknowledgment. But then realization suddenly washed over her.
She walked a little quicker towards her small office. They had to be from him…they just had to. She smiled a bit at what the flowers implied. He was thinking about her just as much as she was thinking about him.
Rachel unlocked her office using the key she produced from her pocket. Sitting on her desk was the most gorgeous display of green hydrangea, yellow and light pink roses, pink baby gerbera daisies, and green chrysanthemums she had ever seen. They sat perched in a perfect glass cylinder that was wrapped with a chartreuse taffeta ribbon and tied with a piece of pink raffia. A tiny, white envelope sat to the side of the arrangement and tears sprung to her eyes at the gesture.
She touched a pedal on one of the flowers and lifted the envelope into her hand. She slid her thumb under the flap on the back but paused before she could pull out the card to read. If they were from Finn how had he found her? She'd been careful to never reveal too much personal information about herself; it was obvious they didn't have that kind of relationship. Regardless, she was curious. She ripped the envelope open and pulled out the piece of white cardstock that had been inside.
It's amazing what you can learn on Google.
She found herself smiling as she flipped the card over in search of further instructions. There were none. She had to hand it to him. Finn Hudson, whoever he was, had her completely and utterly enthralled.
She plants herself outside the American Apparel store on Ninth Avenue. She pretends like she's perusing the eccentric clothing through the window when in actuality she's studying the people who pass her by, hoping for that flicker of recognition. She hasn't seen him in awhile and the flowers he'd sent her had long since wilted.
Rachel scuffed her shoe against the concrete. She liked the secrecy that her meetings with Finn possessed and found it thrilling that she really didn't know anything about this man she was strangely attracted to. It was refreshing to be completely inhibition-free around someone and only feel rather than let her head and her heart get involved. But she also found herself missing their run-in's. She hadn't been splashed by a truck or spilled frozen yogurt on herself in weeks. She sighed. She did know where his apartment was…she supposed she could just go over. But, then again, he also knew where she worked and hadn't made any attempt to contact her.
As if on cue, Rachel felt something warm and slimy slide against her shoulder. She made a face and turned her head to see what had landed against her skin. When she saw the definitive evidence of bird feces she tried her best not to gag. Silently she reached into her bag for some tissues but instead was distracted by the sensations of someone wiping at the defecation.
Her eyes landed against a t-shirt covered chest and immediately traveled upwards to study a familiar face. Finn. Of course it was Finn. He continued to wipe her shoulder with a handful of napkins while keeping his eyes locked solely on hers. She tried to ignore the way her stomach immediately began to turn in little flips and instead reached into her purse and produced a bottle of water. She took a couple of the napkins Finn held and sprinkled some water against them. She swiped the dampened paper over her skin and tossed it into a nearby trashcan.
"It's good luck, you know," he said as he continued to dry her skin with the napkins. "You should go play the lottery now or something."
She rolled her eyes. "I most certainly will not be throwing away my hard earned money on a game of chance."
Finn tossed the last of the napkins in the garbage and held his hands up to her in surrender. "Fine by me…it was just a suggestion. I'd just hate to see your one day of good luck go to waste."
She involuntarily licked her lips and studied the amber eyes that seemed to sparkle when they looked at her. His whole presence warmed her soul and she felt the urge to just attack him on the sidewalk. Granted that wouldn't be that far off from how their relationship (could she use that word?) had developed thus far, but she had to remain cool. Finn would undoubtedly be less than impressed if he discovered that, in reality, she still slept with a teddy bear and was afraid of the dark. There was nothing remotely cool or sexy or rebellious about Rachel Berry…but Finn Hudson didn't have to know that.
"I don't know…you keep saying today must be my lucky day but to me it feels like another day in which some unfortunate incident happens that is somehow followed by a visit from you. It really is a strange pattern we're stuck on, isn't it?" She tried to keep her tone playful…she hoped he thought she was playful. She bit down slightly on her lip and watched as his eyes immediately traveled to her mouth.
He leaned in towards her, close enough that she could feel his breath against his cheek. "I sent you flowers."
She nodded. "I know. They were beautiful. Thank you."
As soon as the words left her mouth she felt his lips brush against her jaw. He traveled towards her ear, not really kissing her, just gliding his mouth against her skin. When she felt him inhale against her ear she stopped fighting and rested her hands against his hips, her fingers threading through his belt loops so she could draw him closer. His hips settled against hers as he tugged on her earlobe with his teeth and then sucked it into his mouth. She felt like she was going to melt as his tongue slid against her ear.
"Let's get out of here," she heard herself suggest.
He pulled away from her just enough so he could look into her eyes. He grinned at her. "I've never known anyone like you before, Rachel Berry."
She giggled and let him pull her in the direction of his apartment. Her flirtatious interactions with Finn were quickly becoming her favorite thing about the city she'd always called home.
He struggled to control himself as Rachel pushed her hips urgently against his. He had her pressed into his mattress and was concentrating on balancing his weight on his arms so he wouldn't completely squash her. He was easily twice her size. Her arms encircled his waist to push up his shirt and rest against his naked back. She pulled him closer, obviously not concerned that she might be smothered to death.
Her skin felt like silk underneath his fingertips. He was positive he would never get tired of sliding his hands against her stomach, her back, her thighs. If you threw in the little noises she was making then he was pretty sure this was what heaven was like.
"So sexy," he mumbled against her neck, nipping at her skin as he spoke.
He pulled back slightly and saw that a wide smile had spread across her face. He wanted to remember her just like this…her dark hair fanned against his white pillow case and her lips swollen from his kisses. He leaned back down and pressed a kiss against her parted lips.
"Who are you?" She muttered, reaching up to trace her fingers against his face.
He grunted and slid his knee between her thighs. "I'm exactly what you need."
Swallowing her shallow moan he kissed her deeply and then traveled his mouth down her neck to pepper her collarbone with kisses. His vision blurred slightly as studied the soft swell of skin that peeked out from her lacy black bra. He swallowed thickly and brushed his nose against the fabric. He looked up her expectantly as she threaded her fingers through his hair and pressed his face against her breasts.
"Touch me, Finn," she breathed.
Abiding by her orders he pushed her bra up and over her breasts, her puckered nipples popping into view, and licked his lips. He kept his eyes on hers as he dipped his head and swirled his tongue around one of her taut buds. His hand came up to massage her other breast as he continued his oral assault on her chest. Her back arched off the bed as she pushed her breasts deeper into his mouth and hands. She felt, and tasted, like paradise.
He was so distracted by her perfect chest that he hadn't noticed that Rachel had snaked one of her hands between them to fondle the ever-growing bulge in his jeans. He hissed as Rachel pressed her hand against his length and then began to fumble with the button on his pants.
"I don't think you know what you're doing to me, Princess," he groaned, pushing at her breasts with his chin.
She giggled. "Oh I think I do."
Finn lightly bit at the skin on the underside of her breast and lowered his lips to her stomach and then her belly button. "If you want me to stop now would be the time to say so."
She shook her head quickly and pushed her stomach against his face, wiggling her hips slightly. "Don't stop."
He sucked in a deep breath and in one, fluid movement completely flipped them on the bed so she now hovered above him. Her eyes widened at the new position before once again settling on his face, her gaze darting between his eyes and mouth. She smiled broadly at him and ground her hips against his. She grabbed at the hem of his shirt and pushed it up, pressing her lips against his stomach with a loud smack.
"You're wearing far too many clothes, Finn Hudson," she whispered.
"I could say the same thing about you."
They both laughed as they quickly shed their clothes. Finn pulled his t-shirt over his head and threw it into a corner of the room. Rachel reached behind her back and unhooked her already haphazardly placed bra. She stretched it in her fingers like a sling shot and fired it into the corner where their departed shirts already laid. She leaned back down against his now naked chest and brushed her nipples against his skin. He moaned at the sensation and stretched his arms around her to rest against her ass. He pushed her firmly against his already throbbing erection. She was killing him and she didn't know how much longer he was going to last. It was already obvious how weak he was around this strange woman…he didn't want to embarrass himself any further.
"Impatient?" She asked, cocking her head to the side.
His eyes rolled back in his head as she deliberately pressed her scorching center against his crotch. He didn't even care anymore if she thought he was completely pathetic. He had to have her.
Finn mumbled something incoherent and traced his fingers against the front of her jeans, teasing her. He took note in the way her eyes immediately shut and she threw her head back. She was too sexy for her own good and he had to have her right then. Their teasing ended right then and there.
He undid the button on her jeans and slid his hand into her pants. His eyes widened when he discovered that she wasn't wearing underwear.
"Why Rachel Berry," he muttered, dragging his fingers against her already soaking folds. "I do believe you're cheating." He absorbed the long moan she elicited and curled his fingers against her. He tapped his thumb twice against her clit and then removed his hands to yank her jeans down over her hips.
She quickly hopped off his lap and finished removing her last article of clothing. He took the opportunity to do the same and as she crawled back towards him across the covers realization overtook his carnal need. Rachel wasn't just another lay for him. This was much, much different.
He reached for her, needing to feel her body against his again, and pulled her flush against him. He gazed up at her as she balanced above him and he tickled her sides lightly as she spread her legs to straddle his hips.
"Condom?" She asked, settling her hand between his legs to stroke him gently.
Wordlessly he nodded and reached for the drawer in his nightstand. He pulled the packet into his hands and quickly ripped it open. He offered the condom to Rachel and his breath caught in his throat as she expertly rolled it down his shaft. He grabbed one of her hands and pulled it against his mouth to press a kiss against her palm. She left her hand on his face as she lifted her hips and lined her center up against him. With a wink she rolled her hips against him and they both sighed as he completely filled her.
They both paused for a moment, adjusting to the sensation, then Finn pushed his hands against her hips, guiding her thrusts. For a few moments they were both silent, their eyes locked on one another as they listened to the sounds they were creating. Rachel threaded her fingers with Finn's and swiveled her hips in a figure eight motion, her muscles desperately clenching his cock.
"God," he grunted. "Don't do that!"
She grinned and made her movements even more deliberate. He freed his hands from hers and clutched the sheets on the bed. His assumptions had been correct…he was going to die right there and then. Death by sex with Rachel Berry.
Needing a distraction he flipped them again, his body never losing contact with hers, and began pumping into her furiously. Her moans matched his as she wrapped her legs around his waist and spurred him to go faster by digging her heels into his ass. His body slapped against hers as their need grew more and more desperate. He was already nearing his completion and there was no way he was crossing the finish line without her.
He reached between their now sweaty bodies and ground his thumb against her clit. He leaned over and pressed his cheek against hers. "Come," he said simply.
At his simple instruction he marveled at the way Rachel completely fell apart in his arms. Her body shook violently as her orgasm pulsed through her body. He felt her muscles throbbing against him and that was all it took for him to completely lose control. He pressed his face against her neck as he came, probably harder than he ever had before. She had a power over him. He'd known it before, but after experiencing how effortlessly she'd been able to give him the best sex of his life he was now positive.
He pulled his face away from her body and studied the lazy expression of satisfaction that had overtaken her features. She smiled at him and traced a finger against his chin. Oh yes…he was completely certain. He was prepared to be whoever Rachel Berry wanted him to be.
The real Finn was nothing to be proud of.
She thought about it much more often than she would admit to. Every now and then she would be in rehearsals with the girls or working on something with Brad and it would hit her like a bolt of lightning. She would cover her eyes as the memory of his skin against hers and their bodies joined together, would flash through her subconscious. She could almost feel his fingertips pressing against her hips and thighs and she usually had to excuse herself to maintain at least a little of her dignity.
She hadn't spoken to Finn since that day. She still didn't have his phone number or know anything about him and she didn't want to be the kind of girl who suddenly got needy and dependent after having sex. But at the same time she would have been fooling herself if she didn't admit that it was completely mind-blowing and easily the best she'd ever had. He'd been gentle and aggressive with her at the same time and she'd felt all her inhibitions fly right out the window under his stare. He made her feel desirable and beautiful and wanted and she was fairly sure she'd never felt any of those things before in her life.
Rachel wondered if he'd felt anything similar for her. She was certain that he'd enjoyed himself, that much was obvious, but had she overtaken his thoughts the way he had hers? It was frustrating. What had obviously began as innocent flirting had escalated into an insatiable thirst that she had to quench.
She dropped her forehead to her desk, audibly groaning at the frustration that pulsed through her veins. This was getting ridiculous. It had all just been for fun, an experiment of sorts, to see if she could be a different type of person than she actually was. Apparently she'd succeeded, maybe even a little too much, because she wasn't sure she could go back to a life where she was incredibly lonely and everything was so…expected.
But what was she supposed to do? Should she just walk up to him the next time she ran into him and explain that she wasn't who he thought she was? His Rachel Berry was not the flirty, sexually promiscuous stranger that she he'd met on Eighth Avenue. In actuality she was a spoiled, self-righteous only child from Tribeca who had never wanted for a single materialistic thing in her life.
There was a simple solution, she figured. As long as she avoided Ninth Avenue (and a good portion of Eighth) then she could just move on with her life. If she simply eliminated the possibility of running into him then her hunger for him would eventually dissipate, or so she hoped.
She sighed and stood up from her desk, preparing to rejoin the children and help them prepare for their rapidly approaching opening night. As she walked down the hallway towards the stage she realized that her desire for Finn would be tucked away alongside her desperation to be a Broadway star. The two things she wanted the most, regardless of which Rachel Berry she chose to be, and the two things she likely never would have.
Sometimes it really sucked to be her.
He wanted to see her again. He wanted to see her so badly, almost as badly as he wanted to touch her. There was something about Rachel Berry that was like an addictive drug; he'd had a hit, loved the high he'd experienced, and couldn't wait to try it again.
Sometimes he wished he hadn't met her the way he had. Maybe if he could go back and do it all over again he would make some stupid joke about the rain and then offer to run in the nearest Duane Reade and buy her an umbrella. He grimaced. That whole scenario did sound much more 'Finn Hudson', but it also sounded ridiculous. He knew that if he'd directed anything that corny in Rachel's direction he would have been rewarded with an eye roll and not much else. But instead he'd kissed her, just like that, and he'd been rewarded by getting to spend time with a beautiful, sexy girl who wouldn't give him a second glance if she knew the truth.
The truth was there was nothing remarkable about him. Nothing at all. He was just an ordinary guy who had moved to New York City from the Midwest because he didn't have anything better to do. His brother was so focused and determined to make it in the big city that Finn had found the proposition intriguing. He thought maybe, if he followed Kurt to New York, a little bit of his ambition would rub off onto him. It hadn't. After a few years of trying to find his "passion" and working multiple menial jobs to pay the rent on the East Village studio he had to have to keep up appearances, he decided he'd had enough. He moved into the meager, slightly sketchy warehouse apartment in Hells Kitchen and began the training program to become a firefighter. But, somehow, he'd even managed to half-ass that, his one attempt to really make something of himself.
It was his first fire, his first real effort at doing something that would matter, and all it had taken was one wrong footstep on an unsecured fourth floor floorboard to completely end any chance of that happening. He'd seen something, a child, on the other side of the apartment through the flames and he'd pushed his partner forward through the thick smoke in a desperate attempt to reach the little boy or girl. He'd completely ignored every ounce of this training and it had come back to kick him the ass. The floor collapsed as they tried to rescue the child and they fell four stories to land in a burning living room below. His partner had broken is fall and lost his life in the process. The child hadn't survived either. Finn had walked away from the fire with nothing but a few cracked ribs and a particularly immobilizing diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
He'd been living on disability for almost a year now and spent most of his time over thinking things and occasionally meeting with his therapist. He rarely slept, still haunted by nightmares, or spoke to anyone. Enjoying life seemed like a luxury he didn't deserve, not after the mistakes he'd made.
But then he'd met Rachel and for the first time since the accident he felt like living. He'd gone a few consecutive nights without his dreams being filled with terror and sadness. Now when he closed his eyes he saw her face, her features scrunched up in ecstasy, and could hear the moans and cries of pleasure she'd made when they'd had sex. His therapist had noticed the change in him as well and encouraged him to stick with whatever change he'd made that had caused such a noticeable shift in his demeanor. He still laughed to himself over that one…if only she knew.
He needed to see Rachel again, needed another hit of the drug he'd become addicted to. After their string of run-in's he had kind of expected to bump into her again. He trolled Ninth Avenue, stopping by the Pinkberry and her other favorite haunts. He expected to see her delicately licking yogurt off of a bright pink spoon or maybe carrying a cup of coffee or a bag from one of the boutiques. He was sure he would watch something unfortunate happen to her, again, and he'd racked his brain to try and figure out what sort of accident he would catch her involved with. He'd already seen her get soaked by a bus, spill yogurt all over herself, and get shit on by a bird…what else was left? He smiled when he realized he hadn't seen her trip yet.
He spun on his heels and began to walk the avenue again. He didn't know when he would see Rachel next but he wouldn't be surprised at all if it was while she was stumbling over a curb (or a pothole).
And he would be right there to catch her if she fell.
It had been three weeks. Three entire weeks since he'd seen her. He was growing restless. His nightmares had returned and the relative happiness and calmness he'd been experiencing had long since dissipated. What had happened to the mysterious, accident-prone brunette so had so easily wormed her way into his heart?
Into his heart. He had to admit that he felt something for Rachel…something more than just carnal need. The thought freaked him out so he tried not to think about it very often, but he recognized that his longing for her had to do with a lot more than just sex. But what did that matter? She'd made herself scarce and he didn't have the strength to track her down, even though he could. The ambitious, enthusiastic joker he was around Rachel seemed to have gone away, for good.
He shuffled along 47th street in the direction of Times Square. He did this a lot, when he wanted to see Rachel but didn't want to come off as completely desperate. He would stand outside the Palace Theater, where she worked, and imagine what she was doing. According to the website he'd found back when he'd decided to send her flowers she was an Assistant Musical Director for the Nederlander Organization and was currently working on the revival of 'Annie'. He didn't know Rachel very well but it definitely seemed like something he could see her doing.
As he walked up in front of the theater he looked at the posters of singing children that were decorated with various press accolades and wondered how often Rachel thought it should be her face up there and not some kid's. Granted he had never heard her sing but her voice already had a musical quality and she oozed passion. It wasn't hard to picture her on the stage at all. He figured it was probably difficult for her to remain on the sidelines and watch these kids succeed, especially since she'd told him she was going to be a huge star in the same sentence she'd told him her name.
He wandered around the outside of the theater to where the stage door was and studied the burly man who was sitting on a stool near the entrance. He should just walk up to him and ask if Rachel was there but something kept him firmly planted on the sidewalk.
"You," the man called, dropping his newspaper to his lap and settling his eyes against Finn.
"Yeah, you. What are you doing hanging around the stage door by yourself? This is a show filled with little girls…isn't it kind of creepy that you're out here waiting for them?"
Finn opened and shut his mouth a few times, trying to find the words to clarify that he was not a creeper. "No. No, it's not like that. I know the musical director for the show."
The man narrowed his eyes. "Brad?"
He shook his head. "No…I guess she's the assistant."
Finn's eyebrows shot up and he nodded. "Yes."
"Well I think they're still in rehearsals right now but if you want to wait I can get her when they're done."
He shoved his hands into his pockets and shook his head. "No, that's alright. I was just out for a walk."
The large man stood up from this stool and gave the younger man a quick once over. "In the three years I've worked here I don't ever think I've had someone come to this door and ask for Rachel. It's a shame, really. She's such a sweet girl, a little headstrong sometimes and somewhat socially awkward, but a good person nonetheless. It would be nice to know she had someone to go home to."
Finn just looked at the man, unsure of how to respond. The Rachel he was describing didn't sound anything like the Rachel he knew (ok, well maybe the headstrong part). He always imagined that she was the kind of girl who had a diverse circle of friends and that she had a busy social calendar filled with industry parties or whatever else it was that theatre people did. He never imagined that the captivating girl who stripped down to her bra in his kitchen the second time he'd run into her was socially awkward.
He nodded firmly towards the security guard and turned on his heels, disappearing down the sidewalk. As he put more distance between himself and the theater he couldn't help but think that maybe he wasn't the only one with something to hide.
"There was someone outside asking for you today, Ms. Berry."
Rachel pulled her purse over one shoulder and adjusted the braid she wore that day over the other. They had just gotten done with the Friday night preview performance and she been thrilled with the way the girls were really beginning to gel. Watching them excel made her feel successful, even if it wasn't the type of success she really wanted. She always chatted with Dewayne on her way out of the theater but his statement that night was different than the usual banter they exchanged.
"Didn't leave his name but he stared at the stage door for awhile."
She knew in an instant that it was Finn. No one ever came to the stage door for her so it had to be him. Her heart flipped in her chest at the thought of him standing just outside of her theater and her not knowing he was there. She wished he would have stayed but understood why he hadn't.
The theater had quickly emptied out after the performance, which was what usually happened when the lead in said performance was twelve. She usually took her time cleaning up her office and preparing what she needed for the next day before either taking the subway or catching a taxi back to Tribeca. But for some reason she didn't feel like heading straight home that night.
"Hey Dewayne, do you think it would alright if I hung around for a little while? I thought maybe I would head out to the stage and do some vocal exercises to see how the acoustics are holding up. I want to make sure I'm giving the girls proper instruction during our rehearsals."
The older man chuckled and patted her on the shoulder. "Sure. Go right ahead."
She thanked him and promised to leave whenever the security guards gave final notice that they would be closing up.
Rachel practically skipped down the hallway towards the main stage. Every once in awhile she liked to use the acoustics excuse to practice her own singing on a real Broadway stage. It was important to stay in top form…she never knew when her luck might change.
She dropped her things on the side of the stage and slid behind the baby grand piano, which had already been wheeled onto the stage for the next days rehearsal. She didn't really play the piano but she knew enough to pluck out enough of a melody to keep her vocals on key. She played a simple chord and closed her eyes.
The lyrics came naturally as she began to play one of her favorite Broadway songs, As If We Never Said Goodbye, from 'Sunset Boulevard'. Although it was traditionally sung by a character she was much too young to play she couldn't help but relate to the lyrics. Every time she was back on that stage, any stage, she felt like she'd come home.
She let the tears fall from her eyes as she neared the climax of the song. Her voice soared through the theater and she couldn't remember the last time she felt so powerful. As she sung the final notes of the song and played the final chord on the piano she was surprised to hear clapping. It was obvious the applause were only coming from one person but it was still unusual. The janitors and other people who worked in the theater after everyone had left were used to her singing…they rarely, if ever, paid her any attention. The applause continued and she squinted her eyes to look out over the sea of empty seats.
The clapping slowed but she could now clearly see someone walking down the main aisle towards her. She turned slightly on the piano bench as the person began to climb the short set of stairs that lead to the stage.
She couldn't speak. She just sat on the bench and watched as he continued to move closer and closer to her. He didn't speak a word, just watched her with an indefinable expression on his face. She wanted him to say something…anything…as she burned under his stare.
"What are you doing here," she asked quietly, slightly embarrassed that he'd seen her so vulnerable.
He stopped moving a few feet away from her. "You're perfect."
Rachel smirked and flipped her braid over her shoulder. "Hardly. I don't think singing show tunes to an empty theater constitutes as being perfect."
"Then you don't see what I see."
Rachel shook her head and pulled the cover down over the piano keys. She swung around on the bench so she was facing Finn. She realized that he had been attracted to the persona she'd created…the carefree girl who'd acted on an obvious magnetism that they both obviously felt. She wasn't that girl, not really at least, and she couldn't go on pretending she was someone she wasn't because whatever had happened between her and Finn had turned real very quickly. He wasn't going away, she didn't want him to, and if he planned on staying then she had to be honest with him.
"I'm not who you think I am, Finn."
He grinned at her and slid onto the piano bench next to her. "Well I highly doubt you're a serial killer or Satanist or anything else that you might consider to be a turn-off." He narrowed his eyes on her for a moment, scrutinizing her face. "Oh…I know what it is. You're a hoarder, right?" Rachel shook her head. "Crazy cat lady? You lied to me about where you live and you actually live in Brooklyn? Secret husband? Fourteen kids?"
She was laughing by that point. "Finn…stop! It's nothing like that."
He took her hand in his and traced his thumb along her knuckles. "I can't stop thinking about you," he admitted. "I keep walking up and down Ninth Avenue hoping that I'll see you doing something uniquely Rachel Berry…something that I can save you from. But after three weeks of walking and not seeing you I just couldn't anymore."
He cast his eyes away from hers and she realized that he was nervous. It was reassuring almost. She would have classified him as confident and self-assured, but never nervous.
"I couldn't keep acting like I was only ok with randomly running into you on the street. I don't know what it is, Rach, but I feel like I have to see you now. I don't want to be that needy guy or whatever but if you didn't want me to be seriously hooked then you never should have slept with me."
She giggled at his totally male explanation and lifted her free hand to rest against his arm. She smoothed her fingers against his skin and looked up at him, hoping he would turn his attention back in her direction. She knew she somehow had to explain who she really was and see if he could really like the person and not just the sex. But the possibility was there and that was more than she could say about a lot of the things in her life. She was starting to believe that maybe it wasn't always about having the answers…maybe it was about figuring things out as you went and taking a chance when the opportunity presented itself.
"You're so amazing…don't you see it? I knew it the first time I saw you and that was all confirmed tonight when I watched you sing. If you don't already you need to start giving yourself some credit. I've already seen you not play it safe when it comes to me…maybe you need to do that more often."
Her jaw dropped. How was it possible that a man she hardly knew was able to make one, general suggestion that suddenly made her blurry, mundane life come into focus.
He turned back in her direction, his brow creased. "I'm sorry if that was out-of-line but you need to see it. You need to see what I just saw."
"Finn…" She tried again. His eyes blinked at her. "Kiss me."
Without a second request he lowered his head and attached his mouth onto hers. She sighed into the kiss and parted her lips, allowing him to suck her bottom lip into his mouth. She dropped his hands and instead ran hers up his chest. She traced her fingers against his t-shirt covered collar bone as his tongue tangled with hers. She rested her hands against his face and lightened her pressure on his mouth as she gently bumped her nose against his.
"So what now," she breathed?
He shrugged, rubbing her upper arms with his hands. "Maybe we get to know each other? See if we can get along other than when I'm saving you from your unfortunate bad luck?"
Rachel pursed her lips, thinking about his proposition. "Well I do have a lot of accidents. If you can handle that then maybe you can handle me…or at least try to."
He wrapped his arms around her and she sighed when he pulled her against him and she could feel his heart pounding against her cheek. They had a long way to go but it felt like a start…which was something.
Things didn't go as easily as he thought they would.
He already knew that Rachel Berry was passionate and a little (alright very) dramatic but he hadn't expected to discover how anal she was about everything. Like the first time she'd taken him to her loft (her childhood home which she stayed in while her dad's (plural) were doing business in Europe) and he'd learned that she color coded all her clothes. Or when she'd invited him to spend the night and then taken an entire hour to prepare herself for bed. When he'd told her she didn't need to do all of that for him she'd snapped and said that she'd always done that and if he wanted to be with her then he had to accept all of her…even her slightly neurotic routines. He'd decided to let all of that go.
But then she also did some really awesome things like waking him up with kisses and eventually encouraging him to go back to work.
A few months after they'd officially been dating he'd finally felt comfortable enough to explain his situation to her. He'd expected her to up and leave at his confession and he really wouldn't have blamed her. Who wanted to be with someone who'd faced the demons he had? But she'd held him when he woke up screaming from the nightmares he still experienced. She'd sat on the couch with him for hours, listening to him recount every detail from that night. Eventually she'd even gone to his therapy sessions with him, collaborating with his doctor on a way to get him involved at the fire station again. It had taken awhile but she'd walked into the station with him the night he'd retuned for his first real shift and held his hand as his department welcomed him back with open arms.
Once their realities had been laid out on the table everything else sort of fell into place. After Finn had gotten back into a routine at he station he felt like himself again, a better version of himself. His life had direction and it had meaning now that he had Rachel. She was still working with Nederlander as an assistant but she'd also been auditioning as much as she could. She was making continued contacts within the industry and had even gotten a few callbacks. He knew her big break was about to happen…he just knew it and he already planned to be there, front and center, for her opening night on Broadway.
It was early, the sun was just beginning to rise, as he made his way off the elevator and towards Rachel's apartment. He was just getting off an eighteen hour shift and he wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with Rachel and enjoy a few hours with her before she had to begin her day. He unlocked the door with the key she'd given him and reached down to pat her cat, who was weaving through his legs. The cat meowed and he shushed her, not wanting the animal's cries to wake Rachel.
He tossed his keys into the dish by the door and moved further into the apartment. When he turned into the kitchen he was surprised to see Rachel sitting at the small bistro table, a steaming cup of coffee clutched between her hands.
"What are you doing up, baby? It's so early." He moved closer to her and saw that there were tears in her eyes. "What's wrong?"
"I got it."
She's spoken so softly that he hadn't really heard her. "What?"
"I got it," she repeated, a little louder that time. "The revival of Oklahoma…I got the part."
In an instant he had her out of the chair and had pulled her into his arms. He swung her around and around as she giggled, her tear-stained face leaving his neck damp. "Oh baby," he sighed, "you did it. I knew you could do it." He set her back on the ground and pushed the loose strands of hair away from her face. "I'm so proud of you."
She stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips against his in a large, noisy kiss. "We have to go out and celebrate."
"What? Right now? Babe I just got off of work. Could we sleep for awhile and then celebrate?"
She shook her head. "No way. Breakfast first…then we sleep. I'll even call off work tonight so we can spend the whole day in bed sleeping…and celebrating of course."
Finn found himself agreeing. The prospect of spending the entire day in bed with Rachel was more intriguing than immediately calling it a night.
He let her pull him out of the apartment and onto the elevator. He pushed her up against the wall in the elevator as it traveled towards the lobby, his mouth sucking the pulse point in her neck. He had just pushed up her shirt and was sliding his fingers against her sides and stomach when the elevator dinged, announcing they had reached their destination. They both adjusted their clothing and stepped onto the shiny marble floor, their hands linked.
As they moved towards the front door they both realized it was raining and Finn frowned…it hadn't been raining when he'd gotten there ten minutes earlier. When he looked down at Rachel and prepared to suggest they just stay in he noticed that her eyes were shining. He wondered if she was remembering the first time they met…he always did every time it rained.
"Are you sure you want to go out in this?"
She nodded and reached into her purse, producing a pocket-sized umbrella. As he opened the front door she handed him the umbrella, pushing the button on the handle that caused it to open to full sized. He held it over their heads and smiled down at her.
"Bring on the rain, Finn!"
She linked her arm in his as they stepped off the doorstep…and into a large, unnoticed puddle. Rachel was instantly soaked up to her knees and he didn't fair much better. He waited a moment, prepared for her to immediately have a meltdown, but instead she laughed and kicked her leg, splashing him with the water.
He dropped the umbrella and chased her out into the rain. It was funny how a little bad luck, and a whole lot of water, had made him the luckiest man in the world.