Author's Note: This will be short and sweet, just like this post. I haven't honestly watched an entire episode from Season 4, but I've heard some things and this random thought wouldn't leave my head this week. So, out it came. For those of you who care, I am working on some other stuff and hope to actually post at least one thing soon. For now, please read and review THIS one. Thanks!
Jake Puckerman tried to wrestle his way out of Mr. Schuester's hold, but the curly-haired teacher was stronger than he looked. With a stern expression, the Glee director forced Jake into the choir room, where an eerily familiar face greeted an already noncompliant Jake. The latter yanked his arm out of Mr. Schuester's hold, sighing loudly and pointing toward the lone figure sitting in the room.
"Are you going to call him every time shit goes down in my life?"
Puck waved off Mr. Schuester, letting the older gentleman know he'd handle the teen from here. "Look, I'm tired as fuck and bitch on the plane wouldn't give me a bag of peanuts without a damn engagement ring, so let's make this quick."
"Great idea." Jake turned around and started to walk out of the room.
"Hey!" Puck shouted in a way that forced Jake to turn. "I know it's shit that I show up here and tell ya what to do or whatever when we barely know each other."
"We don't know each other."
"Fine, maybe not. But, I do know we're alike and I wouldn't want anyone to take the same shitty path I took. Especially my own brother."
Jake rolled his eyes. "Your life can't be all bad. Flights from LA can't be cheap, and yet here you are. Again."
"This time it was a one-way ticket." Puck shrugged, taking the seat next to Jake. "It was fun for awhile, scamming on celebrities or wannabe celebrities and workin' on my tan. But, after awhile … I'm just a Lima Loser who moved to LA."
Jake stiffened at the term, one he'd just started to hear (and associated with his name). He was already getting a daily reminder of the Puckerman legacy, and while some of it made his life a little easier (popularity had its perks), the rest kind of blew. "Why are you here?"
"Mr. Schue says you've been skipping and shit. S'not kosher."
"It was just a couple of days," Jake dismissed, ignoring the gnawing feeling in his stomach he got anytime he thought of how he'd spent that time away. It wasn't like he missed school or anything, but he wasn't dumb enough to realize it hadn't been for good reasons. Plus, the look on Marley's face when he'd returned yesterday with Kitty on his arm didn't sit well with him. It wasn't the usual expression of judgement that he was used to. Her expression was less of superiority or righteousness, but rather … disappointment.
"I know what it feels like … for a girl like that to even look at you. They can have anything they want in the whole world and when they pick you, it's incredible."
Puck shook his head, still kind of in disbelief that Quinn ever gave him the time of day. She literally had a pony when she was younger, was the head cheerleader and had a boyfriend who was legit the best guy Puck knew (that didn't stop him from screwing Finn over, but still). He'd felt privileged that she'd wanted him, but it wasn't the blessing he'd thought it was. Through the years, he'd learned Quinn always wanted what she couldn't have, then would discard it once she'd redeemed her right to have it in the first place.
"But, dude, those chicks might make you feel better, but … this Marley girl." Puck shrugged, not really knowing her but seeing her in the halls when Mr. Schuester had discreetly pointed her out while explaining the situation to him. "She'll make you be better."
Jake lifted an eyebrow suspiciously, turning his head to the side to match his lopsided almost-grin. "You're here to give me relationship advice? You?"
"I toldja. You're going down a very similar road and I'mma stop it now. Dump the cheerleader and …" Puck looked to his left and then to his right, mumbling, "like, follow your heart or whatever."
Jake couldn't help the bubble of laughter that came out following Puck's advice, or the increased amusement even after his brother punched him in the arm. "I'm sorry. It's just … if you've learned this lesson the hard way or whatever, then why aren't you doin' anything about it?"
Puck sighed heavily, thinking of the million-plus times he'd thought that same question. "My situation is a bit more complicated than …"
"Hey!" Finn interrupted the pair, strolling into the choir room. "When did you get in?"
"Hey, man!" Puck grinned widely, standing up and greeting Finn with the acceptable man-hug. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Long story." Finn shrugged, a wave of sadness crossing his face that he couldn't hide. "I'm helping Mr. Schue until I can figure some things out."
Puck could read between the lines. The Army didn't work out, and given his tall friend's expression, Puck knew it was safe to assume Finn's relationship with Rachel hadn't worked out either. Slowly, Puck turned back to Jake, his mind moving a mile a minute but somehow focused on the question his brother had just asked. "Remember what I said, all of it. I gotta go."
"Where are you going?" Jake and Finn asked at the same time, each equally surprised by Puck's abruptness.
"To uncomplicate things," he answered from over his shoulder, never looking back.
A few hours later, Puck pounded on the large wooden door that was the final obstacle between himself and …
"Noah?" Rachel asked, sounding breathless. "What are you …"
He interrupted her with a kiss, one so powerful and so (hopefully) meaningful that her feet quite literally left the floor. Puck secured her in his strong arms, holding her tight partially because he was afraid she might run away and partially because he'd missed being so close to her. He'd wished it weren't true, hoped the distance could help him forget, but it hadn't. Nothing had. And now that they were a little older and nothing was in their way, he thought maybe instead of trying to forget he could make her remember.
"Noah?" She questioned again, this time very breathless. "What are you doing?"
"Somethin' I shouldn't have stopped doin' since sophomore year." He kissed her again, this time short and sweet, his one hand cradling her jaw while his fingers tangled in her hair and his thumb stroked her cheek. "Somethin' I don't wanna stop doing ever."
She stared at him with those enormous brown eyes of hers, and only then did he realize she was wearing her makeup differently. And her hair had changed. And … damn. She got some new clothes. And instead of having his best friend's name branded across her neck, she had her own.
"Fuck, Rach." He leaned back for a moment and looked her up and down one more time, moving closer again and re-tightening his hold on her. "New York looks good on you."
Rachel felt embarrassed, but couldn't stop the light giggle or the dreamy sigh before she shyly responded, "New York looks good on you, too."
"Yeah?" He smirked, thinking that was invitation enough for him. "Then I guess I'll stay."
"Yeah? She echoed, smiling hopefully at him. She leaned in for another kiss once he nodded in response, eventually pulling away and leading him into the apartment. She gave him a quick tour, punctuating each room with a long-winded anecdote that was so Rachel that he wondered how he'd managed to avoid talking to her since graduation.
"I'm talking too much."
"Nah." Puck shook his head, forgetting that she'd always been able to read his mind - or his face, at least. "I was just thinkin' I missed it."
She blushed deeply, looking down at her feet again. "I can't believe you're here."
"Yeah." Puck nodded in agreement, surprised by the turn of events himself. One minute he was trying to help out his half-brother, the next he was standing in a New York apartment next to the girl he'd tried to pretend never mattered to him. And they obviously had a lot to talk about, starting with either what exactly went down between her and Finn or what it meant that she seemed so cool with him showing up and kissing her. But, just like he told Jake, just being with her made everything better.