"You've got to be fucking kidding me," she groaned, getting off her Harley Sportster. She'd almost hit some nerdy looking dude who probably wasn't looking where he was going. He'd dropped his bag and laptop, the latter skidding across the parking lot. "Walk much?" she asked, frustrated.
"I don't have a problem walking if someone isn't trying to run me down," he said, not looking at her. He bent to pick up his laptop, sighing. "Fantastic," he muttered as it fell apart in his hands.
Rachel groaned, wanting to kick something. "Shit."
Finn finally looked up at her, narrowing his eyes. "Why are you still here?"
"Because I almost ran over your dumbass and now I feel bad," she said. Her expression softened when she saw the hurt on his face. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be a bitch. Let me help you get your stuff."
As they gathered his things, they both snuck glances at the other from the corner of their eyes. He wasn't as nerdy looking as she'd first assumed; under the preppy clothes he seemed to be pretty toned. Finn couldn't take his eyes off of her black leather pants; they looked painted on and hugged the curves of her body. And what a body it was.
Standing, Rachel held some books out to him. Reading the cover of the top one as he took them, she smirked. "Principles of Biomedical Ethics? What the hell is that?"
"It's a school book, obviously," he said, taking it from her and blushing a little.
Oh. Well that was the cutest thing she'd ever seen. "You go to school here?"
"Nah, just walking around campus and carrying the books for exercise." He looked up at her. "I was really hoping some chick on a motorcycle would almost run me over and destroy my laptop."
"Hey, I said I was sorry for being a bitch," Rachel said, hands on her hips.
"Thanks for that," he grumbled, standing and putting his backpack on his shoulder. Without another word, he turned around and started walking off.
"Hey!" Rachel said, reaching for his arm and stopping him. "Look, I am sorry, okay?"
He looked back at her, his eyes meeting hers. Something about his gaze caused her breath to catch in her chest. "Okay," he said softly. "You're sorry."
When he started to turn around, she stopped him again. "I'll pay for your laptop, okay?"
"You don't have to do that," he said, though he had been wondering how he was going to replace it; the warranty was long gone and he was barely scraping by as it was. If it hadn't been for his scholarships, he'd have been back in Ohio a long time ago.
"It's my fault it's broken," she told him. "I've got money, okay? It's not a big deal."
"Must be nice," he said, sighing. "I don't want to take your money."
"No, I insist. I don't have my checkbook here, but if you could come by work tonight I could give it to you." At his look, she smiled. "No funny business, I swear. I just want to make it right, okay?"
She had a beautiful smile. Her eyes glowed with humor, and he couldn't seem to look away. After holding her gaze for a moment, he nodded. "Okay."
"Okay," she said. "Give me a pen." When he pulled one out of his backpack and handed it to her, she took his hand and wrote down the address for her work. "Ask for Rachel."
"That's a pretty name," he said, grimacing when he realized how lame he sounded.
Her smile widened. "Thank you."
"Now that's a nice name," she said, walking back to her bike. "I'll see you tonight, Finn."
He nodded as she got on the motorcycle, still unable to take his eyes off of her. She started it and rode past, waving a little. He lifted his hand slowly after she'd already passed, still a bit dazed. The bitch on the bike that had almost killed him had somehow turned into a leather wearing goddess. He shook his head as he walked on, smiling a little. Who knew?
"Are you sure you don't want me to go with you?" Quinn asked him for the tenth time.
"You have a big test tomorrow," he reminded her. "I'm just going to go pick the money up and come right back." He turned at the door and looked at the pretty blonde girl. "I won't get shot. Probably." When she didn't smile he sighed. "I promise."
"Just be careful, okay?" she said, hugging him.
He walked her to her dorm and then got in his seven year old Honda Civic. Punching the address into his GPS he frowned. It would probably be cheaper to just buy a new laptop; Rachel worked 45 minutes away.
On the way he thought about Quinn. She was beautiful, intelligent, funny…everything he'd ever dreamed he wanted. He couldn't understand why he wasn't in love with her. They cared about each other and everyone always assumed they were dating…but they never had. They probably never would.
"No," he said to himself as he pulled into the parking lot of "The Dollhouse" strip club. "No way. This isn't happening. She's a stripper?"
He dropped his head back against his seat, closing his eyes. He would just buy a new laptop. No way was he going into a strip club looking for her.
Unbidden, the image of those leather pants crossed his mind. "Damn," he said to himself. He knew he was going in and he hated himself for it.
Walking into the club he'd never felt so out of place in his life. He felt…vanilla. Very vanilla, like the plainest, dorkiest, most bland dude in the world. He didn't belong in a strip club; he should be in his dorm room, making out with equally vanilla Quinn. Nerd love and all that.
"Finn!" she yelled at him from across the room. He squinted as he walked into the darkened smoke filled room. Where was she? "Just wait a few minutes, okay?"
He nodded, but still didn't know where she was. Deciding to sit before he fell over something, he found a seat by the stage. He looked around nervously, hoping no one noticed him. He shouldn't have bothered; every man in the building was staring at the stage. When the music started, he looked up too. He's a man, okay? He couldn't help it.
It was her. His mouth suddenly dry, he probably stopped breathing. She was dressed in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform, her hair in pigtails. He couldn't tear his eyes away from her legs in thigh high white stockings. Well, he couldn't until she started undoing the buttons of her shirt.
No no no no no no no. Don't take it off. Stop. Don't stop. Take it off. Oh, is that black lace? Put your shirt back on. Wait. Holy shit, was she going to take her bra off? He didn't know whether to close his eyes or stand up and yell like the other men. He didn't have any money. Why would he? He'd had no clue he was coming to a strip club. He watched as a man stuffed a bill in her bra, his hand staying on her skin long enough to piss Finn off. Rachel just smiled at him, turning around and shaking her ass in front of him.
Her hips rolled with the music, her body swaying in time to the beat. She danced like a professional, and he figured it was because she was. He could tell she was enjoying it as she threw her head back and moved.
"Fuck this," he said, watching her get on the floor and crawl over to a group of men. He may be a square (and using the word "square" to define himself made him so, definitely), but he didn't have to sit around and watch her crawl while men pawed at her. He walked outside, leaning against the brick and taking deep breaths. He felt like he'd run a marathon and he couldn't get the image of all those hands on her body out of his head. He didn't know why it bothered him so much, but it did.
After a few minutes Rachel came out, dressed again in her leather pants and t-shirt. "Too much for you?" she asked, grinning.
"I just came for my money," he told her.
She cocked her head, studying him. "Why are you mad?"
"I'm not mad," he lied. "I just don't like to see women degrade themselves like that for money."
Rachel's eyes widened in shock, and then quickly narrowed. "You don't think I should show off my body?" she asked, walking to him. She stood too close to him and then stood closer still. Her body was inches from his as she looked up at him. "You didn't want to touch me?"
Finn's breathing grew ragged as he looked down at her, able to feel her though they weren't touching. "What do you want from me?" he asked.
Rachel touched his stomach, her eyes widening again as she felt how solid he was. "I want you to be honest," she said. "Do you like my body?"
"I like it," he told her. "But I don't like what you do with it."
"Oh, I think you'd like what I can do with it," she said lowly, wrapping her arms around his neck. He stiffened but let her pull his head down. When her lips touched his they both pulled back, shocked. It was only a small kiss, but it felt like so much more. "It's too bad you'll never know," she said, moving away from him. "I don't like prudes."
Finn glared at her. "I'm not here to play games," he told her. "I just want the money for the laptop and I'll leave."
"I don't have it," she told him. "Not here. Brody was supposed to…" she sighed. "We have to go get it."
Finn shook his head. "This is garbage," he told her. "Just forget it."
"Hey," Rachel said, angry. "I told you I would give you the money and I will. It's my money, it's just somewhere else. You've already come all the way here. Why would you leave without it?"
He stared up at the sky, wishing he was back in Ohio so he could at least see the stars. "I have class in the morning," he told her finally. "I can't be out all night."
"So responsible," she said, smiling. "I promise to have you back home before you turn into a pumpkin."
He rolled his eyes, walking to his car. "I'll follow you."
"I need a ride," she told him. "Brody- my ex- took my bike."
"Of course you need a ride," he muttered, walking from his car door around to her side. When he opened it for her she stared at him. "What?"
"Did you really just open the door for me?"
He shrugged. "Sorry."
"No," she said quietly. "It was nice."
He looked at her, for the first time seeing her for what she was; a young woman in a big city. "No problem."
She got into the car and immediately started looking around. "Wow, this is clean. Like…clean clean. Freakishly clean."
"Most prudes have freakishly clean cars," he told her as he started it.
"Most sluts ride motorcycles," she said, looking out the window.
He sighed again, something he was doing all too often today. "I'm sorry about that," he told her. "I have no right to make remarks about your person or your choice of employment."
She shrugged. "Go north on Chestnut."
While he was driving she picked up his IPOD and went through his music. "Classic rock? I would have never guessed."
"What were you expecting? Chopin?"
"I don't really know what I was expecting," she told him, and it was true. She'd been right about one thing; he was definitely a nerd. But he was extremely cute and his body was rock hard. He blushed and he opened car doors for women. He was smart and clean and…wholesome. Wholesome was something that she hadn't been around much, but she found that she liked it. She liked it a lot. And she LOVED teasing him. "How many times have you had sex in this car?" she said, trying to stifle her grin.
"Depends," he told her, glancing her way. "Does masturbation count?"
Rachel laughed loudly, covering her mouth with her hand. "Are you serious?"
He grinned, turning onto Chestnut. "No, I'm not serious."
"Where are you from, anyway?" she asked him. "You have an odd accent."
"Ohio," he told her. "A little town called Lima."
"Get out," she told him. "One of my dad's is from there!"
"Really?" he said, looking at her in surprise.
"Yeah, Leroy Berry. You know him?"
Finn grinned. "I do! He plays the saxophone in a jazz band, right?"
"Yes!" Rachel exclaimed, sitting up in her seat. "This is so crazy! How do you know him?"
"He's friends with my Spanish teacher Mr. Schue. He came and played for our Glee Club a few times." As soon as he said the words he wanted to take them back.
"You were in the Glee Club?" Rachel asked, staring at him.
Finn shrugged. "Laugh all you want," he told her. "We won Nationals."
"Finn, I think I remember my dad talking about you!" Rachel said excitedly. "Were you the quarterback?"
"Yeah," he said, grinning.
"My dad liked you," she told him. "He said you were a leader."
Finn couldn't stop the proud smile. "It was high school."
"And now you're in New York," she said. "Pre-med?"
"How did you know?"
"Your book today."
He nodded. "Yeah, pre-med."
"I can't wait to tell daddy," she told him.
"Does he…" he cleared his throat. "Does he know what you do?"
Rachel sat back in the seat. "Yes. My dad's don't like it, but they support me."
"You have two dads?"
"Yeah," Rachel said. "Is that a problem?"
He shook his head. "Not for me."
Rachel smiled, relieved. "Good." She looked out the windshield and gave him a few more directions. "Okay, turn in here."
"Really?" he asked, looking at the club. "A club?"
"This is where my money is," she told him. She opened the door and looked at him. "You coming?"
"Can't I just wait in the car?"
"No, you nerd. You're coming in."
Finn rolled his eyes. "That's a nice way of convincing me."
Rachel laughed. "Come on."
They walked to the club entrance and Finn once again thought about how much he didn't fit in here. He never went to clubs; he couldn't dance and he was clumsy. He didn't want to go into this one, but he couldn't seem to help himself.
When they got into the building Rachel immediately saw people she knew. "This is my new friend Finn," she told them, introducing him. "Have you guys seen Brody?"
"He's in the back," a girl named Brittany told her. "He's not in a very good mood."
"That's fine," Rachel told her. "Because neither am I." She looked at Finn. "Will you wait here for me?"
Finn nodded, watching her walk away. He didn't know who Brody was, but he already hated the dude. "So," Rachel's friend Santana said, standing in front of him. "How close are you and Rachel?"
"We just met today," Finn told her. He took a deep breath; this chick had trouble written all over her. And sexy. That was written somewhere too. Probably across her almost bare chest.
"That's nice," Santana said, running her hand up his arm. "You look like a nice boy," she said. "Brittany and I like nice boys, don't we, Britt?"
Finn looked over to see the blonde looking at him. "We could have a lot of fun," she said, looking him up and down. "A lot of fun."
"Um…" Finn said, looking around for Rachel. "I don't know…"
"Let's dance," Santana said, taking his hand and pulling him out to the dance floor. "Come on, Brittany."
Finn stumbled behind her, desperately searching for Rachel. This wasn't a good idea. He didn't want to be the nerdy goofball between two of the hottest girls he'd ever seen. It was embarrassing. The idea that he wouldn't mind Rachel dancing around him flitted through his mind, disappearing when Santana stopped and grinded into him, her hips moving with the music. Before he could say anything he felt Brittany dancing behind him, her hands wrapping around him and rubbing his stomach.
"Holy shit," he said, closing his eyes and praying Rachel found him fast.
He didn't have to move; the girls moved enough for him. Brittany's hands were under his shirt, slowly creeping towards the top of his jeans. Santana's hands pulled his head down close to her neck, her ass grinding into him. He felt like he'd fallen into someone else's life, and if he hadn't already met Rachel he'd be in heaven. But he had met Rachel and all of this felt wrong.
He lifted his head to tell the girls he didn't want to dance and caught sight of Rachel arguing with a man. He saw the man grab her arm and her try to pull away. He had pushed away from Santana and Brittany before he realized what he was doing, reaching the couple and pushing the man. "Hey," Finn yelled to be heard over the music. "Don't grab her like that."
"Who the fuck is this?" the guy asked Rachel, glaring at Finn.
"Finn, just go wait, okay? This will only take a minute."
Finn didn't move. "You don't grab women like that," Finn told the man, assuming he was the infamous Brody. "Have some respect."
Brody snorted. "Respect? She's a fucking stripper."
Finn threw the punch before Brody was done talking. "Finn!" he heard Rachel scream as Brody retaliated, grabbing him and pushing him back into the wall.
Finn had been in a few fights when he was in high school, but nothing like this. Even though he was much taller than the other guy, Brody was obviously a more experienced fighter. Finn was literally seeing red, though; his only thought was to hurt the other man.
A couple of guys broke the fight up, yelling for Rachel to get Finn out of there. Rachel took his arm, pulling him along until they were outside. The cool night air hit him, waking him up. "Shit," he groaned, bending over and holding his side. He was pretty sure one of his ribs was broken.
"Oh my God," Rachel said, running her hands over him. "Are you okay? What hurts?"
"Everything," he said. "If you don't stop touching me like that we're going to have a completely different problem."
"Oh." She straightened up, looking at him. "What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking that no man should ever grab a woman and yell at her," he said, touching his lips and finding blood on his fingertips. "Damn."
"I need to take you to the hospital," she told him.
"No insurance," he said.
Rachel looked around. "Get in the car; I'll take you to my place."
"No thanks," he told her. "I just want to go home."
"Get in the car," she said, taking the keys out of his pocket and unlocking his doors.
Finn got in; it was either that or fall down. Rachel kept talking to him while she drove but he wasn't listening. He kept trying to remember exactly what happened during the fight. "Did I win?"
Rachel smiled a little. "You were winning until he picked up the chair."
"Dirty bastard," Finn said. "Chairs should be illegal."
When they got to her apartment building, Finn looked over at her. "You live here?"
She nodded, opening her door. "I know it looks bad, but my apartment is nice."
"I don't get it," Finn told her as they got into the elevator. "Your dad's wealthy. Why are you living here?"
"I don't want my dad's money," Rachel told him. "I want to make it on my own."
"My step dad is a senator," Finn told her, grimacing as a sharp pain tore through his ribs.
Rachel stared at him. "You could have gotten a new laptop anyway!"
He shook his head. "I want to make it on my own too."
When they reached her apartment Rachel opened four locks. "You can never be too careful."
Finn didn't know what he'd expected, but this wasn't it. "This is…nice."
"Don't sound so surprised," she told him, going into the little bathroom. "Sit at the table."
Finn sat in one of the two seats at the little kitchen table, looking around. The space was so tiny the kitchen, living room and bedroom all seemed to be one. "You don't have a door to your bedroom?"
Rachel came back out of the bathroom with alcohol and band aids, shrugging. "Why would I need one? It's just me here."
"I didn't think you'd live alone," he said as she pulled the other chair in front of him, sitting on it.
"I love my friends, but they're a little too much to handle sometimes."
"I noticed," he said, thinking of Brittany and Santana. He couldn't stop the blush that flooded his cheeks.
Rachel ran a cotton pad under his lip, not looking into his eyes. "I saw you dancing with Santana and Brittany," she told him. "Did you have fun?"
He watched her. "Not really."
Her eyes met his. "Why not?"
He shrugged. "It just felt wrong."
Rachel smiled. "Does that have anything to do with your prudish ways?" she teased.
"Probably," he admitted, smiling sheepishly.
He was so cute. Rachel had never really found "cute" that appealing, but something about him turned cute into something else entirely. He was solid and steady. He was decent and strong and willing to stand up for her even though he didn't really know her.
"Take your shirt off," she told him. "I want to see if we need to take you to the hospital anyway." She'd noticed him favoring his ribs and was afraid one was broken.
Finn pulled his shirt over his head, grimacing at the movement. Rachel sucked in her breath at the sight of his chest. She didn't even notice the bruises; she couldn't stop staring at the wide expanse of…dear lord, muscles. She'd realized he was strong, but she hadn't realized how well built he really was. She suddenly felt like the room was much too small and much too hot.
"That bad?" he asked, assuming her grimace was because of his ribs.
"No," Rachel said, shaking her head as if to clear it. "You've got some bruising but I don't think anything is broken. They may be cracked…"
Finn nodded. "That's what I figure."
Rachel opened her mouth to say something but her front door flew open, slamming against the wall. "I'm going to kill him," a tall man said, coming into the small apartment. "He's fucking dead."
"Noah," Rachel said, standing up. "Stop."
"How many times does this make, Rach?" the man demanded, his fists clenched at his side. "How many times have I told him not to fucking touch you?"
Finn stood slowly, completely unsure of what was going on. "Rachel?"
Both Rachel and Noah turned to look at him. Finn realized they were related. "You're Rachel's brother?"
Noah looked Finn over, nodding. "Noah Puckerman," he told Finn. "Rachel's my twin sister."
"Twins?" Finn said, looking at them. "But…"
"They gave Noah our father Hiram's last name. I got Leroy's."
Puck moved closer to Finn, holding out his hand. "You can call me Puck," he told Finn. "Everyone but Rachel does."
"I'm Finn Hudson," Finn told him.
"You're the guy who fought Brody?" Finn nodded. "Thanks, man." He looked back at Rachel. "I'm not playing this time, Rach. I know we have a history and I know we used to be boys, but it's done. It's over. I'm going to kill him."
"Noah, Finn took care of it, okay?"
"Does this happen a lot?" Finn asked, interrupting. "And if it does, why do you still go around him?"
"It's complicated," Rachel told him. "And it's none of your business."
Finn stepped back as if slapped. "You're right," he said, reaching for his shirt. "None of this is my business."
"No, Finn, wait," Rachel said, reaching for him. "I didn't mean it like that."
"I'm tired and I'm sore and I think it's time for me to get back to my dorm," Finn said stiffly. "It was nice meeting both of you."
Though Rachel called for him, Finn just shook his head and kept going. He'd had enough for one night.