"No way, San, I don't fucking think so." Puck is shaking his head because no way is he even going to consider what Santana told him moments ago that he should do.
Except, thing is, that he is definitely considering it. She has a point, he is the Sex Shark, Puckerone, the Original Bad Ass himself. Never has he ever wanted a girl and not gotten her, but he knows this is not like all those other times. He isn't looking for sex (though, sex would be a definite plus because Berry's body is banging), but Berry is different and, unfortunately for him because she is taken, she means more to him than a piece of ass.
Quinn was different, too, but not in the way Berry is; Quinn was like a conquest that he fell in love with on accident but doesn't love her like that anymore because time changes things and people and he just doesn't feel that way about her anymore.
He is not going to say that he loves Berry because he does not think he does (he thinks maybe he could someday, if he doesn't already), but he feels something that he knows he shouldn't when she has a boyfriend and is happier than he has seen her in a long time.
"Grow a pair of balls, Puck," Santana says as she moves around Chang's kitchen, pots clinking together as she searches for a pot to cook Spaghetti in.
"I have a pair, remember? You've seen them," Puck reminds her cockily, joining her in the kitchen and shoving her out of the way of the cabinet with the pots and pans. He hears her scoff but ignores her as he pulls out a pot big enough for the Spaghetti and hands it to her.
She smacks him gently (gentle for Santana, anyway; after all, her nickname is Satan) in the head with the pot before pouring water into it and then setting it on the stove.
"Don't remind me," Santana sighs, turning on the stove. "Remind me again why I'm making dinner." It isn't a question; more like her not-so-subtle way of complaining.
Puck moves the box of noodles to the other side of the counter and hops up onto it, focusing on the fuming Latina afterwards. "Because, San, you wanted to make dinner for everyone and you wanted to make dinner for everyone because Britt loves your cooking and you know she's going to be here tonight to eat your cooking which, again, she loves."
Santana ignores him. Not surprising. She doesn't like admitting anything when it comes to Brittany. Sounds familiar, though, because he hardly admits anything when it pertains to Berry.
He thinks their situations different, however, because Brittany and Santana have history. They have labeled themselves. They are Brittana and always will be Brittana because there cannot be one without the other no matter who comes in and out of their lives.
Sure, they can fight it all that they want, but Puck is positive that Brittany will not be with Artie too much longer and that, once again, Brittana will be on. That's how history works.
He and Berry, they don't have history. At least, not as much history as Santana and Brittany.
Okay, maybe that isn't as true as he wants it to be because if it weren't true, it would be a hell of a lot easier to watch her with someone else, but who is he fucking kidding? It is not easy. It won't ever be.
"Seriously, Puck, just tell the girl how you fucking feel. I know you're thinking about her. You get that sick puppy dog look on your face any time that she is on your mind. I'm not an idiot."
He glares. He would ignore her, but it would be useless because Santana is like a flesh-eating virus; she never goes away when she has a point to make and knows that she is right.
And in this case, she is definitely right. Unfortunately for Puck.
"Tell you what," he starts, grabbing a bagel from the counter before jumping down, "I'll do what you say after you tell Britt that you're a dumb ass for suggesting the two of you take a break and then saying that it isn't an official break-up when you know that it is because she ran into someone else's arms."
He can practically see smoke coming out of Santana's ears, she looks so fucking pissed. He knows those were the wrong words to say and he really wants to take them back, but he knows he can't and he's kind of scared because Santana is holding a fork in her hands and he is pretty sure she is contemplating poking his eyes out with it.
"Don't go there, Puckerman," Santana snaps, looking more guarded than usual and Puck actually kind of feels bad because he thinks he may have hurt her feelings which isn't exactly an easy feat.
"Sure, okay," he mutters awkwardly, clearing his throat to break the silence because he hates silences when they are an awkward kind of silence.
"So, who all is coming to this little get together?" he decides to change the subject. The last thing he needs is a gloomy Santana walking around because a gloomy Santana is a bitchy Santana. If San is miserable, everyone around her has to be miserable, too, so she doesn't have to think of the fact that she is miserable.
How does Puck know this? Because it is the same way for him. When Puckerman is miserable, everyone else has to be just as fucking miserable, or even more miserable; more is preferable.
"Britt," he refrains from saying thank you, Captain Obvious, "Lady Lips and his two-timing whore of a boy toy, Quinnie, Asian, Other Asian, Man-Hands, and that hunk of a boy toy she brought home with her," she finishes and Puck is not amused for a number of reasons. The first being that he does not want to spend the evening with Brody and two, he cannot stand it when Santana refers to Berry as Man-Hands and yeah, Blaine did cheat on Kurt and that was so not cool in Puck's book, but calling him a two-timing whore of a boy toy is a little unnecessary.
The worst part of all of this is that he knows her attitude is his doing. He never should have talked about Brittany. Bad move.
"Her name is Ra-" he starts, but a female voice interrupts him mid-sentence, sing-songing, "I brought fresh-baked cookies!" and he swears his heart beats faster than should be humanly possible. Her voice always does something to him that he cannot explain and he is terrified to explain it because he is afraid of what the feeling means.
He can feel eyes boring into his backside and knows that Santana is looking at him with that same old smug look on her face, so he doesn't even bother turning around because he really doesn't want to face her when he knows that she is right. He has already admitted to himself that he likes Berry more than he ever thought possible. She is the insane girl who makes him want to light himself on fire, he shouldn't have these types of feelings for her, but he does and he is unsure how to rid himself of them even though he thinks it might be starting to kill him little by little on the inside.
"Dinner smells delicious," Rachel compliments Santana when she joins her and Puck in the kitchen, a box of freshly-baked cookies in her hands. He sniffs, breathing in the scent of her cookies (he fights not to snort at the sexual innuendo he could pull out of his ass about the scent of Rachel's cookies) and letting the delicious smell distract him from his thoughts.
"Thanks, dwarf," Santana replies without looking at Rachel. "You can put those cookies in the fridge. Wouldn't want the vultures getting hold of them. Lord knows we won't have the chance to eat any if they were to smell them."
Berry frowns (he is guessing that has something to do with the not-so-affectionate nickname Santana threw at her when she walked into the kitchen), but walks over to the fridge and opens it, placing the box inside.
"Noah, I am far too used to Santana's not-so-endearing nicknames for me, but is there any particular reason she is choosing today to turn back to her usual evil self?" Rachel asks him seriously once they leave Santana in the kitchen, her voice quiet, most likely as a way to keep Santana from hearing her. Which is for the best, he guesses, because if Santana were to hear Berry insulting her in any way (even if that isn't the way that Berry means the words), she will fly off the handle.
He shrugs, as if he has no clue even though he does because he is the one who caused it. Hence the reason he is not saying anything. He does not want a lecture from Berry right now. It is the last thing he needs and besides, he likes it when Berry smiles at him, not when she yells at him and makes him feel like a worthless piece of shit because all he wants to do is make her proud.
When he started feeling such a way, he has no idea and it drives him fucking crazy (she drives him crazy) because no girl is supposed to make him feel this way.
What's bothering him most, though, is that Berry isn't just some girl, she's everything, and he is trying to figure out when she became exactly that to him. When had his life stopped meaning anything without the sometimes overly-perky, overly-dramatic, overly-anything and everything, brunette starlet?
And she is a starlet because she is going to be a star someday. She is bigger than this town, better. She belongs in that big city where she can live out her dreams and Puck thinks he isn't good enough for her, he knows he isn't, so he stands by what he said to Santana. He is not going to tell Berry how he feels because Brody is better for her (even if he is a complete and utter asshole) and Puck cannot live up to the dancing idiot.
Speaking of... "Hey, Berry, where's your dancing fool of a boyfriend?" Puck asks cruelly. He does not want to spend a single minute with Brody, not even a second, but he supposes he has no choice because no way in hell is he missing out on Santana's awesome cooking for a dick wad who told him to stay away from the one girl he actually gives two shits about.
Rachel looks annoyed at his not-so-nice way of speaking about her boyfriend. "Noah, be nice," she reprimands him, smacking him playfully on the shoulder. His skin feels electrified at the contact, the slight brush of her fingers against his shoulder, but he ignores it. He's trying to be a good guy and do the right thing for once in his life. Which sucks, but he'll try not to let it get to him too much.
"To answer your cruelly worded question," Berry starts in and he hears the judgement in her voice and feels bad for like, a millisecond before realizing he doesn't honestly care about Brody so he has no reason to feel bad (other than because Rachel sounds disappointed in him), "Brody is outside having a man-to-man with Michael, but they will join us soon."
"Oh goody!" Puck exclaims, his voice too high-pitched (not that he can even reach a high-pitch so it sounds a little weird, but that's kind of the point). Rachel's only response is to smack him again, a little harder this time, but not so hard that he winces because he is still the Original Fucking Bad Ass.
She opens her mouth as if to speak or worse, scream at him, but the door opens and suddenly, the room is filled with laughter and several conversations going on around him.
He swears his mouth drops all the way to the floor when he sees his half-brother and that one brunette chick who he thinks has the same name as that dog in the one really sad movie Rachel made him watch once (he doesn't want to relive that experience, ever) walk through the door, the door swinging shut behind them.
Puck's facial expression hardens and he storms into the kitchen, grabbing the ladle from Santana's hands, ignoring Rachel's protests and attempts to keep him in the living room.
Santana places her hands on her hips and gives him that really terrifying deadly glare that would scare him if he weren't so pissed off.
"Did you invite my brother?" he growls, his glare matching hers perfectly.
Santana yanks the ladle from his hand and resumes stirring the noodles. She doesn't look at him as she says, "No, I didn't, asshole. Mike invited him because he and Mike have been good friends since Grease and anyway, you should be glad he is here. Clearly he doesn't care that you're here, so you need to take your own fucking advice and take a goddamn chill pill because I am so not in the mood to deal with you, Puck."
He doesn't reply; he simply takes a deep breath and exhales, returning to the living room when he feels calmer. He greets his little (not-so-little, but still younger) brother with a handshake and a guy hug before greeting Mike the same way. He doesn't even bother looking at Brody, who walked in with the others before Jake and that girl whose name he now remembers is Marley walked in.
Of course, he can't have the luxury of avoiding Brody forever and when he turns around, the first thing he sees is Rachel wrapped up in the aforementioned man's arms. It feels like his stomach is twisting and turning and he thinks for a minute that he might be sick until he realizes what he is feeling is jealousy.
"Fuck this shit," Puck spits out, tossing a glare at Brody. All eyes are on him, but he finds that he doesn't honestly give a shit as he storms out of the house and slams the door behind him.
Dramatic exit? Probably, but at least he knows he did Rachel proud because she was all about that shit in high school. The last thought he has before her hears said girl's voice is so much for being the good guy.
"Puckerman!" Rachel screeches, storming out of the house not even minutes after Noah. She is appalled by his immature behavior and is determined to get an explanation out of him even it it kills her to do so.
"Fuck, Berry, you got to stop doing that," Noah breathes out when he looks at her. He looks furious and it reminds her of that time in the choir room when Finn demanded to hear the truth about "Drizzle" out of Quinn's mouth.
The one difference between then and now is that she has not a single clue why he is so terribly angry.
"Not that I do not appreciate your superb dramatic exit," he smirks, but she ignores it even though it continues to make her feel warm, "but what, may I ask, drove you to resort to mimicking the actions of a toddler in a grocery store when said child does not get his or her way?"
Noah rolls his eyes. She should have seen that coming. "Look, Berry, it's none of your goddamn business why I stormed the fuck out of that house. I just don't feel like being in there with you and the gang and your asshole of a boy toy."
She does not want to think it because it would mean facing what she has been fighting to deny, but she swears she detects a hint of jealousy in his tone at the end of his statement.
She opens her mouth to ask what his problem is with Brody (she is half aware of the reason already, but clearly, there is something more that she is oblivious to), but he goes on, saying, "Why are you with him, anyway? He's an asshole, Rachel. You deserve better than some piece of shit who fucks the bitch who makes your life a living hell every single day and then tells one of your best guy friends to back off because he thinks I'm actually a threat..."
Her eyes widen at his last words (she opts to ignore his incessant cursing, though she does not find his choice of words the least bit amusing) and he looks like a deer caught in the headlights. "Uhm..." he says hesitantly, but no other words leave him. Funny, now Noah Puckerman is at a loss for words. She would be laughing, but she is too confused to appreciate the hilarity of the situation.
"Brody asked you to steer clear of me?" she eventually asks him. She does not know how to feel; hurt, she supposes, as well as shocked and angry.
Noah nods slowly. "Yeah, Berry, he did, and I agreed, but... I was lying, obviously, because I caught up with you right afterwards. Like hell I was going to listen to that bastard." She frowns and Noah actually looks apologetic, but she finds herself feeling a tiny bit upset with him as well for not having told her sooner. "I'm sorry, babe."
"I am not your babe, Noah, so please refrain from referring to me as such," she snaps. "Now, if you will excuse me, I have to have a very much needed talk with my so-called boy toy," she finishes bitterly before turning on her heel and disappearing into the house, leaving Noah alone on the porch.
She does not bother to say hi to anyone or answer the unspoken questions written clearly on their faces as she walks over to Brody and grabs his hand, yanking him towards the stairs. "We need to talk," she says simply, her tone controlled. Brody raises a brow, but does not question her and follows her up the stairs and into what she assumes to be Mike's room.
"So, what's up, Rachel?" Brody asks her, taking a seat on Mike's bed. She leans against the inside of the door, not wanting to be anywhere near him for fear she will lose her nerve.
"Please explain to me what makes you think you have the right to ask any of my friends to stay away from me because of your petty and unexplained jealousy," she states coolly, her gaze locked on his. His expression morphs from confused to guilty in a matter of seconds.
"I see the way he looks at you," Brody says quietly and she wants to say she doesn't know what he is talking about, but she does because she has seen it, too. She walks over to the bed and sits down beside him, taking his much bigger hand in her much smaller hand and giving it a squeeze. She finds that his touch does not excite her like it used to. "I'm sorry, Rachel. I shouldn't have been such an ass and asked him to stay away, but... I care about you a lot and I just... I see the way you look at him, too. I got scared and decided to be all macho and shit which was clearly wrong."
"It's okay," she tells him honestly. "You have nothing to apologize for, but... I think you should go back to New York." Brody looks crestfallen. She feels awful, but she knows that in the long run, it will be for the best. "I don't feel what I used to with you. I simply feel comfortable and that is not fair to you. You deserve far better than what I can give you."
She releases his hand and leans over, placing a sweet kiss on his cheek. "I'm sorry," she whispers against his cheek before pulling away from him.
"Yeah, me, too," Brody mumbles, giving her a small smile before leaving the room.
She decides not to leave quite yet. She has managed to hurt two men in a matter of minutes; it feels like high school all over again and that thought is not a pleasing one in the least.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I promise that things between Rachel and Puck will be resolved in the next chapter. Brody is finally gone and Rachel feels like an ass. All is right with the world lol. Thanks for the reviews.