hi this fic is a christmas present for laura but when i was outlining it it ended up being over 90 segments (yikes) so i'm going to be posting it in 6 parts of 15 segments each! wooooo!

this fic is based on eric and donna from that 70's show (one of my personal fav shows besides glee) so there are a lot of similarities obviously between their storyline and this fic! a main difference, however, is that this fic just takes place in the current era instead of the 70s :)

dedicated to laura for the awesome prompt as well as mary gael and shanna for reading the snippets i sent them! heart u ladies xoxo

title is from 'sigh no more' by mumford and sons


the beauty of love as it was made to be

(1/6)

i.

He notices the moving truck next door when he's out practicing layups in his driveway. His mom says that one day he'll be as tall as the basketball goal, but he's kind of the smallest kid in his class, so he's rather doubtful as to whether or not that'll actually happen.

Anyway, there's a moving truck, and Finn's kind of naturally curious. (He is six, after all.) He goes over to the bushes that separate his yard from the yard next door, and he's just tall enough to see over the tops of them. There doesn't seem to be much going on, and he's just decided that the house next door is still boring as ever, when a girl seemingly pops up out of nowhere, right in front of the bush he's standing behind.

He screams a bit (but not, like, a girly scream), staggering backward, and all he sees are wide brown eyes peering at him from over the bush. Then the girl steps around it and into his yard, one small hand covering her mouth as she giggles.

"Did I scare you?" she asks.

Finn furrows his brow. She's wearing a pink skirt, her dark brown hair is pulled back into a ponytail, and her white sweater has a unicorn on it. She doesn't really look like any of the girls in his class. He decides that's a good thing.

She's looking at him expectantly, and he remembers she asked him a question. Hurriedly, he answers, "I – I wasn't scared."

She purses her lips, but she doesn't comment on his obvious lie. "I'm Rachel Berry," she says instead, holding out a hand, presumably for him to shake. "I just moved in next door with my dads."

Finn doesn't ask why she has two dads (because how is that fair when he doesn't have any?), but he does shake her hand, and it's a little weird because they're six and usually six year olds don't really shake hands and stuff, but it feels kind of like the least weird thing Rachel's done so far. So he shakes her hand and then he says, "I'm Finn Hudson, and I live here."

She giggles, her brown eyes bright, and says, "Yes, I figured that part out."

"Oh." He frowns, letting go of her hand. She looks panicked.

"Not that I'm trying to be mean! I just – I thought you were trying to be funny, I'm sorry."

"'S fine," he says with a shrug, and it is. There's a beat, then he says, "Wanna shoot some baskets with me?"

Rachel looks down shyly, dragging her pink ballet flat against the pavement. "I don't know how," she admits.

"I'll teach you," Finn says, and then he takes her hand and leads her in the direction of the basketball goal.

Rachel kind of sucks at basketball, but that's okay, because she's a girl and also because she's just starting out, and anyway, he thinks he'd be her friend anyway because she's kind of awesome.

He's never met anyone like Rachel Berry before. And he's not really sure how he knows this, but he thinks she just kind of became his best friend.


ii.

Finn's mom gets remarried when he's nine. The guy who's gonna be his stepdad is really cool and everything (his name's Burt and he owns the auto shop in town), and his son is nice and everything (Kurt – he's in his class), but he just doesn't really want things to change.

"I mean, what if my mom forgets about me?" Finn asks Rachel. They're sitting cross legged in his driveway, and the sun's just started to go down, which means Rachel will probably have to go home soon.

"She won't forget about you," Rachel assures him, patting the back of his hand. "She's just – she wants to be happy to, you know."

Finn frowns. "Don't I make her happy?"

"Of course you do," Rachel tells him quickly. "But maybe she's sad when you're out here playing with me. Who's making her happy then?"

Finn nods. That makes sense. "I'm just scared that everything's gonna change," he admits.

"Well, things are going to change, but it's gonna be the good kind of change, okay?"

Finn smiles, nods again. "Okay."

"And, no matter what else changes, we'll always be best friends, right?"

"Right," he promises. "Rachel, you're gonna be my best friend forever."

He glances over to see her smiling in the setting sun, her teeth even whiter against the red light, her eyelashes long as they flutter against her cheek.

Her dad tells her it's time to come inside then, so she gets up to go, leaning over to kiss his cheek before skips off. He watches her go, touching his skin where her lips had been seconds before. It feels nice, he thinks.

Everything about Rachel feels nice.


iii.

Finn starts hanging out with Noah Puckerman in the fifth grade, and Rachel doesn't seem to particularly like him that much at first. Noah seems to return the sentiment, probably because Rachel insists upon calling him his given name instead of Puck, his preferred nickname, but by the seventh grade, they at least tolerate each other, so they kind of become this trio of friends. That same year, Sam Evans moves to town and he's inducted into their group of friends as well, and they all just sort of hang out in Finn's basement.

It just sort of becomes their thing, like, playing video games in the basement. Rachel even becomes like, really good at Call of Duty, which pisses Puck off, but it's nice to know that there's someone who can beat him.

Having Rachel as a best friend is really, really awesome.

Over the years, they grow up but a lot of stuff essentially stays the same. They stay friends, they hang out in the basement, and Kurt (Finn's stepbrother) comes down and yells at them for making too much noise at night when he's trying to complete his beauty routine.

Their sophomore year of high school, Sam brings this new kid with him to their daily hangout at Finn's house. The kid's can't seem to stop smiling, and his hair is kind of in this pouf, a clover pinned to the green sweater he's wearing.

"Who's your new friend, Sam?" Puck asks, barely looking up from the television screen.

"His name's Rory," Sam says, sitting on the other side of Rachel. Rachel scoots closer to Finn as a result, her elbow ending up in his lap. He feels his thighs grow warm, and he silently prays that nothing happens. Because Rachel's like, really pretty, and her elbow is pretty close to the one place she'd be able to tell just how pretty he thinks she is. Once Sam's situated, though, she moves her elbow, and he exhales.

Rory just kind of stands in front them, still smiling. It's kind of freaking Finn out a little. "Hi," Rory says finally. At least, Finn thinks he says hi. His accent's really thick, so it's hard to tell for sure.

"Are you from Ireland?" Rachel asks, eyes bright, smile wide.

Rory nods.

"I've always wanted to go there! I bet it'd beautiful!"

Rory nods again, starts jabbering something that Finn really has trouble understanding, but Rachel seems to follow along, nodding intently. Sam just kind of looks at Finn, eyebrows raised, and Finn just shrugs.

If Rachel likes Rory, he's pretty much in their little group, and anyway, Finn's not really one to leave someone out, especially when they're so far away from home.

Puck finally pauses the game, inspects Rory for a minute, then hands him a controller. "Wanna play?"

Rory grins even wider, sitting down beside Puck, asking what he's supposed to do.

If Puck likes him, he's definitely in, so Finn figures that that's that.


iv.

A few months after Rory moves to Lima, Sam starts dating the captain of the cheerleading squad, Quinn Fabray. Finn doesn't really mind her, but Puck and Rachel seem to really have an issue with her being around all the time. And when it's just Rachel and Finn hanging out, she pretty much just rants about how awful Quinn is, and how she absolutely doesn't understand what Sam could possibly see in her.

"She's just awful, Finn!" Rachel says for what must be the fiftieth time, blowing her bangs out of her face as she paces back and forth in front of him. "She's literally just this – this terrible human being, and now that Sam's dating her I have to deal with her all the time, and it's just – it's ridiculous!"

"C'mon, Rach," Finn tries, running a hand absently through his hair. "She's not so bad, is she?"

Rachel glares at him. "She's a cheerleader, Finn," she snaps, as if that's supposed to make everything suddenly clear. She just rolls her eyes at his still blank expression, scoffs. "I guess I shouldn't expect you to understand. I mean, obviously you're blinded by her perfect blonde hair and bone structure!"

"Hey, hey, whoa," Finn says, grabbing her wrist lightly and tugging her down onto the couch next to him. She sighs, refusing to meet his gaze. "Rach, what's this really about? Do you…" He swallows, and he doesn't really want to know the answer to this question, but he decides he should probably ask anyway. "Do you like Sam, or something?"

Rachel gives him a withering look. "No, of course not! I just don't like Quinn."

"Well, I think Sam actually does, so, like, you'll just have to deal with it," Finn says.

Rachel mutters something about how Sam likes certain parts of Quinn, and Finn has to do his best to not snicker.

"Look, they'll probably break up in a few weeks and then things'll go back to normal, alright?" Finn says, jostling her shoulder a little bit.

Rachel grins, nudging him with her elbow. "I sincerely hope you're right."

"'Course I am," he says easily. "When has Sam ever stuck with a girl for longer than a month, tops?"

Rachel giggles. "Never."

"Exactly," he tells her, flicking on the television, "and I don't see him starting now. Quinn'll be gone soon enough, you'll see."


v.

Two months later, Quinn's still around, much to Rachel's obvious annoyance. It's probably because Rachel and Quinn are complete opposites: Rachel's favorite hobbies include singing and watching musicals, while Quinn likes watching reality television and shopping. Quinn's blonde hair is usually pulled back in a smooth pony tail, and Rachel's dark hair usually falls in waves around her shoulders. Quinn's green eyes are often narrowed into slits, and Rachel's brown ones are usually crinkled with laughter.

Finn really hopes that Rachel doesn't feel like, threatened by Quinn, because Finn thinks that she has nothing to worry about. Sure, Quinn wears these bohemian dresses that are kind of cool, but Finn prefers Rachel's animal sweaters and short skirts.

And Rachel's like way funnier and actually laughs at his jokes, and she's prettier too, because he's not really into the whole Grace Kelly thing Quinn has about her, and her eyes are just always really bright and the way she smiles makes his heart pound out a foreign rhythm in his chest – and… shit.

He thinks – he thinks he likes Rachel, and not just in the best friend sort of way. He, like, wants to run his fingers through his hair and press his lips against her cheek and kiss her until he can't breathe. And he doesn't know when he started feeling this way; all he knows is that he certainly feels it now, feels it from the tip of his toes to the top of his head.

He likes his best friend, his Rachel, and he has absolutely no idea what to do about it.


vi.

Now that he knows that he feels something entirely huge and strange for his best friend, he doesn't know how to act around her. Suddenly he's hyperaware of her arm pressed against his when they're watching television, of her laughter when he says something that probably wasn't actually that funny. He doesn't know how to act around her anymore.

Puck (somewhat surprisingly) is the first one to notice. "Berry got cooties or something?" he asks with a smirk after Rachel goes back upstairs to get some snacks. It's just the three of them hanging out (Sam's stuck watching Quinn's cheerleading practice), but Finn still looks around, like someone else will hear.

He feels his cheeks turn red along with the tops of his ears, and he mutters, "Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about."

Puck just gives him a look. "Whatever, bro. It's pretty obvious you want a slice of that Berry pie."

Finn feels his blush deepen and he gives Puck a shove.

Puck just smirks, and Finn can hear Rachel's footsteps coming down the basement stairs.

"Not a word," Finn hisses, and Puck rolls his eyes.

"My lips are sealed," he homecomingises.

"Sealed about what?" Rachel asks, taking a handful of freshly popped popcorn out of the bowl she's carrying before handing it to Finn.

"Just about how badly I beat Hudson on COD just now," Puck lies smoothly, and Finn shoots him a grateful look.

Rachel snorts. "How bad was it this time?"

"Pretty bad," Finn says, shoving some popcorn in his mouth so he hopefully won't have to lie even more.

Rachel just laughs, pressing her fingers briefly against Finn's shoulder, and he can't help but notice the way her eyes crinkle shut, the way her mouth opens wide. His heart pounds in his chest.

"What?" Rachel asks, still mid-laugh. "Do I have something on my face?"

Finn shakes his head, forcing himself to look away. "No, nothing."

He sees Rachel furrow her brow out of the corner of his eye, but thankfully, she doesn't press the subject. Puck laughs, but when he catches Finn's glare, it quickly turns into a cough.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Rachel asks quietly, gently touching his arm. He thinks his skin might be on fire.

"Yeah," he says, giving her a small smile, ignoring the tribal drum beat of his heart. "Yeah, I'm fine."

She seems to accept this, snatching up the second control and telling Puck that she's about to kick his ass, but Finn knows that, in reality, he's not fine. He's really falling for his best friend and he doesn't know what to do about it.


vii.

Finn's not entirely sure, but he thinks Quinn and Rachel might be becoming sort of friends. Maybe it's because they're the only two girls in the group (what do girls talk about, anyway?), but Finn's not entirely sure. All he knows is that it's kind of freaking him out, and he knows that it's kind of freaking Sam out, too.

"Quinn went over to Rachel's again last night," Sam says worriedly, flopping down onto the couch in Finn's basement.

"I thought they hated each other," Finn says.

"Me too!" Sam sighs, running a hand through his blonde hair. "Like, do they even have anything in common?"

"You," Rory points out from the armchair, digging into a bag of chips.

Sam's eyes go wide. "Do you think they're talking about me?"

"Probably," Puck offers.

Finn swears Sam goes pale as Puck and Rory double over in laughter. "Does Rachel have a crush on me or something?" Sam demands. He thinks about it for a second, then smiles. "Actually, that wouldn't be too bad."

"Of course she doesn't," Finn scoffs, and the other guys all turn to look at him. Finn swallows. "I mean, that'd be – it'd be ridiculous to think that she likes any of us like that. And anyway," he presses on, ignoring Puck's pointed look, "why would she talk to Quinn about that? I feel like Quinn wouldn't appreciate that."

"Unless Quinn has a hidden agenda," Puck says, wagging his eyebrows conspiringly. "Maybe Quinn's into someone else and is using Sam to get there."

"Hey!" Sam says.

Puck just shrugs. "I'm just sayin'."

Finn glares at him. "Look, Rachel doesn't like Sam, and Sam's dating Quinn, and maybe they're not even friends, maybe they were like partners on some sort of project!"

"What's it matter to you, Hudson?" Puck asks, eyes gleaming because he's the only who gets the joke.

"It – it doesn't," Finn says quickly. "I just… I know that Rachel doesn't like Sam."

"Yeah, and Quinn loves me," Sam says defensively. "She wouldn't… do that whole hidden agenda thing."

Puck shrugs. "If you say so."

Sam looks over at Finn. "She wouldn't, right?"

Finn smiles, punches him in the shoulder. "Nah, man, she wouldn't."

He grabs a controller then, tossing the other one to Puck. He thinks he needs to school him in some videogames to get back at him for trying to throw him under the bus concerning his feelings for Rachel.

Too bad Puck actually ends up beating him.

He sighs, passing the controller to Sam, rubbing a hand over his face. Ever since he realized he has feelings for Rachel, his life has been anything but simple. Why, of all people, did he have to fall for her?


viii.

Three months later, Sam's still dating Quinn, Rory's slowly learning the art of Call of Duty, and Finn still doesn't know how to act around Rachel.

"This is getting to be ridiculous," Puck says after Rachel leaves to go to her house for dinner one night.

"What's ridiculous?" Rory asks, focusing not on Finn or Puck but on his character on the screen. His tongue pokes out of the side of his mouth as he concentrates.

"Yeah, what's ridiculous?" Sam repeats, unwinding his arm from its place around Quinn's shoulders.

Finn glares at Puck. "Nothing."

"Hudson's got a little crush," Puck says anyway.

"Oooh!" Quinn squeals, leaning toward him, her eyes bright. "Is it anyone we know?"

"Nah," Finn starts to say, but Puck cuts him off with, "It's Berry."

"I knew it!" Sam says triumphantly, pumping his fist into the air.

"You did not," Quinn scoffs, flipping her blonde hair over one shoulder.

"I might've," Sam insists.

Quinn just shoots him a look.

"Anyway, dude," Puck continues, ignoring Quinn and Sam completely, "if you don't do something about Berry soon, then I will."

Finn feels like everything is suddenly in slow motion. He takes a slow breath in, lets it out. "What do you mean?" he asks finally.

"I mean that Rachel's a fine looking girl," Puck says with a little shrug, "and if you're not gonna step up and take the girl out, then I will."

Finn just stares at him blankly. "You've got to be kidding me," Finn says flatly.

"Hey, if you're not gonna tap that, someone's got to."

Finn makes to lunge at Puck, but Sam grabs the back of his shirt, holding him back. "Dude, just man up and tell her, and then you won't have to worry about it," Sam says like it's the simplest thing in the world.

Finn glares at all of them. This situation is anything but simple. Don't they get that he could lose his best friend?

He knows Puck's serious though, so he knows that he'll have to figure out what to do, and fast. Is he willing to let Rachel slip through his fingers and be content with being just best friends for the rest of his life, or is he going to be brave and tell her how he feels?


ix.

Summer's drawing to a close and their junior year is almost upon them. The August air is thick, practically stifling, but he stretches out in the backseat of his truck anyway. He came out here to think, to get away from Kurt lecturing him about the importance of beauty routines, and to get away from his phone, constantly buzzing with texts from Puck, warning him that, within the next couple of days, he's going to ask out Rachel.

He really just wants to close his eyes and will for everything to go away, but he knows that that's impossible. He just has to wade through the bad along with the good and pray that everything works out.

He feels the bed of the truck dip slightly, and he cranes his head. Rachel gives him a small smile as she crawls in, laying down next to him, her body pressed up against his. He feels his heart rate accelerate, his palms grow sweaty. He swallows.

"What're you doing out here?" Rachel asks quietly after a moment.

He glances over at her, but she's not looking at him. Her eyes are focused on the stars above. He really wants to grab her hand, to lace his fingers with hers, but he refrains.

He clears his throat. "Just… thinking."

Rachel frowns. "Yeah, me, too."

"What…" He trails off, tries to find the words after a moment. The tribal drum beat his heart is pounding out doesn't cease. "What's worrying you, Rach?"

She sighs, turns over so that she's looking at him inside of the night sky. "Noah asked me out today."

Finn thinks he stops breathing for a moment, and all he can think is that Puck's a rat bastard. Rachel's still watching him though, so he tries his best to breathe in and out, in and out, tries to pretend that his heart isn't breaking in his chest.

Finally, he asks, "And what did you say?"

"I said I couldn't," Rachel whispers, and Finn thinks there might be hope after all. "I mean… there's this other boy, and I thought he might like me, too, but now I'm not so sure."

Finn's breath catches in his throat, and he doesn't want to let the hope swell in his chest, but it's there, and it's rising. "Who wouldn't like you?" he asks instead.

"I don't know," she says shyly. She looks up at him from underneath her eyelashes. "You tell me."

He doesn't know if he moves or if she does, but suddenly his lips are pressed softly against hers, the smooth skin of her cheek beneath his fingertips. He feels a fire spread throughout his entire body, starting in his abdomen and heading towards his fingers, his toes, the top of his head. He feels warm and she feels warm and he doesn't know if he's ever felt so happy.

Finally, they break apart, and he can hear her ragged breathing, can feel her heart beat against her chest, since she's totally pressed up against him. He grins down at her, and she smiles back.


x.

He's not sure how to go about this whole dating thing, but he knows that he likes Rachel and she likes him back, so he asks her if she'd like to go bowling, just the two of them.

She accepts.

He and Rachel have been bowling before, so he already knows she's terrible unless he lets her put bumpers up, and he wonders if things will be weird because aren't you supposed to learn these kinds of things on a first date? But Rachel just smiles when he requests bumpers for when it's her turn, and she squeezes his arm as she leans up to press a kiss against his cheek, and he decides that surely a first date with the person you know better than anyone is actually way better.

Finn beats her by about a hundred points, and Rachel pouts, but then Finn just kisses her pout away because he's pretty sure he's allowed to do that, and when he pulls away he asks her if she'd maybe like to be his girlfriend.

She smiles, slowly at first, but then it spreads across her entire face. "Yes, Finn, of course I will," she replies, and then she throws her arms around him and kisses him again.

He's pretty sure it's the best first date ever.


xi.

Dating Rachel is a lot like being best friends with Rachel, only now there's a lot more making out and kissing and holding hands in public, which is definitely an upgrade. She sits on his lap a lot when they're in the basement hanging out with the gang, and Puck says it makes him want to puke, but he's smirking when he says it, so Finn knows he actually doesn't mind.

Quinn and Sam have been together for about six months now as well, and she and Rachel are friends. Maybe not best friends, but they get along pretty well, and Finn thinks that he's used to having Quinn around now, so he hopes Sam doesn't fuck things up.

It doesn't look like things are going to go that way, however.

Rachel calls Finn after Quinn leaves her house one evening, and she sounds kind of freaked out, so Finn skips dinner and immediately heads over. He says hi to her dads before she leads him upstairs, and he sits on the edge of her bed while she paces back and forth, chewing nervously on the inside of her thumb – something she only does when she's seriously scared.

"Rach, what's wrong?" he asks. "You sounded pretty freaked on the phone, and you only bite your thumb when something's really worrying you."

Rachel sighs, then she finally stops pacing. "It's not me, it's Quinn."

Finn furrows his brow. "What about Quinn?"

"Oh, I really shouldn't tell you, I mean, Quinn told me in confidence—"

"Please, Rachel, it's me," he pleads, grabbing her arm and gently pulling her toward him so she's standing between his legs. "And Sam's, like, one of my best friends, and Quinn's Sam's girl, so I care about her, too, you know."

Rachel sighs again, glancing down at the floor. Finally, she mumbles, "Quinn thinks she's pregnant."

"What?!" Finn yelps despite himself.

"She doesn't know for sure," Rachel says quickly, "but she's been feeling slightly nauseous and her period's late this month, so—"

"Does Sam know?"

Rachel shakes her head. "And you can't tell him," she adds urgently.

"But—"

"Quinn should be the one to tell him."

Finn sighs because he knows she's right.

Rachel sits down next to him on the bed, placing her hand on his knee and her head on his shoulder. "Quinn and Sam might be having a baby," she says, disbelief coloring her tone.

He wraps an arm around her shoulder, presses his lips to the top of her head. "They'll be okay," he says, even though he doesn't quite believe it himself. "Either way, they'll pull through."

"I sure hope so," Rachel whispers.

They just sit there for a few minutes, and all Finn can think about is how Quinn and Sam aren't ready, and how a baby is going to change everything, and he hopes, for their sake, that Quinn's not pregnant, because he feels like no one's ready for that added stress of a baby at the age of sixteen.


xii.

Quinn gets her a period a few days later (at least she did according to Rachel), which means that Quinn isn't pregnant, but the stress of the scare alone is enough to make her break up with Sam. In Finn's basement. In front of everyone.

"You didn't even tell me you thought you were pregnant!" Sam protests.

"Well, we're really lucky I'm not because you forgot to wear a condom!" Quinn snaps back.

Finn kind of wants to mold into the couch and fade away, but Sam and Quinn just keep going.

"I just can't believe you didn't even tell me," Sam's saying, and Quinn just shoots him a look.

"Well, I'm never telling you anything ever again," Quinn shrieks, "because I am through with you, Sam Evans!"

Sam pauses, stares at her for a moment. "Wait, what?"

"I'm breaking up with you," Quinn insists.

Finn glances over at Rachel. She's looking back at him with raised eyebrows.

"You – you can't break up with me!" Sam says, his voice rising with indignation.

"I just did," Quinn snaps, and then she leaves, making sure to slam the door behind her.

Sam collapses numbly onto the couch, almost like he can't believe that just happened. Honestly, Finn can't really believe it happened either.

"Does that mean I won't have to deal with her anymore?" Puck asks, breaking the awkward tension that's fallen over them.

Sam just glares at him. "How was I supposed to know?" he moans miserably. Rachel pats him comfortingly on the back.

"I haven't been here for very long, but I've been here long enough to know that American women are batshit crazy," Rory says.

Rachel just glares at him, and Rory slowly turns back to the television.


xiii.

Even though Quinn and Sam are broken up, Quinn still hangs out with them, which makes things kind of awkward. Sam and Quinn refuse to speak to each other, and when they're both in Finn's basement, the tension is palpable.

One night when it's just him and Rachel, he tells her that he really hopes they won't ever be like that.

She laughs, gently pats his cheek. "We won't," she assures him. "Besides, I'm on birth control."

Finn's jaw kind of hits the floor, because it's not that he hasn't thought about having sex with Rachel (because he definitely has), but he just never thought that she had thought about it. But judging by the way she's smiling, that's not the case.

His heart pounds in his chest, and Rachel leans forward and kisses him, her tongue running across his bottom lip, and holy shit what if she wants to do it right now.

(They end up just making out, but just knowing the possibility of sex with Rachel is on the table is enough for now.)


xiv.

Homecoming kind of sneaks up on Finn, and he asks Rachel if she wants to go and she says yes and that she actually already has a dress and even a motel room because wouldn't it be nice if they had their first time after homecoming?

Finn nearly chokes on his water bottle, but she just winks, and yeah, he's definitely going to homecoming.

Homecoming's held in the gym, but it looks pretty nice and stuff, with streamers and glitter everywhere. Rachel looks even prettier though, with her hair in ringlets that fall right on her shoulders, and she's wearing just a bit of lip gloss and mascara. Her dress is strapless and pink and it kind of makes him want to skip homecoming altogether and go to the motel room that she booked.

Sam's trying to make Quinn jealous, so he brought Sugar Motta, the mayor's daughter, and Quinn's trying to make Sam jealous, so she talked Puck into taking her. Rory just sort of came by himself, but he doesn't seem to mind. He keeps trying to dance with Miss Pillsbury, the guidance counselor, and she looks absolutely terrified.

Rachel laughs, takes Finn's hand and guides him to the dance floor, and honestly he's a pretty terrible dancer, but somehow dancing with Rachel makes him forget that. And she doesn't seem to mind if he steps on her toes a few times.

Two seniors Finn doesn't know win homecoming king and queen, and as they're clapping, Rachel leans up and whispers in Finn's ear that maybe they should get out of here.

Finn swallows, but he nods, letting her take his hand and guide him through the gym and out the side doors.

They get to the motel a few minutes later (even though Rachel did her best to distract him while he was driving), and after they finally get into their room, he's suddenly really, really nervous.

Rachel's looking at him with these hooded eyes, and then she's kissing him, but he starts to think that she deserves something better than this – this cliché. Like she deserves epic romance and not some shitty motel room right after homecoming.

"What's wrong?" Rachel asks, pulling away, her brow furrowed slightly. "Don't you want this?"

"Of course I do," he mumbles, and she attaches her lips to his neck. His eyes roll back in his head a little bit, but he forces himself to pull away. "I just, is this how you always imagined losing your virginity, Rachel? In a seedy motel room after homecoming?"

Rachel bites her lip. "Well, no…"

He sighs, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "Me neither. And I just – I want this to be really special for you."

"It's not – it's not because you don't want me?" she whispers, and her lower lip trembles.

"God, Rach, of course not," he says, pulling her to him. "I want you so badly, I just… I want this to be so special and so perfect, because you deserve it. You deserve the best first time."

Rachel looks up at him, and she's smiling. "You do, too," she tells him. He kisses her then, but a short, sweet kiss, before taking her hand and leading her out of the room.


xv.

They end up hanging out in his basement, just the two of them, and she's sort of straddling his lap, her knees on either side of him as she kisses down his neck. His hands end up on her ass, and she totally groans a little bit against his skin, which is awesome. And he knows they're not having sex tonight (and he's really totally cool with that), but it doesn't mean they can't take things a step further.

Hesitantly, he slides his fingers underneath the t-shirt of his she changed into, her skin warm and soft beneath his fingertips. She sighs, pressing her lips fervently against his, her fingers raking through his hair. He slides his hands up farther, until he can feel the fabric of her bra, the clasp cold underneath his fingertips.

She pulls away slightly, so he whispers, "Can I?" and she nods before kissing him again.

His heart is about to beat out of his chest he's so nervous, but he manages to undo the clasp. Rachel pulls away so she can pull the bra down her arms, somehow managing to take it off without taking off her shirt, which Finn finds pretty impressive. Then she's grabbing his hands and sliding them back up her torso and oh God suddenly her bare boobs are like, in his hands.

He hesitantly brushes his fingers across her nipples, and she lets out a throaty moan, so he thinks he's doing something right. He kisses her neck while he kneads her breasts, and the noises that are emanating from her are making him extremely hard, straining against the material of his pants. Rachel moans again, rolling her head back, and then he just can't control himself, coming in his pants.

He's embarrassed as she climbs off of him, but she just says it's perfectly natural, something easily fixed with a healthy amount of practice.

"Practice?" he asks, raising an eyebrow.

She just grins, kissing him again.

He thinks he's definitely down with this whole practicing idea.


tbc