A/N: Okay, so I finally finished one of four fics that I had started and I guess I'll make it my goal in 2013 to finish the rest of them. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this. This is dedicated to all of my angels. Thanks as always to Michelle (thatsmyrealboyfriend on tumblr) for editing! The title comes from the song Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
Santana and Quinn come to visit her after Christmas break. It's nice to see them both, especially since she hasn't seen Quinn since graduation and Santana since Grease. She dresses like she normally does, well as she has been since her makeover – the penny loafers and knee high socks are long gone and behind her. Besides, she likes her new look, she feels sexy, and Brody sure likes it.
Kurt's gone back to Ohio for the weekend, to check on Burt. Ever since he dropped the cancer bomb on him, he's been going home a lot more. Knowing that Kurt could possibly lose his father that Finn could lose a second dad and Carole a second husband, just breaks her heart. That family doesn't deserve things like that to happen to them after all they've been through.
But, there's not much she can do for them besides being there for them as much as possible, which is hard to do all the way in New York. It's just a very sad and unfortunate situation.
She tosses those thoughts aside when there's a knock on the door, and she knows it's Santana and Quinn the second she hears, "Berry, I'm not going to stand out here all day. Now move your ass!" She lets them in, and the three of them hug and exchange hellos, and she's just so happy to see her old friends. It's nice to be spending a weekend with someone other than Kurt.
They order Chinese food for dinner and spend the whole time catching up. Apparently, Quinn had a fling with her professor and broke it off a few weeks prior, once she realized how awful she was behaving. She's trying to break away from being that silly girl she was in high school, who made so many mistakes. And it's nice to see her trying to be that girl. Of course, Santana thinks she's to thank for that, since she slapped her in the choir room – wow, she's missed a lot.
"So, how have you been, Rachel?" Quinn asks, her with a mouth full of broccoli. "I mean, are you seeing anyone?"
"Well, there's definitely a someone, but I wouldn't say we're exclusive," she replies, and Santana raises her eyebrows. "There's this guy – he's a junior – and he's really nice. We've kissed a few times, and he's just a really good friend."
"Oooh, what's his name?" Quinn smiles and claps her hands a little bit.
"Well, his name is Brody, and oh my gosh he is so attractive, Quinn. He's like an Abercrombie model."
"When did this happen?" Quinn seems very interested, and Santana is more focused on the rice she's eating. "I mean, has this been going on for a while?"
"Well, I met him not too long after I came here, and he just brought me out of my shell. Well, Kurt did too, but I have the both of them to thank."
"So what – did you cheat on Finn with him?" Santana says, and Rachel's eyes widen in shock. "Huh? Finn's gone for like a month – in the army, nonetheless – and the first guy who comes along makes you forget about everything that happened last year."
"I can't believe you would ask me something like that, Santana. You don't really know the situation so stop making assumptions, please. And I don't – I don't want to talk about Finn, okay? There is no more Finn and I."
Santana rolls her eyes, setting down her bowl of rice and salmon, "That's crap. There will always be you and Finn. The feelings that you have for him don't just go away. And you know, I feel like he and I are the only ones who remember what happened last year between you two. And you're just throwing all of that away for some guy who's probably just going tobangyou and then send you on your way. I mean, he fucked your teacher and didn't care that it hurt you, so just tell me, Rachel, how is he a good guy? How is he better to you than Finn?"
"How do you even know about that, Santana?" She can't remember mentioning it, not that she ever would because of the embarrassment it made and still makes her feel.
"Kurt told me, but that's besides the point. Stop avoiding my questions."
"Santana," Rachel sighs, running her hand through her hair. "Things are different now, alright? It just didn't work out between us and believe me, I'm much happier now. It's for the best."
"Oh, please, will you cut the bullshit? We're your friends, you don't have to lie to us, and act like you're okay. You can pull that stuff with Hummel because to be honest, he really doesn't seem to care otherwise – and you can make Finn think that you're all fine and dandy because he won't push your buttons. But, this is me, and I can see right through your shit," Rachel deflates almost instantly.
"What happened to the Rachel Berry we both know and love, huh? The one who neverwore that much make up and the one who constantly threw her talent in my face? What happened to her?"
The silence in the apartment is deafening, and Rachel actually feels like she's going to suffocate. "I just feel like you came here to find yourself and instead, you lost what makes you most special in the process," Quinn says, her tone sympathetic. "We just want to know what happened to Rachel Berry."
"She's gone," Rachel mumbles, looking away from both of them. "She got put on a train to New York in May, and she's been gone ever since. You want to know what happened to her, Santana? Just ask Finn, okay? He put me on that train and then he just…. left me."
"So that's what this is about," Santana whispers to herself, moving closer to Rachel. "I can guarantee you that Finn did that for you, Rachel. He loved –loves– you so much, and he'll do anything for you to become a star."
"I know that," she hastily wipes away a tear – when did she start crying? "I know that, Santana. I know that that was the hardest thing he's ever done – but why did it have to be New York or him? Why couldn't he just come with me? Why do I have to be here without him?"
"Have you ever thought of asking him that?" Quinn says gently.
"I mean, maybe the reason you're still so angry about this is because you never got the closure you needed. Yeah, you guys talked when you saw him in October, but you just ended it so fast, and there are still so many unanswered questions, and I think you should talk to him."
"I still love him, you guys. And it's not like I'm just harboring feelings for him – I'm still so in love with him like I was when I was sixteen and we were standing together waiting for our first regionals competition, and he told me he loved me for the first time. It just – it hasn't gone away. I keep telling myself that it has, but it hasn't. He's the one, and I had our entire future planned and now – he's just gone, and it's over."
"I assure you it isn't," Quinn replies, squeezing her shoulder. "Finn played the whole 'it's cool I'm over her' act when we were home for Thanksgiving. You guys can't fool your friends."
"But what about Brody?" Rachel asks, sniffling and wiping away more tears. "It's not that simple with him in the picture. And I don't want to hurt his feelings."
"You just said yourself that you guys aren't even a couple, so I'm sure he won't be too heartbroken when you end it. Who knows, he might even have a thing on the side you don't know about." Santana says, a slight raise in her brow.
"I'm sure he doesn't. Brody's not like that," she's trying to convince herself of this, but it feels so fake even to her.
"Berry, he's a junior in college, and he's not in a committed relationship – he has a thing on the side you don't know about. He probably has a fewthings on the side you don't know about," Santana takes a sip of her Pepsi before continuing. "The last time you were so oblivious and ignorant, your ex boyfriend turned you into an omelet and humiliated you. I just don't want to see the same thing happen to you again."
"Santana's right, Rachel," Quinn speaks up. "The last time you were this blinded by a guy, he screwed you over royally. I feel like you're just telling yourself you're over Finn – but honestly, Brody is just a distraction and a rebound."
"I agree," Santana says. "I'm sorry, Berry, but I do have to say you can't do any better than Finn Hudson. And that's coming from me of all people."
Rachel stares at her hands, avoiding the gazes of the two women in front of her.
"I agree with Santana on this one," Quinn mumbles. "I'm just saying that if Puck or Sam loved me as much as Finn loves you, I wouldn't even considerfinding someone else and being on my own."
"So what do I do?" Rachel asks.
"Well, first of all, we're going to have a nice girl's weekend," Santana begins, with a smile. "We'll buy food that's really awful for us and watch cheesy romantic comedies and have a karaoke night. And then, tomorrow we're going out. I think we need to spy on that Brody guy of yours to see if his intentions are pure."
Both Quinn and Rachel roll their eyes, digging back into their food.
"What? Snix needs to have a little fun in this city."
The next evening, Santana is like a woman on a mission once they get inside Callbacks. She picks a table in the back and she asks Rachel to find Brody for her so she can keep an eye on him. Of course, they find him easily.
"You thinkhe'shot?" Santana says, disgust lacing her tone, "Sure, he looks like he has nice biceps, but that's all he's got going for him. Besides, have you even seenwhat Hudson looks like now? Please, Berry. Please. That guy is nothot, and that's coming from the lesbian."
"I don't know, Santana he isn't bad to look at," Quinn protests. Rachel shifts in her seat, looking at Brody across the bar, who seems to have taken an interest in a girl sitting alone.
"So, maybe he's not a giant like Finn and maybe he does have abs, but you guys, he looks like he could play Donkey in a Broadway adaptation of Shrek," Quinn giggles, covering her mouth, and Rachel's still watching Brody – who is now sitting across from the girl he was flirting with.
"You guys, you guys – look at him," Rachel says, shushing her friends. "I think he found some company for tonight."
"Okay, hold on, I'll go order some drinks and try and eavesdrop. I'll be back," Santana saunters by Brody, making flirty eyes with him as she walks past his seat, making sure he catches her eye. Damn, she's good at being an evil bitch.
It's a few more minutes before she comes back, and she has a smirk on her face, "I couldn't hear much because he was whispering – but I did hear him ask her if she wanted to sing with him tonight, and she was very eager to say yes."
"What a skeeze," Quinn mutters beside her. "Rachel, maybe you should go confront him now."
"No, I want to wait and see if he makes a move and then I'll go in for the kill." Santana raises her eyebrows before nodding approvingly.
They lapse into silence, and Rachel continues watching him and the girl like a hawk. She gasps loudly when he leans in for a kiss. And before she knows it, she's marching over to him and Santana and Quinn aren't trying to stop her.
Brody looks up at her in surprise as she stands in front of him, confident with her hands on her hips. He has a dumbfounded expression on his face. She sends the girl a glare before turning to Brody, "This, whatever it was," she gestures between them, "Is done."
Without a second thought, she takes the girl's drink and dumps it over his head (she's pretty sure she hears a howl of approval from Santana) and then promptly smacks him across the face.
Sure, she made a scene in the middle of the bar but, come on, she isRachel Barbra Berry.
She finally works up the courage to call Finn after Quinn and Santana leave. They haven't spoken since the Winter showcase, but things aren't so crazy tense between them anymore, and she doesn't want to screw it up by rehashing the events that ruined their relationship.
She can feel her heart racing as the phone rings, so she takes a few calming breaths before a very sleepy voice, that without a doubt belongs to Finn, answers, "Hello?"
"Hi, Finn," she begins, gently. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?"
"Yeah, but that's – that's okay. It's good to hear from you," she can just hearthe smile in his voice, and her heart melts. "I'm really happy you called."
"I'm happy I decided to call as well," she licks her lips and sighs because she doesn't want to talk about this – he sounds sohappy. But she knows that she can't avoid it anymore. "Well, I didn't call to just shoot the breeze, so I may as well just get to the point."
"O-okay," he replies, his tone worrisome. "What's going on?"
"I have a question for you – because it's been bothering me a lot lately, you know? I thought I put all of this behind me, and I was so ready to move forward, but this is stopping me and I really, really need to know."
"Alright," his voice is quiet.
"When you – you drove me to the train station instead of our wed – what we had planned instead that day, what was going through your head?" she hears a heavy sigh on the other end of the line. "I mean – how could you make yourself do something like that after all – after everythingwe've been through?"
"Well," he breathes out. "Rachel, when you told me that you wanted to defer your NYADA application, I just – I couldn't let you do that for me. Just the thought of it made me want to puke. And like, all I could see was us being stuck in Lima five years down the line, married, and you resenting me for holding you back from your dreams."
Immediately, "Finn, I would never –"
"It really freaked me out and I just – I didn't know what to do to make you realize that you needed New York so I panicked," he whispers, his voice choked with tears – this is exactly why she didn't want to bring this up. "God Rachel, I'm so sorry."
"I guess that I just don't understand why it had to be one or the other for me," she breathes out as a tear rolls down her face. "I wanted New York, Finn, – I'll always want it – but I was about to give it all up for you – to marry you – don't you understand that?"
"Of course I do," he mumbles. "But, we're so young, and your future is just beginning – I didn't want all of that hard work to come down to nothing because of me. You worked so hard to get to NYADA, especially after your first audition and then you finally got in, and you were just going to turn it down. Who am I to stand in the way of all of that?"
"You were supposed to be my husband, Finn!" she blurts out and he sighs. "Okay, let me ask you something. If you had gotten into Pace, and I didn't get into NYADA, would you still have married me that day – would you have given up your dream of being an actor if it meant you'd be living a happy, married life with me?"
"You know I would, Rachel," he murmurs. "I would have done anything for you – I stillwould."
"And I would do anything for you. So, why did it have to be one or the other for me, Finn? Why couldn't I be in New York and have you right beside me like I always wanted?" she sniffles and reaches for a tissue. "Like I still want?"
"I – I was scared," he mumbles. "And I wanted to marry you so fucking badly that day, I didn't just propose for the fun of it. I wanted you to be my wife. You have no idea how difficult it was for me to not go through with it."
She sighs, her vision blurry with her own tears, "I get it, believe me, I do," she knows him, and she can't even think about what that did to his heart.
"But, like, after I read that rejection letter from Pace, I just lost it, you know? That was the icing on top of the cake of a reallyshitty year for me. And I felt like I truly wasn't good enough for you and that you were going to have all of this success and win all of these awards, and I was going to be a loser for the rest of my life," he admits, and she tries to hide her groan – because she hateshow hard he is on himself. Why can't he see how amazing he really is?
"You know, I'm not the only star that graduated from McKinley last year," she says, as more tears roll down her face. "God, Finn, you're so talented and it's like you're the only one who can't see it. You're so muchbetter than Burt's garage, and you're better than that glee club – you're better than all of it."
"Rachel…" Finn breathes out. "I just – I'm probably never going to see in myself what you see or what everyone else sees. It's hard for me to see that. I'm not like you."
"I know that," she says, swallowing thickly. "I know. I just wish you weren't so hard on yourself. You're your biggest enemy sometimes."
"I know," he mumbles.
"And you're good enough for me, morethan good enough. You're the best man for me. Finn, no one else compares."
The rest of the phone call is spent discussing Mr. Shue and Miss Pillsbury's wedding and how Burt has been and how his mom is doing with all of this going on.
One of the many things she loves about Finn is even if right now they aren't together, he's always been someone she can just talk to. She doesn't need to worry about impressing him.
He is and will always be her best friend – together or not together.
They begin speaking to each other more frequently after that phone call. She texts him whenever she's not busy with school, and she almost always calls him on his lunch break at the tire shop. Things are good and calm between them now, and it's nice to have him back in her life. They might be taking things slow, but she's certainly missed having him around. It's been lonely without him.
He tells her that the glee club is going to Regionals – something about the Warblers cheating during their performance, he didn't really go into detail about it. But, she smiles as she replies to his text while she's in class, congratulating him.
During one of their conversations, he asks her to be his date to the wedding. She's sitting in the park, eating a sandwich, in between classes, and they're talking on the phone when he just asks her. And he does it in the most adorable Finnway and totally catches her off guard.
"So listen, I had a question for you and you – you don't have to say yes because I can understand why you'd say no," he stops himself once he realizes he's started rambling. "But, uh, do you maybe want to go to Mr. Shue's wedding – with me?"
"Of course, Finn," she smiles into the phone. "That'd be perfect. I'd love to be your date."
The day of the wedding arrives very quickly. She's so nervous and excited because of this date with Finn – she has been since she and Kurt got back in town. Things with him could either go extraordinarily wonderful or it could all blow up in her face by the end of the night. And she's hoping that tonight's like a fairytale. After everything they've been through together, they need a drama free evening.
For her dress, she went with red. After all, it is Valentine's Day, and the bridesmaids are all wearing pink. She decided not to wear so much eye liner. She hasn't really been caking it on so much anymore, especially after Santana told her she looked like a 'slutty raccoon.' The first thing she did was toss her bottle of foundation - she didn't realize how much she missed her natural look.
When he shows up at her house, she almost loses it. She's not ready – well she is – but she isn't. This is their first date in so long; what if it all crumbles? Letting out a nervous breath, she opens the door, and her heart melts at the sight of him in his tuxedo. He looks so handsome, and she loveshow he's been styling his hair recently. He looks mucholder and sexy, and did she mention that she loves it?
"Hi," he breathes out, smiling at her, showing off those dimples. If possible, it makes her heart pound even more.
"Hi," she says back, grinning as well. "You look very nice, Finn."
"You look like an angel," he blurts out in a dreamy voice as she blushes. He catches himself and smiles, "Sorry. I just – you look beautiful, Rachel."
"Thanks," she blushes again, and he holds his arm out for her to link it with his, which she gladly accepts.
"So Miss Berry, are you ready for a good night?" he asks as he opens the door to his truck for her – always such a gentleman.
"I'm ready for the bestnight." They share a smile as he closes the car door and god, she loves him so much. She loves the twinkle in his eyes at this very moment, the way her heart is racing as she looks at him, and the love she's feeling for him.
She will never feel this way about anyone else, she'll never be as in love with anyone else as she is with Finn Hudson. And she can't believe she ever questioned it.
The ceremony is so beautiful and so sweet. Miss Pillsbury looks like an angel when she walks down the aisle and of course, both Mr. Shue and Miss Pillsbury cry during their vows.
Finn smiles at her periodically throughout the ceremony as he stands up there. She really just wants to march over to him and kiss him right on the lips – but today isn't about them, and they're still taking things really slow. She doesn't want to rush into it this time.
And of course, there's that little voice in the back of her head, screaming that this should have been them. They should be the ones up there declaring their love for each other in front of all of their friends and family.
She feels a lump in her throat and tries to smile happy as Will and Emma kiss and are announced as husband and wife, but she knows she's going to cry and she can't do it here in front of everyone. As everyone exits to go to the reception, Rachel excuses herself to the restroom. She just needs a few minutes to pull herself together.
She doesn't know how long she's been sitting in the stall crying when she hears a quiet voice murmur, "Rach, is that you?"
Of course Finn came looking for her – she knew he'd get worried.
"Yes," she squeaks out, sniffling and reaching for some toilet paper.
"Are you okay? Kurt was freaking out after I gave my speech and sent me and Santana and Puck to look for you," she hears him sigh, and she thinks he might know what her problem is. "Can you let me in?"
"Sure," she whispers, unlocking the door, and he slips in beside her. She catches the worried expression etched across his face and sighs.
"What's wrong, Rach?" he asks, quietly. "I mean you were fine during the wedding. Did something happen?"
"No, no, nothing happened," she looks up at him with wide, glassy eyes. "I just – you knowwhat I was thinking."
"That should have been us," he breathes out, and she nods.
"Yeah. I couldn't help it. One minute, I was crying because I was so happy for them and the next, I was reminded of what could have been, and I just- I needed to get out of there."
"Rachel," Finn starts, moving toward her, squeezing her shoulder. "I'm not going to lie to you, my mind went there to – but we should be happy for them. I mean, they had it pretty hard for a while, and they're finally married. Yes it sucks, because it could have been us and it should have, but it will be. One day, when we're both ready. And it's finally right for both of us."
"I know, it's just so hard," she chokes out, a few more tears slipping down her face.
"Hey, hey," he murmurs, leaning down in front of her, catching her tears with her thumb. "That will be us, okay? If I know anything it's that we are going to have that life together. I said it to you before, and I'll say it again to remind you. You've just gotta forgive me, babe," his eyes are pleading as he rests his hand on her knee.
"I do, I really do, but you know me. I hold on to things way too hard," she chuckles and squeezes his hand.
"You do. But, we're never going to be able to move forward together, if we keep reminding ourselves of all the bad stuff," she nods because he's right – he's soright. "Look at today, it's our first date in so long, and we're at this wedding for two people we care about – it's a goodday – and we're spending it, in a bathroom, dwelling on the past."
"You're right," she murmurs, looking up at him.
"I know how much I hurt you and I'm so sorry -" he begins but she cuts him off, holding up a hand.
"I've hurt you too. It's not all your fault," she assures him. "We've both messed up. We've both done things we regret that almost ruined us. And it's not fair for you to blame yourself, when I'm just as much to blame."
Before she can even think, Finn's lips are on hers. It's a quick, soft peck on the lips, but it's enough to make her want more. She certainly wasn't expecting him to do that. He pulls away, and she reaches over to wipe her lip gloss off of his top lip.
"Well," he says, blowing out a breath. "This would totally be so much more romantic if I wasn't crouching down on a public bathroom floor, that reeks of piss, but you're right."
She giggles, tucking her hair behind her ear. "I just want to take it all back, all of the stupid things that have happened. I wish I could take our break up back. I made this mess even more messy by ending it."
"Stop it. It was for the best, okay? I get why you did it, so don't dwell on it," he always knows just what to say to make her feel better. "Now, will you please stop with the pity party, and come back to the reception with me?"
"Sure," she replies as he stands up holding his hand out for her.
"No more drama tonight," she grabs his hand, and he unlatches the door. "We have a first dance with our names on it."
"Okay, okay I'll stop. I promise that we will enjoy the rest of the night, without any negative reminders of our stupid mistakes," he smiles, wrinkling his nose, and she grins back at him, rubbing her thumb across his knuckles as they exit the bathroom.
"Did you already give your speech?" she asks as they walk down the hall.
"Yeah," he says sadly. "Kurt waited and waited for you and then after I gave my speech he ran over to me and told me he couldn't find you. It wasn't really anything worth listening to anyway, Rach. Don't worry."
"I'm sure that's not true," he doesn't get a chance to reply when Kurt races over to her the second he spots her and asks her if she's alright. She assures him that she's okay and not to worry. She smiles up at Finn and he winks at her, which makes Kurt uncomfortable, and he excuses himself.
"Well, that got rid of him," Finn laughs as they walk toward their table. "I guess I'll just have to look at you a certain way whenever he's around now."
"Oh, can we please do this?" she claps excitedly as he pulls out her chair, and she sits down. "No, I'm serious. Like, we can have this secret game where we look at each other just to make Kurt mad?"
"Baby," he scrunches up his face as he sits down beside her. "That's not as fun as it sounds."
"You're right, it sounded much better in my head," she pouts. "Besides, I think he's trying to get Blaine to pay attention to him, so he won't even worry about what we're doing."
The DJ announces that it's time for the first dance between Will and Emma. And just like at Burt and Carole's wedding, the glee club is the band again. Marley's on stage singing a sweet, ballad version, of Can't Help Falling in Love with Noah's brother, Jake. She smiles when she feels Finn rest his hand on her knee, and she leans against his shoulder.
He eventually asks her to dance, and he pulls her out on to the dance floor. Her breath catches in her throat when Finn rests his hand on the small of her back – she's missed being this close to him. She rests her head against his chest, letting her eyes slip closed, and smiles to herself when she feels his other hand drift through her hair, and he presses a kiss to the top of her head.
Everything finally feels right.
He walks her to her front door when he drops her off. He gave her his suit jacket, which she's now wearing – even if it is more than twice her size, it smells like Finn.
"So," he breathes out with a nervous smile on his face as they come to a stop on her porch. "I was going to wait to tell you this, but I have some pretty big news."
There's a pause, and she looks up at him, urging him to continue.
"Well, Mr. Shue's coming back in a few weeks – just in time for Regionals. So, I've been thinking seriously, more seriously than I ever have about what's next for me. At first, I was just going to apply to Kent – there's a campus near here that I can commute to and tuition's crazy cheap. Plus, Burt asked me to take over at the tire shop for him so I would have a job, and it would have worked out perfectly."
She nods, letting him continue. She has an idea of where this conversation is going, but she keeps her mouth shut, "But, I turned him down because that's not exactly fair to ask me since I do have plans now. I get that he's sick but, I'm only nineteen, and I have a lot ahead of me."
"I do agree with you on that one," she says.
"But you know lately we've been taking things really slow and taking our time figuring everything out. I didn't want to ruin it by jumping right back to where we were a year ago. But, I wanted you to know that I applied to a school in New York – it's nothing special like NYADA or NYU, but it's good enough. I actually applied before we started talking again because the deadline was in November, and Kurt kept bugging me about sending in all of the paper work in time."
"Finn – that's amazing," she squeals, covering her mouth. "It's beyond amazing, I'm so proud of you. I hope you didn't feel like you had to do this for me. If you would have applied to Kent, that would have been more than fine. We can do long distance if we have to."
"No, no long distance," he says as he takes a step closer towards her. "And I don't mean that as a bad thing, I just – look at what it did to Kurt and Blaine and Brittany and Santana. I don't want to have you back just so I can lose you again next year."
Her breath catches for a moment as she shakes her head, "You won't. I promise you won't," she murmurs, reaching for his hand.
"Good," he grins. "But…. you didn't let me finish, Rach."
"There's more?" she squeaks, surprised.
"Yes, there's more. Two days ago, I got a letter from the University I applied to and, they accepted me," he admits and her eyes widen.
"You – you – you got in?" she asks softly.
"I got in!" he replies, excitedly, a genuine smile on his face, and she laughs.
"You're going to be in New York with me?!" she shouts, a smile spreading across her face.
"I'm going to be in New York with you," he smiles back and then before he knows it, she's jumping into his arms, peppering kisses across his face.
"I knew you could, I always did," Rachel hugs him tightly, resting her head on his shoulder. "Oh, I'm so proud of you. I love you so much, Finn."
"I love you more, Rach," he mumbles back as he sets her down. "Well, I'm going to take off. I've got to be at school tomorrow, we've got rehearsals for Regionals for the next two weeks."
"Okay, I think I'll stop by before I have to go back to New York. Tomorrow is President's Day, so luckily I don't have classes."
"Sounds good," he presses a kiss to her forehead, before turning to leave. "I love you. I'll see you tomorrow." She forgets to tell him that she's still wearing his jacket, but she knows he doesn't care.
As he walks to his truck, she watches him with a silly, lovesick smile on her face and she finds herself wondering if it's possible to fall more in love with him than before.
Finn sends her a ticket to Regionals, because she really wants to go and support him now that they're back together, and she kind of wants to get away from Kurt for a few days. He's been frustrating her lately, and he wasn't exactly excited that she and Finn fixed things. Needless to say, it ended in an argument, and she decided to go home to see Finn.
Once she finally gets to the school, she passes a few of the kids, and they all smile at her. Finn's waiting for her by the door to the auditorium and greets her with a smile and a kiss. He leads her to their seats, and she sits beside him in the crowd, just in time for the New Directions to perform.
They're doing a Foreigner medley – which is veryFinn. She smiles up at him as Ryder is singing I Want to Know What Love Is and he leans in to whisper, "What's on your mind, Rach?"
"Just thinking about what we were going to do after Regionals last year," Finn tenses a little bit, and she squeezes his hand.
"Rachel," he whispers back. "We can't-"
"Do you know what we should do?" she asks him, with a grin on her face.
"What?" he rolls his eyes. He's playing dumb, she knows it.
"Elope," she blurts out, and his head snaps toward her.
"Wh – you – you're asking me to – here?" his eyes are as wide as saucers as he tries to wrap his head around what she's asking him.
She leans even closer, her hand in his own, "Yes. I want to marry you. I'm ready now. We've wasted too much time being stupid and dancing around and dating other people. And I've never been more sure of anything than I am right now at this moment, Finn. Marry me. Today."
He's silent for a few minutes, and she thinks she might have scared him a little bit – more like a lot. He opens his mouth and closes it before opening it again to speak.
"Are you sure?" he asks hoarsely. "I don't – I don't want to do it if you're not."
"I promise you that there is nothing I want more than to marry you. To finally marry you," he kisses her on the lips, cupping her face gently, and she can feel him smiling.
"So, I take it that that's a yes?" she murmurs with a giggle, when he pulls away.
Once they announce the winners - it was the New Directions (she's honestly not surprised, their performance was stellar as always), she and Finn are out of the auditorium and in the car.
She makes a quick trip home, finding the wedding dress she stuffed away in the back of her closet all those months ago. Feeling a sense of deja vu and fear as she climbs back in the car with Finn, she takes a deep breath because finally this is it, and they're finally going through with it.
Just as she did before, she changes into her wedding dress in one of the back rooms at City Hall as Finn waits outside for them to get married. Except this time, there's no bridesmaids, no parents, no car accidents, no detours to any train stations that can stop them – it's just Finn and Rachel – like it should have been all along.
She finishes getting ready, and they walk down the hall together, hand in hand, about to embark on the rest of their lives together.
They didn't have any vows prepared because everything was so last minute, but Finn mouths 'I love you' to her just before the judge begins and that beats anything that she could have written down on paper. The look on his face and his smile; she doesn't think she's ever seen him this happy and in love. He says 'I do' and then it's her turn and if she wasn't sure before, she certainly is now. Nothing can stop her from marrying him as he stands across from her.
"I now pronounce you man and wife," the judge announces and then Finn's lips are on hers. Their family might not be with them, and there might not be crying and clapping and cheering as they take such a big step forward, but she finally has the man she loves beside her where he belongs.
So maybe she can have it all. Who would have thought?
"So, how mad are your dads?" Finn asks, sheepishly as she climbs in to the car with him with a handful of her things to stuff in the back along with all of his belongings.
"Surprisingly, they took it very well, especially because it's you," she replies, squeezing his hand. "They were a little disappointed that they missed it, but they're happy for us. How'd it go with your mom?"
"It wasn't that wonderful, unfortunately," he grumbles. "She's got a lot going on so I do understand why she was upset and angry. She was sad she missed it, and she was upset that we made such a huge decision and that I'm moving. But once, she finally calmed down, she was really happy for us, and she was happy it was with you."
"Well, the hardest part is over now, husband," she says to him, with a giggle. "Are you ready for an adventure, Mr. Hudson?"
"Always, Mrs. Hudson," he laughs as he starts up the car and pulls out of her driveway. She claps his hand tightly as they drive on the highway, admiring the wedding bands that they're both wearing. She smiles to herself because she's so happy she chose Finn, and she knows that they're in it for the long haul.