The first time they meet, she scrawls her phone number on the top of his hand. Not the palm, of course, because of unpredictable sweat patterns, and she's too afraid to have the responsibility of calling first. The ball of her pen presses into his skin, and he's not looking at her face but at her hand holding his, her other hand fervently scribbling her name.

He's smiling, though. He's smiling and when he finishes he looks up at her, and she thinks it's nice, if a little unprecedented – meeting him, she means. The smile is nice, but more than that, it's intrigue, it's clandestine, it's rain on the pavement, a cool breeze, it's a kiss hot and warm, pressed tight in the humid air.

Her pen stills on his skin, dying it a hue darker than the surrounding ink, and his fingers close around hers. Later, she'll wonder at the feeling, when her skin feels so hot and her sheets so cool, and she wants to explore him.

"You are," he says, inhaling a little, his exhale warm on her chin, "something."

"Some thing?"

"A thing," he agrees, and she slips her hand out of his. "A good some thing."

She wants to kiss him, but she won't, and tonight when she's curled on her bed, thinking of him, this boy on the subway with the wide smile and the freckles, she'll chastise herself for not. For not kissing him, for not getting his number, first, so the next day she isn't sitting pretend nonchalant next to the phone, so that when Tina calls just to talk she doesn't feel the butterflies that live in her stomach hoping it might be him.

Pathetic.

They come to her stop first, and his hand isn't on hers but near enough that she can still feel him as she stands and her feet carry her out. He's staring, and it shouldn't make her feel good, but it does. Walking is more like floating, and she thinks of that stare, warm against her back, all the way home.

Papa and Daddy are watching some show and she's barely able to put her syllables into words into sentences so it's a miracle that during her new Finn thing, lying on the bed and thinking and staring and trying not to smile, it's a miracle that they don't come in and brush her forehead and ask her what's wrong.

It's late that he calls, late into the tomorrow he promised, so late it's almost tomorrow and, but it's an hour before it's been two days, and her screen lights up an unknown number and it could very well be those pranksters down the hall she used to babysit, little boys who used to think she hung the moon now preoccupied with butt jokes and cooties, it could be a prank, it could be the tea store with her order, but it's something outside, Something capital S that tells her it's him.

"Hi," she says, imagining him in some room in some place in some part of his city. Her city, too, of course, one city that's theirs, but his city is different from her city in the way that Holly Golightly's New York City is completely separate from Spider-man's.

You know? She thinks Finn would know.

"Hi," he says, and she says,

"Hi," like an idiot, like she didn't just great him a second ago, but his laugh is warm and not nasty like those rude girls in class and not patronizing like Aunt Martha's, and it's nice.

"You already said that."

"Well."

She bites at her bottom lip, the skin dry and pink, and she wonders if, when they kiss, because inevitably she must kiss him, just once, just to feel him, how it'll feel, if he'll bite there if he'll kiss her hard or soft or –

And she hears his breath on the other line, they're not talking but she wants to be, and it's not awkward but it is, it's so awkward, it's jutting elbows and poorly sized shoes, it's showing up early to an acquaintance's birthday party, it's stilted conversations in the hallway.

"What are you doing, right now?"

She looks around, tries to come up with something clever, says, "Sitting. Laying, actually. On – on my bed. Talking. To you."

Each part comes as its own fragment, its own shard of a glass slammed on the floor because that was the wrong thing to say, her heart loud in her ears, blood rushing, the wrong thing and she slams it on the ground, sure he'll hang up, sure he'll meet another pretty girl on the subway and make her feel just how she feels.

But before those fragmented shards become just that, he laughs a little bit in that friendly way. "Yeah?" He hums a little, and she wonders where he is. What he's doing. "What're you wearing?"

Salacious, but not meaning to be. She smiles because he's just wondering, and she tells him she's wearing her pajamas, duh. And he laughs again and she wonders how much time he'll spend tonight, laughing, endearing her. She asks him with a nonchalant lilt what, you know, he's doing at this moment.

"Um," he breathes, "sitting. On the fire escape, and I'm wearing normal clothes – like what I was wearing yesterday – and I'm thinking."

"About what?"

"You."


It's morning, early, you know, sun just risen with the sky a little gray, a little hazy, pink at its edges and a little bluer every time the earth turns. But it's warm, summery, if a little cool around the edges, and she's a little uncomfortable, on the edge of her seat, two cups of coffee scalding her fingers.

She's waiting, a little nervous, but it's Saturday and it's May and she has finals next week, really, she should be home, studying, but she's here at this table outside a Starbucks, waiting, putting both her palms around his cup, warming it, palms hot on hot cardboard or whatever these cups are made out of, but then she sees him, lumbering and broad, apologizing a mile a minute, sorry, he says, slamming into the seat across, sorry I'm late, he continues, and smiling, pushing the coffee to him, she says no, no I'm early, always early, and he just stops his torrent of words, teeming a river from his mouth, and he just – he smiles.

"You wanna walk?" Just like that, easy, he stands, takes the coffee, sips it. "Never had coffee before."

"What? Have you been undead the past years of your life?" She realizes, suddenly, she doesn't quite know his age, didn't bother catching it between the introductions, the names, the pen on his hand, the questions about nothing at all.

"Seventeen," he says, "and mostly."

"And now you have come alive."

He nods, serious, takes her palm and presses his against it, folds their fingers like he's done it everyday before this and will everyday after it, like there hasn't been a time in his life without her hand to hold.

"Where are we going?"

"Um, a place."

"What kinda place?" He's looking down, odd smile quirking his lips.

"Well," she begins, "a place with doors. Mortar and brick, if you will – "

"Never have I ever," he breathes in, tugs her body close, sides brushing but not pressed, "met a girl like you."

She stops, not shocked or anything, DON'T WALK blaring on the street across from them. But she turns anyway, fingers loose between his. "Huh?"

He looks like he wants to kiss her. Instead, the sign changes, people walk, herded cattle, and he puts his hand in hers again. "I mean that in the best way. That you are new. Exciting. Different."

"Good Different?" The capital distinguishes different from Different.

"The best kind of Different." She can hear it, the capital in his voice, knows that his soul is most likely the puzzle piece, adjunct to hers, and how silly, to love a boy so quickly, after exactly three point five phone conversations, on the first date – if it's a date – to want to press bodies, to touch and roam and kiss kiss kiss but it doesn't feel silly.

It feels real.

She does it. Kisses him, on the mouth, her body a little too small, too minute next to his, but he leans and meets halfway, one hand on her cheek, the other curved, over her shoulder, pressing closer, her shoulders knocking into his body, his neck bent, straining, later, he'll rub it, sore from all the kissing and he'll say no when she asks if he regrets it.

"Music store," she says, finally, breathless, body still close and Finn-warm, and he smiles.

"Oh, cool." And maybe he means cool like patronizing but she thinks he means it like yeah, wow, good idea, that's actually cool, you're cool, not sarcastic, good cool always good.

"Very," she answers, because what do you say to that word, that cool, that feels definitive but isn't really, and –

"I'm on the football team," he blurts out suddenly, like she doesn't know.

"I know," breathing a little, worried, continues, "you told me. Subway, you, sweaty."

"Yeah, I remember." His hand in his hair, where hers wants to be, and he clarifies, "I'm not – like you."

"Yes," she says, swings their hands. A block, and then the music store, and then lunch at that diner –

He's staring, though. Imploring.

"Isn't it – a Good Thing?"

His lips purse, push forward, and for a moment she suspects it, the future kissing. But he just shoves his hands in his pockets, and they're stopped now, and his body rocks a little, forward, backward, and the purse of his lips relaxes, curves, a smile, warm like the sun on her hair-covered neck. She wishes for a rubber band to tie it up, keep it off her neck. Tina always tells her boys like hair down, but she thinks Finn, the athlete, thinks he might like girls with necks showing, a new column to kiss and –

He's kissing her.

"A very Good Thing," he decides. "But – we're Different."

"Different," she agrees. "This is my music store."

"Huh," he says, "cool."

"Do you like music," because she doesn't really know, does she, whether this boy, this strange boy with his kisses and his freckles, this dimple she wants to brush the pad of her thumb over, she doesn't know whether this boy likes music.

Suddenly shy, she back tracks, "We can. Go in, if you want, throw footballs at each other if not."

But he smiles and he kisses her, quickly, like he just had to, like if not for that kiss then nothing else, Rachel Berry, she can imagine his mouth forming it that day on the subway, yesterday night when they made these plans, to meet in the morning, early, spend the day together.

"In," he says, because she thinks he likes music, too, and he tells her he sings in the shower.

"I will be a Broadway singer, guarantee," she tells him back, because it's a secret she has that's not-so secret to anyone but Finn.

"You will," he decides, like he's the man, like the Universe capital U it's proper gave him the job, the decider of the futures of all. And she thinks he deserves the role, tall and broad, he seems older, wise. Ambiguous, age-wise, until he smiles.

"What are you going to be?" Her fingers curve around the edge, his elbow, covered in flannel, and she wonders if he's exponentially warm.

"Um," he says, "Something."

"Finn."

He laughs and unlatches his arm from her hold, drops it over her shoulders. She thinks maybe she could love him, but not yet. She's too deep into like to let it melt into love.

"I dunno, Rach," he elaborates. "I'm not entirely sure."

"That's okay," she tells him, and he pushes open the door for them. "What do you like?"

His nose scrunches, and he's apart from her, separate entities. "Well, I like you."

"Nicely done," and this must be flirting, "but I am a who not a what."

"You're smart," he says, not like a compliment like a fact, like she just – is – smart. "Anyway. I like lots of stuff, you know, um. Football."

"Okay."

"I like – music." They're in front of a collection of records, BLUES – A, artists whose last names are AA through AZ, and he's fingering through them like he knows the blues, and maybe she does. "Not this."

"Um." She looks to what she likes, BROADWAY and FOLK, wants to tiptoe there and thumb through things, but dually wants to stay beside him.

"And movies, you know. I like things."

"So do I," like they're the only two people in the Universe who like things. Like they're their own civilization, just Finn and just Rachel, just them, and for a moment, for a single second it's nice.

And then Music Store Cathy ambles over, talks in a harsh, high voice, nails on a chalkboard, knife on glass, she's annoying, what are you kids looking for and nothing, ma'am, Finn, sweet and polite, Rachel, contemplating a murder.

Over a voice. Really. She's too pretentious.

"You're funny," he says, takes her hand. He walks to the CLASSIC ROCK section, thumbs through J, tells her with red cheeks that, "I like Journey. How bad is that – how – uncool? To like Journey."

"Journey's," she sighs, breathes in, "okay. I mean, who doesn't love a round of Don't Stop Believin'?"

He's squinting. "You don't. Oh, God. I'm a cliché."

"Yes."

"I'm the Jock."

"You are indeed."

"I mean, it's okay. You aren't that cool." They've floated, it seems, to her section, BROADWAY, a mass of CDs that she's already memorized, she has them all, she thinks. "I mean, Broadway, yeah, cool, Kurt likes that."

"Kurt?"

"Stepbrother. Kinda a pain." He sighs. "But likes this stuff."

"Are the two mutually exclusive, the pain, the Broadway?"

"Nah," he says. "I mean, not my stuff. But I like Journey, and you like Broadway."

"We're both a little embarrassing, maybe."

"Only to really cool people."

"I think Broadway is very cool." She tries to not be haughty.

"I think Journey is cool."

"Okay." Holding the music from RENT, "Not everything you like has to be cool."

"Yes," he says. "But everyone you like – "

"Must be very cool, yes sir."

"So," he continues, "are you okay?"

"Okay?" Blinking, "Are you asking me, point blank, if I think you're cool?"

"No, I'm asking you subtly."

"Yes," she decides. "You are cool. For me."

He's smiling. They're in a music store, and she doesn't want to hyper-sexualize this place by, you know, jumping his bones. "Good."

Back to before, "Broadway music isn't embarrassing."

"It is not, indeed."

"I mean, we're not, like, indie kids, Finn Hudson."

"We are not."

"Okay."

He looks over his shoulder, and then leans and kisses her, right in front of RENT and The Sound of Music. "I'm gonna buy you a thing."

"No."

"I am. You have a record player, right?"

"Indeed, I do, but Finn Hudson, don't you dare buy me – "

He's at FOLK, thumbing through, comes across Déjà Vu, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and he nods at it. "You look like a girl who likes this."

"I am a girl who likes this," she says, thinking of Blue in her record player at home, thinking of taking him back, playing him the record, side A to side B, a religious experience.

He buys it for her, the very first Thing. And he tells her he's hijacking the date, now, that it's his, and she'd be mad if he weren't so goddamn cute.


Weekends are sort of their thing right now, like weekdays are too tiring, too many tests and work for him and rehearsal for her and voice and singing, and she's so, so glad for when she scribbles in the last bubble on her last exam, bird free for three months or so.

Tina makes her grab a coffee, hooks her palm around Blaine's wrist when they pass in the hallway. Blaine's a friend, a good one, and Tina's her best friend, and you don't need a ton of friends, she thinks, but when you've got two good ones it's everything.

"Blaine, didn't you hear? Didn't you?"

"Hear what?" He's drawing circles with his straw in his drink, some blended milkshake thing she's never had, too devoted, dedicated, to her coffee.

"Rachel."

"Tina, we can't play a guessing game all night, now," he says, "We must get to the source of the gossip, and then we can talk some more."

"You talk like you live in 1920," Tina complains, like she always does, "but anyway. Rachel. She's got a boyfriend."

"He's not my boyfriend!"

"Excuse me?"

"He's not. Not." She blinks, sighs. "He is a boy, yes. He is also my friend."

"Friends don't text like you text him! Which, Blaine, if you didn't know, is all the time." Rachel puts her head in her hands. It is true. Her thumbs have been busy this week, typing to Finn and calling to Finn, playing him in Words With Friends.

"Ooh. Rachel Berry. Do elaborate."

"How?"

"If you are going to be a challenge, then…"

"You have to guide the conversation."

"Fine, fine, princess. What's his name?"
"Finn."

"ASL?"

"Gross, Blaine. What are you, a forty year old online blogger in a web chat room talking to children?" He glares. "Fine. You already know he's a boy, silly. He's our age. He lives here."

"Right here, in this very café?"

"Shut up. I mean, here, New York City."

"Oh. Where – "

"Lower West," she finishes. "He's really quite nice."

"Where'd you meet him?"

She glares at Tina, folds her fingers, wishes for a text message, a phone call, from anyone, but especially Finn. "The subway."

"The subway? Who the fuck meets someone on the subway?"

"Are you sure you don't mean the Subway, like the one on West 72nd?"

"No," she says, "I mean, like…the subway. The train. Underground, me, and him, and okay, it's not what you think except it kind of really is. He's nice."

"Tell."

"He'll be upset if I tell." That's a lie, she thinks. But she wants them to find him, well, romantic, maybe, but mysterious. A little bit of a badass, not that she's ashamed of who he actually is, sweet and kind, plaid flannel and a warm mouth, but – but he's not normally her type.

"I don't care, tell," Tina demands.

He won't care, she thinks, so she tells, says, "Well, there was a guy. Creepy, a little gross, you know? Like, looking, being gross, and well, he moved and sat next to me, too close, and Finn came, put his arm on my shoulders, pretended he was my boyfriend. He's big, you know? Intimidating. And I didn't need him, I'm tough on my own, but it was nice that he – that he was looking out for me."

"So, what, you got his numbers and now you're dating? Fucking unbelievable."

"Tina, please. Be kind to our love stricken heroine."

"Shut up, the both of you," she groans, phone vibrating in her pocket. "Are we doing anything tonight?"

"Don't change the –"

"Honest to goodness, Tina. I'm just asking a question."

"Fine, and no, we are not, because of my parents and their rules."

"Oh, right," Blaine nods, like the answer to everything in the world is abundantly clear, "first night of summer is Cohen-Chang only. Well, Rachel, I'm going to find a house to haunt so you can make out with your boyfriend."


Finn knocks at her door twenty minutes before Papa and Daddy are due home, they're out, eating somewhere fancy without her, and she pulls him in and doesn't kiss him even though she wants to but she puts her hand into his and asks him if he's hungry, because he's the Jock, he's hungry always, right? That's what it looks like, on Friday Night Lights.

She tells him this, and he laughs. "Not always, but that's a real good show."

"So? Are you?"

"Hungry? Not right now. Later, maybe." He's looking around her house, a museum in its own right, a Rachel Berry museum because Papa and Daddy are older, her cousins are older, she's the light of everyone's lives, etc. etc.

"Don't," she says, putting her hand on his forearm.

"Don't what?"

"You know," gesturing, "don't say I was a cute kid."

"I wasn't going to." He leans down, gives her a long kiss, mouth soft but firm. "In fact, I was gonna say that you're cute. Still. Then, you were cute, now you are cute, and it's nice, you know. Your dads being proud and all."

"Yes," she says. "They haven't had much to be excited about in their life, nothing to coddle. Until me."

"Hmm. Me either."

"Shut up," she groans. "Do you want the grand tour?"

"Perhaps," but his arms are on her, her shoulders and then her waist, fingers large and spread and warm, too, and they're kissing again, mouth on mouth and then mouth on jaw, on cheek, on this spot on his neck she thinks he really likes because he makes this noise, this little hum groan that makes her insides a whirlwind.

"I'm a bit concerned," she tells him when they're parted by the mouths but his arms are still there, around her, and she likes that, him so warm and safe and comfortable.

"Why? Show me your place." She leads him through, the kitchen and family room, the apartment big but not gloriously so, a dining room, bathroom one, hers, a closet, that's Papa and Daddy's room, and then her room.

"Big place," he says, and she pushes open the door of her room like she's cracking open part of herself for him to see. And it sort of is, this room, it's her, bed made a little rumpled because she'd been Finn-thinking before he came over, backpack on her desk, full from cleaning out her locker, stuffed bear askew on the floor beside her bed, unclear in its spot in her pre-Finn cleaning haze, and he sits heavily on her bed, foreign, alien, and also, familiar, like maybe he belongs in her corner.

"Well?"

He's looking around, eyes absorbing like reading a sacred text, big and brown and warm like sunshine. "Come here."

He pats his knee, jean-clad like it's not summertime, and she sets herself gingerly there, atop his knee, her first time on a boy's lap. Her arm steadies on his shoulder and she relaxes a little, body pressed into his, feels his inhales exhale his exhales inhale, feels the gentle slope of his shoulder against her back. She wants to memorize him.

"I really really really like your room," he murmurs like a confessional, and she wants to tell him she really really really likes him, too, because a bedroom is a metaphor for the self.

He's smiling and leans back and, god, he's beautiful, something so non-boy that's so boy at the same time, his skin, his freckles, the soft skin on his cheeks and the calluses on his fingers that she'll find out are marks of a drummer when they run over her body, the way his hair curls before his collar, the nape of his neck bare and a kiss there makes him sigh like that, and his entire body, thighs and legs and knees.

"I really like you," she confesses, and there has never been one so perfect on this earth for her but Finn.


Later, when she's undressing for bed, warm and flushed, mouth remembering fondly the way Finn's had pressed on it, soft, at first, with increasing feeling, his tongue and his teeth, the way his hands touched her, when she pulls her cardigan from her shoulders a little piece of paper tumbles onto the floor, landing beneath her bed.

She bends and reaches beneath, fingers nervous always wondering about monsters or a pit to hell beneath her bed (she watches too many scary movies), but they grasp that small paper, folded into a square, and she sits up, still in her dress that Finn had told her was the prettiest thing he's ever seen, or was it that she was (is) the prettiest thing he's ever seen?

It doesn't matter. She doesn't remember putting this square in her pocket, but this cardigan is an old friend, often on her shoulders, so she unfolds it, thinks nothing of it. The note, unfolded, laid flat on her lap atop her thighs, her heart loud in her chest almost in her throat, pounding pounding pounding, and she picks it up, holds it against that pounding thrumming, leans back on the bed where Finn was, just an hour ago, and she lets herself smile, note pressed tight against her chest.

I can't stop thinking about you.


"We need to meet this boy," Blaine decides, fingers flat and spread out on the table in front of him.

"Yes," Tina chimes. "Yes, yes."

"I'm not ready."

"You've been dating since mid-May, yes, or yes?"

"The only option you gave me is – "

"Yes, then. And it's mid-June, Rachel Berry, have your parents even met this hooligan yet?"

"Grandpa Blaine strikes again," she mutters, takes a long sip of her tea. "And no, they have not met him. You guys can't…you can't be mean to him. Okay? You have to…"

"We are not," Tina exclaims, "mean."

"I resent that accusation."

Rachel lifts her brow, only, and shakes her head once. "Finn is coming tonight," she says, "to my house. We were – we were only gonna watch a movie, maybe eat, but there's this diner Finn likes, a few blocks away, if you want to meet us there. But just – just dinner."

"No bowling? No putt-putt?"

"Blaine, I could murder you."

"Good. So, the diner." Tina's got her hand on top of her mug, and this café serves their hot drinks in glassware, and she sighs. "I'm jealous, is that wrong?"

"How do you mean?"

"Like, I don't want Finn, I mean, he looks cute on Facebook, but he's not my type but – you're actually really happy."

"Yes."

"And I want that."

"Um." Her phone buzzes, Finn calling, Blaine makes a motion and she answers and she tries to hide it, the smile when he says,

"Hey baby," his voice all low and warm, and she says hello like formally but then, "What do you wanna do tonight?"

"Good timing," she says, "and Tina and Blaine wanna meet you."

His breath hitches. "Um. What?"

"Finn."

"Rach."

"Okay, okay, okay, Tina and Blaine, you know, my very best friends, they want to meet my very best boy – boyfriend." She's never called him that before, but that's what he is, sort of fallen together into exclusivity.

"S'that what I am?" His voice smiles. Weird, isn't' it, a voice, smiling? But it is, it's smiling, his voice, her voice, too, and she hopes he hears it when she says,

"If you want to be."

"I do," he says, voice sudden like a heartbeat. Her heartbeat, drumming, and Tina and Blaine have made themselves scarce, maybe getting more tea, different tea, they're so tired of the pot of black tea but she loves it, the bitterness, and Finn says, "Baby?"

"Sorry, drifted off. In my mind."

"So, boyfriend, huh?"

"You are my boyfriend, I am your girlfriend, there can be no one else."

He laughs. "So, tonight?"

"Tonight. You and me and Tina and Blaine, if you don't mind, just for dinner at that diner you like and then we can – we can do whatever. Papa and Daddy are at another bed and breakfast, so."

"Okay." She pictures him, on the fire escape in his apartment, a place she's only kissed him once when he had to grab an umbrella and they were in that park nearby and he'd said come out here real quick and they'd kissed real fast, and she wants to be with him this minute.

"I need to go. I'm at tea with Tina and Blaine and I'm lucky they let me take this call."

"Okay," he says, and then, "see you later, Girlfriend."

Smiling, "Bye-bye, boyfriend."

She loves him so much.


Finn gets up to go to the restroom, pushes with his hand on her thigh, says he'll be right back and Tina and Blaine stare after for a moment, look at one another, and Tina says,

"He's totally in love with you."

"Well." It's weird, yeah, but she thinks maybe she knows because of the note slipped into her pocket, the goodnight Rachel text messages, the hugs and kisses, the way he looks and sounds. He loves her, she loves him, they are In Love. "Yes."

"I tried my best, Blaine," she says all dramatically, "I tried to hate him. Didn't you? You tried. I saw you."

"I did," he states, voice grim and serious, "but – but he's seen Braveheart, my fave guy movie, and, well. I was sold."

"Yes," Tina agrees, "or when he said he loves the Smiths, I mean – that was it. Even Rachel, dear darling baby princess Rachel, isn't a Smiths fan. But her boyfriend is."

"Tina, Tina, we're going to have to give him our dowry. In exchange for our Rachel."

"Shut up," she whines, feels her fingers anxious on her thigh. They're really so embarrassing.

"Hey," Finn greets, low and a little breathy, puts his arm around her shoulders, kisses her temple. "Did I miss anything?"

"Yes," Rachel says, "the waitress came, and I ordered you your fave, a half-pound veggie burger."

His eyes get all wide, panicked, deer in headlights, but he nods, "Okay, cool, um, thanks, Rach."

"I'm just kidding," she giggles, the face a picture of horror, and she pokes his side until he starts laughing, too.

"You're real funny," he deadpans. "Really. When's your comedy hour?"

"Seven." Giggling, she wraps her hand around his elbow.

"Children! Stop the flirting, or off with your heads."

"Okay," Rachel says, her palm on Finn's thigh. "We'll be good."

"If you move your hand," Finn murmurs. "Then we'll be great."

"Shh, baby. Tina was just gonna tell a very funny anecdote about school that I would like for you to hear, okay?"

"Sure," he says, voice low, and his hand falls on hers, slides it down on his leg til they sit, their hands, his on top of hers, above her knee.


Later, curled beside him on the sofa with her leg between his, toes cold in the over air conditioned room, she asks him what he thinks.

"About what?"

"Tina," she says, "and Blaine, obviously."

"Oh," a pause, brow furrowing in thought collection, "funny. I really liked them, Rach, except now you're gonna hate my friends."

"Why's that?"

"Because – they're just – they're not cool, I guess, like your friends are? They aren't really funny."

"I hate funny people," she says, "I hate Tina and Blaine."

"Shut up, you silly girl," he teases, not mean shut up but like your friends rock you know it shut up. "My friends are all – kinda assholes. Except maybe Mike. And then, like, Kurt is kinda…ugh. Hard to handle. I dunno."

"We can handle it. I can handle it."

His brow is still pinched, though. "I guess – I guess that you've let me into your life, which is amazing and awesome and so on and so on and all these really rich personalities and then, like, me, I've got my best friend Puck who's literally like the perviest guy ever, and then Santana's really funny and sarcastic once you know her but at first she's just this horrible bitch and then like, okay, Sam's funny but a little dumb sometimes, and then Mike is just kinda – normal."

"They don't sound too bad," she says, her hands on his shoulders.

"Yeah," he sighs. "They aren't they aren't but like…my mom's gonna love you."

"She is?"

"Oh, yeah." He blinks. "The last girl I dated, she's…well, my mom didn't like her, but she's a nice girl, I guess."

"Oh."

"We haven't had this yet, huh?" His hand is on her hip, under her shirt, and she wonders if she can convince him to, you know, make out and fool around instead.

"Had what?"

"You know. The ex-talk."

"I guess not."

"This is serious, right, babe?"

"Extraordinarily so."

He smiles, his mouth soft on her cheek. "I've had – a few. Santana, before she, um, came out," she laughs a little at his face, pinched like those days were kinda bad, "and then, well. Quinn."

Quinn. She thinks of this girl, strange, foreign, probably blonde, probably beautiful, more than her, and she doesn't know why but the way he says her name, a soft sigh on his lips, makes her wanna die, or something.

"Okay." A little sigh. "I had, well. Jesse."

"Tell me about him."

"No."

"Why?"

"Because, I don't care about him anymore. Do you wanna talk about Quinn?"

"Not really." He shrugs. "I was kinda a dick to her."

"Oh." She sighs. "Did you cheat on her?"

"No, we were just together for the wrong reasons."

"Okay." She rubs her hand under his shirt, nails on skin. "I don't wanna talk about this anymore, I don't think."

"Yeah, me either." He leans and kisses her, mouth sweet, tastes a little like the Coke on the coffee table. "I just want you to know, that, um. I've never felt like this about a girl before."

"Okay." She puts her hand on his neck, a long kiss, tongues and a roaming hand, and needed a bit of air, "I haven't, either. About a boy."

"Good." Smiling, a little, another kiss, and then another, and then another, and then hands between legs, on thighs, over and under clothes, and oh, she wants to tell him she loves him, but she'll save it for the right time.


Fourth of July is so, so hot, and a Thursday, and this weekend they're going to Rachel's family's place upstate but today she'll meet Finn's mom and step dad and step brother and friends, and yeah, okay, Finn tells her he's sure they'll love her but, like…she's still really nervous.

He holds her hands though calls her his girlfriend to his mom and his Rachel to his friends and they're not as asshole-y as he made her believe even though they're not really like her friends at all.

"It's hot," she whines, pressing her cheek on Finn's, and their skin is both sweaty and should be disgusting but they're so comfortable, him and her, they are, really.

"Yeah, s'hot, I know, babe." Puck's telling some story and they're somewhere in Brooklyn at someone's townhouse – Burt (that's Finn's step-dad) said it was his mom's place – and they're outside in these chairs, her balanced on his lap and she can almost feel Kurt's glare on her.

"Kurt hates me," she murmurs, pretending she's listening to Puck. Besides his garishness, he's sort of funny, and he is really very amusing. All of his friends are, Santana, too, who has been insulting her she thinks but it's not hurtful because she doesn't have that sharp edge to her voice like Kurt did when he called her cat printed dress cute.

"He just doesn't get that animal printed clothing is totally awesome."

She sighs. "I tried my best, you know. I even did my hair."

He threads his fingers into it, and it's nothing special, really, just straight and glossy despite the humidity, somehow, and she never really wears it like this since it's so long and not naturally like this, but the way Finn's running his fingers through it makes her wanna wear it like this every single day.

Later, they're sharing a beer, and there are fireworks in the distance and fireflies lighting and flying all around and his hands and Puck playing his guitar and singing this quiet song that Finn tells her everyone loves and she leans, still on his lap, she gets to lean down and kiss him.

It's early the next morning when she and Papa and Daddy come to pick him up.

"Sugar plum, would you like for us to accompany you?"

"No, Papa," she says, slipping her flip-flops on and pushing open the door, "I'll go get him."

Papa and Daddy are easy to convince, and since Blaine and Tina have their own plans for this holiday – Blaine goes to Ohio, Tina to Maine – she always spends the weekend lonely, with her older married cousins and their babies and her aunts and uncles always talking about the seventies, so with a little bit of prodding, they agreed to let her bring Finn, so long as he stays on the couch.

Finn's tired and waiting in the lobby, eyes half-closed and he's whining while she drags him into the car, whining until she pushes him in and he greets her dads pleasantly and promptly falls asleep, his head against the window.

You know for the first time in her life she's not alone at a family gathering because of Finn, doesn't feel small and naïve when she's got Finn to talk to, to laugh with, her boyfriend but maybe her friend, too, definitely her friend. No one, ever, in her life, you know, has made her as happy as Finn has since May, corners open, idiosyncrasies explained and understood and she hates naming things, like, titling a paper when the thesis says it all or giving a name to just a Feeling and even though she hates hates hates it she knows this thing with Finn, this Good Thing, she knows it's love, or close to love or past love, but love, anyway. Everything he does is endearing, even the gross boy things, and she knows, okay, soon one day there will be annoyances and fights and stuff that's not okay, there'll be hurt and misunderstandings and maybe they'll break up but right now –

Right now, she'll think about their relationship as it is, keep it in the present because putting things in the future are always ruins them.

And this shouldn't be ruined before it even really begins.


They're at the diner, their diner, and it's the end of the summer, their summer, and she's nervous and sad a little, the end of the summer with its warm last sunshine rays slanting into the diner and Finn writes something on a napkin and pushes it towards her, cheeks pink, his toes tapping against her toes.

He looks away and she pulls the napkin to her.

I love you Rachel Berry.

"I love you too Finn Hudson," she says, nothing fancy about it, and she leans across the table, watches for their mugs of coffee, and kisses him, the first kiss of in love, their best kiss, she thinks, and then she blurts out when she's in her seat seated, "I'm a virgin."

His eyes, previously half moons, pop open a little comically, saucers, and he says, "Okay."

"You are not."

"Indeed."

"Okay."

"You, um."

"I want you to be." She hopes her first echoes after that in his mind and he covers her hand with his.

"Really?"

"I love you." And then, smiling. "So."

"Okay."

"But, Finn?"

"Yeah, babe?"

"I want it to be – extraordinary."


It would seem that extraordinary is on Finn's bed, a Sunday afternoon, a three-day weekend, his breath warm on her cheek and her body naked not for the first time before his, and his before hers, and they're familiar with one another's bodies like you're familiar with the contents of your fridge, a little distant, but in standing in front of it, immediately familiar.

His bed has plaid sheets, a plaid comforter that they slip beneath and it's warm, uncomfortably so, and his hand is there between her thighs and she's so, so hot from his touch from the air beneath that blanket, her breath heavy and when she comes she makes him open a window, stars at him as he slips back in, body flushed, embarrassed.

It's awkward, her hand around him, his skin warm pressed on hers and he tells her gently stop baby girl and then whispered against his earlobe she tells him she's ready for it, for him, grabs a condom and slips it on, and it's not even anything until it's everything.

"Hurts?" He groans a little.

"Um, no," she breathes, and it doesn't feel good, just different, "feels different."

"Okay," he says, and then, "I love you," a little groan pressed between their mouths, this space that deserves a name, his hands seeking, her fingers finding, mouths better, kissing and kissing, and it goes by kinda fast and nothing really happens for her, just a winding coil she guesses but afterwards he cuddles her to him, he's sweet to her, kisses her forehead, then her nose, too sweet for his age, she thinks, and the comes the messy part, the cleaning, the awkward pulling clothes back on, making the bed so it's not obvious if his mom comes home.

They get back into his bed, atop the covers, this time, but he's lying down and she sits cross-legged beside him, too wired to feel like he does, droopy-eyelids,

"I'm gonna fall asleep," he murmurs. "I'm sorry it wasn't extraordinary."

"It was," she tells him, rubbing her hand over his stomach, "extraordinary. It was you."

"Oh," he whispers, smiling a little, eyes closed, "good. Love you."

He's sleeping and she doesn't want to leave, yet, not ready to say goodbye, wants to sleep beside him but she's far too wired, so she reads Catcher in the Rye which he must be reading for school because he's not too much of a reader and besides, she's been meaning to read this.

It doesn't quite fit for a post-first time having sex with your first love, but it's all she's got. As a matter of fact, she isn't sure what would be appropriate in that situation. Judy Blume, maybe.

Finn's cute when he sleeps, a little snoring and a little drooling, but cute nonetheless. She wants to see him in the morning, right when he wakes up, when his eyes are all morning squinty in gray light and his body is warm, against hers, and she wants it all with him, she thinks, but she doesn't want to want it so badly because they could break up. They could end this, never see each other again, move on comfortably, and that thought kinda breaks her heart because she wants him because she loves him so fucking much.

He's still asleep, she's well into the book, in fact, sort of captivated, when the door to his bedroom swings open and Kurt bursts in.

"Oops – ew! Please, please, please," the last please drawn out, "tell me Finn is wearing clothes."

"Um, yes," she says, "he is."

"Okay. Okay. Sorry. God, god, didn't think you'd be here. He never tells anyone who he's bringing, just does it like he lives alone – ooh. My apologies. How are you?"

"Fine, uh, how are – you?"

"Quite well, thanks. You mind waking him up?"

"Okay." She pushes at his chest a little, murmurs his name a few times until he stretches, body lean and long and his tee shirt rides up.

"What," he says, eyes still closed, "you wanna go for another round?"

"Finn, your brother is here," she hisses, pushing at him again, ignoring that little sliver of skin exposed in his stretch.

"Fuck, fuck, hey, Kurt, what up?"

"Don't what up me, Finn."

"Okay." He clears his throat, sits up straight. "What, dear Sir Kurt Hummel, can I do for you today?"

"Better, but I don't appreciate the sarcasm." Kurt looks at her, lifts a brow.

"You don't have to leave, Rach," he assures.

"Okay."

"Fine. Burt and Carole are going out tonight, they want me to make sure she's not hanging around."

"What are you, the sex police? Dude, back off, get a life, et cetera et cetera."

"Honestly, Finn, I do have a life and these are our parents wishes, so."

"Fine, dude, we'll go elsewhere."

It's a little awkward, grabbing her backpack and Finn taking her hand and leaving his place, because she wants to like Kurt but something about him just makes her feel bad, maybe because she knows he doesn't like her and doesn't quite know why.

"I'm sorry he, like, ruined that," he says while they're on the subway.

"Me, too," she answers. "I did want to, you know."

"Want to what?"

Leaning into him, mouth near his ear, "Do it again. We can, you know, at my place. Papa and Daddy don't get home until seven tonight."

He groans, low in his throat, and he leans down and kisses her smack on the lips.


It snows and they breakup for two point five days, stressed with school and not enough time together, and they're fighting about her cancelling a date because she's sick and no, no she doesn't want him to come and take care of her she's fucking vomiting why would she ever want him to see her like this and he says fine, and they're broken up by the time she slams her phone down.

And then, you know, she's crying and she falls asleep, a little wired on her medicine, and she has horrible garish nightmares and she wakes up crying but she doesn't call him or text him or anything and just, god.

She misses him, okay? They're not like, grossly codependent or anything. But it's nice having someone to talk to, to vent to when Tina's being a bitch or Blaine's being a dick or school is just a little too much, because he always understands, and it's nice, you know, kissing and having sex and cuddling, too, and you know, everything about having a boyfriend and it's one day, one day she can pretend she's really mad at him, pretend it's okay that he's not texting her goodnight and good morning, and then the day evolves and she's a little antsy, crying a little after lunch in the restroom when Tina asks how's Finn, and then the night crawls by, no date night with Finn, and by the morning she decides she must get him back so she gets on the subway to his place, looks across, sees him there, leaning against the side of the car a little, looks asleep, and it must be early for him, it's only been two point five days so obviously she remembers that he likes sleeping in til noon on Saturdays and it's ten and it's early for him.

Glancing around surreptitiously, she eases to her feet, tiptoes and lowers herself into the seat beside him. The lady in front of him turns around, glares, but she says,

"No, it's okay, he's my boyfriend," but she's still glaring so she pats Finn's arm, his chest, murmurs, "Finn, wake up," until the woman turns, minding her own business.

"Rach?" His voice is a little gruff, he's unshaven and rumpled, wearing wrinkled jeans and this coat they got for him together, or more like she accompanied him while he whined about hating coats with Kurt's guidance.

"Hi," she says, and looks at her palms, folded in her lap. "I missed you."

"Me, too."

He's already turning when she's hugging him. "Please let's not breakup again."

"Yes," he says, "let's not. I'm sorry."

"I'm so sorry, Finn." She kisses him. "Please don't think I don't care about your life, because I really really do."

He hums yes, pushes her off him a little so she's in her seat so the lady in front of them will stop fucking staring and she holds his hand like she did the day she met him, kisses his cheek just 'cause. "Don't think that I'm, like…tired of hearing about you. I love you, your life, your endeavors, just sometimes it's overwhelming, like, your ambitions. You know? God. I fucking hate not talking to you, even just like, once in two days. Okay?"

"Me, too." He kisses her cheek, still in love, still her Finn.

"God, am I ever glad I got your number," he says.

"Yes," she agrees. "If not, who knows where we would be? Who we would be?"

"Definitely. You, lonely, never knowing the magic of Journey, me, never knowing the joy of Barbra."

"Our subway," she decides.

He calls her ridiculous but loves her anyway.


WOW, this escalated madly, intended as a drabble to get through my writers block on other projects, and it turned into this massive extremely saccharine piece. Enjoy yourself, nonetheless, and dedicated 2 my bestie Rachel because she reacted very excitedly to every snippet I sent.