A/N: hiya! this fic (if it's not at all obvious) is set in the 50s, special thanks to e. e. cummings, t.s. eliot, billie holiday and sam cooke for the inspiration, as well as shanna, laura, rachel and jenna for the support! please review!
Papa tells her she needs to learn some responsibility, but she believes that she is plenty responsible all on her own.
"Sweet pea, I would very much appreciate you taking some time to make an impact on this world, especially since you will be moving out in the fall and attending college."
"Sweet pea, we are not discussing this any longer. You will go to college. You will become a nurse. I will not have my daughter floundering, hours away, with no money, living on the streets. Can you imagine what people would say? Would think? Is that clear?"
"Very good." He pats her head, and she supposes he really does love her. "Now, darling girl, I have taken some liberties and signed you up to volunteer at the hospital, eight AM sharp tomorrow morning. Veterans ward."
Nurse Pillsbury is the head matron working at the hospital the next morning, she really is so kind and lovely. And Rachel is a tad nervous, of course.
"I'm afraid," she begins as they head down the main hallway, "that I'm not very good with blood and the sort."
"Not many are. But I often find my volunteers unaffected by whatever may plague the patients, and if you would like, I can set you with one of our milder cases."
"Oh, yes, please, ma'am – if you will."
"His name is Finn Hudson," she starts, "left leg significant cartilage damage. We don't know whether he will be able to walk without a cane or not, though some doctors are certainly more optimistic than others. Some burning on his arms, facial bruising, but all that's covered with gauze, dear."
"Is Mr. Hudson – well?"
"Do you mean mentally?"
She hums a bit, turns down another hall. Rachel is absolutely astounded by the whiteness of it. She doesn't think she has ever seen a place so clean in all her life. "Well, that's to be determined. He appears well, you know. Well-enough. But we'll have to give him some time. Mr. Hudson really is one of the sweetest patients we've had. Very minor cringing."
Rachel is not sure whether to laugh, so she simply smiles weakly. She has never worked with a man, really, and she knows nothing about this Mr. Hudson. He could be anyone! An axe murderer, a con man, one of those men who pretend to be your friend and secretly touch you without you consent –
"Are you all right? This is our veterans ward," Nurse Pillsbury says. They're in a room, long but a little narrow, with beds on both sides. "Mr. Hudson will be the one all the way at the end, on the right."
Rachel blinks. "Um – "
"Don't stutter, dear, and don't be worried. He really is quite nice! I'm afraid I'll have to depart, now, and do my own rounds, but other nurses will be around, and Mr. Hudson knows what to do if he needs help. Thank you so very much, Miss Berry. We really do need all the help we can get."
Rachel becomes alarmingly conscious as she walks towards Mr. Hudson's bed, of the way the fabric of her skirt rustles around her knees, the click of the heel on her penny loafers on the tile floor, her hands clasped tight in front of her.
"Um," and she knows this isn't polite or anything, standing at the foot of the bed of this man who's fought for her country, for her, and one leg is bent – the good leg – and the other stretched out, elevated, and his head is somewhat bandaged, bruised, skin dark, and he's reading the newspaper, "Hello."
He looks up, surprised. His face is bruised, one eye swollen over, but he's smiling. "Hi there, miss. Can I help you with something?"
"Yeah, yes – oh, sorry, yes, sir, my name is Rachel Berry. I'm – volunteering?"
"Oh, you're the girl," he murmurs. "The one the nurse said was coming. I thought you would perhaps be a bit younger."
"Excuse me, sir?"
He closes his eyes. "Sorry, sorry, don't call me sir, I just meant I thought they'd send a ten year old." He opens his eyes, looks her up and down. "I suppose you do have the same height as one, huh, doll?"
"Mr. Hudson, s – uh – Mr. Hudson, pardon me, but are you being very lewd?"
"No, no," he answers hurriedly, "no. Hold on. Rewind a moment. Hello, my name is Finn Hudson, it's very nice to meet you."
She smiles, shakes his outstretched hand. Never before has she held a man's hand before, not counting Papa's, of course.
(She thinks she might like it.)
When working with Mr. Hudson, she has found that he is quite mellow most days. He likes to just sit, sometimes, in silence, or with the radio on, and if she is being quite frank (which she is most of the time) she is a little nervous around him. He smokes cigarettes and calls her doll, refuses to talk about his fighting or his leg, but he's sweet and kind, likes listening to Frank Sinatra and reading the news.
"Mr. Hudson, how old are you?" They're playing solitaire on his bed, rather, he is playing solitaire and attempting to teach her to no fruition. Card games just are not her thing, especially one as slow-paced as solitaire.
"Eighty," he answers a bit indifferently, moving a the Queen of Spades, who he affectionately has christened the Queen of Shovels, beneath the King of Hearts, "and how many times should I tell you before you call me Finn?"
"Eighty," she responds, giggling.
His main nurse, her name is Terri, and she's quite nice even if she gives Finn the eye sometimes, anyway, she comes in and Finn groans.
"Not today, please."
"No can do," she shrugs, "you want to walk again someday, don't you?"
As it would seem, Mr. Hudson really hates his physical therapy, and she can't say she blames him. It seems quite horrible, if you ask her, and he does not let their conversations delve too deeply into their separate privacies, but she understands him to be a man of some pride, and having to rely on her, a small, young girl (though from what she has grasped from the tittering gossip of other nurses, he is only twenty or twenty-one, a man, but not too old) for support must be some sort of humiliation.
She thinks it's noble, but she could never tell him.
He's grimacing and groaning and being exceptionally whiny, but he holds his hand out for her to take and he manages to get himself to the edge of the bed and she and Terri help him up as Dr. Schuester comes in.
Oddly, today, he doesn't request her to leave, and she wonders if it's all right for her to get a little flush of pleasure from how he seems to derive strength from her presence. Or perhaps she's reading far too much into the simplicity of the event.
Regardless, he's sweaty and breathless at the end of the session, leans back hard on his pillows and lets out a low groan as Terri charts his progress with Dr. Schuester.
"Hey, doll," he says, voice low and warm, "how do you feel about giving me a sponge bath?"
"Oh, well, if you'd like – "
"Mr. Hudson, stop flirting," Dr. Schuester says and the skin on Mr. Hudson's face that isn't purple and yellow with bruises turns pink.
She is pink, too, staring hard at her saddle shoes. The boys at school, who are nowhere near as kind and perhaps handsome as Mr. Hudson is, have only ever flirted with her, little jokes that border on crude that Papa would call disgraceful.
"Rachel, would you read to me?" Some evenings, Mr. Hudson gets so very tired, especially on these evenings after physical therapy.
"Surely," she responds primly, opens the news to the business section, because he simply cannot bear to hear of foreign affairs, and she begins reading.
He's very silent, does not bother commenting as he so often likes to, and for a moment she thinks he's fallen asleep and lets her voice trail off.
"Why'd you stop?" He's quiet, drowsy, but not in the midst of sleep. "I really like your voice."
As a singer, she prides herself on her voice, so she straightens her back, smiles and says, "Thank you very much, Mr. Hudson," like she's been waiting for him to compliment her this whole time.
"You're a singer, right?"
"That is correct."
"How about you sing me something? And I will fall asleep and you can leave and go out with your boyfriend."
"Oh, I don't – I'm afraid I don't have a boyfriend."
He hums a little, motions for her to sing. Nervous, she splutters, "What – do you want – what shall I sing?"
He hums a little, leaning back on his pillows, small smile on his face. "How about 'I'll Be Seeing You'?"
She smiles, risks taking his hand, squeezes it as she sings, watches his face, awed as she begins, then as he grows more and more comfortable in the sound of her voice until finally, his face relaxes, and he falls asleep.
"Mr. Hudson's in a very good mood today," the nurse outside Mr. Hudson's curtain tells her. "He has already completed his session of physical therapy for the day, and Dr. Schuester says his progression is very promising."
"Fantastic," Rachel says, letting herself into his area.
"Rachel!" He exclaims, leaning back comfortably on his bed. He's beaming. "Sit, sit, how do you do?"
"Very well, thank you, and yourself?"
"Wonderful, thank you, darling, very much, thank you."
Sometimes, she considers what would happen if, during one of her meetings with him, if she just leaned forward and kissed him right on the mouth. She's only ever kissed one boy in her life, Jesse, who was in her high school class, and it was a lovely experience even if Jesse was rather droll. But she supposes kissing him, it would be nice, warm, more than lovely, but –
But she mustn't. He's surely got someone waiting for him, even if he's alone more often than not.
Shaking her head of her thoughts, she inquires, "What would you like to do today? Chess, or shall I read to you?"
"I want to talk to you."
"Yes, I do." He gestures to the chair at his bedside. "Now, sit. How long have you been volunteering and helping me, Rachel?"
"Oh, Mr. Hudson – "
" – please call me Finn – "
"Finn," she emphasizes, feels the word on her tongue, his name, foreign to her mouth but familiar to her mind, "I believe I have been helping you for, oh, a month or so?"
"Yes. A month or so, and you and I are friends, yes, but I'm beginning to realize I don't know very much at all about you. So tell me everything."
She tells him, then, everything. About how she does not really know much about her mother, who left Papa when Rachel was just a baby, and how protective he is and how very much she loves and adores him. She talks about Blaine, who is really her only friend.
"In fact, Papa would like for me to marry him, but – "
"Yes. I'll have you know, Finn Hudson, I am eighteen years old and I shall marry whenever I'd like."
"You're – going – to – get married?"
"Well, no. Blaine is simply a friend and nothing more."
"Oh." His brow is still furrowed, so she reaches forward, so very impulsive, takes a risk and presses her thumb against the little crease between his eyebrows, smoothes it with her thumb.
She pretends she doesn't thoroughly enjoy her hand on his face. "Anyway." Moving her hand, she leans back in her chair, begins telling him a story about her latest dance class, how she hopes to perform professionally, but how Papa would like very much for her to stay here, forever, and be a nurse.
"As fantastic as you are at this job, and you are very good…you don't…belong here." He's looking at her, somehow their palms pressed together, and his eyes are warm and rich and so sweet. He's got this concentration of freckles that scatter like constellations across the bridge of his nose, the tips of his cheeks, and she's only noticing now because the swelling in his face has gone down considerably, and the bruising nearly completely gone, only a few bandages around his head left. Finn is healing, and is it horrible? That she's terrified of it?
"How do you mean?"
"It's like you're this little bird, meant to be in nature, free to do what she wants, sing as loud as she likes, and Lima's like your cage, and you're trapped here and no one wants to let you out even though we all know it's what's best for you."
Smiling sheepishly, "you think I want you off in New York City, away from me? No longer my nurse? My companion?"
"Oh, Finn Hudson, I – " Blinking, she shakes her head. "You are surely something. It's your turn, Finn, tell me about you."
A resigned sigh, he tells her about his mom, his dad who died, his mom remarried living in Washington D.C. with her new husband, a congressman, his step-brother living somewhere in the west, how no one visits because before he joined the army his mother begged him not to go, how that begging turned into insults, into well you can't do any better so go, how he'd requested the hospital not call his family, that he'd like to heal in peace. He likes music. Loves it, in fact, wants to open a music store someday, a combination music/bookstore because he loves reading, too, how he likes green tea but drinks black anyway, and by the end of it, she is certain.
She will most likely never love another the way she loves Finn Hudson, and so forth is the tragedy of her life, how the boy – the man – she loves more than anything cannot love her back.
Finn gets an infection sometime in the middle of July, not too horrid, but he's in quite a bit of pain and it's so very hot outside it's somewhat unbearable, those long hot days with Finn sick and grumpy, but he gets better, apologizes profusely for his behavior, and she just smiles at him.
She's absolutely dreading the end of this summer, their summer, even if her love for him is unrequited. His bandages are undone and she gets to see his face, lovely, youthful, handsome. His head is shaved, but she thinks some very nice hair will grow in someday.
"Doll," he says casually, smiling around the word, "how about I take you out sometime?"
"Um – excuse me?" She pauses, Ace of Clubs bending in her fists clenching. He cocks his head like you heard me, silly girl and she can't stop herself before saying, "How about we save that question for when you can walk on your own?"
It's not meant to sound mean or catty, and he doesn't take it that way, he only smiles at her and nods, moves a two of Diamonds onto a mile, changes the subject. She feels horrid, turning him down like that, turning him down at all, but – but it's implausible, the idea of him with her, this great war veteran with her, small, too cowardly to tell her papa what she really wants.
Eventually, he tires of the cards, asks her to read from E. E. Cummings, his favorite poet, and she turns to a poem she's never read before to him and he stops her towards the end.
As she reads, he takes her hand somewhere around you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens and squeezes intermittently, releases a little breath at, "I do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all the roses. Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands."
Silence, for a moment, their hands clasped, his fingers flexing a little in hers. He hums a little, keeps her hand close, lifts their fingers intertwined to his mouth, kisses her knuckles tenderly, too tenderly, and she has to move or do something or she'll end up kissing him right here in this very hospital.
"You could do it, you know," he says softly. "Kiss me."
"I – "
"I want you," he murmurs, tacks on, "to" at the end like he's saying he wants her now and he wants her always, to kiss him, but maybe just to be near. She's so confused, thinks of New York, of college, nursing, returning to Lima and living her life here, with him, the two of them, and it would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Simply spectacular, the two of them, and Papa could come for dinner on Sundays and she could sing their babies to sleep.
She finds herself leaning forward, her face nearer to his than ever before, eyelashes fluttering but just as her lips are but a breath from his, she moves, presses her mouth against his cheek, tries to ignore the little disappointed sigh that he releases, and she stays there, lips on his cheek, and she sighs, too, and pulls away.
"I do suppose I must get on, then," she murmurs, and his hand squeezes hers and she leaves, resisting the urge to look back.
Finn gets taken home and does not say goodbye to her, in fact, she does not even know he is well again until the hospital calls her on a Saturday afternoon and tells her that her services are no longer necessary. It isn't until she does a bit of pressing that she finds out where Finn's gone.
Lima is a rather small town. Finding his home is not exceptionally hard, and really, a lovely woman his mother is, who answers, beams when she says,
"My name is Rachel Berry, ma'am, I used to help Finn at the hospital," like Finn's been talking about her.
"Finn is currently in the yard, dear. I think he's missed you."
She lets herself into their house, admires the flowered wallpapers in the hall, photos of a baby Finn on the mantle. He's sitting in a porch swing, a book open on his lap, staring at the woods in his backyard.
"Hi," she says.
"Rachel," he answers. "Hi."
"I know, doll."
"You were my very best friend."
"Sit next to me," he says, "read with me."
She sits beside him, sits gingerly atop her hands. "Friends?"
He pecks a kiss on her cheek. "Yes, friends."
She pretends that kiss doesn't make her stomach flutter, the oddest pattern, his influence. "How about," she begins, impish smile, "you read to me, this time?"
He turns to a page in his book, a collection of poetry, opens to a page, begins reading, his voice warm and gentle, "Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table," and she leans her head onto his shoulder.
She must fall asleep, because Finn nudges her what feels like seconds later, and it's still sunny and bright, but he's smiling and he leans down and kisses her forehead.
"You were asleep, Rachel," he says. "Would you like tea?"
"Yes, that sounds lovely, Finn."
This is how it starts, she supposes, her steady ascent into loving him more, the side of a cliff with multiple precipices to fall from, fall deeper into him. He makes her love him outside of the white hospital. She learns to love him in his kitchen, his body limping but proud, shoulders broad, and she's struck, suddenly, by how very big he is. She feels so small when he grabs her hand and tugs her onto her feet.
"I'm a klutz," he murmurs, "'specially with this bum knee, but I think I could dance, if only with you."
She loves him in his backyard, in his living room, in the spare room where his mother's piano is, where she sings him selections from her favorite Broadway musicals. She loves him when she sneaks into his bedroom and finds a photograph of her on his bedside, one she'd given him hastily, in the beginning, when Papa had her professionally photographed, and her cheeks had felt red with embarrassment but now she supposes they're pink with pleasure.
They don't talk about the future, or what they are, or that afternoon in the hospital when she read him E. E. Cummings and he said he wanted her. She wonders, idly, if he still does. If he did, she thinks she would stay here to be with him forever. When she tells him that, hastily, one evening when he's walked her home, he freezes, doesn't kiss her like she wishes. Instead, he nods, emotionless, and heads towards his home, ignores her calls after him.
She doesn't see him an entire week and a half, and she is so very upset.
Papa asks her to have dinner with him one last time the night before she leaves, and they're cleaning dishes together when there's a knock at the door.
"Rachel, be a dear and answer the door for your old father?"
She laughs, says, "Papa, you are not old," and is smiling still when she jerks the door open only to find Finn there, standing, half-smiling, leaning on his cane.
"Hiya, doll," he says.
"Hi, Finn, what do you want?"
He licks his lips, shifts his weight a little. She notices his wince, calls to Papa she'll be right back, and sits Finn on the porch swing.
"Sit down next to me," he says, not a command, but a request. "I have really missed you."
"Me, too," she's quiet, contemplative, curious, "please – Finn, why are you here?"
"I want to say goodbye, you are leaving tomorrow, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am afraid that I am going to college tomorrow morning."
"And to apologize." His hand curves over her knee, touching her somewhere she's never been touched, and it feels forbidden, this man, injured from the war. "Your skin…"
"I'm not very sorry, and I don't want to apologize for touching you, but I will if it makes you feel better." She shakes her head and he startles her, kisses her cheek. "I'm so sorry, for almost not getting to say goodbye."
"I have been so, so sad, Finn Hudson," she murmurs, sliding her hand over his shoulder, suddenly so aware of his body beside hers, their faces so close.
"I always thought you'd be halfway to New York by the end of this summer," he murmurs. "What happened to all your dreams?"
"I still have dreams, and how dare you insinuate otherwise?"
"Darling girl," he says, puts his hand on her face, "I want you to go to the Big Apple."
Finn kisses her, and it's everything in the universe at once. "I love you quite dearly, is why, because I want you to have it all."
"If I go to New York…" Her hands on his neck, pressing against the skin. "If I go there, I won't get to be with you. I want – " it feels so very brazen, but, " – I want to be with you. I refuse, Finn Hudson, to go, not without you."
He's shaking his head, "You're gonna go, okay? And you're going – you're going to find another man to love, and you'll send me some postcards. And when that man proposes, a man who does not limp or use a cane or – or wake up in the night, wrought with nightmares."
"But I want you."
"I want you more," he whispers, "but I want you in New York so badly that being with you here, it would be akin to keeping a wild bird in a cage. Satisfying for awhile, pretty to hear and look at and love, but I cannot keep you where you're not meant, baby, I won't."
"I love you," she murmurs, kisses him, even though she knows Papa must be watching, "come with me."
"I can't, Rachel."
"I'm so sorry," he says, "that I did not reveal how I loved you earlier. That I wasted time we could have had together."
He moans softly, kisses her forehead. "Someday, swear it."
"I do not want to say goodbye."
He struggles to his feet, tugs out a cigarette, lights it. Awed, she stares at the swirling spires of smoke. "You think I wanna say goodbye to you? You're my favorite girl. I've missed you so dearly, this past week and a half."
If she's crying, she is not aware, and he manages his way down the porch steps, limping, his cane a fifth limb, and she calls after him,
And he pauses, turns slightly, blows her a kiss, and oh, this boy, this man, forever.
Finn comes to New York and she has sex with him, their very first time.
"I love you here," she tells him, a rare moment they aren't kissing. "I have been so lonely."
"Me, too," he responds, leans in and kisses her again.
"Are you going – to move here?"
He's kissing her neck, his mouth dipping beneath the collar of her shirt, a spot his lips have never visited before.
"Finn," she breathes, threading her hands in his hair.
He puts his hand on her cheek. "Oh, oh, I want to, doll." He kisses her nose.
Finn takes her to dinner, kisses her on her bed, slips his hands beneath her blouse. It's more than he's ever felt of her body, her skin warm and spanning ivory beneath his gentle hands. He is everything, and she has sex with him on top of her covers, it's quiet and breathless and his mouth and her mouth, their bodies, and when they're finished, after the painful tension when she showers apart from him and steps into her room in but a towel, feeling shameless and warm all over. His shirt hangs to her thighs and smells like him.
Finn reads to her once she's curled into his chest, from the book of E. E. Cummings poetry he brought with him as a gift for her. "I like my body when it is with your body. It is so quite a new thing – "
"Are you being very salacious?"
"Shhh," he whispers, kissing her hair, squeezing her hip playfully. "I'm being a romantic, the kinda guy you fall in love with."
"I'm already in love with you."
"See? I've already done half the work. Now I'm going to restart, and you will be quiet, and perhaps once I finish, we will explore each other again."
She kisses the side of his chest, lets him read. She falls asleep, certain that only he will love her like this.
Morning dawns, gray, dull, and Finn takes a train back to Ohio.
But he does not come back, and he promises to write but he does not write, and she worries that he has fallen far out of love with her. She lives alone, just her, struggles to find a job singing anywhere and you'd suppose that in a city like New York, jobs for talented young girls would be in surplus, but the jobs are few and far between and she settles for a job at the diner beneath her apartment.
Being in love is difficult and no one ever prepared her for it, for Finn, though occasionally she wonders what would have happened, you know, if she had not volunteered at the hospital last summer, or if she'd been paired up with Mr. Johnson, who is old and crotchety and difficult. She is so very glad for Finn, even if she misses him.
The summer comes, Papa wants her to visit, and she sees Finn for the first time since the morning after she gave him her virginity.
It's in a grocery store, in an aisle with tomatoes and raspberries and apples nearby, and she freezes, drops the orange in her hand.
"Rachel," he breathes, his voice reverent as though her name is a prayer he's been meaning to say. "Where in the heck have you been, doll?"
"Pardon me?" Blinking, she pushes her finger against his stomach. "In New York, you – you – you dunce!"
He puts his hands on her arms. "Rachel, calm down just one moment, please."
"Don't you tell me to calm down, Finn Hudson, just because I am a lady does not mean you can boss me around!"
"Come with me to my car and we will talk," he says. His hand slips down to hold hers. "Finn, whenever did you get a car?"
"You've been gone a while, darling." She glares but she keeps her hand in his. Finn is ever the gentleman, opens the door for her, he doesn't kiss her but she wishes he would, even if she's mad at him.
"I hate you," she insists when he slips into the car on his side.
"Oh, you don't, you would never." She closes her eyes, doesn't want to cry, wants to have never loved him.
"Where is your cane?"
"It's not so needed every single day. Today was a good day, and now I know why."
He's smiling at her and he looks so earnest, so pleased with himself that her heart cannot help but beat twice as hard, so it feels, and she squeezes her fists to stop herself from reaching forward and tackling him.
They drive a bit, to this clearing on the edge of town, near the woods she once spent an afternoon exploring when she was a little girl. Too adventurous for her own good, she supposes.
"Please," palms flat on her thighs, "where did you go? You never wrote. You made me believe you – were – coming – to stay!"
He hums low in his throat, gathers her in his arms, tucks her under his chin. "I was going to, baby doll, honest to goodness. And I did – I wrote you. Hundreds of letters, and I gave them to your father to send – and then – he did not send them for me and he refused to give me your address in New York…and then I began working. My mother, she's getting married to Mr. Hummel, he's the owner of that tire shop on 4th. He gave me this job, and I've been saving, for you, for me, for us."
"You – wrote me?"
She kisses him and it's sudden and surprising and he tastes for the first time like coffee. His face is a little unshaven, another first, but he kisses her the same way, soft at first and with increasing feeling, his breath little gasps against her mouth.
"I could not hate you," she murmurs. "You know I could only ever love you."
"I have an idea."
"Elaborate." He puts his hand on her cheek, thumb on her lip.
"We need to get married."
"Married? Finn Hudson!"
"Baby, I am coming to New York. And I want to move into your apartment."
"Isn't that a bit presumptuous?"
"A bit," he allows, "but unfortunately, doll, I know that – you want me there with you."
"So, let's just – let's get married." He presses his mouth against the side of her mouth, whispers, "Please say yes," against her skin, and she thinks at this point she'd take the moon from its spot in the sky if he asked.
"I will, I want to marry you, Finn Hudson."
He's never smiled so wide in all the time she's known him.
Papa does not like Finn as much as she does, of that she is certain. But Finn is a good man (the best man, her best friend) and she knows that Papa knows that a marriage to Finn ensures that she will be taken care of her entire life.
The night before her wedding, Papa sits in her room with her for a bit, runs his hand over her hair. "I can't believe my baby's getting married."
"Me as well," she responds. "It all feels a bit unreal."
"I know that you're mad, sweet pea, that I kept him from you. But I do only ever want what is best for you. I see now that Finn Hudson is just that."
"Thank you, Papa."
He kisses her head. "You are going to be so, so happy, aren't you?"
A blissful smile is all the answer he needs.
Her nerves wake her up the next morning. She isn't very sure why she is nervous. After all, it's Finn. But, regardless, her nerves flutter inside of her all morning as she readies herself with the help of Finn's mother, Carole.
It will be odd, she supposes, merging her life with his. But the very best kind of odd. The kind of odd that took her to the hospital to volunteer, the kind of odd you think of before you fall asleep and smile. And absolutely wonderful, too, merging lives, of course. Everything in the world.
The ceremony is simple, in her backyard with just their families. His vows make her cry, hers make him laugh, they kiss, and they're married. They dance and they kiss and they drive to an inn where they have sex for hours, the part of their relationship that is still thus yet unexplored, and she wants the rest of her life to be spent exploring it, exploring him, the parts on his body that fit best with hers, or what song makes him happy and what book makes him sad. She's aware of so very much of him, of his idiosyncrasies, but she wants to know more.
"What do you want?" He asks, hours later, when he's curled around her, legs tangled together. His hands are rubbing circles against her stomach and she's about to fall asleep.
His mouth against the nape of her neck, "It's yours."