Rating: Mature/R, NC-17 in later chapters
Summary: Almost sixteen years ago, Rachel Berry left Finn Hudson taking something with her that was part his. Now he's given the chance to know the daughter, that he never knew existed. The connections that are made both old and new will teach them things about theme selves, and what it truly means to be a family.
Word Count: 4,228
Character(s)/Pairing(s):Finn Hudson, Rachel Berry, OC, Finchel, OC/OC
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Finn Hudson, Rachel Berry, or any Glee related characters depicted in this work of fiction. They are owned by Ryan Murphy, and the place where good shows go to die, FOX. I do however own the characters of Audrey Hudson, and Jackson Pierce.
Chapter One: Where my life was
Chapter Two: Our life with all of the changes
Rachel dropped small knickknacks, into a cardboard packing box. The clanking noise sounded through the emptiness, of the living room. It felt as though, she was erasing an important part of her and Audrey’s life. It was something that took almost half of her lifetime to build, while packing it up had taken a few days at the most. She had an aching feeling, which left a hollow burden inside of her. She knew that renting it out to strangers, was like cheating on a sacred part of her past. Audrey had experienced all of her milestones, in the two room apartment. She had taken her first step in the living room, right before she fell over and hit her mouth on the glass coffee table. Maybe she had her father’s clumsiness after all? Her daughter had all of her first experiences so far, lived out where she was presently trying to move on from.
The small living dwelling reminded her of times that she would want to forget, one in particular stuck with her. This was where the only woman, who had been a mother to her, last lived in the world. When Charlotte had became sick, Rachel knew that it was the right thing to do, to have her move in with them. To be honest, it was Charlotte’s property, as was the gallery that was below. But that wasn’t the reason why Rachel had insisted for her to be with her and Audrey. Charlotte had given Rachel a chance at making a life for herself, when most people looked past a nineteen year old pregnant girl.
Rachel ankles pulsed, by the extra weight that her swollen belly exerted on her petite frame. She had been walking a couple of blocks now, and the steam that bellowed from the streets gave off an odor that made her stomach curdle. She knew it was vital importance for her to find an escape from the smells. Or the promise of her hurling on the sidewalk was going to be a reality. She looked up at her surroundings, trying to find somewhere that looked adequate. On her right was a row of glass windows that shelled an art gallery. She never showed that much interest in art, but she did remember when her dad’s would take her to the museum that was in Columbus.
She was sure that there would be worse places to be, in her current state. Rachel tried to pull her jacket over her overly sized stomach. She was more than a little self conscious, about her wardrobe of the now. She didn’t have the money to buy maternity clothes, seeing that having a place to live, and food, cause damn it she loved those little chocolate covered donuts, to eat was more important than looking fashionable. She had a long black skirt, that had always been too big before, and one of Finn’s old t-shirts on. She wore that shirt, more than anything else she owned, it always gave her a false sense of having him close to her. At times she could swear that it still smelled like him, and on the really lonely nights when her baby hormones were really kicking in, she would wrap it around her other pillow. And pretend that he was beside her…the happy family that they should have been.
Rachel opened the glass door, letting it fall closed as she entered the gallery. It was pretty much barren of any people, except of a red haired woman who kept eating on cookies as she scribbled on a clipboard. Rachel could hear her humming something quietly to herself, that she could only assume was a show tune. Rachel turned her attention to a painting that was adorned on the corner of the wall, closer to the back of the gallery. She walked over to it with haste, her beat up ballet flats, making noises against the marble flooring, making her position to it quickly. She tilted her head trying to make up her mind about it, while absently rubbing her belly. It was oddly fascinating, it reminded her of “Phantom of the Opera”, absolutely beautiful in all of its tragedy.
“We’re appointment only.”
The voice shook, Rachel out of her daze turning to the woman standing on her right, “I-I…..”
“This isn’t some weigh station dear, for you to take some rest in.”
Rachel blushed, “I’m sorry I was just looking at the painting. I liked it.”
Rachel turned away, speeding up her pace to make it out of the building. She didn’t want to be escorted out by security, and even if she was she was, sure it would end up on some reality show where people laughed about others misfortune. Because her life right now, would have been a freaking riot.
“What do you like about it?”
This broke Rachel from her walking, she slowly turned around. She took in the women’s appearance, slowly trying to size her up before answering. She had short dark cropped hair, which tucked just behind her ears, curling slightly. Her clothes were of a dark red, the slacks matching a blouse that Rachel guessed was imported silk. Rachel noticed her black four inch heels, that seemed to rid off any kind of scuffs or dirt. She was absolutely elegant, silently demanding a sense of respect from others and this scared the crap out of the young pregnant girl standing before her.
“I –I like the complexity of it, how it contradicts itself.”
The woman held her head high, “Go on.”
Rachel stepped forward motioning to the piece of art, “The colors are so warm, and give off a sense of belonging, almost like a feeling of rebirth. However, the brush strokes are completely opposite, they’re so angry, it’s almost like an overwhelming sense of despair, that swallows you up, “Rachel cleared her throat, “Well, that’s what I see.”
The women stepped closer to Rachel, sizing her up this time.”I have interviewed more than twenty, art majors and not one of them has given me such an astute opinion to anything in this gallery as you have right now. Do you have a job, sweetie?”
Rachel nodded, “Yes, I wait tables over at Denny’s. I was actually on my way to a job interview for a job at a diner around the block.”
“Are you saying that you enjoy that kind of work?”
“No, it’s absolutely atrocious. But there’s not much for someone in my situation, in this town that pays more than seven an hour.”
“That’s good to hear. Would you be interested in perhaps, working here in the gallery for me?”
“Are you kidding?”
“Oh, dear I don’t joke, unless it’s at expense of someone that I loathe.”
“I would love to, but are you sure that you really want someone like me to work here?”
“Are you an addict of any kind? Or worse do you prefer to watch reality television, instead of musical theatre?”
“No ma’am. And you really shouldn’t be so blasphemous.”
“You’re funny, I like that. You see the skinny red head, which continues to stuff her face with cookies?”
Rachel looked over to the woman from before who was still eating the snack while see wrote, “Yes.”
“Well, she’s the only help I have, and I keep telling her to lay off those damn cookies, before she blows up enough that she’ll able to cover the Chrysler building. But we have had the good fortune to have such prosperous business, and I could use someone as bright as you.”
Rachel’s was caught off guard by such a statement,”Umm…”
The women folded her arms, and looked down at the young woman, “Look, I can pay you a hell of a lot more, than they would having you shovel slop to the masses. There’s an apartment that I’ve been using as an over glorified storage, it was where my father lived with his parents. So, it is extremely outdated, a new coat of paint wouldn’t hurt. You can live there before and after the baby is born, and assuming that it won’t cause the gallery to smell odorous, or make too much noise, the baby can stay here in the gallery while you work. Because honestly, it’s atrocious what these hags make women pay for poor daycare. Which is one of the many reasons why, I have decided to never put my own uterus to work, plus all the sweating that child birth in tells is not my forte. Although, I have to warn you that I have been told that I am bossy, forthright, and domineering, but I expect the best out of everyone. If you can live with those terms, than I believe there is a place here for you."
Rachel smiled for the first time, since moving to the city, “Yes, I can. That would be fantastic.”
“Also, I won’t have any drama, with the father showing up here. I have no tolerance for that type of nonsense.”
“You won’t have to worry about the father…trust me.”
“Alright then, we should start setting everything up for you soon. I suppose we would have to make sure you’re effectively covered, medically wise.”
Rachel started to bounce slightly, “I can’t believe this!”
“Please dear, stop. I don’t want your water breaking on my marble floors.”
Rachel blushed down to her throat, “Yes, of course. I’m sorry.”
The women lightly thumped the side of her head, “How awfully rude of me. My name is Charlotte Lewis.”
Rachel held out her hand, “Rachel Berry.”
Charlotte shook her hand firmly, a smile gracing her sharp features. She circled, Rachel reaching her other side.
“Yes, well after the child is born…”Charlotte held out her hand, “How far along are you?”
“About seven months.”
“After the baby is born, we’ll have to work on your entire look. The hair, clothes…everything. We have to show a certain image. Even cookie eater, over there dresses with a bit of standards.”
Rachel touched her hair consciously, ”Oh, well I know the clothes are a bit alarming…”
“Yes, hon. Also no one above the age of six wears knee socks.”
Rachel smiled to herself, the lines on her face deepening. The day she met, Charlotte changed her life in ways she would have never imagined. Charlotte taught her things about life that made her a better mother, friend, and woman. True, there were some that saw her demeanor as cold, or abrasive, but Rachel saw the strong woman that was underneath. And loosing Charlotte had been in the long list of regrets that Rachel held close to her heart. At times the regret was almost deafening, threatening to swallow her whole. However, more than anything, she regretted leaving the boy that made her feel whole, like the person she was made to be. The pain lessened, when she looked at her daughter. Rachel could see so much of her father in her, and it was a way of still keeping him close to her.
Rachel walked over, to the coffee table that had pictures strewn over the top. She smoothed them over, spreading the pictures out further. Her eyes landed on one of Audrey, on her sixth birthday. Her dark curls were put up in pigtails, and she wore an old Wonder Woman Halloween outfit. That was the year that Audrey had started asking about her father more persistently. Rachel let her eyes roam to the other pictures; they were an assortment of Audrey’s life. Ranging from the time when she had covered herself in chocolate ice cream, at age two, to the time that she had won her first talent show competition at age eleven. She had played a drum solo, that made Rachel think of Finn the entire time. Rachel wiped the tears that had started to fall down her face. It was still a marvel to her, how one man could get under her skin so easily.
Audrey recklessly discarded articles of clothing from her drawers, into one of the many packing boxes that her mom, had laid in the middle of her floor. The fact that her mother, found it necessary to just throw annoying ugly boxes in the middle of her room, made her nothing short of furious. This was her one place, other than the park, where she could come and unwind. Her own sanctuary away from everyone’s assumptions of her, and the nagging feeling of doubt she always had around other people…especially her mom. Her mother was this driving force of intensity, and gumption, where as Audrey always felt like she was floundering.
She wanted to feel, at least, once that she was in the right place at exactly the right time. It was as if the rest of the world was three steps ahead of her, and she was stuck on the pee soaked bus of “loser dome”. Also, if her life wasn’t already an abyss of mediocrity, she was now being forcefully shipped off to a town, that didn’t even register on maps until you made it into Ohio, she checked, and to a dude that didn’t even know she’s been existing for most of his life.
Audrey sat down on her floor, reaching for the books that she kept on a low shelf. She ran her fingers over the worn spines, every line telling its own story. Her books, aside from her music, were the only way that she could feel moderately close to whole. She sighed heavily, picking up two books with her thumb and pointer finger, flinging the books into a box across the room. When the other books fell over by the others absence, a load clatter sounded causing her to look over quickly. Audrey knew what it was before she reached out for it. She blindly searched for the object, pulling it out slowly, revealing a picture frame.
She held the back of the picture frame gingerly, cradling it on her palm and forearm. She stared down at the young couple, each with a smile on their faces. The girl held onto the boy, by his back, her dark, long wavy, hair falling over his shoulder covering some of his broad chest. The girl’s bright eyes, held so much promise. The boy held onto the petite arms, which were wrapped around his neck. He was handsome, with a sense of simplicity. Audrey traced his face, slowly, something she had done a lot during her life, trying to almost absorb the image. It was true, that she looked like her father. She had heard her mother tell Charlotte once when she was twelve. How it was a constant reminder, of the life she left behind, and how Finn Hudson still had a hold of her. That was the first time she heard her mother say his first name. She had his last name, so she had already known that, but it was like another piece of the puzzle finding out the entirety of his name.
Audrey had taken the picture from her mother’s drawer, a few days after hearing her mother’s conversation. It was almost too hard for her to look at his picture at first, almost as if she wouldn’t like what she saw. Audrey, felt a bit of tightening in her stomach, because she was going to see this man that was her father, in a short time, and she dreaded the thought that when he found out about her, that he wouldn’t feel anything but disappointment. The sound of footsteps coming down the hall, alerted her to her mom’s presence. Quickly, she placed the picture behind her back, hiding it from her mom.
Rachel stopped in the door way, leaning on the door frame, “How’s the packing going?”
Audrey smiled fickly, “It’s absolutely riveting.”
Rachel smiled, “You’re a little bit of a smart ass aren’t you?”
Audrey ran a hand through her thick hair, “How can you tell?”
“Oh, just a guess.”
Audrey smiled genuinely,”Yeah.”
“So, really how’s it going?”
“Almost done,” she pointed to a wall of boxes up against her bed, ”Those are storage, and most of my clothes are in the suitcases, you pushed on me a few days ago.”
“Sounds good. So are you anxious, about tomorrow?”
“Why? Should I be?”
“You’re going to meet your dad,” Rachel shrugged, “I would be.”
Audrey stood up abruptly, “I don’t know him. He’s just another person to me.”
Rachel nodded, turning her back to her daughter, “You know, it isn’t wrong to want to feel something for him. And letting someone in, isn’t going to take a part of yourself away from you.”
With that her mother had disappeared into the hall, leaving Audrey to stand in the middle of her room silently, trying to fight the urge to cry.
The headlights from the passing vehicles, gave glimpses of his coloring, unveiling the shroud of darkness that filled the car. Finn tapped his fingers steadily on the steering wheel, to the music coming from the radio. The day had been uneventful, the usual tasks needing to be done. But he couldn’t hide the excitement that he had for the next day, granted he had reservations about seeing her again. He remembered all too well, how he had been after she left. However, there was something about that certain brunette, which got his blood going.
Turning into his driveway, slowly trying not to damage his vintage collectable, it being one of the few things that he owned that was of any worth, other than his home. Reaching over to the passenger seat he slid his forearm though the strap of the back pack. He knew it made him seem a bit juvenile but the brief cases that some of the male faculty carried looked more like man purses. After the bag was secured, he reached for the door handle, opening the car door. He stepped out with heavy feet, feeling his thirty-five years of life in his body. He had been teaching for awhile, and he loved what he did, it was especially better than working in his step dad’s garage. The only good thing that came out of that was being able to refurbish, and build his car. After, closing the door he looked at the ’70 Chevy Nova, it being bathed in the warm yellow glow of the light above his garage door. He needed to clean out the boxes that were in there, so he could park his baby in it.
He shook his head making his way to his front door, his house keys dangling from his hand, swinging back and forth like a metronome. Placing the key in the lock he turned it, hearing a clicking sound signifying it was now open. Finn pushed through, stepping into the living room, closing the door behind him, before tossing his keys, on the table next to his answering machine. He still kept a land line seeing that his mom was so paranoid that the cell phones may one day stop working. He dropped his bag onto the floor, making his way to the kitchen. He shrugged out of his jacket, throwing it on the counter, while reaching for the refrigerator handle. Pulling out a beer, he twisted off the cap while walking back into the living room to where the phone was, taking a swig on his way.
He made it over to the answer machine with ease, pushing the button to listen to his messages, taking another drink. The first few were from his mother reminding him about their weekly Wednesday dinner, followed by another message about not bringing any beer for his step dad, Burt, because they didn’t need to drink so much seeing that Burt had a bad heart. Finn shook his head, looking down to his left his eyes fell on a picture of him and a familiar brunette. It was of them when they had gone to the park one day, and she jumped on his back taking a picture of them instantly. He could still feel the warmth of her body pressed against his back, and he wasn’t ashamed of the events that followed that picture. He still has scars from the tree bark on his back; they were well worth the memories. And that’s when he heard her voice coming from the machine.
Finn, I wasn’t sure it was you until I heard that recording .He could hear her, laugh lightly. You’re still adorable, when you get tongue tied, but it’s funny coming from such a deep voice. It has been almost sixteen years, so I guess that had to happen. I just wanted to let you know, that I’ll be in town tomorrow, about 2 o’clock. I’m really looking forward to seeing you again…honestly. Alright, I’ll stop talking, and I’ll see you then. Oh, um if you need me you still have my number from the email I sent you; at least I hope you still do. Ok, goodbye.
He could hear the phone hanging up, and the machine beeped alerting to it being the end of his messages. She sounded exactly the same, but she sounded more nervous than he remembered her being. However, it had been a long time since they seen each other, and peoples’ lives were known to change in such long periods of time. He was apprehensive of seeing her again, the only woman he had ever loved, and the one that had nearly destroyed him. He guessed he was being a little overly dramatic, but when she left him without any word and just a damn note, he had gone into a deep destructive hole. He kept working at the garage with Burt, like he had been doing while he and Rachel took a year off before starting college, and then he moved to Columbus to go to school. But things got worse from there on, he started drinking heavily, and having sex with nameless girls who had long brown hair and hot asses that looked good in short skirts. He nearly flunked out of school, where he was going for music major, minoring in sports education. He stopped answering calls from anyone that knew him from before, and had gotten into his fair share of reckless fights. He had become the cliché, that he always gave Puck crap for being. He had officially become a hypocritical ass, who had no way of recognizing who he had once been. There was one particular day that stuck in his head more than any of the others.
The air was stale, and the faint yet heavy sounds, of the traffic outside his window hung in the atmosphere. As he laid, stoic under his cotton sheets, his body ached from the pain that had resulted in months of self destruction. He simply, just stared up at the eggshell ceiling unwilling to notice, if the nameless brunette from the night before was still forming a unique body print, into the mattress. It wasn’t as if he was ashamed, to notice her there, they had made each other feel a fleeting moment of pleasure. However, that’s all it was, just simply fleeting. A synthetic process of touching, pretending to be a connection. Finally deciding to press his luck, he sharply looked to his left. After, noticing that she had apparently made her exit when he was still sleeping, he exhaled a sigh he wasn’t aware of holding.
Deciding, that he may as well put an end to his thought process, the broad shouldered man swung his legs to the side of the bed. Finn stood up slowly, feeling the hangover starting to properly kick in. He walked over his desk, where half of a bottle of beer sat there from the night before. He at least hoped that it was from the night before; he took a swig…um definitely not from last night. He dropped the bottle letting the liquid rush out on his floor, following the clanking sound of the glass. He rubbed his tongue trying to wipe his mouth clean.
As he was walking to the bathroom, his eyes fell on the picture he kept of himself and Rachel in the park that one summer. He didn’t know why he kept that damn thing; it was like a torture having to see her face every day. Even more so having to see the guy who she was with, he wasn’t that guy anymore and she was the reason why. He glanced up at the blurry mirror that was on his wall, seeing his reflection. He hadn’t saved in a week, and the stubble had invaded his fair skin. His eyes were vacant, and he couldn’t fight back the tears that started to mingle in his facial hair. He knew he couldn’t let what happened between them destroy him entirely. He had to pick himself up, and let go of the fantasy that she would come back to him.
He shook his head out of his daze, trying to fight back that certain memory. Finn knew that he couldn’t dwell in the past. He was a different person, than he had been when she had disappeared from his life. Being a different man, may be the strength he would need to not entirely loose himself again.
REVIEWS ARE LOVE!!<3
A/N: Thank you to my little sister, from a different mother, Zoya. You're the best BETA, that a crazed person could have. Love you, sweetie!!