Disclaimer: I don't own Glee. I also don't own RENT, though I have tons of cast memorabilia from it since I have seen it approximately a million times.
Oblivious to her busy surroundings Rachel walked down the street, the earbuds of her iphone firmly in place as she sang along to the original cast recording of RENT. She had recently been cast in the role of Mimi in RENT's revival and she wanted to immerse herself in the music as much as possible. Smack dab in the middle of Out Tonight her phone beeped, indicating a text. Glancing at the readout she smiled at the name. Anthony Wentworth. Pressing view, her smile intensified.
Hi honey. Hope rehearsal went well. Mom would like to meet for lunch to discuss wedding plans. Can you be at The Plaza at 12:30? Love you.
She glanced at her phone with a slight frown; it was already 12:15. Making her way to the curb she hailed a taxi. Hopping in, she told the cab driver, "The Plaza Hotel please," without waiting for a response she stuck her earbuds back in and furiously texted Anthony back.
I'm on my way. Love you too.
As she resumed listening to Out Tonight her mind drifted back to the party that was held six months ago to celebrate RENT's revival. It was being thrown by the backer for the musical, Wentworth Records. Rachel had been wandering with her cast mate Angela when she spotted Anthony across the room. Noticing he was staring at her she sent him a shy smile as she continued to talk with Angela. Since he caught her eye, he began making his way across the room.
"Oh shit Angela. He's coming over here." Rachel whispered as she tugged on Angela's arm.
Looking around the room, Angela just saw everyone milling about. "Who is coming over here?"
"Anthony Wentworth!" She hissed, trying to keep her smile in place.
"Huh. Wonder what he wants." Angela just shrugged it off. She didn't care who came over to talk, she was just here for the free booze.
"Ladies. Good evening, are you enjoying the party?" Anthony asked, showing a dazzling white smile.
"Of course Mr. Wentworth," Rachel said, tucking her hair over her shoulder. "It's a lovely party."
"Please, call me Anthony. May I call you Rachel?" His gaze locked on hers and she could feel the blush forming.
"Of course Anthony." Her cheeks were warm and she hoped they weren't bright red.
Feeling like a third wheel already, Angela said, "I'm going to grab some punch and talk with Mike."
"Sure thing," Rachel said, not even paying attention to the fact that she'd left.
"So Rachel, you have such a beautiful voice. I heard you sing when you were in an off Broadway production of Spring Awakening. When mother told me she wanted to back RENT I immediately thought of you. I'm so glad you auditioned." He led her over to a couch as he spoke, sitting down and pulling her with him. Placing his arm across the back he continued, "I hope you don't think this is too forward, but I feel like I know you. Hearing you sing just touched something in me."
Rachel was in awe. She hadn't felt like this since she was 15 and in the auditorium with Finn. "Wow Anthony. I'm touched, truly. I'll do my best here; it's been a dream of mine since I was a child to be on Broadway."
"Broadway is just the beginning for you Rachel. Any chance you're free for dinner tomorrow?"
"I have rehearsal until 8," Rachel couldn't believe this was happening.
"A late supper then. I'll send a car to the theater for you." He stroked his fingers along her arm. "I have to mingle now again, but I look forward to tomorrow."
"Wait-where will we be going?" She needed to know what to wear.
"Somewhere special. Just be your normal gorgeous self and you'll fit right in." He went to rise and placed a kiss on her hand. "Until tomorrow."
"Until tomorrow," she echoed with a smile. Holy shit. Was this really happening to her? She waited until he walked away before making a beeline for Angela. They had a lot to discuss.
The next day, two dozen white roses were sent to the rehearsal hall, sending Rachel and her female cast mates swooning. After showering off the day's sweat from being under the hot stage lights all day, she dressed in a simple black dress. Well it was simple on the hanger, but once on her body it hugged all her curves, showing her assets to their best advantage. She piled her hair into a bun and pulled a few strands out to frame her face. As she exited the theater, a chauffeur opened the door to a Town Car.
"Miss Berry?" He questioned, as he motioned her inside the car.
"Yes, thank you." She slid across the posh seat, noticing a single rose sitting with a card attached. The card said, "Looking forward to a wonderful evening." She'd never felt more wooed.
She lost herself in thought as the car drove, not paying attention to the scenery whizzing by. Finally, the car glided to a stop and she noticed where she was, faltering for the first time. He was taking her to Sardi's. She hadn't been here since the last time with Finn. Determinedly she pushed him from her mind as the chauffeur opened the door for her.
The evening was magical; conversation flowed easily between them as they talked about the musical. Things were fine until Anthony made a casual comment.
He was playing with her fingers across the table as he smiled and said, "Someday there will be a cartoon likeness of you on these walls."
She immediately paled and her fingers tensed under his. Again thinking back to that first date here with Finn, she took a breath and said, "Well I hope so."
"Believe me sweetheart." His smile was warm as he lifted her hand to place a kiss on her palm.
She felt the heat of his kiss, but it didn't set off sparks like someone else once had. However, it was time to move on and leave the past in the past. So instead of pulling her hand away, she smiled across the table at him. "A girl could get used to hearing such flattery you know."
"I hope so. Just like I hope you'll let me see you again."
"I'd be delighted." She said as she raised her wineglass to clink with his.
And so it began. The pair quickly began inseparable and while Rachel didn't feel the burning love she had once felt for Finn, she had a nice steady glow for Anthony. She assumed it meant she was growing up. So when he presented her with a four carat diamond engagement ring two months into their relationship, she of course said yes. She watched him slide the ring on her finger and almost didn't remember that another ring once sat there.
Which led her to her current situation. Driving in a cab rushing to meet her fiancée and future monster in law. She knows she shouldn't think like that, but frankly Beatrice Wentworth scared the crap out of her. Beatrice came from old money and Rachel? Well she came from Lima, Ohio. Beatrice had been firmly against the engagement in the beginning but Rachel hoped she was coming around.
The cab pulled to a stop at the curb of the plaza and Rachel pulled out her earbud to hear her total. Passing the money to the driver with a generous tip, she slid out of the cab and walked to the entrance, not caring that people were staring at her baggy sweats and loose sweater. She had just come from a strenuous rehearsal and didn't know about this meeting. Forging ahead, she spotted Anthony and Beatrice and crossed to them, placing a hand on Anthony's back and giving his cheek a kiss before exchanging air kisses with Beatrice.
Anthony stood and pulled out her chair, seating himself back down next to her when she sat down. "How was rehearsal dear?"
"Great, I think we're almost ready!" Rachel replied enthusiastically.
"Oh is that why you look so unkempt today Rachel?" Beatrice interjected.
Rachel froze but Anthony interjected, "Mother we didn't know about this meeting. Rachel was probably headed home to relax." His hand rubbed hers soothingly under the table, feeling her slowly relax.
"That may be, but she's going to be a Wentworth. A Wentworth must always be ready to be seen."
"Yes Beatrice, I understand." She took a sip of water from the goblet in front of her. "Now, what did you want to discuss today?"
Beatrice began to drone on and on about the floral arrangements, the band, and final dress fittings. Rachel politely muttered an occasional 'yes' or 'oh that sounds lovely' when in all truth her mind was whirling with the ornate details of this wedding. She would have much preferred something simple but it never occurred to her to voice her opinion. Beatrice was handling this since it was a Wentworth event. All Rachel had to do was show up practically.
"And don't forget the marriage license. Someone needs to go to the courthouse and pick it up. They said there was some issue with it." Beatrice droned on before taking a delicate sip of water.
Rachel's head snapped up. "What kind of problem?"
"I don't' know, they just said problem." Beatrice said, starting to speak again.
"I'll go after lunch. I'll pick it up and get it sorted out." Rachel volunteered both out of curiosity and out of a desperate attempt to please Beatrice.
"Fine dear, though I do suggest you go home and change first." Beatrice said, again shaking her head at Rachel's clothing.
"Oh yes, Beatrice I will."
The group dined, conversation flowing again about the wedding but Rachel's mind was still stuck on the word "problem". Hopefully it wasn't something serious; she was ready to be Mrs. Anthony Wentworth.
Discreetly glancing at his watch, Anthony noted the time and said, "Mother, we best be heading back to the office. We have that meeting at 2:15 and I know you don't want to be late."
Pushing back from the table, Beatrice rose. "Yes, I suppose you're right. Rachel be a dear and make sure you get the license situation straightened out. The wedding is next week after all."
Again exchanging air kisses Rachel said, "Of course Beatrice right away." Turning to Anthony, she gave him a lingering kiss. "Call me later?"
"Of course honey. I want to know what the problem with the license is." He offered his mother his arm as they left, leaving Rachel to trail behind.
Again, she hailed a cab and this time went to the County Court building forgoing her future mother in law's advice about changing her clothing. She needed to figure out what the hold up was and fast. She waited in line impatiently when she got there, but found that the line moved quickly. Approaching the front of the line, she was motioned forward by a clerk.
"Name?" The clerk said in a bored, monotone voice.
"Rachel Berry. I'm here for my marriage license." Rachel's palms were beginning to sweat and she didn't know why.
"Hold on please." The clerk stepped back to a large filing cabinet and pulled out the application. "Ah, yes. Here we are. The application cannot be approved I'm afraid."
"But why?" Rachel asked, her voice rising in panic.
"It seems to be you're already married Miss Berry, to one Finn Hudson?"
"But that's impossible. We divorced years ago." She felt herself beginning to shake. This couldn't be happening right now. This must be a terrible nightmare. Pinching herself, she winced at the slight pain. No, this wasn't a nightmare.
"There is no record of a divorce judgment on file ma'am. I'm sorry." The clerk handed back the marriage license and Rachel stared at it for a moment before walking away.
Rachel began the long walk home in a daze. She wasn't sure what was going on. Surely her attorney had filed the papers all those years ago-why wouldn't he have? Scrolling through her contacts on her cell phone, she found the number for Mr. Callanan. She dialed and rolled her eyes when she got his voicemail.
"Mr. Callanan, this is Rachel Berry. You represented me 5 years ago in my divorce proceedings-proceedings I just learned were never completed. Please call me immediately." She hung up in frustration. What the hell happened? She signed the papers, Finn signed the papers. All the attorney was supposed to do was file them with the Court.
Her phone rang and it was Mr. Callanan's number. She eagerly answered, "Rachel Berry."
"Good afternoon Miss Berry. I pulled your file here and it seems that the paperwork was never signed by," he sneezed and Rachel seized the opportunity.
"By Finn? How could he do this to me? We agreed. Thank you for calling back." She spoke quickly and disconnected the call before the man could finish. She jogged up the steps to her apartment and immediately pulled out her fire safe box. Pulling out the divorce papers, she tossed the box back into the closet and pulled out a suitcase. It seemed she was going back to Lima to see the one man she swore she'd never see again. Finn Hudson wouldn't know what hit him.
A/N: And so the saga begins :) Next up, Rachel in Lima. I wonder how Finn will react. Thanks again to my wonderful forky dork who reads everything before I post. Ellie, this update is for you-hope it makes you smile today. Thanks for the read and please feel free to review!