Stay With Me

A/U. Story title from the song "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith.

Sometimes what you want and need are one and the same. Finn wanted her. Finn needed her.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything. Songs are the property of the writers/singers. Glee characters are the property of Glee.

Chapter 2

Rachel Berry sat in the hospital's staff break room sipping her second cup of coffee. She was so sleepy, so tired. Last night had been very unusual for Rachel. She had gotten to bed later than her usual 10 o'clock cutoff time. It was more like 11:30pm. With so much on her mind, it had taken her more than an hour to fall asleep when she usually drifted off within 5 minutes of hitting her pillow. She had tried aromatic candles, soothing music, meditation; nothing worked. She probably just passed out eventually from pure exhaustion.

She knew she now had too much on her plate. She had decided to take 2 summer school courses to lighten her senior year load. She was working part-time at the hospital and had just signed up for a paid internship as a trainer for the football team which would include extra credit hours, plus the hands-on experience. She would have the opportunity to assist the team's head physician to make assessments, treatment plans, participate in the treatments and observe the players' results. Last week had been spent meeting with the team's head trainer, the team doctor and all of the other assistants for orientation and training. Thus the reason for her over-stressed, sleep-deprived body. After a week of having to be at three different places, it was too much. She had decided she had to lighten her load.

She really had enjoyed her part-time job as a physical therapist assistant here at the hospital; a position she has held for 2 years. She had met a lot of interesting people and the patients were so endearing. But she helped with rehabbing mostly post-stroke and neuro/brain injury patients because most of the ortho and sports doctors had their own team of therapist and did most of their rehab as outpatients. So Rachel knew, in order to dedicate herself to her new trainer position with the school's football team, she had to resign her position here at the hospital. She had sent her supervisor an email last night and would formally resign this morning in person.

Rachel was a very determined person. Once she set a goal or made a commitment, she stuck to it. It was very hard for her to accept weakness or failure. Her parents frequently reminded her of this fact over the years. (Well really, they said she was stubborn beyond reason). They, along with her best friend Kayla, had finally convinced her that redirecting or resetting your goals and/or commitments for the better outcome is not a sign of weakness or failure but a sign of strength and integrity. She was learning, however slowly. So, Rachel had decided that this year, she would do more of what made her happy, more of what brought her joy and contentment. Relax some of her personal "rules to live by".

Rachel was 20 credit hours from her degree in Physical Therapy. She was planning on attending grad school and eventually opening her own sports rehab center. She was looking into applying late fall to some of the top grad schools in the country.

She had always loved sciences, especially the "ologies" (biology, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology). Having a father who was a well-respected general practitioner and a mother who was the nurse manager of the critical care unit back home didn't hurt.

Raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a beautiful college town. But, Rachel had grown weary of the extreme Michigan winters. After expressing her college and career choices with her parents and best friend, she had applied to schools in the south with a highly accredited Physical Therapy program. "Rachel", her father had said, "We are disappointed that you didn't choose to attend my alma mater to. Hell, you didn't even choose a Michigan school. However, we are proud of you and support you". She had been accepted to all 3 of the schools that she had applied to but chose Wake Forest University because of it's location as well as it's nearby excellent teaching hospital. Entering her senior year, Rachel was now excelling in the program with a concentration in sports medicine and rehab.

She became close friends with Kayla Rogers, a nursing student, her freshman year. They had a lot of classes together and just clicked. Rachel had other friends but not close friends. Some people who didn't bother to get to know Rachel better, found her to be nerdy, too serious and sometimes, coming across as overbearing. But she and Kayla just seem to understand each other and grew closer over the years.

So, the two of them decided to share an apartment off-campus the summer before their sophomore year. Their 2 bedroom apartment was about 3 blocks from campus. They often walked together to class. With both having clinical at the nearby teaching hospital, they would take turns driving the 8 miles to the hospital. They would have lunch together at the hospital cafeteria when their schedules allowed it.

Kayla and Rachel were opposites. Rachel was by no means introverted, but more like a quiet storm. She would quietly listen to others' ideas and opinions but then would erupt into a long rant, voicing her "obviously correct" opinion. Kayla would laugh, knowing that Rachel had a tendency to overcompensate for her 5'2" statue. But Kayla loved her for being just her and would defend Rachel to the end.

During Rachel's down time, she liked staying in her apartment, wrapped up in her favorite Wake Forest blanket reading or watching one of her many rom-coms. She liked to eat healthy, preferring fresh vegetables and fruit, grilled chicken and seafood. She would let Kayla talk her into the occasional greasy burger and fries. She thoroughly enjoyed taking long, hot bubble baths while listening to her favorite pop rock or classical rock songs.

Kayla on the other hand, preferred to go out to the campus parties and clubs on her down time. She liked hot, quick showers. She listened to smooth jazz or easy listening music. On the rare occasion she cleaned her room or while getting dressed, she preferred the pounding, rhythmic beat of calypso or R&B. She ate whatever she wanted whenever she wanted but maintained her beautiful figure on her 5'11" frame. "It's all about the genes, Berry", Kayla frequently reminded her. She read celebrity gossip websites, watched reality TV (which Rachel would heckle while she watched). "Kayla, how in the hell such an intelligent woman like yourself watch that crap, I just don't know", Rachel would say. Kayla had a habit of stripping down to her panties and bra after a long day. She would start at the front door and end up in her bedroom, falling face down on her bed in her bra and panties until Rachel woke her up for dinner. It was hilarious to watch.

The two of them could sit at the kitchen bar and talk for hours about any and everything. Kayla was so animated she would have Rachel laughing so hard, with tears streaming down her face. And Rachel's descriptive conversations and experiences kept Kayla fascinated. The two of them were the poster children for the saying "opposites attract".

Rachel had other friends in her major but she and Kayla were always together. Kayla had actually introduced Rachel to her present love interest, Dr. John Thomas. He was in his last year of residency in orthopedic surgery. He had already acquired a position at Duke Medical Center. He wanted Rachel to work there in the Physical Therapy Dept and continue on there for her Master's and eventually get her PhD. He and Rachel had been together for 2 years. John was medium height, 5'11", slender built all of which was perfect for Rachel's petite size. He had wonderfully styled black hair., black thin mustache and goatee. What Rachel adored the most about him, besides his beautiful hazel eyes, was his kind and compassionate disposition. He was so nice to her. He worshiped her and they had already discussed getting engaged soon.

Ending her daydreaming, Rachel finished off her coffee. Shaking her head and stretching to relieve some of the pent up stress, she glanced at the clock. 6:25am. Time to get moving. She walked slowly towards the hospital's therapy conference room with her clipboard. They would have a 25-30 minute staff conference, getting updates and reports on patients progress, new patient info and plan of treatment. Then she would work with patients until 10. Then she would give a quick report to her replacement and head to her supervisor's office and resign. She felt a little sadness but also excitement. She would tell John about her plans tonight when they met for a late supper.

Rising from her seat after report, Rachel headed to her first patient. Her phone vibrated, notifying her she had a text. "mornin' sweetheart. headed 2 surgery. long day. have a good one. see ya tonight bout 9. Love ya, miss ya - Dr. J". Smiling, Rachel sent a quick reply to her boyfriend. "u2. have a great day. headed to campus training facility after leaving hosp. will b there from 11-2. then class. busy day also. miss u 2- Rachel". Placing her cell into her pocket, she headed toward her table to greet her first patient. She looked forward to her first day as one of the trainers for the Demon Deacons' football team. She felt a rush of excitement to finally be able to do hands on sports medicine. 11 o'clock couldn't get here soon enough.

A/N: Thanks to all who have read, reviewed, followed and/or favored my first fanfic. I will try to update every few days. Hope you continue to enjoy.