All That Glitters
Finn and Rachel spend 48 hours together that changes both of their perspectives about life, love and what's really important in life.
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee, any of it's characters, plots or storylines. If I did, I would be writing this from Australia while visiting my buddy, cab4five. All songs mentioned are the properties of the singers/songwriters. I have not interest or affiliation with NBCUniversal Studios.
Finn reclined further into his coach seat of his flight to Charlotte, NC. He was flying home to spend the holidays with his family. Turning his attention to the hostess moving down the isle, he smiled as she approached him. "Are you finished, Sir?" she asked, reaching for the items he was handing her. He placed the now-empty clear plastic cup and empty snack wrappers in her outstretched hand. Did she just tickle his palm? Giving the hostess another nervous smile, Finn turned toward the window, looking out among the clouds below. He still couldn't get used to how forward some women were today.
Finn was amazed at what these airlines called "snacks" these days. He has just eaten 5 of the smallest (and blandest) chocolate chip cookies he had ever seen. He couldn't wait to finally be home and eat three square meals of his Mom's wonderful cooking. Finn could cook. Having been basically on his own for the last 10 years taught him that he had to learn or spend most of his paycheck eating out.
Closing his eyes, he tried to relax for the last minutes of his flight. He was anxious to get home. He hadn't seen his parents since July. School had finished for the semester December 18th but Finn had to stay to review final exams and post grades. Then he had to finish and post his syllabus for his classes for the spring semester. They had added on an extra class for him to teach next semester and Finn wanted to be prepared before he left for home. He was glad for this break and didn't need to return back to his teaching job until January 3rd.
Finn looked up at the blinking 'FASTEN SEATBELT' sign. Sitting his seat upright and snapping his seatbelt on, he turned and watched out of the window as the plane began it's decent toward Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Finn had a nervous kind of energy. He had a strange feeling that this Christmas holiday was going to be transformative.
Rachel chewed nervously on her bottom lip as she sipped on her glass of white wine. She tried to relax as she sank back into the soft leather of her first class seat as she thought about the next 8 days. This was the first time she would actually visit her fiancé's family in his hometown.
Mason Paige was a very successful and wealthy movie producer for NBCUniversal Studios in LA. He had produced several blockbuster movies for the studio and was now taking a break before he started on his next project. Rachel had met him while filming her second Pitch Perfect movie. They had hit it off immediately, going out to dinner and laughing and talking into the wee hours of the night. After that, they were inseparable (when he was in town). They had dated for a year and a half before he took her to a wonderfully romantic restaurant where she accepted his proposal that came with a 3 carat engagement ring. They became one of L.A.'s "it" couples, photographed and stalked by the media everywhere they went. Rachel found it highly intrusive but Mason didn't seem to mind.
Being one half of LA's more popular and wealthier couples, she lived a very regaled and lavish lifestyles. He lavished her with gifts, exotic flowers, jewelry, trips, you name it. She shopped at the best stores. They dined at the finest restaurants. They belonged to several social clubs. But, Rachel tried to remain grounded. She came from a very modest background and knew that all of this was fleeting, rarefied air and could be taken from you at any moment.
Rachel worked hard for her status among other actors at her studio. She was always from start to finish with every project she was involved in. From audition to the end of filming for any movie she was blessed with gaining a role in. She took care of her body, getting plenty of sleep, eating the right kinds of foods. She exercised and rarely overindulged in alcohol. She always acknowledged her fans in person, on Twitter, Tumblr and on her Facebook page.
She was very nervous about seeing her future in-laws again, not to mention his family members she was yet to meet. His parents had flown out to LA to meet her soon after she and Mason became engaged. She had worked with the caterers for weeks to make sure the dinner party she had for them was flawless. What did she get in return? Two of the coldest, most judgmental, condescending and self absorbed people she had ever run across. And while living and working in LA all these years, she had come across quite a few. Rachel had never been so happy to put two people on a plane in her life. All the way back to their penthouse apartment, Mason apologized and tried to convince her that his parents were "really great people". Rachel just rolled her eyes and hoped that she wouldn't have to suffer through that again any time soon.
'Well,' she thought as she looked down at the huge diamond sitting on her left ring finger, 'at least somehow, Mason had survived going up in that household and was now a pretty decent human. At work, he was a strict, forceful producer. But at home, he lowered that facade and was just 'Mason', her loving, sweet fiance.
When she heard the seatbelt sign come on, she sat up in her seat, fastening her seat belt as the plane started its approach to her future husband's hometown near Charlotte, NC.
Making her way into the main airport, Rachel noticed that the airport was extremely crowded. She struggled to weave through the throngs of people making her way toward baggage claim. She looked up at the boards and noticed all of the flights were canceled. What was going on? She pulled out her cellphone to call Mason to make sure he was there to pick her up.
"Hello, Rachel," came his quiet voice over the cellphone.
"Yeah, Hi, sweetheart, " she said as she continued to make her way toward baggage claims. "Are you here at the airport or at least close?"
"Well, about that..." Mason hesitated.
"Well, hurry up," she continued, approaching the luggage belt for her flight. "It is chaos here. What is going on?"
"Baby, have you looked out of the window? The streets are a sheet of ice."
"Oh," Rachel said, surprised as she looked out of the nearest window. "That's why the flights are all canceled." Rachel was glad she hadn't known that her plane had landed in such hazardous conditions. " Well, are you saying I'm stuck here? Mason..."
"I'm sorry, Rachel. But my house is all the way on the other side of Charlotte. In Davidson, baby. There is no way I can get there. Nothing is running. The streets are deserted. You need to get a hotel room until the streets are salted and safer. Then I can come get you."
"A hotel room?!" Rachel yelled, getting upset. "Mason, how am I suppose to get there? If I had known this, I would have kept my ass in nice warm and sunny California! Rrrrr!"
"Rachel, Rachel. Please calm down. I'm sure the airline will make reservations for you and shuttle you to the hotel. There are plenty of hotels within walking distance so there's no reason the shuttles can't drive you there. Just go to the desk and tell them you need a room. Then call me right back and let me know what your plans are. Okay?"
"Okay, Mason, but I'm charging every damn thing to your card. I can't believe this," she said through gritted teeth.
"Just get your room and then call me back. Ok? Love you."
She groaned a "I-love-you-too" and hung up her cell. She gathered her rolling luggage and headed toward the airline's customer service desk.
After standing in line about 20 minutes, Rachel finally reached the front of the line. A pleasant looking blond-headed man smiled up at her. "How may I help you today, Miss?"
Looking at Rachel, his eyes got big. "Oh my god! You're Rachel Berry. Oh my! Oh, goodness! I loved you in Pitch Perfect. Both of them. 1 and 2. Oh, and your voice! Just angelic!"
Rachel smiled back at him. She is sure he's seen famous people before, even here in North Carolina. She had some acquaintances who had summer homes here, in the mountains.
"Yes, yes thank you," she said, forcing a smile. "But I need to make reservations at one of the nearby hotels. My fiancé was suppose to pick me up but..." She stopped when she saw the look on the worker's face. "Is there a problem?"
"I am so sorry, Ms. Berry but all of the hotels are full. With so many canceled flights and stranded passengers and staff, they filled up very quickly," he said, apologetically.
Rachel stomped her foot. "Dammit!" She then looked at the nice clerk. "I'm sorry. I'm not upset with you. It's not your fault. I'm just upset with the situation. What can I do?" She was almost in tears. On the flight here, Rachel just had this funny feeling in the pit of her stomach that something was going to happen while she was here. She didn't know if it was good or bad but things were not happening like she had planned.
"Well, most passengers have either got someone to pick them up, gone to the nearby hotels or have decided to just wait it out here at the hotel." Rachel looked around and saw people scattered out throughout the airport, lying on chairs or on the floors using their coats as blankets and luggage as pillows.
She turned her attention back towards the clerk. "Well," he continued, "the cab company told us that they only have 3 remaining taxis out and they are making one last trip from the airport. So," he said, leaning forward to whisper, "if you hurry, you can catch one out front." He then winked at her, smiling.
Rachel smiled back. Reaching in her purse for a piece of paper, she grabbed the counter pen. Scribbling fast, she handed the paper to the clerk, smiled and hurried off toward the cab lane out front. The clerk looked down at the paper the star had handed him:
"To Robert, one of my greatest fans. thanks for the tip. Love, Rachel Berry ❤"
Finn climbed into the warm backseat of the waiting cab. He had stood out in the freezing weather for about 45 minutes after the clerk told him about it. As he was closing the door, he noticed a tiny brunette with huge brown eyes looking at him as she knocked on the window. Finn frowned when he saw that she hardly seemed dressed for this weather. She had on jeans and sneakers while trying desperately to pull a short leather jacket closed against the wind. Unable to turn away from her he held the door open for her.
"Please," she begged through chattering teeth, "can I share this cab with you? My ride can't come to get me and...and I'm from LA and. . .and I am so cold!" she finished, her bottom lip trembling and tears forming in her eyes. She looked like a wet, shivering lost puppy as the freezing rain dripped from her hair and clothes. How could Finn turn away from such an adorable but sad little woman?
Finn looked at the driver who nodded his approval. The driver got out and helped her put her luggage in the trunk as she crawled into the seat next to Finn. Finn immediately was overwhelmed by her smell. She smelled like lavender and vanilla. Intoxicating.
The driver climbed in, closed the door and started the digital meter. "Where to?"
Finn looked over to the woman he was now sharing his cab with, smiling and allowing her to go first. "Um...I suppose a hotel...somewhere, possibly downtown?" She looked over at Finn and he smiled back at her.
"Well, I'm headed toward Harrisburg," Finn said, continuing to smile at her. "It's not too far from University Hospital. There are nice hotels out that way so that may be a better choice. Save the cab driver from having to take too many extra roads in this weather."
The young woman smiled back at him with the brightest smile Finn had ever seen. It made her whole face light up. "Okay," she responded. "Because I have no idea what I'm doing." They both laughed as the taxi pulled onto the interstate.
Finn turned toward her and extended his hand. "Hi, I'm Finn. Finn Hudson." She took his hand, shaking it lightly. As soon as Finn felt her fingers touch his, his felt a tingle. Looking up into her big brown eyes, he saw her reaction as their hands touched. She felt it, too. She had quickly pulled her hand back and placed it in her lap.
"My name is Rachel. Rachel Berry. And thank you so much for sharing your ride with me."
"Oh, it's no problem. I think this was the last cab leaving today from the airport. I just couldn't leave you standing there in your LA clothes, could I?" He chuckled.
Rachel laughed, running her fingers through her wet hair. My god, he was gorgeous, she thought to herself. When smiled, he had the cutest dimples. And the prettiest amber eyes she had ever seen. "I had no idea it would be like Alaska here in the South," Rachel giggled. "I would have packed my parka and skis."
Finn laughed out loud. "So Rachel, what brings you to this part of the country? In the middle of an ice storm?" He ducked his head down, smiling so he could meet her eyes. Damn! She was gorgeous! Even with wet, limp hair he could appreciate her exotic beauty.
"Well, Finn, I'm here to spend the holidays with my...my fiancé and his family." She noticed his smile weaken just a little. And why was it so hard for her to admit she had a fiance? Was it because Finn was so sweet and kind? Was she being enraptured by the cadence of his voice? She took in a deep breath, breathing in his smell of Dolce and Gabbana cologne? Rachel automatically started playing with the ring on her finger.
Looking down at her ring, Finn cleared his throat. "Well, that's nice. So, where does..." he looked over at her, waiting.
"Oh, his name is Mason. Mason Paige. His family lives in Davidson and from what I can gather, it's quite a distance from the airport."
"Not really. About 25 miles. Usually it's not bad but, in this weather? It's best to get..." Finn was interrupted by the screeching of tires and a sudden metal sound coming from his left. He instinctively reached for Rachel, covering her with his body.
A/N: Hi, to all. I'm back with this short 3-shot Finchel fanfic. This is AU as are all of my stories. This is for all of my followers and favs, esp my sisters cab4five and khazrn43.
So, that's the intro (Chapter 1). I hope you like it so far. Please review and let me know what you think. This will be short, about 3 chapters. Will update soon.