All That Glitters

Disclaimer: (see Chapter 1)

Chapter 7

Sometimes you simply desire to reconnect with a soul who feels like home.Sometimes it's just the simple way he says "I love you"means more than all the money,all the fame, all the gold that you can ever possess.

The sound of the front doorbell ringing resounded throughout the Hummel's home. "Oh, that must be your friend," said Carole, looking at Rachel. "I'll get it." She then headed for the door. Finn's eyes drifted down to Rachel's left hand, noting that she was again wearing her engagement ring. He then looks her in the eyes, sadly acknowledging that he saw the ring back on her finger. He is brought out of his thoughts by the sound of Kurt clearing his throat.

"Um Jeremy," Kurt finally said. "Why don't you go upstairs and bring Rachel's bags down." Jeremy nodded in agreement, heading toward the stairs.

Rachel broke her gaze away from Finn, turning to speak to Jeremy, who was headed up the stairs. "There are two bags by the door, Jeremy, and thank you." Jeremy turned and smiled at her and continued up the stairs.

"Well, we are just finishing breakfast so come on in..." they overheard Carole say as she led a young, brown-headed man into the room. Finn turned, finally coming face to face with the one guy who impeded his complete happiness. The guy who met her first. The guy who was here to take her from him.

He assessed his new found nemesis quickly, trying not to appear too obvious. He was shorter than he imagined, a little shorter than Kurt. Maybe 5'8, 5'9 at the most. This made Finn smirk; he towered over the guy. He had short, perfectly coiffed light brown hair. Tanned skin (what man, besides Kurt, spent time in a tanning booth?). His cold gray eyes flickered automatically over to stare at Finn How do men so quickly recognize their strongest competition in a room?

He watched Mason walk over and gather Rachel in his arms, kissing her lightly on the cheek, causing her cheeks to reddened. She looked over at Finn, nervously as she pulled back slightly. "Mason," said Rachel, "I'd like for you to meet the people who have been so wonderful to me for the..." She was cut off by Mason putting his hand out for Burt to shake.

"I'm Mason Paige. Thank you so much for watching out for my Rachel," he said as he threw his arm across Rachel's shoulder, pulling her into him. Finn flinched, hurt showing on his face as Rachel almost cringes from the close contact. Trying to relax, she introduces the rest of the family, hopefully covering any extra infliction in her voice when she says Finn's name.

"Well, sweetheart," said Mason, grasping her hand in his, "we need to run. Mom and Dad are waiting. We have presents to open and Christmas dinner." He smiled down at her. "I have I missed you so much." He starts pulling her towards the door.

Rachel frowns. "Wait, Mason. I wanna at least say goodbye. Take my bags out to the car and I'll be out shortly. Please?" She looks over at Finn, noting the sadness in his eyes, mirroring her own. She was trying so hard to cover the pain she felt at having to leave Finn and this wonderful family and Mason was trying to rush her off.

"Oh, okay," Mason said, lifting her luggage as Burt guided him out. She walked over and hugged Carole as Carole patted her back. "Thank you so much, Carole," Rachel said tearily into the woman's shoulder.

"Oh honey, you're quite welcome. And anytime you are back this way, please come see us. Okay?" Rachel nodded silently, trying to keep the tears at bay.

She then hugged Jeremy and Kurt together. "And you two, please come and see me in LA. I want to give you the VIP tour and we can eat lunch at Cafe' Med." Kurt's eyes got big.

"Oh my Bette Midler! Really?!" screamed Kurt. "On Sunset Boulevard?" Rachel nodded, smiling at Kurt's excitement. "Oh Rachel, I can't wait." He hugged Rachel, wiping away tears.

Jeremy added that he was waiting for her next movie to come out. "And I will be bragging that I spent Christmas with that lovely lady up on that big giant screen." They both laughed as Rachel moved to stand in front of Finn.

"Rachel," Finn said, quietly. He was afraid to say much more. Afraid of breaking down and that would not look good in front of everyone. He would have his time for that later, after she was gone.

Rachel stood there, trembling with emotion. "Finn, I...I..." that's all she could get out before she threw her arms around him and cried. Neither noticed that the others had left the room quietly.

Finn stroked her hair, whispering to her, "Please don't cry, Rach. Baby it'll be alright."

"I love you, Finn," Rachel said through the tears. "Thank you for understanding... You know...why I have to do this." Rachel pulled in a shaky breath.

"I know and I love you, too," Finn said, the tears fighting to break through.

"I'm going to miss you the most, Finn. So much. We haven't been apart since I...since I first saw you."

"Yeah, but it'll be okay. Look at me, Rachel." He cupped her face in his large hands. "I love you and that's not going to change. You do what you need to do and I'll be waiting. And if I get you back, I'll know it's for good. Completely with no doubts. Remember that while we are apart."

Rachel nodded, trying to gather herself. "Thank you. Thank you so, so much. For everything." She then stood on her tiptoes and lightly kissed Finn on the lips. "Bye, Finn" Then with one final hug, she was gone.

x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x

Rachel sat quietly looking out the window of Mason's rented BMW. She watched the houses and trees swiftly pass by, taking her farther and farther away from where she felt her heart was. Shivering from the thought, she forced her memories of the last few days to the back of her mind so she could sort out her feelings for the man now sitting next to her. Isn't that why she was doing this? To see if what she felt for Finn was some strange infatuation versus some deep, heart wrenching but sudden love? She looked over at Mason and she waited for the longing, the cinching of her heart since she hadn't seen him in over a week. Pausing, with her eyes closed. Nothing. Nothing like the ripping she felt when she had to leave Finn.

"Rachel, are you cold? I saw you shivering and I can..."

"No, no. I'm warming up. I'm fine."

"Are you sure, sweetheart?" She nodded, slowly. There was a small, uncomfortable silence in the car when Mason spoke up again.

"You've been so quiet. I know we haven't seen each other in over a week but," he said, placing his free hand on her knee, "I plan on making it up to you."

"I'm okay, Mason," Rachel said, forcing a smile. "You were snowed in. I was in a minor accident trying to get to a hotel," she said colder than she expected. "Just thank goodness there are kind families like the Hummels out there that took me in."

"They did seem nice. And I tried to give Bart, is that his name? Well anyway, I tried to give him a little something for taking you in but he turned it down."

Rachel frowned. "Oh Mason!" you exclaimed, covering her face with her hands. "No you didn't."

"What?" he asked, innocently.

"You have been in LA too long. It's called Southern hospitality. That's don't offer them money. Oh, that is so embarrassing."

"Whoa! Didn't mean to 'insult' them. Or 'embarrass' you, god forbid. Goodness! I was just trying..."

"Just...just don't," she said, impatiently while shaking her head. Rachel then realized she may have been too harsh, too sensitive when it came to Finn and his family.

She turned back to him, quietly this time. "Listen, I know you were just trying to be nice and thanks. Okay?"

He nodded slowly. "Are you sure everything's okay with you?" Mason had the feeling that Rachel was holding something back from him. Maybe she was more upset with him than he thought because he didn't meet her at the airport.

"Yes. Let's just change the subject. So, what are the plans for the rest of the day?" she said, forcing a small smile.

x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x

After opening presents, Finn trudged upstairs, moving his things into his old room. As soon as he opened his door he was hit with the scent of her. It was everywhere. How in the hell am I suppose to get through this?

While he was placing his underwear in the drawer of his dresser his eyes drifted to the top of the dresser and landed on a large hairbrush with a pearl white handle. Rachel's. He slowly reached out and touched it, his heart beating heavily in his chest, moving up to his throat. Swallowing hard, he closed his eyes, a few tears leaking through as he could see the image of her, standing in front of the mirror brushing her long soft shiny hair. Tightening his eyes, he forced his heart to slow down as he waited for the image to stop haunting him.

I can't do this. Finn slowly opened his eyes, forcing the image to disappear. He then quickly removed his clothes and stepped into the shower. He turned his face upwards toward the stream, letting the hot water wash aware his pain, the hurt of being without her.

Damn! Damn! Damn! He missed her so much and so soon! He missed her laugh, her smile, her big brown eyes that glistened and shined with happiness. He hoped he made her happy. He hoped he would get the chance to make her smile again.

Finn laid his forehead against the wet tiles. As the water now beat down onto his back, he still couldn't rid of the need for her. It was now causing his stomach to tighten into a huge started pounding his fist into the tile. It hurts. It hurts so damn much! And then he just gave in. Gave in to the hurt. Gave in to the pain of not having her there. It couldn't hold it in any longer. He just let the tears flow, mixing with the water as the sounds of it drowned out the sobs coming from deep within him.

x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x

Mason pulled up to his parents' house, hitting the remote for the 3-care garage. "Wow, Mason. This is huge. It is so nice."

"Thanks. My parents really like it here."

"Is this where you grew up?" asked Rachel as they she walked through the side door.

"Basically yes. Dad built this when I was about 9-10 years old. Come on. The folks can't wait to see you."

'Yeah, I bet,'thought Rachel. She knew that she wasn't his parents first choice for a wife for their only son. After greeting his parents he gave Rachel a tour of the house, ending up in the guest bedroom she would be staying in.

x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x

Rachel smoothed out her dress as she looked at her reflection in the mirror. She had chosen a deep green dress, very conservative to avoid snide remarks from her (possibly) future mother-in-law. Rachel had never felt so out of place in some time. This is suppose to be her future family.

When they first arrived earlier this morning, she was reintroduced to Mason's parents. They welcomed her, gave her a languid hug and immediately started opening presents. She just sat there, sipping on a glass of overly spiced eggnog as they quietly opened their presents. Old, classic Christmas music played in the background. There were the token "oooh's" and "ahhh's which only made the situation totally forced and not very festive.

Their Christmas tree was immaculate, obviously professionally decorated. Rachel smiled to herself as she thought of Finn's family tree that Kurt kept saying looked like it was decorated by a kindergarten class. Finn had shown her his favorite ornaments which his mother had collected since he and Kurt were kids. Rachel fought back the tears as her heart clinched. She missed them so much. The laughter, the warmth, the love. Finn.

Now as she took one last glimpse at herself in the mirror, she was preparing to head to the country club for Christmas dinner which included meeting Mason's friends, family and his parents' business acquaintances.

She sat on the bed and pulled on her black pumps just as there was a knock on the door. She looked up just as Mason entered, closing the door behind him. "Rachel, are you ready?" He walked towards her, giving her a smile. "Wow, you look beautiful. I'm a lucky man." He kissed her slowly on the lips with Rachel quickly breaking the kiss.

"I can't wait until later tonight, Rachel. It's been a long time and I need you," he said, smiling over at her and then winking. Rachel's heart sank. That was something she was dreading. How could she sleep with Mason? He was her fiance' and she was trying to see if there was anything left of her romantic feelings for him but to have sex with him? It felt like she was cheating on Finn. Well, she needed to get through this dinner first and she would worry about Mason's "needs" later.

"Ah," exclaimed Mason, pulling her out of her thoughts. "I see you have on the watch I gave you."

Rachel put on a smile, covering the fact that her heart was breaking, longing for another man. "Of course. It gorgeous. Thanks again for the Christmas present." She then turned to gather her clutch, "Ready?"

"Are you sure you're alright? You seem still kind of...sad?"

"Oh, I'm just tired. It's been a long day. Plus, I'm hungry. Let's go." She avoided his eyes as she hooked her arm into his as they left to meet his parents downstairs.

Few hours later...

Rachel crawled into the backseat of Mason's father's car, lying her head on Mason's shoulder. He wrapped an arm around her and kissed her forehead. She closed her eyes, exhaustion taking over. She found herself drifting off to sleep, too tired to even join in the light conversation circling around her.

"Rachel? Rachel. Sweetheart, we're home." Rachel opened her eyes, surprised that they had arrived home so quickly. She stretched and then grabbed Mason's hand as he assisted her to climb out of the car. After saying goodnight to the Paiges, she headed toward the guest bedroom with Mason following closely behind.

She walked over and sat on the bed, beginning to remove her shoes as Mason closed the door behind them. He then walked across the room and sat down beside her, wrapping his arms around her. He began kissing her passionately and they both lay back on the bed. Rachel tried to relax into the kiss as his hands drifted down to her breast. She tried not to recoil because she really hadn't given Mason a chance.

But after a minute of him groping and trying to remove her clothes, Rachel pulled back, ending things abruptly. She knew what Mason was hoping this would lead to. "Whoa, whoa Mason," she said, pushing back on his shoulders.

He tried to pull her back in. "Come on, sweetheart. I want you. I haven't been in that for about 2 weeks. A man has needs." He tried to kiss her neck but Rachel again pushed him back gently. She just could not do this.

Sitting back up on the bed, she slid back so that he couldn't continue his attempts to have sex with her. "Listen, Mason we have plenty of time for that. We're not going back home for another week."

"What's wrong Rachel? I thought you missed us being together as much as I have."

"I missed you, Mason but I just...I'm tired and I'm just not in the mood. Okay?"

Mason looked at her intently. Something was wrong. He was starting to believe something was different about Rachel. Something has changed but he just couldn't quite pinpoint it. Not now anyway but he would. He'd get her to tell him what was wrong.

He hoped no one had said anything to her at the club tonight. His mother and her friends could be abrasive at times. "Okay, Rachel," he said, standing. "I'll let you get some rest. But I'll be right next door if you need anything. My parents put us in separate rooms but I can be back in here in a heartbeat if you change your mind," he said, winking. He then hugged her once more and kissed her lightly on the lips. Rachel smiled at him as he closed the door behind him.

Rachel stared at the closed door long after he had left the room. She sat on the side of the bed as she thought about everything that had happened today. Leaving Finn had been one of the most painful things she has done in her life. She just couldn't erase the image of him watching her leave and walk out of that door. They both had tried to put up a brave front.

Sighing, she started blinking rapidly as she fought the tears that were threatening to fall. She slowly reached for Finn's t-shirt she had hidden in the back of the drawer. Stripping down she pulled the shirt over her head, letting it slide down her small frame. She inhaled the "Finn" scent deeply which only made her long for him more.

Sliding under the silk sheets of the queen sized bed, she opened her phone to her picture gallery. She quietly flipped through the pictures she had taken during her brief time with the Hummels, her new friends and her Finn. She stop at one particular picture; it was her favorite of him. It was a profile shot of Finn looking off to his right. He's smiling, which exposes a deep beautiful dimple in his left cheek. You can distinctly see the freckles on his nose and cheek with a few moles trailing down his jaw. His thick brown hair layered with waves failing messily on his head. She remembered running her fingers through that hair. It was so soft and so thick. His soft pink lips are pulled up into that half smile that Rachel fell in love with immediately.

That face along with Finn being such a sweet, kind and gentle giant of a man, no wonder so many women fell so hard for him. He just didn't realize this was such a deadly combination. And the lovemaking? Last night that they slept together, he had brought her to the heights of ecstasy 3 times. They had made love until they both collapsed from pure exhaustion. The man was just...damn good.

Rachel settled back on her pillow, slowly tracing her hand lightly across her stomach. She could still remember the feelings he brought out of her. Closing her eyes she could feel the aching for him deep in the pit of her stomach. As the tears began to fall, Rachel balled herself into a tiny knot to try to ease the pain. She started sobbing quietly into the loose top of the shirt, letting it absorb the sounds of her heart breaking. As her sobs quieted, she reached for her phone. Opening her text, she sent a short message. Turning, she sat her phone on the table beside the bed and then turned off the light.

"Are you still there?"-Rachel

Finally she felt her eyelids getting heavy, mostly from exhaustion. She closed her eyes. Then she was startled awake by the vibration and quiet 'ping' of her cell, notifying her of a text. She reached for her phone. Opening it, what she read only caused the tears to flow again...

"I'm not moving"-Finn

Rachel drifted off to sleep with her phone buried against her chest, a smile on her tear-stained face.

x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x

Over the next few days, Rachel stayed busy, mostly spending her days shopping, going to the spa or attending luncheons. Each night she avoided being intimate with Mason with the excuse of not feeling comfortable having sex under his parent's roof, especially with them being two doors down.

Now it had been 3 days since Rachel had seen or talked with Finn. She had used up all of her resolve and excuses of avoiding her true feelings. To make matters worse, Mason's mother had been pushing her to start making wedding plans. Her and Mason hadn't even discussed a date let alone colors, venues and all of the other things his Mom wanted answers to. They had began looking at Rachel differently. She wondered if they somehow knew. Knew that her heart belonged to someone other than their son. And that Rachel knew that she couldn't marry Mason.

In fact, if she was being completely honest with herself, Rachel knew within an hour after saying goodbye to Finn that she didn't love Mason. Not the kind of love that he needed from a woman. A love that she only had for Finn Hudson. She just had to find a way to tell Mason so that he didn't hate her. She didn't want him to hate her but she couldn't go another day denying what was in her heart. She loved Finn and only Finn. From the moment she saw him they were bound together. was going to go back to Finn. And if he still loved and wanted her, she would be with him and only him for the rest of her life.

She had to tell Mason tonight, now. She couldn't lie to him or his family any longer. His parents were gone out for the evening so that left the two of them alone in the house.

Mason was downstairs in the library talking with the studio about his upcoming next project. She took this time to shower, dress and repack her things. She then took them downstairs and sat them by the front entrance. She then walked into the family and sat, waiting to have her long needed talk with her soon to be ex. This wouldn't be easy but it had to be done.

She took a deep breath as soon heard him coming into the room. Sitting down beside her he smiled. "Hi, sweetheart. Well, I'm done with that little bit of business and free for the evening. Mom and Dad are gone and that gives us some alone time. I think they did it on purpose. What do you think?" He bent over to kiss her but noticed her pulling back.

He then he noticed the way Rachel was looking. "Rachel? Something wrong? What is it, Honey?" Rachel remained quietly, finding it difficult to say the words.

"Look, I know something is wrong. You have been acting kinda different since the other morning when I picked you up from those people's house." She then looked up at him and he saw it. Guilt. "Rachel, did something happen there?"

She nodded. "I'm leaving, Mason."

"Going where? You don't have auditions for another month or so. Why?" he asked, already knowing the answer. "Is it that Finn fella? The tall one at that house?" She nodded again.

"How did you know?" Rachel asked, somewhat surprised.

"Oh please Rachel! I knew it as soon as I walked into that room. Anybody could feel the vibes coming off you two. And the way he was looking at you. And you looking at him? That's why I tried to get you out of there, away from him so I would have some semblance of a change to get you back."

"Mason. It's...it's nothing we planned, nothing we even pursued. It just happened. Some things are just meant to be no matter how hard you fight it. We shared that cab at the airport and we talked and it was like I had known him all my life. It was so easy, so comfortable being with him. Like reuniting with an old friend. And it was nothing he did. It just...is. And I can't change the way I feel. And I'm sorry we didn't work out but I think both of us just don't have the kind of love that should end in a marriage."

"But I do love you, Rachel."

"And I love you, Mason. But as a very dear friend. We have been wonderful to me. A girl couldn't ask for a better man. But it's just not going to be me. And I didn't realize any of this until I met Finn."

She turned towards him. "I didn't mean to hurt anyone, Mason and I'm sorry it took me so long to admit all of this to you. But I had to be sure. Certain that I was making the right decision."

"And are you sure now?" he asked.

"Yes. I'm very sure. I belong with him. I love him with all of my heart and that's never going to change. I'm sorry that I'm here under false pretense and I hope you and your parents don't hate me. But if you have to, make me the bad guy. I deserve it. Just, I hope you can forgive me one day."

"No, no. Right now I don't hate you I'm just disappointed and hurt, Rachel. But, if you aren't happy with me then I want you to go." He lay back on the couch and closed his eyes. " Just, I don't know if we can just go back to being only friends, Rachel. I just need time, I just need time. This hurts."

"I know that. And I'm going to go now. I didn't want to hurt you. But by staying here, I'm hurting myself and...him,"she said carefully. She then stood up and gathered up her coat and purse. "I left the ring and the watch upstairs. I'm sorry, Mason."

"Yeah, I know but I have to ask you again. Are you sure about this?"

"Yes, I'm sure. I want to be with him, so much." Rachel avoided telling him about how much she physically ached for Finn. How she felt like a part of her was missing and knew she wouldn't be whole again until she was back in his arms.

"Well," said Mason after a brief pause. "There's nothing else to say or do for now. I'll call you taxi."

"No that's not needed. I used my Uber app. They should be here soon."

"Well,goodbye Rachel. I hope that bastard knows how lucky he is." He then turned and walked down the hallway as Rachel picked up her bags and headed out the door.

x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x

The last few days had really been hard on Finn. He missed Rachel so much. That text from her on Christmas night had brought him to his knees. He had responded with the promise he had made to her.

The next few days he had volunteered to help Burt at work. The physical labor occupied his mind and filled some of the emptiness he felt since being away from his Rachel.

Kurt had tried to get him to go with them to Dave and Buster's for a night of food and games. He just said no and went upstairs to his room. Burt just patted him on the back, understanding that he just did need to talk about it. His Mom would walk through the house giving him sympathetic looks which Finn tried to avoided.

Now he found himself lying in bed flipping through channels on the TV. He wondered why it was taking Rachel so long to figure things out. Three fucking days? He thought one day, two at the most. Maybe she had made a decision and was just too afraid to tell him. Ah! He was getting frustrated.

It was so hard for Finn to handle these new feelings he had. Loneliness, jealousy, lust, and love, so much love. It was all foreign to him. He had never been in love before. He had never wanted, no needed someone so badly that it hurt. He had never cried over a woman. Sure, he had liked some of the women he had dated, a lot. They were a lot of fun, he enjoyed their company, enjoyed the sex. But Rachel was the first woman he had truly and completely loved. The waiting was starting to wear him down, it was making him crazy. He would just have to learn to be patient a little longer, until she made her decision.

There was a knock at his door and then Kurt walked in. "Finn, the gang is going out tonight to Howl At The Moon. Why don't you come with us? You can be our DD. You know, drive Carole's SUV and Puck and Santana can ride with us."

"Is that that club on Trade?" asked Finn. Kurt nodded. "Any of the others coming?" Finn did not want to be bothered with Shannon.

"Well, Mike and Tina, oh and Matt's still here so he'll probably come with a date." Kurt narrowed his eyes. "I see that look, Finn. You need to get out and have some fun. Sitting here is not gonna change anything. Look, Rachel loves you. She just needs a little time. But you've got to stop this moping around." Kurt then soften his words. " Hey, we'll all be leaving to go back to our own lives soon and we need this time together. We don't know when we'll see each other again. What do you day, big brother?"

Finn shocked Kurt with his next statement. "Okay. I'm in." Kurt's eyes widened and then he smiled. "So, keep your little ass out of here so I can shower and change and we'll head out."

x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x

Rachel arrived at the white, 2-story house. She paid the driver after he helped her haul her bags to the door. Reluctantly, she let him leave, hoping someone was home and didn't just send her away. Ringing the doorbell she stood there looking up, biting her bottom lip as she nervously waited.

Carole had come home from work a few hours earlier. She and Burt finished dinner just as the kids left for a night out at Howl At The Moon, some club Kurt had been raving about. She was so glad they finally got Finn out of the house to have some fun for a change. Ever since Rachel had left, he had been so sad. Carole wasn't stupid. She knew what was going on between them. She saw it first at the hospital that day. She just hope Finn didn't end of hurt. Shaking her head sadly, she took her fresh cup of tea into the family room and pushed play on the DVR. She was excited that she had a chance to catch up on a few episodes of Empire. Burt had gone upstairs earlier to watch a ballgame. She laughed to herself. She would bet $100 he was asleep by now.

She heard the doorbell ring. Headed for the door, she knew it was too early for any of the kids to be back. Opening the door, she was surprised but overjoyed to see Rachel standing timidly on her doorstep. "Rachel? Honey, what are you doing here? Anything wrong?"

"Carole, hi. Can I come in?"

"Sure, sure. I'm sorry. You must be freezing. Come on in," Carole said as she led Rachel into the foyer.

Rachel stopped, turning back toward the door. "My bags...my bags are out there." Rachel tried to explain. She had said she wasn't going to cry but the tears started anyway. Carole looked at her, quickly figuring things out.

"Oh, Rachel," said Carole as she led the tiny woman further into the house. "Of course. Let me help you with the bags." Carole placed Rachel's bags at the bottom of the steps. She then led her into the family room where they sat on the couch.

"Rachel, why do you have your bags? Didn't something happen between you and that guy, what's his name...well, your fiancee'?"

"I wanna come back here," said Rachel, quietly, starting to cry. Carole gathered the tiny woman in her arms.

"Sure, sure Rachel but, if you don't mind, what happened?"

Rachel sniffled and began telling Carole everything that happened between her and Finn (leaving out the fact that they slept together), all the way up until she ended up on the Hummel's doorstep. By the end, what Carole had suspected about her son's relationship with Rachel was confirmed.

"I just love him, Carole. Nothing can change that. Ever," said Rachel, wiping the tears from her cheeks.

"But Rachel. As Finn's mother, I don't want to see my son hurt. Well, no more than he's already hurting. How do you know for sure that your feelings for Mason are gone and now you only love Finn? That was awfully fast. You left once. How does he know you won't leave again?"

" Well, the only way I can explain it is this way." She looked Carole directly in the eyes. "I knew that just I didn't want to settle for someone I could live with. I wanted and needed to be with someone I can't live without. I can't live without Finn."

This brought tears to Carole's eyes. Here was someone that loved her son as much as or more than she did. What else could a mother desire in her life? She reached out and gathered the crying woman and pulled her to in. "That's all I needed to hear. You are so welcome to stay here for as long as you want."

Rachel then pulled back. "You said they all had gone out. Was...did Finn have a date?"

"Honey no. Finn hasn't so much as talked or looked at another woman since you left. No, he left with Kurt and Jeremy and they were picking up the Puckermans."

"Can you tell me how to get there?" asked Rachel, timidly. "I need to see him, please."

"I'll do you one better. I'll drop you off." She rose from the couch. "Let me get my coat and keys. My son is going to pass out!" Carole said, excitedly.

x~x~x~x~x~x~x

Finn sat nursing his 2nd beer. As the DD tonight, that was his limit. He could handle much more but why take the chance of getting stopped? Everyone at their table was taking a breather as a slower song played in the background. He had danced with Santana and with his friend Rob's fiancee' Tonya. A couple of random women had sauntered by and asked him to dance but he had politely declined. He looked up at Kurt who was frowning up and mouthing "loosen up" while Finn just stared at him.

Finn looked up as a hand clasped around his shoulder. Smiling down at him was Mike who was holding his girlfriend, Tina's, hand. "Hi Mike, Tina. You finally made it," said Finn as they pulled up a chair and sat down. He noticed Tina pull up an extra chair and put it on the other side of Finn.

"Hey,everyone," said Mike. "You have met Tina. Hope you don't mind but she brought her roommate along."

"Yeah," said Tina, "she went to the bathroom. She's here for the holidays and we thought we would bring her along. You know, to get her out some." Tina looked over at Finn. "And Finn since you're here without a date, maybe she can spend some time with you and at least you both will have someone to dance with and talk to."

It suddenly got very quiet as everyone looked between Finn, Mike and Tina. "Look Finn," said Mike, breaking the tension, "I tried to tell Tina this was not a good idea."

"Yeah Tina, what the fuck were you thinking?" asked Puck.

"That's a little much, Puck," said Mike, frowning at Puck.

"Listen Tina," said Kurt calmly. "Finn's having a hard time right now and we just wanted him to come out and have a little fun. This is not a good time to try to set him up with someone Tina."

Finn then spoke up, "Tina, Mike. What Kurt means is that I'm kinda...well I'm sort of in a relationship and I'm not interested in meeting other women now. I'm in love with Rachel. You've met her Mike."

"Mike told me about you and this Rachel. And he also said that Rachel left. It's all good, though. I'm not trying to set you up. I just thought you would be someone that could keep her company tonight. That's all. She's spending the holidays with me and I just couldn't leave her at home. "

"Sounds like that's not Finn's problem," mumbled Puck.

"Look, she's here now," said Tina, trying to defend her decision. "I figured it was someone Finn could dance with. Besides," she mumbled, "this girl he's hung up on s'not even here."

"Bitch much, Tina?" asked Santana as she stood up. "Come on Puck. Let's dance. I'm don't want to witness this fucking disaster." She then pulled her husband toward the dance floor, with Kurt and Jeremy following behind them.

Finn turned to see a tall, slender blonde headed towards their table. She was striking. Her blonde hair was cut into a bob and as she got closer, he noticed that she had deep blue eyes. Tho she was stunning, Finn only smiled up at her briefly and returned to nursing his now warm beer. After Tina introduced her to Finn, her and Mike left to go to the dance floor as Drake's "Jumpman" started thumping.

Amanda was in awe of how attractive Finn was. Tina had told her a little about him. She knew that he was tall, 28, and was a professor computer science at a college in Texas. But Tina left out the part about how gorgeous he was. She really wanted to get to know this man better.

Looking over at him, he smiled back at her weakly. She knew, according to Tina, that he was single and was here without a date. He looked like he was exactly what she needed to occupy her time while she was in town.

Amanda picked up her drink and moved to the seat directly beside Finn. "So Finn, Tina tells me you are a professor."

"Yeah, I am. At... Uhm...at the University of Texas. In Austin."

"What do you teach?" Asked Amanda, not really wanting to know but it was a way to get Finn's attention. So that's how the ice was broken and Finn didn't see the harm in talking with this friend of Tina's. She was pretty, funny and pleasant. Although she was very attractive, Finn totally had no interest in her romantically. Their conversation continued with Finn laughing lightly at Amanda's tales of her and Tina's attempts at being adults.

"House Party" started blasting overhead. Finn looked out onto the dance floor laughing as he watched his friends dancing and singing loudly. He froze when he felt a hand on his thigh, which was slowly creeping upwards. He turned and looked at her. "Uh, Amanda, I don't know what you think is happening here but I'm sort of with someone right now and I think you are nice but this is not going any further."

"What do you think is happening here, Finn?" she said, leaning in towards him.

"Well," he said, clearing his throat, "you can remove your hand from my leg." He then looked down at it as Amanda moved her hand and placed it on top of his on the table. Finn took a deep breath and started to relax.

Then suddenly, Amanda got another idea. "Come on Finn let's dance," she said, grabbing his hand, trying to pull the large man up to his feet. "You can't sit here all night."

"I don't know, Amanda. I'm not very good," Finn said, hesitantly standing.

"Look out there, Finn," she said, pointing towards the packed dance floor. "It's so crowded out there, no one will even care what you're doing out here." He slowly followed her towards the center of the dance floor as they danced through several fast song.

They laughed as he rock from side to side with each song and they sang along if a song came on that they were familiar with.

Finn was just starting to really relax when Love Is Still Enough by Sovory came on. Finn froze as the lyrics of the song caused his heart to thud against his chest. He closed his eyes as thoughts of Rachel starting making him dizzy. His thoughts were interrupted by the feel of hands wrapping around his waist as Amanda tried to embrace him. "I'm sorry but I just..." Finn said as he pulled her arms from his waist. "Look Amanda, I can't do this," he said. "I need something to drink."

Amanda looked up at him, attempting to lean into him again. "But Finn..."

"Just...just no," he said, stepping back. "I've got to go." Finn then stumbled his way towards the bar to get something to wash down that lump he felt in his throat. He knew he never should have came here. He just wasn't ready. He loved Rachel and he needed her. Needed her here, now, with him. He missed her so much.

He walked up to the bar and finally got the bartender's attention. "Yeah, can I have a Bass Ale, please?" The bartender nodded and left to get his drink. As Finn stood there, taping on the bar, he felt it. He felt her. She was here, close by. He turned slowly and was met by a set of big, brown eyes. She was smiling and Finn's heart stopped.

"Hi, handsome. Wanna buy me one, too?" He smiled a big smile at her and he knew immediately when he saw her that she was back, for good. She was his. Completely.

"Rachel," he breathed out. She ran up to him and he gathered her in his arms. He pulled her in as close as he could, breathing in the scent of her. His Rachel. "Oh, baby. You're really here. You're really really here," he said, pulling her in closer where he held her for a moment.

Rachel finally pulled back, looking at him with tear-filled eyes. "Oh yes, Finn. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. Baby, I missed you so, so much." She then kissed him softly and slowly, relating her deep love for him through that kiss.

"Wait," said Finn finally pulling back, breathless from the kiss. He turned and ordered her a beer, keeping an arm around her as if she would disappear. "What about...?"

"I broke things off with him," cutting him off. "I love you and only you, Finn." She reached up and stroked his face. Finn smile down at her, his smile becoming brighter as the realization of what she was saying sank in. He reached down and pulled her hand to his lips, kissing her palm.

After he paid and gathered up their beers, he led her back to their table. Amanda was sitting in the seat next to Finn's. "Finn, what happened to you and who is she?" Amanda asked, glaring at Rachel. Finn took in a deep breath as Rachel frowned down at the strange blonde sitting at the table. Finn sat down and then pulled Rachel into his lap.

Finn knew Rachel was seething, her eyes getting bigger as she stared at Amanda sitting there and questioning who she was. He started rubbing her back, trying to calm her down. "Who are you?" Asked Rachel, continuing her glare at the woman.

"I'm Amanda. Amanda Henderson. Tina's friend. Finn and I were dancing and all of a sudden he disappear and shows up here with...with you, whoever you are." Finn dropped his head. He knew what was coming.

"I happen to be Finn's girlfriend, Rachel Berry."

"Girlfriend? I thought you were single?" Amanda questioned, looked over at Finn.

Rachel turned her glare toward Finn. "Single?! Did you tell her that?" Rachel asked, getting angry at Finn.

"What? No...No" He answered, innocently. "She must have just assumed I was. I was just sitting here when Tina and Mike brought her here."

"Were you dancing with her?" asked Rachel.

"Look," said Finn, trying to explain. "We just talked a little, Rach. She's Tina's cousin..."

"You keep saying 'Tina'," said Rachel. "Who the hell is Tina?"

"Mike's girlfriend. She came with them but she... we didn't...well, we did dance." Rachel lifted her eyebrows. "Whoa, whoa, Rach. "It was a fast song. No touching or stuff like that."

Then it was Amanda's turn to be upset. "You're Rachel? I thought you left?"

"Obviously not," said Rachel, snidely. "Besides, I here now. Here to stay," she said, crossing her arms against her chest.

"Look Rachel, you know me. You know I could never be interested in another girl." He than kissed her cheek, trying to get her to calm down. They heard Amanda huff beside them. She was now glaring at both Finn and Rachel.

"Finn, I thought you ...Rachel?" said Kurt wiping the sweat from his brow as he headed toward their table.

"Kurt!" Rachel yelled, bouncing up from Finn's lap and jumping into his arms."Kurt! I'm back! I'm back!" she shouted, throwing her arms around him. "I missed all of you so much!"

"For good, Rachel? Are you back for good?" She smiled, nodding. "Oh my goodness. Thank god! I thought we were going to have to put my brother in a padded room," Kurt laughed.

She turned and looked at a smiling Finn. "Well, there's no need for that. I am here and I'm staying. Well for as long as Finn wants me," she said, smiling back at Finn."

"Forever," mouthed Finn.

"Oh, good god. This is what I have to look forward to?" They watched as Amanda stood up, threw a sharp glare at Finn and huffed off in search of Mike and Tina. "Well, that's that. We tried to tell her she didn't have a chance with Finn. Oh well," Kurt said, giggling.

They drank their beers as Rachel caught Kurt up on what happened over the last few days. Finn didn't care about most of it, he was just glad to have her back. They could talk about their plans for the future later. He just wanted to enjoy tonight.

Shut Up And Dance With Me started playing. Kurt grabbed Rachel's hand and shouted, "Come on you two. Let's party!" Rachel reached back, grabbing Finn's hand and they ran to the dance floor. Rachel was bouncing around with the group singing loudly to the lyrics. Finn was doing his standard robot/cabbage patch/snake dance moves. Kurt laughed saying Finn had been watching old Soul Train video clips again. Finn didn't care. He didn't care about anything now that he had Rachel back. She was his heart, his soul, his everything. Nothing else mattered other than this beautiful little woman smiling back at him.

He gathered her in his arms as a slow song started. "I love you," he whispered in her ear as they swayed closely together:

"How do I get through one night without you
If I had to live without you
What kinda life would that be
Oh I need you in my arms, need you to hold
You are my world, my heart, my soul

If you ever leave
Baby you would take away
Everything good in my life
And tell me now

How do I live without you?
I want to know
How do I breathe without you?
If you ever go
How do I ever, ever survive
How do I, how do I, oh how do I live

Without you"

Finn pulled Rachel in even closer as she looked up at him. He bent down as kissed her deeply, his tongue getting her lips to part and he plunge his in, rediscovering her mouth. Rachel moaned, sinking into the kiss. Wow! She had missed this so much. They unknowingly stopped swaying and just stood their, kissing each other deeply.

"Get a room," yelled someone nearby. Finn then pulled back, looking at Rachel.

"Let's go," he said, pulling her off the dance floor.

"Hey, Hudson," asked Santana, standing nearby, "where you and LA going?"

"We're gettin' a room." He taped Kurt on the shoulder. "Tell Mom we are staying downtown tonight."

"But..." said Kurt.

"Tell her I'll call her tomorrow," Finn said over his shoulder as he hurried Rachel towards the exit.

The End

Song credits:

Jumpman song by Drake

House Party song by Sam Hunt

Love Is Still Enough song by Sovory

Shut Up And Dance song by Walk The Moon

How Do I Live song by LeAnn Rimes