It's just like Jessie's girl!

Drama/ Romance

M- rating for language and sexy bits.

A Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry fan fiction

Summary: Two men one woman. What do you do when the one person in the world you want and are willing to change for, is the one person you know you can never have? The reason being, she wants your best friend!


A/N: Hi and welcome to my new story, It will only be two or three parts but as each part is about 20,000 words I thinks that makes up for the lack of chapters.

This is totally a Finn and Rachel story, because in my mind, stories and heart Finchel is always going to be end game!

Glee characters belong to Ryan Murphy and Co and Fox television.

I own only the plot and OC characters and any pesky mistakes that slip through.

** Keep On Drumming**

Please read, review and most importantly enjoy.


Part one:

"Jessie is a friend,
Yeah, I know he's been a good friend of mine
But lately something's changed, It ain't hard to define
Jessie's got himself a girl and I want to make her mine!"

Orientation Day New York University mid August:

Noah Puckerman or simply Puck, as he has preferred to be known as since the 3rd grade, had just spotted his best friend since they met in Mrs Sherlin's kindergarten class15 years ago across the vast expanse of the New York University's main concourse, and with no regard for other peoples' ear drums, lets out a piercing whistle to gain Finn Hudson's attention.

A wide smile on his handsome face as he watches his tall friend acknowledge his greeting with a wave and his trademark goofy side smile, hastily making his way through the throng of kids and apologising multiple times as he bumps into them. Puck shakes his head and runs a hand over the top of his distinctive Mo-hawk as he watches Finn be 'nice' to everyone and wonders how two guys, poles apart as he and Finn are, and always have been could have stayed friends all this time.(well they are more like brothers really)

Once Finn is within hearing distance Puck's excited and awe filled voice rises in volume with every word.

"Huddy, can you freaking believe it? Fuck this place is huge..., but pinch me man, coz I think I'm still dreaming who would have thought two kids from little old Lima Ohio, would end up in New York at one of the country's best colleges and on fucking football scholarships no less, if only the hockey jerks and the rest of the dicks at McKinley could see us dude...," Puck shakes his head in disbelief "Beiste really came through for us man, the DUDE is golden!"

The two then engage in their complicated fist bump and embrace in their version of a manly bro hug. Not paying any attention to the strange, (some interested) looks from the many guys or the flirty eye batting, lip licking and hair fluffing from the large number of ladies as they meander past. If Puck had been paying attention he'd have filled his 'love roster' of interested ladies for future 'fun times with the Puckerone' up in no time.

Nodding along with Puck's words, Finn was lost in his own head, he had always dreamed of getting out of Lima and going to college, but that's all it ever was really, just a dream... not thinking in a hundred years that it would be football that got them out…, coz dude, let's face it the McKinley Titans sucked ass bad! It wasn't until their junior year that they got a decent coach who really knew what he was talking about, and the team started to get it right, with Finn as Quarterback and Puck as wide receiver they were a game and championship winning combo and totally unstoppable.

Which also gave Finn the kick in the ass and made him realize that he was smart enough to go to college and do well enough to fulfil his dream of being something better than small town Lima Ohio. (Don't misunderstand Lima is a great place to grow up and he always thought it would be fantastic place to take his kids one day for Christmas and family vacations but as for a future there really is nothing besides pumping gas or working in a supermarket even changing tires at his Dad's shop which is fine for some it is good honest work) but Finn didn't want that, he wants to travel overseas and experience life away from Lima and make his Mom even prouder and make sure she knows all her sacrifices during his formative years had been worth it.

Finn was easily following the same mindset as Puck, and still getting his head around the fact that they would be included in the small number of kids to gain scholarships and go to college outof state. Therefore Finn was determined to make the most of his opportunity and make something of himself and hopefully keep Puck on the right track as well, because even though they weren't brothers by blood they were brothers, and as close as two straight guys could be, and at 19 had already been through enough crap to last a lifetime.

"Shit dude I still can't believe Finn Hudson and Noah Puckerman made it out of Lima and to New York, it is gonna be the best 4 years of my life. The babes will be beggin' me to take them to bed…"

Puck is lost in his own sordid dream of never ending parades of girls of every size, shape and color knocking on their dorm door, and thinks seriously, about putting a 'Puckerone love-roster' on the door with a pen attached just like they had at McKinley on the notice boards, so the babes can write their names on. He realises after a minute or two Finn wasn't listening to him, and grumbles about him being a damn giant and loosing his head in the fucking clouds, then thumps his tall friend in the arm regaining his attention.

"Yo Finster where'd ya go man? I was tellin' ya that this place is a supermarket for babe shopping an' am lookin' to get my frequent shopper card stamped ASAP, maybe I can get a double bonus after every 5, Hey, wonder if there any twins coz that would be doubly cool and worth an extra stamp YES!"

Finn is brought back to the present by the hard punch to his arm, cursing loudly while directing a withering glare at his friend, and rubbing the sore spot, he says with intent. "Yeah well just don't blow your chance at being something better than a Lima Ohio man, and fall back into that Lima loser mindset by not tryin', coz I ain't gunna bust my ass doing your school stuff as well as my own just to help you keep your scholarship. The chicks will always be there but just get it through your damn mohawk, I'm not looking to hook up with every single woman in the place every night. I wanna make my Mom proud and be something special and if I'm lucky enough to find a girl that makes that happen… well that will be sweet, just don't expect me to party 24/7. But remember when I find her, that bro code rule about not tryin' to make a move on her will stand or I will bring the pain, coz as soon as I find her you will know about it even if we aren't a proper couple yet. Anyway come on dude we gotta meet Mom and Kurt by the student info center so we can check out our dorm. Don't forget we are checking out Kurt's college today as well." Finn slaps Puck on the back as he walks away.

Puck nods as he turns to follow Finn making his way to where Mama H squared was waiting, his inner voice telling him not to screw up this chance and for the thousandth time try and be a bit more like his bro. He was in retrospect a bit sad when it hit him that his own mom wasn't there, but after a few seconds let it go, knowing she just couldn't be bothered and hadn't been for years. Her job as a cocktail waitress and the smooching with rich old men was apparently more important than being a mom. Their father hadn't been around either for about 15 years so Puck and his twin sister Miriam pretty much spent their younger years with the Hudson-Hummel family, and as he grew up he lost interest in what the woman did. Miri did the same thing moving in with her girl-friend Billie's family when they were in their junior year of high school. Then moving to England with her and her family when they returned home at the end of last year, and where she is now getting ready to go to art college, working at a book shop to help pay her way.

Just as the Lima party reached the lobby and were given directions to the boys dorm, Kurt excitedly declined the visit, because he had run into his best friend from McKinley Mercedes Jones, and after a few minutes chatting with Carole, they stayed in the lounge area catching up a bit more while Finn, Puck and their mom, checked out the room. The boys were over the moon when they saw what was to be their home for the next four years, they had been extra lucky in being allocated a shared dorm, thankful they had got in early enough with their request. Their room mates, according to their info were, Artie Abrams from Kentucky, and Blaine Anderson from Pennsylvania.

When they arrived at their dorm already waiting were, a slightly built kid with glasses and a thing for braces and cardigans who was in a wheelchair, with who Finn was pretty sure were his Mom and Dad, chatting with a fourth guy, who looked like a clone of the older man even down to the bow tie but without the glasses.

After a round of introductions all four boys seemed to hit it off. The first impression Finn had of Blaine was that even though he wasn't into women, (it wasn't hard to tell he was gay) but at the same time he looked the sort of guy who would be happy to strap on the pads for a football game or sit for hours playing video games and eating pizza or burgers. (Unlike Kurt who got really cross if his hair got messed up or he missed an episode of project runway on TV and the only video games he played were singing or dance ones Finn cringes at the memory of being forced to play Kurt's dancing game when they were younger. He is thankful there are no video's of those horrendous times, that captured for all eternity him stepping on little colored squares and trying to keep up with the music videos on the TV something he is not proud to admit he was not good at. But then Finn remembered that Kurt was never good at his rock band game, cept the singing part so he 'sposes they are kinda even). Finn figured that Blaine's private business was none of his concern, and as long as he was happy he didn't care that Blaine was gay his brother Kurt, and Puck's sister Miri was as well, so he knew he and Puck would have Blaine's back if necessary.

Finn offered Blaine and Artie the slightly bigger of the two bedrooms that had direct access to the bathroom, coz he figured would make it easier for Artie to manoeuvre his chair, (once Puck had finished grumbling about babes and showers). His mom beamed with pride when Finn shrugged shyly after Artie and his parents thanked him profusely for being so considerate. The dorm was quite nice, it had the two bedrooms, his and Puck room had bathroom access from the hall. A decent sized living area, with an L shaped sofa, large bookshelf and computer desk near the sliding door. A small galley type kitchenette which included a fridge/freezer combo, a wall oven and cook-top, and the counter that separated the rooms had 4 stools underneath. Then off the main room through a sliding glass door was a little enclosed porch with access to the garden and parking lot. The only thing missing was space for Finn's drum kit but he supposed he might be able to use the music departments kit, making a mental note to find out, thinking Puck might want to see about using their guitars too. It would be boss to be able to continue to jam like at home and he wondered if Blaine or Artie were musical.

The guys exchanged cell phone numbers and said their goodbye's making their way back to the taxi stand and after a ten minute wait finally climbing in one and chatting amongst themselves while Carole asked the driver to take them to the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts or (NYADA), which as it turns out is only a few blocks from NYU. Once there Carole and Kurt find the admissions desk and sign in for their tour.

"Will you boys be okay while Kurt and I go on the tour, or do you want to come with us?"

"Nah, that's cool Mom, we'll just stay here and people watch, don't worry we are big boys now, I'll make sure Puck doesn't ruin it for Kurt by hitting on all his future Broadway star friends, go have fun. Just remember it is nearly lunch time and all this city air is making me extra hungry, so don't be too long k!" Finn laughs along with the others over his need to eat practically every 30 minutes and makes shooing motions with his hands as his mom and brother move off.

Finn and Puck just sit in the quad watching the kids that are musically and drama orientated mingle with each other, and he supposes do the same as they were doing not 30 minutes ago. Puck was every few minutes pointing out a pretty girl that he knows would just love to get to know him. One in particular caught his attention and he was standing on the seat stretching up on his tippy toes, trying to get a better look and at the same time point her out to Finn, but swore as she got lost in the crowd entering the main doors of the building. Sighing loudly he slumped onto the bench and instead gave Finn a detailed description. Interspersing his words to thump Finn on the arm and run his hand over his mohawk.

"Man Huddy what a doll! You shoulda seen her long legs wrapped in knee-high socks and don't get me started on her teeny tiny skirt bouncing over her perfect looking..., oh dude her hair reaches right down to her butt and it was up in a horse tail..."

Finn was only half listening, though he did hear the bit about a tiny skirt, and knee socks, (always been a fantasy of his and if the girl was a brunette well...) he was thinking about things and just generally looking forward to being away from Lima and in the Big Apple, though if he was really honest with himself he was nervous about leaving his home and having to fend for himself after a lifetime of having his mom look after, and help him stay organised. He knows his brother will be in the city too and is probably the more house wise of the two, but Finn has always felt like it was his job to look out for Kurt due to the teasing and stupid homophobic crap he was subjected to at school, plus coz he was a lot bigger and stronger than Kurt, even though Kurt was 3 months older. Puck was the same with Miri and the pair of them would more often than not, go home from school with bruised knuckles and the occasional black eye and or split lip.


Gushing over the size and layout of the school Kurt couldn't keep his excitement contained "Oh Mom this is fantastic look how big the auditorium is, it makes McKinley's look like a doll house, Ooooh I wonder who my room mate will be, obviously he will be talented otherwise he wouldn't be here, though I do hope we don't clash and that he is as dedicated to fashion as myself I really can't see me being friends with someone who dresses in the latest fashion of 'grunge-chic' like one of the homeless orphans from 'Oliver' or a confused blind granddaddy"

Running his fingers along his neat, perfectly styled quiff, and straightening his scarf. Kurt looks around the lobby at all the kids and one in particular causes his happy look to suddenly change to one of horror! Caused by the sight just revealed by the open elevator door…

Grasping hold of Carole's arm in shock Kurt utters in a higher than normal pitch pointing a finger in the direction of the elevator. "OH my GAGA… Mom please tell me I haven't fallen through the rabbit hole into a twilight zone or some place equally as disturbing..."

The object of Kurt's consternation was attired in super tight red pants with an orange and brown cardigan draped around his raggedy Sex Pistols band T-shirt clad upper body, a sailors cap perched atop his blue hair, matching the sparkly brow stud and lip ring, and to finish off his feet were enclosed in a pair of purple sheep skin boots laced up with rainbow colored ribbons and flashed when he took a step. The whole ensemble made Kurt cringe and feel the desperate need to wash his eyes out with bleach to erase the disturbing images now permanently etched onto his brain.

Laughing out loud at her son's determined speech and the look currently on his face, Carole smiles widely at him and says. "Oh honey please don't ever change, and I'm sure whom ever your room mate is will become a good friend, now lets head to the dorms have you got the floor and room number handy?"

Shaking his head to clear it, he smiles at Carole and says "Yeah I wrote in in my phone notes hold on, here it is um..., second floor room 62 A."

"OK lets go then, look that elevator is empty."

The ride up to the second floor was quiet, each occupant lost in their own thoughts, Carole Hudson-Hummel wondering where the years have gone, the boys were only 8 when she and Kurt's dad Burt married, after being on their own for a few lonely years due to both of them, sadly losing their spouses to illness, and now their baby boys' are all grown up and off to college. She wonders what she will do with her days now there is only her and Burt at home, she has been used to spending her day cooking and cleaning and totally enjoying looking after her three men not to mention being a quasi mom to both Noah and Miriam since they were in 1st grade, maybe she muses she could take in exchange students or a foster child and makes a mental note to speak with Burt when she gets home. Thinking that now she might also have some time to focus on her painting and craft clubs.

Kurt on the other hand was nervously hoping his room mate wouldn't be like the kids' at high school and pick on him because he was different, he was who he was and proud of it, and if people took offence at that … well that was their loss he knew he was talented and a good person, unless folks offended his eye sight with atrocious fashion, (like that kid in the lobby, gosh he hopes he is in different classes and more importantly not his room mate) then he would just have to voice his opinion. But like most kids the world over he just wanted to fit in make some good friends and be happy doing what he loved and if by chance he was to meet a boy who enjoyed the same things, and wanted to be with him... well that would be even more rewarding than a Tony award on his mantle.

The elevator dinged on their floor opening to a crowd of people all waiting to take it back down. Checking the hallway for directions Kurt and Carole turned right for rooms numbered 50-70. Arriving at 62-A they found the door ajar and voices bleeding out into the hall, but more interestingly, they could distinctly hear a girl's voice...

"Oh Papa, this is perfect, look you can see the city and central park from the balcony, I wonder if my room mate would mind if I had some little pots of flowers or vegetables… and it looks to be big enough for a bean bag to relax in after dance class in the warmer weather… Ooooh what a lovely space, I can't believe the closets are so big." A loud sad sigh followed by "Oh I wish Daddy was able to come and see."

A deep laugh preceded the words "Pumpkin, calm down Daddy will come by soon, you know he is busy with …"

"Knock, knock, Hi sorry for interrupting but … um … this is my dorm room I think?" Kurt questions nervously glancing worriedly again at the note on his cell phone, and flipping through his bundle of papers, he and Carole have by this time moved fully into the room and as the kids look at each other the adults introduce themselves.

"Hello I'm Leroy Berry and this is my daughter Rachel." Carole looks up at the tall imposing and dare she say exceedingly good looking, African /American man in his early to mid 5o's as he extends a smooth well manicured hand towards her.

Blushing slightly and running her hand over her hair Carole says shyly, "Oh… y-yes good morning, Carole Hudson-Hummel, this is my son Kurt." She says taking the offered hand and shaking it firmly. Turning to each other's children both parents open their mouths at the same time to ask the same question. While Rachel and Kurt are just looking at each with wariness, not sure what is going on but somehow not feeling overly put out about the fact they might be forced to share a dorm room for 4 years, although Kurt immediately takes umbrage at the tiny girl's outfit of a red and blue plaid mini skirt, dark blue button up blouse, knee high dark socks and black Mary–Jane's with little bows on the toes. Her long brunette hair in a high pony tail. He thinks she looks more like a high school freshman than a 19 year old college one about to enter the tough, competitive world of a theater arts college.

"Um did they get the room allocations mixed up or …?" Rachel questions quietly

"Leroy takes charge of the situation and says in an authoritative tone, "Why don't we go down and speak with student services, before anyone panics about things, I have no objections to Rachel sharing a dormitory… providing her personal space and safety will not be compromised or infringed upon by drunken parties and salacious behavior all hours of the night."

Taken slightly aback at Leroy's words, her previous shyness gone, now replaced by a defensive maternal streak, her words taking on a sharp bite Carole counters. "Of course, but please let me just assure both yourself and Rachel Leroy, that Kurt isn't like that and is here to learn and foster his talents in musical and theater arts, and anyway he isn't interested in girl's..., as beautiful as your Rachel is, as any more than friends."

Carole's reference to Kurt's sexuality was immediately picked up by both Berry's and their minds put at rest, not that they couldn't tell the minute he walked into the room. Both Carole and Kurt noticed a look pass between the two along with a head nod and wide bright smiles.

Both adults, now feeling much more at ease, nod at each other and exchange beaming smiles and whispered thank-you's as they shake hands for the second time.

Rachel and Kurt continue to watch each other from behind their parents and smile widely sending each other the thumbs up signal. But followed the adults out the door tagging behind and at once, after looping their arms begin to chatter excitedly about the size of NYADA and asking what each other strengths and weaknesses are. Obviously quite happy to be roomies.

Maryanne, the clerk at student housing after rechecking her computer confirmed there hadn't been a mistake, and further explained that as Rachel and Kurt were the last students to be allocated accommodations, their room was all that was left for freshman, but if it was going to cause upset and become a real problem, they would try and find a solution.

After her quick appraisal of Kurt, Rachel decided that living in the cosy space as platonic friends would be loads of fun, they did have separate bedrooms after all, so sharing the living space and bathroom should be easy as long as they made a proper schedule for their ablution times, making a mental note to make it known at the beginning, that she had a strict routine in regards to her nightly skin care.

"I don't have a problem with sharing, do you Kurt?" Rachel asks wanting to find out all about her new roomie and see if he would be a suitable 'friend' for her brother.

"Nope I think it will be fun, we can go shopping when we have time and steal each others face care and hair tricks."

Nodding her head and doing a little dance on the spot, while clapping her tiny hands happily, Rachel gushed "OOOH wonderful, I just know that we are going to be the best of friends Kurt and college is going to be super awesome."

Then turning to her father "It's all good Papa, now can we go and meet the others I want to hear all about their day, plus I'm starving I thought I saw a Greek café just down the road."

Turning back to Kurt and his mom and offering her hand, she says politely

"It was lovely to meet you Mrs Hudson-Hummel and you too Kurt, I look forward to seeing you again when school starts, shall we swap phone numbers just in case we wish to confer over what to bring to furnish our new shared living space?" Obviously we don't want to double up as the available space isn't overly large, but can I just mention that I have a very extensive selection of framed original Broadway playbills and posters and even signed photographs of Ms's Streisand and Lu'Pone."

"O-of course Rachel." Kurt can barely contain himself at Rachel's words (Ms Patti Lu'Pone has always been an idol of his) and with a shaky hand digs into his messenger bag and finds a pen and pad of purple star shaped post-it notes and writes his number down, handing it to her as she hands over a pink business card, a large gold star superimposed over the top and her contact details typed neatly inside in a curly font.

Saying goodbye, the two family's separate and make their way out of the school, Kurt can't wait to tell Finn all about his new roomie and knows that he will be jealous of the fact that he as the gay brother gets to share with a beautiful girl, while poor Finn is stuck having to look at Puck's ugly face and atrocious hairdo every morning. Not to mention he has a room all to himself, and is already designing a new wardrobe for his new petite friend, as he assumes the rest of her clothing is of a similar thread to what she was wearing today and that made him cringe slightly. He sometimes wonders why he chose theater arts instead of fashion but after a long time throwing both ideas around and weighing up the pro's and con's he decided that he really did like the way music made him feel inside…, free somehow..., and any-ways fashion was something he could always fall back on if heaven forbid NYADA didn't pan out, but starting on a complete overhaul of Rachel's wardrobe would be a perfect test of his abilities.

Later that afternoon in different restaurants, both the Anderberry and Hudmel family members were each talking over the top of the other, Kurt still over excited about going to college and when Finn asks him about his room mate all he says is she is really quite beautiful in an ugly duckling/swan like way, a secretive smile on his face.

Puck just looks weirdly at the brothers' and continues eating his pizza, obscenely moaning around each mouthful, about how freaking good NY pizza is and hopes they deliver, spitting bits over the table when he says, "We gotta lock in at least one night a week for pie, beer an' C.O.D tourney's man."

Finn sends a slightly panicked look across the table, to see if his mom heard the bit about the beer, but thankfully she seemed to now be busy talking to Kurt about some extra kitchen bits and pieces, so he just shrugs and frowns at Puck's carrying on then nods, interrupting the others conversation by telling Kurt "I'm glad you have a nice roomie man." It wasn't an uncommon occurrence that Finn sometimes had trouble understanding his brother's words, and this time his reference to water-birds was just as confusing but he nods happily and says, "That's cool, I'm happy for ya bro just remember if anyone gives you any trouble you make sure and let me know so I can come and sort them out ASAP OK?"

Rachel is chirping excitedly to her Daddy and brother Blaine about her new roomie "Oh isn't it just wonderful, Kurt has the same interests as myself and seemed so very happy when I told him about my framed and autographed photos. At least I will manage my full 8 hours of sleep each night knowing he won't keep me awake all night with girl's and wild partying, but then again maybe…"

Pausing for a mouthful of her souvalaki she watches as Blaine swallows his own mouthful, swiping his tongue along his bottom lip to catch some wayward tabbouleh and before he can ask his question Rachel does her twin mind trick thing and reads his. Giggling a little as she says "Because darling Lainey he is gay and very cute and fashionable in a 'I have the courage to stand up and be me, because I know who I am, kind of way'..." she continues with her food smiling impishly at the interested look on her big brother's face then saying in a sing-song voice that only Blaine appears to hear. "I even have his cell number..."


First day of freshman year:

"Ok have a good day we can Skype later, you set it up on your laptop didn't you? … Good, what time will you be on?… Alright love you too bye."

Blaine hangs up his cell and makes to grab his bag from the counter in the kitchen waving at Finn, who is staring into the refrigerator like he expects some food to jump out at him already made up, and trying not to make his eavesdropping obvious.

While he was listening in, Finn was wondering if Blaine already had a boyfriend, coz by the sound of his voice he was talking to someone special. Finn was sort of hoping he might be a suitable friend for Kurt, but if he was taken...

Blaine smiles at his roomie knowing full well he was listening in to his conversation, before saying happily. "Um Finn, I don't think your breakfast is going to make itself man, I left some pancakes, bacon and scrambled egg in the oven so hop to it before Puck eats it all. Catch you later, have a good day yeah? Oh and don't forget to turn the oven off we don't want to burn the place down."

"Oh man my favorite! Yeah thanks dude, oh and thanks heaps for breakfast I mean, it's good to know one of us guys can cook, maybe you know to do proper real waffles, roast chicken, spaghetti and meatballs too huh?" Finn smiles shyly at his roomie, his blush not hiding his dimples, and waving as he opens the oven forgetting what he is doing and nearly dropping the hot plate, before grabbing the close at hand dish towel, letting out a deep sigh of delight at the smell of his breakfast wanting to eat it all, but on hearing Puck make grunting and farting noises from the bedroom, he turns the oven off and begrudgingly decides to be nice and leave him some.

Blaine waves and chuckles to himself thinking Finn is just the perfect combination of Momma's boy and tough take no crap leader, and knows he would be the right guy for his sister, especially as he is nothing like Puck who in just the week they had been dorm mates had already found a handful of girls to be 'with'.


Even though Finn was at NYU on a football scholarship he still wanted to do proper studies, so he had a back up, he didn't want to just be known as a ball playing jock and if something happened later on … well he would be ok. He had spent a lot of the last few months of high school and the summer studying the course catalogs, and decided that design/drafting and business management were the right ones for him. He'd always had an interest in drawing and liked the idea of being an architect and one day maybe having his own company.

So here he is at 9:30am facing the door of lecture room 203 ready for his first class as a genuine college student.

He didn't really see much of Puck this morning just a quick 5 minutes to let him know about breakfast and a reminder not to be late for his 10:30 am class on building basics 1A in the west hall, and also health and fitness at 2 followed by a football meet and greet at 5 so he would catch him there later.

Watching as the other students filed into to the classroom Finn laughed openly at the wolf whistling when the teacher walked in … coz lets face it she was stunning, and once she started to speak, he was thankful Puck wasn't in the same class…

"Good morning people my name is Professor Peta De'Angelo, welcome to 'Introduction to Architecture'. Now as this is the first time most of us have met I'm going to call attendance so kindly make a grunt, wave or even sing the opening bars of your favorite TV jingle or movie theme song when I call your name so I can at least put a name to your face."

The group of about 25 kids giggled and laughed out loud at the Prof's last sentence, Finn decided even he loved to sing he would just raise his hand when his name was called, but after hearing how some of the other kids answered, when it was his turn he instead tapped out a little tune with a couple of pens on the desk top that the Prof recognized straight away as the opening bars to'Hot for teacher' by Van Halen one of Finn's favorite 80's band.

In a laughter filled tone she said "Very good Mr Hudson 80's rock has always been a favorite of mine. So now that we all know each other it is time to get serious, let me tell you what to expect from my class during the first semester. We will go through the history of architecture on a world wide scale, you will analyse and write papers with an allowable minimum of 2000 words, describing the different styles from religious and sacred to secular, public and domestic from the western civilizations, also the cultures of the ancient Americas, Hindu, Buddhist and the Islamic peoples. The time frame will range from ancient Mesopotamia right through to the modern era... I also have to point out that you will ALL be required to take part in FULL group and class discussions.

Leaving his Intro to Arch class, an hour and a half later his head buzzing with all the info, and wondering how the hell he is gonna be able to write essays with that many words. But feeling proud of himself for the first time in his schooling history, because he actually enjoyed a class and was looking forward to working out his plan for a building made from recycled products that could be used as emergency, portable homes or shelters for people in disaster zones, which was their first big assignment.

Checking his timetable again and smiling at the fact his only classes left today were with Puck. He digs in his pocket for some change and collecting a can of soda from the machine in the lobby, he made his way to the quad just outside the library, and dug out of his backpack the couple of sandwiches he threw together after breakfast making a mental note to buy a container to put them in, as he couldn't cope with that damn cling film every day, it just kept coming off the roll and getting all tangled around everything, he still doesn't know how his cell phone, the lid off the peanut butter jar and the butter knife, his door key, one sock and the TV remote got wrapped up but… well never mind the stuff is dangerous, then it wouldn't cut, he wonders how his mom did it for years, huh, maybe it's a mom only skill?

Even though his scholarship paid for his fees, dorm room and a percentage of his food. He still had to provide the majority his own food. He wondered if he'd be able to squeeze in a part time job to help keep his bank account healthy. While he ate he was looking through the course syllabus for health and fitness and saw that three days a week was dedicated to the physical aspect of football therefore a lot of the time was to be spent in the gym.

But the rest of the day till his next class which was at 2pm, he was going to spend in the library. But thought he'd send a quick text off to Kurt first, just to see how his day was going and hoped their schedules would match up at least on a couple of days so they could maybe grab some lunch or even dinner together. Moving his fingers over the keypad he types a short message.

Hey little bro, hows yr day?

Any cute guys catch yr eye yet?

my classes so far r gr8.

Got 1st fball meet this eve

hop soon

Finn :D

Pressing send Finn smiles as he looks around and again pinches himself at his good luck, he finishes off his lunch and from the corner of his eye he notices a redhead girl watching him, and as soon as she realized he saw her she sends him a wave and stands up making her way towards him, her tall slim body swaying with her movements. All of a sudden Finn gets nervous, the predatory smile on her face is making him sweat, he has always been shy around girls for some reason, even though he was the QB and one of the popular kids all through school, he has never had Puck's ability to be smooth and talk the girls into bed or even just talk to them without sounding like a looser dweeb. He is just about to get up and move towards the library, when his cell rings and he answers knowing it is Kurt, thankful to have a distraction.

"Hey Kurt… yeah I'm good man, I gotta say this college life is a blast, how are you getting' on with your room mate?… cool beans … yeah well send me your timetable and I'll send you mine and maybe we can make one night a week just for us yeah? … ha, ha, not yet but you know Puck, it won't take him long to find a girl to rave about, apart from how loud she screamed his name. Ok man, well take care, it was great to talk to you love you too bye."

Hanging up, Finn noticed the red head had moved closer, and was now right next to him on the bench practically in his lap, running her fingers through her short hair. The whole time her eyes focused on Finn's crotch. Straight away deciding that he wasn't interested in this girl mainly because she scared the shit out of him with the crazy eyes and lip licking. He tried to be polite like his mom had always taught him but he couldn't wait to get out of there.

"Er... hi is this your seat? Dude... I'm real sorry, I was j-just leaving, coz well you know... to go and … um... grown up college work to do yeah… well um bye."

Grabbing his backpack and taking off at a fast pace ignoring the calls of "Hey stud I'm Kirby why don't we catch up tonight at the Omega Tea sorority house party?" Finn didn't breathe till he was well away and in an open area of the library.

Finally feeling safe he takes a series of deep breaths and rubs his hands over his face, trying to understand why that girl scared him so much, his inner voice loud in his head and nearly deafening him,

"GOD! Hudson what the hell is wrong with you it's not like you are a freaking virgin or anything… well, it has been a long dry spell."

Finn tries to defend himself "Hey hold up, there's nothing wrong with wanting the next time to be special.

But his inner voice talks over the top causing Finn to sigh and wonder if the stress of college is already getting to him and causing him to have conversations with himself."Even though you can't really remember much about the first time can you? Besides her bossy bitchy cheerleader voice telling you to 'just lay down and do as she said and for fucks sake make sure the freaking condom stays on, and for the love of god can you stop with the damned crying' have another shot or six of Patron. Then afterwards more yelling about buying her food from the drive through Mexican place."

He still clearly remembers the hangover the next morning was like waking up with a bowling alley on league pennants night in his head, and so, so not worthy of recollecting.

Turning a deep shade of pink at his own memories Finn locks that terrible moment after their championship winning football game, in his senior year away along with those memories about that other girl in junior year, in a box in the deep dark recess's of his mind and loses the key. Hoping to one day find the right girl who will help him make much better memories, ones that he won't ever want to forget, and will be more than happily to relive with her on a daily basis for the rest of his lifetime! He wonders idly if Kurt has met that girl yet that Puck spotted on orientation day, the one with the little skirt and knee-high socks now she sounded interesting, very interesting...

Catching up with Puck later that afternoon Finn couldn't help but bust out laughing at the way his mo-hawked buddy was gushing over the amount of girls who had invited him to their sorority house parties after just one day, but sobering when Puck said, "I'm gonna meet up with a tall leggy redhead called Kirby, later tonight coz she just loved the taster she had of the Puckerone this afternoon, she is gonna introduce me to her sisters, an' wondered if I had any friends I could take, to make the night a bit more interesting, 'IYKWIM'..., thought I might ask wheels, dude is way cooler than he looks even with those dammed suspenders and vests, there's no point in asking Bow-tie B, they'd be more an' likely to start with beauty tips and hair do's an' shit an' forget all about the Puckmiester, and you would most probably break out into hives or some shit and start cryin' when one of the foxy babes, so much as breathed in your ear so there's no way I'm gunna let you fucking rain all over my parade. MAN Huddy I fuckin' love college! So don't wait up bro."

Puck then winks and wiggles his eyebrows at his dumbfounded best friend. Finn's face changing from surprised to annoyed at Puck's inference that he would completely wimp out, (even though he was probably right but he has always thought that girls who were shy and gentle and let a guy have an opinion were nicer than ones who just told him what and how to do it) and he was about to try and defend himself when they had reached their health and fitness class, so all conversation for the minute was dropped.


Finn was having a great time still and by the time Thanksgiving rolled around he was fully entrenched in the life of a freshman college student, his classes were going very well and he was one of 4 QB's on the NYU Titans team, training was hard and most nights on football days he just collapsed into bed after a shower and dinner. Blaine had taken over the evening meal cooking duties, mainly because (1) Well it was obvious he could actually cook more than just microwave meals, and (2) he had more regular hours at his law school. So therefore he, Artie and Puck had been relegated to clean up duty.

Well when Puck was home that is, he spent most of his time with his 'entourage'and most weeks was begging Finn to lend him money to restock his condom supply.

Finn had had enough by the end of their third week and stopped giving it to him letting his friend know in a very direct manner of his irritation.

"Fuck it all Puckerman why don't you go find a job to pay for them or better still slow down and focus on your studies. The girls will be here for 4 years dude and there are new ones all the time so just pace your self and keep it in your fucking pants. Remember there are 3 other guys' that live in this dorm who are interested in their classes and graduating! AND we are so over! Acting like your personal freaking booking clerks at the 'Fuck-A-Puck' club all hours of every night."

Puck at least apologized and promised to try and tone it down, but said "Aww Huddy come on man you know I'ma a sex shark and will die without it on a regular basis…

Though Finn standing up to his full six feet three and a half inches towering over him, flexing his QB's arm and threatening to punch his face in and saying in a threatening tone "Yeah well if you don't tone it down and stop messing with the rest of us I'm more than happy to hasten the dying bit."

Finn's words made Puck slow down his ardor somewhat..., for a little while at least.


The Lima boys were making the 10 hour drive back home for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which they were all happy about, started as a half day on the Wednesday November 23. So they decided to leave straight after their morning classes are done. Finn dropped Puck outside NYADA and telling him go in and pick up Kurt, while he gasses up the truck and says he'll meet them back outside in 20 but try not to get sidetracked 'chatting or whatever' with the theater girls or he was paying for the parking ticket. Sending the middle finger wave to Finn over his shoulder, Puck makes his way to the lobby of Kurt's building taking his time and (just to piss Finn off) making eyes at and chatting with the few girls milling about the lounge area seriously thinking about expanding his lovin' skills to NYADA.

Finally reaching the second floor and finding room 62A. He knocks loudly and nearly trips over his own tongue when the door is opened by a tiny brunette, dressed in a pair of tight fitting yoga pants, and an over-sized sweat top with a picture of a cat dressed in a frilly dress or something falling off one tanned shoulder and her long dark hair falling around her like a shawl. She offers him a look of surprise before it quickly becomes a bright but unsure smile showing her perfectly straight white teeth and making her dark eyes shine.

"Hello um...?

The angel in front of him is looking up at him with wide questioning eyes and has a tiny delicate hand outstretched waiting for his response by way of either words or a handshake or both.

Puck can only just stare and shake his head running his left hand over the top of his hawk and acting like a dweeb. As he takes her offered hand in his suddenly sweaty one, and unconsciously groans aloud at the contact, when he finally rolls his tongue back into his mouth and turns his brain to voice switch on, the only words he can clearly put together over the giant lump of nervousness stuck in his throat are... "Puck" and "N-no I'm Puck …um… I-I mean Noah Puckerman h-hi..., K-Kurt?"

Retrieving her hand from her visitor and surreptitiously wiping it dry on her thigh, Rachel nods and says somewhat disappointedly "Oh, yes, Kurt did mention that his brother would be arriving soon to collect him, but you aren't what I expected from his description… shorter and um... less hair … But well never mind... hi Noah I'm Rachel, Kurt's room mate please come in and make yourself comfortable he won't be a minute, he's just packing his bathroom supplies."

Just as she finishes speaking her cell rings, she sends an apologetic look towards Puck and smiles happily at the call tone, answering in an excited sing song voice. "Hey you, all packed? … ok I'll see you soon then, bye, love you."

Excusing herself and wishing him a happy Thanksgiving Rachel leaves Puck sitting on the sofa pressing a pink star shaped scatter cushion over his groin and willing his raging boner away. Cursing his body at the effect Rachel has had on him in the 5 fucking minutes he has been in her presence, no woman ever in the past, (even the numerous cougars from around Lima) has ever got him feeling like this, but he can't understand how his insides are twisting and turning like a roller-coaster with just a look and a handshake. Suddenly feeling jealous and wanting to know who the person was, that she was talking all sweet with on the phone, and cursing under his breath about the lucky bastard he assumed was her boyfriend. When Kurt appears wheeling a suitcase and carrying a smaller square case that matched, even down to the shoe shaped luggage tag and bright red ribbon on the handle.

"Oh... hello Puck, where is my brother? Oh never mind here take this case please and be careful, my cleansers and moisturizers are in there as well as my…"

"Shit Hummel can we just fucking move already? Huddy is gassing up his truck, so lets get to going before he goes all mother swan or some other duck shit, and sends out a freaking search party or blames my ass for him copping a parking ticket."

Used to Puck's gruff tone and bad language, and not really put out by it. Kurt just frowns and shrugs, calling out to Rachel "I'm leaving Rachel, have a nice break sweet girl and try to get some serious YOU time in OK! You don't want ugly bags so make sure you use that night-time eye creme I gave you alright? Bye bye love see you in a few days have a safe trip home."

Puck turns away from the door quickly glancing over Kurt's shoulder trying and get a glimpse of Rachel, who has now emerged from her bedroom pulling her own suitcase, the strap of a laptop bag over one shoulder, her hair now in a long braid that ends at her waist. She hugs Kurt and presses a kiss on his cheek happily wishing him a good holiday and a reminder to be safe on the roads, and a girl scout promise to rest and use his magic eye creme every night.

In the space of 15 minutes Puck had fallen mo-hawk over football cleats for Rachel, and spends the entire trip home mooning over her and repeatedly telling his travel mates that if she was his he would gladly change his sex shark hat for one with 'Rachel's man' written on it and would even lose the hawk if she asked him to. Also is it possible to switch colleges? Coz if he went to NYADA… Finn cuts off his rambling with a hard punch to his upper arm, nearly squashing Kurt who was sitting between them. Finn's far from the norm erratic actions whilst driving causing the truck to swerve on the road, as he says menacingly, his eyes leaving the road momentarily to glare at Puck

"Dude for fucks sake... I am tired of listening to you it's only been 15 damn minutes and if you don't shut the hell up up I'ma gonna call up this Rachel girl and tell her you are having treatment for some sort of long term STD or are supporting a wife and 10 kids on just a student loan. Now either talk about something else, or better still go to sleep and leave me in peace it's a long drive man. Just don't drool all over Kurt's fancy scarf or you'll be in the shit with him as well.

Kurt tries to hold back his laughter at Puck's love struck shenanigans, even though his mo-hawked friend keeps pestering him and trying to steal his cell and check if her number is in it. Instead he tucks his cell down the waist band of his pants knowing damn well Puck won't try to get it again. Then smiling at his brother when Puck pouts and crosses his arms over his chest, before slouching as far as possible and turning his back on him and Finn, as much as the constrictive space of the truck cab allows, snoring loudly on purpose, until another hard whack to his arm makes him stop.

Kurt doesn't divulge any info at all and once Puck's overly exaggerated snores become real ones, he changes her name in the address book from Rachel* to Barbra* (which is her middle name, but Puckerman doesn't need to know that) mainly due to the fact he really doesn't want to share her, because over the course of the last few months they have become very close and told each other their deepest secrets and understand the other's need to be liked and recognized for their (in their own words) superior talents, as well as their desire to find a partner who will understand that need, and put up with their moments of intense diva-ism but genuinely still love them for them, but most important in any relationship is complete honesty. Kurt is positive after the many conversations about what they look for in potential partners, that she is more suited to his brother than his friend. But because of conflicting schedules and obscene work loads at school, it is very difficult to make time to get together.

Even trying to plan a trip to visit is out of the question, as she comes from Pennsylvania which is about 9 hours by road, in the opposite direction from Lima. He is hoping though, that by Christmas break they might have managed some time to meet socially. He surreptitiously keeps tabs on Finn's life at school through Mercedes, and therefore as far as she knows he isn't seeing anyone even for casual hook ups.

Puck meanwhile is a completely different story, having apparently already slept with a very large majority of the freshman cohort, and is now working his way through the sophomores, that little snippet is courtesy of the biggest gossip at McKinley the one and only Miss Mercedes Jones. Kurt doesn't suppose being at college in New York makes any difference to her abilities to scope out and hear all the juicy news. He smiles and thinks all they need now is Jacob Ben-Israel and his damn video camera to document all the goings on and it would be just like McKinley High.

But Kurt being the romantic he is, has a plan to get his brother and room mate personal face to face time, and just knows deep down that they could be part of something very special and long lasting. He has even thought of a cute couple name for them 'Finchel'... Knowing his brother would more than likely reference it to a baked good or food item of some sort. He is also secretly hopping to meet very soon, Rachel's twin brother Blaine, and after hearing all about him and seeing photos thinks he is very cute indeed and was ecstatic to find out is Finn's dorm mate. Wondering why Finn and Puck haven't yet made the connection. Instead he just put it down to them being boys and if things didn't involve food, video games, girl boobs, football or sleep they were blind to the goings on in the rest of the world.

Before the three boys were more than five feet into the Hudmel house later that Wednesday evening, they were ambushed by their mom.

Her teary cries of "There are my boys, oh my goodness look at you all, you all look wonderful, don't they Burt? College really looks like it agrees with you. So mature, but you look thin Finny are you eating properly?" Before she promptly burst into tears again and mumbling about how fast the time flies.

While Carole is emotional and liquid eyed over the boys, Burt Hummel just watches on highly amused at the looks on their faces. Even at the fact she makes Finn sit on the arm of the sofa so she can reach her arms around his neck to nearly hug the life out of him, though he doesn't seem to mind too much, hugging her back just as strongly then standing up so he could twirl her around, their happy laughter, causing everyone else to start as well. Even Puck loses the tough boy faҫade when it is his turn and is not ashamed one little bit to unwrap one hand from around his 'mom' to wipe away his tears.

Burt's memories suddenly rewind to when the boys were about 10 and he and Carole had not long married. Carole had told him that Meredith Puckerman decided that being a mother was infringing too much on her social life and pretty much abandoned her twins when they were in the first grade, and who she welcomed with open arms and offered the real love and care that they had been denied.

A love according to Noah and Miriam if one was to ask them, over the years that Momma Hudson-Hummel gave willingly without question or the expectation of payment, the only thanks she needed was for them to be happy and the best they could be.

Sitting down to dinner that first night Finn, Kurt and Puck, were trying to talk over one another and tell Carole and Burt all about their life at college and what they had been up to, trying to put her mind at rest that they were eating right and looking after themselves. Finn overtook the conversation by telling their parents that their room-mate Blaine Anderson did most of the cooking and man was he good at it, and in his opinion he should be going to a cooking school not studying law. Dinner was completed in happy comfortable silence the only real sounds were groans of delight from three guys who had missed their mom's excellent cooking for the past few months, and after dinner the five Hudmelman's were relaxing in the family room with a hot chocolate or coffee and some of Carole's famous choc chip/ pecan cookies.

Finn was in his favorite recliner chair (that had once belonged to his birth father Chris Hudson) half asleep, Kurt was curled up in the love seat next to where his mom and dad were sitting on the sofa, and Puck was sprawled out on the floor in front of the slow burning fire, his head resting on a scatter cushion, held up slightly by his folded arms and looked to be minutes away from sleep as well, content to be home and surrounded by people he knows love him and who he loves and always feels comfortable with, and where Momma H is about the only person besides his twin, who he will answer to when they call him Noah. At her next words though, he sure woke up quick he didn't move, but his ears where turned on and ready to record in his head any and all information about the tiny brunette who captured his heart with just a handshake and a smile.

"So you and Rachel are getting on ok then sweetheart? Not had any arguments over her clothes yet?" She asks Kurt with a giggle.

"No mom we get along famously, it's like we are cut from the same bolt of cloth, I mean… I can't believe I have finally found a kindred spirit, though I must confess her wardrobe does need some tweaking, she does own quite a lot of the same sort of clothes as she was wearing that first day you met her, but now the cooler weather is upon us she has taken to wearing jeans that hug nicely and long sleeve baseball T-shirt type tops and knee high boots instead, and for someone so short her legs seem to go on for miles, then there is of course dance class which means we need to be loose and comfortable so it is yoga pants, tank-tops and leotards most lessons."

Puck wanted to tell Kurt to leave Rachel's clothes alone coz he thought the image he had in his head of her was just perfect, and even though she is tiny, he did agree with his friend that her legs were perfect and after seeing her in the tight yoga pants she was wearing today, it was no wonder he sprung a boner so quickly...

Returning his mom's smile Kurt pauses for some hot chocolate

"She is also interested in healthy eating and was surprised to find a reasonably priced Japanese restaurant a couple of blocks from school which is our Friday night treat, followed by an ice-cream sundae with all the trimmings… well hers is dairy free, mine is at least low fat. Then we usually follow with facials, deep hair moisturizing treatments and mani/pedi's, while watching classic Broadway movies, though a couple of weeks ago we broke with tradition and watched George Clooney in Batman."

His voice turning all dreamy for a minute at the thought of George dressed in tight black leather and a mask. Ignoring the chuckles from his dad and brothers' he continues,

"She is as dedicated to her studies as me too, and... Ooooh, Mom you should hear her sing… my gosh it is like hearing the angel's... she has such a range and is way better than me, she can reach and hold a high F effortlessly, while as we know it takes me weeks of practice with stickers on the piano keys, and then I can only hold the note for a short time, and she can bake! Her sugar cookies are to die for, I keep trying to save some for the boys but they never last long enough." He giggles at his own words and slyly takes a look at Puck before the next words leave his lips.

"We both even have the same ideas as to what makes a good boyfriend and seeing as we are both single at present, we have fun making pros and cons list of any boys we like the initial look of at school. She has to beat the guys off with a stick especially this one guy Briely Le'James who is a drama studies senior and looks like he is a walking add for hair gel or toothpaste or something else just as cliché, he has girls falling at his feet all over the place… Personally I think he resembles a donkey."

"Oh my goodness, I hope you help keep awful boys like that away darling, but she sounds just perfect, have you met her other dad yet? With a daughter that beautiful they must get very worried about her being in NY on her own, I know I would be if she was mine. But I'm so happy you all have settled in to college so well, and we are both so very proud of the three of you."

Smiling at the beams on the boys faces at her words she looked towards Noah and says

"Miri sent an e-mail with some pictures the other day letting us know she has settled in to her art school in London, and her and Billie have found a lovely little bed-sit/studio type apartment no far from their school and the book shop Miri works part time in. She said to say hi to you all and would love to hear from you a bit more regularly Noah dear, and hopes you are being safe and have left some ladies at NYU for the rest of the guys."

Everyone laughs at that, and even Puck blushes and smiles at his sisters words, she then holds her hand over her mouth to hide her yawn."

At the words two dad's Puck shakes a little thinking one father is bad enough but … man he doesn't think he is strong enough for that, but meeting the 'rents is a long way down the road yet.

Burt, hiding his own yawn says "Well I don't know about you three but I'm ready for bed."and after hugging his sons' goodnight and fist bumping Puck he and Carole retire to their bedroom.

Which in turn gives Finn the idea that his bed sounds like a boss idea, after the early start, long drive and a belly full of his mom's cooking he is ready to hit the hay too. "Well that's me done too dudes see you in the morning."

Another round of yawns and a "It's good to be home dude" while swapping a good night fist bump with Puck and Kurt he makes his way up the stairs, strips off his clothes after digging some sleep pants and an old McKinley T-shirt from his dresser, enters his en-suite bathroom for a quick shower, brushes his teeth before falling into his queen sized bed, thankful to be able to spread his giant frame out and wishing his dorm room was big enough to swap his single bed for this one.

The conversation about Kurt's roomie rolling around in his head and he wondered if she would ever come with Kurt when they met up for pizza, coz she sounded really cool not to mention sexy!

Kurt made to leave the living room pretty soon after his brother mumbling something about his night-time routine being way behind schedule. Puck followed him up the stairs to his own room and spent the night mulling over the new info he had on Rachel and tried to plan his next approach without looking like an idiot in front of her again like he did today.

"And she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body, I just know it!
And he's holding her in his arms late, late at night"


Back at school after their few days at home, with enough leftovers to fill their fridge for at least a couple of days, the guys were extra busy in the last weeks before school finished for Christmas break. Football practices were harder and longer as the season was about halfway done and Finn wanted to be in top form as he was hoping to keep the #1 QB's spot.

After one such brutal training session Puck is slumped against his locker too tired to even take off his pads, moaning to Finn who is in pretty much the same position, cept he has at least lost his pads and is standing there in just his pants trying to decide whether to clean up using the massaging shower at the gym or wait till he got home. A few seconds contemplation and his growling belling made the decision for him. So instead he just stripped off his uniform pants in favor of some sweats and dragged a sweat top over his top half. Sitting on the bench to put his sneakers on just agreeing with Puck's words.

"Man that training session was freaking brutal, does coach want to kill us or what?"

Finn can't do anymore than nod at Puck's question as he grabs his bag, trying to hurry his buddy along as he was more than ready to head home for a shower and dinner. Blaine had promised to cook something extra special that will help keep their protein levels up, and Finn couldn't wait. All the way home he was imagining a plate sized steak and mashed potatoes and maybe a couple of sunny side up eggs and mushrooms on the top. Hopefully followed by some more moist nutty banana bread and those fantastic choc-walnut brownies. Finn wondering when Blaine had the time to bake them, as he is pretty sure their dorm would smell like baking, home always did when his mom had a baking day all homely and warm...

Kurt, after finally meeting Blaine a couple of days after after thanksgiving was immediately smitten with the brunette law student and was happy to hear from Rachel later that night that his interest was reciprocated, then after a 'date' at the local coffee shop a week later, the two guys decided to try and spend as much time together as possible, both feeling that instant 'ZING' of a connection and really wanted to see where it would go, but of course they were both very busy with school and free time was a scarce commodity. They figured that was why Skype and text messaging was invented, so they happily made do with that and met up when they could.

Puck was still infatuated with Rachel and much to his disgust had not been able to get anything out of Kurt. All his free time (not that there was much of it) had been spent visiting NYADA to try and see her.

On several occasions he had been to her dorm only to find not only Kurt as expected, to his great surprise Blaine.

One particular Thursday afternoon Puck turns up at Rachel's dorm and after smoothing a hand over the top of his freshly trimmed mohawk he looks down to the bunch of mixed daisy's and carnations held tightly in his sweaty hand as he took a deep breath telling himself to stay calm before knocking on the door. Expecting to see a bright beaming smile underneath wide chocolate brown eyes belonging to Rachel he is instead greeted by the same dark eyes, but instead topped by thick dark brows and a voice very definitely male that belongs to his dorm mate,

"Oh hey man, what's up?"

Quickly shoving the flowers behind his back Puck stutters out "E-r yeah h-hi B, I was um looking for Huddy, is he here dude?"

"Ah… no sorry Puck he has a late class on Thursday's it finishes about 6 I think."

"Shit that's right … ok thanks B catch ya at home, later man." Puck turns and waves over his shoulder but forgets and uses the hand holding the flowers, before leaving with a moody look on his face. Wondering what time Blaine had to chat up Rachel and why wouldn't she give him a chance, maybe it was coz he could cook like a boss and wondered if he should see if there are any cooking classes he can go to maybe that's what will win her over...

Puck was talking to himself out loud and chuckling at the idea of himself after a few classes becoming a winner on one of those TV cooking competition shows. Receiving odd looks from the kids in the hall, then quickly sobering as he remembered the one time at McKinley he walked into the home EC room, (a room he didn't even know their school had BTW) to find a beautiful blonde making cupcakes for a bake sale or something but ended up with flour and eggs all over the kitchen and them, till Finn came looking for his girlfriend! The smile quickly falling from his face replaced by a dark frown and a deep sigh at the aftermath of that episode.

But on his way back down stairs he always managed to meet a girl who had no qualms or inhibitions about letting him know she wanted to sleep with him right then and there, so of course his desire to know more about the tiny brunette in room 62A was pushed to the back of his mind for the 45 minutes or so it took to make the lady happy. He just couldn't say no to the girls even though he wanted to date Rachel, his mind like his dick, was all over the place.

It worried him the whole way home as to why Blaine would be hanging around obviously he knew Blaine was gay, unless he was into Kurt. Then once it twigged after finally seeing properly the numerous photos that were all around the dorm, that Blaine was Rachel's brother, he was a little happier, but was now worried that he'd still never get a chance to ask Rachel out, coz being a twin himself he knew how close and connected twins are and twin guys' with a sister, were in his experience even more protective.

On one of their Skype 'dates' Blaine mentioned his and Rachel's birthday was coming up in December, Kurt then had an idea for a little get together at a restaurant for dinner and maybe after at a dance club or something and said "Do you think Rachel would be ok with meeting up with his brother, Puck and Artie and his friend from Lima Mercedes? She should invite her own friends of course, and what if everyone pays for their own meals.?"

Blaine said "That is a great idea Kurt but our dads' would be willing to pay for dinner, all they needed to know was when/where and how many."

Kurt said excitedly "It would be fun to finally get together in a casual setting without the constraints of school. Though I have to warn you, Puck still has a thing for Rachel after only meeting her once at Thanksgiving and if he is honest, as nice as Puck is Finn was more Rachel's type."

"Man! I figured there was something going on with him, coz he has been home more than usual, just moping and sometimes studying, but he's just been different, quiet you know, and was asking Artie if he should shave his mo-hawk off and even something about cooking classes coz he figured 'she' might like him better. Poor Artie didn't know what to say and Puck never said who she was. Plus those times he has turned up at your dorm. I did hear Finn ask him what was the matter and was he ok, obviously unaware of the fact that my baby sister was the cause of Puck's problems. He then just grunted a response at Finn that sounded something like 'the hell do you care anyway you always get...' then got up and left, came home hours later with lipstick all over his face and his shirt on inside-out... Finn didn't know what was going on and after trying again to talk to him just frowned then stomped away but you could tell he was worried for days about Puck."

Blaine agreed about Finn being the better choice and said "I'd been telling Chelle about my tall friend and shown her a picture I'd taken of the four of us celebrating our 2 month anniversary as room mates. She sounded very interested, also when she and I were talking on Skype the other week Finn had walked past and saw her, then all of a sudden went all cute and goofy and hung around making small talk. So I think it is safe to say there is an obvious attraction. But I sorta feel sorry for Puck you know, and hope it won't cause any problems between him and Finn I know they have been best buddies since they were babies just about."

Sighing deeply Kurt said "I know, but there is a little part of Puck that freezes at the word commitment and monogamy, always citing his aversion to dating just one girl because he is a 'sex shark' and can't be tied down'. Though if Finn and Rachel do get together Puck will protect her with his life if necessary once he gets over the fact a woman chose his tall, goofy friend over his own super stud persona. But I don't think he would ever do anything to threaten his and Finn's friendship they have been through too much together over the years. He will one day find a woman who is as bad-ass as himself and they will be happy in their own way but I really don't think Rachel is the one for him. I'd like to say he could change his ways for the right woman, but then again if she is the right one he shouldn't have to change too much except his playboy ways… but I honestly think Puck is incapable of dealing with her diva moods and quest for perfection...,"

A loud gasp from Kurt as he says in apology "Oh… I'm so sorry Blaine for talking about your sister like that please forgive me…, I sometimes forget my self and let my mouth run away with me. I really do think the world of Rachel and have become quite attached to her, terrible fashion and all"

Through the laptop camera Blaine could see Kurt's embarrassed face and trying to ease his mind. "Ha, ha, Kurt please don't worry about it I fully understand where you are coming from I've know Rachel all her life remember, and have to say even though I've always known I was gay she taxes my patience with her need to have everything perfect and just as she wants. You know our Dads' used to just throw up their hands and let her rant when she got wound up, for someone so small she sure knows how to get her way."

Happy to see he hadn't upset Blaine by talking about Rachel Kurt encourages his friend to continue

"But if you look deep enough you can see she only wants those around her, to see in themselves what she does and reach their full potential in what ever it is they are doing. She was the same in high school with her glee club, she had always thought that no one liked her, because she would push them out of their comfort zones admittedly she always had to be in the spotlight, but there is no denying her talent and, she has never been one to shy away from showing just how talented she really is, and I think that is what made the other kids stop trying.

Even their teacher Mr Schuester couldn't help but go with her ideas and suggestions, and the majority of the time they were right for the group and once the others began to really listen to Chelle, they started winning their competitions and then really got to know the real Rachel Berry, and once she knew she was liked for her she toned down her diva storm-outs and became more of a team player, and by the end of senior year had made some real friends."

"Are they at NYADA" Kurt asked thinking that they could have some fun evenings watching their favorite movies and keeping each other up to speed with voice training and such.

"Sadly no, none of them came to New York for school, they weren't interested in music as a long term career choice. It was the same with her boyfriend who as it turned out was a real douche bag and was only going out with her to gain a leg up in the race for a music scholarship, then when he didn't get one, but she did he blamed her for letting their regionals' team down coz she couldn't sing due to a bout of tonsillitis, so him and a couple of buddies, cornered her the day she came back to school in the parking lot and threw eggs at her."

Kurt, gasps in shock and anger at Blaine's words and as his misty blue eyes turned dark as he said, "I hope you gave those idiots a good talking too, because that is just plain awful, the bastard was most probably just jealous of Rachel's voice." Before adding "Finn had never been treated right either by the girls in his life, and was more than deserving of an honest kind hearted girl who would just accept and like him just for being his giant goofball self."

So plans were put in place for a dinner on Saturday the day before the Ander-Berry twins 20th birthday, at 'The Golden Lantern Chinese Restaurant' in China town. It wasn't a big crowd just Blaine and Rachel obviously, Kurt, Finn, Puck, Artie and Mercedes, who through Kurt had met Blaine and Rachel. Chelsea, Damon and Brindley-Ann, who were close friends from NYADA.

The Hudmelman's and Anderberry's made a point of getting together as often as possible on their rare coinciding free nights', since before Kurt and Blaine had orchestrated the combined birthday dinner, having gone to the movies and pizza, as well as free concerts in central park and the zoo, and therefore were all pretty well acquainted with each other.

Although everyone could feel the tension in the air, as much as Finn and Puck tried to hide it when it came to Rachel. If it wasn't so serious it would have been funny, watching Puck the womanizer since age 15, act like a goofy love struck fool using his best manners and even willingly shaving off his beloved mohawk, surprising Rachel at home with bunches of yellow carnations, (her all time favorites being pink tulips) and invites to the baseball games or the gaming arcade or as a special treat the truck show and happily describing the trucks breathing fire, he sounded just like a little boy. Rachel always felt terrible when she turned him down, but knew he would get the wrong idea if she accepted as she was from the first time she met Finn, totally interested in only him.

Finn on the other hand would just ask her if she wanted to have a picnic in the park or to watch the local bands play free concerts or maybe just wander around Central park zoo, not forcing anything, and freely telling her all about his dreams to start his own business and be someone his future kids would be proud of.

"You know I wish that I had Jessie's girl
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman like that?"

Rachel gracefully tried to downplay the best friend's obvious competition for her affections, (secretly enjoying Finn's attempts to get closer to her) by being polite and making sure to always sit between Blaine and Kurt so she wasn't seen to be favoring one guy over the other and hoped that Finn's 'niceness' wouldn't let him give up so he stepped back, because she had to be honest, as much as she liked Noah and thought he was an extremely handsome and funny guy she just wasn't attracted to him like she was his tall cute friend. Who she thought was sexy and cute at the same time and his honest approach to life and the humble way he accepted compliments, just made him more endearing and sweet. Then after she heard how he and his mom had lost his dad during the gulf war and had been on their own till he was 10, made her like him even more and was looking forward to one day soon meeting Mrs Hudson-Hummel again in a social setting.

Rachel had procured Finn's cell number from Kurt begging him to keep it a secret from Noah, and most days sent a friendly good morning text or at least a good night one with a quick recap of her day and with every message exchanged Rachel found herself liking Finn more and more. Falling asleep with a wide smile on her face after reading his cute replies, thinking they were a 100 times better than a bedtime story book.

At the boys' NYU dorm, Artie could read Finn like a book and figured it had to do with their friend's sister, and was happy to stay out of it, he was too busy trying to manage his own love life. Happily trying to decide on which party invite to accept from the long list of ladies who had no problem with his chair, and for the first time in his life finally felt as though he belonged, he didn't get as much action as Puck, (who did?) but for a kid who had lived a pretty sheltered life, he was having the time of his life, not to mention his film school studies were super chill and he was in the middle of writing a script for a TV show he had decided to base off his time in high school, and was totally enjoying switching it around a little so the 'losers' were on top of the heap and the jocks and slutty cheerleaders were on the bottom.


6 pm on the night of the birthday dinner found Finn yelling through the bathroom door trying to hurry Puck along.

"Puck, come on man, or we will be late for Rach's dinner." His voice taking on a soft cadence to it at Rachel's name (Finn was so looking forward to again meeting his room mate's sister in the flesh, he had of course seen her on on Blaine's Skype chat the other week, and they had spent a few glorious minutes… well in his mind it was glorious any way, as well as the couple of movie nights and the late night texting, just talking about things but he thought she definitely seemed interested in him, and he was very keen to see more of her … Not like that you perve… well maybe one day, but for now he wanted to talk to her and hear her beautiful laugh in person, so tonight he had taken extra care with his outfit and personal presentation. He was just a little bit proud of the gift he found her online too, it was an autographed book of old time Broadway stars. thinking she would like the thought, he didn't tell his brother what he got for her coz otherwise he would want it instead (and he wasn't trying to impress Kurt.) He just went along with Kurt's suggestion of perfume and bath products, so his brother wouldn't give him a hard time about not knowing how to, in his words "woo a lady".

"Fuck you Hudson, give a guy a minute, no need to get your panties in a knot, just take 5 and play with ya dick or whatever."

Finn just groaned and went back to the living room where Artie was waiting, watching a movie about caffeinated space aliens and vegetables or something, he didn't pay attention. Just sat on the edge of the couch trying not to crease his classic starched white button up shirt and dress pants.

All the while ignoring Artie's slow smiles and smart-assed comments of "You trying to score or what dude! Cos ya look like a million bucks brah." Holding his fist up to Finn for a bump, chuckling out loud at his friend's grunt of annoyance.

Everyone met outside the The Golden Lantern at 7pm and the minute Finn laid his caramel eyes on Rachel he nearly called for the mail man. She was the most beautiful, sexy woman he'd ever seen. Dressed in a tight fitting pair of black jeans tucked into knee high, high heeled boots, and a soft pink sweater that had a deep neck line and peeking out from underneath was a black lace tanktop cut low enough to give a tantalizing peak at her boobs. Her long dark hair straight and only a little makeup highlighting her beautiful face.

He couldn't do much more than fumble his way through a greeting, handing her the gift bag of perfume and vanilla bubble bath, along with the special parcel and card he chose, adding a soft "Thanks for the invite Rach..., Chinese food is my favorite after Italian." His face was burning from the heat of his blush and he felt a little light headed especially when she put a tiny hand on his wrist and rubbing her thumb against his bare pulse point then leaning up on her tippy toes, cupping his cheek in her other hand and pressing a soft kiss of thanks on his cheek that seemed to last an eternity, before locking her big brown eyes on his and sending him a tender smile filled with something he couldn't quite figure out at the moment due to the fog in his head. But knew instantly that he wanted to be the only recipient of her smiles and kisses for as long as he lived!

Puck was next to give her his gift of a box of fancy shaped chocolates, which was accepted in the same polite way with a quiet "Thankyou Noah" followed by a soft peck on his cheek but there wasn't any body contact, long looks or special smiles. Consequently as much as he wanted to ignore it, the electricity between his tall best friend and the tiny brunette was off the meter and obvious to anyone that he, Noah Puckerman stood no chance at being a contender in the race to win Rachel Berry's heart..., that race had already been already run and won by a mile, by one Finn Hudson. Knowing there was no point in chasing someone that wouldn't and couldn't love him back. He resigned himself to just being a friend and promising he would look after Rachel in the event Finn couldn't he just hoped he wouldn't loose his best friend and brother, just because he had got himself a girl and he wants her to be his!

"And I'm lookin' in the mirror all the time
Wonderin' what she don't see in me
I've been funny; I've been cool with the lines
Ain't that the way love's supposed to be?"

Even though he knew he was fighting a losing battle in the war for Rachel, Puck was silently stewing about the fact that HE saw Rachel first, and what happened to the bro code, his inner voice is loud in his head. "So why are you tucking your tail between your legs like a wus Puckerman huh? Hudson isn't her boyfriend, she is still unattached and a free agent, so instead of cryin' into your freaking soda keep trying." So with renewed faith in his Puckerman charms he digs out his metaphorical Noah hat, and suddenly joins in with the conversation around the table, causing everyone to send him strange looks, as he just blurted out loudly the latest football scores and did everyone see the tackle by that motherfucker # 75 from the Patriots that took out the Jet's QB? He felt slightly stupid then until Mercedes pulled him closer by the collar of his shirt and said.

"You need to listen Puckerman, we were talking about a movie where the guys wife was in a car accident and forgot all about him, and if you want my honest opinion you are wasting your time chasing the birthday girl, coz she only has eyes for Finny D. So do yourself a favor and forget about it."

The looks and body language shared between Finn and Rachel did not go unnoticed by Blaine and Kurt either, the two just smiled and squeezed each others' hands positive that the makings of a classic relationship between their siblings would be a long and pure one and they couldn't be happier.

The birthday duo were having a great time, Kurt and Blaine had put their devious matchmaking minds together when it came to the seating arrangements aswell. Following the circular table around was Rachel, Blaine, Kurt, Mercedes, Puck, Kelsey, Artie, Brindley-Ann, Damon, and Finn.

Leaning across her brother who was happily munching away on a spring roll, Rachel chirps out excitedly to Kurt.

"My goodness Kurt this is a wonderful evening, I'm having so much fun and the company is absolutely perfect, (neither man miss the sideways glance towards Finn) thank you so much for helping Lainey to organise it."

"It was my pleasure Rachel, we had a lot of fun, obviously needing to spend extra time conversing about the details and other such stuff, and do you know we found so many similar interests, that we have decided to to be 'together'"lowering his voice to just a whisper Kurt leans more towards Rachel over Blaine's lap resting one hand on his thigh and says with a giggle "I think he is just a little bit cute and very sexy and those bow ties he always wears make my knees weak. I am very much looking forward to finding out as much as possible, and one day running my hands through his thick curly hair once he washes out all that gel." His face blushing to a deep pink at the thought of spending the night with Blaine at some point in the hopefully not too distant future.

His own smile wide at the beaming, eye sparkling grin on Rachel's face her obvious happiness at that snippet of information, putting the icing on the cake for her evening.

His voice now taking on an inquisitive playful tone he asks with one eyebrow raised in interest "Sooo, what do you think of my brother?" You know he likes you a lot don't you and would love to know more, but is worried you might prefer Puck and being the gentleman he is, won't stand in the way if you aren't interested."

Her pitch rising in alarm Rachel practically shouts at Kurt and jumps in her chair causing the table to shake, Blaine to nearly choke on his food and the subject of the present conversation to send her a worried glance and press a gentle hand on her back.

"NO! I mean no I am not interested in Noah as anymore than a friend, and honestly feel a connection with Finn." A soft inflection takes over her tone at her next words and her face transforms with a look of complete happiness. "I did from the first time we saw each other on Lainy's Skype and I would dearly love to get to know him better, but with our busy schedules it is extremely hard to find free time." She sighs, sadly before sitting back up in her seat and focusing on her dinner deftly using her chopsticks to scoop her stir fry tofu, veggies and fried rice daintily into her mouth.

What she didn't notice of course due to her mind being stuck on the tall handsome man seated next to her was two pairs of eyes watching her every move and trying desperately to hear what she was saying to Kurt each hoping the smile on her beautiful face was because of him. Finn couldn't contain his joy at being seated next to Rachel, and spent the majority of dinner just watching her and saving every laugh or facial expression to memory.

He was completely ignorant of the sad look on poor Puck's face, who from the opposite side of the table was cursing under his breath at his bad luck and even though the pretty blonde Kelsey kept trying to engage him in conversation he was so focused on the tiny brunette birthday girl, his table mate finally lost interest and focused her attentions on Artie, who was more than interested in her company.

Trying hard to listen in on what Finn and Rachel were talking about, Puck heard snippets and rolled his eyes at the way Finn was explaining with the napkins and drink coasters from the table along with the spare chopsticks and cutlery, how his design for the emergency flat pack housing he had as an assignment was coming along. His eyes hardly leaving Rachel's face except when he was eating. Puck was smirking when he noticed his friend being his normal dopey self ended up with some sweet and sour sauce all over his goofy face, making himself look even more stupid by poking his tongue out trying to lick it off. Rachel put her hand on his shoulder and told him with a laugh to stop so she could wipe it with a napkin. Puck's temper was nearly through the roof as he watched Rachel press her tiny hand against Finn's cheek and gently wipe his mouth, blushing a beautiful shade of pink when the fucker pressed his lips against her hand.

I play along with the charade
That doesn't seem to be a reason to change
You know I feel so dirty when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot

The rest of the night was spent at a Karaoke bar a couple of blocks away from the restaurant. The minute they step in the door Kurt drags Rachel up to the stage so they can look through the song book, and they both immediately chose the same song, laughing into each others shoulders and exchanging a high five, before writing their names and song choice on a slip of paper and handing it to the guy running the music machine, making their way back to the booth Blaine had claimed not too far from the stage and dance floor, giggling like preschoolers with their arms looped through each others.

Rachel secretly hoped Finn would sing as she imagined he had a wonderful baritone voice which she knew would blend perfectly with hers. Once back at their table the group of friends chatted more and especially the NYADA ones commented on the people who were attempting and doing badly in their efforts to sing, but have to give them credit for getting up on stage and having a go. Rachel was happily resting against Finn's broad chest on their side of the booth, loving the feeling of his heart beating strongly under her cheek, smiling inside and out at the way his arm was wrapped around her tummy and his thumb caressing the skin on the back of her hand every now and then swiping across the pulse point at her wrist. Every minute she was next to him she felt herself falling further under the spell of Finn Hudson and not wanting to be anywhere else.

When she and Kurt were called for their turn on stage, she quickly but shyly pressed her lips against Finn's cheek before grabbing Kurt's outstretched hand as they raced to the stage and organized a couple of bar stools to sit on, waiting for the music to count them in. Rachel looked in Finn's direction locking her eyes on his and sent him a bright smile. He just smiled back, his fingers pressing against the spot on his cheek that was still tingling from her soft lips, and sent his new but already strong feelings for her across the noisy crowded bar, waiting to hear her voice, and MAN-O-MAN! Was it ever worth the wait... He is speechless at the magic leaving her throat, his eyes were glued to her face and he was mentally cataloguing every expression and movement. He wasn't paying attention to anything thing else going on around him and obviously missed the long looks his brother was sending across the room. Or the way Puck had moved from the table and closer to the bar. His only focus was on the petite woman letting him know through song how she felt about him.

"I've been alone with you
Inside my mind
And in my dreams I've kissed your lips
A thousand times
I sometimes see you
Pass outside my door
Is it me you're looking for?
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You're all I've ever wanted
And my arms are open wide..."


About a week after the Anderberry twins birthday dinner and just a few days before school finished for Christmas break, Blaine, Kurt, Finn and Rachel organised to have a 'couples'day out just being tourists, while the weather was still reasonably mild. Rachel was excited to spend some one on one time with Finn, and was hurrying Kurt along so they wouldn't be late. Arriving at the designated spot at Battery Park to find only Noah waiting.

Racing up to Rachel and enveloping her in a tight hug, trying to press his lips against her hers, he says happily "Hi Rachie, it's great to see you babe, man you look good! Finn and Blaine can't come because of a last minute class, coz their teachers were a married couple and goin' on leave, and the exam results made up a big part of this semesters grades or some shit, so there was no way they could miss it. It didn't bother me coz the Puckerone don't take the same lame math class or whatever, you know in 4 years of high school I never attended a math class, wicked huh? But now we can have a boss time together babe and make magic happen 'IYKWIM'?"

Rachel had wriggled out of his tight hold and once the shock of Noah's surprise actions had gone she just wiped her mouth on her sleeve and wiped her tears moving as close to Kurt as possible as she tried to ignore him, but Puck not put off by her actions just wiggled his eyebrows and sent her a flirty wink adding quietly, "If we can lose Hummel we can have even more 1 on 1 fun right babe?"

Not wanting to be rude but her disappointment clearly showing, Rachel just nodded and added sadly "Thank you Noah for the information" and offered him a tight closed mouth smile and moved further away from him lest he attempt to kiss her again. Before looping her arm through Kurt's and guiding him in the direction of the lookout.

At the sad look on Rachel's face, Puck let out a big sigh and a few choice curse words, kicking himself for coming on too freaking strong and wondering for the millionth freaking time why he was still chasing a girl who clearly wasn't interested and obviously wanted someone else.

"I play along with the charade
That doesn't seem to be a reason to change
You know I feel so dirty when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot..."

Kurt to his credit knew Rachel wasn't interested in Puck as anything more than a friend, so tried to keep the conversation friendly and geared towards Christmas and how he was looking forward to his mom's special baked ham and his favorite mixed vegetable casserole and creamy mashed potatoes along with all the other traditional things like, singing Christmas Carol's in the local old peoples home. He then reminisced about the time in high school when his glee club tried to raise money for the local homeless shelter, by going into different classes and singing for the kids and teachers, but had abuse and even shoes thrown at them, so in the end they just sang for the teachers in the faculty lounge and brought the tough nasty cheer coach to tears. Kurt started giggling as he told Rachel about the year when they were about 13 and Finn sneakily added some brandy to the bowl of eggnog and everyone even their grandparents got tiddly, which ended up in the funniest game of charades he'd ever been part of, adding there was probably a video somewhere at home and if he remembered he would look it out to show her one day. Not to mention he was glad he'd done all his gift shopping in New York, as the shops at home were a paltry second place- getter to those here.

But the fact both his friends were Jewish (well Rachel at any rate followed Jewish practices Puck on the other hand wasn't bothered as he had basicly grown up with Finn and Carole he just went along with what they, and later on the Hudson-Hummel's way of doing things), made his conversation a little one sided, instead he asked about the traditions and special foods eaten over the course of Hanukkah.

Kurt listened while Rachel quietly volunteered a few things but he could tell her mind wasn't really in the conversation, he instead hoped his brother would arrive sooner rather than later. But he would do what he could to keep Puckerman away from trying anything again, because if he does, so help him Kurt has a good mind to call Finn but knows it would interfere with his exam and he knows how much a good score means to him, But he will tell him what happened, he knows Rachel is feeling awful and like she cheated on Finn even though they aren't an actual real couple yet.

He was rather disappointed himself that Blaine wasn't there as he was hoping for some just 'Klaine time', but now he wouldn't leave Rachel alone. She tried to make the best of the situation, by putting her acting skills to full use and showing a more than a normal interest in the landmarks and the information boards in the park hoping that very soon Finn and Blaine would show up.

Meanwhile Puck had been secretly taking nips from his hidden hip flask of contraband Jack Daniels. Walking up to Rachel who was laughing at Kurt while they were standing at the railing overlooking the water, and getting as close as possible. Then all of a sudden she fell against Noah's chest… he on the spur of the moment took the chance, by wrapping her in a strong vise like hold squeezing her bottom with one hand, and kissing her straight on the mouth, his tongue pressed firmly against her mouth, easily stopping any sounds from escaping...

Finn was glad to be out of the last minute exam, and was so looking forward to meeting up with Rach and spending together, one of her rare days off before they went home for Christmas break. Blaine sent him a text saying he would be there ASAP but could he please let Kurt know, and as he wanted to get to Battery park quickly he took a cab, hoping Rachel and Kurt were still there. He was also hoping that Puck hadn't decided to just gate-crash and try something stupid, Finn knew full well of his buddy's interest in the stunning tiny brunette, but wasn't going to stand back again and let the best thing in life disappear and this time the feelings swirling around his mind and body were the real thing! Not just a naive high schooler's idea of it.

Sitting in the bright yellow cab ignoring the sounds of impatient honking and abuse yelled by other drivers, Finn's thoughts rewound over the past few weeks..., well since her and Blaine's birthday dinner really, that he and Rach had got to know each other better, and really liked what they had saw and through many long texting and regular Skype conversations had become very close. Making a deal of sorts to not date anyone else as they wanted to be a real couple once they could spend some quality time together and were trying to work in a trip to each others home towns over the break. She had been totally honest with him from the beginning in saying that she wasn't interested in Noah as anything more than a friend and her brother's dorm-mate. Finn's jealously was obvious and must of translated into his text messages when he told her that Puck would keep trying to date her. He calmed down after she stopped texting (which made him think he had upset her) and video called him telling him in a long strongly worded dialogue him that there was no way Noah would get first place, because she was only interested in very tall, sexy guys with gorgeous dimples and cute freckles, and a full head of hair that she can't wait to run her fingers through when they make out...

So with a beaming happy smile he was now hurrying along the board-walk nearly getting run over by a loud noisy group of kids on roller-blades and bikes. Smiling goofily as he spotted Rach just a couple of feet along the path kissing Puck… his brother grabbing at Puck's arm and waving his arms around wildly. Finn quickens his pace for the last bit and stops suddenly seeing Rachel wiggle out of Puck's hold.

WAIT… WHAT… KISSING HIM? WHAT THE FUCK...? Then he witnesses Kurt slapping Puck across the face and yelling, his normally pale face now a bright red color.

Kurt is worriedly wringing his hands together and biting his lip as he looks between his brother who is now standing just behind Puck and turning a deep shade of red despite the coldness in the air, his hands formed into tight fists at his side, and the other two people.

But Finn's voice seems to have got lost because all he can utter when he locks eyes with Rachel standing there wiping her little hands over her cheeks and mouth. Her beautiful face tear streaked. Is a strangled

"R-Rach…?" before dropping his head sadly, turning around and walking slowly to the nearest bench, not really hearing Kurt's high pitched angry tone, or the call of his name. His head was a whirlpool of so many different emotions it felt like it was going to explode. But it was in his heart where he felt the most pain.

"Rachel, go talk to him honey and get him to listen, coz you are the only one he will hear. I'll try and get some sense through to this idiot with the mohawk. Here just fix your makeup, your tears are making you look like a raccoon." smiling at a teary Rachel Kurt hands over his little hand mirror and a pack of wipes. Leaning down to press a soft kiss on her cheek and whispering the words "It will be ok, just explain, I will back you up all the way, you did nothing wrong so don't worry I know he loves you."

Rachel spends a few hurried minutes trying to make herself presentable but not really caring about her appearance, because her man sitting on the bench looking like a lost little boy was more her priority at this moment in time.

His own voice full of emotion and his eyes misting with angry tears he shakes his stinging hand and lets Puck have it once Rachel is out of earshot. Not even caring that Puck is still rubbing his sore cheek and his tanned visage is now as pale as Kurt usually is.

"MY GOD, WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PUCKERMAN HUH? Why do you always have to hurt him like that over girls', you know damn well Rachel has never been interested in you in that way and now you have to go and ruin everything, GOD, did high school and cheating, lying cheerleaders, not teach you anything about messing with his relationships, he is in love with Rachel and she him, even freaking Patches the blind hobo from the park at home could tell why couldn't you huh?"

Watching Puck's face fall with the realization of his actions but not really feeling bad for berating him, Kurt lowers his voice and says.

"He has been there for you since forever Noah and forgiven you even after all that mess in high school. I'd would have hoped you'd learned your lesson and realised how much it hurts him every time you mess up, because not only do you hurt him but more importantly he feels you let yourself down as well, coz he knows you are way better than that, and the fact you needed freaking alcohol, to give you the balls to kiss someone who wants to be with someone else is utterly deplorable. You are going to have to dig very, very deep, my friend to find a way of apologizing to both of them, and promising to never do anything like ever again especially if you want him to trust you again. I am telling you now Noah, they are the real deal!"

Kurt takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself down, and as he turns his head to look at his brother and best friend, who are sitting on the bench, their bodies angled towards the other but their eyes focused on the water, he notices Puck from the corner of his eye watching Finn and Rachel too, and Kurt smiles softly thinking their closeness is a good omen as neither have got up and left yet.

"And she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body, I just know it!
And he's holding her in his arms late, late at night

You know I wish that I had Jessie's girl
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman like that?"

Slowly walking over to him and sitting down turning towards him, not too close in case he wanted to leave, but not too far away that she'd have to raise her voice to make herself heard. Rachel starts with a soft "Hi"

Her greeting answered by a sharp head nod and a deep sad sigh.

Rachel takes a deep breath saying softly, "Can you please look at me and let me explain what happened Finn?"

Finn looks up at her then, his beautiful eyes awash with unashamed tears but with an underlying haunted look that comes with old pain, his normal baritone voice shaky with emotion, as he croaks out his words.

"What is there to say Rachel, you were kissing him AND after telling me you wanted there to be an us…"

His hands start to comb through his hair in agitation as he tries to control himself.

"I shoulda known that stupid fucking mo-hawk and smooth words would steal my girl away again..."

He lets out another deep sad sigh and shrugs his shoulders, makes to get up when all of a sudden his lap is filled with an angry Rachel Berry who has cupped her mittened hands over his cheeks and is forcing his head in her direction so his eyes look directly into hers. Her voice taking on a hard edge as she reacted to Finn's statement.


Her harsh tone and curse words shocking Finn into silence, all he can do is nod his head waiting for her to continue. In a much gentler and tender voice Rachel says "Thankyou baby, now please believe me that NO ONE is going to steal me away from you, and what you just saw was all Noah. He surprised us by being here in your stead and was so obnoxiously happy to inform Kurt and I that you and Lainey had a last minute exam and that you wouldn't be coming, telling me with that ridiculous eyebrow wiggle and leery grin that we could have heaps of one on one fun, even being childish and using the acronym for 'If you know what I mean', once we got rid of Kurt. Of course I made no move to show him I was interested in his attentions as I think I've made it perfectly clear to the wider populace and even my Dads', who by the way like you very much, that I am interested in you, and only YOU! I have to say though Finn, I'm extremely hurt that you obviously think so little of me and my morals that I would run to your best friend the minute you were out of sight."

"Aww Rach It's just…" Ignoring the sad puppy eyes Rachel continues, smiling gently at Finn's defeated sigh, but she was pleased to feel his hands go around her hips holding her on his lap and the soft kiss he pressed against her shoulder.

"What you just witnessed is this, Kurt and I were standing at the railing just watching the boats and a wind surfer hoping you and Lainey would arrive soon, I was laughing at Kurt's antics as he tried to escape the spray of the water getting on his boots and fancy new expensive scarf, when a group of kids came screaming past on their bikes and roller blades, weaving all over the path as I was trying to quickly get out of their way, I stumbled a little and caught my heel on the path edge, falling against Noah's chest. I hadn't even realized he was so close, and obviously thinking he had been given the green light he immediately wrapped his arms around me squeezing my bottom roughly and pressing his mouth hard against mine using his tongue trying to force my mouth open. Just like he did after he told us you guys wouldn't be coming. I was attempting to get away, but he held me so tightly."

Her voice now lost its toughness, she starts to cry pressing her face into Finn's neck for a moment before raising her teary face and again locking eyes with Finn. "But you have to know baby I kept my mouth shut both times because of the shock of his forceful actions and the fact he smelt like alcohol, then Kurt was tugging on his arm and..."

At Rachel's words of Puck forcing himself on her, Finn's blood is boiling and he sends, a hard glare across the way to his 'friend', suddenly lifting Rachel off his lap and on to the seat then storming over to where Kurt and Puck are standing, ignoring Rachel's pleas for him to stop, and before anyone can stop him he lands a series of hard punches right on Pucks jaw.

Surprised at the speed of Finn's angry action Puck put up no fight to defend himself instead he just staggered back against the railing, knowing full well he deserved it. Finn's tone was soft in volume, but it's meaning bit deep as the words left his mouth through clenched teeth.

"This time Puckerman I don't know if I can let it go as easily as I did before, so just leave me the hell alone asshole until I decide whether or not to forgive you. Oh and if you try to kiss Rach again you'll get more of the same!" He turns to walk away but before he gets more than half a dozen steps he suddenly spins around and steps closer, his much taller frame towering over Puck and with angry tears glistening on his lashes he whispers sadly but softly, barely loud enough for his friend to hear. "How could you do this to me again, 'specially after last time, you broke the code... I -I trusted you, this is IT for me man! You knew ages ago how I felt about Rach… that I was in love with her!"

Once he had said his piece Finn walks away, stopping toe to toe in front of Rachel, taking hold of the tiny brunette's hand and pressing it to his mouth for a tender kiss before requesting softly, "can I please kiss you?"

As Rachel nods it causes her tears to drip off her chin, he then sends her a soft caring smile and very tenderly kisses her on the mouth in a series of short pecks each one lasting longer than the previous one, both he and Rachel releasing a deep audible sigh at the electric jolt that rushes around their bodies igniting all their nerve endings, and making them feel truly alive for the first time in their lives. Pulling away Finn says in a watery voice his teary eyes shining "Can we please go somewhere private and talk, and maybe you will consider being my girlfriend now instead of later, I know we can make it work Rach and I promise to do whatever I need to always be there for you, I love you. I passed a little café on my way here and it is too cold for you outside now, I don't want you to catch a chill."

Leaving Kurt standing there watching them with his hands pressed against his mouth and his eyes soft, Finn and Rachel make their way along the path passing Blaine on the way and as he notices their watery eyes and the way Rachel's hands are wrapped around Finn's arm, asks if everything is ok Rachel just leans up, without letting go of Finn to press a kiss on her brothers cheek saying everything is just perfectly, wonderful now, but Kurt will tell him.

Blaine told Rachel later that night, that after she and Finn left, Puck just seemed to deflate and looked on the verge of crying, and when he got home he locked himself in his room and was playing the old Rick Springfield song from the 80's 'Jessie's Girl' on repeat and at volume, till Finn came home. Then silently got his bedding, laptop and some clothes and moved into the living room, Poor Artie had no clue what was going on but wisely didn't ask too many questions, but the tension in the apartment is so thick a chainsaw would have trouble cutting through.


Two days before they were due to leave New York and go home to Lima for Christmas Puck was trying to muster up the courage and try to and again apologize to his best friend and takes the opportunity as they were the only two at home, when he finds him standing at the kitchen counter, concentrating on wrapping his Christmas gifts.

"Um… Finn, can I um... talk to you please?"

Finn stays focused on his task over exaggerating the precise way he is folding the paper and exact placement of the sticky tape, just acknowledging his friend by way of a slight shoulder shrug.

"Shit Finn can you just listen to me for one freaking second."

The speed in which Finn spun around made Puck jump thinking he was gonna get another punch in the face,(which was still bruised and slightly puffy, god knows what Mom will say when she sees him).

"What is there to say Puck, huh? (1)You were drinking in public even though you are still not 21, and (2) you forced yourself onto Rach, and I'm just 'sposed to just let it go and be best buddies again… Shit man you are better than that and if the college Dean heard about that you'd most probably lose your damn scholarship an'get your ass kicked outa here, don't you wanna be better that? Or are you just gonna go back to Lima like a loser and go nowhere for the rest of your life huh? So just leave me be and one day maybe I'll want to talk to you." turning his back on Puck he continues with his task.

Knowing how much he had hurt Finn but still wanting to get the heavy weight of guilt off his chest he stands up tall and sucks in a deep breath and starts his well rehearsed speech.

"No Finn I'ma gonna stand here till you listen to me. Coz you're right man I know what I did was wrong and yes it was stupid to be drinking, but I was so jealous that you had found a girl to love you just for you, it's always been the same ya know, even when we where kids your Mom loved you with no conditions then you got Burt and Kurt and even though Momma H took me and Miri in and loved us like her own it still hurt. High school you were always everyone's favorite and I tried so hard to be like you, but failed every time. But you gotta know man I promise to never do that to you again and even though we aren't brothers by blood I love you like one and I'm so very sorry. I know you and Rachel are the real thing and well yeah… Thanks for listening Finn. I've said my bit so I'll go and leave you in peace."

Finn acknowledged Puck by just a nod of his head, his back still turned away from him, thinking how much it cost Puck to stand up to him and apologize. Finn had already decided to forgive Puck and after a long conversation (one that included a lot of talking with no words and just lips) with his girlfriend knows she wasn't hurt just surprised and a little scared, but he supposes everything worked out he and Rach are together. But just to make sure Puck understands and knows that he could have blown his shot at being better than Lima he thinks he will let him stew for a bit longer but he ever comes onto Rach again drunk or not he will be having a conversation with Finn's fist. Continuing with his parcel wrapping, happier than he has been since the other day at the Battery Park, he starts to whistle one of his favorite Christmas songs,

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, dashing through the snow..."


By the time school went back after Christmas break things between Finn and Puck had apparently been settled according to Kurt who was telling Rachel the first night back in their dorm.

"The guys..., well Puck anyway, made a solemn promise to Finn that he would leave you alone, but would be there to watch out for you if ever Finn couldn't be, with no funny business, and of course being the silly boys they are the deal was sealed with a wrestling match then pizza and bowling which is why Noah might have a couple of tender ribs. But you won't have to worry about being drunkenly molested again Rachel, because Noah knows he will loose Finn forever if he tries anything ever again and that is I think his biggest worry."

At Rachel soft eyes and little smile Kurt continues his story,

"Noah hasn't really had it easy his whole life, of course I've only really known him and his twin sister Miriam who is the exact opposite BTW, since Mom and Dad got together when us boys were about 8 or 9, but from what I've seen and heard since, Mrs Puckerman sort of decided that being at home with twins was too much like hard work, so she got a job as a cocktail waitress when they were about 6, most nights leaving the kids to fend for themselves. Her husband was never around much either so Mom pretty much brought the kids up Noah had been Finn's best friend since kindergarten, and by the time we were all in high school and Miriam and I had both openly admitted we were gay, the boys spent most of their days thumping anyone who gave us a hard time, cementing their bro bond further.

And so when Finn started to date the popular head cheerleader in junior year, he was totally smitten with her telling anyone who would listen that she was the ONE! and I spose Puck got jealous of Finn spending his free time with her and changing their 'bro dynamics', for all his tough bad boy, deep down all Puck has ever really wanted was stability and someone to love the Noah inside the tough baddass, and thought it would be a good idea to go after the girl too, afterall they have always shared everything else..."

At Rachel's sharp gasp of surprise and deep frown, Kurt just shrugged, patted her hand and continued with his story.

"Well to cut a long story short the girl ended up pregnant, and told Finn it was his baby, the baby was (so the girl said) conceived after the one time they had fooled around naked in her parents hot tub. Even though my brother might not be the most eloquent or a Rhodes scholar type, he knew how babies were made, and was trying to figure out how it could have happened with no um… you know actual touching of bits… before he confronted the girl., He didn't want to believe she had cheated on him, but he knew they'd never had sex, after all they'd only been dating a couple of months and he is positive he would remember doing it.

Poor Kurt is blushing a deep shade of red at the thought, and Rachel is giggling softly, at his embarrassment.

"Then a couple of weeks later at a celebration party for the football team winning the district championship, Noah let the cat out of the bag so to speak when he was drunkenly bragging to the other guys that he had finally, using his Puckerone charm and his impressive Jewish love bone, had managed to bed the head cheerio, but he didn't know Finn was within hearing distance and heard every word."

Watching Rachel's eyes turn nearly black with anger Kurt continues.

"Well the shit hit the fan well and truly, because the girl was just trying to cover her mistake, knowing full well that it couldn't have been Finn's as they had only been dating for just over 2 months at that stage and she was already 1 month along. And for 6 of those 8 weeks, Finn had been laid up with a broken leg and arm from a car accident caused by a drunk driver."

Rachel is aghast at the thought of her sweet Finn being lied to and nearly tricked into a life he didn't want, especially at that stage in his life.

"Well I thought Finn would thump the living daylights out of his friend but all he did, was obviously break up the girl quite publicly in the quad at school, when she accused him of not showing her enough attention and demanding he pay for the doctors bills and stuff. Then when Puck came over to see what was going on, and realized Finn was breaking up with HER, thinking now he might get a chance, he asked Finn what the matter was, Finn could only shake his head in disbelief at the stupidity of Puck's question, Then the girl stuck her surgically enhanced plastic nose into the public scrimmage blaming Puck for getting her drunk, and making her sleep with him. Plus there was no freaking way was he was ever going to see the kid. Puck didn't know where to look at first, then he opens his stupid mouth, digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole by saying "what can I say man, she was beggin' me for more, after the third time and be honest babe you weren't that drunkbut hey you are obviously done with her now and off the hook with the kid an' all, so babe, me and you?" then holding up his fist asking Finn "are we cool?" My stunned speechless brother looked Puck up and down simply saying NO and then walked away. All Puck got for his trouble was a hard slap to the face courtesy of said girl and a mouthful of abuse.

Then once the baby was born it was adopted out and the girl went back to being her vicious nasty self, treading all over the ones who had been nice enough to help her out and invite her to live in their homes once her parents kicked her out for being a disgrace. The parents then took her back and carried on like she had just exchanged a pair of shoes or a dress or something. Puck hadn't been given any say in what happened with the baby, she had apparently signed a secret confidentially clause or something so no one could legally find the child, he obviously couldn't look after it, Mom offered to be guardian, but the bitch told everyone to mind their own effing business and butt out. She didn't even hold or name the baby or even want to know the sex, and she certainly didn't want anything to do with Puck just treated him like he was crap on her shoe. He never even saw his own kid, and to this day has no clue as to whether it was a boy or girl or even where the adoptive parents live.

He went through a real dark time after that, always getting into trouble, truanting from school and the like and even did a stint in Juvie for trying to steal an ATM machine, which if he was to tell the truth scared the crap out of him. He had always thought of himself as 'badass' but after mixing with real ones in jail he soon changed his mind and tried to fit in a bit more with us regular folks.

It took till just about the end of senior year for them to get back to the old Finn and Noah, I honestly think that is how their scholarships' came about because they put so much of their anger and hurt into their game the team started to win and they shined so much brighter than the other useless losers, plus coach Beiste actually knew what he was talking about and taught them what they needed to know, the one before Ken Tanaka, knew more about ice hockey and was apparently a championship coach somewhere up in Canada or Alaska."

With tears in her eyes Rachel hops up from the sofa, hugs Kurt and whispers a soft "thankyou for telling me all that Kurt, I'm just going to call my Finny now, so I'll see you in the morning yeah?"

While she waits for Finn to pick up Rachel's mind is buzzing with the info Kurt just imparted, and her heart was crying for the two boys, one she wanted desperately at this minute to hug and kiss till she couldn't breathe, and the other tell him that she is so very sorry she is unable to love him like he wants but not to give up and to keep believing in himself that he was good enough and worthy of happiness.

When her boyfriend's soft "Hi Rach..." reaches her ears her heart was thrumming like a humming birds wings and she suddenly gets all teary.

"H-hey baby how are you? did you have a good trip back?"

Finn's soft concerned voice makes Rachel even more emotional as she tries to contain it

"Baby girl is everything ok? You sound sad."

"I miss you and want to hug you so bad, but I can't because you're not here." Her sobs making her stammer a little. K-Kurt told me w-what h-happened in high school and I-I just want you to know I'd never ever do anything like that…"

Sighing deeply, his heart hurting at the fact Rach was sad for him over something that happened years ago he says, "Rach, baby please don't upset yourself, Puck and I are ok now and he knows what will happen if he ever tries anything again, and as for that girl I know you'd never do anything like she did and even though I thought she was the one, now I've met you I've realized she was nothing compared to you. But I don't want to talk about him or her that is all in the very distant past I just now want to focus on the future and the woman I have my eye on, I mean she must the right one if my heart does all these weird flips and jumps every-time I hear her voice or smell her soft vanilla perfume, and how her tiny hand fits perfectly in mine, or the fact I can't sleep without talking to her on the phone before I go to bed don'tca reckon? Now tell me about your trip back I know we have talked everyday but I miss hearing your beautiful voice, so are you all set for your winter showcase, I can't wait to see you up on that stage singing, can you tell me which song you've picked or is that a super NYADA secret?"

Giggling softly as she sniffs away her tears and wipes her eyes, Rachel shakes her head saying," No it's not a secret but I want it to be a surprise so you will have to be patient Mr Hudson, but just know that every word I sing is exactly how I feel about you. I have to go to bed now baby, I've an early dance class tomorrow and my teacher hates me as it is so I need to be as fresh and relaxed as possible but I will talk to you tomorrow night ok!"

"Ok babe sleep well, and Rach? Thanks for being you and finding me."

"Oh Finny, I love you and together we can be part of something special, goodnight baby, sleep well maybe we can Skype tomorrow night coz I'll need to see your handsome face it helps me sleep after a tough day."

"Goodnight Babe and just for the record I love you too so very much, and I can't wait to see your beautiful face even if you are all sweaty from class, that is a real turn on you know, I could even even help with your relaxing..."

Spending a few minutes each expecting the other to hang up, and after her loud yawn Finn finally hanging up the phone, with one last "I love you baby" Rachel's face is alight with happiness and love for her man, and as she prepares for bed her minds drifts to Finn's suggestions and she hopes very soon to have some proper together time, as she is more than ready to take the next step in their relationship, she softly sings the words to one of her favorite love songs and the one she will be singing in the showcase at school.

"My love,

There's only you in my life

The only thing that's bright

My first love

You're every breath that I take

You're every step that I make

And I

I want to share

All my love with you

No one else will do

And your eyes

Your eyes, your eyes

They tell me how much you care

Ooh yes, You will always be

My endless love..."

To Be Continued:

A/N: I hope you enjoyed the first part, and yes I know I probably don't have the college/subjects info right, Being Australian I have no clue as to how American college classes are timetabled, therefore I have combined information I found online from a few different colleges to make it fit with my story, however as this is fan fiction I figured it worked pretty well.

Though I would appreciate someone passing on a basic high-school/college timetable for general studies and or sports scholarships' that I can use in future stories. If you can help please PM me.

The 2nd part will have a time jump to when Finchel and their friendsare older and finished college, I hope you will stick around for that, Thanks for reading

Lyrics to 'Jessie's girl' belong to the very talented and still sexy Rick Springfield.

Endless love by Lionel Ritchie

**Keep on drumming**