Disclaimer: I don't own Glee all rights belong to Ryan Murphy and Fox…I'm only borrowing the characters for a little bit of fun writing! I also don't own the song Hot Mess, that belongs to Cobra Starship and anything else referenced is also not mine!
Rachel Berry was currently starring in a new play that had landed in New York City a year ago. She had been extremely excited to get the part. After she'd graduated from high school, her dads had gotten her an apartment and she had done the rest. They had given her a window of two years to break into show biz, stating that if she was unsuccessful, she would enroll in some college either there or in Ohio. She had reluctantly agreed.
Last night's performance had been a great one, she was just getting in this Wednesday am at six o'clock when she received an unusual phone call. She had barely locked all her deadbolts when her phone started ringing. The "Hot Mess" ring tone echoed loudly through her loft apartment. Scrambling to flip it open and finish locking the door was proving to be a difficult task for someone as inebriated as she was at the moment.
"Hello?" Rachel knew she slurred that, but she didn't care right now.
"Rachel? Hi, it's Shelby…your mom." Rachel nearly dropped the phone.
"Why are you calling me? It's six in the morning and I just got in from last night's cast party. I haven't spoken to you in five fucking years. Why now?" Okay so maybe she shouldn't have downed so many glasses of wine. Because she's being a snappy drunken bitch.
"Um, you're right, Rachel. I should have waited at least a few more hours. But I've been up all night myself. Rach, I got some really bad news yesterday…" Shelby trails off here, and before she can continue, Rachel is sighing audibly.
"What bad news?" Rachel sounds exhausted and indifferent to her "mother" but, hellfire, she never cared to contact Rachel before. It seems odd that she would be calling now. After five years?
"I um…I'm sick. The doctors said that I'm actually dying, from breast cancer. You're my next of kin and I don't have anyone else. I want you, Beth, and I to get to know each other. Before it's too late." This was not the kind of conversation Rachel envisioned having after such a successful night. And wow…she hadn't thought about Beth in years either. Rachel suddenly felt very dizzy.
"Where are you, Shelby? Still in Ohio?" Rachel tries desperately to compose herself. The only mother she's never known is dying and she hadn't even thought of the fact that Puck and Quinn's little girl was technically her sister.
"Yeah, I am. I have to go wake Beth for school. She's in Kindergarten this year. I would really love for you to come visit as soon as you're available. It would mean…so much to me, Rach." Rachel smiles to herself, she really wanted to have a mother, her dads had been great. They still were, coming to see her perform at every chance they could get away from Lima. But there was something about a girl and her mother, or at least she'd always heard that.
"Okay, I'll try to get there this weekend. Call me if you need or want to talk about anything, Shelby." Once her "mother" said thank you and goodbye, Rachel walked over to her bed and laid diagonally across it.
She was completely exhausted physically and now she felt it mentally and emotionally! Shelby Corcoran calling her at six in the morning, giving her this news, is just something she'd never thought she'd ever hear. Especially from this woman, whom gave her up from birth and again at sixteen. Only to adopt another little girl, without ever having any sort of relationship with the first one. It was all too much, she didn't want to think about it, but it kept playing over and over in her mind.
Her tears came unexpectedly fast, her mother was dying and her sister was going to be alone…unless Rachel could form a relationship with the two before it was too late.
Five hours later…
Noah Puckerman had just gotten back into town. He had spent the last year traveling around the United States. He had been working odd end jobs and decided to come home and finally get a permanent one. He had actually earned a degree in Digital Media at James A. Rhodes State College. Puck still couldn't believe he'd made it into community college with Finn who had earned his degree in Humanities. They had been so hell bent on getting out of Lima that it made no sense at first. Finn of course was still here, working for the town Mayor. Believe it or not, Finn's experience being co-captain in glee club had inspired him to become a public speaker. While Puck's degree had been inspired by the cartoon pictures he'd drawn of former classmates all over McKinley High's bathrooms. He was now able to get a job in animation or video games, another of his loves.
He stood outside his mother's house, ringing the doorbell. He hoped like hell she was home. He knew his sister was at school, but his mom had obviously changed the locks because his key was no longer working.
"Shit!" Puck screamed as he tried for the fourth time to unlock the door. And tried the bell just once more. No answer.
He began wondering around the house looking for another way in; an open window or the back door?
He didn't see any open windows, that kinda blows! So now he was standing outside the back door. He turned the handle, it moved but didn't open…this door had a new deadbolt on it. But no worries, a misspent youth had its advantages. He took out his driver's license and slid it inside the door jam and voila! It opened. He rubbed his hand together in an attempt to congratulate his inner criminal.
The house looked the same, hell he'd only been gone a year. He wondered if his room was still as messy as he had left it. Puck pounded up the stairs and into the first room at the top.
"Damn. Someone's been busy in here. This shit is sparkling! Go mom!" Puck expressed his inner thoughts aloud, probably because he didn't like being in such a quiet place. He instantly dropped his travel back pack on the floor and laid down on his made bed. It was relaxing to be home and not being in some random hotel or sleeping on the subway, depending on where he'd end up for the night. He quickly fell asleep wondering if Finn would be available later.
New York City
Rachel woke up a few hours later, she looked at her phone. One o'clock, she was still so sleepy though she knew she needed to get up and start talking to some airline. She needed a flight for Friday night, luckily this weekend was a big deal convention at the theater. She would be off and able to visit Lima. She supposed she should be happy to see her dads again, though she needed to call them first and let them know what was going on. Shelby hadn't said it was a secret after all, so she could tell them.
Rachel ate some brunch with a Bloody Mary to ease the hangover. Then called her dads to let them know she would be coming home this weekend. They were excited, then she explained why and that made them very concerned as well.
"I don't know, dad. She didn't say how long she had to live. That didn't come up. She just said she'd gotten the news yesterday. Yes, I know. I think that's what she's going for, she wants to ensure Beth's well being." Rachel was a bit annoyed, cause her dad was speaking to her like a child. She was 21 goddamn years old now. But she also understood he was worried about her well being. Something he seemed to condemn Shelby about for not considering right now. Rachel rolled her eyes.
"Rachel, I'm just worried this might be too much for you to handle. I mean, she's not been around or there for you and now she expects you to be there for her and the daughter she adopted." Dad, Jeffrey, sounds a little upset. Not nearly as upset as daddy, Brian, would have been. Because Brian is more the "mommy" of the dads. Rachel gets both points of views. It would be nice to get a woman's opinion on some things. Rachel just looks at it as there is still some time to be a daughter with a mom and a sister.
Once she hangs up with Jeffrey, she starts thinking back to how she felt being around someone else's little sister. And oddly that someone is the biological father of her adopted sister. The world is very STRANGE.
"Noah? Noah? NOAH!" Ariel Puckerman's voice was soft at first, then increased in volume as she shook her big brother. She was trying desperately to wake him.
"Huh, wha? Ariel, shit! You scared the hell out of me!" Puck finally woke up, he wasn't sure it was the shouting or the jolt from being woken that had him dazed and confused.
"How did you get in here, shithead?" Ariel's hazel eyes burned into his as she stood there with her arms crossed over her chest. She was pretty scary for a fifteen year old. Her dark brown hair was cut into one of those stacked in the back bobs with it chin length in front, she had thick purple streaks framing her face and a nose ring.
"I used my license, cause the fucking locks have been changed!" Now that he was fully awake, Puck was pissed. And he was really disappointed in his sister's appearance, "why the hell did you do that to your face? What's with the purple shit in your hair and that ring in your schnozz?"
"Look, asshole, mom is allowing me to express myself. Aren't you kinda like the pot calling the kettle black? You had that Mohawk." Ariel pointedly replies. He rolls his eyes then pulls her in for a hug. She rolls hers as well but squeezes only slightly.
"So, why are the locks different? Was she trying to keep me out?" Puck genuinely seems concerned that maybe his mom has finally snapped and wants nothing to do with him.
Ariel sighs, "No. We got broken in a few times, they didn't take anything. Cause I screamed when I heard the door kicked in, I guess they got scared and left."
Puck thinks about this, shit. If only he were living here again, maybe these things wouldn't happen. He bets it's some punk ass kid who's realized there's no man in the house.
"Well, that shit won't happen again. Cause I'm here and I'll parade around outside the house so they know there's a man here now!" He puffs his chest up in that protective cretin way. Ariel laughs, because she's seriously missed him. Imagine that.
"Fine. But don't you go eating up all the fucking food in the house. Mom lets me do the shopping since she's working so much. But I imagine she might actually be relieved to see you're back." The siblings smile at each other, but say nothing more. They just start playfully jabbing each other in the shoulder. Until Ariel puts up a hand while laughing and explains she's got homework.
Puck thinks it's weird that his sister has changed so much in just a year, but he's actually somewhat missed her too. He supposes his mother will be surprised to know how he got in and probably disappointed. Seeing how that's what has happened since he's been gone, a few break ins. He feels like it's his fault, but he had to get out of Lima for at least a little while.
Finn is really surprised to hear from Puck that evening, but he's excited too. His best friend is back in town, possibly for good and he's dying to hear about the traveling. Puck sent postcards home to his mother and Finn. It was something he thought would be cool for them to see what he'd been up to.
They agree to have dinner at the Puckerman's after Mrs. Puckerman insisted that Finn come over and possibly because she wants her son to stay home because she hasn't seen him in so long.
Suddenly things are feeling like they're back in high school all over again, but Puck doesn't mind. Neither does Finn, hell even Ariel is a little stoked that she's having a family dinner with someone other than her insane mother. The conversation is good and easy.