Title: Don't tell Mama
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Friendship/ Humor
Pairing: Rachel/Noah 'Puck'. Mentions of Puck/Shelby.
Rating: M for mild coarse language, minor suggestive adult themes.
Word count: 6,983
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Glee related, nor do I own 'Don't tell mama' from the musical production Cabaret.
Summary: Wanting to let off some steam, Puck heads down to Lima's Ladies of the Night strip club. Little did he know that he was going to run into someone very unexpected and in the most surprising way.
A/N: All right, this takes place in season 3, after everything that happened with Shelby, but before her last appearance where she basically turns down Noah. However, there are some tweaks. In season 2's New York episode, Rachel and Finn did NOT get together and Rachel and Shelby did not somewhat rekindle their rocky relationship. So this oneshot is basically AU except for the Shelby/Noah debacle. I forgot what Rachel's father's occupations are so I made those us as well.
Puck walked into Lima's Ladies of the Night club, also known as Puck's favorite place in the loser town he calls home, Lima, Ohio. He hadn't come to the strip club since he first started pursuing Lauren, but they were over, a memory, really weird memory, of the distant past. And what better way to forget about the past and all the shit that's happened to him in the past month, at least for a couple of hours, then by having women dance practically naked in front of him?
Walking up to the bar tender, vaguely remembering her as a MILF conquest when he still had his pool cleaning business, he winks while asking for a beer and then heads over to the darker corner of the center stage.
Ladies of the Night wasn't the nicest place to hang out, but it was the only place Puck could think of that no one he knew would be in. The only place he could forget about school, teenage girls, glee, his daughter and her adoptive mother, the disappointment he saw almost everyday in his mother's eyes and everything that just made his life suck even more.
He'd come to the strip club to gain a sense of satisfaction. To see these women parading themselves around half naked for anyone and everyone to see, 'cause he knew that they weren't getting out of Lima. It lifted his spirits, no matter how strange it sounded. It made him believe that maybe, just maybe, he'll get out of this shitty excuse of a town. That one day he'll be the man some girl would want in their life, excusing all of his past faults and just being content with the man she's got in the present; Noah 'Puck' Puckerman. And he knew that sounded girly, but fuck that noise it wasn't like he was going to be telling anyone.
Looking around the club, Puck noticed a few older men's faces, but knew better then to go up to them. Mainly because he didn't want to get a punch to the face for having sex with their wife's, but also because he was under aged, they'd definitely get him kicked out. There was a couple of men getting private dances, while others were watching the larger shows off to the sides of the center stage.
Over the hollering and loud music, Puck could hear a crackle in the overhead speaker before a sulky voice echoed in the bar. "Ladies and mostly gentlemen, I hope you're ready for Star's grand finale of our show tonight. It'll be starting in 2 minutes. So please, put your cell phones away and get your money out."
Looking down at his watch questioningly, Puck noticed that it was only 12:30. There was no way the club was closing this early…
"Here's your drink hot stuff," a leggy brunette says as she bends to put his beer on the table beside him.
While reaching into his wallet to tip the waitress, Puck smirks 'cause he knows she isn't just being polite about his badass looks. "Thanks. Hey, I was wondering, is this place closing soon?" at her confused stance Puck elaborate, "the babe on the speaker said it was the grand finale…"
The brunette laughed, "Nah, it's just this dancer's last show for the night. Poor darling, having to work here… But ya gotta do wha'cha gotta do. Thanks, if you need anything, don't hesitate to call me over…" She adds with a wink as she saunters off to another table of men.
It isn't long before the familiar crackle of the speaker goes off. "Ladies and gentlemen and now the Ladies of the Night are proud to present this months leading lady; Berry Star!"
The men start gathering around the center stage as back up music starts to play. Puck hears the acoustics of the song, wondering when the singing is going to start, but then out of seemingly nowhere a voice, indistinctly familiar, comes out of the speakers.
The curtains rise revealing the back of a longed legged, yet petite woman, tapping her leg and sashaying seductively, earning herself whistles and salutes from the crowd.
… Momma doesn't even have an inkling
That I'm working in a nightclub
In a pair of lacey pants
Her voice is husky, laced with the aftermath of sex, but Puck swears he's heard her voice before. Long brown hair that reaches the curve of her beaded sequin covered breasts and a plaid mini schoolgirl skirt. The skirt reminding him too much of certain glee associate, minus the revealing pink underwear that barely cover her ass.
The brunette turned her face to face the left side of the audience, not Puck. However, he sees the headpiece microphone, revealing that she is in fact the voice coming out of the speaker. The music picks up speed as the dancer twirls around, her schoolgirl skirt lifting, causing uproar amongst the audience.
… Hush up, don't tell momma
Shush up, don't tell momma
Puck twists in his seat, trying to get a better view of the dancer's face, but the overzealous clubbers keep getting in his way. Frustrated, Puck takes a sip of his beer and just waits for someone to move out of his way; she'll still be up there is a few minutes.
More women start coming onto the stage from opposite sides; dancing on poles, on the side stages, all having some kind of part to the main dancer's performance. He watches a blonde on the right twirl upside down the poll, appreciating the view and thanking God for the gift he gave her, because those where definitely not fake. The blonde flips her head up and winks at him before bellowing a chorus with the other dancers. They're not as harmonized or as talented as the main singer/dancer, but it's undeniable that they practiced, probably hoping that maybe this time it would be perfect.
So please Sir, if you run into my momma
Don't reveal my indiscretion
And then the main dancer starts again, catching him momentarily off guard. Because he knows that voice and it can't be whom he thinks it is… It just can't. Not able to wait any longer Puck gets off his seat and starts shoving the men out of his way. He can tell the song is getting to a closing, so he pushes a little harder and walks a little fast 'cause he has to find out who's singing.
Reaching the center of the stage, Puck is thrown by the dancer's flexibility and muscle strength. She's hanging from the pole; one hand holding her in place while the over is rubbing her breasts provocatively. She's upside down, much like the blonde, except this brunet's legs are spread as if she were doing the splits in the air. Pulling her legs closed, earning some groans from the men, she quickly wraps her legs around the silver pole and flips herself around so she could face the crowd.
"The fuck…" Puck is stunned. He just stares wide-eyed at the woman he thought he would never see this… exposed.
Rachel Barbara Berry, Broadway extraordinaire, crazy glee freak, and by all thoughts prude, was dancing, no stripping, in front of God only knows how many men. What the actual Fuck!
Puck had to be dreaming. There was no way Rachel was on that stage, crouching with her legs spread apart, hands rubbing her thighs as she belts out more lyrics. Pulling his eyes away from her very revealing core, Puck looks at her face again, hoping and yet not hoping it is in fact Rachel Berry.
But it is. And he's a little disappointed. 'Cause Berry was supposed to be better then these women. She was the one who was getting out of Lima. The girl who was going to make something of her life, yet here she is, stripping with a bunch of other going-no-where-women. He couldn't believe it. She was the girl who went to JCC with him when they were younger, the girl who sang show tunes and went to synagogue. Guess no one's as innocent as you think…
Puck looks up again to see her shaking her breast, making the cups slip low enough to reveal the tip of her pale pink nipples. Getting ride of his initial shock Puck smirks, 'cause even though he has yet to touch them he has officially seen most of Berry's twinberries. Suck on that Finn!
She's still dancing and he's glad she hasn't spotted him 'cause maybe he wants to surprise her, make her stutter and flush and look at him with those big brown lushes eyes and parted lips while her breast heave up and down… Shit! His own thoughts were turning him on.
She's moving to the rear end of the stage as the back up dancers start surrounding her and singing their part of the final verse Her back is to the audience and as she says the last few lyrics she slowly, yet in sync with the song, takes off her beaded bra.
If you see my mummy,
Mums the word.
And on that final note, she throws her bra backwards, so the men can't see her now bare breasts, in a grand gesture of finalization. Before he can even think about what he's doing, Puck lifts his arm and catches it without so much glancing away from her, until it lands in his hands. Looking at his catch, warm and soft against his palm, his smirk grows and then looks back up to see Rachel smiling, that is, until she realizes who caught her undergarment.
Puck's been waiting outside for almost fifteen minutes. He knows Berry's done with her part of the show and he just has to give her a ride home. If not for getting answers out of her, then at least to get a better look at her never ending legs. He's about the check his watch for the umpteenth time when he hears the back door open and two women step out laughing. He automatically recognizes Berry and walks up to greet her.
"Sup Berry… Star." He smirks as he peers over her.
"Get lost creep before I get Dave to kick your ass!" The woman next to Rachel says.
"It's all right Shannon. This is a… friend of mine." Rachel says, addressing the skeptical woman beside her. "Shannon this is Noah, Noah this is Shannon." Noah just nods, while Shannon gives him a suspicious one over. "Noah, I can honestly say this is a not so wonderful surprise seeing you here. If you don't mind, Shannon was going to give me a lift home before getting back to work and I'd prefer if she wasn't late on her way back."
And Puck just found his way in. "I'll give ya a life. 'S on my way home anyways and I wouldn't want Shannon to be late." He says as he looks over to Rachel's… friend?
"That is very kind of you Noah, but it is quite all right. I–"
"Actually, that does sound good to me…" Shannon says, giving Rachel an apologetic smile while Rachel just glares, looking as if she was about to fight Shannon's decision. "If you're sure this guy won't hurt you, then I think you should go with him. I could really use the extra money now, you know, for Josh's schooling…"
Rachel softens, because yes, she does know that Shannon could use the extra money. Truth is Rachel could too, but she had a lot due for tomorrow, which is why she was leaving a little earlier tonight. "All right." She says reluctantly. "But you be careful going home tonight." She looks over to Puck, playfulness in her tone, "God only knows the kind of weirdo's that are hanging around behind clubs waiting for dancers to come out from their act."
Shannon laughs, giving Rachel a huge before going back into the bar. Blowing out a sigh of defeat, Rachel turns to look at the too-handsome-for-his-own-good man before her.
"So–" Puck starts before being cut off by Rachel.
"Could you please take me home Noah?" She asks, not looking him in the eye.
Puck's silent, absorbing her tone and taking in her appearance. She looks exhausted. Her hair is up in a messy bun and for once she's wearing sweat pants. The fuck? Berry wearing sweat pants seems like it could be the smallest thing in the world, but, aside from the weird second life she seems to be living, Puck knows that something has got to be wrong for her to be wearing any form of pants. "Yeah, sure."
He gently puts his hand to the small of her back guiding her in the direction of his beat of truck. They're silent on their way to the truck and Puck is wondering what the hell is going on for Rachel fucking Berry to not be talking. Opening the passenger door he helps lift her into his truck 'cause there is no way her tiny body could lift it's self up there… Then again, he did just finish watching her hold herself up on a pole…
"Thank you." Rachel whispers, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. Puck just smiles back as he eases the door closed and moves to his side of the car.
Jumping into his seat, he quickly puts in his keys to start the ignition and put on the heating 'cause he totally saw her blowing air into her tiny non-man-like hands.
He starts driving and he's wondering when she's going to speak. When she's going to start giving him some lame excuse of this being some kind of practice for when she gets a role on Broadway about a stripper trying to get by in life. But, after the first four blocks, Puck realizes that Berry's not going to talk, that she's going to try and get all the way to her house without explaining herself. Not happening. He slows down, releasing the pressure on the petal, going under the minimum speed limit, but fuck that noise 'cause the cop's should just be happy that he's not going over the limit, as per usually.
"Plan on explaining yourself Berry?" He asks in a tone so she'll know he wants answers or else she's never getting out of this beat-up old truck.
Rachel just keeps staring at her hands, rubbing them together and Puck realizes that she wasn't cold; she was nervous. Rachel Berry, the most confident person he knew was breathing harshly and lightly shaking because… "I won't tell your mom if that's why you're afraid to tell me." He states smugly because he so got it right when her head snaps up to look at his. Or at least that's what he thought.
"My mom, wh– Why would I care if Shelby knew what I was doing?" Puck flinches at the bitterness in her voice at the mention of her mother. He'd honestly thought she was afraid of what Shelby'd say…
"So… If you're not afraid of that, then what?"
She breathes out before taking in another breath and repeats the cycle another two times before looking at his profile. "I–I do care if Shelby knew what I was doing. I also care about what my father's, my peers; my friends and the general Lima population would think of me if they found out about my… side job."
"Side job?" He scoffed, 'cause how can stripping be a side job if she already works as a ballet instructor while balancing school and glee at the same time. "Thought you already had a job?"
"I do still work as a ballet instructor, however now I also work as a dancer."
"Dancer!" Puck out right laughs, trying to keep his eyes on the road while wiping his laughter tears 'cause what Rachel thinks is only dancing is anything but. "Berry that is not dancing. What we do in glee is dancing. What you were doing back there was stripping. Ya gotta learn the difference babe."
"How dare you! I was in no way–"
"Let me stop you there, Berry. There is no way you are going to even try and tell me what stripping is and isn't. So please, let's get back to the main subject. Why were you stripping?"
She's rubbing her hands together again, looking down to avoid his sideway glances and he's starting to get really annoyed by it because this shouldn't be how Rachel acts. Ever.
"I–I… Noah, can you promise me something?" She asks.
"Damn it Rachel! Stop ignoring my questions!" he says, quickly looking away from the road so she could see how serious he is.
"I just… I need to know you won't tell anyone. That everything you've seen tonight and everything I tell you will not be leaving this car. I need to know that I could trust you."
He's about to tell her that she should already trust him, but she cuts him off.
"I mean I do trust you Noah. Except… Well, with everything that is happening in your life right now I need to know you will not be telling anyone about this because you're mad and have nothing else to yell about. So, just, promise me you'll keep this between us, that no one, not Finn, Mr. Schue, Shelby, my father's, not anyone will find out about this."
Puck's silent, not 'cause he needs to think about keeping her secret, but 'cause apparently there's shit going on in his life that she's not sure about. What the hell was she seeing that he wasn't. As far as the past year went, everything seemed the same… Well, except for him having a massive crush on the girl currently sitting in his car's biological mother and his baby's adoptive mother nothing had changed and there was no way she knew about him and Shelby… Was there?
"What'd ya mean 'everything that's happenin' in my life', Berry?"
She chuckled humorlessly, making Puck raise an accusing brow in her direction.
"Exactly what it is supposed to mean." She sighs again and Puck seriously thinks he's going to yell at her to stop doing that. "Noah, I know."
His breath catches. He's pretty sure he knows what she's talking about, but he has to ask her, needs to make sure they're talking about the same thing. "Know what?"
"That you slept with my m–" she catches herself, "with Shelby."
Puck blows out a heavy breath, knuckles turning white as he tightens his grip on the steering wheel. "How?"
Rachel licks her lips, trying to get the knot in her throat to dull down so he won't hear the croak in her voice. "Well, you weren't exactly hiding your advances and I noticed that you two started spending more time together. Originally I thought that maybe you just wanted to get closer to Beth–"
"And I'm glad, you should want to spend time with your daughter, but you just proved my point." Rachel smiled sadly, "you did want to get closer to Beth and most probably still do. I can't fault you for that. She is your daughter and… And I understand the want you have to be around something –someone who has been sorely missed in your life, no matter how long or short."
Rachel clears her throat, whipping tears that have yet been shed. "But somewhere the lines blurred between seeing your daughter and pursuing Shelby and I saw it. You're not as devious as you think Noah. You wear your emotions on your sleeve and the moment you two acted on your sexual desires… I just knew. I saw it in the way you looked at her and her you…
"We're getting off topic again," she laughs, desperately trying to brighten the mood and get rid of the knot in her throat. "When I say that I trust you, I mean it. I do. But, you have ties with a woman and many other people that I just can't afford to know about my secret. I just need to know that if anything happens between you and Shelby you won't reveal my little indiscretion out of spite towards her."
She's looking at him, eyes rimmed with unshed tears and Noah fights the urge to brush his fingers against her check reassuringly. He still didn't quite understand how she found out about him and Shelby, but he at least knew why she had to make sure he promised his secrecy.
Easing up to a red light, Puck turns in his seat to look Rachel in the eye. "Yeah Berry. You can trust me." And then she smiles, the full-blown Berry smile that he'd been waiting to see all night. And he did not just turn all chick-like, he just wasn't used to the solemn, quite Berry, sue him if he wanted to see her smile. Clearing his throat, Puck looked back at the now green light and started advancing. "Right, so, uh, ya gonna tell me why you were letting every man in Lima see the twin berries?"
"Twin berries? Noah, I have no idea what you are insinuat– Oh!" Her eyes widen in recognition, "I did no such thing!"
"What! Listen B I was there. I can't un-see your perky nips bouncing around. So don't–"
"Language!" She shrieks, "if you had not realized my back was to the audience when I took off my bra, which I would like back by the way."
"Sorry Berry, don't know what you're talkin' 'bout." He feigned ignorance 'cause no way was she getting her beaded, heated, C-cup bra back.
Leaning back against the car while crossing her arms over her chest, Rachel let out a loud dramatic huff so her companion would know of her frustration. Puck just smirked.
Turning his truck into the corner street, Puck could barely see Rachel's house considering how dark it looked. Even at 1 in the morning there should have been some kind of indication that the daddy Berry's were home, like a bathroom light or something. Strange. He pulled into her driveway, noting the lack of her father's cars.
Rachel reached for the doorknob only to hear the locks switch. She tried opening it anyways, but it was to no avail.
"Why d'ya need another job Rachel?" Puck asks. His voice betrayed his want to sound distant, instead sounding worried, concerned.
Rachel's shoulders dropped and she lifts her head to the roof of his truck, as if she was praying to God or something. "Because I need the money."
Puck looks at the back of her head confused and then up at the spot she seems so interested in, 'cause he had to of missed something. Did she actually say she needed the money? Rachel was anything but poor, her house alone proved it. So, he really had no idea what she meant. "I don't wanna sound like a total jerk or anything, but babe I think you're good on the money scale…"
Lowering her head and turning in her seat, Rachel faces Noah fully, finally. "Do you remember the big case dad had in Oklahoma?"
Puck nods, silently telling her to go on, but she's looking at her hands again, ringing them between each other. Reaching forward Puck stops her hands from moving and feels the shakes he'd hoped the heat would calm. He's more concerned then ever; 'cause the only time she was even half this distressed (yes, he got himself a dictionary, especially after dating Berry once) was when she was dumped or pining after Finn or the glee group was close to a performance.
Sniffing, Rachel lifts her head, seemingly getting the courage she lacked to explain her behavior just by the touch of his hands. "It didn't exactly go as planned…" She's silent again and Puck doesn't want to rush her, but he does want to help her. Only he can't help if he doesn't know what he's trying to fix.
"What'd ya mean?"
"I mean that he –we lost a lot of money." Pulling her hands away from his, she runs it through her messy bun before groaning in frustration. "We're only barely getting by. I mean, yes we still live in our house but that's only because we used my–" She stops herself, unsure if Noah really needs to know what money they used to pay the houses mortgage for the rest of the year.
"What d'they use?"
"My university tuition money." She says dejectedly.
"What!" To say Puck was shocked was an understatement; he was down right pissed off! Getting out of Lima was Rachel's number one goal, after becoming a Broadway star of course. Either way, she couldn't become a star living in Lima it was impossible. Why the hell would the daddy Berry's take away their daughter's one true love? "Why the hell'd they take that from you!"
"I told them to."
Puck expects her to look at him through tear filled eyes; instead he sees her smile softly with what he could only describe as love in her big brown eyes. "Because I needed to help my family. I'll tell you, they fought tooth and nail so I wouldn't give them the money and it just makes me love them even more. But I understood what my money could do –did for my family. Mainly, it gave me a home for the rest of my high school year, but it also helped save our family.
"You see, once the case was lost and we lost our money my dad and daddy started to fight constantly about everything, mostly money. But even so, I gave them my money because I knew –I know that it is worth it to have a put-together-happy-family, then going to a fancy school feeling broken."
"But… You were so close. You almost made it out of here…" Puck said searching her face for any sign of regret.
"I will make it out of here, Noah." She shook her head good heartedly. "I was not able to get more work hours at the ballet studio for extra cash and the one job I did get, fired me after my ideas to make their restaurant more suitable for family dining's. They suggested putting photo's of their family on the walls, but I mean, just because you put photos of your children, who are not as cute as you think they are, does not make it is a family habitat. They would have benefited immensely, if they had only listen to the few ideas I had. But–"
"Rach…" Puck says, smiling at the flush in her cheeks when she realizes she'd been rambling.
"Right, sorry. So, uh, anyways, I didn't get accepted anywhere and then one day I pasted the club and asked to be a waitress or bartender, but considering my lack of experience they said no. However, I quickly won them over with my superior dancing and vocal skills. And then the rest is history."
"Isn't history a thing of the past? Seemed pretty present what you were doing back there."
"Yes, well, I'll have you know–"
Puck quickly cuts her off before she starts another one of her never-ending dramatic monologues. "How long you been workin' there?"
"Well this all happened a little before we went to New York, I of course had no idea at the time. But, I have been working at the nightclub for almost… 5 or 6 months, roughly."
"Noah, language, please."
"Ya, sorry. No, wait, 'm not sorry. Rachel, what the hell! You've been keeping this from everyone for that long! How? Wait, do your father's know?"
Her eyes widened, "No they do not and they never will. Are we clear?" she asks viciously. He's always been a little turned on and a little scared by the more aggressive, heads-on Berry, so Puck just nods, unwilling to speak. "Good. They know that I'm working harder, but they just believe I've got a double shift at the ballet studio. So when they are home, there will be no need to bring this up. And as for keeping this a secret from everyone else, well, frankly it was rather easy."
Puck scoffed, "Rach, you can barely keep a secret, how were you not able to tell us about this new drama in your life?"
"I did." Confusion, again. Puck felt like he was battling one of batman's nemeses, The Riddler. 'Cause damn, on the first round, Berry barely ever gave him a straight answer. "I told you all in song. On numerous occasions actually."
"No you didn't. All you did was sing about being pussy whipped by Finn and wanting life to get better, to get out of–" And like a ton of bricks, it hit him.
Rachel hadn't still been hung up on Finn; she'd been letting out her frustrations on the curve ball life decided to throw her. Puck sighed, rubbing the back of his neck as tension started to build up. How'd everyone miss that? How'd he miss that? He knew Rachel, more then he'd like to admit and he knew when something or someone was bothering her; Rachel had a tell. When she sang, she'd look to the person or people she was directing the song to. In the past months, she barely looked anyone in the eyes as she sang out 'All or nothing at all', 'Behind blue eyes', 'For what it's worth', and even going so far out of her element to sing Tom Waits' 'God's away on business'. She looked to the walls 'cause there was no one she was able to or wanted to direct her hatred and frustrations and hurt and sadness towards.
And then as if she could read what he was thinking just by looking at his eyes she smiled sadly. "You couldn't have known, Noah." Her words were spoken so lightly he almost missed it had it not been for the eerie quite that befell them.
"I should have."
"Noah… It's all right. I understand why you, or anyone else for that matter, did not see through my superior acting skills. There's a reason you all call me the best."
Puck just looked at her, hurt. He didn't want her to try and cheer him up, try and make light of her situation. He wanted to fix this, to figure out what the hell happened that made her think she couldn't come to anyone for help. Wondering why she couldn't come to him for help.
"Don't joke Rachel. I just –You can't –Fuck!" He slammed his hand against the steering wheel making Rachel jump back, surprised. "You should have come to me! I would'a helped; I would'a been there to–to help raise money or done some other dumbass shit to help you out! You didn't even–" he breathed out angrily, lowering his voice, making him sound spiteful. "You obviously don't understand anything because then you would have known that I would have been there for you. Jesus, Rachel, what d'ya think? That I'd laugh in your face, mock you by saying you're gonna become one of us; a Lima Loser!"
Puck was seething, gripping the wheel tight enough to suppress the pain until his anger fueled adrenaline rush lowered. He couldn't believe she didn't tell him or that he hadn't seen it. Out of everyone in this hick town, in Puck's eyes, Rachel Berry was possibly the best thing to come out of it. He didn't know when he started thinking of her in a positive sense, but he just knew that she was going to get out and be someone and he was happy about it. 'Cause when they first dated, albeit neither actually liked the other, she actually saw something in him, believed in him. And even after she broke up with him and he reverted back to his bullying ways she never stopped believing in the better of him. After he went to juvie or after all the baby drama, even now, knowing that he'd slept with her mother, it still felt as if she was rooting him on, like his own private cheerleader telling him that he's getting out of Lima, he's going to be better then what's expected of him. And he liked Rachel for that and wanted to make sure she knew that he believed in her as much as she did him, even if he didn't show it as much or as subtly as her.
Taking in a few more calming breaths he didn't look back at Rachel, not wanting her to see his water-y eyes, that he'd forever deny about… until he heard her take in a stifled breath.
"Shit," he breathed out. He hadn't wanted to make her cry and maybe calling her a Lima Loser wasn't his best approach, but he's pretty sure he got his point across to her. So, knowing that all she needs now is for him to be there for her, he pulls her close enough so that her head was tucked just below the crook of his neck allowing his chin to lie over her head. He's rubbing her back soothingly as silence, aside from her wrenching sobs, covers his old beat up American-made truck.
Time passes and Puck's not sure how long he'd been holding her, but her sobs lessen and she's loosening her fists that were clutching his shirt like it had been her last hope for survival.
She doesn't answer, but he hears her hum telling him she'd heard him. He pulls away, lightly lifting her head so he could look into her eyes and rub her cheek affectionately. "You're not going to become a Lima Loser. And 'm –I'm sorry for how I said everything else, but I can't take it back. You should have told me, or somebody. 'Cause no matter what you think, you're gonna need help."
She's just staring up at him as if he's the most magnificent person she'd even seen. Her eyes still rimmed red, show a hint of adoration and she's not looking away or pulling away from his touch, which he sort of loves. Leaning forward, Noah ('cause no way is it Puck who's about to act all tenderly) places his lips against the slop of her forehead, lingering long enough so she understands he does care about what happens to her, despite all the shit they'd been through.
Rachel lets out a content sigh; she hadn't felt this close to another person in so long. Pulling away from him she smiles embarrassingly, because she knows just as much as he does how intense this moment, with one of the school's most popular football player and the school's resident drama freak, was.
She clears her throat, more out of reflex now. Looking down at the side where his hand was still gently rubbing against her cheek and then back up to the owner of said hand, Rachel groaned because she really did not want to ruin this moment, but knew it had to. "I should probably get inside, I haven't had much time for homework lately and everything just seems to be pilling up…"
Taking his cue, Noah too starts clearing his throat and regrettably removes his hand and puts a little distance between them. The hell'd just happen?
Unlocking the doors, Noah walks out of his car and meets her at the middle of his hood.
"What are you doing?" Rachel asked, confused.
"What? A guy can't walk a girl to the door after a date?" He said mockingly.
Rachel scoffed, "date?" She highly doubted that everything that transpired tonight would consist of a date.
"Yeah, we were at a club somewhat together. I had a drink, you danced and then I drove you home. I think that pretty much makes a Puckerman date… minus the sex, but I'll let it slide considering the very hot dance you gave me."
Rachel laughed. How was it that only one boy –one man, could lift her spirits during a time of chaos? Trekking ahead of him, still chuckling, Rachel reached into the pockets of her sweat pants for her house keys before sliding them in and opening the door. It was dark, no sounds echoing and Rachel really hated that. She hated the loneliness her house brought when her father's were away. Everyone needs to make sacrifices, she thought grimly.
Before she could advance further into her house Noah's hand wrapped around her arm, halting her. Looking over her shoulder she could see a mirage of emotions painting across his eyes as if they were telling a story of sorrow, regret, confusion, hatred, and devotion. "Noah?"
"Your Father's aren't home?" He asks as he slowly enters the house before her, opening the lights so he could do a quick survey for anything inconspicuous lurking around.
"Sadly no they are not. Dad had a meeting to straighten out our predicament in another state and daddy returned to his job as a traveling salesman to help raise more money. For once we are all, quite literally, split apart from one another." As she walked into her foyer she took off her light coat and hung it. Then looked to Noah, unsure of what she should do, was he staying or leaving?
"So ya'been alone this whole time?" Frustrations making its way back into his voice.
Horrified at the notion of staying in her home for months at a time with no one at all Rachel gasped. "No, of course not. My father's usually are here for at least one week every fifth week. I also have a couple of… older then myself women friends who come by to check on me at least two times a week."
"'Older then yourself', eh? Anyone I'd know?" Puck says with a raised brow.
"Please, I highly doubt I am in the same social standing as the women who you 'know'." She said humorously.
Puck just laughed, wondering how she could still be this lighthearted even with everything she's going through. 'Til he remembers, she's Rachel Berry, she's gone through years of torment, mostly from him, and still comes out of it with her head held high. Watching her move from the foyer into what he remembers as her kitchen, Puck simply stands there closing the door to not let in the cool air.
As she walks back into the foyer he sees her drinking a glass of water and caring a bottle in her other hand.
"Here." Rachel says as she gestures the water bottle towards him. When he just looks at the bottle, wondering if she'd drugged it or anything, she laughs. Opening the cap to take a sip for herself before shoving it into his chest. "It's for your drive home, Noah. Although you are a very skilled driver, I am most certain that you had at least one drink at the club. So I would feel a lot better if you drank some water and hopefully lessen the amount of blood alcohol in your system."
He smiles, a genuine smile that crinkles his cheeks showing off his laugh lines. Her offering him water to sober him up after being in the car with him, is just so Rachel. Always looking out for you, he muses. "Thanks, but I was thinking I'd stay here the night. Ya'know make sure everything's good."
"While very chivalrous of you I think I could manage another night on my own Noah. Thank you for your consideration though, it means a lot."
"You sure?" He says, eyeing her doubtfully. "I mean, I could call my ma, sure she'll understand, maybe even throw us a party tomorrow thinking we got back together."
Rachel laughs because she's pretty sure that's how his mother would act.
Puck chuckles along with her, watching as her laughter slowly dies down to content giggles before growing somewhat more serious. "But, uh, I mean…" Rubbing his neck he looks to the floor, not used to being this open with someone. "If you every want me to stay over, you know, for like a human body heater," he smirked, "or, just for, like, you know, company, you let me know. 'Kay?"
Rachel's heart warms, Noah's never been that caring, at least not around her, and she felt overjoyed that now he's actually on her side. Even if he'd always been there, there's something about actually knowing, not speculating, that he cares that lifts her spirits. "I will, thank you." She says as she reaches up on her tippy toes to lay a chaste kiss on cheek.
If possible Noah's smile brightens. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Yes, you will."
"Good, we got some planning to do." He says determinedly as he turns towards the door heading back to his car.
"Planning? What do you mean?" She calls after him.
Puck smirks, as he looks over his should, not breaking his stride. "'Operation Get Berry to New York'. No way are you staying in Lima when you have Broadway waiting." When he reaches his car he turns back seeing Rachel's trademark sparkling-Berry-smile. She's mouthing him 'thank you', which just makes him smile back 'cause he knows that even without words she trusts him to help her and damn it he's going to!
Getting into his car and slowly backing out of her driveway he rolls down the window, unable to control the badassness that's been waiting to come out all night. He calls her name so she'll turn back to face in his direction and watches as her face turns from light happiness to pure and utter horror.
"Thanks for the memories!" He says waving her beaded black bra before driving off.