Title: Something To Talk About
Author: Sapphire (sapphiresfic)
Fandom: Real Person Fiction - Glee
Pairing/Characters: Lark - Lea/Mark, (other Glee cast members and writers)
Word Count: 10,040
Glee spoilers: Fic is AU after the end of 3x11 ~ Michael; but mentions '3x12 ~ The Spanish Teacher', '3x13 ~ Heart' and '3x14 ~ On My Way' briefly.
Series: Continued from 'Breaking The Rules' (Soon to be a whole series!)
Summary: After the events of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Mark and Lea definitely have a lot to talk about.
Disclaimer1: I have no affiliation to Lea Michele, Mark Salling, any Glee Cast members, other celebrities, or family members of celebrities mentioned in this fic. This is a complete work of fiction, *but* I do own any original characters, original plot or other original ideas contained inside. I do not own Glee, any mention of the show or characters are borrowed for the fun of writing.
A/N1: I edited this, so all mistakes are mine.
A/N2: Feedback keeps me writing, so please comment or review. :D
A/N3: This fic will NOT be posted on FF.net. RPF goes against their content guidelines.
Continued from: 'Breaking the Rules'
Disclaimer2: This fic was completely untitled while I was writing it, until the last two sentences. When I decided to call it 'Something To Talk About' all I could remember was those four words of that song Bonnie Raitt. Now listening to it, I can definitely hear a few lines in the song that go along with the fic, so I think I made a great title choice. I don't own the rights to the song; am just borrowing the title for the fic.
A/N4: I don't know where any of the Glee writers and cast stand on any topics contained in here. This is all fiction!
A/N5: The series itself is going to be 'AU' after 1/1/2012 and the end of 3x11 ~ Michael, but I'm gonna try to include some of the events and trips they've taken recently, to keep it as real as possible.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Sipping the warm coffee from her mug, Lea hoped the nervous butterflies would settle as the day went on. She hadn't seen Mark since the morning of New Year's Day, because of their flight schedules and had agreed through messages the day before, that it would be best to arrive on set early Tuesday, to announce to all eight Glee writers that they were engaged. They didn't expect Ryan to take it well, but held hope that the others would be understanding and give them some freedom to their lives.
Lost in her thoughts, Lea jumped when Sheila, her cat, rubbed against her leg and she laughed lightly, "good morning, Sheila," she leaned down and picked her up, snuggling her a little, "gotta go to work, soon. Lots to talk to everyone about today. Wish me luck," she commented, setting her down and then got up from the table to go fill her food and water dishes.
Catching the time, Lea realized she needed to get going, so she finished her coffee, grabbed her bag and phone and headed out the door.
Arriving at the Paramount lot, Lea parked in the usual area the Glee cast did and noticed Mark's car was already there, so she slid out and headed towards her trailer, wondering where he was. Greeting a few people she knew on the way, as she reached her trailer, she pulled the door open and climbed the stairs. Glancing up, she smiled brightly when she saw Mark standing by the couch, "I didn't think you'd be in here," she blushed.
Mark grinned, slipping his phone back into his pocket, "well, I figured you'd stop here first, so I thought I'd surprise you," he replied.
Without hesitation, Lea stepped towards him and slipped her arms around his waist, resting her head on his chest, "I've missed you," she murmured.
"I've missed you, too," he replied, wrapping his arms around her and holding her close, "I hated leaving your place Sunday morning, but I had my flight to catch."
Lea nodded, "I know. I understand. We weren't planning to be together for the holiday and then you needed to get Noah before you could get back here," she explained, "it sucked to watch you leave, but I'm glad it was only a few days apart."
"Good point," he agreed, leaning down and pressing a kiss to her lips, "so, how does it feel?" He asked, lifting her left hand to his lips and pressing a kiss to her ring.
Lea closed her eyes briefly, loving the simple, yet romantic gestures he did when he could, "the ring or being engaged?" She wondered, opening her eyes to look at him.
Mark smiled and brushed his thumb over the ring lightly, "both," he replied.
"The ring is perfect. It's a great shape and I haven't caught it on anything yet, like I've done with other rings I've worn. I love the stones," she smiled, "and being engaged feels amazing. I've never been this happy in my life," she said truthfully. She had been happy, but only because of her jobs and being around great friends and family, but having all that, and now the guy she loves, makes her even happier.
"I'm really glad to hear that," he replied, pressing a kiss to her lips, "because you make me feel like the luckiest guy in the world."
Lea grinned brightly and reached up, slipping her arms around his neck and pulling him close, "I'm just as lucky," she whispered, before kissing him lovingly, "I love you."
Mark held her close and couldn't help the contented sigh escape his lips when they broke apart, "I love you, too, babe," he motioned towards a small table in the trailer and on it was a bouquet of red roses, "those are for you. I'd thought of getting them when I came over for the party, but I figured you'd think something was up and I wanted you totally surprised when I proposed."
"They're beautiful," she smiled, pulling away and stepping over to pick them up and smell them, "I probably would have wondered what the occasion was, but if you told me they were 'just because', I would have believed you."
"I'll remember that for next time," he replied with a grin. After a few moments of watching her put her bag down, that she still had on her shoulder, the reason for their extra early meeting that day returned to the front of his mind and he rested a hand on her shoulder, "are you ready to do this?" He wondered.
Taking a deep breath, she nodded, "yes I am. I'm ready to tell them the truth. I'm tired of hiding our relationship and I want to be free to do what we want. I'm also going to tell them that I refuse to film the scene on Friday unless they change the script. I'm not going to make it look like I support that relationship anymore and seems like the only way they'll do anything is when they're put in a corner and if I, apparently one of the leads on the show, refuse to do something, they can't just fire me, so they'll have to work with me to find a better solution."
"I get it and you're right. You know I have never supported that relationship and I never will. They've ruined your character and it's time for them to make it right."
"Exactly. Thank you," she stood up on her tip toes to press a kiss to his lips, "we need to celebrate properly tonight," she murmured.
Mark hugged her gently and smiled, "Noah and I will be there."
Glad they were blocked from the view of any paparazzi, Mark and Lea were happy to walk hand-in-hand through the lot, needing the touch to help keep their nerves at bay. Both of them were nervous because they didn't know how the discussion with the writers would go. They wanted to be optimistic, but were both partially worried things would go horrible and they'd soon find their characters worse off than they have been and be out of jobs by the end of the season.
Reaching the familiar offices, Lea and Mark shared a few glances before he pulled the door open for her and they stepped inside. Walking towards the 'writers room', Mark squeezed her hand gently, reminding her he was there. He knew she had the most to say and figured she'd be doing the most talking, but he didn't want her to think she was doing this alone.
Lea smiled and returned the gesture, before the two moved into the room, finding eight people sitting around a table in the middle, in various states of waking up with coffee and breakfast items.
"Good morning, you two. What are you doing here so early? You don't have to be here for almost an hour," Ian greeted them, since he was sitting the closest to them.
"Morning," Mark nodded casually.
Lea smiled, "good morning! We actually wanted to talk to you all and thought we could catch you before we headed to set."
"If it's about New Year's Eve, I know something happened in Spain and you and your friends went to NYC, so you went to Lea's party," Ryan commented looking at Mark, "it's okay."
Mark groaned, he didn't want to deal with that at the moment.
"Thank you," Lea smiled, jumping in to get the focus off Mark, because that topic still bothered him, "we appreciate that and actually wanted to discuss some things with you."
"What's up?" Brad wondered.
Sharing a quick glance with her fiancé, Lea turned back to everyone, "Mark proposed to me just after midnight that night and I said 'yes'. We're engaged," she grinned brightly, holding up her left hand to show off the sparkling ring.
As expected, seven out of eight of them jumped up immediately, passing congratulatory hand shakes and hugs to both of them, while Ryan sat across the room with a nervous look on his face, but tried to cover it up with a stern expression.
After a few moments, the others retook their seats and everyone kind of had a feeling they knew what was coming, being able to tell that Ryan was the only unhappy one in the room.
"Congratulations," Ryan said, trying to start out nicely, "but why are you bringing this news to us?" He wondered.
"We wanted... No," Lea shook her head, "we are going to go public with our relationship soon. Ryan, your 'rules', as everyone has come to call them, are childish, unfair and unreasonable. We're happy and in love and are tired of hiding our relationship and having to sneak around to see each other. We're going to do this, with or without your blessing," she started, realizing whether Ryan liked it or not, they were going public.
"What rules?" Ross, one of the new writers, asked, glancing at Ryan.
"You don't know? He never told you?" Lea gasped in surprise, but then realized that of all the writers, only Ian, Brad and Ryan had been writing Glee since the beginning. Matt had been a script coordinator for season one and two, and became a writer for the show, along with the other four, in June, when they began to write the first episode of season three. She then figured Matt might know, but the other four may not and that was confirmed when Ali, Ross, Roberto and Michael shook their heads 'no', so Lea continued, "Mark and I dated from May of 2009 to January of 2010. When Ryan saw how successful the show had become and realized people were beginning to 'ship' certain characters, he told us in January that he didn't want Mark and I to be seen publicly, because our characters were not 'endgame' and didn't want to loose Finn and Rachel fans. That was the reason we broke up. We were younger, new to this whole TV show process and couldn't deal with the stress of his rules. We did get back together, because we have always had feelings for each other and now we're engaged and like I said, we're tired of hiding our relationship."
"You guys aren't your characters," Michael replied, "that should have nothing to do with it."
"That's what we thought, but someone felt differently," Mark said, looking at Ryan.
"If Nina and Ian can be together and work on the same show, then there should be no reason why Mark and I couldn't be public, too," Lea told them.
"It's for publicity reasons. A lot of people who want Finn and Rachel together, also want Cory and Lea together. It goes for others, too," Ryan spoke up for the first time. "If you guys come out as a couple, then we could lose the Finn and Rachel supporters."
"Like Michael said, we're not our characters. Just because Finn and Rachel are together doesn't mean Lea and Cory have to be together. I understand that fans support their favorite characters and actors, and there's nothing wrong with that, but you also have to see that the only reason why you have continued with Finn and Rachel, is because their fans are the most vocal and you're scared they'll get mad," Mark commented, "there's a large majority of fans who support Finn and Rachel, because they seem to think the relationship is the best ever. It's not and if you guys would even pay attention to what's going, you'd know that other 'ship' fans aren't as vocal, because they don't want to sound demanding or stoop to a childish level, which is where some of the Finn and Rachel fans have gone. Not only that, the ratings keep going down, because fans of other relationships have stopped watching because they're tired of everything being about Finn and Rachel."
The writers exchanged glances and Ali looked at him, "what do you mean?"
"It's no secret that I 'troll' and one common thing I've seen, is tons of people who support other relationships like Santana and Brittany, Kurt and Blaine, Tina and Mike, they all have quit watching the show, because they're calling it 'The Finchel Show'. No one likes it and everyone is already speculating that in 'Yes/No' Finn proposes. Of the fans who are still watching, tons have said if that happens, they're going to stop watching," Mark explained, glad for social networking sites.
"You guys have sat back and let a very toxic relationship continue and now you guys have gone as far as having Finn propose, only because he thinks Rachel is the only good thing in his life and wants to hold onto that," Lea replied, knowing they'd already filmed that episode, but it wouldn't be aired until later in January, "I've never supported that relationship and I'm not going to fake it anymore. I'm also refusing to film the scene on Friday, where Rachel says 'yes'. I can't. Dianna and I are about to film a great scene today, where Quinn gives Rachel some real, decent advice, about letting go of Finn, because he'll only hold her back from her dreams and it's true. I don't understand how you guys can have Rachel say 'yes' and expect her to be able to pursue all of her dreams in New York. You know, as well as I do, that if she marries Finn, she'll give up her dreams."
"I'm a perfect example. If I would have married a girl I dated in high school, I never would have come to LA. I'd have been miserable," Mark told them, "and right now you're telling teens that if their dreams fall apart or they're not sure of their future, it's okay to marry their high school sweetheart that they think they love, just to hold onto something good. That's not right. I can't believe you guys write scenes like Dianna and Lea's today, yet you still have Rachel blinded by some 'crush' she has on Finn that she thinks is love. Only when she thinks all her dreams are gone because she hasn't gotten her letter yet, she says 'yes' to him, but then a few scenes later, she's gets her finalist letter. You guys are letting Rachel ruin her life. The Rachel that you started out the show with is gone and she's been replaced by this girl who doesn't think her life will go on without some guy and he's a horrible boyfriend," Mark explained, trying to keep his cool.
Lea nodded in agreement, "Mark's right. When the show began, Rachel was determined she would make it to Broadway. You've had her pining for Finn, Finn's cheated on Quinn with her, he's gotten with her, then broken up with her, then the moment she's with someone else, he gets jealous and wants her back. It's not because he wants her, he just doesn't want anyone else to have her. That's bull and you know it. You guys even brought back Jesse last season and he took Rachel to prom. The moment Finn, who was with Quinn, saw that Rachel was happy with Jesse, Finn started a fight with him. This season, Finn's given her crap gifts and treated her just as bad. He flat out said he had nothing good in his life, with Rachel sitting right next to him, which is in the same episode that he proposes to her. Rachel even gave him her virginity, because she felt bad for him; not because she was ready. You're telling girls that it's okay to give themselves to their boyfriend, just because he's upset. That's another horrible message," Lea paused, shaking her head, "I know this week we're finishing up the last few scenes for 'Michael', which is the one after 'Yes/No' and I'm telling you right now, I will not film Friday's scene for that episode unless you change the script and every one after that, to go along with Rachel saying 'no'. She needs to break-up with him, so she can go to New York and achieve her dreams. Finn will hold her back and make her miserable. I know you have a plan for season four, involving Kurt, Rachel and Finn in New York, but no, I can't agree with or see that. Finn doesn't really love Rachel and she doesn't love him either. I never have liked that relationship and I'm tired of sitting back and watching it get worse with every script and making people think I support it. You've got to let Rachel be free from him and stop letting Finn be the one to drag her back into a relationship. It seems like every time they break up, they get back together and it's worse the next time around. Rachel needs to finally tell him she doesn't love him and isn't going to ruin her life anymore, by holding on to something that won't last," Lea said honestly, feeling tears in her eyes, because she'd been hurt by everything they were doing with the character she played.
Mark reached out and rested his hand on her shoulder, squeezing it gently. He knew she'd held a lot of her feelings in over the years, and had wanted to 'go off' on them for a while for continuing to let the relationship go on, knowing it kept getting worse. Lea glanced at him, smiling lightly and both looked around at the shocked faces of the writers and everyone was silent for a long moment, waiting for something to be said.
"Finn and Rachel are endgame, that was decided from the start," Ryan commented, crossing his arms over his chest as he sat back.
"No, it wasn't. I never agreed to that, but you and Brad did, so it was two against one," Ian jumped in, looking at Mark and Lea, "you guys know where I stand."
Lea nodded, smiling at him, "we do."
"When I joined the writing team, I was under the impression everyone supported that relationship and it was agreed on to be endgame. I had hopes for another relationship to be endgame, but I pushed it aside to stick with the original plan. Now I see that what I thought was true, isn't, I can't support Finn and Rachel either," Ali said honestly, the only other woman in the room.
"You guys are right," Ross said looking at Mark and Lea, "if I was in Rachel's shoes, I'd say 'no', too, and end it completely."
"But I want Finn and Rachel together," Ryan said leaning forward.
Brad, who had originally gone along with Ryan's plan, looked around the table, "all in favor of breaking Finn and Rachel up for good, raise your hand," he said simply.
Of the eight writers and two actors in the room, the five newest writers, Ian, Mark and Lea raised their hands within seconds and then Brad lifted his, leaving the vote nine to one, "I think you have your answer, Ryan," Brad told him honestly, "you've gotta let them go. We've gone along for two and a half seasons, but it's time to let Rachel be the girl from season one. Driven and ready to go to New York."
"If anyone should be together in the end, it should be Puck and Rachel," Ian grinned, suggesting his favorite pairing.
Nodding at Ian, Mark smiled, but kept his mouth shut for the moment, knowing the Puckleberry relationship is a sore subject with Ryan.
Ryan had been taking notes during Mark and Lea's speeches and when he saw that everyone had gone against him to support the break-up and then hearing Ian's quick suggestion, he looked at Mark, "Mark, if I allow this to happen, what do you see for Puck and Rachel's futures, given Puckleberry may come up?" Ryan asked, wanting to hear his thoughts.
Mark's eyes widened in shock when Ryan asked him directly, but he cleared his throat, "well, I think Rachel should say 'no' and be single for some time. She needs to see she did the right thing and really get over Finn. She needs some freedom and to stand on her own two feet. Yes, Finn is going to be upset about her turning him down and the club should find out that he proposed, but they both need to be told that the break-up is for the best. They're too young and totally not ready to get married. Between now and the end of the season, I'd like Rachel and Puck to become friends again and Finn should try to get her back, but she needs to turn him down, so he'll see they're done for good. Rachel and Kurt need to get accepted to NYADA and maybe in the last few episodes, Rachel and Puck could finally get together and he could decide to go to New York with them, even if he doesn't have any college plans," Mark paused, shifting a little while he leaned against the wall, "I think some fans will return to watch if they know Finn and Rachel break up, because of what I said earlier; it could help bring ratings up, but I don't know. I know you guys haven't decided if anyone other than Lea, Cory and Chris as are coming back next season, because of your plan is for their characters, but if you go with the break-up, your plan is gonna have to change, too. I'd love to come back and be in New York with them. I really think, if you give Rachel and Puck a chance, they could have a really good relationship, unlike her's with Finn. You've proved numerous times that Puck cares about Rachel; he even helped put together a Barbra intervention for Rachel when she wanted to get her nose done. He'd never do that for anyone else and he's a good person when he's with her, so you have the start of a really good relationship that I think a lot of people will like. I know that the Finn and Rachel fans will be upset, but you're upsetting everyone by going along with just fans of one pairing, just to make them happy. The show people once loved is gone and you've gotta try to fix things," he added, then took a deep breath, "and while we're talking about it, maybe Puck could be out of school for a while for some reason and Rachel could be the only one who goes to check on him and find out what's going on. While he's absent, she could help him with his classes, which could be how they start getting to be friends again. I found out I have a herniated disk pressing on a nerve in my back and surgery may be the only option, which could mean several weeks recovery. I don't know everything yet, but if it comes down to it, you have an option. I wasn't going to say anything yet, because I only got the results of my MRI and haven't talked to my doctor more about it, but he's pretty sure that surgery is my best bet," Mark finished.
Lea was surprised he brought up his back, remembering their conversation about it, but also understood how it fit into his suggestion, "I really want Mark to come back next season, too," Lea continued, "and if he doesn't, I don't want to come back."
As Mark spoke, a few of the writers were jotting things down, including Ryan, and after Mark finished and Lea added her final statement, Ryan put his pen down and sat back, "you have thrown a lot at us and I see that I'm out numbered, but we can't just change everything today. We're going to need some time to discuss a direction and rework some scenes for the episodes we do have scripts for," he paused to gather his thoughts, "Mark, when will you know about your back?"
"As soon as I get to the doctor, hopefully this week or next," Mark replied simply.
Flipping through a calendar book, Ryan looked at a schedule, knowing Mark's back injury couldn't be pushed aside and they could at least talk about and deal with that, "we're looking at the last week of January and first week or so of February for filming the fourteenth episode, which is Regionals. Because of the network scheduling, the Regionals episode is the last one airing in February, and there will be a break until mid-April. With that said, we won't start filming the fifteenth episode until the middle of February, so if you can hold off on surgery until then, once we know for sure when you're having it, we can come up with some reason Puck will be absent from school, in between competitions."
"Please don't send Noah back to juvie or put him in jail," Lea begged, taking hold of Mark's hand, "he has grown so much since season one and he's gone through a lot, but I don't think he'd mess up enough to get in trouble," she said, not wanting to see his character be sent away like before.
"I'm writing the majority of the fifteenth episode and I am actually thinking Puck could have a family emergency. We haven't learned anything about Puck's life, except that he has a mom and a little sister and that was all the way back in the Mash-up episode in season one," Michael admitted, "we're talking about having more character stories, so maybe it's time to learn a little bit more about Puck."
Mark smiled, "that'd be cool."
Ryan let them talk, but then leaned forward, wanting to get back to their reason for being there, "aside from that, we've got a lot to talk about and work on. As you know, we're finishing up episode eleven this week and also starting the twelfth. The scrips are done for those episodes and the thirteenth is in process, so we'll have to figure out what we're going to do. As for the rest," he paused, thinking about what he was going to say. "I can't legally stop you guys from going public, but for the moment, while we're sorting everything out, could you please wait? Just keep doing what you've been doing until we've straightened things out a little?" He requested, knowing no one in the room would let him keep plans the way they were.
Lea exchanged glances with Mark and he nodded at her, "yes, we can do that," she replied.
"Finn and Rachel will break up," Ian confirmed, "but as to how everything else gets sorted out, we'll need time."
"That's understandable and thanks for letting us talk to you all," Mark said, proud of everyone for not getting into arguments or raising voices about the topics.
"You're welcome and we're glad you came to us," Ian said, nodding at them, "and again, congratulations on your engagement."
"Thanks," Lea smiled.
Ali got up and walked towards her, picking up her left hand to look at the ring, "have you thought about if you'll take this off during filming?"
"We have talked about it. I have worn rings on other hands before, so I was hoping I could still do that. Maybe put it on my right hand," Lea admitted, glancing at Mark, who nodded.
"I think if it's on your right hand, it'll be fine. Maybe after the proposal is behind us, you could start wearing it on your left hand and say it was a gift from someone," Ian suggested.
"That'd be great, because I really don't want to take it off, but I know that if it's on my left hand right now, fans might wonder," she admitted.
"Your right hand would be great," Ali replied, returning to her seat, "like Ian said, for now."
"Thanks," Lea nodded at them, "we've taken up a lot of your time, so we'll let you get to what you were going to. Thanks again," she said, a huge weight lifted off her shoulders now that they'd said their peace.
Mark nodded in agreement and when they got some nods and waves in response, the couple walked out of the office, Lea leading the way and once they were outside, Mark groaned, "I feel worse than I did before we went in," he murmured.
"I feel better," Lea said, slipping her arms around him in a hug, "have faith. I know they'll do the right thing. I'm surprised you brought up your back, too."
"Well, I didn't want us to have this discussion and then in a few weeks come back and say 'oh, by the way, I'm having surgery and will be out for six weeks' or something like that," he admitted, hugging her, "I am glad we talked to them, but now I'm more nervous about what they're going to do."
Lea smiled at him and leaned up, pressing a kiss to his lips, "I think we both gave them enough to know that Puckleberry is what we want, Ian wants it and I think a few others do, too, so we'll have to wait and see. I'm nervous, too, but I have faith it'll work out, just like we worked out. I couldn't be happier with us and if we do lose our jobs, so be it. I'll still have you," she told him honestly, looking at him.
Mark returned her smile, "you're right. We will still have each other."
"Damn right," she smirked, "let's go tell everyone we're engaged," she commented happily, "no one knows yet, because Amber, Darren, Jenna and Jon promised we could announce it."
Now that it was later in the morning, the lot was busier with cast and crew for Glee and other shows, and the couple parted to go change and have their hair and make-up taken care of, before meeting up again on the set of the choir room. Lea and Dianna were filming a scene that morning, that led into Dianna singing part of a song in front of the Glee Club, so they wanted to sort out things in the choir room before she and Dianna went to do their scene.
When Lea walked in, Mark had been catching up with Chord and Cory, but his attention was quickly turned to his fiancé, dressed in dark tights and a black dress with white polka dots. "Hey, babe, you look great," he smiled at her.
Lea walked right over to him and returned his smile, "thanks. You look quite handsome yourself," she replied, seeing him dressed in faded jeans, a black V-neck t-shirt with a red and black plaid flannel shirt over it, unbuttoned. "Should we?" She wondered, looking around to see some of their cast mates playing on their phones, while others were talking.
"Sounds good to me," Mark stood up and noticed Lea now had her engagement ring on her right hand's ring finger.
Taking his hand, Lea led him to the front of the 'choir room' and cleared her throat, "uh, everyone," she started, glancing at Mark and she couldn't help the blush growing her cheeks.
"What's up?" Cory asked.
"You okay? You look a little flushed," Heather asked from a few feet away.
Amber and Jenna exchanged smiles with each other and then looked at Mark and Lea, "Amber and I know," Jenna replied.
Lea smiled brightly at them and wrapped her right hand around Mark's arm, her ring easily seen by everyone, "as some of you heard, Mark and I spent New Year's Eve together."
"I heard that through the grapevine," Dianna admitted, "I thought you were going to be in Spain," she added, looking at Mark.
"I don't want to talk about that," he murmured, rubbing his neck a little.
"Anyway," Lea jumped in to change the subject so he didn't have to answer those questions, "Mark asked me something just after midnight."
"Is that an engagement ring?" Chord asked, pointing to her hand.
"It is. We're getting married," Mark said happily.
"Oh my God!" "Congratulations!" "That's awesome!"
It took several moments, but soon the cast and crew that were around congratulated them with hugs or handshakes and everyone began asking similar questions to what Lea's family had asked, "we haven't talked about any details yet. We got here early today to tell the writers and discuss a few things. I said for the time being I'd wear my ring on my right hand during filming and we'll figure things out later," Lea explained.
"Are you guys going to go public?" Chord asked.
"Yes," Mark nodded, "we're letting the writers sort some things out that came up in our conversation, but soon we will go public. We'll let you guys know when."
"What stuff are they sorting out?" Amber wondered.
"The direction my character is going," Lea replied, "you guys know I haven't liked what they've done to her and I finally put my foot down. We got them to realize they're sending the wrong message and they're sorting out what they're going to change from here on out," Lea explained, trying not to go into too many details, "but right now I'm trying not to think about it, because I'm engaged to the man I love and job or no job, that's what's important to me right now," Lea admitted, looking at Mark.
"I love you, too," Mark smiled, slipping his arm around her shoulders.
"Since it's too early for alcohol, do we have some sparkling apple cider around here?" Chord asked, "we should be celebrating!"
"Actually, yes," Mark nodded, slipping away from Lea and moving into the office off the choir room that was 'Mr. Schuester's' and returned with two bottles and some left over red Solo cups from when they had actually done the song, "it's not champagne glasses, but they'll work," he smirked.
"I love it," Lea giggled lightly, taking the stack of cups from him.
Popping the top and filling up cups, they passed them around to everyone and the cast toasted to the couple, wishing them a happy, healthy and long life together and then Cory patted Mark on the shoulder and lifted his glass, "and to all the Lark shippers who wished for this day to come."
The cast laughed at Cory's comment, but Lea lifted her glass, "to the Lark shippers," she smiled at Mark.
Mark grinned and tapped his glass to hers, "I'd love to see their faces when they find out."
Their celebrating continued until everyone had to get to work and Mark and Lea were both relieved that their cast mates, who were like family to them, supported their relationship. They were very thankful because they knew they may have some tough times ahead and would need their friends and family and were glad they had their cast mates there for them.
The words Dianna spoke while she and Lea filmed their scene, couldn't be any truer and Lea was glad she and Mark had talked to the writers that day. Lea had known about the scene, with such great advice from Quinn to Rachel, for a while and couldn't understand how the writers could let Rachel go on to say 'yes' just a few scenes later. She was trying to stay positive their talk would get the writers to change that one scene in the 'Michael' episode, among others in later ones, so Rachel could say 'no' to Finn and break up with him.
The issue with her character made her think back to her time in high school. She'd gotten into acting and Broadway at a young age and though she did date in high school and had crushes on guys, she never would have let a relationship with any of them progress to marriage at eighteen. She knew, without a doubt, that marrying someone she thought she had feelings for in high school, would have ruined her life, and the acting career and every moment she'd had since her high school graduation would probably be gone, including Glee, and she couldn't let Rachel Berry give it all up for Finn. She couldn't sit back and watch her character be destroyed.
Ever since Mark had worked on Glee, the drive and want to be on Broadway that Rachel had, partially reminded him of himself. He performed wherever he could in high school and after graduation, he packed up and moved to LA to pursue his music career. He wanted to be a musician and knew he couldn't have done that with strings attached. If he had married someone right out of high school, he never would have left Texas or ended up with his job on Glee. He feared that the writers, if they continued on the route they were taking, would end up having Rachel get accepted to NYADA and then she'd turned it down in order to marry Finn and stay in Lima, giving up all her dreams for him.
Mark really hoped the big discussion with Lea and the writers that morning was enough to wake them up and make them realize that the character of Rachel Berry was in a downward spiral and they needed to make a change before it was too late. He'd had the drive that Rachel had and he never once would have let his high school romance turn into anything more, because they'd only have held him back from what he wanted.
After Lea and Dianna filmed their scene, the two joined the others in the 'choir room' and Dianna sang her solo in front of everyone. During a break, Lea, since she was sitting in the row behind Mark, leaned forward and slid her arms around his neck, whispering that he and Noah should definitely come over to her place that night. Mark had already planned that, but enjoyed her choice of invitation, because he got to be close to her while on set.
Filming lasted a few hours, then they got a lunch break, and after a change of clothes, they went back for another choir room scene, before wrapping for the day. Everyone was happy they could leave set a little after three and Mark and Lea confirmed their plans, before parting and heading in different directions, looking forward to meeting later.
Stopping at Target for a few things, Mark continued his usual route home and arrived to a very happy Noah. Aside from a friend stopping over to let him out, Noah had been alone all day, so Mark played with him for a while, tossing a toy across the living room.
"Do you wanna go to Lea's?" Mark asked after a bit of playing, while he laid on the floor, with Noah chewing on his toy next to him.
Noah's ears perked up a little when he said that, "you know who I'm talking about, don't you?" He smiled, shifting to stand up, "that's good, 'cause you know she's your mom. She's been as attached to you as I am and we're getting married, too," he added, patting his leg so Noah would follow him.
Moving into his room, Mark grabbed a bag and set it on his bed, and Noah jumped up to see what he was doing. He hadn't unpacked from his two week holiday trip to Texas, Spain and NYC, so a lot of his stuff was easy to grab because they were in the same spot. It'd didn't take long for him to pack to go to Lea's that night, and added enough clean clothes for a few more days depending on their schedules.
Finishing up, Mark checked on a few things around his place and then got Noah on his leash, and soon they were heading out to his car. When Mark opened the back door, he set his bag on the seat and Noah jumped in, so he let go of the leash and closed the door. Sliding into the driver's seat, Mark started the car and began the drive to Lea's.
During his drive, Noah jumped into the front passenger seat and curled up, content with car rides and during a few stops, Mark reached over to pet him. Mark's mind was also drifting to some things he'd thought about while on set and wanted to make sure he remembered to bring them up to his fiancé when they were talking.
It wasn't long before Mark pulled onto Lea's street and came to a stop in front of her place. Opening his door, Noah perked up, recognizing where they were and jumped towards Mark to get out. Mark nudged him away so he could get out first and once he had Noah's leash in hand, he let him jump out. Grabbing his bag from the backseat, Mark closed his doors and locked them, noticing Lea's car in her driveway.
Out of habit, when they reached her door, Mark knocked a few times, and went to open the door. Finding it locked, he pulled his keys out and used the keys she'd given him to unlock it. Stepping inside, he could hear music coming from the kitchen and realized she hadn't heard him knock, so he closed and locked the door again and then leaned down unhooking Noah's leash from his collar, "go find her," he grinned.
Once Noah knew he was free, he took off into the house and after dropping his bag, Mark followed. Pausing in the doorway of the kitchen, he saw her dressed in yoga clothes and her hair pulled up in a loose ponytail. She currently had her back to them, so he watched Noah go up behind her and rub against her legs. Not expecting it, Lea jumped, gasping and turning around in shock, "oh my God! Mark, Noah, I didn't hear you come in!" She exclaimed, taking a few deep breaths to calm down.
Mark laughed lightly and stepped into the kitchen and over to her, "I knocked. You probably didn't hear it over your music," he motioned to her iPhone, currently docked in a stereo, and then leaned in, pressing a kiss to her lips, "hey, babe."
"Hey, sweetheart," she smiled into the kiss and as they pulled away, she reached for a towel to wipe her hands off and then knelt down to greet Noah, "hey there Noah," she grinned, leaning over to press a kiss to his head, "you scared me," she told him, scratching behind his ears and petting him for a few moments.
Moving over to the stereo, Mark turned it down a little so it was more like background music and returned to her as she stood up, "what's for dinner?" He asked, noticing she had several things spread out on the counter.
"Spinach and cheese lasagna," she replied, "I know there's no meat, but..."
"It's okay," he kissed her lips, "we've been though this. I know you're a vegetarian and while I do still love a nice steak, I can deal without it, too," he assured her.
Smiling at him, she wrapped her arms around him, "good to know. Thank you."
Mark returned her hug and then kissed her cheek, "you're welcome. Need any help?"
Helping her finish up in the kitchen, the two headed into the living room while it baked and played catch with Noah. Her place had become a second home to him, so Lea kept dog toys, a bed and food there, so Mark didn't have to bring things back and forth. Noah lost interest in his toys when Shelia came out of where she had been to check things out and as soon as Noah saw her, he went after her. They weren't best friends, but they both tolerated each other, and Noah had been put in his place when she smacked him on the nose once, so he learned early on not to mess with her.
Now that Noah was distracted, Mark and Lea climbed up on the couch and relaxed, "you know, I thought about something at work I wanted to mention to you," Lea commented.
"Oh yeah? Me too, what did you think about?" Mark wondered, curious if she had thought the same thing he had.
Lea gathered her thoughts, "I'm surprised they didn't try to say that our relationship isn't much different than Finn and Rachel's," she said softly as she leaned against him. "because we broke up and got back together, I mean."
Mark kissed her forehead as he held her close, "I thought about that too, but we're completely different than Finn and Rachel. The biggest being they're in high school and we're adults. We've had a chance to achieve our dreams and only broke up once. We never stopped having feelings for each other, but we dated other people and now that we have a better grasp on our own lives, we got back together and are better because of it. They have broken up several times and every time they get back together their relationship is worse and it's because one of them made the other jealous or had some stupid reason. If anything, we're a damn good example," he said honestly.
"Really?" Lea thought about what he said, "I guess we are. We dated others in high school, but moved on after graduation without a relationship and then we worked on our careers. It was during that time we found someone who we ended up loving and caring about. Yes, we did break up, but it was for mutual reasons and still had love for the other. After some 'soul searching' and time to figure things out, we got back together because we realized we really want to be together," Lea looked at her ring, now back on her left hand, "we've had our time to be single and 'see other people'. Now we've come back to each other and are ready to share the rest of our lives together," she smiled. "Rachel needs to get over Finn and even if she does date Noah, they still need time to figure out if it's the right thing. Being together in New York is a great idea, because they can be adults and deal with adult things together. They'll have their issues, I'm sure, but they'll still have real feelings for each other. Hopefully the writers will see us and give Puckleberry a real shot. They deserve it and I think they're perfect for each other."
"I do too," he agreed, kissing her lovingly, "they just need a chance to prove it."
"They do," she nodded in agreement, "is that what you were thinking of?"
"That we're a good example? Yes," he nodded, "but also something else."
"What?" Lea wondered.
"We know fans are speculating about the proposal and that will still happen, but Finn and Rachel fans are really going to be pissed when Rachel turns him down and breaks up with him for good. Also, once they find out that you and I have been together and are engaged, they're going to start blaming us and our relationship for the fall of 'Finchel'. Since it's all happening around the same time, they're going to assume that our engagement caused you to hate Finn and Rachel. They might not understand that you haven't liked the relationship at all and now that we're engaged you couldn't continue lying about it. Are you ready for a lot of pissed off fans sending hate to you because of it?" He asked softly.
Lea nodded, "I am. I'm ready. I'm in love with you and so happy with our relationship and I want the world to know. I'm also going to make sure it's clear that I personally never supported that relationship and I only did it because of the show, but I could no longer support my character crumbling and I had to say something. We're not our characters and it just happened that it was at the same time we got engaged. Honestly, if you hadn't proposed, I still would have gone to them about Rachel and Finn. I would have refused to film that scene where she says 'yes' anyway, but our engagement gave me more fire to stand my ground with it," she paused, a thought popping into her mind, "are you ready for the hate, too? Some fans could blame you for the break-up, especially once Rachel and Noah become friends, or more, on the show."
Without hesitation, Mark smiled, "bring it," he said simply. The words were short, but very meaningful for them and their characters. For Puckleberry, it went back to when they dated in season one; he was ready to take the bad, if it meant being happy, and it was Mark's response, too. After getting back with Lea and knowing some of the Finn and Rachel fans also supported the real life relationship of Lea and Cory, he'd already prepared himself for the worst, knowing when they did go public he'd be hated on because he ruined their 'ship', but he was happy and in love and no one was going to ruin that for them; he was ready for the fight. He also knew his fans and fans of 'Lark' and 'Puckleberry' would stand up for him.
Tears filled Lea's eyes and she smiled brightly, her feelings at those words being similar to Mark's. She shifted a little so she could straddle his lap and then wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, hoping it conveyed how she felt. Mark slid his arms around her waist and tugged her closer, feeling her tongue brush against his lips. Shifting a little, he raised his hands up to rest on her cheeks, gently wiping away her tears that were falling. After a moment, she broke their kiss and pressed her forehead to his, "let's kick some ass," she whispered, but the grin that grew on her cheeks told him she was ready, just like he was.
By the next afternoon, Wednesday, everyone was surprised they hadn't seen any of the writers, and slowly Lea and Mark explained just what had been talked about the day before. A lot of the cast members felt the same way they did, but had been afraid to say something out of fear of what they'd do, so they were all shocked, but glad Lea and Mark had stood up to them.
The cast was currently filming two episodes at once. Before the holiday break, they'd filmed all the scenes for the eleventh episode with Darren involved, because his character gets injured during that episode. He'd be out for part of that episode, all of the twelfth and wouldn't return until the end of the thirteenth, allowing Darren to spend most of January in a Broadway musical, so when the cast returned in the new year, they were finishing up the 'non-Blaine' scenes for the eleventh and also began working on the twelfth.
Though Mark and Lea were both trying to stay optimistic and confident that their discussion with the writers and their current absence from set on Wednesday was a good thing, they also couldn't help the nerves from waiting to find out their fate, but they were able to push it aside to have fun on set Thursday. Ricky Martin arrived to begin filming his first scene for one of the episodes, and since Lea was the only one who knew him, because they'd been in a Broadway production when they were younger, she was excited to introduce everyone and catch up with him. It was a big deal on set and everyone spent time during breaks taking pictures with him and trying to get to know the man behind 'Livin' La Vida Loca' and numerous other popular songs they grew up listening to.
When Friday morning rolled around, everyone was nervous for Mark and Lea. Her and Cory's scene was scheduled for after lunch, while the cast finished up some scenes with Ricky that morning. Aside from a few brief glimpses of the writers the day before and that morning, nothing had been said about any changes to the script and by lunch, Lea was beginning to lose hope that it would be changed.
Everyone sat down to eat outside, since it was a nice day, and after the guys finished, Mark, Cory, Chord and Harry went to toss a football around for the last bit of their break and the others continued to sit where they had been, talking about the upcoming Fox party on Sunday.
"Lea," Dianna mentioned, when she saw Ian walking towards them.
Lea turned around and saw him, holding a few pieces of paper, so she stood up nervously, "hi," she said softly.
"Hey," Ian smiled, nodding at her, then held out the papers to her, "I think you'll like the changes," he said honestly.
Taking a moment, she reached for the papers and started to look over the words. It was the script for the whole scene, that led up to Finn and Rachel's private conversation and their song in the choir room. As she skimmed over the page, she landed on the words to the Michael Jackson song that she and Cory had recorded, and realized that now Rachel stopped Finn before she started singing and would continue on with a long, but thought out speech. She'd explain she would always care about him, but they were not ready and too young to get married. She'd admit that she knows they really don't love each other like a couple should when getting married and it would be a mistake for them to believe their relationship would last past high school, because they were going in two different directions and would miss out on a lot of opportunities if they married young and she didn't want to jeopardize her future because of it. She'd then go on to tell him he'd make someone happy one day, but it wouldn't be her and she didn't want to let things to go on any longer, ending her speech with an apology and a clear 'no'.
Reading over everything, Lea gasped and looked at Ian, "really? Are you serious?"
"Yes," he nodded, "you guys were right and we all got Ryan to see what he was doing. If you read on, you'll see that Finn doesn't believe Rachel at first and he's obviously upset, but she walks away feeling like she did the right thing. Then we'll still have everything else the same for that episode. We have the twelfth written and that will go mostly the same, except when Kurt and Mercedes find out, they'll assure Rachel she was right. We're also keeping Finn's scene with Kurt where he confronts Finn, but the wording has changed a little. Finn is still upset and wants Rachel back, but she's not going to let him change her mind. The thirteenth episode, which is the Valentine's day one, Finn will try again to get her back. We're still going to cast Rachel's dads and they'll still be in that episode, supporting Rachel's decision and letting her know she was right, even if it hurts. That's what we've been working on fixing since we talked the other day, because those scripts have been written," Ian explained, wanting her to know their direction.
Lea blushed and nodded, "thank you. I don't know... Thank you," she said again, "so, does this mean it's over for good?"
"It does. No more Finn and Rachel. We haven't started writing the Regionals episode, which is the last one before the airing break and once we know when Mark's having his surgery, if he has it, then we can figure out the rest of our direction, but we're off to a great start. We also have a good plan for season four," Ian assured her, "with Mark and by that, I mean, we have, believe it or not, settled on a new endgame," he added with a wink.
"Puckleberry?" She asked and when he nodded, she sighed as relief washed over her and she smiled brightly, "that's awesome. Thank you," she threw her arms around him and gave him a tight hug. "I need to go find Mark," she admitted as she pulled away.
With the papers in her hand, Lea made her way to where the guys usually hung out and couldn't help the extra bounce in her step. She was so happy and after a few moments, she came to a stop in front of her fiancé, "guess what!" She grinned brightly, holding the papers up to him.
"Whoa," Mark shook his head a little because even with the sunglasses he had on, black writing on white paper was not easy to look at in the sun, "what is it?" He blinked his eyes and took the paper from her so he could turn and look at it in the shade.
"They agreed with us!" She exclaimed happily, "sorry, Cory," she added, glancing at him.
Cory smirked, "don't worry about it. I already knew. Ian gave me the scene this morning."
"What? You knew? Why didn't you say anything?" Lea gasped.
"Ian asked me not to," Cory replied, "he said he wanted to give you the news."
Reading over the updated script, Mark definitely was relieved and had a feeling she knew more than just what was on the paper, "that's awesome, babe. I'm glad they woke up," he said honestly, returning the papers to her, "did he say anything else."
Lea nodded, "they've fixed the scripts they've already written and have a good idea on a direction. They're waiting to find out, um," she glanced at the other guys, before looking at him, "can I talk about your back?"
"I kind of thought it was already out there, so yeah," Mark shrugged.
"Oh, okay. I promised I wouldn't say anything and I meant it, but if you're okay with it, then I will," she replied, "they're waiting until they know if and when you'll have surgery before they start writing the episodes for after the airing break."
Mark nodded, "that's great. Well, my appointment's next week, so I'll know soon," he replied, "what about next season?" He wondered, hating to bring it up, but since they seemed to change their plan for the third season, he was hopeful they had for the fourth, also.
Closing the space between them, she grinned, "sounds like Puckleberry is going to New York," she said, before reaching to wrap her arms around his neck and pull him into a kiss.
Since they were outside and in an area where anyone could see them, Mark wasn't expecting her to do that, but he didn't hesitate to wrap his arms around her waist and hold her close as they kissed. Everything he'd just found out made him extremely happy and he did want to go celebrate even more with her, but settled for a loving kiss and hug until they could really be alone.
Knowing where they were, Lea didn't let their kiss linger too long, even if she wanted to, and after a few moments, she pulled back and settled on her feet. Seeing some of her lipstick on his lips, she reached up and gently wiped it away, but before she could say something, someone was clearing their throat.
"Uh, you guys might wanna start casually walking away," Chord murmured, "unless you wanna go public sooner than expected. There's a dude down there with a long range camera and I don't know how long he's been standing there."
Mark and Lea exchanged looks that expressed more than any words could at the moment and then the four guys and Lea turned slightly and began their trek back to where their trailers were. Once the others got a few steps ahead of them, Mark slipped his arm around Lea's shoulders and smiled, "time to give them something to talk about?" He wondered curiously.
Lea grinned, not even nervous as she slid her arm around his back and nodded, "yes, it is."
A/N6: Hope you guys enjoyed! Be gentle! I'm still getting the hang of writing RPF!
A/N7: It's safe to say this is not the end. I didn't expect this to come out as quickly as it did, but with the way Glee has gone, I had this idea and went with it and I look forward to writing more in the future.
A/N8: I had hoped to get this posted before Glee began in the Eastern US, but my afternoon got a bit hectic, so I'm posting it now, about 30 minutes before 'On My Way' airs here in my time zone, the Pacific.