sapphireej: (Starlight)
[personal profile] sapphireej

Title: Starlight, Chapter 43
Author: Sapphire ([livejournal.com profile] sapphiresfic)
Fandom: Glee
Pairing/Characters: Rachel, Puck, Rachel/Puck, the Glee clubbers
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 6,910
Spoilers: Up to 1x22 ~ Journey; just to be safe
Series: 'Starlight' (List of all the parts on my LJ)
Summary1: He's the star who just wants to be a high school student; she's the loser, who dreams of her name in lights on Broadway... When they meet at WMHS on the first day of a new school year; how will they take each other? ~ AU from the eps.
Summary2: Rachel has some problems and Noah drops the news to the club.
Disclaimer: I am just borrowing them for the fun of writing, BUT I do own the plot, ideas and original characters.
A/N: I edited this chapter, so all mistakes are mine.
A/N2: Feedback keeps me writing, so please comment or review. :D

~*~

A/N3: Keep in mind, within this AU... There is no Puck/Quinn, no Finn/Rachel, Quinn is NOT pregnant at all, Puck's dad never left when he was a kid and Puck will be OOC so yes, totally AU, though you'll see similarities to the episodes.

~*~

Hearing a faint beeping sound, Rachel thought it was just in her dreams, but as it continued, her body slowly began to wake up. When she opened her eyes and didn't immediately see her familiar bedroom, a brief moment of shock hit her and she sat up with a gasp, quickly looking around the almost dark bedroom to get her bearings.

Feeling Rachel's movements and hearing her gasp, Noah woke quickly and sat up, resting a gentle hand on her shoulder, "babe, you're safe. You're just in my room," he murmured.

As soon as she heard the familiar voice, memories of the night before returned to her mind. Sighing in relief, she turned and shifted closer to her boyfriend, "oh Noah," she slid her good arm around him, "I didn't realize where I was right away," she admitted, "sorry."

"Don't be," Noah wrapped his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her forehead, "it's the first time you've stayed over in a while. It's understandable," he told her honestly.

"Okay," she took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart.

With his arms around her, Noah leaned back, guiding her with him and settled back into the pillows, "just relax," he said softly, "I don't have to get out of bed right this second, so we can stay here for a bit."

Nodding at his suggestion, Rachel smiled and snuggled closer to him, letting herself relax as best she could.

~*~

Not able to stay in bed too long, Noah was the first one to get up, heading to take a shower. Rachel decided to shower when she got home, so she got dressed and made his bed while he was in the bathroom.

"You know, you really didn't have to do that," Noah commented, when he returned to find his bed made.

"I know, but you were in the shower and I wasn't doing anything at the moment, so I didn't see a need to let it sit. I know you don't always make your bed," she replied with a smile, definitely attracted to the sight before her; her boyfriend dressed in only boxers with his skin glistening from the light hitting the small water droplets scattered over his body.

Noah laughed lightly and continued to dry himself off with his towel, "why? I'm just going to sleep in it again and mess it up," he admitted, moving to over to his closet.

As Noah moved, Rachel took a seat on the edge of his bed and watched him. Ever since they'd talked about taking their physical relationship to the next level, she couldn't help the sexual thoughts that popped into her mind. She'd had them before, but not as vivid as her current ones and seeing him move, his muscles flexing as he bent over to pull his pants up, her thoughts were definitely sexual. With his back to her, she knew he couldn't see her looking at him, but she stood up and moved over to him, resting her hand on his shoulder as he grabbed a t-shirt from a hanger, "Noah," she said softly.

Turning around, Noah raised a curiously eyebrow at her, "yeah, babe?"

Now that he was facing her, she rested her good hand on his chest just above his heart and gently let her fingertips drift down to rest on his well toned abs, "just admiring my amazing boyfriend," she murmured, "and I'm starting to understand the need for cold showers," she added with a blush.

Feeling her hand on his chest, Noah took a deep breath and tried to stay calm, "oh yeah?"

"Yeah, my mind has been quite active since we talked the other night," she stood up on her tiptoes to press a kiss to his lips, "and as much as I'm surprised I'm thinking about that, I'm not scared or nervous; I feel excited and safe," she told him honestly.

Noah reached up and rested a hand on her cheek, letting his thumb brush gently across her skin, "I'm glad," he replied softly, kissing her once more, "you never have to be scared with me and if you ever feel uncomfortable about anything, you know you can tell me, right?"

"I know I can," Rachel nodded, slipping her arm around his waist and resting her head on his chest.

"Good," he smiled, rubbing her back gently.

"Noah, Rachel, are you two... Oh," Ethan froze when he stepped into the open doorway and saw the teens, "uh, okay, you guys are up," he said, "I'll, um, just go," he added, turning on his heel and leaving the room before either could respond.

Rachel blushed, pulling back from her boyfriend a little, "I guess we should get downstairs. Your dad is probably in shock."

Noah smirked, "yeah, probably," he let go of Rachel and put the shirt on he had in his hand, "and I gotta get my books gathered up for school."

~*~

With time feeling like it was moving quickly, Rachel helped Noah gather all his books for school and with his bag full and still carrying his heaviest book, the couple headed downstairs with their things and joined his parents and sister in the kitchen.

"Morning you two," Deborah greeted, smirking, "how did you guys sleep last night?"

"Not too bad, but I freaked out a little when I woke up, because I didn't realize where I was at first," Rachel admitted.

"Oh that's understandable, it's been a while since you stayed over," Deborah replied.

Rachel nodded, "yeah, that's what Noah said, too. I know it's been a while. I should change that," she commented, glancing at Noah.

"You know you're welcome any night," Noah replied, "and I need to remember to close the door," he added, glancing at his dad, "so dad doesn't have a heat attack one morning."

Ethan couldn't help the blush that grew on his cheeks, "yeah, that'd be helpful," he admitted.

"Well, we weren't doing anything wrong; I was just giving Rachel a hug without a shirt on and talking," Noah said.

"I know, but I also know where that leads," Ethan replied honestly.

Rachel's cheeks turned red at Ethan's comment, but she chose not to say anything, because Arin was at the table.

"Babe, do you want anything for breakfast?" Noah asked, changing the subject to something less personal.

"Uh," Rachel shook from her thoughts, "oh, no thank you. I'll eat when I get home."

"Are you leaving when Noah does?" Ethan asked.

"I am," Rachel nodded, "I still have homework to do and I am going to gather up some of the work I'm done with so I can return it to my locker at school. That way I don't have as many books to take back on Monday," she explained.

"That's a good idea, babe," Noah smiled.

"I don't know what you two were planning for tonight, but I'll be going to Glee this afternoon and if you're still going, too, I can pick you up around two-thirty, Rachel. That way you don't have to drive and have two cars to deal with if you and Noah want to hang out after," Ethan offered.

"Oh! That would be great. Are you sure it wouldn't be a problem to pick me up?" Rachel asked.

"It's not a problem," Ethan assured her, "I just thought it'd help if you two wanted to go out or head to your place after Glee. No sense in having two cars going to the same place."

"Sounds good to me," Noah smiled, "we can hang out at your place tonight or come back here, I don't mind."

"Now that we're home, are you going to be staying together at night?" Deborah wondered, knowing it'd been a rough few weeks and wasn't sure what the two were going to do.

"That's all up to Rachel," Noah motioned to his girlfriend.

Rachel took a deep breath, "I don't know. I'd like us to be together, either here or at my place. It's safe and comforting, which is what I need right now."

Noah reached over and took her good hand, squeezing it gently, "you know I'll stay at your place and you're welcome here, so just say the word."

Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, she nodded, "how about staying at my place tonight?"

Glancing at his parents and when they both nodded, Noah smiled, "I can do that. I'll pack some clothes after breakfast."

~*~

After talking for a little longer, the Puckermans and Rachel began to get their things together for the day. Noah went upstairs to fill a small bag with some clothes, so he could stay the night at the Berry's house and Deborah and Arin were getting ready to leave, too.

A little after seven in the morning, Ethan walked everyone into the garage to their cars and opened the garage doors; he was the only one who wasn't going anywhere that morning. Arin and Deborah were the first to hug everyone and say 'goodbye' and once they were gone, Rachel and Ethan confirmed their plans for that afternoon and then he stepped inside to give the teens some privacy.

Noah put his bags into the backseat of his SUV and then walked Rachel outside to her car.

"I hope you have a good day at school," Rachel said, opening her back door and setting her bags on the seat.

When Rachel closed her door, Noah wrapped his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her cheek, "yeah, me too. I hope I haven't missed a lot with being gone for a week. All my make-up work is done, but still. It's a long time to miss," he said, "it's also going to be a long day without you there... But I totally understand why you're waiting a bit longer," he assured her, "and I'm glad you're coming to Glee today. Can I tell everyone?" He asked, unsure if she wanted it to be a surprise or not.

Thinking for a moment, Rachel shrugged as she leaned against him, "I think it's a good idea to tell them. That way everyone will know to be there for practice," she replied, "so yes, it's alright to tell them."

"Good point," he nodded, leaning down and kissing her again, "I should get going or I'm going to be running late," he murmured, "love you and I'll talk to you later?"

Rachel nodded, "you will. Love you, too, Noah," she tightened her good arm around him and as she pulled back, she kissed him once more, "and I'll see you this afternoon."

"Great!" Noah smiled.

Sharing another hug and kiss, Noah reluctantly let go of his girlfriend and opened her driver's door for her. Rachel slid into her car and once her door was shut, he went to get into his SUV and got it started, backing out after a few minutes and following her out of the gates to the house.

"Thankfully she'll be coming to Glee today. I really need to tell everyone about Josh and Olivia at the same time," Noah thought, following her towards town. "I know she may be upset because I didn't tell her, but I just thought it was better to tell everyone at the same time; to be fair."

~*~

Rachel knew her boyfriend was following behind her and part of her wished she was going to school with him, but she just wasn't sure if she was ready. She was glad no one was pushing her to go back and she knew she had to, but returning for Glee that afternoon would help her figure out if she was ready and hoped she did okay.

When she turned off the road, towards her house, her boyfriend waved and continued on to McKinley, and she returned his wave and continued the drive home. Pulling up to the sidewalk in front of her house, she noticed her dads were just coming outside to go to work, so she was glad she could see them before they left.

Greeting her dads and talking to her briefly, Rachel let them know about Ethan picking her up that day for Glee, because she didn't want them to worry if they got home and found her car there, but not her and they appreciated the head's up. Since they had to get to work, Rachel hugged and kissed them and headed up to the front door of the house as they got into their cars and drove off.

Once they were gone, she stepped into the quiet house and took a deep breath, "first day really alone here. Let's see how I do," she thought, closing the door behind her, making sure it was locked. Moving into the living room where all her books were stacked, she took her Spanish book from her bag and added it to the pile and then went upstairs to her room, wanting to take a shower and get ready for the day.

During her shower, Rachel couldn't help thinking about the moment she and Noah shared that morning. It wasn't the first time she'd seen him shirtless, but it was the first time since they'd talked about going further in their physical relationship that she'd seen him in that way. "Noah does things to me, in a good way... I just... When I'm with him, I feel so alive and like I can do anything and I know we're young and have our whole lives to be together, but I want to 'be' with him. I don't want to wait for years; we don't need to. I'm ready and I'm pretty sure he is, too. I know we've been through a lot the past month, but I want this and I don't want to wait much longer," her thoughts paused when she had to reach for something with her right hand, because of the cast on her left, covered in protective plastic bags, "only after this thing is gone. I don't want to remember my first time with a cast on."

~*~

Rachel let her thoughts settle and finished her shower. After drying off and getting dressed, she'd been home about an hour, so she headed downstairs and sat on the couch. Reaching for her phone, she found a few messages from her boyfriend, ones to keep her spirits up and remind her she was beautiful and he was there for her. "Thanks, Noah. You definitely know the right words to say to help me relax," she smiled, typing a reply with a message similar to what she'd just thought and sent it to him.

She also had a few messages from friends, excited that she was going to be in Glee that day, so she replied to them and promised to see them that afternoon, before settling onto the couch and getting into her homework.

For the first hour of being in the living room, Rachel did well. The shower and the words from her boyfriend had helped her relax, but as the morning progressed and she tried to keep focused on homework, she found that little noises coming from around the house and outside startled her. When her dads or Noah had been home with her, it wasn't so bad, because not only did she know they were there to protect her, she also didn't notice the noises, but now a simple light creak from wind hitting the house or the rustle of a bush outside made her jump and around eleven there was a knock on the door. She wasn't expecting anyone and assumed it was a solicitor, so she ignored the second knock, picked up her phone and moved into the kitchen. "I can't stay here alone," she thought, fighting back tears, "I need to call someone, but who? Daddy is going to be with patients, dad is either going to be in court or with clients, Noah is at school... I could call Ethan. I know he's home and maybe he could come over early. I hate to ask, but he is picking me up later, and I just can't be alone much longer or I'm going to freak out even more..." She took a shaky breath to calm down, "I'm calling Ethan," she said out loud as another light creak came from the house and startled her.

Pulling up Ethan's number, she hit the send button, hoping he'd answer and after three rings, she heard his voice and she practically sighed in relief, "hey Ethan, it's Rachel," she said as calm as possible.

"Hey, Rachel, everything alright? Did you forget something over here?" Ethan wondered, a little confused why she was calling him.

"Oh, um," she thought briefly about his question, "no I didn't forget anything. I was... um," she blushed, "I really hate to ask, but do you think you could come over early? Like... now?"

"What's wrong, Rachel?" He asked concerned, now realizing something else was going on.

"I... I thought I would be fine on my own, you know? When I got back, I showered and got dressed and I was fine and even when I started my homework, but now every little creak and noise I hear makes me jump and I guess when dad and daddy were here with me it wasn't as noticeable, because I knew they were here, and Noah was with me the other day, but now I'm completely alone and everything is bothering me. I really hate to ask, but I knew you were home and I thought maybe you could come over," she finished.

"Say no more, Rachel. I'll be over in about a half an hour," Ethan assured her. "Have you eaten anything?"

"No," she blushed, "I didn't even think about that. Are you sure you don't mind?"

"I don't mind," Ethan replied honestly, "and I'll stop and get us some lunch, okay? I'll be over as soon as I can."

Rachel sighed in relief, "okay, thank you so much, Ethan. I really appreciate it."

~*~

Hanging up the phone from talking to Ethan, Rachel was relieved. She hated asking for him to come over, but she just wasn't comfortable at home by herself any longer and needed the company.

Returning to the living room, she settled back into homework and did her best to stay calm and she sighed in relief when her cell phone beeped and she saw a message from him that he was there, followed by a knock on the door. Getting up, she moved over to the door, unlocked it and pulled it open, seeing him on the other side, "hey, thanks for coming over," she smiled lightly at him.

"Anytime, Rachel," he nodded, stepping into the house and held up a bag of Chinese take-out. "I brought lunch, too. I got some stuff I know I've seen you eat."

"Thank you," Rachel smiled and closed the door, "I appreciate you doing this. I just," she took a deep breath and followed him into the kitchen, "I guess I'm not as okay as I thought I was."

"It's alright," he assured her, setting their food on the island. "Come here," he said softly, motioning towards himself, but wanting her to be the one to hug him.

Stepping closer, she wrapped her good arm around him and smiled, relaxing for a moment, glad to have him over, "thanks, dad."

Ethan gave her a friendly hug and smiled at her calling him 'dad'. "No problem. You needed some company and I'm here. I'm happy to help out. Have you told your dads yet?" He wondered as they pulled apart.

"No. I figured I'd tell them when I got home tonight after Glee. Is it alright that I called you 'dad'? I mean... You're my boyfriend's dad and I see you as another dad to me," Rachel asked, as she moved over to the cupboard to get some plates out.

"It's totally cool, Rachel," Ethan commented, taking his laptop bag off his shoulder and setting it on one of the empty chairs nearby, "I think we've talked about it before, but if we haven't, I don't mind you calling me 'dad'. You're like a daughter to me," he replied.

Rachel smiled and set a couple plates on the island along with some silverware, "okay, cool. Good to know."

~*~

Now that Rachel had someone else in the house, she calmed down a lot and thanked Ethan, again, over lunch for coming over when she called. Ethan passed it off and assured her he didn't mind helping out and when the two finished eating, they cleaned up their messes and moved into the living room. Rachel got back to her homework and Ethan pulled his laptop out and went back to what he'd been doing; checking email and making arrangements for things Noah had to do.

The two were quiet, both involved with what they were doing, but as Rachel finished up with the assignment she was working on, she sorted out her bag and what books and things she wanted to return to her locker at school and then leaned back on the couch.

"You okay?" Ethan wondered.

"Yes, now that I have company," she replied.

He nodded in understanding, "I was thinking about tomorrow."

"Really? Oh..." She took a deep breath, "tomorrow's another work day."

"Yeah, and I know you and Noah spoke this morning about him staying here tonight, but what would you think about staying at our house again? Then in the morning, you could stay at our place with me and then Noah can come home after school and you'd already be there. It's just a thought and something you should talk to your dads about, but you're welcome to stay over at the house. I'll be there," he suggested.

Rachel thought about his offer and though she felt like she would be a bother, she did like the idea of being there when her boyfriend got home, "are you sure it would be okay? I wouldn't be interrupting anything?"

"No, you wouldn't. The only thing I may have to do is go grocery shopping, but you'd be welcome to come with me or stay at the house," he told her.

"I'll talk to Noah and my dads tonight about it and if they're okay, we'll do that," she smiled at him, "I'm sure they'll be alright with that. They may want to talk to you, too."

Ethan nodded, "they're welcome to call or come over anytime."

~*~

Talking with Ethan for a little longer, they went back to what they were doing, but she stopped her work a little after two, to make sure that the house wasn't a mess when her dads got home. A little after two-thirty, Rachel and Ethan headed out to his SUV and he drove them to McKinley, parking in the visitor parking at the front of the school when they got there.

"Are you ready to do this?" Ethan asked, knowing this was the first time she'd been back there since everything happened.

Rachel took a deep breath, "I don't know. I hope I am; just let me take my time," she said softly.

"You got it," Ethan nodded.

After a moment to gather her thoughts, she opened the door and slid out, getting her bag from the backseat and when the doors were shut, she met Ethan at the back of the SUV. With her in the lead, they walked towards the main entrance of the school and Ethan pulled the door open for her.

With a 'thank you' smile to Ethan, Rachel stepped inside the school for the first time in several weeks and took another calming breath, "you can do this, Rachel. You love school. Just take it easy and Ethan's right behind you," she told herself, moving further into the building as memories, both good and bad began to return to her.

Turning down a familiar hallway, Rachel stayed close to the right side, where her boyfriend's locker was, wanting to stay as far away from the left side as she could, because across the hallway from Noah, Matt, Finn and Mike's lockers, was Crystal's. Unable to stop her eyes to drifting to that side of the hallway, Rachel saw the locker she knew had been hers, but now the combination lock was gone and the door was ajar, meaning that it was an empty locker.

Ethan stayed a few feet behind her, giving her space, but also was close enough if she had a problem, and he found her looking at a section of lockers, one missing a lock and he realized quickly why her attention was on that one, "Rachel, are you alright?"

"I think so," she mumbled softly, brushing her good hand along her boyfriend's locker as she passed it, remembering many times she'd waited at Noah's locker with him and turned to talk to Carly and her, who were standing at their lockers across the way. "How could have I been so blind?" She asked softly.

"What was that?" Ethan asked, walking to catch up to her as they passed the lockers and moved down the hallway.

Rachel bit her lip and glanced at him, "I'm just wondering how I could have been so blind... Noah, Matt, Mike and Finn's lockers are on the right side and across the hall is where her locker was, next to Carly's... Noah knew Carly from a class they share, but he hadn't met her until the concert and when we came back to school from break, how did I miss her dislike for me? I mean..."

"Don't do that to yourself, Rachel," Ethan said quietly, "don't try to figure out what you did wrong, because you didn't do anything wrong. Don't blame yourself for thinking you missed something or could have prevented what happened," he told her honestly, having experienced similar feelings in the past. "I've been through that before, when I was a cop full-time. You can't beat yourself up about what happened or you'll spend the rest of your life second guessing everything you do, say or feel. There is nothing you could have done to prevent what she did," he looked at her as they came to a stop at her locker.

Rachel couldn't help the gasp that escaped her lips as she listened to him, for the first time really talking to him without others around, "wow," she took a deep breath, "you're right," she nodded, reaching out to her lock to put the combination in, "I'm trying not to, but I can't help it right now..."

"I know and it's not going to be easy, but you'll get through this, I promise. I did and I know you will, too," he assured her. "You've got a lot of great things going for you and you don't want this to ruin your life."

Biting her lip, she nodded, "you're right," she said again, pulling open her locker door and was shocked at what she found inside. On the bottom of her locker, there were tons of pieces of paper, all folded up small enough to fit through the small vents on the locker door and they were all addressed to her, "what in the world!" She gasped, reaching out to stop a few from falling out.

Ethan smirked, "it looks like you have some fans."

Blushing, she reached for one of them at the front and unfolded the paper, "Rachel, sorry to hear what happened to you. It must have been scary, but so glad to hear you're home. Get well, soon! - Holly A.," she read out loud. "Wow, I don't even know someone named Holly," she admitted, "but that's nice of her... I wonder if these are all like this."

"Probably," Ethan replied, glancing at his watch, "school's about to let out, so are you ready for the crowd?" He asked, unsure if she was ready for that all yet.

"Yes, I think I will be," Rachel nodded, opening a side pocket on her bag and began stuffing the folded pieces of paper into it so she could have room to put her things inside, "I did alright at the mall. Besides, this is usually where our friends meet after school."

"Alright," he nodded, letting her continue what she was doing.

Emptying out some of the notes inside, she gasped again, when she realized she'd missed something big; she'd been so focused on what was at the bottom of the locker, she didn't see the bottoms of the flower stems and looked up, seeing a bouquet of pink roses leaning inside. Reaching up, she pulled the card from where it was taped on the plastic wrap around the flowers and knew from the writing of her name on the front that it was from her boyfriend. Sliding the card out, she skimmed over the words, "welcome back, babe. Love ya! - Noah," she smiled and pressed a kiss to the card, and then carefully took the flowers out, "can you hold these?" She asked, smelling them and relaxing to their scent.

Reaching out, Ethan took the bouquet from her, "I guess he stopped on his way to school this morning."

"Well, he followed me almost all the way this morning, so unless he turned around after I got home, he might have gone out during lunch," she explained, pulling a book out of her bag to get some more room to put the notes and as the bell rang, she continued to add her books to her locker and put the folded papers into her bag.

Behind her, she could hear the quiet hallway begin to rumble with noise as more students filled it, the doors of lockers opening and closing and everyone talking. Once all her notes were in her bag and her books, binders and folders were back in her locker, she closed it, "okay, that's done."

"Who is the stranger in Rachel's locker?" A familiar voice asked and Rachel turned to see Mercedes and Kurt, with Noah, Mike and Brittany right behind them, "oh! It is, Rachel! Welcome back, girl!"

"Thanks," Rachel smiled, stepping forward to hug Mercedes and Kurt. When she pulled away from them, she accepted one from Mike and Brittany, before finally getting to her boyfriend, "thank you for the flowers," she smiled at him.

"You're welcome, babe," he replied, wrapping his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her lips, "how are you doing?"

"It's a long story," she admitted, "but right now, I'm doing okay. What's with all the notes in my locker?"

"Oh, that was my idea last week," he smirked, "everyone wanted to leave you notes, so I told them to stuff them into your locker and you'd get them when you came back."

"And you didn't think to mention that to me?" She wondered.

"I thought it might be a nice surprise," he shrugged.

"So did we," Kurt added.

Rachel smiled at them, "well it was. I only read one of them, but it was nice to see. I didn't expect it at all."

Noah pressed a kiss to her forehead, "other people care, babe. They might not know you personally, but something like that happens, they at least wanna say something."

"Yeah, I see that," she relaxed against him.

~*~

After some of their friends talked to Rachel and had gotten things out of their lockers, a few headed right to the choir room, while some of them, Noah, Rachel, Ethan, Finn, Quinn, Mike and Matt headed to the guys' lockers. Rachel knew she'd just been down the hallway earlier and hadn't done as well, but hoped with what Ethan had told her and having Noah and the others around, she'd do better than before.

When they reached their lockers, the guys got their books and Rachel turned around, seeing Carly at her locker, "Carly!" She called out to catch her attention.

Carly looked up and around until she saw Rachel, "oh wow! Hey Rachel! Noah said you'd be back today for Glee, but I didn't think I'd see you in the halls," she admitted, closing her locker and walking over to them, "it's good to see you back."

"Thanks," Rachel smiled, glad she'd moved closer to them, "I'm not fully back, but I should be Monday."

"It's a start," Carly nodded.

"It is," Rachel agreed, "do you have any plans? Like ones that you need to get to right now?"

"Um, no. Just some homework, why?" Carly wondered.

"Well, since you were over for the awards, we were talking about having a party for Noah this weekend and I was going to bring it up during Glee, since they were all there, and thought you could join us briefly to discuss ideas," Rachel explained, "or you know, you could see if you wanted to join Glee, too," she added with a grin.

Carly laughed lightly at the last part, but nodded, "I don't know about that, but I could join you to plan the party," she admitted.

"Great!" Rachel smiled.

~*~

When the guys were finished at their lockers, the large group, including Carly, headed towards the choir room and found seats inside and Rachel explained why Carly was there, to the ones who hadn't heard Rachel ask her. Once everyone had arrived and Will had greeted Rachel, she stood up in front of the club and was about to start talking about the party, but Noah stood up, "uh, babe, you might want to let me go first."

"Noah, you shouldn't be planning your own party," Rachel commented.

He laughed nervously and glanced at Ethan, "I'm not going to be talking about the party," he said, "just... please sit down and let me go first... You guys are all going to want to be sitting for this," he admitted, guiding his girlfriend back to her chair.

"Please don't say you're leaving again," Finn begged, once Noah took his place in front of the class.

At Finn's question, several friends gasped and began throwing concerned questions out, enough that the room was getting pretty noisy, so Noah whistled loudly to settle them down, "no, I'm not leaving," he said once they'd quieted.

As a loud sigh of relief filtered through the class, Noah took a deep breath and he glanced at his dad again and Ethan nodded at him to continue, "okay, um... So you guys know what songs we're singing at Regionals... 'Beautiful', 'You're The One That I Want' and 'My Life Would Suck Without You'," he started and when everyone nodded, he went on, "well, after I accepted my last award on Sunday night, I left the stage to meet up with my parents in the audience," he explained.

"I think I saw you do that at the tail end of the awards... Or at least, you going down the steps before they stopped broadcasting," Rachel commented.

"Yeah," Noah nodded, "well, it was busy since everyone was starting to leave and when I finally got to my parents and got a chance to hug them and Taylor and talk for a moment, I said 'goodbye' to Taylor and his dad and then they left. The three of us wait until it cleared out a little before I headed backstage to sign for and pick up my other awards," he paused, taking a deep breath, "now, Rachel don't get pissed, because I felt it was only fair that everyone in this room found out at the same time," he warned her lightly.

"What? Noah, what's going on?" Rachel asked.

Pulling his phone from his pocket, he pulled up his pictures and scrolled through them until he found the one with Olivia and showed it to her, "a woman and her husband came up to us and she wanted to meet me."

"Oh my!" Rachel gasped, "is that Olivia Newton-John?" She asked loudly, which drew everyone's attention to Noah's iPhone.

"It is," Noah nodded, "and I thought it was really neat, you know? Because we're doing a song from Grease for competition, but then 'neat' turned into something else."

Holding the phone closer so some others could see the picture, he let Will see it and then he pocketed his phone and began pacing a little, "you see, um... She told me she'd see me in a few weeks and when I asked her what she meant, she was surprised that I didn't know that she and Josh Groban would be judges at our Regionals," he explained.

"What?" "Are you kidding me?" "You're joking, right?" "You can't be serious!"

"He's not joking," Ethan commented from the piano bench he was sitting on.

"I briefly thought that maybe you guys just hadn't told me, since I'd missed a few days of school and that's what I made her think, but I knew there was no way you guys knew or I would have heard about it," Noah told them. "And that's why I didn't want you to get upset for keeping this from you, Rachel, because I felt it was only fair to tell everyone here at once, instead of telling you and then telling the others," Noah added, looking at his girlfriend.

"Oh, um," Rachel bit her lip, "I understand. You're right," she nodded, butterflies building in her stomach at what she'd just heard.

"So just to be clear, you're saying that Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John will be judges at our competition... Where we're singing a song from Grease?" Kurt asked.

"Yes," Noah confirmed.

"Oh, we're fucked," Finn groaned, sinking down in his seat.

"Those were my exact words," Noah said, glancing at Ethan.

Ethan smirked, "they were."

"But if celebrities are judging us, and you're in the club, couldn't that be seen as a conflict of interest?" Ryan asked, speaking up for the first time since Noah dropped the news, "I mean, you've talked to Olivia... Have you ever talked to Josh?"

"No and yes," Noah replied, "yes I have talked to Josh and he told he me doesn't think we could be disqualified, because he was concerned about the same thing when he was asked. He was part of the 'We Are The World' recording that I did on Monday and we talked about it that night. He knew I'd be there for it and he told the board that when he was asked to be a judge. They told him they couldn't control our contact outside of the competition and they thought it would be fairer for everyone if they had some celebrities judging, who wouldn't just give us all the points because I was their favorite singer," Noah explained. "I'm sorry guys, I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but I wasn't going to keep it from you."

Rachel stood up and moved to her boyfriend, seeing he felt bad, "thank you for telling us, Noah. We're glad you did and now we at least know what we're getting into and won't be surprised when we get to Detroit," she said, hugging him.

"She's right. We're glad you told us," Finn added.

"Yeah, we are, but what are we going to do?" Mercedes asked looking around. "If we sing a song that Olivia did once, isn't that going to look like we planned it that way?"

"Any show choir member or director is going to know it takes more than a few weeks to plan, rehearse, and nail a song and choreography, so even if they think that, they know it's not possible," Will replied, "and we don't have enough time to pick a new song. We're going to have to stick with the ones we've been working on," he added.

Noah heard the groans and took a deep breath, "I know it's not going to be easy, trust me, I'm nervous, too, but I have faith in all of us. We just have to focus on our performance, be ourselves and not worry about who is watching."

"Just treat them like normal people," Rachel said, looking at her boyfriend, "right?"

"Yeah, exactly," Noah nodded, "now we just have to figure out when to meet. Part of the reason why I wanted to start off was because I was going to suggest that we spend one day this weekend practicing here at school. We could also use it as a time to have the party, too."

"That's a good idea," Kurt commented, "I vote Saturday."

"Can we Mr. Schue?" Finn asked, looking at Will.


Will thought for a moment, "you guys really want to take your Saturday to practice?"

"We really need to, Mr. Schuester. I think we'd all feel more comfortable if we had extra time to practice," Quinn commented, "Regionals is next weekend, after all."

As others in the room nodded in agreement to what Quinn said, Will agreed, "alright, Saturday it is. Maybe be here about ten in the morning? We can take a break around noon and I don't know what you were thinking about for the party, but we can see if someone would be alright bringing up lunch around then. Carly and others you were going to invite can join us then, too," Will explained.

"Alright, sounds good to me," Carly nodded.

Noah nodded, "cool, looks like we've got time for practice and the party."

"We do," Rachel replied, and others nodded in agreement.

~*~

A/N4: Happy 2nd Birthday, Starlight! I could have updated this a few weeks ago, but when I realized how close it was to today, so I decided to hold off to update on it's birthday. I posted the prologue and first chapter on 3/1/2010. A lot has happened since then and I have so many more plans for this fic! Thank you, everyone, for enjoying this and sticking with me! Love you all!

A/N5: For those of you who would like to read my Lark (Lea/Mark RPF) fics, which I ONLY post on my LJ (RPF goes against FF's rules), the links are below. You're welcome to read and comment without having an account with LJ. If you'd like me to message you when I update, I can do that, too. Just PM me and we can discuss it. The two fics I have posted now are going to be turned into a series, AU after 1/1/2012 and the end of 3x11 - Michael.

'Breaking The Rules' - Lea and Mark finally get to spend a New Year's Eve together!
'Something To Talk About' - continued from 'Breaking The Rules' - After the events of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Mark and Lea definitely have a lot to talk about.

~*~


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Notes

Hi! This is EJ... AKA sapphiresfic on LJ, sapphireej on FF.net and EJ8302 on Tumblr and Twitter.

6/8/2012 - ALL LINKS in posts go to LJ. Over time I will correct them so they go to DW, but for now, it's a start.

June 2012

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