sapphireej: (Starlight)
[personal profile] sapphireej

Title: Starlight, Chapter 45
Author: Sapphire ([livejournal.com profile] sapphiresfic (LJ) / SapphireEJ (FF/DW/AO3) / EJ8302 (Tumblr/Twitter))
Fandom: Glee
Pairing/Characters: Rachel, Puck, Rachel/Puck, the Glee clubbers
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 8,307
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: A relationship could be blossoming and Noah takes Rachel on a date
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.

~*~

Noah's speech was definitely a happy tearjerker, but his quick change of 'subject' helped brake up the tension and move things along. His cake was cut and passed out to everyone and they found seats again to enjoy their dessert before needing to get back to work. Some of them came up to Noah and congratulated him again on his awards, even though they'd already done it, but he appreciated hearing their words again.

Rachel and Noah couldn't help feeding each other cake and a few people joked that they were 'practicing' for their future. Noah happily replied with, "of course we are. Practice makes perfect, right?" Noah's response was a shock to some, but their close friends and family were not surprised. They all knew about the bracelets Noah had purchased for them now and also could see that the young couple loved each other and marriage was definitely in their future; a few years down the road at least.

Once the large group had their fill of lunch, the adults started to help clean up, while New Directions returned to the stage to continue their practice. All of the new arrivals were asked to keep quite about their song choices. The last thing the club wanted was for their set list to get 'leaked' like it had at Sectionals, because they didn't have any back-ups.

The club started to work on 'My Life Would Suck Without You', with Tina and Rachel as their leads. This time there was not as much partner dancing and again, Rachel was thankful her cast didn't cause her any problems with the routine. The teens seemed to be a bit more comfortable and sure about this song and dance, and no one was really sure if it was because there was less partner dancing or if it had more to do with it not being a song originally done by one of the Regionals judges.

For the first little while of practice, the adults and others there who weren't practicing, helped clean up all the food, but once that was done, they settled into seats to be an audience. Even though they were only watching a practice, they cheered them on and Ethan and a few others noticed things that Will hadn't, while being on stage with the teens, so everyone was glad for the feedback and additional pointers. It also helped to have Taylor there. He wasn't a singer, but he still was a celebrity, so it helped all of them shake some of their nerves about performing in front of Josh and Olivia at Regionals.

After fixing some of the things that had been pointed out, Will suggested they run through each of their numbers a few more times, before calling it a day. It was about two-thirty and he didn't want them pushing too hard on each song. With the progress they'd made that day and with a whole week still left to practice, he was confident they'd do well, without working the entire day.

Liking Will's suggestion, the girls, minus Rachel, went through 'Beautiful' a few times, fixing some things their audience noticed. Moving on to 'You're The One That I Want', again, they had a few things pointed out to them to fix and then moved on to their last song. They'd already gotten some feedback for it, so they went right through the song twice, before Will called an end to the day. Their 'audience' clapped for them, all wishing them luck at Regionals and assuring them with just a little more practice they'd be ready.

Noah noticed that even though Rachel was getting the steps right, she was distracted during the last fifteen minutes of practice. Following her gaze, he'd found she was watching Taylor and Carly, who were sitting together, in the second row of seats, a little further away from the adults and his sister. They were talking, which wasn't a big deal, but then he realized they'd hardly taken their eyes off each other, so he knew they were having a conversation, unrelated to New Directions. During another glance a few minutes later, Noah noticed that Taylor now had his phone out and was pointing out things on his screen, so he figured he was showing her pictures. The two were definitely getting along, so he didn't think too much of it, but he had a feeling his girlfriend was keeping an eye on them because she was curious about what it meant.

"Noah, did you see them?" Rachel asked softly, standing close to him as everyone began to walk towards the edge of the stage.

"Yeah, it was hard not to realize what you were looking at," he murmured, "what's the big deal? I'm glad they're getting along. She is our friend and it's cool she's comfortable around him, you know?" He shrugged, keeping his voice low while they were still on stage.

"Oh, yes, that is very cool," Rachel nodded, "and I'm glad they're getting along, but aren't you curious just how well they're getting along? Do you think they could be more than 'just friends'?"

Confirming his suspicions, Noah smirked, "hold up. They just met, babe. Not everyone meets someone and starts dating on the first day," he winked at her.

Rachel blushed at his comment, knowing he was hinting at when they started dating, the same day they met, "yes, I know that, Noah," she sighed, "I guess I just thought it'd be neat, you know? One of your best friends and one of our friends and classmates."

Noah rested his hands on her shoulders and pressed a kiss to her forehead, "it would definitely be neat. If something happens, it happens, just don't push it. As far as I know, he and the other Taylor still have feelings for each other," he added, "so I don't know. If you want, we can talk to him later and see, but I'm not playing matchmaker."

"Okay, fair enough," she smiled and leaned up, pressing a kiss to his lips.

"Hey Rachel, can we borrow you for a minute?" Kurt asked, coming up to the couple with a costume bag's hanger hooked to his hand and Tina and Mercedes right with him.

"Uh, sure. What' up?" She wondered curiously.

"Before you keep your costumes, we want to make sure they fit you. We went with your sizes from last competition, so we just want to check and make sure we don't need to exchange them for another size," Tina explained.

"Oh, alright. The dressing rooms?" She wondered, motioning backstage.

"Yeah, Mr. Schuester said we could use them," Mercedes nodded.

"Okay," Rachel kissed her boyfriend again, before pulling away from him, "we'll be back."

Noah smiled at her and nodded, "I'll be here."

~*~

While the four friends headed backstage, Noah glanced around to see who was still there. The band and Artie, Santana and Brittany had already left, but all of the adults and his sister were still there, along with Finn, Quinn, Mike, Matt, Ryan, Taylor and Carly, who were gathered in a group talking.

"Hey, man, where'd Rachel go?" Taylor wondered as Noah joined them.

"To try on her costumes for Regionals. Kurt, Mercedes and Tina went with her," Noah explained, reaching for his bag and digging out one of the bottles of water he'd put in it that morning, "how long are you here for?" Noah asked, realizing he never mentioned it.

Taylor glanced at his watch, "dad and I have to be back on the road by six. Our flight leaves at about ten," he admitted. "We're not imposing on any of your plans are we? Your dad didn't think you guys were doing anything after practice today."

Noah shook his head as he took a swig of his water, "we didn't have any plans. Tomorrow, yes, today, no. We didn't know how long practice would go," Noah explained, "and you know you're welcome anytime."

"Thanks, bro," Taylor smiled, patting him on the back.

"What are you two doing tomorrow?" Finn asked, surprised he hadn't heard about anything.

"I'm taking Rachel out on a real date. Haven't taken her on one for a while," Noah admitted.

"That sounds like fun. Do you know where yet?" Quinn asked.

"No, not yet. We haven't really talked about it. We'll probably figure it out in the morning," he explained. "I'd thought of roller skating or ice skating, but given that she's got a cast on, I don't know if she'd think it would be a good idea. Also, not a good idea with Regionals coming up. We don't want to sprain an ankle or something."

"True. What about bowling? Her cast wouldn't get in the way of that," Finn suggested.

Noah bounced the idea back and forth in his mind, "yeah, we could. I'll talk to her about it. Thanks for the suggestion."

~*~

The teens and adults continued to talk for a short time, and when Rachel, Tina, Mercedes and Kurt rejoined them, Rachel confirmed everything fit and she was closer to being ready for Regionals. Now that things were taken care of, the group slowly started to disburse. Mike, who was staying to hang out with his friends, was also waiting for his sister, Tina, Mercedes had gotten a ride to school with Matt and Ryan was waiting for Kurt, who was his ride. The six of them said their goodbyes, after some more pictures were taken, leaving Rachel, Noah, Quinn, Finn, Carly, Taylor, Arin and the adults in the auditorium.

Gathering up their belongings, the teens joined the adults and Noah' sister and soon they were all moving outside. Will made sure they had their things and then locked up the auditorium and he and Emma soon left, leaving the rest of them in the parking lot.

"Carole, Finn, Quinn, Carly, would you guys like to come over to our house for a while?" Deborah asked, knowing the rest of them would be heading back to the Puckerman's. "We've got pizza for dinner and I figured I'd throw together some spaghetti and sauce, so you're welcome to join us."

Finn, Quinn and Carole were quick to say 'yes', but Carly was surprised, "really? You want me to come over?" She asked, unable to hide the blush growing on her cheeks.

Noah nodded, "of course. You're our friend, so you're welcome and I know you haven't been there before."

"Okay," she smiled at them, "that will be fun, but I've gotta ask my parents first."

"Then why don't you kids wait here and we'll start heading back. When you call your parents, you can follow Noah out there," Ethan suggested.

"Sounds great," Carly agreed, glancing at Noah who nodded.

~*~

While Carly made a phone call, Noah's parents and his sister, Rachel's dads, Finn's mom and Taylor's dad piled into their cars and started their trip to the Puckerman's house. Taylor could have gone with his dad, but he opted to hang out with Noah and the others, planning to ride back with Noah and Rachel.

It couldn't have worked out any more perfect for Rachel's idea. She wanted to talk to Taylor and now that he was returning with her and Noah, they'd be able to talk to him, without anyone else around. She tried to hide the grin on her face when Taylor said he'd 'catch a ride back with Noah and Rachel' to his dad, but Noah saw it and knew why she was grinning.

Laughing lightly at his girlfriend, he slipped his free arm around her shoulders, "take it easy," he whispered as he pressed a kiss to her forehead.

She nodded, settling against him for a moment and then the two pulled apart when Carly rejoined them and said she could go over to his place. The teens spoke briefly and then headed to their cars, climbing in and getting ready to go. Noah led, with Carly behind him and Finn and Quinn in his car behind Carly, that way if Noah got too far ahead or they got split up, Finn could continue to show her the way.

Before they were even out of the parking lot of McKinley, Rachel was already antsy to talk to Taylor and as much as Noah didn't want to jump into the conversation the second they got into the car, he had a feeling she wouldn't be able to hold it in too much longer. "So, how are you doing with the split-up? Are you and Taylor still talking about getting back together? What's going on with that?" Noah asked curiously, wanting to be the one to bring it up first.

Taylor raised a curious eyebrow at the question, "I'm okay with it," he shrugged, "it was mutual. We had good reasons for breaking up and yeah, we did talk about one day getting back together, but I don't think we'll ever be a couple again. We thought we loved each other, and I'm not denying we don't have feelings for each other, but we've talked a few times since we split up and I realized I don't have the same feelings that I did when we were together. She's a great person and I do like her, but only as a friend. Why do you ask?"

Noah and Rachel exchanged glances and then Noah smirked, "I started the conversation, babe, but if you wanna know, you gotta bring it up," he told her.

Rachel blushed, but shifted in her seat, "we were curious."

"Why do I get the feeling this is an intervention?" Taylor laughed lightly.

"No, it's not. Sorry, we're not ganging up on you or anything," she assured him, "but we happened to notice that while we were practicing, you and Carly seemed to have a nice conversation going on. I know you guys just met, but we could tell you seemed to get along well and we were just wondering," she blushed when Noah cleared his throat, "okay, I was wondering and I think Noah kinda is, too. What do you think of her?"

"She seems like a great girl," he started out, "and she's beautiful, but if you're wanting to know what I think about her as a girlfriend, I don't know. It would definitely involve a lot more talking to see if there's a spark and if we'd be up for it. Unfortunately, getting involved with someone who doesn't live in the same town as I do is an issue. I don't know if a long distance relationship would be possible, but it could be," he explained honestly.

"Oh," Rachel thought for a moment, "I don't think I quite factored in the long distance part. That would make it difficult, but then that would give you a reason to come back here more often," she added with a grin.

Taylor smiled, "yes, I suppose it would," he sat back a little in his seat, "she may not be interested in me as more than friends, though," he added, "I'll see if she wants to keep in touch. If she does, we'll exchange numbers and see what happens."

Briefly thinking about mentioning some things she knew about Carly, she decided not to overwhelm him and realized she'd done what she wanted: give him the idea, so she mentally agreed to let him take it from there, "okay, fair enough."

~*~

Letting the conversation settle, it wasn't long before Noah's SUV and Carly and Finn's cars were pulling through the gate at the Puckerman's house. Noah pulled into the garage and Carly and Finn stopped along the edge of the driveway, so they weren't blocking anyone and then the teens climbed out and went into the house through the garage.

"Don't be nervous," Rachel said, slipping her good arm around Carly's shoulders, seeing the teen's tense body language.

"I'm trying not to be, but this is a big deal. I mean, I usually am nervous when I go to a friends house for the first time anyway and for the longest time I only knew Noah as 'Puck'. I'm still having a hard time believing that I've become friends with you all," Carly blushed.

"Believe it," Noah smirked, "because you have. Just promise me you won't try to steal anything and post it on eBay as 'Puck' stuff," he teased.

She could tell he was just teasing her, so she laughed lightly and nodded, "I promise."

~*~

Once Noah broke the ice, Carly relaxed and all the teens, after saying 'hi' to the adults, headed downstairs to kick back. It was just after three-thirty and Taylor and his dad had to leave the earliest, in a little over two hours.

There were three small couches downstairs, so the couples each took their own, leaving Taylor and Carly to share the last one. Noah couldn't help but laugh inwardly at how it worked out and Rachel was loving the chance to see Taylor and Carly sit next to each other and interact again.

For the next hour, the six of them talked about whatever came up. From movies they'd seen recently, to things they'd been doing, hobbies they got into, Regionals, relationships, award shows coming up, Monday's premiere for the movie Taylor was in that would be coming out the following week and Quinn was the one to ask Taylor about his relationship with Taylor Swift.

Taylor responded to her question just like he had with Rachel and Noah and Quinn understood. Quinn admitted she'd heard rumors they'd get together for the premiere, but he quickly assured her they wouldn't and part of him couldn't help looking at Carly to see her reaction. Ever since Rachel had brought up the idea of him and Carly dating, he actually had been thinking about it, so he partially wanted to clear the air and let her know he wasn't interested in getting back with his ex. He also found several things she'd mentioned that day that he did like or shared in common with her, between interests and opinions, so he could see the possibility of them continuing to get along and maybe find a relationship together.

Rachel could tell that Carly kept looking at Taylor; she wasn't sure if it was because she was trying to assure herself that he was really there, that she was sitting next to him or for something more. Now that she'd talked to Taylor, she wanted to talk to Carly, too, but knew she'd have to wait until later to do that.

Sitting around downstairs, Taylor decided to take the next step, "hey Carly, would you be interested in exchanging numbers? I already have theirs," he motioned around to the other four, "but I don't have your number and I thought we could keep in touch once I leave."

Carly gasped in shock, "really? You want to?" She couldn't help the blush return to her cheeks at his question.

"Yeah, I do. I'm sure you have Noah's number and I think I can trust you with mine, right?" He asked and when she nodded, he continued, "so, I'd like to," he said, pulling out his phone.

"That would be awesome," Carly smiled, pulling her own phone from her pocket.

Rachel grinned brightly as the two exchanged numbers, both taking a picture of each other to put with their number. Quinn noticed Rachel's smile and reached over, silently patting her arm and raised a curious eyebrow at her. Rachel waved at her, "later," she replied in a whisper.

Quinn accepted her response and smirked, wondering what Rachel was up to, but before anything could be asked, Noah's sister joined them to say that dinner was ready, so they all headed upstairs.

~*~

Having dinner, of pizza from lunch, salad and pasta with sauce, the teens and adults gathered around the dinning room table or the island in the kitchen to eat. They talked over their meal and enjoyed the time to just relax, but time was going by too fast, because just after everything was cleaned up, Taylor and his dad needed to get going. Sharing hugs with everyone and getting some last minute pictures together, soon Taylor and his dad were climbing in their car and starting their trip back to the airport.

Getting back inside, Quinn looked at Rachel, "okay, so what was with that grin earlier?"

"What grin?" Carly asked, not remembering what she was talking about.

Noah rolled his eyes and laughed lightly, "Carly you may wanna sit down for that answer."

The redhead turned to look at him, "why?"

Quinn's eyes widened when she realized what it had been for, but before she hold herself back, she exclaimed, "are you trying to set Taylor up with Carly?" Her hands flew to her mouth, blushing when she saw Carly's mouth fall open in shock, "sorry, I shouldn't have said that out loud."

Carly blinked her eyes and looked at Rachel, then Noah, "are you.. Were you... Is he... Does he... I think I need to sit down," she muttered, taking a seat on the steps nearby.

Rachel quickly moved to sit next to her and rested her good hand on her shoulder, "I wanted to talk to you about it. We've never talked much about guys, in that way, and I'm not even sure you're interested in him like that, but you two seemed to be getting along really well today. It was something I wanted to ask you; to see if you're interested and from what Taylor says he has no interest in getting back with Taylor Swift, so you know he's single."

It took a few moments for Carly to calm down and she glanced at Rachel, "I'm," she blushed, unsure how to say what she wanted, "sorry this isn't easy to explain, because I don't want you to think I'm only getting to know you guys because of your celebrity status," she admitted looking at Noah.

"I know that. We wouldn't have invited you into the privacy of our home if we didn't trust that you wanted to get to know me, or us, for real and not just because of 'Puck'," he told her honestly.

"Thanks," she smiled, "um, well, most fans, at some point, dream about or wish they could date their favorite celebrity, you know? But the chances that it would ever happen is very small, so to be faced with even a chance... That's more why I'm shocked, though, I can't believe he'd be interested in me, like that, with all the other girls he knows."

"Because you're not trying to get his money or his fame. You'd like him and want to be with him for him and not just because he's the guy who plays Jacob in the Twilight series. Just like Rachel loves me as Noah, not just because I'm 'Puck', international pop star," Noah explained.

Carly smiled and nodded, "you're right. I guess I didn't think about it that way. He is just a normal guy, like you, and what have you said before? You're just a normal guy with a not-so-ordinary job?"

"Close enough," Noah replied with a grin, "you get the point."

"Yeah," she bit her lip, "do you think he'd even be interested? He seemed friendly, but we were all talking, so I couldn't really tell."

"I think he would be. You just need to keep in touch with him and get to know each other. You never know what will happen," Noah replied.

"But what about the distance? That's a big issue, isn't it?" She blushed, "I can't believe I'm even discussing this."

"Why? Because you're serious about dating him or because it's not something you expected?" Rachel wondered.

"Both, actually," she took a deep breath.

"Taylor's been here at least once a month for the past few months, and if he had another reason to come here, besides just seeing one of his best friends, he might visit more often," Noah explained with a shrug, "I don't know, but you've always got his number."

"That is true," she agreed, jumping a little when her phone began to ring in her pocket, "sorry," she pulled out the ringing device and saw it was her older brother, so she answered it, "yeah, Colton?" She listened for a few moments, "I'm over at a friend's house. It's gonna take me like a half an hour to get home... Yes, they know where I am... Well, don't go anywhere until I get home... Yeah about that... See ya," she huffed and hung up her phone, "well, I guess I get to go home and babysit," she sighed, "I should have known when my mom said she and dad were going out tonight that he'd do this."

"Well, there's plenty of other times to hang out and you've always got next weekend free from the family," Noah commented with a smile.

Carly smiled, "yeah, I can't wait for the break."

~*~

Thanking them and saying 'goodbye' to Noah's family and the other adults that were there, Rachel, Quinn, Finn and Noah walked Carly outside. She assured them she remembered how to get back to town and after a brief conversation, she climbed into her car and started her trip home.

Moving back into the house and returning downstairs, the four teens sat back down and Quinn looked at Rachel, unable to hold back the blush on her cheeks, "I feel bad. I didn't mean to put her on the spot like that."

"It's okay. If you hadn't, I would have brought it up," Rachel admitted honestly, "do you think Taylor and Carly would make a cute couple?"

"Yeah, I think so. I don't know Taylor as well as you guys do, but they seemed to get along," Quinn replied.

"I think they would," Finn added, "I've known Taylor a while and I think he and Carly would be good together, if they can deal with the distance."

"They're both good people and deserve to be happy. Maybe they can make each other happy. The distance is gonna be tough, but I think they can work it out. Like I said earlier, if he has another reason to come visit, besides just seeing me, I think he would. It all depends on his schedule," Noah explained, slipping his arm around Rachel's shoulders.

Rachel settled against him and relaxed, as a thought came to her, "well, we've brought it up to both of them. I guess now all we have to do is see where they take it. They may stick with just being friends, or it could turn into more. We'll just have to wait and see."

Noah nodded, "we will."

~*~

Changing the subject, so they weren't talking about people who were no longer there, the teens turned on the TV and decided to watch a movie. Quinn had seen the DVD case on the table of the movie that Rachel and Noah had started watching before, and since Noah couldn't remember any it, they all kicked back to watch it.

Now that Noah wasn't focused on a bunch of other things, he was able to watch the movie and was enjoying it. About halfway through the movie, Ethan came down to let them know that Carole and Rachel's dads would be leaving, so the group headed upstairs to say their goodbyes. They first said 'bye' to Carole, who made Finn and Quinn promise not to stay out 'too' late. Once they assured her they'd leave a little after the movie finished, Finn and Quinn walked her outside, while Rachel talked to her dads, "Noah is taking me out on a date tomorrow," she explained happily.

"Oh really? Where to?" Alan wondered curiously.

"We haven't talked about it, but I'd be up for almost anything," Noah replied, "whatever she'd like to do, but I do have a few ideas."

Rachel smiled, "we'll figure something out. We kind of thought about staying here tonight, then packing up and going out on our date. After that, we'd go to our house tomorrow evening to stay the night for school Monday morning. Would that be alright?" She asked, looking at them and then to Deborah and Ethan.

"You mean Noah staying over? We'd be alright with that," Deborah said honestly, getting a nod from Ethan in agreement, "as long as you guys are okay with it," she added, glancing at the other two dads.

"That's quite alright," David nodded, "as long as your homework is finished. You did say it was done, right?"

"Yes it is," Rachel assured them, "I finished it yesterday."

Alan smiled, "great! Then have fun on your date and we'll see you tomorrow evening. Are you going to have dinner at home or out somewhere?"

"Uh," Rachel glanced at Noah, "are we going to eat out?"

"I kind of thought we'd get up and have a late breakfast, so we could spend the afternoon hanging out somewhere and then have a late lunch or early dinner," Noah explained, "so we'll probably be out."

"That sounds like a great idea," Rachel nodded, "so then, no, we won't be home for dinner."

"Understandable. Have fun, be careful and call if you need anything," David said, wrapping his arms around Rachel and kissing her cheek.

Rachel returned his hug and smiled, "we will," she promised, pulling away to hug Alan, "I love you both. Goodnight."

"We love you, too. Goodnight, sweetheart, sleep well," Alan told her.

~*~

Once her dads were on their way home, Arin said 'goodnight' to everyone and headed to bed and the teens returned to the basement to finish watching the movie. It only took another forty-five minutes to finish and all of them agreed it was a great movie.

Even though they didn't want to, after the long practice they'd had that day and the drive they had back, Finn and Quinn finally got ready to leave, saying 'goodbye' to everyone and heading out to Finn's car. After they left, Rachel and Noah decided to get to bed themselves, so they said 'goodnight' to his parents and went up to his room. Changing into something to sleep in, the two crawled under the blankets and snuggled up together.

Noah's room was filled with silence for a few moments, as the two let the day settle into their minds. A lot had happened and they were looking forward to the next few weeks and months, to see how things played out, but for the moment, Noah let his ideas for their date come to him and decided to take Finn's suggestion, "what do you think about bowling?"

"Tomorrow?" She asked, glancing up at him and when he nodded, she smiled, "that sounds fun. I honestly have only been a few times, so you'll have to show me."

"I'll definitely be happy to show you," he grinned, "and how about Breadsticks afterward?"

Rachel nodded, "sounds like a date," she replied, kissing him, "I'm looking forward to it."

Noah held her close to him and nodded, kissing her once more, "me, too."

~*~

Even though they'd gone to bed earlier than normal, they stayed up talking lightly, relaxing from their day, before finally getting to sleep. They hoped they could sleep in, but from their school schedule, both were awake just after seven, without an alarm to wake them.

"Maybe we should get up," Rachel suggested, not fully awake, but enough to think clearly.

"I'd rather stay in bed a little longer," Noah murmured, settling in again and holding her close, "let's go back to sleep."

Part of her wanted to turn him down, but the warmth, comfort and security she felt being in his arms changed her mind quickly. Tugging the blankets a little further up over them, she smiled, "okay, just a few more hours though," she replied softly, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

"Awesome," he grinned, his eyes already closed and almost back to sleep.

Rachel watched him for a moment, but then let her self drift off to sleep, "very awesome."

~*~

When daylight filtered into his room enough to touch his bed, Noah slowly woke up and glanced at the clock, "nice," he smirked, seeing it was almost ten in the morning, "now this is sleeping in," he commented, looking at the mass of brunette hair against his chest and reached up, brushing some of it away so he could see her face.

Rachel was still asleep, but the gentle touches against her face woke her, her eyes fluttering open, "morning Noah."

"Morning, Rach," he replied, his hand gently resting on her cheek, "how did you sleep?"

"Excellent," she admitted with a smile, slowly waking up to focus on everything, "what time is it?"

"Ten to ten," he said, motioning to the clock, "definitely what I call sleeping in."

"I never slept in until I met you," she smirked, settling against him, as her body continued to wake up.

"Oh really?" Noah grinned and rubbed her back gently, "what are you trying to say? I'm a bad influence?" He teased.

"Never," she shook her head, "just making a statement. You're actually a good influence on me. You're helping me realize that my dreams are important, but I still need to 'stop and smell the roses' sometimes, too," she explained, "that it's okay to be a kid and we should enjoy our teenage and high school lives while we can, because we won't have them for long," she paused, her mind gathering some thoughts, "and after what happened to me, I've also realized that I need to start living life by spending each day with the people I love and not always focus on work or my dreams; because you never know when someone you love could be taken from you, like I was taken," she whispered.

"Oh baby," he held her close and kissed her forehead, "those are all very important things and I'm glad I've helped you learn some of them, even though I feel horrible we had to learn the last one the hard way... It's one thing to know it, but to live through it," he shook his head, "I don't ever want to go through that again," he said honestly, "and I don't mind that you brought all this up, but did you have a bad dream?" He asked softly, worried that's why she was discussing it.

"Yeah," she nodded, biting her lip, "well, it wasn't necessarily 'bad'. This time I was the Broadway star that I always wanted to be, but that's all I had. I didn't have you or our friends or anything," she admitted, "it was an eye-opener."

Noah nodded in understanding, "yeah, but I promise it's just a dream. You're gonna be up on that stage and all of us, our friends, our family and I will be there as often as we can."

Leaning in, Rachel pressed a kiss to his lips, as her good hand rested on his cheek, "I know and thank you. The same goes for you. We'll all be at as many concerts and events that we can be."

"Thank you, babe," he smiled, "that's definitely good to know," he paused, "how about we get up and get ready to go on our date?" He suggested, trying to pull them from an emotional conversation.

Rachel smiled and nodded happily, "that sounds like a wonderful idea."

~*~

Reluctantly getting out of bed, Noah let Rachel shower first and while she was using the bathroom, he packed a bag for the next few nights of clothes and things he'd need and then set it aside and made his bed, keeping busy until she returned.

"Damn, take all the fun out of seeing you in a towel," Noah pouted, seeing she'd taken some clothes to put on in the bathroom.

Rachel laughed lightly, "well I don't want to be running down the hallway wrapped in a towel," she admitted, "and it let's your imagination work," she added with a wink.

"Oh yes it does," he nodded, walking towards her and pressing a kiss to her lips.

Returning his kiss, Rachel smiled, "I'm glad. Now go shower so we can have breakfast and go. I'm excited," she admitted.

Noah nodded and after kissing her once more, he nodded, "me, too."

~*~

Finishing getting dressed and packing up her things while Noah was in the shower, Rachel was just pulling her hair back in a loose pony tail when Noah returned. After he got dressed and they gathered up their things, they headed downstairs just after eleven in the morning.

Deborah and Ethan were surprised they'd slept as long as they had, but agreed it was a weekend and a day they should be able to sleep late, which is why they didn't try to wake them up. Noah and Rachel appreciated that and gathered up some things to have a simple breakfast, like cereal and fruit, to keep from having to make anything.

Over breakfast, the couple talked to his parents about several things, including their plans for their date and the adults thought it was a great idea. When the teens finished eating, Noah took his bags to SUV, and then he returned to the house, where he and Rachel promised his parents they'd have fun, they'd be careful and to keep in touch to let them know what they were up to. The teens were happy to promise that and soon were climbing into Noah's SUV and heading out for their date a little after noon.

On their trip into town, the two chatted lightly and both were very excited, since it had been quite a while since they'd gone out. When they'd first gotten together, Lima was still getting used to him being home, so he didn't go out a lot and they spent all their time at each other's homes or at school. Then when they got to go to California, they had some time out, but his dad and bodyguards were there, so they weren't completely alone. Getting back to Lima, they continued spending most of their time at home together until they went to New York. There they had a little more freedom, but still were around others and after the New Year, with everything that had happened, going out hadn't been an option.

Now, Lima was finally settling down with him being there and he could go out without being bombarded by people asking for photos and autographs. Rachel had recovered enough from her ordeal to where she could go out and enjoy herself, so it was definitely time for them to get out and go on a real date.

Arriving at the bowling alley a little after twelve-thirty, they found it wasn't very busy yet and after paying for two games and getting their shoes, they headed down to the lane they had been given, changed shoes and went to get a ball. Once they returned, Noah put their names into the computer and soon they were ready to bowl.

Rachel knew the basic idea of the game, roll the ball down the alley to knock down the pins, but she wanted to watch him first, so she'd made him put his name at the top, so he was up first. "Are you going to keep your hat on?" She asked, having a good idea why he had his OSU baseball cap on.

"Yeah," he nodded as he got up to take his turn, "less chance of being recognized. Is that okay? I know I don't wear one often, but I just thought it'd be easier."

"It's okay. I don't mind, but," she stood up and nudged the bill up a little, so it wasn't pulled down so far, "at least let me see your eyes," she smiled, pressing a kiss to his lips.

Noah grinned, "fair enough."

"Now, go bowl. Show me how it's done," she winked, motioning to the alley.

"Yes, ma'am," he smiled, nodding at her.

~*~

Getting a strike on his first turn, Rachel briefly got a little intimidated, but Noah promised it was just a lucky shot and told her not to worry, because they weren't competing; they were there to have fun. She agreed and went up for her first turn and Noah helped her get into the right position and then stepped back and watched her step up and roll the ball down the wooden floor. It only knocked down four pins, but she way happy for at least that, because she fully expected it to go into the gutter and thanked him for the pointers.

Noah helped her through the rest of her turn and the two fell into an easy rhythm through the rest of the game. Noah would take his turns and for Rachel's next few frames he helped her out, but by the middle of the game she was trying on her own and doing pretty well for really her first time at it. Noah had gotten a lot of spares, but no more strikes, so Rachel teased him about doing that only so he wasn't showing off and he assured her, he wasn't.

It took about an hour to get through their first game, laughing, joking and teasing the other, but it was all in fun. The couple was really enjoying the time together and they moved onto their second game. Rachel was quickly getting the hang of what to do and as she got to her eighth frame, she did what she been doing, and rolled the ball down the alley and Noah watched from near the ball return. It continued on and as it hit the middle pin, all ten of them collapsed, giving her her first strike.

"Congratulations, baby!" Noah grinned, clapping for her as he walked up to her.

Rachel turned and threw her good arm around him, "that's so awesome! Thank you for showing me everything," she said happily.

"You're welcome. I'm happy to help," he assured her, pressing a kiss to her lips as they started to pull away.

"You're amazing," she told him with a smile.

"So are you," he replied, "and I think we should finish up here and go celebrate."

"I think that's a great idea," she nodded, smiling at him.

~*~

Finishing up the last few frames of their second game, both managed a few more spares and Noah was trying for at least one more strike, but the closest he got was a spare. He ended up winning both games, from scores, but neither really cared about them. They both were glad to get out of the house for a chance to have some fun and both enjoyed the time out.

The alley was a lot busier than it had been when they first arrived. Since it was a weekend and a very popular hangout for the kids their age, they weren't surprised to see classmates now there when they went to return their shoes. The couple shared waves with some familiar faces and then moved out of the building.

Noah noticed Rachel had an extra bounce in her step as they walked, something he hadn't seen for quite some time, "you're definitely getting back to being your old self. I'm glad," he said honestly, opening the passenger door for her when they reached his SUV.

"Me, too! I've had an awesome day and I'm feeling more like myself than I have recently. This was such a great idea," she said before he shut the door.

Moving around to his driver's seat, Noah climbed in and then leaned over, pressing a kiss to her lips, "it was. I really love spending time with you."

"I feel the same way," she agreed, smiling at him when he pulled back from their kiss.

"Breadsticks?" He wondered, starting the engine and getting ready to leave.

"Yeah, that sounds good," she nodded, settling back in her seat, "and maybe after we can go get frozen yogurt for dessert?"

Noah glanced at her, "if you want to, we can definitely do that."

~*~

They got to Breadsticks between the lunch and dinner rush, so again, they lucked out and it wasn't too busy. After the experience they'd had so far, he was definitely looking forward to getting out more with her and not spending all of their time at their homes and maybe try double-dating with Finn and Quinn, once and a while.

While waiting for their food and even when it arrived, like they had been all day, they talked and he brought up double-dating with Finn and Quinn and Rachel really liked that idea, "you know, I was thinking about something. Would you like to do something for Valentine's Day in Detroit or wait until we get home?" Noah wondered, "it is next weekend."

"I don't know," she admitted, "I've never been there before, so I'd like to do some sight-seeing, but maybe we could wait until we get home to have our special night. We'll be with all our friends and family and you'll have your bodyguards and I don't think we'd be able to have our own time, specifically," she explained, "would that be alright?"

"Sight-seeing and Valentine's Day at home? Yeah, totally," Noah nodded, "I've only been to Detroit a few times myself, but it's been for a concert and didn't have a lot of time to do a lot of sight-seeing, so maybe this time we can. Valentine's day at home, that works for me. I just wanted to know. I'll save your gift until we get home, then."

Rachel blushed, "you don't have to get me anything. You've already given me so many amazing gifts," she admitted, holding up her wrist with their bracelet wrapped around it.

"I know I don't have to, but I want to," he smiled, reaching over and taking her hand in his, "because you deserve it."

Continuing to blush, she smiled, "thank you, Noah."

~*~

When they were done with their meal, Noah paid and they were soon on their way to the local frozen yogurt shop. They decided to get it and then drive over to a local park to relax in the car to eat it and after they'd gotten their items and were heading towards the door, it was the first time all day he'd been approached by fans.

One of their classmates from McKinley stopped them before they left and asked if he would be up to meeting her sister and her sister's two friends who were all in middle school. Noah and Rachel happily went over to their table, shook hands and greeted the girls and Noah posed for pictures with them. After each girl got her own picture, Rachel offered to take one of all four girls with him and their classmate appreciated the offer. Once the pictures were taken, the girls all thanked Noah and Rachel and their classmate added she'd see them at school the next day.

Saying 'goodbye' to the four, Noah waved at them and then the couple continued out to his SUV. Once inside, Noah glanced at Rachel, "sorry about that. I just really hate turning away fans."

Rachel shook her head, "no, don't worry about it. I don't mind, really," she assured him, "I like that you're willing to do that," she replied, "and they were nice about it. The girls asked, they didn't run up to you and beg for a picture."

"That's true," he agreed, "this is why I like being at home. Everyone is so nice and respectful. I'm not saying other places aren't, but I have had some not-so-good experiences in other places."

"That's understandable," Rachel replied, "when you're in those other places you're just 'Puck', too. Here you're both and everyone sees you more as Noah than they do as 'Puck'."

Noah grinned, starting the engine and backing out of the parking space. Once they were on their way to their next destination, he turned to her, "this is why I love you so much. You get it. You understand."

"I try and I'm glad you love that about me. I know some girls might get very territorial or jealous of all the additional attention their celebrity boyfriend gets, but I'm not gonna be one of them. Your fans are important to you, so they're important to me," she promised.

"Thank you, baby. That really means a lot. I also promise I'll do my best for them to not ruin our dates," he added.

"You're welcome and they won't... Well, maybe if there are a bunch of them and we're in a hurry to get some place, but I don't think it will ever get that bad, at least while we're here at home," she told him.

"I hope it doesn't," he replied, pulling into the parking lot of one of the parks in town and came to a stop in an area with a view of the small lake, "how's this?"

"Perfect," she smiled, removing her seatbelt and picking up her frozen yogurt from the cup holder, "just like this whole day has been."

Leaving the engine on so they could keep the heat going, he put it in park and made sure the break was on, then removed his seatbelt and shifted so he could look at her, "it has been a perfect day," he agreed, grabbing his own cup and holding it up to her, "to many more perfect dates together."

Rachel smiled and tapped her paper cup to his, "to many more," she nodded, leaning in and pressing a kiss to his lips, "I love you, Noah."

Noah reached out and rested his free hand on her cheek and smiled, "I love you, too, Rachel, always will."

~*~

A/N4: I really hope you all enjoyed! I'm sorry it's been two months since my last update. Please let me know how you feel about the fic. I'm not getting a lot of reviews and I'd love to know what you guys think! To those of you who have sent reviews for this fic and my others, I really appreciate it and when I feel better I'll be replying to all that I can.

A/N5: For those of you haven't heard, this might clear some things up for you... FF has been doing a lot of 'purging', by deleting fics that break their rules. I haven't had this happen to me yet, but I know of some authors who have had theirs taken down. A lot of authors (in all fandoms), even ones who haven't been touched by the purge, yet, have gotten fed up with all the FF changes and updates and are pulling their fiction down from FF and moving to other places. So in case you can't find your favorite fic or author, that's why you might not find them. Some authors on FF, like me, post their fics on LJ also, so you have always been able to read them on my LJ account 'sapphiresfic dot livejournal dot com'... I've recently gotten an account with AO3, 'Archive of Our Own'. It's a fan-run fan works website that allows a lot more than FF does. The site itself has been around for a long time, but it hasn't been as popular, but now with the FF changes, a lot of people are joining up or trying to get in. My account there is 'archiveofourown dot org slash users slash sapphireej'. Right now I don't have anything posted, but over time I'll begin to post my fics there... For now I'm going to keep doing what I have been. Posting on LJ and FF, but I wanted to let you know there is another place out there to read my fiction if you wanted to.

MY HEALTH UPDATE - Since I last updated this fic, something came up and I was thinking it was my gallbladder. In late-April / early-May, I started having some abdominal problems (worse than I've had before), so I finally went to see my doctor. She sent me for an ultrasound thinking it's my gallbladder, too. The ultrasound came back normal, so I was sent to a specialist. The specialist also agreed it's gallbladder and ordered another test to check. I got the results this past week and the test found abnormalities. My gallbladder doesn't empty the way it's supposed to, so it's time to get it out. My doctors referred me to a surgeon, who I saw Friday and we scheduled my surgery for Tuesday, tomorrow, June 12, to have my gallbladder removed... This has been making me feel cruddy the last few months and I've been able to keep up on some fics, but others are not getting updated as often, so I'm doing what I can. I hear the recovery from this surgery isn't too bad, but it's still gonna be a few days before I'm able to sit at my computer again. With the way I've updated things, my absence might not be noticed too much, but I just wanted to let you all know, in case you don't see any updates from me for a while. I will keep my Twitter and Tumblr updated through the recovery as much as I can - I'm EJ8302 on both of them, so you can find me there if you're curious... Thank you to all of you who have found out recently and have sent me well wishes and support. It really means a lot!

~*~


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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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