Title: I Hate the Thought of You Alone.
Rating: PG (12+).
Word Count: 4,765.
Summary: By the end of summer, he had left Lima too. And then she was officially across the other side of the country. AU future Finchel.
Author's Notes: Title and lyrics from the song 'Jet Lag' by Simple Plan ft. Natasha Bedingfield.
I miss you more than anything.
She hated it. Being so far away from him. It was torture. She never thought that she would ever be so focused on a guy before. It was always 'my career came first' until he came along. He swept her off her feet, and she never looked back when she realised she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. Her career used to come first, but now she couldn't imagine life without him. She knew her future was bright, because he was in it.
A lot of people told her, now that she was in college, that she shouldn't choose love over her career - because her career is less likely to break her heart. She never listened to them. He was her heart, and she knew with one hundred percent certainty that he wouldn't break it. She trusted him with her life, and she knew he felt the same.
That was why she was so anxious to get to the airport, to see him. It was his idea that they try long distance, after he was positive that he would make it into a college in New York City but he didn't. She made him apply for everywhere, even NYU, but still, it wasn't enough. They said his grades needed to improve or else he'd be stuck somewhere like Lima. She was determined not to let this happen though. She knew he was destined for greater things than Lima, even if it wasn't as big as New York City.
But no matter what, their plans fell through when a college accepted him in Los Angeles on a football scholarship. He was so excited that he almost forgot that means he would be on the opposite side of the country to his girlfriend.
"Finn? What's going on...?" She asked, walking over to him cautiously as he sat on the couch, clutching a letter in his hands. "I got your text... It sounded urgent."
He didn't acknowledge her presence. He was biting his lip too much to really say anything. He looked upset, so as soon as she sat down on the couch, she placed a hand comfortingly on his back, rubbing up and down slowly. "I-It's this..." He handed her the piece of paper he had been holding and watched her eyes widen as she read it.
To his surprise, a wide smile formed on her face. What was she doing? She wasn't supposed to be happy about this. "Finn! You made it into college! And on a football scholarship too!" She giggled and threw her arms around him, holding him tightly. When he didn't return the embrace though, she pulled back slowly, looking at him worriedly.
"Do you know what college it is?" he whispered quietly, looking over at her sadly.
"Yeah, of course. It's -" her voice faltered when she reread the letter and what college it actually was. "I-It's in LA..." She faked a smile, trying to make it look like she was happy for him.
He could see straight through her though. "Rach..." he whispered, reaching up to tuck some stray hair behind her ear.”I-If I take this... and I might have to if I ever want to get into college... y-you'll be in New York and I'll be in LA... that's like across the other side of the country... we'll never see each other." He sniffed, feeling the tears coming. What could he say? Rachel had turned him soft.
"What are you trying to say?" she whispered quietly, her voice laced with panic.
"I-I don't know if I can do long distance, Rachel..."
Tears began welling up in her eyes now. "So, y-you're breaking up with me?" she said in barely a whisper, the tears now freely running down her cheeks.
He didn't know what else he could do. He knew long distance would kill him. He trusted her, with his life; he knew that she'd never cheat on him or anything like that. It was not seeing her everyday like he was used to, not being able to hold her when either of them were lonely or upset. Not being able to kiss her for weeks, maybe even months was just too much for him to handle.
But that look. The look he could see in her eyes. He knew her so well, he could tell when her heart was about to break right there and then. He knew that look, because he hated to admit it, but he was the one who had caused that look the most in her life. He regret ever hurting her - and he knew he couldn't do it again.
Without saying a word, he pulled her into his arms, letting her head fall against his chest, feeling her tears already soak through his t-shirt to his skin. "Shh baby, it’s okay," he whispered over and over for what felt like forever. He would sit there forever until he knew she was okay. "I'm not breaking up with you," he murmured.
"Ever." He promised, and he meant it.
He knew that they had months to figure out what was going to happen between them when they both left high school but the thought of them being without each other weighed heavily on both of their minds for the rest of senior year. They wouldn't even get the summer together, as she wanted to leave for the city as soon as possible. He tried reasoning with her - saying she needed one more summer home with her family before she leaves Ohio for good, but she never listened. She was stubborn like that.
They fought for over an hour about it.
"My career is important to me, Finn!" she yelled, pacing around her bedroom anxiously, even though she had already made up her mind. She couldn't bear to hurt him by leaving so early. But this was her dream.
"What? More important than me?" he asked incredulously. Of course it was more important than him. Hadn't he been telling her for three years that he believed in her and that no matter what she'd be going to New York City? With or without him?
Her answer shocked him. She turned to him with a small smile on her face. "Never."
But still, she left at the beginning of summer, leaving him to sit in his room playing Xbox most of the time out of boredom. His mom insisted he went out and did something with the guys - because it would probably be one of the last times he could do that. But still, he barely saw them all summer. His mind was on her the entire time. They had Skype dates a couple of times a week and every other night they talked on the phone for hours.
But by the end of the summer, he had left Lima too.
And then they were officially across the other side of the country from each other.
The first couple of months were incredibly tough for him. He went to school, he came back to his shitty apartment, tried to find a job in his spare time, and he even tried and failed a few times to form a band. He didn't want to give up the one thing that made him and her become close in the first place - music. But it was hard, bands in LA were all looking for experienced drummers, and when the only thing on your resume says 'William McKinley High School Glee Club', well, he let's just say he didn't really have much of a chance.
So he was unemployed for the time being.
She, on the other hand, was doing fantastic. New York City was just how she remembered in back in junior year when they went for Nationals. It was magical, perfect even. Well, maybe not perfect. Her boyfriend wasn't there with her. The first few nights she cried herself to sleep, knowing that he should be there next to her as she attended Juilliard and followed her dreams. She wanted him there on opening night; she wanted him there when she graduated. She knew he'd definitely be there for when she won her first Tony Award but the whole experience wasn't the same without Finn Hudson.
She had a job - a typical job as a waitress at a vegan cafe. She still worked there today, and was slowly making her way up the ranks. Her colleagues thought she'd be a shoe-in for manager or even owner of the place one day. But she wouldn't be able to take the job. Her dreams were bigger than waiting tables and everybody knew it.
But of course she wouldn't be auditioning for shows while she was still in school - so for now it would be school and work for her. Working at the cafe for the many hours she did worked wonders. She ended up with a nice cheap apartment with one of her classmates as her roommate. Jessica was quite a shy girl though - much the opposite to her. But they got along, and the silence when she was trying to work was nice. They were somewhat friends. Jessica had a boyfriend back home in Chicago who had just proposed to her so she understood what she was going through.
But now she was going back home, to Lima for Christmas with her dads. And he had also planned to go home for the holidays as well. She hadn't seen him in person for six months. Six long, gruelling months of long work hours and challenging days at Juilliard. Coming home to an apartment without her boyfriend made everything just seem a little darker in her world.
And it’s driving me mad
I miss you so bad
She missed everything about him. His smile, his eyes, his hair, his body, even his smell. The way he was always able to make her smile through all the tears. The way he cradled her delicately in his arms like she was made of glass, or the way his rough, passionate kisses knocked the wind out of her in the best way possible.
She waited impatiently tapping her foot in the arrivals section of the airport. She had arrived home a couple of days earlier, and after having caught up with her dads and friends that had also come back for the holidays, all she wanted was to see her boyfriend. She saw that his flight had landed and she became restless, wanting to just be in his arms again.
He knew that they'd have to survive many more months like this, being away from each other, having a dull pain in their chests the entire time they were apart. But just seeing her, holding her, even if it was just for a few minutes was more than he could ever ask for. It made the six month wait so damn worth it. His flight landed and he began getting anxious as they slowly started letting people off the plane. She told him she'd pick him up from the airport so knowing she was waiting for him close by made him just want to push everyone out of the way and go find her.
Four months of being apart and Finn set up a Skype date that wasn't a part of the matching schedules that Rachel had made for the two of them. She still smiled brightly when she saw his slightly blurry face on the other end, even though she had no idea what this was about. "Finn!" she said excitedly, biting her lip. "You're looking quite handsome today." She'd always start with some remark that made him want to leap through his computer screen to see her. Not today though.
On second glance, Rachel noticed that Finn didn't look so good at all. He looked tired, worn out and was that tear stains on his cheeks?
"Finn...?" she asked quietly, trying again to get his attention. "Is something wrong?"
"W-We're breaking up, Rachel..." he said in a broken whisper.
"I-I'm sorry?" she asked incredulously. Who did he think he was? Attempting to break up with her over Skype? Well it wasn't going to happen! "What are you talking about, Finn? That's ridiculous." She crossed her arms in front of her to try and stop the pain of her heart breaking in her chest. He looked so serious about this. "Did I do something wrong?" she asked in barely a whisper.
"Rachel... stop. It's for the best." His short answers weren't really helping Rachel in the least.
She began to panic. "What? So after all of this, four months of being apart, you've just decided you've had enough of me?! I demand to know your explanation, Finn Hudson!" she choked, feeling the tears breaking through and beginning to fall down her cheeks.
He hated seeing her cry, but he sucked it up. He needed to do this. Too bad he didn't know it was the biggest mistake of his life. "I-I just can't do this anymore..." Damn it, he was still stuttering.
"I'll come see you." She decided suddenly.
"You can't! You have school."
She threw her arms up angrily. "Don't you want to fix things with me, Finn?! I don't understand why you're doing this!"
"Because I can't be away from you anymore!"
"Then let me come and see you!"
She stopped; her shoulders slumped as she looked down at her keyboard and watched slowly as teardrops splattered on the keys. "Fine. But don't expect me to wait for you, Finn Hudson."
"Rachel, wait. I -"
But she ended the video before he could say anything. She put her laptop down on the floor and curled up in a ball, crying herself to sleep.
She did that for a few weeks, every night she'd refuse nights out with her friends and curl up on the couch and she tortured herself with sad and romantic movies, surrounded by tissues - and memories of him. She couldn't understand why he thought they couldn't make it work. Sure, it was hard most of the time and she found herself missing him almost every second of the day but, she thought they could make it through. Actually, she knew they could make it through this. He just needed to believe in it more. And she had a plan to make it work. She was alone in her and Jessica’s apartment – she had gone to visit her fiancé in Chicago for a few weeks. She was envious, besides being able to get time off school, which was practically impossible for her to do, she wanted what her and her fiancé seemed to have. Something that she had with him before she decided to break up with her.
I’ve been keeping busy all the time
Just to try to keep you off my mind
He was also a mess, but unlike her, he tried extremely hard to cover it up. His heart was just a dull thud in his chest now, and he really didn't know how long he was going to last without her. He was miserable, he hardly concentrated at school, and they lost their next football game because he wasn’t focused enough. His scholarship was hanging by a thread – and that thread was his football. He didn’t get good grades, he never did well in school and if he kept losing like this then he would be kicked out of college.
Maybe that would have been a good thing.
Maybe then he could fly to New York City and apologize for the huge mistake he made.
As he was sitting on his computer reading through the school news, which was buzzing over their loss, he realized that he couldn’t continue without her. He just couldn’t. He needed to make things right.
But of course there was always something stopping him.
The first time Rachel went on Skype since the break up and the first thing she saw was that Finn was online. Who was she kidding? He was always on this time. She was looking through her contacts to find anyone who could possibly distract her from him until she saw that he was trying to call her.
No freaking way.
Of course, she ignored it. She waited five minutes, and when she was convinced he wasn’t going to call again, he relaxed. But too soon. She heard the sound that indicated someone was calling her. Again, she ignored it.
Another five minutes, another call.
Five minutes later, another call.
Again, five minutes later, yet another call.
Half an hour since the first call, and Rachel had had enough of it. She pressed accept angrily, starting to yell things at him. Her voice faltered when she saw his face though. It was worn and tired and he generally just looked terrible. She bit her lip. “Finn? I’m sorry for ignoring your calls...” She wasn’t really, she just felt so sorry for him. But he broke up with her. He needed to leave her alone so she could move on. “Can I help you with something?”
“Take me back, Rachel.”
Her eyes widened in shock. “I-I’m sorry?”
“Please?” he begged with a whisper, his distorted figure on the screen looking even paler than before. “I-I love-”
“I-I can’t.” She cut him off suddenly, trying to hold back any tears that dared to come through. She just couldn’t hear those three words come out of his mouth right now. “I-I’m seeing s-someone else.”
She felt like slapping herself in the face after that.
She didn’t really know why she told him she was seeing someone else when she clearly wasn’t. If he thought about it, and knew her really well, he’d remember that when she said he was the only one she wanted, she meant it. Even now that they were broken up – she still acted around other guys the same way she did when they were still together. She never gave them a second glance and whenever someone asked her out she would always have some excuse at the ready.
What? She got asked out a lot.
Not that she’d ever tell him that.
I want to share your horizon
And see the same sun rising
And turn the hour hand back to
When you were holding me
He was on the verge of tears when she ended the call. Another guy? How could she do this to him? They were supposed to be forever! Well, they were until he broke up with her.
It would always be his fucking fault.
He let her go and now he has to suffer for it.
No. No, no, no.
He slammed his fist against the table, wincing at the pain it brought him. No, he couldn’t just let this go. He just tried to fix things, didn’t he? He wanted nothing more than to fly to New York to see her but he couldn’t. Not with his scholarship on the line. He needed to be responsible and he needed to show her that he could be responsible.
He needed to try this again. And no definitely was not an answer.
Because after all, he was forever hers.
She felt a tear slide down her cheek as she sat in the coffee shop in the arrivals lounge. She shouldn’t be thinking about their break up. She didn’t know how she survived six months without him, as well as two months of being really without him.
She was eyeing the gate like a hawk, waiting for the tall, beautiful man she had been missing for half a year to walk through it. She thought they were taking too long getting everyone off the plane and she needed a soy latte. Not that that would help calm her down or anything, it would just make her more restless and anxious.
Two weeks before she was due back in Lima, Rachel noticed Finn on Skype while she was talking to Kurt. She had learned to ignore him by now whenever he was online – and she could tell he had too. He didn’t even bother to attempt to start a conversation with her. Did he not care anymore...? She cared. Yeah, she cared a lot. While she was contemplating what the hell was going through his head, she hadn’t noticed that he was trying to call her. Her eyes widened, two months of ignoring her and now he wanted to talk. Two months after she told him she was seeing someone... She scoffed anyway, ignoring the call and continued to chat to Kurt.
But of course she knew that ignoring a call from him wouldn’t work.
He kept trying and trying and trying.
She took a deep breath before answering. She thought about it for a second: two weeks she’ll be back in Lima for the holidays, and so will he. He’ll want to see her regardless and she knew as soon as she saw him she’d want to take him back.
She had to tell him the truth.
“Rach!” said the distorted figure of her ex-boyfriend (she really didn’t like calling him her ex) on the screen. He breathed a sigh of relief. Did she mention his nickname for her made her heart skip a beat?
“What is it, Finn?” She tried to sound polite but it came out with a huff of impatience.
Too bad he thought she was adorable.
He smiled, like really smiled – for the first time in a long time. And she just melted and caved and told him everything.
“Oh, Finn!” She said, throwing her hands up in the air desperately. “I’m not seeing anyone! There’s no one else! God, the fact that you believed that there was someone else makes me worry about how much you know about me, and as the love of your life I really think we should –” She stopped after she realised she had just declared her the love of his life.
“So... you lied to me?” he asked, his eyebrows furrowed in the cutest way.
“Well, yes... but that was only because you thought you could get me back so easily after breaking up with me like that!”
“I’m sorry, Rachel...”
Why did he have to sound so sincere and honest? She wished it was easier to hate him sometimes. “I know, Finn. Me too. I think you were right – you’re not good at long distance.” She chuckled.
“I want to see you,” he replied. She caught a glimpse of his triumphant grin when he realised she wanted him back, which had turned into a lip bite and a small content smile.
“Two weeks, baby. Two weeks.” She whispered. God, it felt good to call him that.
“Can’t wait, gorgeous.” He said in a broken whisper as well.
Christmas couldn’t come at a better time.
She finished her soy latte and went up to the counter to buy him one of those giant cookies he seemed to love so much back in high school. She stuck it in her bag as her eyes widened as she saw people begin to walk through the gate. Various people around her gasped and ran up to hug their loved ones. She began tapping her toes impatiently, humming the tune to My Man to calm herself down.
She then saw him, it was unmistakeable.
And he saw her, and the smile on his face could have lit up the entire world.
“Finn!” she squealed excitedly, ignoring all the looks she was getting from other people around her, as she ran as fast as she could, dropping her bag before jumping into his arms. He held her up above the ground, burying his face into her hair – which he forgot smelled amazing. She had pulled away for only a second before she crashed her lips onto his, whimpering quietly at the feelings she was having right now. Not being able to kiss her man in six months was torture. Her hand twisted in his hair and he smiled against her lips.
After a couple of minutes of full-on making out in the middle of the airport, he finally dropped her down to the ground, pressing kisses on every part of her face – cheek, nose, temple, lips, neck, chin, forehead. She giggled as she caught her breath, finally leaning into his chest as they finally relaxed into each other.
She would never go without his hugs again. She couldn’t.
He smelled like her favourite cologne that he always wore and he was so warm and he had a bit of scruff but it totally made him look sexier. His hair was all messy from the plane ride – just the way she likes it.
He noticed she had curled her hair and it looked so amazing. She was also wearing jeans which he loved because he could stare at her ass all day. And she was wearing that lip gloss that tasted like strawberries and God, how the hell was she able to drive him crazy after only seeing her for five minutes?
But he missed her. More than anything.
“Guess what?” she smiled brightly as she pulled away from him, picking up her bag before firmly lacing her fingers with his. “I bought you a cookie!”
He grinned and his eyes lit up as he saw the giant cookie she pulled out of her bag.
Yeah, he was never letting her go again.
And my heart is so jetlagged.