Title: Pull Me Close Like A Lover (But Talk Like A Friend)
Pairing: Tina Cohen-Chang/Noah Puckerman, various tiny side pairings, including Rachel Berry/Mike Chang
Disclaimer: Nothing owned, no profit gained.
Spoilers: Through S2.
Summary: Trying to get through senior year with her sanity intact, Tina never expected to become Noah Puckerman's new best friend.
A/N: This is ENTIRELY Lucy’s fault. Title from Schuyler Fisk's "You're Happening To Me."
Senior year has been a breeze and a half. Tina figures it should be harder, what with all the AP work and college prep, not to mention her mother heaving longing sighs down the back of her neck every other night as she inspects various university websites, but really? It doesn’t totally suck.
It’s actually kind of freakishly easy.
Junior year—or, more specifically, the summer right after—kind of royally sucked, mostly thanks to the massive Asian explosion that was her relationship with Mike. She’s still not entirely clear on what happened; the best she can explain is that, somewhere around March, the toll of dating the best (and most-inclined-to-digest-panda-hair) set of abs in the school simply became too much.
Tina Cohen-Chang snapped. Utterly.
She feels like an ass about it now, looking back, because Mike really is the nicest guy in the world. Something of a walking stereotype sometimes, and a little frustrating when it comes to the dating thing (better than Artie by a long-ass shot, but still; the boy dances more than is freaking normal), but overall, he was the best thing in that school. Maybe the best thing in the whole town, and certainly the best thing Tina was ever going to get. She was lucky.
Until she wasn’t.
Until she realized toned stomachs and kind smiles and a kick-ass moonwalk are not all a girl needs in life.
She’s still not sure what happened, knows only that her patience—a forever-ticking time bomb—gave out entirely in the middle of a particularly heated discussion about why she was not interested in eating a rice dish for the forty-sixth consecutive evening. One thing had led to another, and before she knew it, on June 17th, 2010, Chang Squared was no more.
Lots of guys would go on and be douchebags about it, shooting nasty looks and catcalls down the hallways when school started back up, but Mike has been as nice as ever. She thinks the summer did them both a lot of good, and though they aren’t really friends anymore, they’ve still got Glee in common. Mike still dances. Tina still smiles at him. Neither of them have commissioned elaborate death threats.
She’s pretty sure she has gotten out of her first real long-term relationship unscathed.
For a hot second, she debates getting back together with Artie—her first kiss, her first friend, and the first boy to teach her exactly how idiotic the opposite sex can be—but the impulse passes almost as instantly as it flares. Artie, since getting righteously, though gently, dumped on his butt by Brittany months before, hasn’t looked twice at a girl. He seems to split his time between his Xbox and time with the football guys, particularly Puck (who, Tina suspects, is at least as interested in said Xbox as in Artie’s company). Overall, Artie seems to have grown up a little, but whatever appeal he once held is gone.
Besides, being on her own is actually pretty awesome.
It has taken her a while to get to this point, but now, floating in that strange dead period between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Tina is really getting into the groove of things. She spends a lot of evenings hanging out with Mercedes and (of all people) Santana, a friendship that still scares the piss out of her from time to time, but ultimately is cool enough. Santana brings Brittany along about half the time, and Mercedes likes to call up Quinn (who almost never shows, since she’s religiously working her tail off on scholarship applications and tends to pass out early most nights). Likewise, Rachel is usually too busy working to join, but Tina usually shoots her a text anyway. They’ve all done some pretty hearty growing up, maybe Rachel more than anyone, and even though her mouth still runs just as fast, Tina has grown oddly attached to the diva.
Girl Nights are the best by far, but Tina spends a lot of time alone too—by choice this time, as opposed to the Before period, when her only interactions consisted of Mom commenting on Facebook statuses and Artie occasionally offering a hesitant cyber-poke. She likes the quiet, likes being able to jack into her iPod and blare whatever she likes without worrying about someone trying to strike up a conversation. Books are even better; with no one standing over her shoulder asking what’s going on, what’s so funny, why does she look sad, she’s actually been getting some solid reading accomplished. The library is her friend, and she loves every relaxing second of it that does not involve Calculus (she’s Asian, not a calculator, and she really wishes some of her friends—Brittany—would recognize this).
She’s coming off of one of her alone periods when her bookbag strap—held together with shreds of Sharpie’d duct tape and the dreams of dark angels—pops free from its last desperate seam. In the middle of the slush-soaked parking lot, barely twenty feet from her car, everything comes crashing out: a dog-eared copy of Nietzsche (she can’t get into him, but people keep insisting she try), a CD player from the mid-nineties, her cell phone, a bottle of black-with-red-sparkles nail polish she’s been meaning to pass off on Santana for weeks now.
Her life, in short, all crammed into one battered messenger bag, and now it’s snowy and gray and wet.
It’s dumb to mutter obscenities like they’ll make a difference, but she can’t seem to stop—which is probably why she doesn’t realize she has company until a broad, tan hand is closing over the coiling pages of her Lit homework, lifting it from its puddle and giving it a hearty shake.
“Cock-sucking dickass fuckstrap?” Puck repeats, clearly amused and just the least bit astonished. “Mulan, you have seriously got a mouth.”
Two years ago, she would have glared daggers up at him immediately before running away, but she’s spent the last few months of her life being called all manner of—sometimes brutally offensive, though evidently meant with love (including, but not limited to, ‘Stir-Fry’)—Asian-themed nicknames by Santana Lopez. Besides, this is Puck—gone from scariest bad boy in the county to the most ridiculous guitar-playing Jew she’s ever known. The last time she ran away from him, it was during an epic game of “pass the douchebag beanie” to teach him a lesson about pulling off weird winter wear.
(It got her tackled pretty hard, but not before handing the prize off to Rachel, who made it almost to the science wing before Puck managed to catch up and toss her recklessly over his shoulder.)
“Bag broke,” she mutters now, taking the ruined pages from him and smoothing them hopefully against her knee. “Shit.”
“You should get a new one,” he replies with mock wisdom, seizing the CD player and flicking the latch. “Coheed is for pussies, babe.”
“I’d like to see you play that twelve-string and hit those pitches at the same time,” she teases, trying to swipe it back.
“Pussies,” he repeats resolutely, grinning and stretching above his head so she’s forced to jump. “You oughta start listening to real music.”
“What, Billy Joel and Neil Diamond?” She snorts, shoveling the last of the items back into her bag. “Fat chance, Puckerman. I need something a little harder than that.”
“That’s what she said,” he shoots back lewdly, grabbing his crotch and thrusting his hips. She shakes her head, completely at a loss as to how she once found this boy terrifying.
“I’ll be sticking to my death metal, thanks. Good try, though.”
“No taste,” he sniffs, slinging an arm around her shoulders and, without uttering another word, walking them both in the opposite direction of her car. “Pathetic. What am I gonna do with you?”
“For starters,” she says snappishly, attempting to squirm out from under his weight, “you should probably let me get back to my vehicle of choice.”
“The Death Mobile?” he scoffs, shaking his head. “No way, babe, that shit will conk out on you halfway to the first light. Besides, you need some serious help, and—aren’t you lucky—I am just the dude to give it to you.”
“Is that a sex joke?” she demands, a little nervous now. “Because, seriously, I’m not looking for—“
Puck has the good grace to look moderately scandalized. “Hell no! Not that you’re not banging or whatever, but I was talking about more important shit.”
“More important than sex,” Tina deadpans, eyebrow raised. “Okay, Pod Person, what gives?”
“I can think of non-sexy shit!” he insists, angling her towards the passenger side of his pick-up and giving her a tiny shove. “You need new music, and a new bag, and a new fuckin’ CD player—seriously, no one uses those things anymore, what are you even doing?—and I am the man with the wheels. I am Wheel Man. Hear me roar.”
“I’d like to hear you roar me right back to my car,” she responds coolly, kicking aside a greasy fry container and dropping the bag between her feet. “I’ve got homework.”
“You’ve got your whole fuckin’ life to do homework,” he teases. “Come on. Mall’s twenty minutes away, and I promise I drive like a champ. Besides, it’ll be fun. We can chick-watch.”
“Not into chicks, Puckerman,” she reminds him, sighing and snapping the seat belt into place. He shakes his head.
“Took me about two years to figure that out about you, babe. And fuck, was I disappointed.”
He throws the truck into gear and squeals the tires violently before she can even think of an adequate response to that.
It becomes a thing before she even notices. Puck catches her after school at least twice a week, always making the claim that her car won’t manage to ferry her a block, much less all the way home (a blatant lie; she adores Uncle Fester with all of its miserable bucking and wheezing, and not a single criticism will convince her otherwise). Suddenly, Girl Nights and Tina Time are interspersed with the dazzling roller coaster extravaganza that is Puckzilla Happy Hour (not that it’s ever just an hour, nor do they make use of alcohol more than twenty-nine percent of the time, but he insists on having a specified block of her week all the same; she thinks it makes him feel special).
Senior year has become less about the workload and more about who happens to be blowing up her phone on a given night. It isn’t popularity, strictly speaking, but it’s a hell of a lot more than she’s used to.
Truthfully, she can’t put her finger on why, even now, it kind of freaks her relentlessly out.
“Dude,” Puck tells her, the top of his ever-mohawked head bumping against her own. “Don’t tell me you’re stressing over having friends.”
“It’s just weird,” she mumbles self-consciously, arching her back a little against his bedroom floor until her spine pops. “After Mike, I figured—“
“Mike’s a good dude,” Puck interrupts, fingers beating out a fast guitar rhythm on the air. All around them, the pulse of classic Styx tunes resonates, and though it is nothing like her usual taste, Tina can’t help but bob her head restlessly to the beat.
“I know he is,” she replies, not quite able to bring herself to use the word ‘dude’ to describe her ex-boyfriend. “Still. Everyone likes him.”
“Because he’s a good dude,” Puck says, like he can’t get on board whatever train she’s riding this afternoon. “What’s your point?”
“I guess I just thought—“
“People would pick him over you?” Stretching up on one shoulder, he eyes her and smirks. “Babe, get real. Choosing sides? You think that’s how the real world works?”
“We’re not in the real world,” she reminds him dryly. “It’s high school. Everything is about choosing sides.”
“Fair,” he allows, “but still. This is the Changster we’re talking about. In a game of ‘his or her side’, he’d probably be first in line to pick yours.”
That, she thinks uneasily, should give everyone else even more license to choose Mike’s side. It doesn’t seem to matter, though; Puck’s head is back on the floor, his fingers dancing once more along invisible frets while he mouths the lyrics to “Blue Collar Man.” The conversation is over.
It’s the sort of thing that happens a lot during Puckzilla Happy Hour. For being such a cocky bastard so much of the time, he actually isn’t the world’s biggest talker. Which, after years of faking a stutter just to get out of verbalizing in front of other people, Tina appreciates on a fairly hardcore level.
God knows it’s the exact opposite when she hangs out with the Wheezy-Satan Dream Team.
Their hangout sessions progress from two times a week to four or five, mostly because Puck is bored out of his mind. That’s his excuse, anyway, and Tina can’t see a reason not to buy it. Without his pool-cleaning business to keep him busy, he’s stuck on babysitting duty far more often than a seventeen-year-old male should be. Not that little Anna isn’t cool; for a kid, she’s actually pretty smart and funny. If Tina were eight years old, she would totally hang out with someone like Anna.
Plus, for all his bitching, Puck clearly loves his sister to death. But babysitting is still babysitting, no matter how rad the kid is, and without Tina there, she figures he’d be going flat-out crazy.
“Thank God it’s spring,” Puck shouts for the sixth time, arms spread wide and leg windmilling in the damp, half-dead grass. Tina flings a handful of brush onto his chest.
“Then why are you making snow angels?”
“Spring angels,” he corrects witheringly, casting a quick glance to where Anna is sprawled with an old Goosebumps book. “Hey, Ann, what’s that one about?”
“Werewolves,” she calls back absently, flicking the page and resting her chin on an upturned palm. Tina grins.
“Vampires are so much cooler.”
Anna makes a noise of sheer skepticism, barely tilting her grin away from the book. “In your dreams.”
“Anyway,” Tina goes on, “it’s March. In Ohio, that barely constitutes spring. For all we know—“
“Shhh,” Puck interrupts, eyes closed and hands flailing. She rolls her eyes.
“I’m just saying, you’re celebrating a bit early—“
“Shush, shush, shhh!”
“It could totally snow on Thursday,” she blurts anyway, thoroughly enjoying the way his ears turn pink with annoyance. “And then what?”
“Shut up,” he cries, rolling over and flinging his body directly into her lap. “Now it’s gonna happen, and it’s going to be all your fault!”
“Oof,” she manages to reply eloquently, flopping back onto the brittle grass. “Puckerman, get your heavy butt off me.”
“Heavy?” he replies delicately, batting his eyelashes and shifting until he is sitting on her legs. “I’m hurt, babe. Crushed. Are you calling me fat? Are you saying I should go on a diet?”
“Yes,” she heaves out, pushing against his chest with both hands. “You’re such a pig.”
“Now you’re just getting insulting,” he laughs. “Stick with the kosher at least, Jesus.”
She pushes again, trying not to giggle. “Did you just call me Jesus? Your blasphemy knows no bounds.”
“It’s not blasphemy if he’s just a prophet,” Puck explains wisely, holding himself up with both muscled arms and grinning. He pauses a moment, forehead screwing up in concentration. “I think.”
“Don’t do that,” Tina taunts, “you’ll hurt yourself.”
His grin fades slowly, eyes flicking up and down her face. “Dude.”
“Dude,” she mimics mockingly, palms flat against his chest. She can feel the steady in-out motion of his breath, the solidity of the muscles under his shirt. It’s nice.
Maybe a little too nice.
And she thinks he’s looking at her lips with just a little too much determination.
She moves to push again, trying to roll out from under him. “Your sister’s staring.”
It’s exactly the right thing to say to break the spell. His head turns immediately, big hazel eyes searching. “She is not. You’re such a paranoid wuss, Asian.”
“Am not, Jew,” she cuts back, trying her best to ignore the way her fingers are instinctively curling around his shirt. “You going to get off me or what?”
“If you want,” he says simply, flopping to the side and laying there, sprawled on dead grass, his head nestled against her shoulder.
Something dangerously like bitter disappointment crawls up into her throat. She shakes her head, staring up into the clouds.
“Bunny,” he says suddenly, nearly punching her in the face when his arm swings up to point at the sky. “Right there. Big-ass bunny.”
“Really? You’re cloud-watching right now?” Disbelieving, she arches her back and looks to where Anna is sitting. “Hey, Ann, you know your brother’s a loser?”
“Totally,” the kid replies carelessly, turning a page.
“Hey!” Puck protests. “Keep that up, and we’ll see who gets ice cream later.”
Tina thrusts a playful hand into the air and waves it around. “Ooh! Me! Me!”
He huffs, arms crossing tight over his chest. “No way, babe. Turning my sister against me and calling me fat in the same day. You’re walking home.”
Spring manages to stick around with only a few backslides here and there, and Tina finds herself starting to think more and more about dropping out of school and hitting the road. Puck’s truck could take them anywhere, and between the two of them, they could probably busk a fairly decent living.
It would be so much better than scheduling university orientations and tossing the majority of her spending money into an account for next year. And it would definitely be better than stupid school, with its stupid papers and tests and teachers who don’t seem to realize that life is about so much more than how well a person can remember the order of the presidents.
Too bad Puck has this weirdly focused thing about making her graduate.
By the time April comes and goes, leaving barely more than a month left at McKinley, Tina’s senioritis is in full deadly swing.
Puck’s is, if anything, worse.
“Babe!” His trademark greeting flows through her window seconds before his sneakered feet. She jumps, fingers bashing out nonsense on her keyboard, and rolls her eyes.
“Door, Puckerman. How many times do we have to go through this?”
“Doors are for pussies,” he responds, like he always does, climbing to his feet and grinning. “Anyway. Like I was saying. Babe!”
“Boy!” she replies, rolling her eyes again for good measure. “What brings you to my window, fair Romeo?”
He wrinkles his nose. “That’s that dude who kills his own ass for that stupid whiny chick, right? Pass. Anyway, check it out. Changster’s having a part-ay. Glee kids, booze, Berry’s karaoke machine. You’re in, right? You’ve gotta be in.”
“I don’t ‘gotta’ do anything,” she replies automatically, deleting the extra stream of letters on her screen and hitting save. “Why is Mike throwing a party on Thursday night?”
“Thirsty Thursday!” Puck announces, like she really should know better by now. Tina shakes her head.
“Rachel’s letting him get away with that?”
Mike and Rachel have been going out for three months now, which pretty well boggled the mind of everyone in Glee—as well as half the school—but against all odds, they seem to be pretty solid. Somehow, his chill nature seems to be rubbing off ever so slightly on Rachel, who, though still unwilling to give up her solos without a fight, at least manages to smile while trying to rip the sheet music from other people’s hands.
They’re slowly doing that thing they do every spring, Tina recognizes, people pairing off left and right. Kurt and Sam on another of their on-again, off-again binges. Brittany and Santana, although Tina doesn’t mentally count them, since they’re as good as life-partnered-up by now. Rachel and Mike. Finn and—of all people—Mercedes; Tina’s not sure if they really like each other, or if Mercedes has just grown sick of watching Finn parade over the egos of every other girl in the club. Either way, it’s great to watch her give him shit when he invariably acts like an asshole.
Artie has his Xbox and the robot he’s building for scholarship reasons, and Quinn is devotedly engaged to her textbooks. And then there’s Tina.
Strange, she thinks, that Puck is the only other single guy in Glee. Puck is never single, but ever since his quiet-except-for-the-black-eye breakup with Lauren Zizes, he’s been flying steady and solo. And hanging out with her.
Privately, she’s pleased with this arrangement, and lives in a constant state of unease that one day, he will find the one Cheerio he hasn’t yet slept with and leave her in the dust. Privately, this idea makes her want to vomit a little. Privately, she doesn’t want to consider the reason for that.
She settles now for letting out a long-suffering sigh and reaching for the Doc Marten under her desk. Puck performs an elaborate and highly unnecessary fist pump and retrieves the other shoe, dropping to one knee and presenting her with it like she’s Cinderella after the ball.
“You’re the best.”
“You’re a douche,” she returns, snatching the shoe and lacing it up. “I’m not staying out all night.”
“No problem,” he replies, nodding fervently.
“Not kidding, Puckerman. Home by midnight. No screwing around.”
“Not even the fun kind?” His eyebrows dance lewdly. She socks him in the chest. “All right! Goddamn, Asian. Chill your shit. I will have you home before you go all pumpkin-freaky on me, absolutely. Trust a dude, will you?”
“Should I remind you what happened the last time I ‘trusted a dude’?” she teases, standing and snapping her laptop shut. “Woke up on Brittany’s washing machine with a brand new green streak down the front of my hair?”
“Shhh,” he says, laughing. “One time. Happened one damn time.”
“Midnight,” she repeats, eyebrow arched when he gleefully spins back to the window. “And we’re taking the door. Might be for pussies, but I do not do tree-climbing. Seriously, Puckerman, you’ve got so much to learn about women.”
It tends to be that not everyone shows up every week, but this time, the house is full. Even Lauren and Blaine (which Tina thinks is incredibly awkward, since he doesn’t even go here) appear, arms laden with chips and donut holes. Puck visibly cringes when Lauren stalks by him.
“She hates everyone here,” he mutters. “Why the hell would she even show up?”
“Free beer,” Tina replies wisely, “is the healer of all grudges.”
He rolls his eyes. “Now she’s Confundus.”
“Confucius,” Tina corrects, giggling. “Confundus is a Harry Potter spell. Which, wow, you actually read?”
His ears go bright pink, his face contorting the way it does when Mr. Schue calls on him in class to conjugate verbs. “Uhh. No.”
It’s all alcohol and dancing after that, like he’s trying to remind her that Puckzilla is all about the badass and not a closet wizard freak. She lets him maneuver her mindlessly around the room, arm around her shoulder, and after a couple of shots, they duet on some Green Day song she’s never liked all that much. It sounds, she’s positive, like a couple of cats caught in a blender, but she doesn’t care.
Minutes, or hours, or days later, they’re relaxing on the couch in Mike’s living room, Tina snuggled under Puck’s arm. Seated on Mike’s lap nearby, Rachel grins.
“You two,” she slurs, “are the best.”
“Damn right,” Puck replies without opening his eyes. Tina makes a humming noise into the back of the couch.
“No, seriously.” Sliding away from Mike, Rachel reaches out and clutches clumsily at Tina’s arm. “The best. You two are adorable.”
Tina’s eyes pop open. “We’re what?”
“Adorable,” Rachel repeats with some obvious effort. “Cutest couple here. Well. Second cutest.” She makes a violent gesture towards Mike, who catches her hand and presses a kiss to the palm.
Tina meets her ex-boyfriend’s eyes. “We’re not, uh. We’re not together.”
He shrugs, smiling warmly. Above her, Puck grunts.
“Need more booze. You in, Asian?”
She has never been more in in her life. Because they’re not together. Just because a guy and a girl go everywhere with one another, and dance and drink, and sometimes the guy happens to crawl through the girl’s bedroom window at night to hang out, doesn’t mean—
“Booze,” she agrees, clambering off the couch and purposefully ignoring the zing of energy that skitters from his fingertips when his hand closes around her wrist.
Booze is good.
“Who?” she asks, like she hasn’t been worrying about the same thing for nearly three days now.
He makes a blind, helpless sort of gesture. “Everyone.”
She wants to say something witty, something along the lines of, They’re stupid, but before she can, he sits up and frowns at her. “Are we?”
“Are we what?” she demands nervously, creasing the wrong edge of the paper and ruining the whole masterpiece. He reaches out, jostling her shoulder.
“Are we dating?”
The idea that Noah Puckerman, the guy who has unapologetically slept with absolutely everyone they know, could ask her such a dumb question is unparalleled. And silly. And—
“I don’t know,” she admits. “Are we?”
“I mean.” He hesitates, licking his bottom lip. “We haven’t done anything date-like. I mean, usually I’d be scoring by now. A lot. You haven’t even let me mack on you.”
“You haven’t tried,” she shoots back, slightly insulted without knowing why. “God, Puckerman, put it all on me, why don’t you.”
His hand comes up to rub the back of his head furiously, the way he does when he’s thinking something through. “We’re bros. I don’t make out with my bros.”
“I don’t make out with insensitive jackasses,” she retorts, shaking her head. “Whatever.”
“Hey, no. Wait a second.” Puck stares at her, one hand moving carefully to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’m just saying. I don’t make out with bros, but I do make out with awesome hot chicks. Which you are. You know?”
She doesn’t have the first clue what he’s getting at, but the tangle of nerves in her stomach is getting dangerously excited. “You’re right. I’m totally hot.”
“Totally,” he agrees warmly, the corners of his eyes crinkling. His hand stills, weirdly cupping her ear like he isn’t sure what’s okay to touch and what isn’t. “Tina, if I kissed you, would we be dating?”
“I think,” she says slowly, “if you kissed me, we’d be kissing.”
“You want?” he asks, bending his head a little. She raises herself up on her elbows, nose brushing against his. “’Cuz, dude, you’re my bro. Bros get to decide stuff together.”
“So do people who date,” she points out, relishing the warmth of his breath against her mouth. He nods, one arm sliding around her waist and holding firm. Calloused fingertips snake up the back of her shirt an inch, pressing lightly against her spine. “Puck.”
He takes it as affirmation, lips meeting hers like he’s at once desperate to own, yet afraid to break, her. She arches up into him, fingers combing through that stupidly soft mohawk and itching back down again, nails scratching rhythmically against his stubbled scalp. It’s the kind of kiss she never had with Mike, who was always kind and gentle and not nearly domineering enough. Puck, for all his respect towards her, kisses like he means it, like his whole world is in this bed, like—even if they never do this again as long as they live—right now is everything.
He kisses her hard, lips catching on hers, tongue probing into her mouth forcefully. He kisses her once, twice, over and over again, hand propped against her back and sliding up, body rolling to pin hers to the mattress. One leg pushes between both of hers and presses insistently. She gasps, head turning to the side for air.
He jerks back like she’s burned him, eyes wide. “Too much? Too much for bros?”
She laughs, reaching up and grabbing his face with both hands. “Don’t be an idiot, Puckerman.”
Mouth curling into a cocky grin, he comes down again just as the hand under her shirt hits her bra clasp. Her eyes shoot open, eyebrows narrowing.
“You,” she pants against his mouth, “are pressing your luck, sir.”
“You like it,” he teases, pressing up with that leg again. Her body seizes pleasurably.
“This is never going to end in studying, is it?”
“Depends,” he replies with a wag of those eyebrows, sitting up just long enough to unhook the clasp before settling back atop her again. “You really want to be writing that paper?”
His fingers trail along her ribcage, dancing up and over one breast. She instantly forgets what the word ‘graduation’ even means, too interested in the magical things his mouth is doing to the skin just under her jaw. Noah Puckerman is kind of an idiot, and kind of an asshole, and the kind of guy who climbs through windows when there are perfectly good doors present, but he is also stunningly good with his mouth, and his hands, and—
“I think we’re dating,” she half-groans, wrapping one leg around his hips and pulling him down closer. “I think we are definitely dating.”
“Why’s that?” he hums against her neck, fingers roughly pinching under her shirt. She grasps a sparse handful of his mohawk and tugs.
“Because, Puckerman, I am not the kind of girl who sleeps with a guy without dating.”
His head lifts, face split by a delighted grin she’s never seen before. “Sex?”
“Dating,” she corrects firmly, even as her hips buck against his. “Dating, with dinner and movies and you holding doors. I am a lady, Puckerman.”
“Mmhmm,” he answers, laughing as he shimmies down her body and thumbs open the button on her pants. “A totally bitchin’, badass lady-bro.”
“Damn straight.” Clutching the bedspread beneath her, Tina lifts her head and grins, laughing when he winks back. “God, you are such a cheesehead.”
“You love me,” he replies, pushing up her shirt and touching a light kiss to her stomach. She grins up at the ceiling, the fingers of one hand urging his head to move lower.
“Shut up, Jew boy.”
“Make me, Asian.”
Tina Cohen-Chang with Noah Puckerman, she thinks, eyes fluttering shut. Senior year is the weirdest thing ever.