Chapter 1: Meet Cody and Clayton
Cody zipped up his suitcase and checked his phone, making sure the ticket was in there. This was it. He was finally doing what he'd been dreaming of his whole life - he was going to New York. The New Directions had won 15 straight national titles and Cody was sure he was going to lead them to a 16th. He was the first freshman to ever make it as the lead singer of the New Directions.
Finn knocked on his son's door. He knew this day would come. He knew that New Directions would be going to Nationals and that it would be in New York this year. New York. The same city where he and Rachel had their first Nationals. The city where Finn and Rachel had "the kiss that missed" on the stage. The city where they were supposed to build a life together but didn't. The city where Cody had wanted to go, but Finn couldn't bear to take him to. It would be too much. He knew Rachel was still living in New York with Cody's twin brother, Clayton. Kurt and Blaine came to Lima for holidays. It was as if they knew things would be too complicated for Finn to go there.
"Come in!" Cody called. He looked up at his dad. "I'm going to New York, Dad! I'm going to win Nationals MVP, I know it!"
Finn forced a smile. "I'm sure." He wasn't surprised that Cody was a singer. Cody had started singing along to commercials when he was a child. He had Rachel's genes, how could he not be a singer? Was Clayton one, too? After all, he also had Rachel's genes and was exposed to the best on Broadway.
"You should have come to chaperone, Dad," Cody said. He found it weird that his dad hadn't talked at all about his trip to New York with the glee club. He knew his dad was in the same glee club Cody was in now. He'd seen his dad's pictures in the choir room. "It might bring back fond memories of when you were in the glee club."
Yes, it would bring back memories. That's why Finn wasn't going. Sometimes it was hard just to help out with the glee club. "This is about you. But don't worry, I'll be watching the livestream."
"I've been practicing my solo nonstop," Cody reminded his dad. "Some of the kids at school told me they'll pour acid into their ears if they have to hear it again, but how are we supposed to win if I don't practice? And maybe there will be some people from Broadway at Nationals! They might see me and want to swoop me up for a production after I graduate..."
Finn knew singing on a Broadway stage was his son's big goal. A goal his mother had achieved at a young age. "I know you'll do that one day, but let's focus on winning Nationals now."
"What if we lose?" Cody asked. "What if no one else pulls their weight?" That wasn't what he was really worried about. What if he made a mistake? Or worse, what if someone else was better than him? Everyone would hate him if they lost Nationals. The streak would be broken. The other kids in the glee club sometimes didn't realize he was trying to help and he was worried they didn't really like him, they just liked that he had the best voice. They'd called him annoying and bossy.
"You'll lead the glee club to victory," Finn told his son. "I know it."
Cody gulped. He could probably tell his dad. "They like my talent. I don't think they like me. And if we lose..."
Finn had a feeling that was what was really on his son's mind. "I'm sure they like you. But remember, there are a lot of talented people in the glee club. Make sure they know you appreciate them."
"There are other talented people in the club," Cody admitted.
"That's right," Finn said. "There were a lot of talented people in the glee club when I was there, too."
Cody made a mental note of what his dad said. "I'm excited to see Uncle Kurt and Uncle Blaine and my cousins when I'm in New York, too! And I REALLY want to go to some Broadway shows!" In particular, he wanted to see Rachel Berry. He'd seen so many videos of her on YouTube and he wanted to see her in person. For some reason, he hadn't told anyone, not even his dad, about the strong connection he felt to Rachel Berry and her songs. He had music from Funny Girl, Evita, Oklahoma, West Side Story, Wicked and her current show, the Dear Evan Hansen revival, on his playlist. He hoped one day, he could have a co-star as talented as she was. Seeing a show could help calm his nerves about Nationals.
If Finn said no, Cody might get suspicious. "Pick out a show and I'll get you a ticket." He just hoped Cody wouldn't pick Rachel's show. He was sure his son would though. His solo was from that show.
When Finn left Cody's bedroom, Cody pulled out the photo of his mom that his dad had given him. His biggest dream, even bigger than singing on a Broadway stage, was to meet his mom. But his dad didn't even know where his mom was. His parents had split up when he was a baby, right after they graduated high school. He looked at his mom's photo. "I hope I make you proud, Mom."
Another late night. The one thing Rachel didn't like about her Broadway shows was that she didn't get to spend as much time with her son as she wanted. It was bad enough that she didn't get to spend ANY time with her other son or with his father. She was able to give Clayton a nice life, but she knew their life was incomplete. She wished she'd been able to go to his game tonight. Even though Finn hadn't been in Clayton's life, Clayton reminded her so much of Finn. His heart. His goofiness. His half smile. The way people gravitated toward him. And he was a pure jock. He'd become the first freshman this year in his school's history to become the starting quarterback, to be a starter on the basketball team and to be a starting pitcher on the baseball team. Unlike either of his parents, Clayton had no interest in singing, but he did play the drums in the school band.
As Clayton finished his homework, he heard the door unlock. His mom was home. Sometimes he didn't like to admit it, but life with a Broadway star mom could get lonely. He was proud of his mom's career, but he wished she could come to his games more, like the other guys on the team had their parents come. He wished his dad could come to his games, too. Since his mom wasn't athletic at all, he had to get it from somewhere. He suspected it was from his dad. He also had a feeling he'd gotten his height from his dad, since he was about a foot taller than his mom. "Hey Mom!" he called out.
Rachel went into her son's bedroom. "Hey, honey. How was your game tonight?"
"We lost," Clayton sighed. "The other team's pitcher threw a wicked curve. We really had no chance."
Rachel felt even worse now, even though she wasn't exactly sure what those words meant. "I'm sorry." If she'd been there, if Finn had been there, if Cody had been there, maybe the loss would have been less painful. "I'll try to see if my understudy can fill in so I can come to your next game."
"You'll have no idea what's going on!" Clayton teased.
"Yeah, but I want to see my son!" Rachel shot back. "I'll see if your grandparents can come too, and your uncles and cousins." Her dads had moved out to New York when she was in college. They'd been a big help with Clayton the nights of her shows before he was old enough to go to friends' houses or be at home by himself. She'd also rebuilt her relationship with Shelby. In fact, Clayton had gone to Shelby's Broadway day care before he started school. Kurt and Blaine were here in New York, too.
"I'd like to have you there," Clayton admitted. He also wished his dad could come see him play. His dad was the one thing he couldn't talk to his mom about. All he knew was that his parents were together in high school and split up after they graduated because they had different life plans. Still, he thought it was odd that they hadn't kept in touch at all. Didn't his dad want to meet his son?
Rachel saw the longing in her son's eyes. "I'll be there."
"Though I'm sure you'll get asked for autographs," Clayton teased his mom. Another disadvantage to his mom being so famous was that people always recognized him as Rachel Berry's son. He knew his mom wanted to give him a normal life, but they rarely went out without people stopping and asking her for an autograph. Sometimes, news outlets would come to his games and take photos. He didn't like that. Of course, if he ended up in the NFL or the NBA or the MLB, that would be happening. That was his not-so-secret goal, though he knew it was a stretch. Especially since the teams at his school were't that good.
"It kind of comes with having five Tony Awards," Rachel said. Five Tony Awards. That was what she'd always wanted. Yet, she couldn't share that moment with Finn and Cody. She felt sadness coming over her. Clayton had grown up before her eyes. He was about to finish his freshman year of high school. She'd missed so much in Cody's life. She just hoped he was happy, wherever he was.
Clayton noticed his mom looked upset. "Are you okay, Mom?"
"Yeah, I'm just a bit tired," Rachel lied.
Clayton knew what to do. He went to the kitchen and got his mom a glass of ice water and then sat down next to her on the couch in his room, putting his arm around her.
Rachel managed a smile. She'd feared she and Clayton would grow apart now that he was in high school and he'd start to resent her for being gone so much and for his dad not being around. But that wasn't the case. After a few sips of water, she reached up and hugged her son. "I love you, Clay."
"I love you too, Mom," Clayton replied, kissing Rachel on the cheek.
Chapter 2: Chance Meeting
Hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter! I've been having so much fun writing Finchel, I had to write a second one. You'll be getting more of Finchel in upcoming chapters, even though it's focusing on Clayton and Cody now. Thanks to everyone who left kudos!
"I made it," Cody sighed as he took in the sights of Times Square. It was even more amazing in person than it was in the photos he'd seen on the internet and when his uncles came to visit. There was the ball that fell every New Year's Eve. And in the distance, he could see the theatres. His dad had offered to get him a ticket to a show of his choosing. He just wished he could spend all his free time, except rehearsals and the competition, going to shows. In fact, he'd practiced his solo so much, he didn't think he'd need much more practice.
"Okay, everyone!" Mr. Schue called out. "You guys are free to hang out around New York until 4, when we can check into our rooms at the hotel, and then we'll start practicing. Just stick in groups."
Cody got an idea. He wanted to sneak into a theatre and see if he could sing on a real Broadway stage. Sure, that probably wasn't allowed, but once the staff at the theatre heard him sing, they'd be swept away by his talent.
He asked some of the glee guys if he could join their group for the afternoon, but lingered behind them as they walked, keeping an eye on the theatres, hoping the door would be open at one of them. Sure enough, the door to the theatre where Dear Evan Hansen was playing was ajar. One day, Cody was going to play Evan Hansen on Broadway. Cody bolted away from the group and into the theatre.
He was only standing in the lobby, but he practically lost his breath. The big poster promoting the musical was there and the lobby was beautifully decorated. By some miracle, none of the cleaners seemed to notice him, so he kept moving forward and entered the theatre itself.
There it was, a real Broadway stage. It was so big and looked so empty. The velvet seats were even beautiful. He kept making his way forward and stood on the stage. Once he was on the stage, he began singing Waving Through A Window, picturing himself singing it at Nationals. He pictured the judges being in awe of his performance and the crowd being on his feet...
And at the end of his song, he heard some clapping. "Very good."
Cody jumped and turned. Someone was walking toward him. Crap. He wasn't supposed to be here. What if he got in trouble? What if this person told Mr. Schue and he got disqualified from competing at Nationals?
However, the theatre staff member didn't look like she was mad at Cody. "I shouldn't have expected anything less from you." He'd posted videos of himself on YouTube, but they'd reached New York? That was a dream of his, that one of his videos would somehow be seen by someone in the theatre business, but maybe it was just that: a dream. "Seeing how talented your mom is, it's to be expected."
Wait. This person knew Cody's mom? Cody didn't even know who his mom was. How did a stranger in New York know who his mom was and that Cody was her son, whoever she was?
"Your mom probably told you that she got held up at an interview, but she'll be here as soon as she can," the staff member continued. An interview? This was getting weirder and weirder. "But if you want to go hang out in her dressing room, she'll be here any minute. I know she was excited to hang out with you before the show tonight."
Cody knew what he was doing was wrong. Part of him knew he should confess but this was confusion, that this staff member thought he was someone he wasn't, and he could get in trouble for sneaking in. But to explore the theatre backstage? That would be so cool to see how things worked behind the scenes.
"Yeah, could you walk with me?" Cody asked, hoping he'd be able to find his way backstage okay. Then he'd find a way out.
In the back halls of the theatre, things were even cooler. The staff member asked about school and Cody talked about how he was stressed about his upcoming finals. He figured that was safe as just about any school would be preparing for finals now. But he could barely take his eyes off all the news articles about the show on the walls and the photos of the cast of the show. Finally, the staff member stopped at a dressing room with a gold star on the door, and Cody figured this was where he was supposed to be. He went in and sat on the couch, reading the articles on the wall praising the show.
Practice had been canceled today, so Clayton had texted his mom this morning and asked if he could come to the theatre and hang out with her before her show. He was disappointed that she'd been held up in an interview, but that would give him some time to get his homework done while he waited. However, when he got into his mom's dressing room, he saw that someone was already in there. "Holy crap!"
Cody turned around and saw another boy about his age. In fact, it was as if he was looking in the mirror. This boy had the same cinnamon eyes, same Jewish nose, same chin, same hair color, same cheek bones, same freckles, same tall, slender build. If it wasn't for this boy's longer, flippy hair that tickled his ears, he'd think there was a mirror.
Clayton gasped. "Who are you?" he asked this stranger who looked just like him.
"I'm Cody Hudson," Cody said. He might as well be honest. "Who are you?"
"I'm Clayton Berry," Clayton said. He couldn't help but feel suspicious. "What are you doing in my mom's dressing room?"
Berry? My mom's dressing room? "You're Rachel Berry's son?" Cody gasped. He thought he knew everything about Rachel Berry, but he didn't know she had a son, let alone one who looked just like him. "Your mom is so talented! One day I'm going to be on Broadway and have a costar as talented as her."
So, was this a fanboy who'd broken in? Clayton tried not to appear freaked out. "Yeah, I am. But how did you get back here?"
Then it came to Cody. The staff member must have thought he was Clayton. "I think they thought I was you." He might as well apologize. "I'm sorry. I'm here from Ohio with my glee club for Nationals and I've always wanted to sing on a Broadway stage. When I saw a way to get in to the theatre I couldn't help it... please, I'll give you the money my dad gave me for this trip if you don't tell anyone I snuck in..."
This sounded like one of Rachel's rambles. Clayton could see why this Cody guy was a fan of his mom. And the truth was, if he wasn't Rachel Berry's son, he probably would have tried to find ways to sneak into Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium, Barclays Center and CitiField. "Don't worry, your secret's safe with me. I'll show you a way out without getting caught." Something else had stood out. "You're here from Ohio?" He noticed the McKinley High jacket. "Do you go to McKinley in Lima?" This was weird.
"Yeah, what does that mean to you?" Cody asked. How would Rachel Berry's son know about McKinley High?
"You're a big fan of my mom, and you don't know she's originally from Lima and went to McKinley High?" Clayton asked.
Cody couldn't believe this. "Your mom went to McKinley High?" Rachel Berry had gone to the same high school Cody went to now?
"Yeah," Clayton said. "I've always wanted to go to Lima and see where she came from, but she never wants to go back."
Cody couldn't wait to get out of Lima. "You're not missing much. I can't wait to graduate and go to NYADA and come here to New York. I've always wanted to come here, but my dad has something against New York. At least he let me come here for Nationals."
It was always hard for Clayton when he heard other kids talk about their dads, knowing nothing about his dad and having nothing to contribute. Maybe he shouldn't tell a guy he just met that though. "I love New York. There are so many sports teams, I can go to a game almost every weekend."
Cody often got bored when his dad took him to Browns, Bengals, Cavs, Indians, Reds and Bluejackets games. "One day I'll sing the anthem for those teams, when I've won my Tonys, they'll all be begging me." Then his phone went off. It was a text from one of the guys from glee, asking where he was. He wanted to stay at the theatre, but he didn't want to get kicked off the trip. "I should probably get back to my teammates. It was nice to meet you."
"You too, if you walk out and turn right, you'll see the back door, and then you can just go around the building and get back to Times Square," Clayton said. Having a mom for a Broadway star meant meeting all kinds of people, but meeting one who looked just like him, acted just like his mother and was from his mother's hometown was something that hadn't happened before. Was this a cousin from Lima or something? His mom was an only child, but Clayton didn't know anything about his dad's family. His dad had to be from Lima too, right? His mom had him the year after she graduated from high school.
"I'm so sorry I'm late, baby," Rachel said, coming into the dressing room. She'd been excited to spend the afternoon with her son and she was late. "I was so excited when I found out I could spend the afternoon with you and then my interview got delayed..."
"Mom, I just got here like ten minutes ago," Clayton told his mother.
Rachel sat down. "How was your day?"
Clayton almost told Rachel about the guy he'd just met, but then decided not to. "It was fine."
"Good news," Rachel told Clayton. "My understudy's doing the show tomorrow, so I'm going to come to your game!"
Clayton managed a smile. "That's great!" He tried not to convey how weirded out he was.
Rachel noticed her son seemed a bit on edge. "Are you okay?"
Clayton tried to give his mom a convincing look. "I'm fine."
Maybe he just didn't want to talk. Or maybe it was a girl or something he couldn't talk to his mom about. Sometimes Rachel worried she wasn't enough for Clayton and that there were times when every boy needed his dad. She wasn't going to pry though. His dad. She began thinking of his dad.
Finn had left for the army a few weeks ago. Rachel had been looking forward to graduating high school and spending the summer getting ready for New York. Now, she spent most of her time sitting around the house feeling sad. She'd tried calling, texting, writing, e-mailing, messaging on social media, everything she could, but Finn wasn't responding.
Maybe it was for the best. Finn had decided that he wanted to go to The Actors Studio suddenly. He didn't really know what he wanted and maybe he needed time. Maybe she'd been forcing herself on him. Just because two people were together in high school didn't mean they would spend their lives together. Her dads weren't even in contact with most of their friends from high school.
Still, she thought she and Finn were different. He'd brought out the best in her, he'd changed her for the better and he'd given her all her best memories. He understood her and believed her like no one else did. She really, really thought they would last forever. She could see them getting married and having kids together.
Now she was questioning everything. If he didn't see a future with her, maybe there wasn't one. She thought he'd enjoyed New York when they were there last year, but that had just been for Nationals for a week. That was different from living there.
Would she be happy living anywhere else? She must admit, probably not. Ever since she was little, she knew she wanted to be on Broadway, and Broadway was in New York.
Why was everything so complicated?
Rachel looked at her calendar. Her period was due three weeks ago. Crap. How had she not noticed it hadn't come? Was it all the stress? Or was it -
She always took birth control, but now she remembered. There was one day she forgot to take it. Had she gotten pregnant?
She knew that avoiding the situation wouldn't make it go away. She needed to know. So she drove to the pharmacy. Luckily, no one she knew was there. She bought three pregnancy tests and drove home.
How would Finn react if she was pregnant? Would he be mad at her and accuse her of trying to get him back?
She never thought she would get pregnant. But seeing how hard it was with Shelby and how strained things were, and seeing how hard it was for Quinn after giving away Beth, she didn't think she could give a baby up for adoption.
But could she have a baby while she was at NYADA? Would she be able to achieve her Broadway dream?
She had the tests, but she didn't even need to take them. She knew. Sometimes people got gut feelings and she had one now.
Cody wished he could have stayed at the theatre longer and met Rachel Berry. Her son seemed pretty cool. But if he stayed at the theatre, he might get in trouble for sneaking away from the group. He might get kicked off the trip. And if he couldn't perform at Nationals, how was he supposed to make a name for himself?
He made his way into the restaurant the guys were in, still thinking about how cool it was that he'd been in a real Broadway theatre. "Hey guys," he told his teammates. "I'm sorry, I got distracted by something in a window and then I tried looking for you guys."
"At least you're here now," said Jackson. "Imagine how much trouble we'd be in if you went missing."
"If you got kicked off the trip, we'd be screwed," said Aiden. "We can't win Nationals without you."
Cody tried to hold in his annoyance. His fears that his teammates only liked him for his voice definitely weren't being eased right now. "Don't worry, I won't let it happen again."
Chapter 3: We Meet Again
Clayton couldn't stop thinking about Cody Hudson. He met fans of his mom all the time. Kids at school were always giving him stuff for his mom to autograph. He and his mom rarely went out without someone recognizing her. But meeting a fan of his mom's who looked just like him was weird. Especially one who was from his mom's hometown and went to the same high school his mom went to.
And now pieces were coming together in his head. Cody had mentioned his dad, but he didn't mention a mom. And Rachel NEVER talked about Clayton's dad. She never even talked about her time in Lima. Her fathers had moved out to New York, so she said there was no point in going back, even though Clayton wanted to see where his mom came from.
He'd always wondered about his dad and why his dad wasn't in his life at all. Whatever happened with his parents, was it really bad enough that his dad never wanted to see him? Now he was becoming suspicious that Cody was his long lost brother. Their parents could have been together in high school, since Rachel had Clayton the year after she graduated. It seemed like Rachel had taken Clayton with her to New York and their dad (what was his name?) had stayed in Ohio with Cody.
Was he being crazy? If he was wrong in this theory, he'd look like an idiot. But he couldn't help but wonder. Had Cody wondered the same thing? Clayton didn't want to say this out loud to anyone because he was worried they'd think he was crazy.
He got out his iphone and typed "Cody Hudson" into the search bar on instagram. Cody was a big fan of Rachel, he'd probably love it if her son messaged him. But there were so many Cody Hudsons, and none of their profiles indicated being from Lima.
It was time for a brief break from rehearsals. Even though it was hard for Cody to admit, he needed a break. Mr. Schue was having the glee club rehearse at a local high school where he knew someone who taught. This high school's auditorium was nicer than McKinley's, though that wasn't a surprise. This was a private high school in New York. Cody paced through the hall of the high school, telling himself that his solo sounded great and that he wouldn't blow that note like he had in practice today. At least he hoped he wouldn't.
The bell rang, indicating that it was time to change classes. As Clayton passed the auditorium, he couldn't believe his luck. He couldn't believe who he saw. Maybe there WAS hope for untangling this mystery. "Cody?"
Cody turned and sure enough, he saw Clayton Berry. "Clayton? What are you doing here?"
"I go to school here," Clayton explained. "What are you doing here?"
"We're practicing for Nationals here," Cody said. "I guess my glee director knows someone who works here."
Clayton was tempted to talk to Cody about the thoughts that hadn't left his mind since Cody left the dressing room yesterday. "How long are you here for?"
"We have rehearsals for the rest of the afternoon and then I get to go explore New York!" Cody said excitedly. "I'm seeing Wicked tonight, though I doubt the actress who plays Elphaba now is as talented as your mom. I wish I'd gotten to see Wicked when she was in it."
Your mom? Or was it OUR mom? It was odd to ask someone he'd only met once to hang out, but there was no easy way to say this. "Maybe after your rehearsal's over, I could show you the best ice cream place in New York, just around the corner from my school."
"That sounds fun," Cody said. Someone was asking him to hang out. Was it sad that this excited him? "Give me your phone and I'll put my number in it, and then you can text me after school."
Clayton handed over his phone, hoping he could get answers soon. He'd barely focused in school today. Tomorrow he had to pitch against the best team in New York. Hopefully he'd get some answers because if he still didn't have answers, he didn't see that game going well.
As Cody headed back to rehearsal, his phone rang. He smiled to himself when he saw who it was. "Hey Dad!"
"Hey Cody," Finn said. "Are you enjoying New York?" He was just glad Cody had answered the phone. The last 24 hours had been so lonely. Since Cody had always wanted to go to New York, he shouldn't have been surprised that he hadn't heard from his son. If he was this lonely when Cody had only been gone a day, he could only imagine what it would be like when Cody went off to college. He knew Cody didn't want to go anywhere but New York for college. But still, he missed Cody. And he missed Rachel. And he missed Clayton. Why had he and Rachel agreed to the relationship counselor's suggestion that they each keep one of the twins? What would the counselor had suggested if there had only been one baby?
"YES!" Cody practically shouted. "I wish you'd taken me here sooner, Dad! Why do Uncle Kurt and Uncle Blaine always just come to Lima to see us? New York is so cool. Everything is so big. And all the landmarks are awesome. I walked down Broadway and saw the theatres..." He probably shouldn't tell his dad that he snuck into a theatre. His dad was big on following rules.
Of course Cody loved New York. But if he knew why they hadn't been to New York, he might not love Finn. "I'm so glad you're having fun. Do you think you're ready for Nationals?"
"I'm singing the solo, Dad, we're going to win this!" Cody declared. "And I think we're sounding good in rehearsals."
"You know I'll be watching," Finn told his son. "Cheering you on from hundreds of miles away." Just like he was always cheering on Cody's mom and brother from hundreds of miles away.
"What?" Finn gasped. He'd been hoping that he and Rachel could pick up where they'd left off, but he wasn't expecting this. "Are you sure? Is it mine?"
Was it a mistake for Rachel to tell Finn this? The past few days in New York had been a bit rocky. Still, she felt like he needed to know. "Yeah, I found out a few weeks after you left for the army."
"What are you going to do?" Finn asked. He didn't think he fit in here, but he wanted to be there for Rachel and the baby. He didn't want the baby to think their father abandoned them.
"I really want to try to continue my education," Rachel admitted. "My dads are going to try to move out here so they can help out... I'm sorry for dumping this on you."
"Are you okay?" Finn asked.
"I get tired easily," Rachel admitted. "The morning sickness isn't as bad as it was at first."
Finn still couldn't believe this. A baby? He wasn't even sure if he and Rachel were going to get back together, but now everything was so much more complicated. "I'm sorry. Are you sure you're okay?"
At least Finn was concerned. Rachel still wasn't sure if things were going to get better. And what would happen when the baby got here? "I'm so sorry for throwing this on you. I don't want to force you to do anything you don't want to do."
"What about your career?" Finn asked.
"I'm only in my first year of school, I think I'll be okay," Rachel said. At least she thought she would be. "Like I said, my dads said they'll help me out."
When Quinn had told Finn she was pregnant, it turned out that it wasn't his. However, he knew he and Rachel had a lot of sex. Even though they were careful, it was possible birth control would fail. He wasn't even sure if he fit in here in New York. It was so big and hard to keep up with everything. But he would want to be there for Rachel and for their child. "It's a lot to take in."
"I know," Rachel said. She was mentally freaking out and she could tell Finn was, too. This made an already complicated situation a lot more complicated. Their lives had changed forever. "What do you want to do?"
What do you want to do? "I don't know, what do you want to do? I mean, it's our child, but are we ready? Is this a good time?"
"I don't know either," Rachel admitted. She didn't even know where she and Finn stood. "You're not mad?"
"No," Finn admitted. He was feeling a lot of emotions now, but he wasn't mad. He was nervous. He was overwhelmed. He was confused. But he wasn't angry. He and Rachel would figure something out, right?
Clayton couldn't focus in his classes the rest of the day. Finally, at the end of the school day, there was a text from Cody, saying he was done with rehearsals for the day. Clayton went to meet Cody by the auditorium and led him out of the building. "So, how were rehearsals?"
"I think we're going to win," Cody said proudly. "You should come. The competition is Saturday afternoon at Carnegie Hall. I'm sure it won't be like the Broadway performances you're used to, but it should be good."
If Clayton was right about his suspicions, he especially would want to see his brother perform. "I don't have anything planned for Saturday." That was often the case. People thought he was popular, as the best athlete in the school, but the truth was that he spent almost all his free time alone. Okay, how was he supposed to get this started? He listened to Cody talk about the prep for Nationals as they went into the ice cream store and then got their ice cream and took their seats. What was he supposed to say now? How could he weave it all in? "You said you've always wanted to come to New York, but your dad won't take you here?"
"Yeah," Cody complained. "Now that I'm here, I know for sure that this is where I want to come for college. I know I'm only a freshman, but it's never too early to start planning ahead."
Clayton was a freshman, too. "What about your mom?" Maybe this wasn't the best way to ask, but he had to find a way somehow. If Cody mentioned a mom, then his theory would be proven false.
Cody looked down. His mom was a soft spot for him. Should he tell Clayton? Clayton had been nice to him. "I don't have a mom, actually. I'm here, so I had one at some point, but she and my dad split up when I was a baby. My dad never talks about her, so even though I wonder, I don't bring her up. It's like she ceased to exist."
Clayton practically spit out his ice cream. "I get it. It's the same for me. My mom never talks about my dad. I don't remember him at all. I've always wanted to meet him, but my mom gets uncomfortable when I ask. She probably doesn't want to go back to Lima because that's where she probably knew my dad. I'm just guessing that she knew him in high school, since I was born a few months after she graduated. She graduated in 2012, and I was born on January 31, 2013."
Cody couldn't believe this. "That's my birthday, too. And my dad also graduated high school in 2012." Was there such a thing as too much coincidence? So many thoughts were rushing through his head. Could he feel such a deep connection to Rachel Berry because she was his mother? Did some part of him know that? But maybe he was being crazy.
"Don't you find all this weird?" Clayton asked. "I mean, think about it. You're from Lima and my mom is from Lima. I've always just lived with my mom and you've always just lived with your dad. You've never seen your mom and I've never seen my dad. My mom won't go back to Lima and your dad won't come to New York. And we look alike and we have the same birthday."
So Cody wasn't the only one having those thoughts. "This feels like a conspiracy."
Clayton got out his phone. "I have a photo of my dad on my phone... one of the few things my mom says about him is that I look a lot like him."
"People always say I look like my dad," Cody gulped. "And I have a photo of my mom in my wallet." He looked over at Clayton. "Can I see the photo of your dad?"
Clayton nodded. "On three."
"One, two, three," they said together as Clayton handed over his phone and Cody handed over the picture in his wallet.
Cody looked at the photo of eighteen-year-old Finn. "That's my dad."
Clayton looked at the photo of eighteen-year-old Rachel. "That's my mom." This rarely happened, but he felt tears coming to his eyes. "So my mom is your mom, and my dad is your dad..."
"Clayton, we're twins. And Rachel Berry is my mother!" Cody gasped.
Neither knowing what to say, the brothers pulled each other in for a hug.
"I've had a brother all this time?" Cody gasped. "How could our parents keep us from each other?"
"I don't know," Clayton said. "Maybe they had a bad breakup, but keeping us away from each other for fifteen years?"
"And I can't imagine the breakup being that bad," Cody added. "I mean, everyone loves Dad. I can't imagine someone not getting along with him."
"It's the same with Mom," Clayton agreed. "What's our dad like?"
"He's a teacher at McKinley and he helps with the glee club," Cody began. "He was in the glee club when he was in high school and he was also the quarterback of the football team. He also plays the drums."
Clayton was happy to see he had some things in common with his dad. "He was the quarterback? And he plays the drums? I'm the quarterback and I play the drums." He asked the other question he'd always wondered. "What's his name?"
"Now you know where you got it from," Cody said. "And I guess I get my talent from Mom. And his name is Finn Hudson."
Finn? Now Clayton realized, his mom had named him after his dad and he didn't know it. "My name is Clayton Finnegan Berry." If his mom hadn't changed his middle name, she must have still felt some sort of connection to his dad. "You said Dad sometimes helps with the glee club? I wish he'd come to New York with you guys so I could meet him."
"I wish I'd stuck around in the dressing room so I could meet Mom," Cody shot back.
Then they looked at each other, convinced they had the same idea. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Clayton asked.
"You want to know Dad and I want to know Mom," Cody said. "And we are twins, identical twins."
"Exactly," Clayton confirmed. "And if the person at the theatre thought you were me, someone else might think so, too."
Cody smirked. "Yeah. So at the end of the week, I'll stay here and you can go back to Lima, pretending to be each other. We'll each get to meet the parent we didn't grow up with."
"Yes!" Clayton cheered.
Chapter 4: Switchoff
The brothers spent most of the rest of the week together when Cody wasn't rehearsing and Clayton didn't have practice or games. Even between rehearsals, practices and games, they were texting each other, telling each other everything they needed to know about their lives. There was so much to tell that they would probably still need to tell each other. They'd made diagrams of the Hudson house and the Berry apartment and maps of their schools for each other. They'd shown each other photos of their families. Clayton could name everyone in the glee club and Cody could name everyone on Clayton's teams. (Though Cody had determined he would have to fake an injury because there was no way he could throw a ball.) They'd also discovered that they both knew Kurt and Blaine Anderson-Hummel, that Finn's brother Kurt was Rachel's best friend from high school.
They'd even done some research and found videos online of their parents performing in glee club together. They'd found the video from their parents' junior year, when they kissed on stage at the end of their original duet. And they found the video from their parents' senior year, when the glee club won Nationals. Their parents were both so talented. They both already knew that, but even back then, their parents were talented. But something else stood out to them even more. They could see the passion their parents had for each other, the love they had for each other, the chemistry they had. It was obvious. And they agreed that time and distance wouldn't make that go away.
The week flew by and it was already the night of the national competition. Cody was beginning to get nervous. He'd been waiting all year for this day. But he'd heard the other groups that had performed. And they were good. Some of them were really, really good. There were kids in some of these groups that were probably as talented as he was.
What if one of the other groups won?
Would the glee club be mad and blame him?
Would his dad be disappointed?
Would he get an even higher dosage of slushie facials when he went back to school?
Of course, Nationals weren't the only thing on his mind. Tonight, he and Clayton were going to pull off the final switch. Since the flight to Lima left early tomorrow morning, tonight was when they had to finish pulling everything off. Tonight, he was going to head to Rachel's apartment and meet his mom for the first time.
He felt his phone vibrate and looked at it. It was a text from Clayton. "Good luck! I'm sure you're going to kick some ass!"
The type of encouragement only a brother could give. It made Cody so happy knowing his brother was in the audience today. As Cody replied to Clayton's text thanking him, a text from Finn came through. "I know you're about to go on. No matter what happens today, I'm so proud of my gold star. Wish I could be there."
Hopefully next year, Finn, Rachel and Clayton would all be in the audience.
"Okay, show circle!" Mr. Schue called out.
The New Directions rounded up. Cody looked around the circle and saw the looks of anticipation on his teammates' faces. He was even more determined not to let them down.
"We've won 15 national titles," Mr. Schuester said. "And I've never had a better feeling than I've had today. You guys have worked so hard and I'm so proud of you all."
The group cheered.
"I remember when I brought the New Directions here for the first time," Mr. Schue continued. "It was here in New York, at this same theatre." Cody had seen that video. That was when Finn and Rachel had kissed on stage. "And it's so good to be back. The group I had that year and the next year was one of the most talented groups I had, but I think you guys might have them beat."
Many eyes fell on Cody.
The group put their hands in and cheered before the MC announced the New Directions and Cody stepped on the stage for his solo.
Finn crossed his fingers as he heard the New Directions announced and he saw his son on the stage. The black dress shirt, white tie and black pants reminded him of the outfits they wore his junior year. The year Nationals were held here in New York. The year he and Rachel had their dream date and got back together. This was about Cody, but Finn couldn't help but think of Rachel. It was hard to think of New York without thinking of Rachel.
Finn knew he was a good singer, but he doubted Cody would be as good as he was if he didn't have Rachel's DNA. Maybe he was biased, but as he heard Cody start to sing, he was sure the New Directions would win. He'd heard Cody sing before, of course. Finn knew all the words to all the songs New Directions competed with or performed because of how much Cody practiced at home. But this was incredible. He didn't think he'd ever heard his son sound better.
And he felt so guilty for not going. The memories came back even when he was at home. He wished he could be in that theatre to cheer his son on. And he wished he and Cody could go together to see Rachel perform on Broadway. Cody had to know who Rachel was, right? He was so into theatre, Finn was sure he'd seen videos from Rachel's shows. Rachel was in this show that Cody's solo was from. But even if Cody knew who Rachel Berry the Broadway star was, did he know she was his mother?
Finn missed Rachel so much. He missed Clayton so much. Had Cody walked by one of them on the streets of New York and not known who they were? Finn knew Rachel would be so proud to see Cody performing. And then there was Clayton. Finn constantly thought about him, worried about him, wondered how he was doing and what sort of activities he was involved with, wondered if he knew who his father was and how much his father loved him. Rachel never posted photos of Clayton on her public social media. She probably wanted to protect his privacy, which is understandable, but Finn just wanted see a picture of him, even if he couldn't actually see or talk to him. Then again, his social media was all private and he didn't post public photos of Cody, so who was he to criticize Rachel for not posting public photos of Clayton?
The crowd started applauding at the end of Cody's solo and Finn couldn't help but applaud as he watched on his computer. As far as he was concerned, New Directions had already won.
"Clayton? What are you doing here?"
Clayton turned and saw Kurt and Blaine entering the row of the theatre he was in. Oh no. How was he going to explain this? "I'm just here to see a friend perform." He tried to give them a convincing look. "What about you?" What would they say?
Kurt and Blaine exchanged a nervous look. No doubt, they knew their other nephew was performing today. This was probably why they were here. "One of our friends has a kid who made Nationals, so we came to see him perform," Blaine stuttered.
Clayton decided to play along. "Ah, I see."
"I thought your school's glee club didn't make Nationals," Kurt said, sounding panicky. "How do you know this friend? And don't you usually have games on Saturdays?"
"No game today," Clayton continued.
Again, Kurt and Blaine exchanged a look. "Well, it's nice of you to support your friend," Blaine said nervously. "You know we won a title with our high school, when Kurt and your mom were seniors and I was a junior."
"Yeah, I'd love to see the video of that sometime," Clayton commented. He used to wonder why he'd never seen videos of his mother's high school glee career, since that was how she'd gotten her start. Now it made sense.
Kurt and Blaine were looking more and more uneasy. "Does your mom know you're here, Clayton?" Kurt asked.
"Is there a reason I shouldn't be here?" Clayton asked.
"We're probably not the people who should tell you this..." Blaine began before his husband nudged him.
"Tell me what?" Clayton asked. "Tell me about Cody?" Maybe if he told Kurt and Blaine, they'd stop acting weird and be less likely to say something to his mom. On the other hand, maybe he shouldn't have said that. He really wanted to meet his dad tomorrow and his uncles might not approve of the plan.
He could tell by the looks on his uncles' faces that was it. "You know about Cody?" Blaine asked.
"Please don't tell our parents we know," Clayton begged. "Yeah, we met. Cody snuck into my mom's theatre to sing on a Broadway stage, and someone who works there thought he was me and took him to her dressing room. We met in there and then the next day, his glee club was practicing at my school. We saw each other again and we figured the whole thing out. So yes, I'm here to cheer on my brother."
"He snuck into the theatre?" Kurt asked. "Your mom and I did that when we were juniors in high school." He went pale. "I can't believe you two met."
"Well, I can't believe our parents split us up and kept us apart and didn't see us or let us see each other for all these years," Clayton shot back. "And that no one ever questioned it or thought to say anything to either of us."
Neither Kurt nor Blaine looked like they knew what to say. "Sometimes, we make choices that seem right at the time, but they end up being the wrong choices," Blaine managed to say.
"Please don't tell our parents," Clayton whispered. "Even though I'm mad about what they did, I still love my parents, and I need to meet my dad. And Cody needs to meet Mom."
"Are you saying..." Kurt began.
"Yup," Clayton confirmed. "I'm going to Ohio tomorrow and Cody's staying here. And once our parents figure out they have the wrong kids, they're going to have to see each other again."
"You know, that's actually not a bad idea," Blaine said.
Clayton breathed a sigh of relief. The announcer announced the first group. The wait for New Directions was a long one, but it was worth it. Cody was GOOD. That was to be expected, seeing who their mother was, but Clayton didn't know just how good his brother was. He'd seen his mom in Dear Evan Hansen, and he thought Cody was better than the guy who played Evan on Broadway. Even though he wasn't the musical expert that his mom and brother were, Clayton could tell Cody really understood the song and was good at connecting with the audience. He was definitely Rachel's son.
He'd been a bit nervous for his brother. Cody had confided in Clayton that he was worried if they lost, his teammates would be mad at him. But listening to his brother, Clayton didn't think Cody had anything to be worried about. No one else had been this good. He hadn't even heard the two group numbers, but this alone should be enough for New Directions to win.
He got on his feet and cheered at the end of his brother's solo. He knew Rachel would also be proud if she'd seen it.
Cody breathed a sigh of relief at the end of his solo. He'd hit all the right notes and not made any mistakes. And the crowd seemed to enjoy it. He heard some cheers. He saw some people on their feet. And he looked behind him and saw that several of his teammates looked impressed.
The music began for the first group number and the group sailed their way through the numbers. Cody hoped this was enough to win. It was a good thing New Directions was the last group to perform because he didn't think his heart could take waiting very long. When he stepped off the stage, there were texts from Finn and from Clayton, telling him they thought he'd done well. He texted his father and his brother while he waited.
Finally, Mr. Schue called out, "Can I have everyone's attention? We made the top five!"
Everyone burst into applause before they filed on to the stage. The other four groups were there, as were the judges. "First, the awarding of the MVP award," the MC announced.
Cody gulped. His dad and his brother told him that he'd sounded better than anyone else, but they were his father and brother.
"From the New Directions from McKinley High in Lima, Ohio, Mr. Cody Hudson!"
He'd won MVP. Cody couldn't believe it. The judges thought he was the best singer at Nationals. His award was handed to him and he waved to the crowd, taking in the applause. Out of all the awards he'd won, this one meant the most. He was on a stage in New York with his brother in the audience. He hoped in five or ten years, he'd be back on a stage in New York accepting a Tony Award.
The runner ups were announced and then it was down to the final two. And then the announcement came - New Directions had won Nationals once again. A confetti shower broke out as Mr. Schue was handed the trophy. And then he handed it to Cody to hoist along with his MVP trophy. He wished he could celebrate with his mom tonight, but they'd be able to celebrate together soon enough.
"Congrats on the win, MVP!" Clayton said, giving Cody a hug.
"Thanks," Cody said. "I'm so glad you came."
"Of course I came," Clayton said. "Like I said, you were better than the guy who plays Evan in Mom's show."
"Both of you together," Kurt said as he and Blaine walked over. "Congratulations, Cody."
Why hadn't Cody thought to tell Clayton that Kurt and Blaine would be here? What if they said something to Finn and Rachel?
"Don't worry, your brother filled us in and we won't tell your parents," Blaine said.
Cody looked at his trophy. "I can't believe it. I won MVP and I met my brother. This has been the best week ever."
Clayton smirked. "Wait until Mom and Dad reunite."
"I'm sure that'll beat this out," Cody agreed.
"Wait, your goal is to get your parents back together?" Kurt asked.
"Yeah," both boys said at the same time.
Kurt and Blaine smiled at their nephews. "Good luck, we're rooting for you," Blaine said.
The boys chatted with their uncles for a little before they started heading back to the hotel. Cody was excited enough about winning Nationals and MVP, but it was hard to believe that tomorrow, he'd be meeting Rachel Berry. He'd always felt a strong connection with her plays, but he was going to meet his mom. "Just think, tomorrow you're going to be on a plane to Lima and tonight, I'm going to meet Mom for the first time."
Clayton was actually going to meet his dad tomorrow. "I know. It's crazy, but awesome."
"Yeah," Cody agreed.
As they walked back to the hotel, they began quizzing each other. "Okay, so where's my bedroom?" Cody asked Clayton.
"It's on the second floor of the house, the back left door," Clayton said. "Across from Dad's room. Where's my bedroom?"
"Second door on the right," Cody remembered. "And Mom's is the furthest door on the right."
"And I'm sure Dad will want to have dinner at Breadstix when I get back," Clayton remembered.
"Probably," Cody agreed. "What time do you need to set your alarm for tomorrow?"
"The flight leaves at 10 for Lima, so we're leaving the hotel at 7. I'll set my alarm for 6:30," Clayton guessed.
The brothers arrived at the hotel. "Do you think your teammates will be mad when I say I hurt my back and can't pitch?" Cody asked. "I'm sorry, but no way can I throw a ball. I'd do a reverse strikeout on every guy."
Clayton followed Cody into the hotel. "That's called a walk. And I don't think they'll mind. Injuries happen."
The kids in the glee club definitely would have minded if Cody got laryngitis or something and couldn't perform at Nationals. Many of them had asked him to hang out tonight, but he had a feeling it was just because he'd won MVP and they'd won Nationals. Besides, he had other business to tend to tonight.
When the brothers got to Cody's room, he gave Clayton some of his clothes to change into. As he waited, he glanced in the mirror, noticing something he couldn't believe neither of them had thought of before. "Clayton, what are we going to do about our hair?"
Clayton came out of the bathroom. He doubted his brother knew anything about cutting hair, but managed to say it if it meant meeting his dad. "You're going to have to cut my hair."
"Are you insane?" Cody practically shouted. "I don't know how to cut hair!"
"I doubt any barbers are open this late," Clayton pointed out.
"What if I screw up?" Cody began panicking.
"It's for our parents," Clayton said, not really concerned. "You barely even have any on the sides and in the back, so that should be pretty easy, and just leave a little more on the top."
Cody wasn't sure if he trusted himself. "Okay, let's find some scissors."
A little while later, Clayton and Cody stood in front of the mirror, amazed at how much more alike they looked now. If they were wearing the same clothes, it would be impossible to tell who was who. "Well, I think we're ready," Cody said.
"Yeah, you should probably get home," Clayton agreed. "Mom doesn't like me to be out too late."
"And they'll probably come around to check on us soon in our rooms," Cody added. "I'm going to miss you."
"I'm going to miss you, too," Clayton said. "But this is temporary."
"Yeah," Cody agreed. "We're going to get our parents back together and I'll find a way for Dad and me to come out here and they'll finally get their happy ending."
Clayton smiled at his brother's optimism. "Yeah. They'll finally be done pretending."
Cody couldn't hold in his excitement anymore. "I'm going to go meet my mom now!"
Clayton gave his brother one last hug. "Good luck!"
Chapter 5: New Identities
Cody entered the address Clayton had given him into his phone and got on the train to Rachel's apartment. This was it. He was going to meet his mom. This was the perfect opportunity to put his acting skills to the test.
The train arrived at the stop Cody was supposed to get off at. His heart skipped a beat. He got off the train and walked out of the station, taking in the sight. The large, brick building was beautiful, as were the other buildings up and down the street. He texted Clayton to let him know he'd found the building okay, wanting to take in the sight before he actually went in. This was where his mom and brother lived.
He unlocked the door and got on the elevator to the second floor. When he got upstairs, he walked down the hall to the apartment and unlocked the door. When he unlocked it, he practically lost his breath. Rachel had decorated the apartment beautifully. The walls were white and most of the furniture was dark colors. He saw Rachel's five Tony Awards lined up on the mantel, but other than that, you would never know that a Broadway star lived here. He kind of wished she had articles about all her shows on the walls so he could read them. It was more meaningful now that he knew this was his mother.
Cody made his way to his brother's room, the room that would be his for now. As expected, Clayton had Yankees, Jets, Rangers, Knicks, Nets, Mets, Islanders and Giants flags in his room. No surprise there. Cody took a look around his brother's room. There were trophies from rec league sports and a plaque from graduating middle school after earning all A's every semester. Cody had earned all A's every semester in middle school as well. Was it a twin thing, some sort of connection? There were also photos of Rachel and Clayton through the years in Clayton's room. That made Cody a bit sad, knowing he didn't have that. It was clear from the photos what a special bond his mom and brother had.
And then he finally heard the door unlock. "Clayton? You home?"
It was his mom. This was it. Cody tried to hold in his excitement as if he wasn't seeing his mom for the first time. He went into the living room, smiling wide. It was Rachel Berry, his mother, up close. "Mom!" Would it be weird if he gave her a hug? He'd never given her a hug before and he wanted to so badly.
Luckily, she came over and gave him a hug. "How was your day, honey?"
He hugged her back as tight as he could. "I finished most of my homework, so we can spend some time together after your matinee tomorrow."
"That's wonderful," Rachel said. She looked up at him. "Clayton, why is your hair so short? Did someone cut it without asking you?"
Cody had been terrified to cut Clayton's hair. It was a miracle that it had ended up looking exactly like his own. "I was just getting too hot under my helmet and I thought if it was shorter, I'd be less sweaty after games."
"I see. Well, you look very handsome." Rachel looked at her son. She noticed he'd spiked up a bit in the front. Reminded her of "the fin."
"Mom, I was actually wondering, can I come to your show tomorrow?" Cody asked. Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen had been sold out this week and he'd really wanted to see it. "I know I've seen it before, but I really want to see you perform."
Rachel looked a bit surprised. "Well, sure you can. You know I always love having you there and my cast mates always love to see you."
"You came to cheer me on at my game, I want to cheer you on at your show," Cody told Rachel. He still couldn't believe Rachel Berry was standing in front of him. He knew he looked a lot like Finn, but he and Rachel definitely had the same nose.
"I always love having you there," Rachel repeated. She wished Finn and Cody could come, too. Now her son had the "fin." Every day he did something else that reminded her of his father.
Cody tried to not act like today was anything unusual. All he wanted to do was hug his mother and tell her how happy he was to finally be meeting her. Clayton had just seen her this morning, so he couldn't do that. "How was the show tonight?"
"We had a pretty decent crowd," Rachel said. "What about you? You didn't have a game today, what did you do?"
If only he could tell his mother. He'd won Nationals and won MVP. "I watched the Yankees game." That sounded like something Clayton would do on a day with nothing else to do.
"I should have guessed!" Rachel smiled. "You never miss a Yankees/ Red Sox game. I'm sure you're glad it was a blowout."
Was there something significant about the Red Sox? Cody would have to ask Clayton. "Yeah, we kicked their ass." He looked over at Rachel, trying to see if she was convinced that he was Clayton.
Rachel noticed her son was giving her a weird look. "What is it, honey? Are you still stressed about finals?"
So that hadn't been a stretch when Cody first had to pretend to be Clayton at the theatre. "Yeah. I want to keep my straight A streak intact, you know?"
Rachel took her son's hand. "You work so hard in school and your sports. I'm so proud of you. But don't overwork yourself, okay? I'm glad you gave yourself a break and watched the game tonight."
The truth was, they'd both fallen behind on their studies for finals. At least Cody would have time to prepare now that he had a fake injury. Hopefully he and Clayton were learning similar things.. "Okay."
"You know, it's a weekend," Rachel said. "How about we go get a treat? It's not like you have to get up early tomorrow."
That would mean more time around New York. Cody tried to hold in his excitement. "I'd love to!"
Rachel wished she could go out with her son more. She led him out of the apartment, feeling a longing for the days when he was little and they could walk around New York hand in hand. Now her little boy was becoming a handsome, strong, smart, kind young man. At least he still loved spending time with his mom. She just hoped wherever Cody was, he was doing well. She wasn't sure why she'd been missing Finn and Cody so much lately. Maybe it was because Clayton was about to start his sophomore year, the year where she really met Finn and they started to fall in love. Her son kept asking her questions about today's show. She didn't know he knew this much about the show, but at least it was taking her mind off things.
Cody couldn't believe he was walking side by side with his mother, Rachel Berry. Clayton had warned him that people often stopped them when they went out, but that wasn't happening tonight. Good. One day when he had a bunch of Tonys of his own, he'd be getting stopped, but tonight he wanted his mom all to himself. Finally, they were approaching Central Park. Cody had spent some time in Central Park this week, but he'd wished he could have spent more time then. "Mom, can we go to Central Park? There are so many good places there!"
"Yeah, sure," Rachel said. She'd already been thinking about Finn and Central Park probably wouldn't help that. But this was something her son wanted to do.
Cody smiled wide. "I love Central Park. Don't you, Mom? It's so big and there are so many nice bridges and bodies of water..." He tried to sound as if he'd been going here his whole life.
Rachel smiled. "You've loved it since I took you to the playgrounds there when you were little."
Cody tried to hold in his sadness, knowing he didn't have childhood memories with Rachel and Clayton did. Before he could say anything, two high school aged girls came running over to Rachel and Cody. "Oh my gosh, Rachel Berry!" one of the girls said excitedly.
Rachel smiled. "Hi, ladies."
"I've seen all your plays," the other girl said. "You're so good! I wish I could sing like you!"
"You girls are singers?" Rachel asked.
Cody watched as his mom interacted with the girls, asking them about what shows they'd been in. Now he loved her even more, seeing how good she was with her fans. Then she handed him the one girl's camera. "Clay, could you take our photo?" She turned back to the girls. "This is my son, Clayton."
"Got a girlfriend, Clayton?" one of the girls asked.
"Sorry, he's not dating anyone, ever," Rachel laughed. Cody managed to laugh as well as he took the photo. Rachel signed autographs for the girls before the mother and son headed off.
"Those girls really seem to look up to you, Mom," Cody said.
"I always try to be nice to fans I meet," Rachel said. "When I came here to New York my junior year, I met Patti LuPone, and she encouraged me to never give up, and that meant so much to me." She paused. Inevitably, memories of that night went to Finn. That date with Finn had been one of the best she'd ever been on.
Rachel had met Patti LuPone?! Cody had seen videos of her on YouTube. He was about to start asking questions about Patti LuPone, but then he remembered Clayton probably didn't care about Patti LuPone. He might not even know who she was. But then he saw a window for opportunity. Rachel had mentioned her junior year of high school. "What else happened when you came to New York then?"
Rachel was about to answer when she saw they were passing Bow Bridge. Another memory. Finn had texted her to meet him on this bridge and given her flowers. She knew Finn would be so proud of the man Clayton was becoming. She wanted to see Finn and Cody so badly. But she couldn't break down and cry in front of her son. "I was here for Nationals with the glee club. We had a lot of fun. We wrote our own songs, and Uncle Kurt and I snuck into the Gershwin Theatre and sang For Good on the stage."
Just like how Cody had snuck into the theatre this week. "So that was how you got your start! You know, I wonder if there are any videos of you and the glee club on the internet."
Rachel practically had a heart attack. Still, she couldn't keep Finn from Clayton forever. She'd considered calling him, but he hadn't called her. Maybe this was how it was supposed to be. "Yeah, we can look and see if we can find anything."
Cody tried to hold in his excitement. He and Clayton had already found videos. He'd inevitably have to ask Rachel about Finn when they saw the videos. And he could tell Rachel was thinking about something when he asked her about her trip to New York.
His phone vibrated. He looked down and saw a text from the real Clayton. "Hey, Clayton! How are things going with Mom?"
Cody replied to the text. "Hey, Cody! Mom's amazing! I'm going to her show tomorrow and we went to Central Park tonight. I also got her to talk about when she came to New York in high school. Maybe I can get her to talk about Dad next. Have fun with Dad tomorrow!"
Clayton fidgeted in his seat on the plane. So many thoughts were going through his head. He was going to meet his father for the first time. Cody was having fun in New York and it didn't sound like Rachel suspected anything. Hopefully Clayton would have the same luck in Lima. His roommate hadn't suspected anything last night, but his roommate had also barely talked to him. In fact, he hadn't really talked to anyone this morning in fear of giving himself away. He'd texted Cody, who was so excited to see Rachel's show and was still raving about how cool New York was.
When the plane landed, Clayton grabbed Cody's (his?) bag and practically bolted off the plane. When he arrived in the terminal, he recognized Finn right away. Even though he was 14 years younger in the photo he had, he would recognize his father anywhere. Plus, Cody had shown him some recent photos just in case.
"Hey, MVP!" Finn said, giving Clayton a big hug.
As he hugged his father for the first time, Clayton felt himself tearing up for the second time in the last few days. Even though this was their first hug, it felt like they'd hugged a thousand times before. "Dad, I missed you so much." That wasn't a lie.
Finn pulled apart and looked at his son. "I missed you too. I'm just glad you didn't have me ship your things to New York! I'm sure you just wanted to stay there."
Clayton tried to channel Cody. "Well, I couldn't stay away from you. But you know after graduation, I'm going to New York." He looked at Finn. He knew from photos that they looked alike, but seeing him in person made him realize just how much they looked alike. The photo of Finn from high school that Clayton had could have been mistaken for a photo of Clayton if it wasn't for the fact that he'd gotten Rachel's nose and that his hair had been longer before Cody had cut it. (They'd both been lucky that had worked out.)
Finn knew that. But he had his son home now and that was what mattered. "Yeah, I know you are. I'm so proud of you! You did such a great job at Nationals. I'm surprised you didn't show me your trophy right away."
Oops. Cody probably would have shown Finn the trophy right away. "It's in my suitcase, but I'll show it to you as soon as I get home. I wanted to protect it on the plane, so it's wrapped in a bunch of clothes." That was what Cody had done.
"That makes sense," Finn said before Mr. Schue came over. "Hey Will!"
"Hey Finn," Mr. Schue said. "Proud of your MVP?"
"Of course!" Finn said, putting his arm around Clayton. "You did a great job with the whole group. I saw the stream online." It had been hard to watch because it brought back so many memories, but he knew he wanted to see Cody. It was bad enough that it was too hard for him to go.
"Well, your son's solo wrapped it up for us," Mr. Schue said. "Though seeing he's your son, I'm not surprised."
Finn knew that Cody was so talented because Rachel was so talented. He even made lots of the faces Rachel would make when she sang. "Congrats on another win." When Will left, Finn turned to his son. "How about we get home?" He picked up the suitcase and began carrying it.
"Thanks Dad, you're so chivalrous," Clayton said.
Finn froze. A simple word could bring back memories. Now he knew that was a very good thing.
Clayton noticed Finn looked a little put off. Did he somehow know?! "You okay, Dad?" he asked, trying not to sound nervous.
Finn gave his son a half smile. "I'm fine, Cody, just got a little light headed for a moment. You know, your grandparents are really proud of you, too. They saw the video."
"Do you think maybe we could have dinner with them?" Clayton asked, trying not to sound too eager. He really wanted to meet Burt and Carole.
"I'm sure," Finn said. "You know, your grandpa called me this morning to say he got tickets to see the Cavs in the finals in Cleveland tomorrow. I thought that would be a nice break for you from getting ready for finals, but then I remembered how bored you get whenever I turn a game on..."
Ah, Cody was stressed about finals, too. But go see the Cavs in the finals in Cleveland? That would be awesome! Clayton wanted to visit every stadium. And he'd never been to Cleveland. He'd never been to Ohio at all and he'd heard Cleveland was cool. The Browns had just played the Giants in the Superbowl this year. "No, I'd like to go and spend some time with you and Grandpa and get a break from studying." Had Cody been to Cleveland?
"I'll tell him," Finn said. "So, what did you like best about New York?"
"Well, other than winning MVP, it was so amazing to get to see a show on Broadway!" Clayton began. Should he tell Finn about sneaking into the theatre? He figured Cody probably would. "And you might not like this, but I snuck into a theatre and sang on a real Broadway stage. Sadly, no one was around to sign me to an early contract." He was catching on to being Cody.
Cody had snuck into a theatre. Just like Rachel and Kurt had done when the glee club went to New York their junior year. He was so much like his mother. "Did you enjoy that?"
"Yes!" Clayton said. "So, how were things here when I was gone?" He wanted to learn all about Finn.
"Quiet as usual," Finn admitted. "I did go to a Reds game yesterday."
"Really?" Clayton asked. "Who were they playing?" He'd seen the Reds when they played the Mets last year.
Clayton wrinkled his nose. The Washington Nationals were one of the Mets' main rivals, along with the Braves and the Phillies, so he hoped the Reds had won. "Who won?"
Finn was surprised to see his son asking these questions. "Well, the Reds won, thanks to a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth."
If Clayton's team was ever down, that's how he wanted to win. And if the Nationals lost, that was a good thing for the Mets. "That's so awesome."
"Since when do you care about baseball?" Finn asked.
Cody probably didn't even know what a grand slam was. "Well, I've been wondering what you were up to while I was gone." He looked out the window. Ohio was definitely different from New York. The highway didn't have very many cars on it. There were patches of green that seemed to spread out for miles and Clayton could only see a few houses in the distance. And then he saw a strange sign: "If you died today, where would you spend eternity?" What was that supposed to mean?
"You're being quiet," Finn pointed out. "Did New York tire you out?"
"I was on the go practically the whole time, not to mention all my practicing," Clayton thought out loud. "And you know I've never been on a plane before, so I was kind of nervous about flying."
"Cody Hudson does get nervous!" Finn teased. "So, what did you think of the airplane?"
"I liked it!" Clayton said. His phone went off. He saw a text from Cody. "We're on our way to the theatre now! I can't wait to see the show. We'll see if you're right and I really am better than the guy who plays Evan." He smiled to himself. "You know I'm right. And Dad is so cool!" He turned back to Finn. "New York is so much different from Ohio."
Finn had thought New York was too different, too big, too busy. "Yeah. Well, we have big cities in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, but not like New York." If he hadn't been so intimidated by New York, maybe the whole family could be together. If they could even be called a family. Yes, Rachel had offered to stay in Lima, but Finn feared she would go to resent him if that happened, and that wouldn't have been good for anyone involved, especially not the boys. The boys. It still broke Finn's heart that he didn't know one of his sons.
Clayton noticed the look on Finn's face. "You okay, Dad?" He knew to get Rachel water when she seemed upset. Was there something he should do for Finn? He'd have to ask Cody.
"Just a bit tired," Finn admitted. That wasn't false. It had been a late night at the baseball game.
Before Clayton knew it, Finn was pulling up in front of an average sized two story brick house with a nice front yard and a wraparound porch. Clayton skipped a breath. This was the house where his father and brother lived. "Wow. We're home."
Finn was relieved to see his son so happy to see their house. "I didn't think you'd want to come back here."
Clayton stepped out of the car. "As much as I loved New York, there's no place like home." He looked over at Finn. Would it be weird to hug him again? "And I missed you."
Finn smiled at his son. "I missed you too." He was surprised he hadn't talked more about his win. "Let's get inside and you can show me that trophy, okay?"
Clayton picked up his bag. "Okay." He'd never been in a house before. Everyone they knew in New York lived in apartments. The first thing Clayton saw when he stepped in the living room was photos of Finn and Cody from when the boys were little. He didn't have photos like this with Finn. That made him sad. He also noticed so many plaques from singing competitions and programs from community theatre productions. Remembering he was Cody, he opened his suitcase and got out the MVP trophy. "Here it is!"
Finn looked at the trophy and at the big smile on his son's face. "I'm so proud of you."
"Thanks Dad," Clayton said. He hoped if Finn knew who Clayton really was, he'd be proud of him, too. "There were a lot of talented people there, but I don't think I had anything to worry about." Cody had definitely been the most talented person there.
Finn still thought Rachel had deserved the MVP award their senior year. All these memories of Rachel. "I saw the livestream. You had nothing to worry about. Want to celebrate with dinner at Breadstix tonight?"
Apparently, Breadstix was Cody's favorite restaurant in Lima. "Of course! I"m just going to bring my bag upstairs, okay?" He went upstairs and into Cody's room. Rachel would be proud if she saw this room. Cody had posters for so many shows on Broadway on his wall, including all the shows Rachel had been in. He also had gold stars on his wall. Where would Cody put the MVP trophy? Up here? Or downstairs so anyone who came over could see it? Probably the latter.
Clayton went downstairs. "Dad, can we put my trophy on the mantle so all your friends can see how talented your son is?" Did that sound too forced?
Finn put the trophy on the mantle. "I didn't expect anything else."
Clayton sat on the couch, patting the spot next to him for Finn. "Can you tell me about when you went to Nationals with the glee club in New York?"
Finn couldn't keep things quiet forever. "That was junior year, the first year we'd made Nationals in almost twenty years. We had some fun there. Even though we didn't win, it was fun exploring New York and writing our own songs and getting to perform on a stage in New York." There was so much more, the duet he'd written for Rachel, their kiss on the stage, their date... "We didn't win, but it was so special that we made it."
"Do you have any photos or videos or anything?" Clayton asked.
"I'm sure I do somewhere," Finn said. Of course he did. "Want to go get dinner now?"
Clayton had to admit he was getting hungry. "Yeah, let's go." But he wasn't going to stop asking about New York, high school, Nationals, glee club, and inevitably, Rachel.
Chapter 6: Two Different Worlds
Thank you all so much for all your support of this story! I thought no one would read it because Glee's been off the air for so long. Hope you enjoy this chapter and leave me a comment! I love hearing what you think!
Cody had to remind himself that this was real. He was sitting in the front row in the theatre on Broadway, getting ready to watch his mother in Dear Evan Hansen. He wanted to tell the people sitting next to him how excited he was to see his mom perform, but if he acted too excited, he might slip up somehow, and that wouldn't be good. He hadn't had enough time with Rachel in New York.
Cody had hung out with Rachel backstage before the show and he got to meet her co-stars. He told them how talented they were, but he wanted to ask them to sign his playbill and to take photos with them. He couldn't believe how many Broadway performers he'd met. But he couldn't. Clayton had met them all before. At least they'd all said they were happy to see him. One day, would people feel this way about meeting him? He sure hoped so! His phone went off and he saw a text from Clayton. "Hey! Dad is so awesome! He's so nice and he's so proud of you for winning MVP :)"
Cody was glad to know his dad was proud of him. "Yay! I'm at the theatre now. Mom got me a seat in the front row. I'm waiting for the show to start. I got to meet the other actors in the show. They were all so nice!"
"Yeah, they are," Clayton texted back. "Dad and I are going up to Cleveland tomorrow with Grandpa Burt to see the Cavs in the finals."
"That would've been a ticket wasted on me if I were the one in Lima," Cody texted. He hoped soon he could meet his grandfathers, his grandmother and Beth. (Even though Beth was technically their aunt, Clayton had told Cody she was more like an older sister since they were so close in age.)
"Dad thought I wouldn't want to go, little did he know," Clayton texted back.
The lights started to go dim. "The show should start soon, you have fun with Dad!" Cody texted his brother. He clutched his hands together, resisting the urge to jump up and down. He was about to see his favorite Broadway show in the front row.
The show flew by. Watching a show so close was amazing. Cody resisted the urge to sing along to all the songs, especially Waving Through A Window. He didn't want to seem vain, but he thought he could sing the song as well as this guy.
Clayton felt a twinge of excitement when the alarm went off. Today, he would be going to McKinley High, the school where his parents had met. Now that he and Cody knew about their parents' history, he was going to see if he could find any more photos or videos of them. Since they'd been in the glee club, there had to be stuff there, right?
It felt weird walking down stairs to be going to breakfast. He was used to just walking down the hall. When he got downstairs, Finn was already there. Clayton tried to hold in his excitement when he saw his dad. It wasn't just a dream. "Did you sleep well last night?" he asked his father.
"Yeah," Finn said. He'd had trouble sleeping while Cody was in New York and he was alone. If he had this much trouble sleeping when Cody was just in New York for a week, what would it be like when Cody went to college?
Clayton went into the pantry. He was relieved to see Finn had cornflakes, his favorite cereal. He opened the refrigerator and cut up some strawberries, putting them on top of his cereal. "So, you excited to go to Cleveland tonight, Dad?" He tried to hold in his excitement about trying a new arena.
"I am," Finn said. "And Grandma told me she'll stop by before the game so she can see your trophy. Maybe you could give them an encore of your solo?"
Clayton would get to meet Carole, too? This was getting better and better! But then he froze. He couldn't sing. "My throat's actually kind of sore."
Finn gave his son a concerned look. "Are you okay? Or is it just from so much practicing?"
"Probably from so much practicing," Clayton said, glad he'd found a way out.
Finn knew sometimes Rachel lost her voice from working so hard. Cody really was Rachel's son. God, he missed Rachel. If she'd been here while Cody was at Nationals, Finn wouldn't have been so lonely.
"Morning, Mom," Cody said, walking into the kitchen to join Rachel for breakfast. He was still getting used to living in an apartment instead of a house. Would it be weird if he gave his mom a hug?
"Morning, Clay," Rachel said, giving her son a kiss. "Thanks for coming to my show yesterday. I always love it when you come." It had meant so much to her that he wanted to come yesterday. She knew music and theatre weren't really Clayton's thing.
"Of course I came," Cody said. If only she knew how much he appreciated getting to go and sit in the front row.
"I wish I could come to more of your games," Rachel sighed. "Too bad you don't have a game today, since Monday's my off day." She feared he resented that she couldn't come to more games.
Maybe now would be a good time to talk about the fake injury. "Mom, my back really hurts. I don't think I can play tomorrow, and maybe it would be a good idea to skip practice today."
His back hurt? Rachel started to get worried. "Honey, are you okay? Should I take you to the doctor?" She always worried about Clayton getting hurt during one of his sports. She was always particularly worried during football season since it was the roughest of his three sports. If Finn was here, maybe he'd be able to tell her if her worries were rational or not, since he knew so much more about sports. He could also explain the things she didn't understand when she went to games. It was so hard to even look at her son without seeing Finn. He looked even more like Finn after his haircut.
"I'm sure I'm fine, Mom," Cody assured Rachel, smiling at her mini freakout. "It's probably just from overworking." If Clayton was anything with sports like Cody was with singing, he spent a lot of extra time practicing.
"I worry about you," Rachel admitted. "I don't want to have to choose a song to sing at your bedside if you're in a coma." Clayton was all she had. Ever since he was little, she had an irrational fear of losing him and being all alone. She loved her son with everything she had. He was the only thing that kept her going, the only thing that got her through the days without Finn and Cody. She still had moments where she wanted to cry because she missed Finn and Cody so much, but she had to be strong for Clayton.
"Don't worry, Mom, I'm not going to go into a coma," Cody said. Then something came to his mind. What if he were to go in a coma or something? Or if something happened to his dad? Would Rachel know? "Are you sure my dad hasn't gone into a coma or anything like that?"
Rachel's mouth popped open as she heard her son's words. He was right. She had no idea if Finn and Cody were okay. What if something had happened to one of them through the years? Would one of their glee friends have told her? She saw Kurt and Blaine occasionally, but it had been years since she'd seen many of the others. Yes, they would sometimes like or comment on each others' posts on social media, but they weren't close like they were in high school. Still, they'd tell her if something happened, right? She began to think about everything that could have happened...
Cody noticed fear taking over his mother. "You okay, Mom?"
Rachel gave her son a kiss. "Yeah, sweetheart, I'm fine."
Was Rachel thinking about Finn? About Cody? Cody would have to tell Clayton about this.
Clayton walked through the halls of McKinley High, struck by the differences between McKinley and his high school back in New York. He went to a private school, so it was naturally much smaller with a lot fewer students. There were probably fewer kids in the whole school than in the freshman class at McKinley. The halls were very noisy. Kids were yelling at their friends across the halls, some using profanity and making obscene comments. At his school, that would be grounds for detention.
He stopped at the case of sports trophies. He saw a plaque from when McKinley's football team won the conference championship in 2011 and saw his dad's name as the MVP. He smiled with pride. If his dad had been good enough to win MVP, it had to be in his blood. Maybe he could help lead one of his teams to the playoffs next year? Then he saw that his dad's number was 5 in football. That was his number in all three of his sports.
Then as he turned, something icy and wet was thrown on his face. He blinked. He licked his lips. This tasted like a slushie.
"Welcome back, gleek!" a voice shouted.
Clayton blinked. Why was there a slushie on his face? Why had this guy thrown this slushie on him? His eyes burned, his face was cold and he was pretty sure he'd need to change his shirt. What was this? He ran over to the two guys. "What the hell was that?"
"Loser," one of the other guys laughed. "So you out gleeked all the other gleeks in the country."
"You're such a loser, Hudson," the guy who'd thrown the slushie laughed.
Clayton made a face. This would never be tolerated at his school in New York. They couldn't even have food or drinks with them outside the cafeteria. He looked over and saw one of the other guys was holding a slushie as well. He grabbed the slushie and threw it on the guy who'd thrown the slushie on him.
"What the hell?" the guy shouted.
"You're asking me why I did that when you just did that to me?" Clayton asked. "What's wrong with you?"
"Well, you're a loser, you deserve it," the guy said.
Then it hit Clayton. Did people do this to Cody regularly? He made a mental note to text his brother.
Finn walked by and saw his son drenched in a slushie. He'd hoped the slushie facials had stopped since he was at McKinley, but apparently they hadn't. "What's going on here?"
"Your son threw a slushie on me, Mr. Hudson!" one of the guys said.
Finn looked at his son. He knew his son would only do these things if provoked. "Cody..."
"Only because he threw it on me first!" Clayton protested. "This is so gross. Why would anyone do this?"
"Come with me to the principal's office," Finn sighed. He would have loved to slushie Karofsky or Azimio in high school and he had to admit that he was impressed his son had fought back. He really hoped this hadn't happened before. He handed a towel to his son, hoping he was okay. "You okay?" he whispered.
"I feel so gross and so embarrassed," Clayton admitted.
"I'm sorry," Finn murmured. "I'll make sure you don't get in trouble for standing up for yourself."
Clayton sighed with relief. He was so worried he'd get in trouble. After Finn told the principal about what had happened, he went to the bathroom to wash off. He got out his phone and texted Cody. "Some of the guys threw a slushie on me this morning. Has that ever happened to you?"
Cody felt his phone vibrating as he entered Clayton's English class. He got out the phone and saw the text. Clayton had been slushied. Oh no. "Yeah, that happened to me once. I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
"I'm gross and cold and my eyes hurt, and I'm really embarrassed," Clayton texted back. "I'm sorry that's happened to you. Why does the school put up with that?"
"I don't even know," Cody texted back. He didn't know. Kids often did it when teachers weren't around, but it was hard not to notice when clothes were stained.
"Mr. Berry, hand me your phone," the teacher said.
Cody looked up from texting with Clayton. At McKinley, kids constantly got away with texting all the time, sometimes even during class. Class hadn't even started yet. But he didn't want to get in trouble on the first day here, especially not on his brother's behalf. He handed over his phone. "I'm sorry."
The teacher had a confused look. "You know the rules, Clayton. No phones out during school hours. It's not like you to do something like this. You can pick up your phone at the end of the day, but you also know that if you have your phone out again, you'll get a fine."
Here, kids got fined for having their phones out during school hours? This school really was different from McKinley.
The school day ended at McKinley and Clayton went to Finn's classroom. He was lucky that the things Cody was learning at McKinley were similar to the things he was learning in New York. Depending on how long they kept this going, he might have to take Cody's finals, and vice versa. Oh no. Could Cody read music? His band final might be tough for Cody.
He was glad the school day was over. He hadn't been slushied again, but he figured people had probably seen him get slushied, as he kept getting smirks from other kids. He'd stayed quiet in classes, as he didn't want to give it away that he hadn't been here all year.
"Hey," Finn said as he saw his son come into his classroom. "How are you doing? I'm sorry you got slushied."
"That was so gross and so embarrassing," Clayton said. His phone went off. He saw that it was Cody. He really wanted to answer the call and hear how things were going in New York. "I'll be right back, okay Dad?"
Finn nodded. "Okay."
Clayton went into the hall and picked up the phone. "Hey, how's it going?"
"Well, I got your phone taken away, so I got you in trouble," Cody said. "I'm sorry about that."
"I should've told you that my school has a no phones out during school hours rule, I'm sorry," Clayton admitted.
"Your school is so quiet," Cody said.
"Yeah, McKinley is so big and loud," Clayton added.
Cody figured he'd tell his brother what he'd been waiting to bring up. "So, I brought up Dad and Mom got this sad look on her face."
"Really?" Clayton asked. "What did you say?"
"When I said I was injured, Mom said that she always worries about me... you getting hurt and doesn't want to have to choose a song to sing at your bedside if you're in a coma," Cody began. "So then I asked her if she's sure Dad's not in a coma or anything."
Clayton laughed. That sounded just like his mom. "Well, they probably don't know that for sure."
"She looked so horrified that I even suggested that possibility, Clayton!" Cody continued. "You should find a way to bring up Mom and see how Dad reacts. And I'm going to bring up Dad again, trust me."
Finn came out of the classroom. "You ready to get home?"
Clayton nodded, then turned back to the phone. "I've got to get home now, but I'll text you." He hoped Finn hadn't heard their phone call.
"Who was that?" Finn asked. He couldn't help but be worried that his son didn't have many friends, so he was encouraged to see him on the phone.
"One of the glee guys," Clayton said.
"I see," Finn said, walking to his car with his son.
Clayton saw a window for opportunity. "Was my mom in the glee club, too? Just when I think about it, you probably knew her in high school, and I know glee was a big part of your life in high school..."
Finn froze. How was he supposed to answer this question? His son could easily find a yearbook in the library. And as much as Cody loved Broadway, he had to know who Rachel Berry was. It wasn't hard to figure out. And if he found out who Rachel was, he could probably find out about Clayton. But he couldn't lie. He could be as discrete as he could. "Yeah, she was."
Clayton had gotten Finn to answer a question. But maybe he wouldn't want to say her name. "Was she good?"
Finn was relieved his son hadn't asked for his mom's name. That was the logical next question. "She was so, so talented. That's where you get it, I'm sure."
Cody had gotten his singing from Rachel and Clayton had gotten his athletic ability from Finn, they were both sure. "So, how long were you together?"
That was a complicated question. Was Finn ready to share their whole history? "About two years." They had been on and off for two years. "She was amazing. She was very talented, but she was more than that. You remind me so much of your mom. Not just your talent, but your passion, how much you care, how hard you work, how well you know me."
"What happened?" Clayton asked.
Again, Finn felt the need to tell the simple version. "We graduated. We had different goals in life. She went out of state for school and it just wasn't going to work anymore. Since she was out of state and her family was here, we figured it would be easier for you to stay here with me, since I had support." The biggest lie of all.
Of course, Clayton knew that wasn't true. He knew that they'd each kept one twin. He wanted to ask why, but Finn might stop talking, and he didn't want to give himself away. When they pulled into the driveway, he noticed another car was there. "Grandma and Grandpa are here already?"
"You know it takes time to get to Cleveland, so we should probably get going soon," Finn said. "So I called to see if they could meet us at the house and see your trophy." He was surprised his son hadn't talked more about the Nationals win, let alone about winning MVP.
Clayton was so excited to meet his grandparents. He got out of the car as soon as it stopped and ran up to them. "Grandma! Grandpa!"
"There's our MVP!" Carole exclaimed, giving Clayton a hug.
Clayton just looked at his grandparents, so happy to finally be meeting them. "It's so good to see you."
"Kurt said you did a great job at Nationals," Burt said.
Looking at Burt, Clayton could tell how much Burt looked like Kurt. He could also see a resemblance between himself, Carole and Finn. "Yeah, want to go see my trophy?"
"Of course we do!" Carole said. "We saw the video. We're so proud of you!"
Would they be proud of Clayton, too, if they knew about his academic and athletic accomplishments? He led them into the living room and held up the trophy. He wasn't sure what to say since he didn't know much about show choir. He started telling Burt and Carole about some of the songs other groups had done and then mentioned that he'd been told he was better than the guy who played Evan on Broadway.
Finn listened to his son talk to his parents and felt his heart skip a beat. His son had seen videos of the Broadway production of Dear Evan Hansen? Of course he had. But had he seen Rachel? Did he know that Rachel was his mother? Rachel would have been so proud if she'd seen Cody's performance at Nationals. She'd be so proud if she saw Cody sing at any time.
Clayton saw the look of panic on Finn's face out of the corner of his eye. He'd gotten Finn to think about Rachel. Again. "So, when are we heading up to Cleveland?" He was so excited to try a new arena and go to a new city. And to see the NBA playoff game, of course!
Finn was glad soon they'd have the game as a description. "We probably should head up soon."
"I'm surprised you're excited to go to Cleveland, after being in New York," Burt pointed out.
Burt probably had a point. "Well, we haven't been to Cleveland in a while, and I always love hanging out with you guys." His phone vibrated with a text from Cody. "Did you show our grandparents my trophy and tell them I was better than Mom's co-star?"
Clayton replied to the text. "Of course! I can already tell our grandparents are awesome!"
Almost right away, Cody replied to the text. "They are, aren't they? Mom's having someone over for dinner tonight, I'm hoping it's her dads!"
"You ready to get up to Cleveland, Cody?" Finn asked. "You can borrow one of my Cavs shirts."
It would be weird wearing a shirt for a non-New York team, but Clayton loved the idea of sharing this with his dad. "Yeah! Got to support the team!"
Chapter 7: Night Two
Thank you all so much for all your support! I appreciate it so much. I thought I was the only Finchel fan left! And I need your input on something - I'm thinking within a chapter or two, Finn or Rachel will figure out that the child with them isn't the one they raised. But should Finn or Rachel figure it out? And should they figure it out themselves, or should Clayton or Cody tell them? Leave me a review and let me know! And speaking of reviews, my birthday is tomorrow and I'd really appreciate reviews as a birthday present :) Enjoy the new chapter :)
The drive from Lima to Cleveland was about two hours. Being in a car for two hours, there were so many things Clayton wanted to ask his dad. He asked a lot about the classes Finn was teaching and he also asked Burt about Congress. But he knew he wanted to get Finn to talk more about Rachel and he figured Burt may be able to help with that. He turned to Burt. "So, did you ever see my dad and Uncle Kurt perform in high school, when they were in New Directions?"
"Oh yeah," Burt said. He had many good memories of seeing his sons perform.
Finn looked over at Burt from the driver's seat, hoping Burt would know what the look he was giving him meant. His son was already talking more about his mother than usual. He wasn't sure how and when to have the inevitable conversation.
"So, what were some of your favorite performances?" Clayton asked. "Ours was the best at Nationals, of course, but another group did a Journey medley and I really liked that."
Finn practically stopped the car. His son hadn't mentioned the Journey medley earlier. Finn was thinking about Rachel the whole time they sang Don't Stop Believing. Good thing they hadn't done Faithfully. That would have been too much.
"I really liked their classic rock performances," Burt said. "So, your dad told me you saw Wicked when you were in New York. Did you like it?"
Yes, Clayton had seen Wicked many times when Rachel was in it, back when he was in elementary school. "Yeah, I liked it." From what he remembered, it had some good music. The band at his school had done some music from Wicked. "It has some good music."
Finn was glad the focus was shifting away from his high school days. "I know Fiyero is one of your dream roles on Broadway, besides Evan of course, and Tony in West Side Story, and Jean Valjean or Marius in Les Mis." Of course, Rachel had been in all those shows except Les Mis.
Clayton was lucky Cody had showed him the list of dream roles. "Those are my top roles!" There were too many on the list for Clayton to remember though.
The car pulled off the highway. Cody looked out the window. Cleveland didn't have as many tall buildings as New York, but they did have a nice skyline. And he saw Rocket Mortage Fieldhouse and Progressive Field. (What kind of names were those?)
Finn looked at his son in the backseat. He was glad his son had come along, but was sure he would get bored. He rarely stayed focused on the sporting events Finn watched for more than a minute. Once, Finn and Burt bet Cody would watch a football game for two minutes. He'd stopped after a minute and forty five seconds. "I'm glad you came. I missed you last week, so it's nice to have some extra time with you."
"Of course!" Clayton said. Finn didn't know how excited he was - or how much he had missed Finn.
The car pulled into the garage. There were not only a lot of people in Cavs gear, but a lot of people in Indians gear as well. "Looks like the Indians have a game tonight, too," Clayton pointed out as he, Finn and Burt got out of the car.
"Yeah, they're playing the Red Sox," Burt said.
The Red Sox. The Yankees' archrivals and Clayton's least favorite team. "Yuck."
"Yuck?" Burt asked.
"Well, I'm going to be a New Yorker and New Yorkers hate the Red Sox," Clayton pointed out as he followed his father and grandfather into the stadium. When he got in, he saw the Cavs' 2016 trophy and their trophy from last year in a case. "These are awesome."
"I remember when we were watching the 2016 finals," Finn began. "The Cavs were down 3-1, then we won Game 5, then Game 6 and then we were like, 'we really have a shot at this.' So we were so nervous during Game 7. You were in bed, so we tried to be quiet so we didn't wake you up. But it was all so exciting and they scored points and it become clear they would win. And then when they won, we started screaming, and you came downstairs and started whining about how we woke you up." Sometimes he missed the days of his son being so little.
Clayton tried to smile when he heard that story, but he was just feeling sad he didn't have childhood memories like that with Finn. "Well, now we're at a game together and you don't have to worry about waking me up."
Finn elbowed his son. "Unless you fall asleep during the game."
"I remember that like it was yesterday," Burt added. "Your grandma kept reminding us to be quiet so we wouldn't wake you up. And then when you came down, you had no idea what was going on."
Finn, Clayton and Burt reached the front of the line and had their tickets scanned before heading to their seats. Their seats were good, right by the Cavs' bench. "These are good seats," Clayton gasped.
"One of the perks to being in congress," Burt said. He turned to Finn. "Maybe we should get drinks before the lines get too long. Want anything, Cody?"
"Could you get me some popcorn and a lemonade?" Clayton asked. "I'll stay here and hold our seats." He really just wanted to take in the court before the crowd arrived.
"Yeah, of course," Finn said before he and Burt went to get the snacks.
As soon as Finn and Burt were gone, Clayton couldn't believe his eyes. LeBron James, the Cavs' best player of all time who was now their coach, came on to the court. He couldn't believe he was seeing one of the best players of all time so close up. He'd never seen the Cavs in New York. When LeBron put down his papers, he looked up at Clayton, as if he knew. "Hi!" he said.
Clayton had met so many famous athletes, thanks to the fact that his mom had sang the anthem for every New York team, yet he still always felt awestruck. "Hi."
"What's your name?" LeBron asked.
"Clayton Berry. I mean, Cody Hudson. Sorry, I was thinking of someone I know named Clayton Berry." For a split second, LeBron had made him forget he was Cody.
LeBron didn't seem phased. "Are you excited for the game?"
Clayton nodded with gusto. "Yeah! We're going to annihilate the Warriors." He got out his phone. "Do you mind taking a quick selfie?" Gosh, he wished he could send this to the other guys on the basketball team, he wished he could tell them about this.
LeBron took Clayton's phone. "Of course!" After he took the photo, a media representative called out to him. "Nice to meet you, Cody."
Clayton felt his smile widening as he looked at the photo. "You too!" He couldn't text the photo to the guys on the team, so he texted it to Cody. Cody had told him he wanted to take photos with Rachel's co-stars, but since he'd supposedly met them before, it would be odd.
A few minutes later, Finn and Burt came back. "It's starting to get crowded, but we got you what you wanted," Finn said, handing Clayton the popcorn and lemonade. "I'm surprised you didn't want a coke though."
"I met LeBron!" Clayton blurted out.
"Did you ask him about singing the anthem at a game in the future?" Finn asked.
"He said they'll consider it," Clayton said. That wasn't what he'd talked to LeBron about, but he didn't want Finn to question things.
"Mom, since I can't play baseball right now, I was really hoping to see some of the other shows on Broadway," Cody said as he and Rachel got ready for dinner. Two shows hadn't been enough. He wanted to see as many as possible.
Rachel was surprised to hear this request. Clayton would come with her to the Tonys, but she always got the feeling theatre wasn't really his thing. "Sure, honey. Anything you'd like to see?"
Cody tried to think of something Clayton might see. He just wanted to see more Broadway shows. "I just want to familiarize myself with your world more."
Rachel smiled at her son. "I'll see what I can do." She heard the doorbell ring. The dinner guest was here. Rachel still wasn't sure if this was a good idea. She'd been waiting for so long for Finn to call, but he never did. It had been years now. She felt like it wasn't her place to call him. Part of her blamed herself for the breakup. She'd raised Clayton to become a fine young man and loved him with all her heart, her career had taken off, but she hadn't stopped feeling like Finn and Cody were missing.
Cody wondered who his mom was having over for dinner. She'd said it was a friend, not a family member. He immediately got nervous when his mom came back in with a man with a smirk on his face. He felt like he'd seen this man before, but he wasn't sure where. The man's body language and the way he was looking at Cody reminded him of a villain from a Broadway show.
"This is my son, Clayton," Rachel told the man. The man gave Cody a smug look. Then Cody realized who it was.
The man walked over. "Hello, Clayton," he said in a slow, creepy voice. "Your mother has told me ALL about you. I've never heard anyone talk about their child the way she talks about you. I'm..."
"I know who you are," Cody said. "You're Jesse St. James. You play King George in Hamilton."
Since when did Clayton know who was in various Broadway shows? Jesse's smirk got even bigger and Rachel wondered if having him over was a good idea.
"I've seen videos of you," Cody critiqued. "Sometimes your voice sounds a bit nasal and strained, and your breathwork could be improved."
"You really are your mother's child," Jesse said in a creepy voice. "How about a sing-off?"
Cody almost jumped at the opportunity, but then he remembered that right now he was Clayton and that Clayton didn't sing. "I'm not very musically talented."
"I'm surprised," Jesse said. "Your mother is the best singer on Broadway. It's too bad she and I have never been in a show together. It would be the best on Broadway."
Rachel was reminded of Jesse trying to lure her to Vocal Adrenaline her sophomore year. "Clayton's an athlete. He was the first freshman to be starting quarterback, the first freshman to be a starter on the varsity basketball team and the first freshman starting pitcher in his school's history. And he did all three in one year!" She put her arm around her son.
"I don't even know what any of that means," Jesse mumbled. He looked at Cody, looking slightly disgusted. Cody looked back at Jesse. Was this man pursuing his mother? He was such a jerk!
Rachel could sense the tension. A few weeks ago, Jesse had asked her if she wanted to hang out. She'd been hesitant. She still wasn't sure. Part of why she was having him over tonight was to see what her son thought of him. She'd never seen him just cut into someone like that before. This was a bad sign. "He's an excellent student, too. He's never gotten any grade below an A in any class at school."
"You've told me that before," Jesse interrupted.
"So, how do you know my mom?" Cody asked, trying to make sense of this.
"I actually dated him my sophomore year of high school," Rachel said. "He was on one of the opposing glee clubs. We ran into each other at a dinner a few weeks ago."
"I tried to get your mother to switch schools and come to my glee club in high school, but she wouldn't," Jesse complained. "You would have graduated with three national championships instead of one, Rachel, and the glee club was actually appreciated at Carmel. New Directions was a joke."
New Directions had just won their sixteenth national title. "Hey! Don't insult my mom's glee club like that! I know she won Nationals her senior year." He looked at Rachel. "Don't let him insult you like that."
Jesse had struck a nerve. Rachel did look back at her high school days with conflicted emotions. She wouldn't have Clayton if she'd never met Finn. She wished so badly that things had worked out. She wished that right now, she was sitting with Finn and with both their boys. Why had she given up so easily? "I have five Tonys, Jesse, and I did that despite only winning one National title in high school." She didn't know what else to say.
"How many Tonys do you have, Jesse?" Cody asked. He knew, but Clayton wouldn't.
Jesse looked annoyed. "I was robbed for Spring Awakening and The Book of Mormon."
Rachel could tell her son didn't like Jesse. He seemed to have made that decision as soon as he walked in, though. "Clayton..."
Was Rachel siding with Jesse? What did she see in this guy? Cody was going to have to call the real Clayton and see if anything like this had happened before. He stood up and started heading to his room, remembering something Clayton had told him. Clayton kicked over chairs sometimes when he got mad, so Cody kicked over the chair.
Again, Rachel was strongly reminded of Finn. This was yet another trait Clayton had inherited. "Sometimes you can be just like your..."
"Like who?" Cody asked, thinking he knew what Rachel was going to say.
Rachel knew that look. "Never mind."
"Like my father?" Cody asked. He smirked. "Finn Hudson?"
Rachel dropped her glass. He knew? "You know who that is?" She looked over at Jesse, who'd turned white. She'd basically admitted Finn was the father of her sons.
"I did some research," Cody said, trying to think of a way to tell the story without giving it away. "I found the McKinley High yearbooks online from when you were there. I calculated it, I would have had to have been conceived when you were in high school, so I looked at the guys in the yearbook to see if there were any who looked like me. Finn Hudson looked a lot like me and he was in the glee club with you."
"Oh, this reminds me of when you thought Patti LuPone was your mother!" Jesse interrupted. "Remember that, Rachel?"
"And plus, you named Cl - me Clayton Finnegan Berry," Cody continued, talking over Jesse. "After my father, huh?"
Jesse gave Rachel an angry look. "Clayton Finnegan Berry?"
Rachel couldn't help but wonder how he hadn't figured it out sooner. "Yes. Clayton, you've figured out who your dad is. And I'm sorry. I should have told you his name sooner." He could use the internet, she wasn't surprised he'd figured it out. How much did he know? Had he figured out about Finn and Rachel's complicated high school past? And did he know about his brother?
"Well, he's gone now," Jesse said. "And that's for the better. Finnegan may be your middle name, but Hudson isn't your last name."
"I think you're still jealous of my father," Cody told Jesse. "From the photos I saw, it looks like my parents had something really special. And I think you're just using my mom for her fame."
Yes. Rachel and Finn had something special. And Rachel needed to talk about that more with her son. "Jesse, could you go now? I think I need some time with Clayton."
"He knows who his father is, but it's just biology," Jesse interrupted. "Finn isn't in Clinton's life and that's the way it should be."
Cody was tempted to kick over another chair. He needed Rachel in his life. Clayton needed Finn in his life. And they needed each other. "First of all, it's Clayton. And don't talk that way about my dad, St. Jackass!"
"Clayton!" Rachel reprimanded.
"Were you ever going to tell me, Mom?" Cody snapped. "Don't talk to me in that tone when you're the one who kept such important information from me!"
"He really is Finn's son," Jesse sneered.
"Jesse, can you please go?" Rachel pleaded. She'd never seen her son so upset and it was her fault. This was a long time coming. "He's my son. He comes first."
"Really?" Cody shot back. "You weren't putting me first by keeping me away from my father all these years." And my brother, he added mentally. "You were trying to make it easier for yourself."
"You have a horrible attitude, Caiden," Jesse said.
"Again, it's Clayton," Cody snapped.
"Whatever, I know it starts with a C," Jesse mumbled. He left the apartment without saying goodbye to Rachel and Cody, leaving Rachel to have a conversation she knew was overdue.
"You have every right to be mad," Rachel sighed. "We shouldn't have done this."
"You shouldn't have," Cody said.
"I'm not hiding things from you anymore," Rachel said. "You can ask me about your dad. And I'll tell you anything you want."
Things were already tense. Should Cody reveal how he'd really found out? She said she wasn't mad at him for yelling at her, but she didn't seem happy right now either. "What happened with you and Dad?"
"I really thought we were going to be together forever," Rachel admitted. She did think they would be together forever. To this day, she was heartbroken that they weren't together. "He made me so happy. He made me a better person. He gave me my best memories. Then we graduated and were thrown into the real world instead of the little bubble we grew up in. I always knew I wanted to come here and be a Broadway star. He didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. He came out here, but he felt like he didn't fit in." She felt tears coming to her eyes. She shouldn't be crying. She was the one who'd lied to her son.
Cody remembered what Clayton had told him. He went to the kitchen and got Rachel a glass of water. Even if he was upset, he'd finally found his mother again. He handed her the glass and put his arm around her.
"Thank you, Clay," Rachel murmured. "I wish you could meet your dad. You're just like him. Not just in looks, but you're so kind, just like him. You have his goofiness and his talent for sports and drumming. And you do have his temper." She managed a small laugh. "You did get my nose, though. Sorry about that."
"Do you know where he is now?" Cody asked.
Rachel wasn't sure. He was probably in Lima, but who knew? "I don't. Anything can happen in 14 years." She wished that it hadn't all fallen apart, that she and Finn could have built a life with both their sons.
"Do you think he loves me?" Cody asked. This was what he'd wondered about Rachel all these years.
Rachel knew that she never stopped loving Cody. Every day she thought about him, wondered what he was doing, hoped he was doing well. She was sure Finn did the same thing about Clayton. "Of course he loves you. I know him. I'm sure he thinks about you every single day. He'd be so proud of the man you've become."
Was Rachel talking about what she thought about Cody? He saw the sadness in her eyes. "It sounds like he was pretty special."
That was an understatement. "Yes. Before I met him, I was a mess. I had no friends. I clung to my talent and was a bit of a show off because that's all I had, but that only drove people away. Then he joined the glee club and was the first person to see more of that in me. And once I got to know him, I became a better person. He helped bring me down to Earth and make me less self centered. He helped me make friends and become more of a team player. I always had fun with him and the songs I sang with him are the best ones I've ever done. Better than anything I've done on Broadway."
Cody didn't see Rachel act that way around Jesse. "And you just let him go?" And just let me go?
"We tried to make it work," Rachel sighed. "I wish more than anything that it had worked out. I'm sorry I kept him a secret for so long. It's hard for me to talk about, but it isn't right to not talk about him with you. He's a part of you and you deserve to know about him." What she'd done was so wrong. It was understandable that he was angry.
"Mom, he sounds amazing," Cody said. "Why did you have this Jesse guy over? He seems like such a jerk!"
Rachel didn't think Finn would even want to get back together. For all she knew, Finn could be married to someone else now with more children. That thought broke her heart. "So much time has passed. Maybe this is how things are supposed to be." This wasn't how she wanted things to be. She wanted to be with Finn and both her boys.
Cody noticed the sadness in his mom's eyes and sent a text to Clayton. "Call me ASAP."
Watching a game so close was amazing! Yes, Clayton had been to plenty of games, but getting to watch a playoff game by the players' bench was a blast. Clayton's loyalty would always be to New York teams, but he was already feeling a connection to the Cavs as well. He always had a soft spot for Ohio teams since he knew his mom was from there, but it was stronger since he now knew his dad loved the Ohio teams.
The game was tied with three seconds left in the fourth quarter. Then a Cavs player threw the ball from over the three point line. Clayton wasn't sure if it would get in, but it went in, and the Cavs were three points over. Clayton practically jumped out of his seat. "Oh my God! That was sick! What a great throw!"
Finn watched as his son jumped out of his seat and began screaming about the throw. Since when did his son get this into games? Did sitting in the front row and seeing LeBron have this effect on him? He looked over at his son. "So, you had fun tonight?"
"Yeah!" Clayton said excitedly. "I love getting to cheer on a team from my state!"
Finn was glad to see that his son had relaxed. And he knew the playoffs could get people who typically didn't get into sports into them. Maybe that was the case with Cody. "Tonight was fun, wasn't it? But you have school tomorrow, so we should get home."
"We should come some other time and explore Cleveland," Clayton said. "I've heard the food here is very good."
"You got your dad's appetite," Burt said.
Clayton looked down at his phone to see a text from Cody, telling him to call ASAP. He replied to the text, saying he'd call as soon as he got back to Lima. Cody replied and asked if he could call before they left. "Can I go to the bathroom real quick?"
"Sure," Finn said.
Clayton ran to the bathroom and dialed Cody's number. "What's up?"
"Well, I have some good news and some bad news," Cody said, glad his brother had picked up the phone.
Clayton wasn't sure what to expect. "What's going on?"
"Mom had some asshole over for dinner," Cody complained. "He was such an ass, Clayton. He just walks around like he's better than everyone else and he didn't get your name right."
Clayton started to get worried. He knew his mom did things with other actors and actresses from Broadway a lot, but having one over? He already had a bad feeling. "I want more time with Dad..."
"But then after he left, Mom started talking about Dad," Cody continued. "And she's still in love with him, it's clear! She was telling me about how he changed her for the better and how he's given her some of her best memories and she looked so wistful and longing and she was choked up..." He practically repeated word for word the things his mom had said. They were now forever etched in his mind.
Clayton had been worried when he heard his mom had someone over, but felt relieved when he heard the things she'd said. "Okay, I've been waiting my whole life for Mom to talk about Dad and you get the most intense conversation yet."
"You can make it even by getting one out of Dad," Cody shot back.
Someone banged on Clayton's door. "Hurry up."
"Okay, I'm in the bathroom at the stadium and someone wants my stall, but I'll call you later," Clayton told Cody.
The brothers said goodbye to each other before Clayton went to rejoin Burt and Finn, hope swelling in his heart.
Chapter 8: Decisions
Rachel couldn't sleep. She lay awake in bed, thinking about her conversation with her son earlier tonight. This was a conversation that should have happened a long time ago, but at least it had happened. Yet, she knew there were so many things she should have said that she didn't say.
Going to Lima for Grease had been painful. She and Finn were growing apart. She couldn't help but have so many questions. If she'd found out she was pregnant when they were together, would they have broken up? He was very insistent that she not postpone her dreams because he thought she might resent him and the boys if she did. Yet, she'd pursued her dreams, she had five Tony Awards, and all she could think about was how much she wished she'd shared the past fifteen years with Finn and Cody. Clayton was the only thing that made her happy and kept her from completely losing her mind.
Her dads had moved out to New York after the boys were born to help her out. With her dads in New York, she didn't have a reason to go back to Lima. Since Finn hadn't called, she thought that meant he didn't want to hear from her. Maybe this was how it was supposed to be. She'd skipped all the glee weddings, skipped their class's ten-year reunion.
But now it hit her - was it possible Finn hadn't called for the same reasons she hadn't called? Did he think she didn't want to hear from him? She wanted to hear from him, more than anything. She wanted to meet Cody and know how he was doing. Did Cody resent her? And she wanted Clayton to meet his father and brother.
Clayton had asked to go to Lima before and see where his mom came from. Rachel feared he would hate her if he found out everything, but she couldn't keep lying to him. She hated himself for it. At that moment, she decided this weekend, she was going to take her son to Lima. She was going to try to get in contact with Finn and see if they could meet up. She'd always longed for siblings and she was depriving her son of his brother. And they were doing the same thing to their sons that had been so hard for her, not knowing who her mother was. Yes, she'd told him about his father tonight and shown him more pictures, but he needed more than that. He needed his father and he needed his brother. His brother. Nearly every day, she thought about the only time she ever held Cody.
Finn looked at Rachel in the bed. She looked so scared. All he wanted to do was hold her and tell her that it would be okay. But he couldn't. It wasn't going to work out between them. She belonged in a world that he didn't belong in. He'd fantasized about them having kids together. Now it was happening and this wasn't how he'd imagined it at all. Instead of taking their boys home together, one of them would be staying in New York with Rachel and the other one would be going back to Lima with Finn.
Rachel was in so much pain. She wished there was an easier way to do this. It felt like her stomach was being ripped apart and she'd been attacked by bricks. She knew she wanted to have kids one day with Finn, but this wasn't how she'd pictured it. Finn's visit in October had been a disaster and things hadn't been better when she went back to Lima for Grease. They met with a relationship counselor, who told them that their life goals were too different and that they couldn't be together without one of them making big sacrifices.
In birthing classes, Rachel had been told that giving birth would be the worst pain she'd ever experience. Yes, giving birth was painful. Finn was there and so were her dads, but all she could think about was what would happen afterwards. Today was supposed to be a happy day.
Finn wasn't even sure what he was supposed to do. He and Rachel weren't together. They weren't going to be together anytime soon. They were on shaky terms. But he felt awful seeing her in so much pain and so afraid. And of course, he was heartbroken knowing that he'd be saying goodbye to one of his sons today.
Finally, the doctors told Rachel both boys were out. Finn looked over at the nurses cleaning the boys. "They're so perfect." They were perfect. He didn't want to have to say goodbye to one of them. "They have your nose."
The one feature Rachel hoped they wouldn't get. "Poor things."
Finn loved Rachel's nose, but it wasn't his place to say that anymore. The nurses brought over the babies, handing the first one who was born to Rachel and the second one to Finn. That had been what they'd requested, because they didn't know how else to decide who'd take each one. So they flipped a coin and determined Finn would take the first one.
Both Finn and Rachel felt tears coming to their eyes as they looked down at these little people they'd created. They were perfect. They really were perfect. Finn was right, they had Rachel's nose, but other than that, they already looked so much like Finn. "What's his name?" Rachel asked, looking down at the baby. This might be the last time she got to hold him.
"Cody," Finn said. "Cody Christopher Hudson."
Knowing his name made things even more painful. Now there was a name to associate with him. And they'd both chosen names that started with C. That was something small, but it was something. And Finn had chosen the middle name Rachel was going to use. They'd always said they'd want to name their son after Finn's dad in some way, but Finn deserved to use it. "I like that name."
Finn looked down at the baby boy in his arms who he'd soon have to say goodbye to. "What's his name?"
Rachel held back tears. "His name is Clayton." She'd have to think of another middle name. And his last name wouldn't be the one she originally wanted him to have either.
"I like that name, too," Finn said. He looked at Clayton's perfect face. Would he ever see this face again?
"Make sure Cody knows how much I love him," Rachel said tearfully.
Hearing that made Finn want to cry. "Make sure Clayton knows how much I love him, too."
Little did Rachel know, Finn was having flashbacks to that same day back in Lima. He knew that he should sleep. They'd been out late tonight and he had to work tomorrow. Why couldn't he get Rachel and Clayton out of his head lately? Was it because Cody had been in New York? Because he'd thought he should try dating again, even though his heart wasn't in it? And what would his son think when he found out? He couldn't help but notice that his son had talked about Dear Evan Hansen. He had to know who Rachel Berry was. But how much did he know?
Clayton was having trouble sleeping. He didn't know how it was possible to be so hopeful and so fearful at the same time. His mom had somebody over? If she had a man over, this was probably someone serious. She'd never introduced a man she'd dated to him. Cody hadn't seemed to like this man one bit. It was possible the man was just trying to use Rachel for her fame. Through the years, Clayton had definitely had a couple "friends" who had really just wanted to meet Rachel, or whose parents wanted to meet Rachel.
But then when Cody had told him about the things Rachel had said about Finn, he felt hope. Rachel wouldn't have talked that way about Finn if she didn't still love him. And Finn definitely didn't seem to be over Rachel.
Clayton went downstairs for some water. He knew that often helped Rachel, maybe it could help him, too. He did have school tomorrow.
Finn heard some noise. His son was having trouble sleeping. So Finn wasn't the only one. Maybe talking to him about whatever was on his mind would help Finn. He went downstairs and saw his son pouring himself a glass of water. That's what Rachel always did...
Clayton heard footsteps and turned to see his dad. "Hey, Dad. I'm sorry, I just couldn't sleep." Maybe some water would help Finn, too. "Want some water?"
Finn nodded. "Yeah, thanks, Cody. You okay?"
Clayton tried to think of something to say. "Does it ever just feel like something's missing when you lie awake at night?"
Yes. It definitely did. Two somethings, in fact. "Are you talking about your mom?" There was no point in asking. He knew.
Finn had been the one to suggest it. Was he also thinking about Rachel? Was it possible he was thinking about Clayton, too? "Do you think she loves me?" Clayton asked, saying what he'd wondered about Finn.
Of course Rachel loved Cody. Finn hoped Clayton knew that he loved him. "Of course! She would have been so proud of you this week. She would have made sure everyone see the video of your performance at Nationals and she would have told everyone she knew. You know, you remind me of your mom." It had been fate that he'd ended up with a male version of Rachel Berry.
"Really? How?" Clayton asked.
"Well, you have her talent and her determination and her drive to be the best and her love of music and Broadway," Finn said. "And no one cared about the glee club more than she did, just like no one cares it more than you do. And you know you're talented, just like she knew." He gave his son a playful look. He remembered how excited Rachel had been when they won Nationals. Maybe part of the reason why he wasn't as excited as expected was because he was thinking about his mother. Finn wondered if Cody would bump into Rachel or Clayton in New York. He wasn't sure if he wanted that or not. But he'd clearly been stupid to worry about that. There were millions of people in New York. He then got an idea. Maybe this was stupid, but he couldn't help it. He got out his phone and typed the name of a video he'd watched a thousand times in. "Want to see something?"
Was Finn about to show Clayton a photo of Rachel or something? "Sure."
Of course the video of "the kiss that missed" was still on YouTube, and the top comment was still, "why is the t-rex eating the Jew?" Finn's heart would break if the video was ever taken down. Finn watched him and Rachel step on the stage, sing their original duet, and finally kiss at the end. God, he missed those kisses.
Clayton had seen this video before with Cody, but now that he knew his dad still watched it, it was even more meaningful. "Is that Mom?"
"Yeah," Finn said. "The glee club blamed us for losing nationals after I kissed her like that, but we agreed it was worth it, and we won the next year anyway."
Clayton tried to pretend he'd never seen a video of his mom before. "She's so beautiful and so talented."
Finn was surprised his son didn't recognize his mom as one of the biggest stars on Broadway. "Now you know where you get it."
"I can't believe you just let her go," Clayton gasped. "I've never seen passion like that."
Finn didn't think he'd ever see or feel passion like that again. "It's like I told you, high school is different from adult life. Our goals didn't match up and our lives were too different to keep being together after high school. I really hope one day, you find that with someone and that it doesn't end." Maybe showing him the video was a mistake. "We should probably get to bed."
Too bad Cody was probably in bed. Clayton couldn't wait to tell him that Finn still watched the video they'd found.
"Seriously? He watches that video?" Cody asked on the phone.
"Yeah, he showed it to me!" Clayton said. "I could tell he wasn't sure if it was a good idea, but the damage has been done."
"So, now we both know they're still in love with each other," Cody said.
Clayton heard the door unlocking. His dad was home from the errands he'd been running. "Sounds like Dad's home. You enjoy Rent tonight."
"Oh, I will," Cody said, hanging up the phone.
"Hey Dad!" Clayton called out, relieved that his dad probably hadn't overheard the phone call.
Finn came into the living room with a blonde woman who looked like the stereotypical beauty queen. "Cody, this is Quinn."
Clayton felt sick. Not just Rachel, now Finn had started dating someone else, too? It was clear from the way Finn had talked that he still loved Rachel. He wouldn't have showed Clayton the video if he didn't. "Hi," he managed to say.
"Oh, you look just like your father did in high school!" Quinn said.
"Oh, you went to high school with my dad?" Clayton asked. She had to have known about Rachel if they went to high school together.
"Yeah, we should've been prom king and queen," Quinn complained. "I bet you'll be prom king. Got a girl in mind to be your queen?
Clayton had always thought that sort of stuff was stupid. He wanted to be valedictorian and to win state titles in his sports, not prom king. But Quinn was one of those people? And Clayton didn't want to talk about the girl he liked with someone he'd never seen before. Once he told Finn who he really was, he wanted to tell Finn about Amanda, see if he had any advice. "That's not my kind of thing."
Quinn was still obsessed with prom king and queen after all these years? Finn hadn't heard from Quinn since graduation. She went off to Yale and no one had heard for her. So it was a surprise when Finn ran into her at Breadstix. She was back here as a real estate agent. He looked at his son, seeing the look of disgust on his face. Trying to make him comfortable, he spoke. "Cody was just in New York with the glee club for Nationals. They won, of course, and Cody won MVP." Why hadn't Cody shot back by saying he'd won MVP? He then turned to Clayton. "Quinn was in the glee club in high school, too."
"Oh really?" Clayton asked. Then Quinn had to know Rachel. Did she know that Cody was a twin and that Rachel was their mother? How many people knew that Clayton and Cody were twins being raised in different states without knowing about each other?
Quinn made a face when the glee club was mentioned. "Yeah, I was. In high school I dated your dad at the end of our freshman year and the beginning of our sophomore year and then a little in our junior year. I always predicted I'd become a real estate agent here and Finn would take over your grandpa's tire shop and we'd start a family here together. I guess the only difference is he's teaching."
What did that even mean? Clayton could tell Finn wasn't even into Quinn. She was still stuck in the high school mindset, and if she was like this in high school, Clayton had no idea what Finn saw in her then or now.
Finn saw that his son looked even more disgusted. He wasn't turned on by what Quinn had said. He'd thought that maybe having Quinn in his life again and in Cody's could be a good thing. She was making his son completely speechless. Finn never thought he'd see his son speechless.
Clayton tried to find a way to bring up his mom. "Since I was just in New York with the glee club for Nationals, my dad showed me the video of when he went to New York with the glee club. He did a great duet with my mom and then they had a great kiss on the stage at the end of it. Remember that, Quinn?"
Bringing up Rachel probably wasn't going to make this situation better. Finn had started dating Quinn in hopes of finally getting over Rachel, but that was too hard. And his son wasn't going to make that easier. Quinn looked at Finn. "You showed Cory that video? And - his mother?" She got an intimidated look.
"It's Cody," Clayton interrupted, noticing the look on Quinn's face. She must not have known.
"He was just in New York for Nationals, I thought he deserved to see when I was there," Finn sighed. It probably wouldn't be a good thing to say that he wanted to see that video again. This was how Quinn was finding out who Cody's mom was. Though if you did the math, it was pretty clear.
"I think it was pretty clear in the video that my parents had something special," Clayton continued.
"Your mom is gone and that's for the better," Quinn interrupted. "She was always in the way with me and your dad in high school and trust me, you're better off without her."
Clayton jumped up and kicked over his chair. "Don't say that about my mom!" He knew how wonderful his mother was and now that he'd met his father, he was more determined to get them together. So why was everything going wrong? He stormed upstairs to his room to call Cody.
"Wow, he's just like you," Quinn said, turning to Finn.
"Not usually," Finn said. Usually, he was more like Rachel, but now probably wasn't the right time to say that. He'd never seen his son kick over a chair before.
"So, Rachel's his mom?" Quinn asked. "Really, Finn?"
"Yeah, she is," Finn said. He wanted to go upstairs and talk to his son. Now probably wasn't the right time to tell the full story and instead opted for the one he'd told Cody. "We figured since my family was here and Rachel was in New York for school, it would be better for him to stay here since I had support."
"He's better off without her," Quinn said. "And so are you."
No, they were not better off without Rachel and Clayton. And Finn hated when people said this was for the best because he hated the whole thing so much.
"Everything's going wrong," Clayton complained to Cody on the phone.
"What do you mean?" Cody asked.
"Now Dad brought someone over, too!" Clayton told his brother. "Some high school girlfriend who's still obsessed with the fact that she and Dad didn't win prom king and queen."
"I hate people like that," Cody said. "I bet she was a cheerio."
"What are we going to do?" Clayton asked.
"I guess we'll need to find a way to get Mom and Dad to meet up faster than we thought we would," Cody said. "Look, the show's going to start soon, but I'll call you after it, okay?" He wasn't even sure he could focus on the show. He was worried Jesse would show up again and now he was worried about this woman that Finn had brought home.
Finn walked up to his son's room. His son was talking quietly on the phone in his closet, a conversation Finn clearly wasn't intended to hear. Why was he always on the phone these days? Not that it was bad, but he was never on the phone since he got back from New York.
Clayton came out of his closet and saw Finn sitting on his bed. Crap, had Finn heard the things he'd said? He didn't look surprised about anything, so maybe he was safe. "You probably wouldn't have shown me that video if you didn't still love Mom," Clayton pointed out.
That was true. Finn still did love Rachel. And they were the ones who ceased contact to make things easier for them, hurting their sons in the process. He felt awful right now. "Cody, for all I know, your mom could be remarried now." He hoped she wasn't, but that was definitely possible.
How was Clayton supposed to respond to that without giving it away that he knew Rachel still loved Finn, too? "I doubt it. I don't think what you have goes away."
Cody was able to enjoy the show, but the thoughts about Finn and Rachel both dating kept creeping into his mind. He wanted some more time in New York and he was sure Clayton wanted more time with Finn, but how could they get Finn and Rachel to meet up without revealing what they'd done? And would their parents be mad at them for switching places?
After the show was done, he walked over to Rachel's theatre so they could go home together. He was already hoping to see another show tomorrow. Could he see all the Broadway shows? That would be amazing!
"Did you enjoy the show?" Rachel asked when her son came in.
"I loved it!" Cody said enthusiastically.
Rachel hadn't seem this much enthusiasm about Broadway from her son. "Good. I actually wanted to talk to you about something." Now was as good a time as any, right?
Oh no. Was she mad about how he acted with Jesse. "Okay..."
"You were right," Rachel admitted. "You don't know enough about your dad and Lima. It isn't right that I've kept so many things from you your whole life." More things that he knew. "We've never been to Lima because it's too hard for me to go back after my history with your dad, but you deserve to see where I came from. It's a part of you, too."
Going to Lima? Maybe there was hope for Cody and Clayton finding a way for Finn and Rachel to meet up. "Wow, Mom, that sounds great!"
Rachel wasn't sure if she wanted to go to Lima, but seeing the look on her son's face told her this was the right choice. She didn't have the courage to tell him she might try to get in touch with Finn, partly because she wasn't sure if she'd have the courage to do it. "I made a hotel reservation for this weekend."
Cody tried to contain his excitement as he gave his mom a big hug. He couldn't wait to tell Clayton. "This is going to be the best weekend ever!"
Rachel just hoped this weekend wouldn't be the biggest disaster ever.
Chapter 9: Return to Lima
Thanks for all your support of this story! So, originally this chapter was a lot longer, but I thought it was too long to just be one chapter and divided it in half. I think you guys will still like it though and I should have the next part of the reunion posted within a few days! Hope you enjoy and comment if you want me to keep going!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Cody went to Kurt and Blaine's apartment. Now that he knew he and his mom were going to Lima, he knew they needed a plan for Finn and Rachel to somehow meet while they were there. They needed something. Clayton didn't know much about Lima and they couldn't ask their parents too much without worrying about their parents getting suspicious.
When Cody knocked on the door, his seven-year-old cousin, Tracy, answered it. "Cody!" she said excitedly, giving him a hug. "You're still here?"
Then it hit Cody. She must not have known about the switch. He'd had this haircut before Clayton did, so maybe she thought Cody was in New York. "Hey Tracy. Are your dads home?"
Then Kurt came out and looked at his nephew as if he didn't know which name to say. "Look Daddy, Cody's here!" Tracy said. She turned to Cody. "Is Uncle Finn here, too?"
"He's still in Ohio," Cody said. He looked up Kurt. "I'm glad you're home."
Kurt looked at his daughter. "Tracy, could you maybe go finish cleaning your room?"
Tracy pouted. "But I want to play with Cody!"
"You can after you finish cleaning your room," Kurt told his daughter.
Tracy pouted again and went down the hall, leaving Cody and Kurt. "So, are you having fun with your mom?" Kurt asked.
"Yeah!" Cody said. "My mom is amazing! She's so beautiful and talented and I love spending time with her! She's gotten me tickets to other shows on Broadway, I'll be going to see Phantom tonight!"
"Is your brother having fun with your dad?" Kurt asked.
"Yeah, they went to a Cavs game with your dad," Cody said. "The only bad part is that Jesse guy my mom had over and then my dad apparently had a woman over who was a bitch."
"Jesse St. Sucks is back?" Kurt gasped. "And your dad is seeing someone too? He didn't tell me!"
Cody groaned. "Yeah, they're both awful. Jesse's so rude and he was insulting my dad and the glee club and couldn't get Clayton's name right, and the woman my dad had over is apparently still obsessed with the fact she and my dad didn't win prom king and queen."
"Quinn," Kurt groaned. "Nobody heard from her since graduation. I'm surprised she's back. She just went off and no one heard from her. I wasn't surprised, she basically looked down on everyone and everything in Lima."
"But all isn't lost," Cody interrupted. "I got my mom to talk about my dad and now she's taking me to Lima this weekend. We just need to find a way to get them to meet up. And Clayton and I figured since you know more than we do, you might be able to help us out."
An idea came to Kurt's mind. "I know what you should do. But you'll need your brother to find a way to get into the school on Saturday. Your parents need to meet up in the auditorium at McKinley." He knew Finn and Rachel probably wouldn't like him telling their son these stories, but it was like him and Blaine and the stairs at Dalton. The auditorium was Finn and Rachel's special place. And anyway, Finn and Rachel shouldn't have done this in the first place. Kurt knew Rachel was suspicious. She'd told him how confused she was that he wanted to go to all these Broadway shows and that he didn't seem to care that he was injured right before the league championship.
Mr. Schue looked up from his desk. "Hey, Cody. What's up?"
Clayton wasn't sure if this was a good idea. Cody said that he thought Mr. Schue would be willing to help them, but Clayton wasn't so sure. What if Mr. Schue told Finn? "Would it be possible to open up the choir room or the auditorium on Saturday? I know the school will be unlocked since there are some games..."
Mr. Schue looked confused. "Maybe. What's going on?"
How was Clayton supposed to say something without giving things away? "I have some relatives coming from out of town and I wanted to show them the auditorium and the choir room, if I'm feeling better, maybe give them an encore."
Mr. Schue looked excited. "Kurt and Blaine? Your dad didn't mention they were coming! I'd love to see them!"
Clayton paused. "It's different relatives. And it's a surprise visit, my dad doesn't know." That was true.
Mr. Schue looked at Clayton. "Okay..."
Clayton tried to think of something to say. There was no guarantee the auditorium would be unlocked unless they asked. At his school, everything was locked on weekends except the bathrooms when there were weekend games.
"Are you okay, Cody?" Mr. Schue asked. "Your dad said you don't seem very excited about winning nationals and that you've been a bit nervous lately."
Crap. So Finn had noticed something was up. Clayton and Cody had trained each other as best they could to be each other, but there was the fear of slipping up and they couldn't cover everything. "Yeah, I'm fine. My dad didn't mention that he was concerned to me."
"He probably wants to give you some space," Mr. Schue said. "But I think we've all noticed you've been acting a bit differently since we got back from New York. I think we all thought you'd be more excited than anyone. I remember when we won the first time and no one was more excited than your..."
In the short time Clayton had been here, he thought Mr. Schuester was someone to be trusted. "My mom? I know who she is. My dad showed me the video of Nationals their junior year." Should he say that it was his mom who was coming? Should he reveal his true identity? "She's actually coming this weekend and we want them to meet up in the auditorium, but please don't tell my dad."
Mr. Schue carefully looked at the boy standing across from him. "We? So that means you know..." Or was it Cody who was standing there?
"I'm not Cody. I'm Clayton. Cody and I met up in New York and we switched places after Nationals. He's in New York with our mom."
Mr. Schue looked teary. "It's so good to finally meet you, Clayton." He came over and gave Clayton a hug. "How's your mom? I haven't seen her since she graduated, but I went to New York for all her plays. She's one of this club's biggest success stories."
Clayton smiled. "She's doing great. Like you said, she's made quite the name for herself on Broadway. And she's an amazing mom." As much as he had enjoyed spending time with Finn, he did miss Rachel.
"So this is why 'Cody' couldn't perform," Mr. Schue said.
Clayton laughed. "Yeah, I think he got all the genes for singing."
"I'll make sure the auditorium's open," Mr. Schue said.
Cody looked at the text on his phone. "Your plane gets in at noon tomorrow, you said?"
"Yeah," Cody typed his reply. "I'm so excited to see you and for Mom and Dad to see each other again!"
A text came back from Clayton. "Okay, since Dayton's about an hour from Lima, make sure you somehow get Mom to McKinley by two, and I'll have Dad there already."
Cody couldn't believe this was actually happening. Thanks to the information Kurt had given him and the help they'd gotten from Mr. Schue, they knew the perfect place for the reunion to happen. And then after Finn and Rachel saw each other, they'd join their parents and reveal that they'd orchestrated the reunion.
Of course, there was still one thing on both their minds that neither of them wanted to say out loud. What if they'd been reading their parents wrong? What if they just had a soft spot for each other, but thought it was time to move on? They didn't want to have to say goodbye to each other again or to the parents that they hadn't known before. Visits could probably be arranged, but it wouldn't be the same.
Rachel was pacing around her room. Seeing how excited her son was told her this was what they should do, but she still wasn't sure. What if it was too hard to be there? What if she didn't see Finn and Cody? What if she saw them and Cody hated her or Finn was married to someone else?
Cody went into his mom's room. "Mom, need me to help pack?" He could tell by looking at her that she was nervous about going to Lima.
Rachel was kind of embarrassed. "I think I'll be fine, honey. It's just that I haven't been to Lima in so long..."
Cody tried to hold in a comment about his dad. "I think we're going to have fun. I actually did some research. McKinley's baseball team has a game tomorrow, so maybe the school will be open."
Rachel froze. He'd done a lot of research lately. But she'd kept so much from him. And she doubted the school would be open on a Saturday. She knew going into the choir room and the auditorium would probably be too much. When Clayton had games, all the classrooms were locked and there were bathrooms close to the fields. Maybe seeing the school would just satisfy him. She doubted it, though. "We'll see."
Cody couldn't resist a big smile. He hoped Rachel didn't notice.
But Rachel did notice. She thought maybe being in another location would be good for him. He hadn't really been himself lately. Had something happened to upset him? He said his back hurt, but he didn't seem hurt. And since when did he want to go to so many shows? His appetite was even different. "How's your back feeling?"
"It's starting to feel better, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to play yet," Cody said. They'd figure something out. Today at school one of the guys from the baseball team asked him if he was feeling better because they'd need him for the league championship game next weekend.
The doorbell rang and Cody had a bad idea he knew who it was. Sure enough, he went to the door and Jesse St. James was there. "Hi, Camden," he said. "Is your mom home?"
Cody rolled his eyes. "It's Clayton."
The last thing Rachel needed was another confrontation between her son and her sort-of-boyfriend. "What are you doing here, Jesse?"
"Do I need an excuse to visit?" Jesse asked, leaning in to kiss Rachel.
Rachel pushed back, not noticing Cody's grin when he saw his Mom resist the kiss.
"I kind of need to finish packing for Lima," Rachel said, hoping Jesse would leave.
Jesse got a look of disgust. "Lima? Rachel, you need to leave your past behind."
Trying to leave her past behind was why Rachel was living this lie and she hated it. "Clayton deserves to see where I come from. He's been asking to go his whole life."
Jesse gave Cody a fake smile. "You live in New York, Christian. The greatest city on Earth. Why would you want to go to boring old Lima? They don't even have any sports teams near there and that's what you're into."
Rachel was getting fed up with Jesse calling her son by the wrong name. "I just used his name, and you forget it?" Was he using the wrong name to annoy him?
Again, Jesse tried to lean in to kiss Rachel. "I'm sorry."
And again, Rachel pushed back. "Jesse, Clayton is here. I don't want to make him uncomfortable."
This was another reason they had to go to Lima - to get Rachel to forget about Jesse.
Clayton tried to think of a way to tell his dad they had to get to McKinley tomorrow. "Dad?"
Finn looked over at his son. The Cavs game had gone to a commercial break. To his surprise, his son not only wanted to watch the game with him, but was intently watching it. "Yeah?"
"We don't have anything planned tomorrow, right?" Clayton asked.
"Right," Finn said.
"Well, next week, we're being honored by the school board for winning Nationals, and I really wanted to practice," Clayton said, trying to channel Cody and his mom. "Since my throat's been bothering me, I was worried I may not be at my best and I'd like to practice in the auditorium, because that's where we'll be performing..." He had some superstitions with sports, did Cody have them, too?
Finn had been worried that his son hadn't been acting like himself, but he still had his superstitions. Just like Rachel did. "Yeah, of course. I'll see if we can get you the auditorium..."
"I already talked to Mr. Schue," Clayton interrupted. "And can you come with me? Give me some feedback?"
Finn had been waiting for an encore of his son's winning performance at Nationals. "Yeah, of course."
Clayton tried not to look too excited. "Great, thanks, Dad." He got out his phone to text Cody. It was on.
Finn waited for his son to wake up. Usually Cody was up before he was, but this morning he was sleeping in. Maybe he was tired from New York still. Finn asked himself, should he prepare breakfast? Every day this week, his son had eaten dry cereal with fruit on it, a difference from Cody's usual cereal with milk. He wasn't sure what time his son wanted to get to McKinley, but maybe they could do some more hanging out this weekend. He was looking forward to seeing an encore of the Nationals-winning performance.
He heard the doorbell ring and had a feeling it was Quinn. They hadn't gotten together since her disastrous visit the other day, but she'd constantly been texting and calling him. She'd even shown up at McKinley during her lunch break. Finn wasn't sure if he should be with someone his son disliked this much. Of course, it seemed like his son wasn't willing to give her a chance, but she wasn't making things easy.
Sure enough, Finn's phone went off and it was a text from Quinn. He rolled his eyes. "Are you up yet? I see your light is on and your car is in the driveway."
Finn felt a little freaked out. He thought about whether he should reply to the text when the doorbell rang again. As soon as Finn opened the door, Quinn leaned in and kissed him deeply.
Clayton usually liked to sleep late on days he didn't have school or practice, but today was a big day. Their parents were going to see each other again. His alarm went off, but there was a text from Cody, saying they were off to the airport. Clayton tried to hold in his excitement. He was sure he and Cody had come up with the perfect plan for their parents to reunite.
However, his smile quickly went away when he went downstairs and saw Quinn kissing his dad. "Good morning, Dad. Good morning, Quinn."
Crap. Finn already didn't like what had happened and now his son had seen it. And he saw how disgusted his son looked. "Good morning, Cody." He turned to Quinn. "Maybe you could have asked before doing that?"
"I wanted to remind you of how much you liked that in high school," Quinn said.
Finn hadn't really liked it. Not like he liked Rachel's.
"So, what are you doing here?" Clayton asked Quinn. He'd tried to be polite, but he wasn't happy to see her.
"I know we got off to a bad start the other day, Cole, but I was thinking the three of us could hang out today," Quinn said. She gave Clayton a fake smile, but he saw right through it.
Was Quinn calling Cody by the wrong name to annoy him? "It's Cody," Finn said. "And he and I have plans for today. And I'd appreciate if you'd call before coming over."
"I tried calling, but you weren't answering, so I just came over," Quinn said. She turned back to Clayton. "Can I join you and your dad?"
Clayton shook his head. "I want time alone with my dad. I haven't gotten much time with him since I got back from New York." He had fifteen years to make up for. As did all four Hudsons.
"You're not a little boy anymore," Quinn snapped. "It's not just you and your dad anymore."
Finn didn't like the way Quinn was talking to his son. "The woman who's still obsessed with prom king and queen tells a boy who wants to hang out with his dad that he's not a little boy anymore."
Clayton wished he could have had his phone out to record what Finn just said and send it to Cody.
"Quinn, could you please go?" Finn asked. "I think you're making Cody uncomfortable."
Quinn glared at Clayton before leaving the house.
"I'm sorry about that," Finn said to Clayton. "But we'll have fun today."
Clayton had no idea what his dad saw in Quinn then or now, but he knew that she'd be forgotten once Finn saw Rachel this afternoon.
Rachel told herself she'd never return here. It was too painful. There were too many memories, too many reminders of the mistakes she'd made and what could have been. As the plane touched down in Dayton, Rachel asked herself again if she was making the right choice by making this trip. She was still mad at herself for not getting the courage to call Finn. Maybe they'd run into him, but she knew she had to call him before they left Lima.
She was afraid. What if Finn didn't want to hear from her? What if he didn't want her to meet Cody?
Rachel was practically shaking the whole time she was on the plane and she was surprised she was able to keep her eyes on the road. She kept hoping for a delay or something. She wasn't sure how things were going to go this weekend. It was rare for her to get nervous. She'd performed for some of the biggest names in the world and some big audiences. She'd built the life she'd thought she'd always wanted, but it was incomplete, and this weekend, she'd be reminded of why it was incomplete.
Her son had been asking her questions about Lima during the flight. To her relief, he hadn't been asking about his dad. He'd asked about basically everyone else in the glee club and the songs they'd sang, and it was hard to talk about those people and things without thinking of Finn. She hoped everyone else in the glee club was doing well. She missed them. Brittany had her on Fondue for Two a few years back, and Rachel and Clayton had visited Brittany, Santana and their son and daughter that weekend. They saw Kurt, Blaine and their kids occasionally, though not as much as Rachel would like. They'd gone to see Mercedes when she came in from LA to perform at Madison Square Garden, but that was before their daughter was born. They'd never met Tina and Mike's son either since they were in Chicago, or Artie and Kitty's son since they were in LA as well. There were the likes and comments on each other's posts on social media, but that was the extent of most of the relationships now. And that made Rachel sad.
The worst part was that she didn't even have that with Finn and that she didn't know anything about Cody. And she wasn't sure if this weekend would improve things or make them worse.
Maybe this was a mistake, she told herself, as they drove past the sights she hadn't seen in years that were still so familiar.
"You're being quiet, Mom," Cody said.
Of course he noticed. "Sorry, Clay. It's just that it's been so long and there are a lot of memories coming back."
There would be even more memories coming back. "I'm sure." Cody's phone vibrated with a text from Clayton. He and Finn were on his way to McKinley.
Rachel took a deep breath. "So, we're a few blocks from McKinley... I know you wanted to see it." Was this going to be the biggest mistake of her life?
"Yeah!" Cody said excitedly. He sent a text to Clayton with an update.
Rachel hoped for red lights, but they didn't happen. Soon enough, they were by McKinley High, the place where she and Finn had met and fallen in love and shared so many memories. Rachel felt ready to cry.
Cody tried to pretend he'd never seen the school before. "Wow! It's so much bigger than my school!" That was true.
Rachel forced a smile. "Yeah."
By now, Finn and Clayton had to be at McKinley. "Mom, like I said, the doors might be unlocked because of the baseball game, can we check?"
Rachel didn't want to, but she owed her son this much. "Sure." She pulled into the parking lot, struggling to control her emotions. "I can't believe we're here."
Cody looked at Rachel looking like she was going to cry. He put his arm around his mom. "What are you thinking about?" He was sure he knew.
"My time here," Rachel admitted. The good times, the bad times, the seemingly insignificant times with Finn.
Cody noticed the door was open. "Let's go in."
Even being in the hall was bringing back memories. It probably wasn't a coincidence that they were parked near the entrance closest to the auditorium. Rachel thought about all the times she and Finn walked down this hall, hand in hand. And looking down the hall, she could tell the auditorium was open. She knew she had to show him the auditorium. "How about we go see the auditorium?" Rachel asked.
Cody knew that Rachel wouldn't be able to resist. "Sounds good, Mom, can I just use the bathroom first?"
Against her better judgement, Rachel couldn't wait another moment to go back in there. "Yeah, it's down the hall, maybe meet me there."
Cody sent Clayton a quick text before he ran to the bathroom. He stood at the edge of the door as he watched Rachel walk down the hall before he ran to meet Clayton in the choir room.
Almost as soon as Finn and Clayton arrived at McKinley and got to the auditorium, Clayton got a text from Cody that he and Rachel had arrived from New York. He told Finn to wait for him in the auditorium before he went to the choir room to meet Cody. "Oh my gosh, you're here!" Cody exclaimed, hugging his brother. "Mom's on her way to the auditorium!"
"Dad's already there!" Clayton said. "It's happening!"
"Yeah," Cody said. "I missed you."
"I missed you, too," Clayton said. It had only been a week, but it felt like they'd had each other their whole lives. "We should go hide in the wings and see how Mom and Dad react to seeing each other."
"Let's go," Cody said, leading his brother to the backstage entrance entrance to the auditorium.
Finn paced around the auditorium, waiting for his son to get back. Being in the auditorium always brought back memories. This was where he and Rachel had their first date. She'd set up that picnic for them and told him he could kiss her if he wanted to. And he wanted to.
He still wanted to.
Then he heard the door open. He thought it was his son, back from getting whatever he needed in the choir room, but even from the other end of the auditorium, he was sure he knew who this was. Despite the fact that it had been fifteen years, he'd recognize Rachel anywhere. She was just as beautiful as he remembered. Even more beautiful, if possible.
Was it really her? Or was he hallucinating? He closed his eyes and then reopened them. She was still there. And now she was looking at him. He was shocked. He didn't think she'd ever come back to Lima. She knew her dads had moved to New York to help with Clayton, so it's not like she needed to come back. Clayton. How was he? Was he here, too? Did Rachel know Finn still lived here? Did she want to meet Cody? Because Finn definitely wanted Rachel to meet Cody and he wanted to meet Clayton.
When Rachel went into the auditorium, she was shocked to see that someone else was there. At the same time, she wasn't shocked. Finn was here. She was already was struggling to manage her emotions. Now she didn't have to worry about working up the courage to call Finn since he was right here. She had to work up the courage to talk to him instead. She didn't know how he felt about her now. She didn't know if he'd be angry to see that she was here. Looking at him, he didn't look angry. He looked shocked, but not upset. Maybe that meant he'd be open to talking to her, to meeting Clayton, to letting her meet Cody? "Finn?" Rachel managed to say.
Finn looked at the face of the woman he still loved. "Rachel..."
Neither of them knew what else to say. They just stared into each other's eyes, not knowing their sons were watching them from the wings of the stage.
Finchel have seen each other again and there will be a lot more Finchel and Finchel with both their sons from here on out!
Chapter 10: Finchel Reunion
Here it is - the Finchel reunion chapter! I'm really happy with how it turned out. There will be a lot more Finchel in upcoming chapters, and a lot more of Finchel with both the boys. Another thing - since I'm having so much fun writing, I'm thinking of doing updates twice a week instead of once a week, what do you guys think of that? As always, I appreciate all your support! Hope you guys enjoy this chapter and leave me a review to let me know what you think!
"It's good to see you," Rachel managed to say. What else was she supposed to say? I miss you? I still love you? I'm sorry about everything that happened? He was still so handsome, just like Clayton, and hopefully, just like Cody.
Finn could tell Rachel was just as shocked as he was. But he wasn't surprised they'd met up in the auditorium, their special place. "It's good to see you too." He asked the other question that came to his mind as soon as he saw Rachel. "How's Clayton?" Was he here, too? If he wasn't here, would Rachel at least be willing to show him a photo or something? He missed him so much.
"He's great, I actually made this trip so he could see Lima," Rachel admitted. "He just had to go to the bathroom, but I'm sure he'll be back soon." Then she asked Finn the question she'd been wondering for fifteen years. "What about Cody? How's he?"
Clayton was here? In this building? Finn felt himself becoming overwhelmed with emotion. "He's doing great. He just won MVP at Nationals. He told me that the glee club would be performing today, so that's why we're here, but no one else is here yet..." He couldn't distract himself from the fact that he was in the same building as his other son. "Can I meet Clayton?" He hated that he had to ask that.
Rachel felt her heart swelling with pride. Cody had won MVP at Nationals? "Oh my God, that's amazing. I really, really want to meet him, Finn. I kept chickening out of looking you up before I came here, but I don't think we can keep this from the boys any longer."
"We shouldn't," Finn agreed. "Cody's just like you, Rachel. He was singing from the time he could talk. I think he has almost every Broadway hit memorized. He's such a hard worker, both in school and with music. He's already decided he wants to go to NYADA. His performance at Nationals was amazing, you would've been so proud."
"Do you think maybe he could give me an encore?" Rachel asked. "I'm so happy he sings. Though with our DNA, I'm not surprised. Clayton doesn't, so it is possible. He is a drummer, though, in the school band. And this year, he made quarterback as a freshman, made starting five on the basketball team as a freshman, made starting pitcher as a freshman. He reminds me so much of you. I feel like this is my way of experiencing the first fifteen years of your life, what he was like as a child has to be what you were like. Not just the sports and the drums, but he has your half smile and your goofiness and your height and he's just so kind. And he kicks over chairs when he's mad." She managed a laugh. Was she talking too much?
"Wow," Finn gasped. "Nationals were in New York this year. I was kind of wondering if Cody would run into you or Clayton."
Cody had just been in New York? Rachel wished she could've gone to see him perform. "Well, we're here now. And Clayton's been acting a bit unlike himself lately, so I think coming to Ohio might be good for him."
"What do you mean?" Finn asked. "Cody's been acting differently, too. Burt and I took him to a Cavs game and he got so into the game, not like I'd ever seen before. He usually talks nonstop about the competitions the glee club wins, but he hasn't talked much about winning Nationals or MVP. And you mentioned kicking over chairs - he did that for the first time the other night." Now probably wasn't a good time to say why.
"Well, Clayton claims his back hurts and he can't play baseball, but he's acting fine, so I think something's up," Rachel said. "And he wants to see a bunch of Broadway shows and has become quite the critique..." Then a thought came to her mind. "Oh my God."
Suddenly, Finn thought of something. Something so crazy he wasn't sure if he should say it out loud. "Rachel, do you think maybe they did meet up in New York somehow?"
Rachel didn't know how, but it was possible. "I didn't think I should say it out loud because it seems impossible... but I think maybe for the past week Cody's been with me and Clayton's been with you." How had she not thought of this before? Her son hadn't been himself lately. It all made sense now, like in that old movie. The boys had somehow met in New York and switched places.
Finn was glad Rachel didn't think he was crazy. Then again, this was Rachel, she never thought he was crazy. There were millions of people in New York, what were the odds of the boys running into each other? "I think you might be right."
Listening to their parents' conversation, the boys shared a look. Should they go join them? Or let their parents talk more? It was clear that they still had feelings for each other and were happy to see each other.
"If we hadn't done this, they wouldn't have felt the need to do what they did," Rachel said sadly. She wished they hadn't done this, that all four of them could have been a family for the past fifteen years. "I worry that Cody hates me. If we're right, it's been so wonderful having him here. He's amazing."
"I loved having Clayton here, too," Finn said. "And let's be honest. We know."
"I've missed him so much," Rachel said. She's spent the last fifteen years thinking about her other baby boy, missing him, worrying about him, wondering about him, loving him. And he'd been with her for the past week. "He's so special, Finn. You did such a great job."
"You did a great job with Clayton, too," Finn said. "He's - he's perfect." He couldn't help but wonder where his sons were. "Where are the boys, I wonder?" Was their theory correct? Things were taking longer than a trip to the choir room or the bathroom would typically take.
The boys figured this might be a good time to join their parents. After asking each other, they stepped on to the stage from the wings. Relieved that their parents didn't seem upset, they figured their parents asking would be a good time to join them. "We're here," Clayton said, not sure what to say. Should they comment on the looks their parents were giving each other? Admit their parents were right?
Finn and Rachel both gasped when they saw the boys standing next to each other. A sight neither of them thought they would ever see, but somehow, they were seeing. Rachel felt tears coming to her eyes as she looked at the boys. Finn also found himself fighting back tears.
"Cody?" Rachel said tearfully.
"Clayton?" Finn gasped.
"We heard the whole thing," Cody said. "And yeah, you guys are right. We met. I've been with Mom for a week and Clayton's been with Dad. We met the first day I was in New York. I really wanted to sing on a Broadway stage, so I snuck into the theatre when I saw the door was open. The usher thought I was Clayton and led me to Mom's dressing room and then he came in."
Finn and Rachel's hearts swelled at the sight of their sons standing together. "I suspected something was up, and then the next day, Cody was rehearsing at my school," Clayton continued. "We ran into each other and then we talked some more and figured everything out."
Rachel looked at Cody. "I can't believe you did the same thing I did the first time I went to New York." He really was her son. She began sobbing. "Oh, Cody, I thought I'd lost you forever." She pulled him in for a hug, pulling Clayton in as well so she could hug both her sons at the same time. She then turned to Finn. "Look at them. Look how perfect they are."
Finn didn't even try controlling his tears anymore. "I thought I'd never see you again, Clayton." He went over to hug the son he'd missed so much and wondered about for the past fifteen years, the boy who'd been living with him for the past week. "You're so grown up." He then pulled Cody over before Rachel could grab the boys again.
"I am growing up, and I don't have a dad to talk about those guy things with," Clayton said, hoping Finn and Rachel would start picking up hints.
Cody picked up on his brother's cue. "And I'm quite without a mother. There's so much you can teach me, Mom, so much only you can teach me."
Those were the words Rachel had used when she asked Shelby to come back into her life. And she didn't want to say goodbye to Cody again. "We're sorry," Rachel managed to say. "I don't know how to justify what we did because it wasn't right and I didn't want to do it. A relationship counselor suggested it and we thought we'd try it, but I hated it. Clayton, we were just existing for the past fifteen years, we were getting by, but we weren't living. I missed your dad and your brother so much."
Finn was glad Rachel had found the right thing to say. "I don't know why we agreed to it. I hated knowing that you two weren't together and I hated not having any contact with your mom and missing so much in Clayton's life."
Rachel couldn't believe Finn had said he missed her. The boys exchanged a look that Rachel noticed. "I missed you too, Finn."
Rachel had missed him? "I don't want to lose you again," Rachel told Finn. She looked over at Cody. "Either of you."
"I don't know how I didn't have a brother for fifteen years," Cody added.
"Yeah, we've known each other for a week and it feels like forever," Clayton said.
"You two won't lose each other or either of us again," Finn said. "We'll figure something out." But what? Would Rachel want to give things another try?
Rachel looked over at Finn. She wanted so badly to try again. "We can talk later about what comes next, but the four of us have never spent time together. And I'd love to see an encore of Cody's MVP winning performance."
"I can show you videos from Sectionals and Regionals, too," Cody said. "I've listened to the music from all your shows and I always felt a connection. Maybe somehow, I knew."
"Yeah, congrats on your five Tonys," Finn added. "I always knew you'd do it. So, where are you staying?"
Rachel tried to hold in a smile. Luckily, Finn's next question could take her mind off the right and wrong things to say. "Well..."
"How about you stay at our house?" Cody asked. "We have a guest room."
"One guest room," Finn said.
"Well, I don't mind sleeping in Cody's room," Clayton said. "Mom can have the guest room." He didn't mind sleeping in Cody's room, that was true. But it would be pretty great for their parents to sleep in the same room.
Finn loved the idea of having Rachel and both the boys at the house, but what if Rachel was uncomfortable with it? "If everyone's okay with it, it would be great to have you stay at the house..."
"Yeah!" Cody added. "And yeah, Clayton can sleep in my room. He's been sleeping there for the past week anyway." He looked over at his father. "I missed you, Dad."
"I missed you too, I take it you liked New York?" Finn said.
"I loved it!" Cody said. "Of course the best part was meeting my mom and brother, but Mom got me tickets to see a show on Broadway every night I was with her! I got to see Mom's show and meet her co-stars. And Clayton said I was better at Nationals than the guy who played Evan on Broadway and after seeing the show, I can say he was right."
Finn and Rachel were both touched knowing Clayton went to see Cody perform at Nationals. "You went to see your brother?" Rachel asked Clayton.
Clayton went over to hug Rachel. "Yeah, I did. He's so talented, Mom. And by the way, I missed you, too."
"I missed you," Rachel said. "Though you two trained each other pretty well to be each other, even though you did slip up. I was a bit surprised you wanted to go to all those Broadway shows and didn't seem to be bothered that your back was hurting."
"And that 'Cody' got so into the Cavs game we went to and wasn't talking much about Nationals," Finn added. He looked around the auditorium, still finding it hard to believe that he and Rachel and both their boys were here. It made sense. Like Rachel said when they had their last breakup, all roads lead back here. He turned to the boys. "Your mom and I have a lot of history here."
Cody and Clayton grinned at each other. Mr. Schue and Kurt had told them this much, but they thought Finn and Rachel might bite their tongues. "Really?" Clayton asked, pretending to be surprised.
"Tell us!" Cody tried to hold in his enthusiasm.
"This is where we first sang together and first really met," Rachel began. "When your dad first joined the glee club. That day we were singing 'You're The One That I Want' from Grease and I got so into the performance. I think I freaked your dad out a little."
That was the first song Finn and Rachel had sang together? "I played Danny in a community theatre production of Grease last summer!" Cody said. "And you two sang that song together as your first song?"
Finn couldn't control the memories that were coming back to him. "I asked your mom to work with me on my singing after our first few glee practices, and she set up a picnic for us in the auditorium."
Finn and Rachel didn't realize they were giving their sons fuel. "This is so much better than I imagined," Cody whispered to Clayton.
Rachel was surprised Finn was still willing to talk about that. "That was great! And we had so many great performances here. Don't Stop Believing, when we brought Mr. Schue back when he considered quitting, and then Somebody to Love was a really great one, too."
More videos the boys had seen. "Should we tell them?" Finn asked.
"Tell us what?" Clayton asked.
"When we were seniors in high school, your dad asked me to marry him in here," Rachel said. She wished they had actually gotten married. Yes, they had different goals, but there were lots of people out there with different careers who were married. Being here with Finn was making all those feelings come back. Well, they'd never went away, but now that she was seeing him, they were back in full force. Why hadn't they tried? Why had they given up?
This was not something the boys had been told about. Finn looked at how enthralled his sons looked. "Guys, wait until you have careers to propose to anyone." He didn't really regret it though. He still liked to think one day, he and Rachel would reunite, but was it too late? What if she'd found someone? Quinn didn't mean anything to him. In fact, everyone he'd dated over the past fifteen years just wasn't Rachel and he constantly found himself comparing these women to her. He just wished they could stay here, him, Rachel and their boys. He looked over at Rachel and he saw that she was giving him that special look she seemed to have just for him.
Rachel couldn't help but smile when she looked at Finn. "Can you believe it? Both our baby boys together."
"It's incredible," Finn said. "You guys must be tired from traveling, want to come to the house?"
"Before we go, I want to show Mom the trophies from Sectionals, Regionals and Nationals in the choir room," Cody interrupted.
Rachel knew that's exactly what she would've done. "I'd love to see them."
Clayton looked at Finn. "I saw your trophy from the conference championship. You know, I'm #5 in all three of my sports. I see you were, too. Do you think it's a connection of some sort?"
That made Finn so happy. "It must be. I'd love to come see you play."
Clayton wasn't sure what was happening next for their family, but he did know his teammates wanted him to pitch the championship game next weekend. "Next weekend my team is playing for the league championship and I'd like it if you were there. I always thought I got it from you since Mom isn't athletic."
Finn would want to be there, too. What was going to happen after this weekend? The boys did have a school year to finish up... "That would be nice."
"Are you guys coming or not?" Cody called to his father and brother, reminding Rachel so much of herself in high school.
"Yeah, we're coming," Finn said. Finally, he was with the woman he loved and both their sons.
Chapter 11: Breadstix
The day in Lima flew by. Finn and Cody drove Rachel and Clayton around, showing them some of their favorite places to spend time. Finn called Burt and Carole and invited them over to lunch tomorrow, not telling them that Rachel and Clayton would be there. Cody ended up giving Rachel an encore of his performance from Nationals and also showed her the trophy case in the choir room.
Now, the family had gone to Breadstix for dinner. After ordering their food, Clayton and Cody wanted to go to the Breadstix game room, so their parents told them they'd text them when the food arrived. Finn and Rachel watched their sons walk to the game room, talking about who knew what. It would be clear to anyone who passed that these two were brothers. "This is perfect," Finn said.
"It is," Rachel agreed. "I'm so glad they found each other. It makes me feel even worse that we kept them from each other for fifteen years. They could've had this their whole lives."
Finn couldn't help but feel the same way. "I know."
Rachel tried to lighten the mood. "Next weekend, Clayton's going to be pitching in the league championship game. I'm sure it would mean a lot to him if you were there."
"He was telling me about it," Finn said. "I'd love to be there. Maybe we could surprise him?"
"He'd love that," Rachel said. "And since you guys showed us around Lima, maybe I could show you my theatre and some of our favorite places around New York."
"You know, I haven't been to New York since..." Finn paused, thinking of the time he'd gone to New York to get Cody.
"Yeah," Rachel said. She looked down, remembering the day that still haunted her. She was so glad Finn had, for the most part, seemed happy to see her. "It's really nice to see you again, too. I missed you."
"I missed you too," Finn said. He was amazed at how comfortable and how right everything felt after so long. It was as if they'd just seen each other yesterday. "I'm so proud of you. I always knew you'd make it big on Broadway."
Rachel's Broadway success had been a bit tainted by the fact that Finn hadn't been there for it all. "I couldn't have done it without you and the glee club. So, you're teaching at McKinley now?"
"Yeah, I love teaching," Finn said. "And I love working with the glee club, but my life has always felt a bit incomplete." He hoped Rachel would take the hint.
His life was incomplete? Did he mean he missed Clayton and Rachel?
"What's going on? Why is SHE here?"
Finn turned and saw Quinn. Crap. He hadn't thought about her since Rachel arrived. Seeing Rachel again, the way everything still felt so right after so long, reminded Finn of why he never wanted to let her go in the first place. Why had he even agreed to go out with Quinn in the first place?
Rachel was shocked to see Quinn in Lima. It didn't appear that any of their glee friends were in contact with Quinn. She hadn't been in any of the photos from the glee weddings. "Hi, Quinn."
"Hello, Rachel," Quinn said. "It's like I told you in high school, you don't belong here, so why are you here?"
"Don't say that," Finn interrupted. "She has just as much of a right to be here as anyone." The boys would probably be back soon. Should Finn tell Quinn WHY Rachel was here? He looked at Rachel. "I'm sorry."
"Why is she here?" Quinn repeated, clearly intimidated. "And why haven't you been answering my calls and texts all day?"
Finn gulped. "Long story short, Rachel lives in New York with Cody's twin brother. When Cody went to Nationals, he met his brother, and they switched places. So now we're all here, figuring out what our family should do moving forward."
"I think you were doing what you should do," Quinn interrupted. "The way you did it, you both had a child, and you weren't in each other's lives. Come on, Finn, we can finally get what she got in the way of." She looked at Rachel. "It's like I told you, Rachel, you don't belong here. This is how it was always meant to play out. I get Finn and you get heartbroken."
Rachel didn't know what to say. She and Quinn had been getting along their senior year, but now Quinn was acting like the bitchy girl she was their freshman and sophomore years. "No, that's not how things should be. I think Finn and I deserve to have both our sons in our lives and the boys deserve to know each other."
Meanwhile, Clayton and Cody were heading back from the game room. "This is so much better than I thought!" Clayton said.
"I know!" Cody agreed. "This is where people go on dates here in Lima. Dad's taking Mom on a date with us as tagalongs."
"Their faces are full of love, of regret, of longing, of desire," Clayton elaborated. "And at the same time, you'd never think it's been years since they saw each other. They still totally get each other."
Cody nodded in agreement. "And they're telling us more about their relationship! They wouldn't be telling us stuff if they didn't love each other!"
However, the boys' spirits dampened when they saw who was standing by their parents' table. "What's she doing here?!" Cody snapped, knowing this was Quinn without anyone needing to tell him.
Quinn looked at the boys with a look of disgust. "I didn't expect to see my boyfriend here with an ex-girlfriend." She turned to Finn. "So, which one is yours and which one is hers?"
Boyfriend? Rachel's heart dropped. She thought Finn might still like her. Apparently not.
Finn hated those labels. "What we did was a mistake and from now on, we're both going to be in both their lives. Cody's in the blue, Clayton's in the green."
"Boyfriend?" Rachel asked. She'd dreaded that Finn would find someone else. When she spent time with him at McKinley earlier today, she really thought he had feelings for her. She was planning to break things off with Jesse as soon as she got back to New York. She'd thought that they might find a way to make things work. He was making her feel special again, making her feel loved, feel wanted, feel happy. It felt so natural. But he was with someone. Not just anyone, but her old rival. And that hurt.
"It's like I told you, Rachel, I get Finn and you get heartbroken," Quinn repeated.
"Don't say that!" Finn interrupted. What had attracted him to Quinn in the first place?
"And by the way, I think it's pathetic that you're still obsessed with the fact that you and my dad didn't win prom king and queen," Clayton told Quinn.
"You're in your thirties, shouldn't you have moved on from that stupid stuff?" Cody asked.
Quinn smirked. "Want in on a little secret? I actually did win prom queen." She looked at Rachel. "Yeah, you didn't win. Santana and I decided to say that you won because you felt so bad about your NYADA audition."
Rachel's heart dropped. She hadn't won? That special moment she and Finn had that brought her confidence and drive back had been a lie?
"The boys are right, haven't you graduated from high school yet?" Finn asked.
Neither Finn nor Rachel could make out what their sons were mumbling, but Clayton's sounded something like "what a fucking bitch" and Cody's sounded something like "grow up."
Maybe Rachel was just deluding herself. Maybe she and Finn never would get their happy ending. "Finn, I'm pretty tired, I'm going to go to the hotel. Clayton can stay with you at the house, I'm sure the boys want some time together. Maybe tomorrow we can talk about ways for the boys to see each other more going forward." She felt ready to cry and she didn't want to do it in front of Finn, or the boys, or Quinn. She got up to go back to the rental car.
Finn got up to run after her. "Rachel..." He glared at Quinn over his shoulder, leaving her at the table with his sons, both of whom were giving her looks that could kill.
Finn figured the boys could deal with Quinn until he got back. From the beginning, he knew Clayton didn't like her and it was clear Clayton had told Cody everything. At first, Finn thought it might be the typical reaction to a parent dating, like he had right after his mom dating Burt, but Burt was a good person. Quinn wasn't. Right now, Finn's concern was Rachel.
"Rachel!" Finn repeated as Rachel ran toward the rental car.
Rachel felt like her heart had been shattered. She was going to break up with Jesse anyway. She'd never stopped loving Finn. She really, really hoped that they'd get another chance. She was hoping this weekend, they'd get their second chance. She was hoping that they could start over. But he was with someone. Maybe Quinn's prediction was right and Rachel would ultimately get heartbroken. "I'm sorry," Rachel murmured. She felt ready to cry, but she knew she couldn't expect Finn to wait around for her for fifteen years.
"Rachel, listen to me..." Finn pleaded. What was he supposed to say? That Quinn didn't mean anything to him? That he still loved Rachel? That he'd been waiting for this day for fifteen years?
"I'm such an idiot," Rachel thought out loud. "I was the one who went to New York. I held on to hope that some day we could start over, but I should have known you'd find someone. I shouldn't have thought you'd just wait for me. And you know what, Finn, you deserve to be happy. I've always wanted you to be happy, even if it's not with me." Now she felt herself really ready to cry. Maybe Quinn was right and she never would get it right. "I'm sure we'll work something out for the boys. They can come visit us and each other on holidays and long weekends, in the summer, that stuff." Today she'd been under the impression that maybe they could start over and build a life with all four of them. She should be happy. She'd gotten the career she'd always wanted. So why did she feel so empty?
She knew. Because it wasn't just anyone, it was the person who had been her main competition for Finn. She'd only started dating Jesse in the first place because she missed Finn.
"Rachel, I'm sorry, but..." Finn began.
"I'll see you tomorrow, I would love to see your parents, if I'm still welcome," Rachel managed to say. She'd tough it out for the boys' sake. She'd talk to Finn tomorrow and try to work something out for the boys' sake. But right now, she needed time to process everything.
"Of course you are, Rachel, please don't leave," Finn begged.
"I'm really tired, you can tell Clayton to come by the hotel if he wants to pick anything up for tonight," Rachel said. She got in the rental car, trying to see straight ahead through her tears. She'd always held on to hope that one day she and Finn would reunite. They'd come so close and now it was all falling apart again.
Meanwhile, Quinn was being stared down by Cody and Clayton. Neither of them were saying anything, but they hoped their eyes were sending her a message that they knew she was trouble.
"You two need to stay out of grown up business," Quinn said coldly.
"We know you're just using our dad," Clayton shot back. "I don't know what he saw in you then or now. And this is our family, so it's our business."
Cody looked into Quinn's eyes. "We also know that our parents still love each other, and you're deluding yourself if you think our dad has feelings for you. We saw the way our parents were looking at each other and heard the way they were talking to each other today."
Clayton noticed that Quinn was looking intimidated. "We also found the videos of them when they were in high school and we heard the way they talked about each other."
"I get it," Quinn sneered. "You two want your parents together. All kids whose parents aren't together want that. But you're too young to realize that your parents aren't meant to be together. They never should have been together. Even in high school, they probably wouldn't have been together if your dad hadn't done all that singing with your mom. He was the quarterback and I was the head cheerleader, we would've been on top of the social scene if your mom never got in the way. When you're older, you'll understand that. Your mom always belonged in New York and your dad always belonged here." She looked at the boys, trying to give them the ultimate bitch glare.
"Our parents never should have been together?" Clayton repeated. "So you're saying that we shouldn't be here."
Quinn couldn't help but smile at that thought. A smile the boys both noticed.
"You bitch!" Cody practically shouted.
Finn got back in time to see his sons having a confrontation with Quinn. "What's going on here?"
"She basically said we shouldn't be here!" Cody exclaimed. "Talking more about that stupid high school crap and how Mom was always in the way and how you and Mom never should have been together."
Finn felt his anger rising up. He was already mad at Quinn for hurting Rachel, but telling his sons, one of whom had made his life worth living for the past fifteen years and the other who he'd spent fifteen years missing and had finally gotten back in his life, that they should never have existed was the final straw. "Excuse me?"
Quinn tried to give Finn an innocent look. "I didn't mean it."
Finn saw right through that and found himself getting mad for agreeing to go out with Quinn again. "You do not talk that way to my sons."
"They're definitely Rachel's sons, they have her rudeness and her selfishness," Quinn said. "They've been nothing but rude to me since I showed up simply because they can't stand the thought that you belong with me, not Rachel."
"Selfish?" Finn blurted out. "You're one of the most selfish people I've ever met in my life. You're the one who lied to me and said I was the father of your baby because you wanted to be with the quarterback and thought I was your best shot at prom king. And of course, you're still obsessed with prom queen and popularity even though we haven't been in high school for years! And you haven't exactly been nice to them. It's natural for kids to be hesitant when their parent is dating someone."
The boys couldn't believe the story about how Quinn said her baby was Finn's when it was it. "Wait, you told our dad that a baby that wasn't his was his?" Clayton gasped. "Who does that?"
Finn turned to his sons. "Yeah, Quinn and I were dating, but she slept with one of my friends and got pregnant and told me the baby was mine." He turned back to Quinn. "I was hoping you'd grown up, but if anything, you've regressed."
"That's so messed up," Cody said. "But yeah, we're selfish for wanting our parents together when we know they still love each other."
"I knew you were a vindictive harpy from the first time you showed up," Clayton added.
While Rachel said Clayton was like Finn, he'd definitely inherited Rachel's vocabulary. He remembered Rachel using that same phrase and he couldn't help but smile.
Quinn clenched her fists. "You two are selfish, just like your mother and her obsession with solos."
"Our mother is the most talented person in the world, she deserved all the solos, just like I deserve all the solos," Cody said. "And she has five Tony Awards. Yeah, she deserved the solos. Besides, your voice is nasally and you always sound like you have a cold. I doubt you're a very good singer."
Finn resisted the urge to laugh. It definitely didn't help that Clayton was cracking up. "Cody!"
"Oh, sorry," Cody mumbled, but he was only sorry that he'd put his dad in an awkward position.
"He's not sorry," Quinn interrupted. "Why didn't you tell me that she was showing up? Why didn't you tell me about this situation? Now she's not the only one getting in a way, now these things are as well... just keep doing what you're doing, damn it, or better yet, send them both to New York with Rachel."
Finn tried to hold in his anger. "What did you just say? You do NOT insult my sons."
"I was the head cheerleader, I was dating the quarterback, I was the prettiest, most popular girl in school," Quinn rambled. "Then she came along and it all went to hell."
Finn shook his head. "Stop obsessing over high school. I don't know why I thought I'd give things another go with you. Only a completely selfish person would talk that way about children in front of their parents and ask a parent to choose anyone or anything over their own children. I know what you're really like now. You're the exact same person you were 15 years ago. All that matters is you and your reputation. I don't want someone like that in my life or in my sons' lives."
"I don't want them in my life!" Quinn shouted.
"That makes things easy, then," Finn said. "I don't know why I did this in the first place, but I don't want to be with someone who treats my sons like this, who treats their mother like this and who treats me like this. I'm sure you can find some man out there who's obsessed with image and popularity, but I'm not that person. Just leave me alone."
The waiter came over. "What's going on here?"
"Nothing, I was just leaving," Quinn said.
Watching her leave, Finn had a feeling she wasn't sorry at all. He was going to call her later and tell her that he definitely was breaking up with her. Right now, he wanted to salvage the evening with the boys, maybe see if Rachel would join them later.
Clayton decided to break the silence. "Sorry we got a bit mouthy."
"What he's saying is, we're sorry if we embarrassed you and caused a scene, but we're not sorry for putting that bitch in her place," Cody corrected.
Clayton shrugged. "Pretty much. We know you still love Mom. And we know Mom still loves you."
Finn smiled at his sons. They were both so perfect. He felt so sad about the thought of having to return to not seeing Clayton every day. "I love you two."
"We know, and we know you love Mom, too," Cody replied.
Finn paused. Of course he still loved Rachel. "Guys, it's not that simple." How he wished it was.
"You're not denying it," Cody pointed out.
"Your mom has a life and a job in New York and I have a life and a job here," Finn sighed. "Not to mention you two both have lives. I don't know what's going to happen, but I will promise that we'll work something out. You two aren't going to lose each other or either of us." How he wished they could start a life together, full-time, all four of them.
Why were their parents giving up so easily? The boys could tell what their parents had was special, why weren't they fighting for it?
Finn didn't know what to say. Of course the boys knew. They were his children. They were Rachel's children. And that meant one thing: they weren't going to give up.
Rachel felt like throwing up. The thought that Finn would be with someone had always been there. She knew it would hurt, but this hurt a million times more. This was probably the single person who would hurt most.
Would Finn want to move to New York? She didn't know. He'd been a bit overwhelmed by it when he came in October 2012. And Rachel loved New York. But she would be willing to move back to Lima if it meant the whole family would be together. Her Tony wins hadn't been as meaningful because she didn't have Finn and Cody to share them with. But would either of the boys be willing to pack up and move and start at a new school? Rachel didn't know.
Maybe she and Finn weren't meant to be. She always thought they were, but maybe they weren't. Maybe she should just cherish the times they had in high school and be thankful that he helped her bring the boys into the world. Would she have been happy if she just stayed in Lima and didn't pursue her ambitions? She didn't know. She knew what happened to Mr. Schue and his high school sweetheart. But she thought Finn was more than a high school sweetheart. Why did life have to be so complicated?
She picked up her phone and dialed Jesse's number. Jesse picked up after the first ring. "I bet you're so bored in Lima, I don't even know why you took Cameron there," Jesse vented. "I was going to call you anyway, I was nominated for a Tony and so were you! Imagine if we win Best Actor and Best Actress! We'll be the hottest couple on Broadway!"
Of course, all Jesse wanted to talk about was fame. She was nominated for another Tony and yet she felt no sense of satisfaction. "I was actually calling to talk to you. I don't think this is working."
"Because Creighton doesn't like me?" Jesse asked. "He'll be going to college in a few years anyway."
Rachel scoffed. "First of all, you don't respect my son, constantly calling him by the wrong name. To annoy me? To annoy him? I don't know. But regardless of what he thinks, I shouldn't have done this. The way you're supposed to feel about a person you're with - I don't feel that way about you."
"You saw him, didn't you?" Jesse demanded.
Yes, she'd seen him. Now there probably wasn't any hope. "He lives in Lima and I live in New York, so even if I were to see him, that would be irrelevant."
"Why did you like him in the first place?" Jesse demanded. "He's nothing special, just a Lima loser with no direction in life. Meanwhile, you and I could become the hottest couple on Broadway! You were always destined to get out of Lima and he was always destined to be stuck there."
Rachel was tired of hearing Jesse trash the man she still loved. "Can you stop it? You ask why I don't want to be with you? I don't want to be with you because this is what you're like! You don't even like me, you want a trophy girlfriend! And you're right. I don't want to date a man who treats my son the way you treat my son." Should she tell him the full story? "And yes, I saw Finn. By the way, did I ever mention to you that Clayton has a twin brother?"
"What?" Jesse asked. "Is this brother living with Finn then?"
Rachel hated talking about the situation. Before she came to Lima, she hoped they'd be able to reunite and be a family, like they should have been all along. "Yes, Clayton came to New York with me and Cody stayed in Lima with Finn. Cody was just in New York for Nationals and they met up and switched places. Until we got to Lima, Finn and I didn't know, and we're trying to make a plan for them to see each other more."
"So that was Finn's who was so obnoxious," Jesse began. "Well when you get back..."
"Just stop it already, I'm done with you!" Rachel shouted before hanging up the phone. When she hung up the phone, she saw a text from Clayton, asking what her room number was. She replied to the text, vowing to put on a brave face for the boys, even though she was dying on the inside.
Chapter 12: New Directions mini reunion
Finn was quiet as he drove the boys to the hotel. He wasn't sure what to say and he could tell they were both upset as well. They'd told him they wanted to pick some things up for the night. Finn wished Rachel could spend the night too and that they could talk, realize this was a misunderstanding. They really hadn't tried being together as adults yet. But could they do it, since they had lives established in different states?
Neither of the boys were talking, either. Finn pulled into the hotel parking lot and told the boys he'd wait outside. Maybe it was for the best that he not see Rachel right now.
"This isn't how it's supposed to be!" Clayton told Cody as they walked down the hall of the hotel. "I mean, Dad broke up with her, but there's also that guy in New York. Everything was going well until she showed up."
"She's such a bitch," Cody agreed. His phone vibrated. When he looked, he saw it was a notification from the Broadway World app. "Clayton, Mom was nominated for a Tony!" He loved the idea of getting to go to the Tony Awards. Knowing Finn would probably want to know, he screencapped the notification and sent it to Finn.
"I'm sure that'll cheer her up," Clayton said, knocking on the door.
Rachel swallowed the lump in her throat. She had to be strong for the boys. When she went to the door, she immediately felt better seeing them together, a sight she never thought she'd see. She pulled them both in for a hug. "I'm sorry I ran off like that."
"She's gone, so you don't have to worry about her anymore," Clayton told his mother. "We put her in her place."
Rachel sighed. "You two should want your father to be happy, even if it's not with me." Had she just admitted to her sons that she still loved Finn? What difference did it make, anyway? She doubted Finn would want to get back together.
"Mom, he wasn't happy with her," Clayton rambled. "I saw the way she treated him. He was afraid of her. I think it's pretty clear Dad still likes you. And we know you still like him, too."
Yes, she did. But it wasn't that simple. Not like in the movies, where people can just pick up where they left off. They'd spent fifteen years apart and a lot could change in fifteen years. Rachel just took each of her sons' hands in hers, still feeling overwhelmed by the day's events.
Meanwhile, Finn was pacing outside the hotel. The boys had said they wanted to pick some things up, but they were taking longer than expected. Knowing them, this was probably a plot to get him to go in and talk to Rachel. He wanted to talk to Rachel, especially after the disaster at Breadstix. The boys had also told him Rachel's room number. He went into the building and into Rachel's room, where he saw Rachel sitting on the bed with the boys. "Hi, Rachel."
Rachel looked up at Finn. She wasn't expecting him to come in, but at the same time, she wasn't surprised. "Hi, Finn." Maybe she shouldn't have run out like that. "I'm sorry I ran off..."
"We'll give you two some privacy," Cody said, leading his brother out of the room. Really, they were just planning to stand by the door of the room and try to hear what their parents said to each other.
Finn gulped. "I never should have dated her again in the first place. I'm guessing the boys filled you in?"
Rachel smiled. "Yeah, they did. Still, I feel bad for missing a dinner with you and the boys."
"We didn't eat," Finn admitted. "I don't know if we should go back to Breadstix, but maybe we could go back to my place."
Rachel looked up at Finn. "Yeah, that sounds good."
Finn tried to lighten things. "Cody got a notification that you were nominated for another Tony."
With everything that happened today, Rachel didn't feel as excited as she should. "Yeah."
Finn always knew Rachel would make it. "That's amazing."
Rachel thought about how her first five awards had felt incomplete. "I'd love to have you and Cody there."
"I'm sure Cody would love to go to the Tonys," Finn said. "And then there was that thing we talked about earlier." He didn't want to say, because he wanted to surprise Clayton and he had a feeling the boys were listening outside. "Cody's got a week left of school, we should work something out for them to spend some time together this summer. I don't think we can split them up again. They truly love each other now. I can't say goodbye to Clayton again either. He's so incredible, Rach. You did such a great job."
Rachel would love to have Finn and Cody at the Tonys. In fact, she wished they could just all start a life together. "We should definitely find a way to spend some time together this summer. And I don't want to lose Cody again, either. He's just amazing. I wish we hadn't done this in the first place. I feel sad when I think about all the things I missed in Cody's life."
"We can work out the legal stuff later, we should just enjoy the rest of this weekend," Finn said. He'd moved closer to Rachel and was so tempted to hug her, to kiss her, to hold her hand, like the old days. But did she still feel that way about him? Or was she just happy to see him as a person?
It was taking Rachel everything she could to hold back from snuggling up to Finn. "I'm sorry." Not just for tonight, for everything. She was sorry she made him feel inferior when they broke up back in October 2012, she was sorry she didn't fight harder, she was sorry she didn't fight the relationship counselor's suggestion that she hated.
"I'm sorry," Finn told Rachel. She was still so beautiful and she still looked at him in that special way. He wished so badly that he hadn't given up so easily.
They sat quietly for a few moments before Rachel spoke again. "I'm glad to see you've been doing well. Cody turned out amazing and that says a lot. And you're such a great leader, it doesn't surprise me that you're a teacher. You've always had that special way of connecting with people."
"I can say the same for you," Finn said. "I always knew you'd be a big Broadway star. And like you said, it says a lot about you that Clayton is so wonderful. Did you ever find someone?"
"There have been a few people, but it never worked out with any of them," Rachel admitted. She knew why. She also knew she should admit the truth. "Jesse St. James is on Broadway and he was trying to use me for my fame recently."
It didn't surprise Finn that Jesse was still a jerk. "Doesn't surprise me." He had to admit he was happy Rachel had never gotten seriously involved with anyone. Maybe he should lighten the mood though. "How about we go to my place and have some dinner? I'm starting to get hungry."
Rachel smiled. "Yeah, let's go."
Finn was tempted to take Rachel's hand as they left the room. As soon as they left the hotel, they saw their sons standing outside the room. Both Finn and Rachel had a feeling the boys had heard the whole thing. Trying to stay calm, they kept the attention that night on the boys, sharing childhood stories, learning about their lives and schools and interests. However, Finn and Rachel couldn't stop glancing at each other, glances that didn't go unnoticed by their sons.
Rachel didn't want to leave, but she also didn't want to overstep her boundaries. The night flew by and it was getting close to 1 in the morning. She and Cody had done some traveling and today had been a roller coaster of emotions. She wouldn't be surprised if Finn and Clayton were tired, too, even though neither of the twins looked tired. "I should probably get back to the hotel." She turned to the boys. "You both want to spend the night here?"
"You should too, Mom!" Cody said.
"Yeah, I can sleep in Cody's room, I've been sleeping there anyway," Clayton laughed.
"Yeah, Rach, we'd love if you'd stay here with us," Finn tried not to sound desperate.
"All my stuff is at the hotel, and I'd rather not go back and forth," Rachel said, worried about boundaries. "But I'm looking forward to spending the day with you three tomorrow."
She was looking forward to it.
If Rachel didn't feel comfortable spending the night at Finn's house, he could see why. It had been a long time, after all. "Yeah, I'll see you tomorrow."
Finn wished that Rachel had spent the night at his house. They'd had a nice evening with the boys at the house, much more relaxing than the time at Breadstix. In fact, the evening had given him hope that she would end up deciding to spend the night at the house. He was upset to hear she'd dated Jesse St. James again, but he was comforted knowing that she didn't seem to have feelings for Jesse anymore. In fact, it sounded like she didn't like Jesse much.
Finn was waiting for Rachel to get here. He'd invited his parents over, of course, but he was also glad that several of their glee friends were in town and would be coming over as well. That would be a surprise for Rachel. He figured some of them would be in town since it was Memorial Day weekend, so he figured he'd send out some texts.
The doorbell rang. Finn figured it wasn't Rachel yet, but she'd be here soon enough. She'd just texted him to say she was leaving the hotel. He went to the door to greet his parents. "I have a surprise for you," he told them, leading them into the living room where the boys were sitting.
Carole looked ready to burst into tears when she saw both boys. "Clayton!" She threw her arms around him. "Oh my goodness, you look just like Finn." She looked up at him before hugging him again. "I haven't seen you since the day you were born."
Burt put his hand on his wife's shoulder. "Let him breathe." He then smiled at Clayton, giving him a hug. "It's so good to see you again, Clayton. I must admit, I suspected it was you and not Cody at the Cavs game."
"You did?" Finn asked. "You should've said something to me."
Burt put his arm around Clayton. "Oh, I didn't want to freak you out in case I was wrong." He looked over at Cody. "Does that mean you were in New York?"
"Yeah, I was," Cody said. "I loved it there, it's amazing!"
"And it's nice to finally meet you for real," Clayton told his grandparents.
"So, what have you been up to these past fifteen years?" Burt asked.
"I'm the quarterback, apparently just like my dad was," Clayton told his grandparents. "And I play the drums in the school band. I'm on the basketball team too and I'm a starting pitcher on the baseball team. I have the same number as my dad in all three of my sports."
Burt looked impressed. "Wow."
"Where's your mom?" Carole asked.
Clayton and Cody shared a look. If Carole wanted to see Rachel, that was a good sign. "Oh, I'm sure she'll be here soon," Cody said. Sure enough, the doorbell rang and the father and sons ran to the door. Both boys noticed how fast Finn was moving, that he was probably excited to see Rachel again. When Finn opened the door, he smiled wide at Rachel. "Hi."
Rachel noticed Finn giving her one of those perfect half smiles. "Hi." She smiled at her sons standing next to him. "I hope you two didn't give your dad trouble last night."
"We missed you," Cody said. "Maybe you should stay here tonight."
Rachel had missed all three of her favorite boys. "Maybe I will."
"Rachel!" Burt exclaimed when he saw her. He and Carole went over to hug Rachel.
Rachel breathed a sigh of relief that they didn't seem to be resentful. "Burt, Carole, it's so good to see you." She turned to Clayton. "I'm so glad you're finally getting to meet your grandparents." She wished that she could've gotten together with her dads and Shelby in New York when Cody was there so he could have met them. She looked at him. "Next time you're in New York, I'll make sure you meet my parents."
Finn and Rachel watched as Burt and Carole asked Clayton questions about his life. "I'm so glad they're with both of them," Finn told Rachel. "You know, the boys and I did miss you last night. You really should consider spending the night here tonight. Cody has a couch in his room that Clayton could sleep on." Of course, what he really wanted was for Rachel to sleep in his room with him.
"I really do want more time with you and the boys," Rachel admitted. Sleeping in the guest room wasn't what she wanted, but it might be odd to sleep in Finn's room. She missed the way it felt, lying so close to him. She always felt so safe when they were lying close together and she loved the way his arms felt around her. And he smelled so good. She could tell that he still smelled so good. Whenever any of the men she tried dating over the past fifteen years tried to touch her, she felt repulsed. She was already feeling sad about having to fly back to New York tomorrow, but she was happy knowing that Finn and Cody would be coming in next weekend for Clayton's game.
Finn wanted to put his arm around Rachel as they stood talking and watching his parents talk with the twins. His thoughts were interrupted when the doorbell rang. Some of their other guests were here.
Rachel wondered who else was here when the doorbell rang. Burt looked over at her. "So, the boys tell us you have five Tony Awards and you're nominated for a sixth?" Burt asked.
"Yeah," Rachel said.
"We actually saw you in Funny Girl," Carole admitted. "You were incredible. We were in New York visiting Kurt one weekend..."
Finn heard what his mom said as he escorted their guests into the living room. "You saw her? And you didn't tell me?"
"We didn't know how you would feel if we told you we saw her," Burt admitted.
Finn looked at Rachel. "Are there any tapes of your shows? From beginning to end? I'd love to see them."
"So would I," Cody added.
"Yeah, I do have tapes," Rachel said before she noticed who had come in. "Oh my God!" She hugged Santana and Brittany. It had been years since she saw them. They lived in New York, but life could get in the way with Rachel's Broadway shows and Brittany hosting Fondue For Two, which was now the top rated talk show in the country. Santana was a lawyer now. "What are you guys doing here?"
"We came to visit our parents for Memorial Day weekend," Santana said. "Frankenteen told us everything."
Brittany looked around the room. "Oh my God, Finn was cloned twice."
"No," Santana said to her wife. "That's Clayton and Cody." She looked at the boys. "But she's right, you two look just like your dad."
"Everyone says that," Cody said. "But I have my mom's talent."
"Yeah, he won MVP at Nationals," Clayton added.
"It's nice to see you guys again, too," Santana said. She turned to her son and daughter. "Mia, Owen, these are our friends Finn and Rachel from high school, and their sons Cody and Clayton, and Finn's parents."
The doorbell rang again, and Finn went back to the door, leading Mike, Tina and their three-year-old son, Evan, into the house. The Changs now lived in Chicago, where Mike was a choreographer and pro dancer and Tina worked with the local community theatre. "Rachel!" Tina exclaimed, giving Rachel a hug.
"Hey!" Rachel said, hugging Mike and Tina.
"So if you're here, does that mean you and Finn are getting back together?" Tina asked. "You should propose to him, like I proposed to Mike..."
Mike elbowed his wife. "Tina!"
"You proposed to Mike?" Rachel asked.
"Yeah, at Brittany and Santana's wedding," Mike said. "But since we were both still in school..." He then looked over. "Wow, your boys are both here."
"They're Frankenteen with Rachel's nose, aren't they?" Santana asked.
"That's a good thing!" Cody shot back.
"I'm sorry I gave you two my nose," Rachel admitted. All these years later, it was still her biggest insecurity.
"I got your talent, that's what matters," Cody shot back.
"And I think we got the best of both you and Dad," Clayton added.
That was definitely true. Finn smiled over at Rachel, who seemed to be thinking the same thing. Tina's question hadn't escaped either of them, though. Before Finn had a chance to say anything, the doorbell rang again. Their last guests were here. Finn went to greet Sam, Mercedes and their four-year-old daughter, Jessica. As the Evanses came in, Clayton blurted out, "Mercedes Jones! Your half time show at this year's Super Bowl was the best I've seen!"
"It's both the Finchel twins!" Mercedes said. "I always said I was most looking forward to meeting Rachel's children."
Cody leaned over to Clayton. "I think we aren't alone in wanting our parents back together."
"Me either," Clayton whispered back. He turned to the adults. "How about Cody and I take the kids outside to play while we wait for the food?"
As they waited for the food to arrive, Finn and Rachel watched as their sons tossed around water balloons with Mia, Owen, Jessica and Evan. "Your sons are really good with kids," Sam told Finn and Rachel.
"Kurt and Blaine both talk about how good they are with their kids," Carole said.
"Your kids all seem great," Rachel told her friends. "I can't believe how long it's been since I've seen all of you."
"We missed you at all the weddings," Mike said.
"I missed you guys, too," Rachel said. "I just was worried it would be too awkward for Finn."
Finn looked over at Rachel. "Well, this weekend hasn't felt awkward."
"I really regret that we took that suggestion," Rachel admitted. "Seeing the boys so happy together makes me feel awful that they didn't have it for the first fifteen years of their lives."
"Yeah," Finn added. "And I missed Rachel."
"I always thought you two would be the first ones to get married," Tina said.
"We're definitely going to be friends again," Finn said. That wasn't his first choice for a relationship with Rachel, but that was better than nothing. "And we're going to visit each other a lot more."
Cody and Clayton led the kids inside. "We're sorry we got your kids wet," Clayton told the glee alumni.
"They seemed to be having fun with you two," Mercedes said. "Just as we all had fun together all those years ago."
"I'm going to be in glee club like my mommies," Mia said proudly.
"She's already taking ballet," Santana said. "And she sings along with her favorite songs on the radio."
"That's how Cody got his start," Finn said.
Cody looked at Mia. "You know, I'm in the same glee club our parents were in."
Mia looked so fascinated. "That's so cool."
Sam looked at Clayton. "And you're the quarterback, like your dad?"
"Yeah, I am," Clayton said.
"The first time I met your dad, he introduced himself and I said, 'I know who you are, you're the quarterback' and he said, 'exactly, which makes me super cool,'" Sam remembered.
Finn laughed at himself. "I was just trying to get him to join glee club."
"I'm not in my school's glee club, but it is pretty good," Clayton said. "I play the drums for their performances sometimes. I was surprised they didn't make Nationals."
"So you guys met at Nationals in New York," Santana said. "I'm guessing you know about how your parents ruined our chances at Nationals when we had it in New York?"
Clayton and Cody both laughed. "We saw the video, yes," Clayton said.
"But you won the next year, so I think that makes up for it," Cody pointed out.
The New Directions alumni spent the afternoon exchanging memories of their glee days and learning about each other's kids. It made them all realize something: even though a lot of time had passed and they were far apart, they were a part of something special and what they'd shared would never go away. They would always support each other and be there for each other. The only way this day could have gotten better would be if all the alumni had been in town.
Eventually, only Finn, Rachel, their sons and Finn's parents were left at the house. "I think your brother's going to be disappointed he missed this," Burt told Finn.
"I wanted Rachel to see as many people as possible, and it's the first time they've seen the boys together," Finn said. "I hadn't met most of their kids yet either. I'm just disappointed not everyone was in town."
"It was great to see everyone who was in town," Rachel agreed.
"Your friends are awesome," Clayton told his parents. "I'm glad I got to meet them."
"And I haven't seen them in a while," Cody added.
Being with everyone again brought Finn's mind back to the old days. It was hard not to think of the old days when he stepped into the choir room or saw Cody singing on that stage. He looked over at Rachel and could tell she was also thinking of those days.
"We'll need to get out to New York more," Carole said.
"You can always visit us when you're in New York," Rachel said. "I wish we could stay longer."
Finn wished they could stay longer, too. And what Rachel had said wasn't lost on their sons. "I've just got to go to my room for a minute," Cody said. He looked at Clayton. "Could you come up with me?"
"Sure," Clayton said, following his brother upstairs.
When they got upstairs, Cody closed the door to his room. "You're going back to New York tomorrow."
"Yeah, I know we both have to finish up the school year, but I don't want to leave you and Dad," Clayton told his brother.
Cody started pacing around his room. "I don't want to be away from you and Mom again. What if we were wrong? What if we were wrong? What if they just care about each other as friends? What if they don't want to get back together?"
"I see the looks they give each other, it's clear they love each other," Clayton said. "I don't know what's holding them back."
Burt had followed his grandsons upstairs. He was waiting outside Cody's room and had heard what they said. He came into the room. "I know your parents still love each other," Burt told the boys. "I think they're just afraid. There were quite a few bumps in the road for them in high school and things definitely weren't in their favor right after high school." He made sure Finn was downstairs. "Your dad brings up your mom all the time."
"Really?" Cody asked.
"You two just need to trust that things will work out," Burt assured his grandsons.
Chapter 13: Goodbye?
"You didn't bring a dress or anything?" Clayton asked his mother. They'd gone to the hotel to change for dinner. Cody and Clayton had once again pulled some strings and planned an evening for their parents.
"I didn't think it would be necessary," Rachel sighed. In New York, she always had to look her best in case any paparazzi was around. For the most part, she was able to keep her private life private, but there was always the chance of running into fans. One of the things she'd been looking forward to about coming to Lima was being away from the spotlight. "Your brother just packed casual clothes for you."
"Yeah, but I can borrow some of Cody's nice clothes," Clayton pointed out. Of course, he and Cody wouldn't be there. They just thought that their parents would be more likely to say yes if they thought the boys would be coming as well.
"What are we doing tonight, anyway?" Rachel asked.
"Trust me, you'll love it," Clayton assured his mother.
"Cody, I think we've had enough surprises this weekend, can you at least tell me what you and your brother have planned for tonight?" Finn asked as he adjusted his tie.
"You'll find out soon, I'm just going to tell you that you'll love it," Cody told his father. His phone vibrated. Rachel and Clayton were on their way over from the hotel.
Finn knew if it meant seeing Rachel wearing something nice, he would love it. She always looked so pretty dressed up. The doorbell rang and Finn went to answer the door. Rachel was wearing a shirt with a nice print and a pair of cropped pants. "That color looks good on you."
Rachel looked down, hoping Finn wouldn't notice her smile. "Thanks." She looked back up at Finn. "If I'd known we were going somewhere nice tonight, I would've brought a dress or something..."
"No, you look pretty as you are," Finn told Rachel.
"Okay, I should probably go change into something nice, come on Cody," Clayton said, leading his brother upstairs.
"Any idea what they have planned for tonight?" Finn asked Rachel.
"No idea," Rachel admitted. "So, Finn, about that offer about spending the night here... would it work for tonight?"
Finn's heart fluttered. "That would be great."
A few minutes later, the boys came back downstairs and Cody got out his phone. "I'm getting an Uber."
"Is that necessary?" Finn asked. "One of us can drive. We need to pick up your mom's things at the hotel for tonight anyway."
"Oh, you're spending the night here?" Cody asked, trying to hold in his excitement. He grinned at Clayton. Their plan was working.
"Yeah," Rachel said. She turned to Clayton. "You don't mind sleeping in your brother's room tonight, right?"
Clayton smirked. "Not at all."
Cody's phone vibrated. "Our Uber is here!"
Suspense taking over, Finn and Rachel followed their sons outside. However, it was someone they knew driving the car. "Mr. Schue?" Rachel gasped, hugging her former glee director.
"Oh, Rachel, it's so good to see you," Mr. Schue said, hugging his former student. "I'm so proud of you. You're such an inspiration to so many of the kids in the glee club through the years."
"Yeah, he's taking us to our destination," Cody said. "Not an Uber."
"I'm sorry they bothered you," Finn sighed, looking at his sons.
But Will didn't look bothered. "It's no bother."
The destination ended up being McKinley. Finn and Rachel knew they shouldn't be surprised, but at the same time, they were. Will unlocked the door and led the family into the school and into the auditorium, where a picnic blanket lay on the stage, with two airplane cups on it and a basket to the side.
"This is where we leave you," Cody told his parents.
"What?" Finn asked.
"Yeah, we're not joining you," Clayton added.
"Are you two sure this is a good idea?" Rachel asked. If she was alone with Finn, it would be very hard to control her impulses, especially with their first date being recreated. Maybe they shouldn't have told the boys about this.
"Have fun tonight!" Cody called as he and Clayton left the auditorium.
"You two realize what's going on, don't you?" Will asked.
"Yeah," Finn said. "They're recreating our first date." He couldn't resist the urge to take Rachel's hand.
"Emma dropped off your food, just make sure you lock the door before you go," Will said before saying goodbye to his former star pupils.
Finn and Rachel looked at each other. "This is... wow," Rachel giggled.
Finn grinned at Rachel. "Shall we go have our dinner?" He held out his hand.
Rachel wasn't going to turn down a request to hold Finn's hand. She took his hand, noticing it still fit perfectly in hers. When she and Finn got to the stage, they noticed a bottle of champagne and that both airplane cups were filled with champagne. She sat on one side of the blanket before Finn sat at the other. They smiled at each other. Rachel picked up her cup. "Here's to..." Us? She had sang that song to Finn and only Finn all those years ago.
Finn thought of that song Rachel had sang all those years ago. But he thought of something he was sure Rachel would get behind. "Our sons." He picked up his cup.
"Our sons," Rachel repeated, clinking her cup against Finn's. She felt her heartbeat increasing when she saw Finn's half smile. "I know I already said this, but I'm so proud of both you and Cody. I always knew you'd be a great teacher since you were such a great leader. When Kurt told me you went to school to be a teacher, I thought that was perfect. And Cody's just so amazing and so talented and such a great guy."
Finn was so happy to hear Rachel was proud of him. "I can say the same for you and Clayton. Don't think I didn't look up all your shows online and listen to your recordings. You're so amazing. And so is Clayton. He's so wonderful."
Rachel again looked over at Finn. "I really wish we'd all been in each other's lives from the beginning."
She'd said it. Finn was afraid to say it. "Yeah. I hated that suggestion. It felt like the odds were against us, but I wish so badly that I'd fought harder."
"I don't know why I gave up so easily," Rachel admitted. "At least we're back in each other's lives now." It might not be the way she'd hoped, but they were back in each other's lives. "Summer's coming up, maybe you guys could spend some time in New York."
"I'd like that, I mostly work at the tire shop in the summer," Finn admitted. "Cody has some performing arts camps lined up, but I'm sure we could get to New York. What about Clayton?"
"He does have a camp for each of his sports, but he'd love to have you in town," Rachel said. Of course, they also had to think about the future. "We should also look at their school calendars for next year, figure out what weekends would work for visits." She didn't just want weekend visits.
"That sounds good," Finn said, even though he didn't like that idea. He tried to lighten the mood. "Gosh, I remember when we were in here for our first picnic all these years ago."
"Me too," Rachel remembered. "It makes sense that this is where we'd first meet again after all these years, even if the boys planned everything."
For the next few hours, Finn and Rachel found themselves talking about anything and everything that came to their minds, reminiscing about high school, sharing stories about the boys, catching up on each others' families and lives. And it all just felt so right, just as it always had. They lost track of time until they'd finished the bottle of champagne and Finn looked at his phone. "Rach, it's after midnight."
"Oh gosh," Rachel mused. "I wish we could just stay here."
"Yeah," Finn agreed. "Me too."
Rachel remembered what she'd said the last time they were here. That he could kiss her if he wanted to. But would he still want to? "Since we don't have a car with us, we should probably get an Uber."
"Yeah," Finn agreed. He led Rachel outside, noticing that it was chilly. Then again, it was late. Noticing Rachel shivering, he pulled her in for an embrace.
Rachel smiled when Finn pulled her in as she wrapped her arms around him as well. "Thank you, Finn."
They then heard a honk. Their ride was here. When they got back to Finn's house, all the lights were off. Maybe the boys had fallen asleep.
Once they got inside, it was clear the boys were asleep. The house was completely quiet. Rachel went into the guest room only to see Clayton sleeping in the guest room bed. She didn't doubt this was a plot the boys had to get her and Finn in bed together. While she liked that idea, would Finn? She went into Finn's room. "Finn, Clayton's sleeping in the guest room."
Finn loved the idea of Rachel getting in bed with him, but maybe she wouldn't want to. "We shouldn't wake him up. You can sleep in my bed and I'll sleep on the couch."
"I don't want to throw you out of your bed!" Rachel protested.
"Well, you're the guest, I want you to be comfortable," Finn told Rachel.
They looked at each other, knowing they were thinking the same thing. "I'll go get changed," Rachel said, smiling at Finn at the possibility of being in bed together for the first time in fifteen years.
Finn could barely control his impulses to change into his t-shirt and boxers and get in the bed, waiting for Rachel to get in the bed next to him. When she got back, Finn couldn't help but be turned on by Rachel's lingerie.
Rachel gave Finn a small smile as she sat down on the bed. Finn pulled the covers over both of them before turning off the light. Worried about time and distance, Finn lay on one side of the bed and Rachel lay on the other. But Rachel just wanted to be closer to Finn. She moved closer to the middle of the bed, hoping Finn would join her.
When Finn heard Rachel moving more to the middle of the bed, he took the hint that maybe she did want to be close together. He moved closer to her and leaned close to her.
Rachel curled up closer to Finn, amazed at how right it still felt. They still fit perfectly into each other. And they felt more comfortable than they'd been in years. Back home, Rachel only had a twin sized bed because a bigger bed would be a reminder of who was supposed to fill that empty space. Every night for the last fifteen years, Finn had looked at the other side of the bed and realized how empty it seemed.
The alarm went off too soon. All too soon, even though Finn and Rachel had been asleep. Two days in Lima together hadn't been enough. Sleeping in the same bed had made both Finn and Rachel realize how much they missed this. Finn opened his eyes and looked into Rachel's beautiful brown eyes. He saw sadness in her eyes that he hadn't seen in a while. "It's been so wonderful having you here," Finn said.
"It's been great being here," Rachel said. "I missed you so much." She really had missed him and spending the weekend with him reminded her of everything she'd been missing out on. How could she go back to New York, away from Finn and Cody? There would be visits, but they'd gotten a taste of what it was like for the family to be together and it felt so good.
"I missed you too," Finn said, putting his arm around Rachel. "You always got me and believed in me like no one else did."
"You were the first person to really see me as more than the annoying girl with the Broadway dreams," Rachel said.
"And look at you now," Finn said. "You're a Broadway star with five Tonys, almost definitely a sixth on the way."
Rachel tried to smile, but all that didn't matter. She wasn't sure if things were better or worse now that she knew everything she'd missed out on. "Maybe we should go wake up the boys." She knew today would be just as hard for them as it was for her and Finn.
Cody felt a nudge. He and Clayton had planned not to set their alarms in hopes that they'd oversleep and wouldn't be separated from each other and their parents again, but their parents must have set an alarm.
"Honey, do you want to come to the airport with us?" Rachel asked, trying to hide the heartbreak in her voice.
Cody didn't want to go to the airport and say goodbye to his mom and brother. He just wrapped his arms around his mom. "I don't want you to leave."
What was Rachel supposed to say to that? The boys had a school year to finish, they'd spend some time together this summer, but they'd just spent their first real weekend together as a family and she didn't want it to end either. She tightened her hug, kissing her son on the cheek. "I love you so much. We're going to spend lots of time together this summer."
Finn's heart broke watching Cody and Rachel. The real goodbyes hadn't even happened yet. "I'm going to go wake up Clay," he told Rachel and Cody, going to the guest room. He had a feeling Rachel and Cody would want a little time together and he wanted some time with Clayton as well.
Part of Finn wished the alarm hadn't gone off, that they'd all just slept and Rachel and Clayton would miss their flight and have to stay here. He knew Rachel had shows to get back for and Clayton had finals to take and a championship game to pitch in back in New York, but that didn't make things any easier. He walked into the room and gave his son a gentle nudge. "Clayton, time to get up."
Clayton rolled over and looked up at his dad. He didn't want to leave. He looked up at Finn, trying to communicate that he didn't want to leave.
Finn could tell by looking at Clayton that he was sad. "I'm so glad you came to visit me and I finally got to meet you." Like Rachel had, he knelt next to the bed and gave his son a hug.
Clayton felt a lump rising in his throat. "I love you, Dad."
Finn rubbed Clayton's back. "I love you too."
Clayton looked at Finn. "You're definitely coming for the Tony Awards, right?"
Finn was tempted to say he'd also be there next weekend, but he wanted to keep the surprise. "Of course!"
At least Clayton had that to look forward to. "Maybe we could go to a Yankees or Mets game together that weekend, too?"
Although Finn had never liked the Yankees, he loved the idea of going to a game with his son. "That would be great."
Rachel and Cody came into the guest room as Clayton was getting out of bed. "Do you have your bag together?" Rachel asked her son, hating that she had to ask that.
"Just give me a few minutes," Clayton said. In case the plan of not setting alarms failed, he hadn't finished packing.
"I can help you finish packing," Cody offered.
"Okay, we'll be downstairs," Finn said, knowing the boys needed some time together as well.
"By the way," Cody asked, stopping his parents. "How was last night? You were out pretty late. We both fell asleep before you got home."
Last night had been perfect. Thinking about last night made Finn and Rachel even more upset that their family was about to be separated again. "It was really great to spend lots of time together talking and catching up. Thanks for the surprise."
"It made us really sentimental," Finn added before he and Rachel left.
As soon as their parents were gone, Clayton sighed as he began putting his clothes in his suitcase. "So they seem happy to see each other, but it doesn't sound like they're getting back together. Dad was talking about visits when he was in here."
"So was Mom," Cody sighed. "I really thought recreating their first date would do the trick. They were out so late!"
"Maybe we should recreate their first New York date when you and Dad come to New York for the Tonys," Clayton suggested, trying to hide that he and his brother were both worried.
The family was quiet during the drive from Lima to the Dayton airport. All four of them were secretly hoping the flight would be delayed so they could have more time together, but when they stepped into the airport lobby, the flight was showing up as departing on time. Despite the fact that it was cloudy, there was no rain in the forecast, so there probably wasn't much hope for a delay. To make matters worse, the lines for check in were already long.
"Maybe you and Clayton should get checked in," Finn said sadly. Yes, he'd see them in a week, but even a week without them was too long. How was he supposed to go for months again without seeing them?
Rachel sighed. "Yeah. Maybe this is why they say get to the airport two hours early." She didn't want to leave Finn and Cody. Now that she was reminded of everything she could've had for the past fifteen years, she felt worse. She and Clayton hadn't really been living together, they'd been living without Finn and Cody. She looked over at Cody, reaching up to give him a hug. That often had been an obstacle for her and Finn with their height difference. "I love you so much," she whispered to her son. "I promise we'll talk on the phone every day."
"I love you, Mommy," Cody whispered. He tried to think about coming to New York again for the Tony Awards, telling himself it wouldn't be long, but it was still too long.
Rachel held back tears. "I love you too." She looked over to see Finn and Clayton hugging tightly.
"Promise you'll call or text me every day," Finn told his son. "I love you so much and I can't wait to see you again."
Clayton felt close to tears. "I love you too." It had only been a week, yet he felt like he'd had his dad and brother in his life forever. He turned to face his brother, who looked close to tears as well.
Finn and Rachel looked on at their sons, both of whom looked like they would break down crying at any moment. When the boys gave each other a hug, Rachel couldn't hold in her tears any longer. Finn came over and put his arm around Rachel. "Thanks for coming," Finn said to Rachel. "I'm so glad I finally got to see you again." He'd finally gotten closure. Could you call it that though? He'd seen her again and now his longing for her was deeper.
"I am too," Rachel said. "You know, you're allowed to call and text me." If only they could do more than that. The feeling of his arm around her shoulder brought her comfort. She reached up and linked her fingers in his.
The boys pulled apart to face their parents. Finn and Rachel had their arms around each other, but what did that mean now? "Maybe we should get checked in," Clayton told his mother, his voice cracking and with tears in his eyes.
Rachel nodded. "Yeah." She looked over at Cody. "I love you."
Finn patted Clayton's shoulder. "You two have a good flight. Text me when you get to New York." One of his big fears had always been something happening to Rachel or Clayton, and even though he didn't want them to leave, he wanted to know when they were back safe.
"Text me too," Cody said.
"Of course we will," Clayton told his father and brother. The family had one last group hug before Finn and Cody watched Rachel and Clayton walk down the terminal until they were out of sight.
"What do you say we watch one of your favorite musicals when we get home?" Finn asked Cody as they drove home from the airport. He hadn't said a word since they left the airport, which was quite unlike him.
"I think I'd better study for finals," Cody mumbled. He didn't feel like doing much of anything, but as much as he was hurting, life went on, he had finals to study for, the glee club was going to be honored.
Finn sighed. His son never said no to a musical. That showed how bummed he was. "Cody..."
"I don't want to lose Mom and Clayton again," Cody told his father, fighting the urge to start crying.
Finn put his hand on his son's knee. "Neither do I."
"Do you still love Mom?" Cody asked bluntly. He knew it, but he also thought Finn was in denial.
Finn didn't think he could keep denying it. "Yes. I'll always love her."
"Then why do you keep letting her go?" Cody asked. Part of him wanted to text Clayton and tell him what Finn had said, but at the same time, he felt defeated.
Finn didn't know how to answer that. Why did he keep letting circumstances get in the way? Why hadn't they tried to find a way to make it work?
The flight to New York was almost completely silent as well. Just as he'd promised, Clayton got out his phone and texted Cody as soon as they got back to the apartment. And then he bolted for his room.
Rachel went into her son's room to see him curled up on his bed, clutching a pillow with tears streaming down his face. She felt heartbroken. He almost never cried. "Sweetheart, do you want to talk?" she asked, fighting back her own tears.
Clayton shook his head. Rachel couldn't blame him. She didn't think she could make him feel better right now. Nothing could make her feel better except seeing Finn and Cody again. She also didn't want to force herself on Clayton, either. That would probably make things worse. "Okay, I'll be in the living room."
Clayton knew that talking to his mom would have been good enough in the past, but right now, nothing could make him feel better. He'd been hoping his dad and brother would be waiting at the apartment, like in the movies. But Finn had to go to work tomorrow and Cody had to go to school, just like Clayton had school tomorrow and Rachel had a show.
Chapter 14: Perfect Game
When Rachel got back to New York, her castmates had decorated the door of her dressing room and posted congratulations messages for her for getting another Tony nomination. She hadn't really wanted to go back to work. She'd wanted to be with her boys. She knew she'd missed lots of shows lately, with Clayton's games, the trip to Lima and with Finn and Cody coming to New York this weekend.
She hoped the visit this weekend would lift everyone's spirits and that this time it would be longer than a weekend. Finn had mentioned to her that Cody had some choir camps lined up for the summer, but she was sure she could get him into better ones here in New York. Maybe that was a silly hope. Finn worked at the tire shop in the summers, so he'd probably stay in Lima.
She got out her phone. There was a text from Finn. "Cody being honored with the glee club at city council meeting tonight, still up for me facetiming you so you can see it?"
Rachel smiled to herself. Finn had texted her. "Of course." She hoped Finn and Cody's visit this weekend would lift Clayton's spirits as well. He'd been very distant since they got back to New York. She didn't think forcing herself on him would help, but he didn't come hang out with her after school and was always in bed by the time she got home from her shows. He told her he wanted to prepare for his finals and for the game, which was understandable, but he wasn't even talkative at breakfast. She sat in her dressing room, waiting for the show to begin. She sent Clayton a text, telling him she hoped his bullpen session had gone well today.
Finn was counting down the hours until they left for New York. This had been the longest week of his life. He missed Rachel and Clayton every day. And the truth was, he was worried about both his boys. Clayton's responses to his texts were usually one or two words. "How was your exam today?" "Fine." "Have you been getting ready for your game?" "Yes." Cody also hadn't seemed excited about tonight's performance. In fact, he hadn't practiced at all. When Finn got Rachel's reply about wanting to see the performance, he sent her another text. "How's Clayton? I haven't been getting much of a response to the texts I've been sending him."
Rachel responded almost right away. "I was going to ask you the same thing about Cody. I hope they're not mad at us, but they have a right to be. I know Clayton misses you and Cody."
When Finn was about to reply, Cody came downstairs. He honestly didn't want to go to the ceremony tonight. He hadn't practiced much and he hadn't even realized it.
"Why haven't you been answering your mom's texts?" Finn asked his son.
Cody had hoped Rachel wouldn't say anything to him, but at the same time, he wasn't surprised he had. "What?"
Finn knew confrontation wasn't the best policy, but his son had been so closed since Rachel and Clayton went back to New York. Cody would come home from school and go to his room to study for finals. Usually when Cody was stressed he would practice his favorite songs, but Finn hadn't heard Cody sing in the past few days. He had a feeling he knew why. "Is it because you're worried about losing her again?"
Of course it was. But Finn and Rachel had been the ones who'd split up Cody and Clayton in the first place and just done it again. "You guys were the ones who came up with this!"
It technically hadn't been Finn and Rachel's idea, but they'd agreed to it. "Cody..." Finn began. Maybe he should just come out and tell him. He couldn't bear seeing his son so upset anymore. "I have a surprise for you and your brother. We were going to keep it a surprise, but I'll tell you now. Your brother is pitching in the championship game on Saturday, so we're going to New York to see him."
At first Cody felt excited. He was going back to New York and he was going to see his mom and brother again. But then it came to him - was it just for the weekend again? He didn't want to just keep seeing them on weekends every now and then. "For another weekend?"
Finn knew that wasn't what Cody wanted because that also wasn't what he wanted. "It's summer, it's not like you have to get back to school. I'll talk to your mom and see if this could be a longer visit." There had to be good camps in New York for Cody to improve his singing in New York.
"I miss Mom and Clayton," Cody admitted. "So much."
Finn sighed. "I do too. And I know they miss you."
"Mom!" Cody exclaimed, running to hug Rachel as he and Finn got off the plane.
"Hey, baby! I missed you!" Rachel said, hugging her son. It hadn't been a full week. Still, it had been too long.
Cody hugged Rachel tighter. "I missed you too." He didn't want to take away from his dad, so he stepped aside to watch his parents smile at each other.
"Hi Finn," Rachel said, trying not to get too excited.
"Hi Rach," Finn said, also trying not to get too excited. "It's good to be back."
"Well, it's good to have you back," Rachel said. "And I know Clayton will be excited to see you, too. I would've told him this morning, but he left for the park to go warm up before I was awake."
"I'm always the first one there for vocal warmups," Cody said proudly.
Rachel smiled with pride. "So was I. Let's get your things to the apartment and then we'll get to the field. I'm sure my family will be excited to meet you and Kurt and Blaine and their kids will probably be happy to see you too."
"I get to meet your parents?!" Cody asked excitedly. He'd wanted to meet them when he was pretending to be Clayton in New York, but he was worried Rachel would be suspicious if he asked.
"I can't wait for them to meet you," Rachel said.
Rachel's dads would be here? Finn wasn't surprised, but he was nervous. He hadn't seen them in years. He'd always worried he wasn't good enough for them, that they'd want their daughter to date a man she could co-star with on Broadway. Not to mention all their ups and downs. "Do you think they'll be glad to see me?"
Rachel had been nervous about seeing Burt and Carole, but everything had gone fine. And she knew her dads liked Finn. All those years ago, they'd asked her why she gave up so easily. If only she'd listened. "I'm sure they will."
The bus ride to the apartment to drop off Finn and Cody's things wasn't too long, nor was the ride from the apartment to the baseball diamond. Since it was the championship game, news crews were there. For once, they weren't focusing on Rachel, though she wouldn't be surprised if pictures of her in the stands were snapped.
When Rachel was walking into the stands, she saw her dads had already arrived. "Hi!" she said as she walked over with Finn and Cody.
Finn again felt himself getting nervous when he saw Rachel's dads.
"Clayton, what are you doing here? Why aren't you warming up?" LeRoy began before he looked and noticed Finn. "Oh my! Cody, is that you?"
"Hi, Grandpa!" Cody said as he gave LeRoy a big hug. He then gave Hiram a hug. "Hi, Grandpa!"
"Cody, I can't believe it's you! It's been way too long," Hiram said, giving his grandson another hug. He then looked over at Finn. "And it's so good to see you again, Finn."
Finn felt like a weight had been lifted. Rachel's dad had been happy to see him. "It's good to see you, too." He'd always liked Rachel's dads. "Rachel told me you've been living in New York for a while."
"We have," LeRoy began. "But wait, what's going on? When did you all reconnect?"
"Maybe we should let Cody tell you," Finn smiled, knowing the boys were who they had to thank.
"I came here for Nationals with the glee club and snuck into Mom's theatre so I could sing on a Broadway stage, just like she and Uncle Kurt did the first time they came here," Cody told his grandfathers. "Then one of the ushers thought I was Clayton and took me to Mom's dressing room. The real Clayton came in and we met. We both thought it was weird, but then I was practicing at Bancroft the next day and we met again and talked and figured everything out. And then we switched places for a few days."
"Wow," a voice said. Finn, Rachel, Cody, Hiram and LeRoy turned to see Shelby and Beth coming into the stands.
"It's my other grandson!" Shelby said, giving Cody a hug. Since Rachel and Shelby hadn't reconnected yet when the boys were born, she'd never met Cody before. "I'm so glad you sing!"
"With my mom's talent, how could I not?" Cody asked. "Even before I knew she was my mom, I knew who she was, and I listened to the music from all her shows."
"I got it from her," Rachel said, smiling at Shelby.
"We'll have to see videos of you sometime," Hiram said.
"I can give you a performance," Cody offered.
"He reminds me of you in high school," LeRoy told his daughter.
Cody looked at Beth. "And you're Beth."
"Yeah, I am," Beth said. "I'm glad to finally meet you." She looked over at Finn. "And you."
Finn couldn't help but remember something from high school. "I remember when you were on the way in high school, I suggested naming you Drizzle."
Beth looked at Shelby. "Thanks for not doing that."
"And thanks for not giving me a name like that!" Cody teased his dad.
"So, you go to McKinley?" Hiram asked Cody.
Cody nodded proudly. "Yup! In the same glee club my parents met in."
LeRoy looked over at Finn. "What are you up to these days?"
"I'm teaching at McKinley," Finn said. "I help with the glee club, too."
"Uncle Finn!" an excited voice said. Finn picked up his niece. "Hi Tracy!"
"I'm so glad you finally came to New York," Kurt told his brother.
"I couldn't miss seeing Clayton play," Finn said as Kurt and Blaine's five-year-old son climbed on to his lap. He smiled at the little boy. "Hi."
Clayton tossed the ball to his catcher. Today was it, the championship game. During the past week, he'd thrown himself into studying for finals and preparing for the game in hopes of distracting himself from how much he already missed his dad and brother and how afraid he was of losing them again. He'd woken up early to go to the park to warm up. His mom hadn't even been up yet.
"And here we have Clayton Berry, #5 from Bancroft Academy," a TV reporter said, passing by his practice. "Standing at 6'3", this freshman is considered one of the top starting pitchers in the country, probably the top freshman baseball player in the country. He's also a star on the football field and the basketball court..."
Now that Clayton knew where he'd gotten his athletic abilities, it hurt. His thoughts went to his dad. He wished his dad could see him today, and his brother.
"Are you tired?" the catcher, Jack, asked. "We've practiced a lot, I feel ready."
"A little," Clayton admitted. "Besides, the game starts soon, maybe we should get back to the rest of the team." As they headed back to the rest of the team, Clayton glanced up in the stands and couldn't believe his eyes. He blinked to make sure his mind wasn't playing tricks on him, but when he opened his eyes, he saw what he thought he'd seen earlier. Finn and Cody were in the stands, along with Rachel, Hiram, LeRoy, Shelby, Beth, Kurt, Blaine and their kids.
It must have been a twin thing. Cody could tell Clayton was looking up in the stands and waved at his brother. He then nudged Finn. "He sees us."
Finn tried to control his emotions. For the first time, he was going to see Clayton play. He smiled and waved down at his son, who waved back.
Seeing Finn and Cody in the stands made Clayton's confidence about the game go up. When the first batter came up to bat from the opposing team, he struck him out. Then he struck out the next two batters, ending the top of the first. He knew he wanted to make his dad proud. How long had Finn and Cody been planning to come to New York again? How long would they be staying? Hopefully a while!
The game flew by and it ended up being the best game of Clayton's career. Every single batter got out - in fact, 20 of the 27 outs were strikeouts. He'd never had a no hitter before, let alone a perfect game. He was sure this was happening because his whole family was in the stands. His teammates had given him a lot of run support and his team won the game 10-0.
Finn felt so proud watching his son. He was good. If he was this good in football and basketball, he'd definitely achieve his goal of playing in the NFL, NBA or MLB. The question was, which one? At the same time, Finn felt some sadness. There were so many games he had missed.
Rachel seemed to know what Finn was thinking. "He's really good, isn't he?"
Finn smiled at Rachel. "Yeah, he is. I'm glad I never had to face him in high school."
"And I'm glad I didn't have to pitch for him at all!" Cody added. "I wouldn't have been able to do this."
As the other guys on the team ran up to the pitcher's mound, Finn, Rachel and Cody were on their feet, cheering louder for Clayton than anyone else in the audience. Clayton looked up in the stands and saw his family, wanting to get up to them, but was stopped by the same reporter from earlier. "Clayton Berry has just pitched the first perfect game in conference history, without a doubt, of course, you're the championship MVP, also the first freshman to be championship MVP," the reporter said. "Tell us what's going through your head right now."
"I just want to thank my mom for taking me to practice through the years and for trying to play catch with me, and thank my dad and my brother for being here as well, and my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins," Clayton told the reporter. The reporter had no idea how important it was that the family was here. "And I'd also like to congratulate my teammates, I couldn't do this without them, all our hitters got at least one hit, this is so special." One thing stood out, though. Now that his dad was back in his life, should he change his last name? It was clear his parents were still in love. In between time on the field, he'd looked up in the stands and seen the looks his parents gave each other. But maybe he was giving himself false hope again.
Finn and Rachel had made their way down and listened to what their son said to the reporter. Rachel felt so thankful that the first thing he'd done was thank her. Finn knew Rachel deserved to be thanked first, but he was glad that he'd been mentioned as well.
"Well, congratulations," the reporter said. "You have a bright future ahead of you. I'm sure you want to get to the celebrations."
Clayton couldn't wait to run over to his family. He ran up to Finn and threw his arms around him. "I can't believe you're here."
"I couldn't miss this," Finn said. "I'm so proud of you. A perfect game."
"What made it perfect is that you're here," Clayton told Finn before turning to Cody. "Thanks for coming. I know this isn't your thing."
"You came to see me at Nationals, of course I came to see you," Cody said, hugging his brother.
"We're all proud of you," Rachel said.
"Hey," a voice said. Clayton turned and saw Amanda, the girl he'd had a crush on since the beginning of the year. Amanda was in a few of his classes, but she was a bit shy, so he wasn't sure how to make a move. And what if she didn't like him and he just embarrassed himself? Her brother was a junior on the baseball team, so he kind of expected her to be at the game. Good thing she'd seen him pitch a perfect game.
Clayton smiled at Amanda. "Hey. Thanks for coming."
"You did a really great job," Amanda said. "Kyle told me he knew we'd win since you were pitching."
Clayton had to stop himself from giggling. "Thanks."
Amanda gave Clayton another smile. "No problem. You're really good."
Finn couldn't help but notice the looks Clayton was giving this girl. It reminded him of the looks he gave Rachel back when they first met. But maybe now wasn't the right time to ask about her. "How about we celebrate at Sardi's?" Finn suggested. He and Rachel hadn't been to Sardi's since their first date, but being back in New York, he knew he wanted to go there again.
"Sardi's?" Rachel gasped. Every time she walked past Sardi's, she thought of Finn. "I'd love to go."
Finn had suggested going to Sardi's? It had always been a dream of Cody's to eat there, especially after what he knew about his parents. He leaned over and whispered to Clayton. "Sardi's! Their first New York date! Maybe we don't need to recreate it after all!"
Clayton smiled at his brother. Finn noticed their sons' exchange. He was sure the story of the first New York date hadn't been lost on the boys. Part of why he was suggesting going to Sardi's was he was hoping that Rachel would pick up on hints that he wanted to start over.
The family made their way to Sardi's. As Finn and Rachel listened to their sons talk with the extended family, Rachel decided now would be a good time to bring up Sardi's significance to Finn. "I haven't been to Sardi's since our 'work date.'"
"Really?" Finn asked. "But the food was so good there!" Could it be she hadn't gone back because it made her miss Finn?
Rachel hadn't gone back because she knew it would be too hard. "I've always thought of it as being our place." Maybe she should be more direct.
Finn couldn't help but notice Rachel was wearing the same color she wore that day. "Really?"
"Yeah," Rachel admitted. "I think of Bow Bridge as being one of our places too. Every time I took Clayton to Central Park and passed Bow Bridge or Sardi's, I thought of you."
She'd thought of him through the years? "I think of you every time I pass by the choir room," Finn told Rachel. "And every time I hear Cody sing, I think of you. He's as good as he is because you're his mom."
Rachel looked up at Finn. For the first time in fifteen years, she reached out for his hand, hoping he'd take it.
Finn was glad Rachel had made the first move. He took Rachel's hand in his. It still felt so right.
Cody looked over his shoulder and saw that his parents were holding hands. He nudged Clayton, hoping he would also look.
Finn noticed that their sons noticed they were holding hands. As they went inside, Cody turned to Kurt. "Were you involved at all with planning the Sardi's date in New York the first time?"
"Since I was in the girls' room, I wasn't, but don't think I didn't hear all about it from your mom," Kurt said, looking over at Rachel.
Rachel let out a giggle. "Remember, Finn? I said one day they would put a cartoon of me on these walls!"
"Why isn't there one yet?" Finn asked. He was surprised.
"Yeah, why isn't there?" Cody asked. "One day, they'll also put a cartoon of me up."
"There will be of both of you," Finn said. He looked over at Kurt. "Our dad wasn't happy when the credit card bill came that month."
"I'll pay tonight," Rachel interrupted. Finn was her guest in New York and her family had specifically come to Clayton's game.
"No, I'm paying," Finn interrupted.
"So, are you staying at Rachel's?" Blaine asked Finn.
"They are," Rachel said. It hadn't been discussed, but she wanted Finn and Cody to stay at her apartment.
"Are you sure?" Finn asked. He'd loved sleeping in the same bed in Lima, but what if Rachel thought it would be too much too soon?
"Of course!" Rachel said. She hoped once again, Finn would want to sleep in the same room as her.
After dinner, Finn, Rachel, Cody and Clayton returned to the apartment. As soon as they walked in, Finn knew this apartment was 100% Rachel Berry. He looked around, noticing photos of Clayton throughout his childhood. He also noticed that Rachel had already put up some of the photos of Cody that Finn had given her.
"Your apartment is nice," Finn told Rachel.
"So, am I sleeping in the guest room?" Cody asked, hoping his parents would take the hint.
Finn looked at Rachel. "What should we do about sleeping arrangements?"
"If you guys weren't comfortable sleeping in the same room in Lima..." Clayton began.
Was it appropriate to talk about sleeping together in front of their teenage sons? Luckily, Finn could think of something to distract the boys. "So, Clayton, who was that girl?"
"That's Amanda," Clayton said. Should he tell Finn? "She's in some of my classes. She's one of the smartest girls in my grade and she's really nice. Her brother's the shortstop on the baseball team, so she probably came to cheer him on. It was nice of her to congratulate me."
"Sounds like you have a crush," Finn teased his son.
"I've heard all about her, he does," Rachel teased.
Clayton rolled his eyes. "You're embarrassing me."
"We're your parents, it's our job to embarrass you," Rachel said.
"She was always looking over at me in classes when she thought I wasn't looking," Cody said. "I think she likes you, too."
Rachel wasn't sure if she should say this. "The way you two were looking at each other reminded me of the way your dad and I looked at each other in high school."
"Or the way you still look at each other now!" Cody blurted out.
Clayton decided to put Cody on the spot. "What about you? Anyone you have your eye on?"
"Not at McKinley," Cody groaned. "But yeah, I see the looks you give Amanda, and the looks our parents give each other!"
Once again, the boys were talking about Finn and Rachel's feelings for each other. Maybe this conversation was inevitable. "You two want us together, don't you?" Rachel asked.
"Yes," both boys said simply at the same time.
Rachel looked over at Finn. This was what she wanted, but was it that simple? There was difference between high school love and adult love, not to mention that Finn's job was in Ohio and her job was here.
Finn looked at Rachel. He could see in her eyes that she loved him. He didn't think he'd ever be able to stop loving her.
"What are you two afraid of?" Clayton asked. "Breaking up again?"
Yes. They were afraid of that. And now that their sons were in the picture, they'd get hurt if something went wrong again. "You didn't buy return tickets to Ohio, right Dad?" Cody asked.
Finn hadn't bought return tickets. He was hoping since school was out, they could stay in New York for a while. "I didn't, since I did want to spend some time here in New York."
Rachel perked up. "You mentioned Cody had some camps lined up, but I'm sure I could get him into even better ones here in New York. School's out, why don't you two stay all summer?" That had just come out, but she liked the idea.
"Yes!" Cody cheered. "A whole summer in New York? I'd get to see every show on Broadway."
"You guys should stay all summer," Clayton agreed. "New York in the summer is awesome."
Finn liked that idea. If Rachel was inviting him to spend the summer in New York, she must have wanted to try things again, right? "Spending the summer in New York would be fun. I was just going to work at the tire shop this summer, but if this is what the boys want, I'm sure I could find something here for the summer."
Rachel hadn't expected Finn to agree to that. "I'd love for you two to stay all summer." Maybe, just maybe, she and Finn were finally getting a second chance.
Chapter 15: Second Chances
Hey guys! Again, thanks so much for all the support :) Just a heads up, this chapter has some smut in it, in the second section. I've never written smut before, but I hope I did okay! Anyway, some big things will be revealed, which could possibly have an impact on Finchel's future with their family. I also have some ideas I'm considering that I'd like feedback on, so let me know if I can message you :) Hope you guys have a great weekend, enjoy this chapter and review if you want me to keep going :)
The first night in New York was one of the best nights Finn, Rachel and their sons had in a while. The family went to Times Square and had some ice cream. Again, memories came back for Finn and Rachel of hanging out in Times Square with the glee club. They also took a walk around the area and Rachel and Clayton showed Finn and Cody some of their favorite spots. When Finn and Rachel saw the New Years Eve ball, both their minds went to hoping that the next time it dropped, they could kiss in Times Square.
It was after midnight by the time the family got back to the apartment. Rachel had moved her single bed to the guest room in case Finn wanted to sleep together again and she'd moved the guest room bed to her room. When they got back to the apartment, Rachel and Finn decided to let their sons shower first, giving them some time together.
"So, what do you want to do about sleeping arrangements tonight?" Rachel asked Finn, hoping he'd want to sleep in her room again.
"I liked the way we did it in Ohio," Finn admitted.
"I did too," Rachel said. "Plus, the boys are a bit old to sleep in the same room." Sleeping with Finn all summer? She'd love that.
Finn smirked. "That sounds good."
Rachel found herself turned on by Finn's half smile. "Sounds great."
Cody came out of the shower. "Dad, if you want to shower in Mom's room, you can."
"Yeah, I'd like to," Finn said.
"So, where am I sleeping?" Cody asked, hoping his parents would take a hint.
"Would you mind the guest room, honey?" Rachel asked.
So Finn and Rachel would be sleeping in the same room. "Not at all!"
As Finn left to take his shower, Cody turned to Rachel. "You said you think you could get me into some camps here?"
"Yeah, definitely," Rachel told her son. "I'm so glad you're here for the summer."
"Me too," Cody told his mom. "Can I see some more shows this week?"
"Of course!" Rachel told her son.
Clayton came out of the shower to join his mom and brother. "There's our MVP!" Rachel said. "Wait a minute. Two MVPs in such a short period."
"Talent runs in our family," Cody declared.
"I'm really glad you and Dad came," Clayton told Cody. He turned to Rachel. "And that you could get the day off."
Rachel took each of her boys' hands in one of hers. "Of course I did. I'm so happy you're both here."
After Finn and Rachel showered, the family spent some time together before heading to bed. When Finn and Rachel got into Rachel's room, neither of them knew quite what to say. Were they together again? What was this summer going to bring? They said a quick good night to each other, but neither was close to falling asleep. They were both thinking about everything that had happened over the last few weeks and the past fifteen years.
"Rach?" Finn whispered, hoping she'd still be open to talking.
"Yeah?" Rachel whispered.
"I'm excited to see your show tomorrow," Finn said. "Ever since I first met you, I looked forward to seeing you on Broadway."
Rachel leaned in and kissed Finn for the first time in more than fifteen years. She wondered if she was overstepping things, but she'd missed kissing him.
Finn was wondering if it might not even be a good idea to sleep in Rachel's bed. Being so close to her after all these years was tempting enough. When they started really talking, he was even more tempted to kiss her. But she'd made the first move. And it felt so good. He deepened the kiss, wondering how they hadn't done this for fifteen years.
When Finn deepened the kiss, Rachel wrapped her arms around him. "I missed that."
"I missed that too," Finn whispered, thinking about what else he missed.
Rachel moved closer to Finn, snuggling up against his body. He smelled good as ever. She thought about all the times back in high school when they were in the same bed and made love to each other. But would Finn still want to after all these years?
Finn wondered: did Rachel moving in closer to him mean that she wanted to have sex? "Rachel, are you doing what I think?" Finn asked.
"If you don't want me to, I won't," Rachel whispered. They hadn't seen each other in fifteen years, now they were spending the summer together. Inviting Finn and Cody to spend the summer in New York was something she'd thought of on the fly and she wasn't sure if Finn would say yes.
"I want to," Finn whispered. "You know, I haven't been intimate with anyone since you." He wasn't sure if he should tell her that, but he couldn't stand the idea of being intimate with anyone else. Maybe that was part of why none of his other attempts at a relationship had worked out.
The thought of Finn having sex with another woman made Rachel sick. She was so happy to hear he hadn't. "The last time I did this, it worked out pretty well," Rachel said. "I haven't either. The last time I had sex with anyone was when we conceived the boys." She hated the idea of having sex with anyone else.
"We have proof we're good at this," Finn said, pulling off Rachel's nightgown as she pulled down his pants.
Rachel pulled off Finn's shirt as she moved even closer, letting him put himself in her for the first time in fifteen years. It felt so much better than she'd remembered. "Mmmmm," Rachel mumbled. "That feels so good."
Finn kissed Rachel's neck. "I can go harder."
Rachel giggled. "Please."
Clayton looked at his clock, realizing it was after ten in the morning. Yesterday had been a busy day, so he wasn't surprised he, Cody and their parents had all slept late. When he left his room and went into the hall, it was clear he was the only one awake. He peeked his head in Rachel's room and noticed that his parents were in the same bed, snuggled close to each other. It looked like they were close to each other and that Finn was holding on to Rachel. Things were definitely moving along.
Clayton tiptoed to the guest room and pulled Cody's covers off, nudging his brother. "Cody!"
Cody rolled over. "Ever heard of knocking, Clayton?"
"Come with me," Clayton whispered. "But be quiet."
Cody saw that his brother looked excited, so he figured this was something worth seeing. He followed Clayton to Rachel's room, where Finn and Rachel were close together in the bed. He looked over at Clayton and grinned. "Look at them!"
Not wanting their parents to see them, the boys left the room, feeling even more hopeful.
When Rachel woke up the next morning, she recognized the smell right next to her right away. It hadn't all been a dream. She looked around her room and saw her and Finn's clothes on the floor. Crap, what if one of the boys came in and saw this? And next to her was Finn, still fast asleep. She nudged him. "Finn!"
Finn rolled over and opened his eyes, looking up at Rachel. "Good morning, babe. Did you enjoy last night?" He certainly had.
"Yeah, I did," Rachel said, smiling at Finn. "So... about last night..." She felt like they should talk about what happened. "Are we back together?"
That was a question that had been on Finn's mind. "Do you want to be?"
Rachel figured she might as well say it. "Yes. I do. We never really gave ourselves a shot after high school. Even though we broke up, I never stopped loving you."
He'd never stopped loving her either. "I really want to try things again, too. Maybe we should take things slow at first, spend the summer getting to know each other again, but I always hoped we'd find our way back to each other."
Rachel couldn't control her smiles when she heard Finn say that. "That sounds good to me. I'm sorry I didn't fight harder right after we graduated. I was worried that since you were the one who set me free and you didn't like New York when you came right after graduation."
"I don't think it's that I didn't like New York, I think I was overwhelmed by everything," Finn admitted. "The army fiasco, not knowing what I wanted to do with myself, worried that I was inferior to you, and of course I was worried about what would happen once the boys were born..."
"Finn," Rachel interrupted. "You were never inferior to me. Just because we had different goals doesn't mean you were inferior. And I'm sorry if I ever made you feel that way."
"I was so worried you'd resent me if you stayed in Lima," Finn admitted.
Rachel took Finn's hands. "I could never resent you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I made you worry about that, and I'm sorry about the whole thing with Brody and Jesse and Puck back in the day. You always loved me when I was at my best and my worst and when I did things most people wouldn't have forgiven and I appreciate that."
Finn tightened his grip on Rachel's hand. "Thank you, Rachel. And of course I still love you. I'll always love you. I'm sorry I gave up so quickly and that I didn't call."
"I'm sorry I didn't call," Rachel admitted. "But Finn, we're back in each other's lives and that's what matters. I think we've both learned from our mistakes and we won't make the same mistakes." This wasn't going to be easy. They did both have lives in different states, as did the boys, but Rachel really hoped they could figure something out. The summer had just started and she didn't want it to end.
Finn wanted to lighten things up. "That's right. And I'm really excited to see your show today."
Rachel couldn't wait to finally have Finn in the audience. "I got you and the boys the best seats in the house. Speaking of the boys, I wonder if they're up?" She also looked forward to telling them she and Finn had decided to give things a go again.
Finn held out his hand for Rachel as they made their way to the kitchen to see the boys preparing breakfast. "What are you two up to?" Finn asked.
Clayton practically dropped the pancake he was flipping when he turned and saw his parents holding hands. "Since you two are such sleepyheads, we decided to make breakfast. Good thing you're up, pancakes are best right out of the pan." He grinned at his brother, who was slicing fruit for fruit salad.
"Well, thank you," Rachel said, smiling at her sons. She turned to Cody. "How was your first night back in New York? Sleep okay?"
Cody figured this would be a good opportunity to ask his parents about their night. "Yeah, I slept great. How did you two sleep?"
"We slept well," Finn said. Although he knew the boys wanted them together, he doubted they wanted to hear about the sex. "So, we wanted to talk to you two about something."
Clayton and Cody both started to get worried. "Okay," Clayton began.
"Your dad and I want to try being together again," Rachel told her sons. "We're not sure what's going to happen, but we are trying things again, getting to know each other again. We've never been together as adults. Is that okay with you two?"
Cody resisted the urge to run over and hug his parents. Clayton couldn't even stop himself from grinning. "Yeah!" they both said at the same time. They looked over at each other, thrilled that they'd made progress.
Finally, Finn was sitting in the front row of the theatre, getting ready to see Rachel perform on Broadway. This was something he'd been looking forward to since high school. He wished he'd been at her first five shows, but she'd promised to show him videos and he'd heard the music. Now he was here. And when she left this show to do her next one, he'd be there for opening night.
Something else Finn never thought would happen was happening tonight - he was sitting between both his boys. He never thought he'd be sitting between his sons to watch their mother perform on Broadway. "You're going to love the show," Cody told his dad. "As much as you'll love it when I'm playing Evan."
"Yeah, it's a great show," Clayton added. "I think it's my favorite of the shows Mom has been in."
Cody did feel a sense of sadness when Clayton mentioned going to Rachel's other shows, knowing he hadn't done that. Finn seemed to notice, as he looked over at Cody and gave him a sympathetic look.
Clayton's comment had seemed innocent, but it just made Finn think of everything he and Cody had missed. Now he was even more determined to make things work this time around.
The music began for the overture and Rachel stood backstage, feeling even more excited than she'd felt the night of her debut. For the first time, all three of her favorite boys would be in the audience, watching her together. Every time she had a new show, she bought tickets for Finn and Cody, telling herself those were their seats, but now they were actually there. When she came on to the stage, the theatre was dark, but she was sure she spotted them. And maybe it was because they were there, but this was probably the best she'd ever sounded. She liked to think she was making her case for a Tony Award.
Finn felt so proud as he watched Rachel perform. He always knew she would make it big on Broadway and he knew one day, Cody would be up there doing this as well. He could picture himself and Rachel and Clayton sitting in the audience watching Cody's shows and he could picture himself, Rachel and Cody in the shows, watching Clayton's games. But right now, he was enjoying Rachel's show. She was even better than she'd been in high school and it was hard for Finn to believe she could get better.
"Mom's really good, isn't she?" Cody whispered to Finn.
"Yeah, she really is," Finn whispered back.
The show was over before anyone knew it, and after the show was over, Clayton led Finn and Cody backstage to Rachel's dressing room. It didn't surprise Finn that Rachel had gold stars on her dressing room door. He knocked on the door, excited to tell Rachel how proud he was of her.
Rachel heard a knock on her door as she prepared to change clothes. Hoping it was Finn and the boys, she called out, "Come in!" Sure enough, Finn and the boys came into the room.
Finn handed Rachel the flowers he and the boys had picked out. "These are for you. You were so amazing." He gave her a hug.
Rachel hadn't gotten flowers from Finn in fifteen years. "Thank you, Finn. These are beautiful. Thank you so much for coming." She looked over at the boys. "And thank you for coming. I know Cody just saw the show and Clayton's seen it before."
"You really think I wouldn't want to see it again?" Cody asked.
"Of course we came, Mom," Clayton added.
Finn looked around Rachel's dressing room, seeing all the articles praising her on the wall.
The second evening in New York had been just as amazing as the first. Since it was Sunday and Rachel just had a matinee, the family went to Chinatown for dinner. Finn and Clayton were planning to go to the Yankees game during Rachel's show Tuesday night and Rachel got Cody a ticket to go with Kurt to see Waitress. Again, the family was out late, and it was after midnight by the time they got back to the apartment.
Finn called Burt and Carole and asked if they could bring some more clothes for Finn and Cody when they came up for the Tonys. And while Cody was excited about the Tonys, that call struck a chord with Cody. What would happen to their family after this summer? He'd had so much hope when they went to Lima and then Rachel and Clayton went back to New York. Would he and Finn go back to Lima at the end of the summer? Would Finn and Rachel break up again?
Those thoughts didn't leave Cody's mind, so he tiptoed into Clayton's bedroom. The light was off, but maybe Clayton was awake. "Clayton?" Cody whispered, hoping his brother was up.
Clayton hadn't fallen asleep yet. "Yeah?"
"Can I talk to you about something?" Cody asked. He couldn't hold it in.
Clayton turned on his light and sat on his bed, patting the spot next to him. "Of course."
"What if we failed?" Cody asked. "What if Dad and I go back to Lima and you and Mom stay here?"
Clayton had been having those thoughts too. He hated that possibility. It was clear that Finn and Rachel still loved each other, but he knew they both had lives. He and Cody both had established lives as well. He would be willing to change his life if it meant the whole family could be together. He hated the idea of being away from his dad and his brother, but he could tell his brother was upset, so he had to reassure him right now. "Don't worry. I'm sure we'll at least get to visit each other for holidays, long weekends, in the summer, stuff like that." He didn't just want that.
"I don't want to go back to Lima," Cody almost whispered. "I can't go back to Lima."
Clayton would definitely prefer New York to Lima. "Even if you and Dad go back to Lima, you can visit me and Mom any time. And like you said, you'll be coming here for college." He looked at his brother. He didn't think this was just not liking Lima because it was boring. "Are you okay?"
"No," Cody admitted. Now that he had a brother, he could tell him the things that were really bothering him, the things he was afraid to tell his dad about. "Remember how someone threw a slushie at you on your first day at McKinley?"
"That was so gross," Clayton remembered. That would never be tolerated at his school.
Cody gulped. "Imagine that happening every day. Because almost every day, I get a slushie thrown on me. It's not just that, people call me names and whisper about me in the halls and give me nasty looks. Someone even drew a gross caricature of me on the bathroom wall. People always find ways to insult me. Even in glee club, people are always calling me annoying. They've all basically told me they only like me for my talent." He looked down. "Maybe I bring it on myself by talking about how talented I am, but I want to feel like I'm worth something."
Clayton felt his anger building up. People were doing these things to his brother? That was not okay! "Don't say that. There is no excuse for anyone doing that to you!" Feeling more and more angry, he stood up and went to kick over his desk chair. "God, if I knew about this before I went to Lima, I would've done more than thrown the slushie on that guy. Have you talked to anyone about this? Dad? Mr. Schue?"
"Just you," Cody admitted. "I'm worried if I talk to our parents or a teacher or someone, they'll make it seem like it's my fault."
Now Clayton didn't want Cody to go back to Lima. "It's not your fault. Cody, you need to tell Mom and Dad. I'll tell them with you, but this isn't okay. You can't go back to McKinley. I'm not letting you go back to McKinley."
"I was worried if I told Dad, he'd think I was just trying to find excuses to leave Lima and come to New York, but it's not just because there's Broadway and more people like me in New York," Cody admitted.
Clayton wrapped his arms around his brother. "We'll talk to Mom and Dad tomorrow. Everything's going to be okay. I promise."
Chapter 16: Family Life
Well, hi everyone! I'm still alive. Sorry for such a long wait for updates. The short version is, I got really sick and haven't had the energy to write in a while, but I'm feeling better, so I hope you guys are still up for more updates! I finally got this chapter how I want it and I'm already working at the next one - hopefully it'll be up this weekend! Again, I'm sorry for disappearing, but I hope you guys will keep reading! Enjoy and drop me a review to let me know what you think and if I should keep going!
Once again, Rachel was so happy to wake up with Finn next to her. She'd set her alarm for early because she wanted to make breakfast for Finn and the boys. The boys had made breakfast yesterday, so she wanted to return the favor. She remembered how much Finn liked the food she made him in high school as well. Would he like the breakfast she would prepare today?
Finn heard the alarm ring. He looked over to see Rachel getting out of bed. "You could've told me you were setting the alarm!" Finn teased Rachel.
"Go back to sleep," Rachel whispered, going over and kissing Finn. "I'm going to make breakfast."
Finn's mind went back to all the good meals Rachel made him in high school. "I look forward to it." Hopefully there would be more meals in the future. There were still questions. Would Finn and Cody move to New York? Would Rachel and Clayton move to Lima? Worst case scenario, if neither of the boys wanted to move, they could do long distance and visits on holidays, summers and long weekends until the boys graduated high school. "Can I come with you?"
"Of course!" Rachel said. "I'd love to spend some time with you."
"I'm having my parents bring more clothes for Cody and me when they come for the Tonys," Finn told Rachel. "I bet they'll be happy to see your dads, it's been a while."
"It has," Rachel agreed. "My dads always liked your parents."
Finn followed Rachel into the kitchen, where she began to get out supplies. "I'm making my breakfast cake. This has always been Clayton's favorite. I make it whenever he has a big game."
"It might end up being my favorite, too!" Finn said. "Cody has his rituals for the big performances, too, and his superstitions. Remember when you and I were practicing for your NYADA audition?"
Rachel giggled. "Of course! Happy! Sad! Surprised!" She laughed at the memory.
"Oh, I remember that! You wouldn't kiss me," Finn pouted.
"I was afraid of getting an infection and losing my voice," Rachel sighed. "Of course, we all know how that audition went."
"Losing your voice," Finn repeated. "Remember when you panicked when you lost your voice sophomore year?"
Rachel definitely remembered. "I told you I needed applause to live!"
"Luckily, I've never lost my voice." Finn and Rachel turned to see Cody coming into the kitchen.
Rachel smiled at her son. "Hey! How was your night?"
Cody didn't want to tell his parents about his talk with Clayton just yet. For now, he just wanted to have a nice breakfast. "Good."
Rachel smiled. "Good. I'm going to make some calls today to some of the singing and theatre camps I know of here."
"Great!" Cody said. He sniffed the air. "Whatever you're making smells good."
"You two made breakfast yesterday, I should return the favor," Rachel told Cody.
"I see," Cody said. "And sharing some stories from your high school days."
"There are so many of those," Finn told Cody.
Cody sat down at the breakfast table, smiling at the sight of his parents talking comfortably together. "I'm really glad we're here."
Finn smiled at his son. "So am I."
Clayton came into the kitchen. "Mom, you're making your cake?"
"Yes, I am," Rachel told her son. "Your dad and Cody should get to try it, don't you think?"
"Yeah!" Clayton agreed.
Rachel looked over at Cody. "So, I have some good news. I got you into two Broadway camps."
Cody gasped. "Really? Thanks, Mom!" He looked over at Clayton, hoping to convey that he didn't want to bring up what was happening at McKinley just yet. He just wanted a nice breakfast with his family. And now he had Broadway camp to look forward to!
"Mom, Dad, can we talk to you about something?" Cody asked as he and Clayton went into the living room. They might as well not hold it in anymore.
Rachel looked up at her sons. "Sure."
Cody looked over at Clayton and then at his parents. "I really hope we end up moving to New York. I'm not happy at McKinley."
That wasn't a secret. Finn knew that Cody would prefer New York to Lima. There were so many more resources for a star in the making in New York. "Well, you're here for the summer, and I'm not sure what will come next..."
What if his parents blamed him for what was going wrong? "I really, really don't like Lima."
"Tell them," Clayton whispered to his brother.
Cody figured Clayton would probably say something if he didn't. "The kids at McKinley don't like me. They throw slushies on me a lot. People whisper about me and give me weird looks in the halls and have even drawn photos mocking me on walls."
"Oh my God," Finn gasped. Why had no one told him about this? Surely other teachers had probably seen people throw slushies on Cody. Why hadn't they told him? Many of the kids knew how to act in front of teachers, but there were some kids who he suspected were behind this.
Rachel felt sick knowing that McKinley hadn't changed since she and Finn were there. At first, she was thrilled to know that Cody went to the same high school where she and Finn met, but now she felt awful knowing that he went there and was being treated this way. Bancroft had a strict no bullying policy. When Clayton was in third grade, another kid in his grade had been kicked out for bullying other kids too much. "Honey, I'm so sorry this happened to you."
"He can't go back to McKinley, I don't want him to go back to McKinley," Clayton said. "I got slushied when I was there and it was so awful. I can't stand the thought of that ever happening to him again."
"I don't know why they haven't gotten rid of the slushie machine," Finn said.
"I'm sure they'd find other things to do if they got rid of it," Cody admitted.
Finn felt so guilty. All this had been happening and he hadn't been aware. "I'm sorry, Cody. I feel so horrible. I should have figured out that something wasn't right."
"I was worried you guys would think that I deserved it because I talk so much about my talent, but that's the only reason they aren't as mean to me in glee," Cody told his family. "But I don't think they like me that much there, they always make comments about how they can't win without me, but often find ways to make comments about me."
That reminded Rachel of how things were before she bonded with the glee clubbers. "Honey..." She didn't know what else to say. She walked over and hugged her son as tight as she could, hoping that would at least make him feel a little better.
Cody tightened the hug, feeling so thankful for his mother.
"I was hoping that things had changed," Finn admitted. "Kids don't act that way in front of the teachers and I thought things improved from our freshman year to our senior year, but I guess they do it behind the adults' backs."
"I remember how awful it was when kids bullied me at McKinley," Rachel added. "And like your dad said, since things seemed to get better over the time there, I was hopeful things were continuing to get better. We'll figure something out, Cody."
Cody hoped that something would be staying in New York, all four of them, together. Even if he couldn't make friends at Bancroft, at least he would have his parents and brother. He glanced over at Clayton and could tell his brother was thinking the same thing.
The family's talk was interrupted by a loud knock on the door. Rachel had been expecting a package, but usually packages were taken to the desk. Maybe there were too many there right now? She didn't think she was in the right state to answer the door, but she knew she had to sign for the package. She went to the door and saw a man and a woman with notepads. "It's Rachel Berry, who next week will certainly win a Tony for her portrayal of Heidi Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen!" the man said. "Any comments on how you're seen as the frontrunner?"
Rachel was caught off guard. "Excuse me, who are you?"
The man and woman stepped into the apartment as Rachel, Finn, Clayton and Cody sat there in shock. "I'm Brandon Baker from Entertainment Weekly and this is my coworker, Madison Crawnik," the man said, holding out his recorder.
Rachel didn't know what to say. "This isn't a good time and how did you get into my apartment?"
"Oh, we followed someone into the building," Madison said. She looked at Finn. "Recently you've been linked to Jesse St. James, but who's this man?" She looked at Cody and Clayton. "And who are they?"
Finn stood up. He knew their family needed time together and that reporters showing up at the apartment was clearly stressing Rachel out. "Showing up here is really inappropriate. Can't you see you're making her uncomfortable?"
Rachel shot Finn a grateful look. She'd kept it under the radar through the years that she had a family, both to protect Clayton's privacy and give him a normal childhood, and also to protect Finn and Cody. "I'll say that I'm honored to be nominated for a Tony and that I'm humbled that people see me as a favorite, and that I love being part of a show with a great message and such talented people, but I think it's an invasion of my privacy to have reporters just show up at my apartment." She knew she'd been more successful than other people had been at keeping her private life private. In fact, this was the first time reporters had shown up at her home.
"You heard her," Finn said. "There are press conferences at the theatre and I'm sure you could arrange something through the theatre. Can't you see how uneasy she is that you showed up at her apartment?" He looked at the reporters. "Get out."
Cody tried to distract himself. "Yeah, this is private property. I'm sure this counts as trespassing."
Rachel looked at the reporters. "They're right, you're not respecting my privacy. If you want to talk to me, you have contact information from Broadway. Please leave my apartment."
After the reporters left, Cody looked at his mom, half happy for her, half glad he didn't have to talk about what was going on at McKinley anymore. "You okay, Mom?"
"I'm sorry they took me away from you," Rachel sighed. That was what she felt worst about.
"Can we not talk about McKinley?" Cody asked. "It's summer and I'm in New York..."
Finn knew he and Rachel didn't like to talk about the way they were treated in high school either. "Whenever you want to talk, we're here." He looked at Rachel, knowing that even if Cody didn't want to talk, this was something the two of them needed to talk about.
Clayton interpreted the look his parents were sharing. "Hey Cody, how about you and I go to a park near our apartment that I like to go to sometimes?" He knew Cody needed a distraction and their parents needed to talk.
Cody smiled at his brother. "Yeah, that would be nice."
After the boys left, Finn and Rachel sat in the living room together, thinking about the conversation they'd had with their sons. "I had no idea this was going on," Finn told Rachel. "And I feel like such a horrible parent."
"They're teenagers, they don't tell us everything," Rachel sighed. "I didn't tell my dads about what happened at McKinley because I didn't want to worry them."
"I really hoped the school still wouldn't be like this all these years later," Finn commented.
"I know," Rachel sighed.
Finn gulped. "I thought he just wanted to come to New York because it's a better place for people with his ambitions, but it's more than that. He can't go back to McKinley." This was hard for him to say, but he had to say it. "Cody should probably move in with you and Clay. You said Bancroft has a strict, enforced no bullying policy." He hated the idea of being away from both his sons, but he wanted what was best for them. And McKinley certainly wasn't what was best for Cody.
Rachel gasped. On one hand, she loved the idea of having both her boys here in New York with her. She'd missed so much in Cody's life and didn't want to miss any more. She knew Clayton would love to have his brother in New York. She was sure Cody would be in his element in New York. But she hated the idea of Finn being without both of them. "Are you sure about that?" She'd been hoping Finn and Cody would both move to New York. Finn had seemed to enjoy his time here.
"We need to put them first, we definitely didn't do that for the first fifteen years of their lives," Finn admitted. "And being in Lima isn't what's best for Cody. He'll be in his element here, he'll be at a school where what's been happening to him at McKinley isn't tolerated, and he'll be with his brother." His heart broke, but he knew this was what had to be done.
"But what about you?" Rachel asked.
Finn wished they could all be together. "I can come out on weekends, maybe they could spend summers in Lima, or I could spend summers here, like we're doing, I'll come for their birthday and for every holiday. I can FaceTime with them every day. I was already planning to FaceTime with Clayton every day."
Hadn't Rachel and Finn decided they were back together? "So, you want to do long distance?"
"I want us to be together and for the two of us and the boys to all be together, a family," Finn admitted. "But my job is in Ohio."
"Are you saying there aren't schools you could teach at here?" Rachel asked.
Rachel was right. "I must admit, I'm a bit nervous about the idea of moving. I've been in Lima my whole life and I love New York so far, I liked it when we visited it in high school for nationals, but changes are always scary."
Rachel understood. Even though she'd always wanted to live in New York, she knew the idea of moving was scary. Her first few weeks in New York had been a bit overwhelming. "Well, you're here for the summer, let's see how things go this summer. I probably have enough from my shows to hold us over while you'd look for a job, and I do have connections here, if you decide to stay." She really hoped he would stay permanently, but she also knew it was his choice. If Finn didn't think he'd be happy in New York, then she didn't want to force him. It would just cause resentment.
Finn really hoped it would work. It was normal to be afraid of the unknown, but he liked the idea of using this summer as a trail run. "You really want me here?"
"I do, I wouldn't say I wanted to get back together if I didn't," Rachel told Finn. "I really want you and me and the boys to be a family, all of us together in the same city, even if it's not New York."
"Well, Cody wants to be in New York, and Clayton has a life here, not to mention your job is here..." Finn began. Another reason he hoped he'd feel at home in New York by the end of the summer, he didn't want to be away from both the boys. It had been hard enough being away from Clayton for fifteen years.
"My job, yeah," Rachel said. "Actually, I'm thinking I might leave the show soon." She hadn't told anyone else about this. "Reconnecting with you and Cody has made me want a job that lets me be at home more. I've usually done my shows for about a year each and it's been about a year. I've always felt guilty about being gone most evenings and I'm thinking I might wait until after the boys graduate to do another show."
Finn gasped. "But Rachel, Broadway is your dream!"
"Yeah," Rachel said. "And I got five Tonys, maybe a sixth coming. My other, more important dream has always been that you, me and the boys could be a family. We missed out on that for fifteen years and despite my five Tonys, I wasn't happy. Two big pieces of me were missing. We can't make up for lost time, but we can spend more time together now. We shouldn't have done what we did in the first place, but we're together now."
Finn was so touched by what Rachel said, he struggled to find the right things to say. "That's always been my dream, too."
"So, should we tell the boys what the tentative plan is?" Rachel asked.
Finn nodded. "Yeah, we should." He had a feeling that he would end up deciding to stay in New York permanently. After all, there were three very important reasons to stay here.
"I hope you know I want you to stay here, too," Rachel told Finn. She reached over and took his hand. "Of course if you don't think you'll be happy here, your happiness is the most important thing..."
Finn squeezed Rachel's hand. "I love you and I love our boys."
Cody had finally told his parents about what had happened at McKinley, but he couldn't help but feel nervous about what his parents were talking about. They'd seemed sympathetic and to understand, but the kids at school were always telling him he deserved to be treated the way they were treating him because he was annoying.
Clayton looked over at his brother, noticing he hadn't talked much since they had gone out. "I'm sorry if I pressured you too much to tell our parents..."
"I probably should've told Dad a while ago," Cody admitted. "The kids at school always say I deserve the slushies and the name calling because I'm annoying..."
If Clayton had known about all this when he was in Lima, he would have gone to an adult at the school. "That's bullshit. No one deserves to be treated like that. They're probably just jealous of your talent. They know you'll get out of Lima and make it big on Broadway and that they'll all be stuck there forever."
Cody had to smile at that. "You'll vouch for your team to let me perform the anthem when you're in the MLB or NFL or NBA, right?"
Clayton smiled at his brother. "Of course."
"Hey Clayton," a voice said behind Cody and Clayton.
Clayton turned and saw Amanda. What was she doing here? "Hey Amanda. How's your summer going?"
"It's good, I'm a CIT at my old Girl Scout camp and my family's going to Cape Cod in a few weeks," Amanda said. "What about yours?"
"I'll be doing some sports camps," Clayton said.
Amanda looked at Cody. "So is this your brother?"
"Yeah, I'm Cody, I'm here from Ohio for the summer," Cody said. He looked over at his brother and saw that he was getting a little giddy.
"I never knew you had a brother," Amanda commented.
Clayton figured he'd tell the story. "Neither did I until this year."
At the end of the story, Amanda gasped. "That's crazy, but it's still so cool that you found each other."
Clayton saw the looks Cody was giving him. "Yeah, maybe we could hang out this summer, too."
Amanda got a big smile when Clayton suggested that. "Yeah, that would be fun!"
A little girl came over to Amanda. "I'm tired, can we go home now?" she pouted.
Amanda looked at the little girl. "Yeah, we can." She looked at Clayton and Cody. "Sorry, my little sister got tired. But yeah, text me, Clayton. We should definitely hang out."
"Yeah," Clayton managed to say. When Amanda was gone, he turned to Cody. "I had a feeling you'd say something if I didn't ask her out. But I finally asked her out."
"Yeah, I would, it's our job, just like you would've said something if I hadn't told Mom and Dad," Cody shot back. "And see, she said yes! I think she likes you too."
"I hope," Clayton admitted. His phone vibrated and he saw a text from Finn, saying that they were hoping the boys would be back soon. He showed his phone to Cody.
"What if they're mad?" Cody asked as he and Clayton began to walk back to the apartment.
"I told you, they're not mad," Clayton said. "I know our parents. It's going to be okay."
Cody knew Clayton meant well, but at the same time, Clayton didn't know what McKinley was like. "Easy for you to say when you've always been at the school with the no bullying policy."
"What?" Clayton asked.
"They've chickened out before, who's to say they won't chicken out again?" Cody lamented. "I might end up back at McKinley and you'll be here with the perfect life in New York."
"Perfect life?" Clayton demanded. Where was that coming from?
Cody wished his brother would acknowledge how different their schools were. "Don't play dumb, Clayton. Yeah, you got the short end of the deal in the switch because you had to cut your hair and go to Lima, but you're Mr. Big Man on Campus, first freshman quarterback, first freshman starting pitcher, first freshman starter on the basketball team, championship MVP, perfect game whatever that is, you got the girl..."
"You think my life is perfect, that I'm the big man on campus?" Clayton shot back. He and Cody had been having a nice talk ten minutes ago and suddenly Cody was mad at him and making these accusations? "Yeah, I talk with lots of people at school and at my practices, but I spend almost every weekend alone! And do you know how hard it was for me to ask her out?"
"But you asked her out! And she said yes!" Cody pointed out. There wasn't anyone he was interested in at McKinley, but if there was, he doubted anyone would want to go out with the biggest loser in school, whereas he was sure any girl would love to go out with the best athlete at Bancroft.
This felt like it had come out of nowhere and Clayton found himself getting angry. "Of course you're making it about you."
"What?" Cody asked. It was as if Clayton was confirming his fears.
"Mom told me she used to be really self-centered and that people didn't like her then." Immediately, Clayton regretted his words. He'd poked at Cody's biggest insecurity.
So Clayton was saying Cody deserved to be bullied. Cody didn't typically get violent, but he lifted his hand and slapped Clayton across the face.
Clayton opened his mouth to apologize, but before he had a chance, Cody slapped him.
Meanwhile, Finn and Rachel were sitting on the balcony, waiting for their sons to come home so they could tell them about the tentative plan. However, when they saw them outside the building and saw Cody slap Clayton, their focus changed. They ran downstairs to their sons. "What's going on here?" Finn asked.
"He said I deserve to be bullied!" Cody snapped, glaring at Clayton.
Clayton glared at Cody. "We ran into Amanda, I asked her out and she said yes, and he ruined it!"
"She said yes?" Rachel asked, knowing this was what Clayton had wanted all year.
"Yeah, another victory for golden boy Clayton Berry," Cody snapped.
Finn and Rachel looked at each other. Their sons were having their first fight. There probably would have been plenty of those if the boys had grown up together. They were cherishing that the boys had bonded so much, but all siblings fought. It was clear emotions were charged, so maybe now wasn't the best time to talk about tentative plans for their family. "Why don't you two go inside, go to your rooms and cool down?" Rachel suggested.
Neither of the boys said anything as they followed their parents inside. In silence, they both went to their rooms and closed the doors.
"Should we talk to them?" Finn asked.
"They probably need some time to themselves right now," Rachel admitted.
"Yeah," Finn admitted. "I often needed time to cool down when I got into arguments with Kurt."
"We should check on them in a few minutes," Rachel suggested. The boys needed space right now, but she was worried about them.
Clayton paced around his room, hating himself for the things he'd said. Cody had confided in him about something that he hadn't confided in anyone else about and he'd made it worse. He felt awful that his brother was being bullied and he didn't want to make him feel the way the bullies made him feel.
Cody fell backwards on the guest room bed. Or would this end up being his bed? He hoped so. He hoped the fact that he and Clayton had been bickering would make his parents think that they should go back to the way things were. He loved his mom and brother and he didn't want to lose them again. It hadn't been right of him to take his stress about the bullying out on Clayton.
Chapter 17: The Tonys
Finn and Rachel sat in the living room watching TV, waiting for one or both of their sons to come into the living room. But neither of them came out. As nice as it was for Finn and Rachel to be cuddling on the couch together, in each other's arms, caressing each other, they couldn't help but be worried about their sons.
"Should we check on them?" Finn whispered to Rachel.
"Yeah," Rachel said. It had been upsetting for her to watch Cody hit Clayton and to hear the boys yelling at each other. Seeing them so close so quickly had been so nice. She'd always wanted a sibling, a built in friend. She'd felt guilty all those years for depriving her sons of a brother.
Finn could tell what Rachel was thinking. "Kurt and I got into some pretty bad fights when we were in high school." He remembered the worst one. "I remember when we first moved in together Kurt decorated the bedroom we were going to share and I called some of the decorations..." He hated even remembering that. "I called some of them faggy."
Rachel had never heard that story. "We've all done and said things we aren't proud of, but I know Kurt knows you love him."
"And I know our boys love each other," Finn said. "The first fight has to be upsetting for them."
"Yeah," Rachel agreed. She looked down the hall. "Maybe we should each go to one of their rooms..."
Cody had never hit anyone before, let alone his brother. He'd wanted to hit the kids at McKinley who'd thrown slushies on him, but he knew he'd get outnumbered and things wouldn't end well. Clayton had achieved his goal of throwing the slushie back.
Before he knew Clayton was his brother, Clayton had been his first real friend. Clayton had been nice to him off the bat, whereas the kids in Lima all automatically saw him as the weird kid. He was upset about everything that was happening in Lima, upset that he might need to go back, but there was no need to take it out on Clayton.
But maybe it wasn't such a good thing. He was getting a glimpse of what a better life could be like. He could see himself being happy in New York. He'd be with his brother, with his mom and his dad and in a place where there were more people like him. He could go to shows all the time. But what if this was just life playing a trick on him, telling him this is what he could have, but he'd be going back to Lima?
Rachel knocked on Cody's door. "Cody, can I come in for a minute?" She and Finn had both decided they'd talk to the boy who hadn't grown up with them so it wouldn't seem like the labels of who was whose were still there. Anyways, she was more like Cody and Finn was more like Clayton.
Cody felt relieved that his mom didn't seem angry. "Sure."
Rachel came in and looked at her son. "Are you okay?" That was a futile question. Of course he was upset.
At least she didn't yell at him. "I guess..."
Rachel figured she'd come out and ask him. "Why did you hit your brother?"
Of course she was asking. "I'm sorry, do you want me to go apologize to him?"
Rachel remembered being in high school. "I'm sorry you and Clayton got into a fight, but you seem upset. Is something bothering you?"
Cody looked at his mom. "Like I told you, I really don't want to go back to Lima. You and Dad went back to the way things were once before. I shouldn't have hit Clayton, but I'm worried I might have to go back to McKinley and get slushies thrown on me all the time again and he'll get to stay here and go to the school with the no bullying policy."
Rachel and Finn had been planning to tell the boys together about their plans going forward, but maybe she should tell Cody now. "I'm so sorry that's happening. I was really hoping McKinley wouldn't be like that anymore."
"I was afraid to tell Dad or anyone because I was worried they'd say it was my fault." Maybe he should tell his mom why he hit his brother. "I hit Clayton because he said you went through a phase where you were really egotistical and no one liked you then, and I thought that meant he was saying I deserved it..."
That was why Cody had hit Clayton. "Cody, no one deserves to be treated the way you've been treated at McKinley. And I know Clayton doesn't think you deserve to be bullied. He's your brother. He loves you. He missed you so much when we were here and you were in Lima."
"Am I going to have to go back to Lima, Mom?" Cody asked. Rachel hadn't really answered that yet.
Maybe Rachel should just tell Cody. "No. Your dad and I were talking while you two were out, and we think it would be for the best for you to come here. You know your brother's school has a no bullying policy and you could work toward your dream more here."
So he wouldn't have to go back to Lima. He could move to New York earlier than he thought he could. Cody gave Rachel a big hug. "Thank you."
Finn knocked on Clayton's door. "Hey Clayton, mind if I come in?"
Clayton hadn't stopped beating himself up internally for the things he'd said to his brother. Was Finn going to make him feel worse. "Come on in."
Finn went inside and looked at his son. "I was just coming to check on you."
Clayton looked over at Finn. "I kind of deserved to be slapped."
Finn looked at his son. "What do you mean?"
Clayton looked down. "I accused Cody of making everything about him and brought up when Mom told me she went through a phase where she was self-centered..."
"It sounded like you were pretty upset, too," Finn said. "Can you tell me about what happened?"
Clayton didn't want to make Cody look bad. "He talked about my life being perfect because my school has a no bullying policy, I got the top spots in all three of my sports as a freshman, Amanda said yes and I live in New York and that got to me. I'm under a lot of pressure, Dad, and he made it seem like he thought I was super popular when I'm really not. I talk to lots of people at school, yes, but I don't hang out with them outside of school very much."
Finn was reminded of himself in high school. Everyone saw him as being popular because he was the quarterback, but he rarely hung out with people outside of school. "I know what that's like. It was like that for me in high school. I was seen as popular because I had roles associated with popularity, but I didn't really have friends until I started glee."
"Don't get me wrong, I think the kids at school and on my teams like me, but they don't ask me to hang out," Clayton told his dad. "When Amanda said yes, I was excited not just because I'd liked her for a while, but because it means she likes me."
When it came down to it, both the boys were lonely. "She seemed nice at your game."
"She is," Clayton told his dad. "She's really nice, and she's smart, and she's talented, and so, so beautiful."
Finn was reminded of the way he thought about Rachel in high school. "I'd like to meet her for real at some point this summer."
This summer. What would happen to their family after this summer? "I'm sure we can work that out."
"Clayton, you should really talk to Cody about the things you just told me about," Finn told his son. "You two are brothers. And even though it probably feels longer, you just came into each other's lives. You're still getting to know each other."
"Yeah," Clayton agreed. The thought of saying goodbye to his dad and brother again at the end of the summer made him so sad. And he didn't want Cody going back to McKinley.
Being here with Clayton made Finn think even more that he didn't want to go back to Lima. Yes, he had a job here, but he hated the idea of being away from both his boys, one who he'd spent the past fifteen years loving, one who he'd spent the past fifteen years missing and had finally gotten back, and already loved so much.
Rachel and Cody came into Clayton's room. "Mind if we come in?" Rachel asked.
Finn had a feeling their whole family needed to be together now. "Yeah, come on in," Clayton said. He looked at Cody. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry, too," Cody said. "And I hope you know, I'm happy for you. Amanda seems really nice."
Clayton smiled to himself. "She is. And if there's ever anyone you have your eye on, let me know. I'll do what I can to help." He gulped. "I'm really sorry I made those comments about being self-centered. You're really, really talented, Cody. But more importantly, you're a great person."
"I'm sorry I made the comments I made, too," Cody admitted.
Should Clayton tell Cody? "I'm sorry, I guess it got to me more than it should've. It's just... well, I spend most of my free time alone. The kids at school talk to me, but they don't ask me to hang out. So I know what it's like to be lonely."
"I'm sorry," Cody told his brother. He would have guessed the best athlete would be the most popular kid at school, like at McKinley. Things weren't always what they looked like. "That's part of why I'm hoping we'll come here. We won't be lonely if we have each other." He looked at Rachel, giving her a hint that she should tell Clayton.
"Your dad and I were talking, and we think it would be better for Cody to come here, move in with us, go to Bancroft with you," Rachel told Clayton. "What do you think of that?"
Clayton loved the idea of his brother being in New York. "That would be awesome!" Then he realized what his mom had said. She'd mentioned Cody moving to New York, but not Finn. He looked at Finn. He hated the idea of his dad not being here. "But what about you?"
Cody just realized that Rachel had only said him, not Finn. "Yeah, what about you?" He didn't want to be without Finn.
The looks on his sons' faces made Finn even more sure he wanted to come to New York. "I haven't made any choices yet, but if things go well this summer, I might try to get a job in New York."
Might try? Were their parents chickening out again? "You shouldn't wait, just look for a job here now!" Cody protested. "We did this in the first place because we wanted you two back together. Now you are back together, and it's pretty hard to be back together if you're in Ohio and she's here!"
Rachel sighed. "Your father didn't think New York was the right place for him when we just graduated high school. People make long distance work."
"Yeah, but you can't very well be a Broadway star in Ohio," Cody pointed out.
Rachel figured she should tell the boys. "I'm actually thinking of leaving the show. I've been there about a year and that's usually how long I do shows." Clayton's comments about loneliness had gotten to her. "I heard what you said about being lonely, Clayton, and I've always felt bad that when I do my shows, I don't get to see you as much as I'd like. And after hearing you say that, and reconnecting with your dad and Cody... it's made me want to get a job that lets me be with you guys more."
Clayton had always been proud of his mom's career, but at the same time, he really wished she could be home more. "You'd give up your dream for us?"
"I have five Tonys and I can always go back after you two graduate, I just want to be a mom now," Rachel admitted. She looked over at Finn, hoping he knew that she also wanted to be a girlfriend.
Finn remembered what Rachel said. "I like New York. I'm sure I could get a job here." He could see New York working this time. He was in a bad place right after high school and he wasn't sure if anything would work. But now, things were better, and he wanted it to work in New York. He wasn't sure if he should get the boys' hopes up in case it didn't. "But even if I don't end up staying in New York, I'll be here for every holiday, for weekends, in the summers, you name it."
"We want you here," Clayton said. "We want the whole family together."
That was what Rachel wanted, too. "I hope you know I'd love to have you here. And even if you don't want to stay here, I could always go to Lima after the boys graduate."
Before anyone knew it, the night of the Tony Awards was approaching. Finn was growing happier in New York by the day. He and Rachel were having sex almost every night. He hadn't told Rachel and the boys just in case he changed his mind or he didn't get the jobs, but he had begun applying to teaching jobs in New York. Even though the thought of being in a new city for the first time in his life was a bit intimidating, he hated the idea of leaving New York at the end of the summer. He loved being in the same city as the woman he loved and both their sons and there were so many fun things to do in New York.
Rachel had told the producers she'd be leaving the show at the end of July. She figured that was enough time for anyone who wanted to see her to come. She always felt sad to be leaving the show, but she loved the idea of being able to have dinner with her boys every night, to go to all of Clayton's games and Cody's concerts, and to maybe even have lunch with Finn. She really hoped he would decide to stay in New York. During the days, she took him to all her favorite sites. The boys were both in camps this week, so that meant there was plenty of time for Finn and Rachel to spend together.
"Are you sure your parents don't want to stay here? I'm sure the boys wouldn't mind sharing a room for a few days," Rachel told Finn. Tonight, Burt and Carole would be arriving from Lima for the Tony Awards. Unlike last time, when Rachel had been so nervous to see them, she couldn't wait to see them.
"Kurt and Blaine have an extra room, so it makes sense for them to stay there, but we'll get lots of time with them," Finn said. His parents were bringing some more things for him and Cody. It was while they were here that he planned to tell them Cody would be staying in New York and that he was hoping to stay in New York as well.
"I'm so glad they could come," Rachel said. She'd gotten a good amount of tickets, not only for her, Finn and the boys, but for Finn's parents, her dads, Shelby and Beth, and Kurt, Blaine and their kids. She'd also told Clayton and Cody they could each bring a guest to the Tonys. Clayton was bringing Amanda and Cody was bringing his new friend from theatre camp, Ben. "My dads said they're looking forward to seeing them, too. They'd like to have you, me and the boys all over for dinner sometime soon."
Finn was glad to hear Rachel's dads wanted him to come over. "That would be great. I always liked your dads."
"They always liked you, too," Rachel told Finn.
Cody came into the apartment and noticed his parents sitting close together, hoping that was a good sign. So far, he loved living in New York and he was sure he'd accomplish his goal of seeing every show on Broadway by the end of the summer. Finn had withdrawn him from McKinley and he'd been enrolled at Bancroft. He just hoped Finn would join him as well. He loved living with his mom and brother.
"Hey!" Rachel said. "How was camp today?"
"It was great!" Cody said. He was loving his theatre camp. There were kids from all over New York there and even some from outside New York. Two of the kids there even went to Bancroft. The kids at camp were so talented and he was learning a lot from them. Some of them had even asked him to hang out. "Where's Clayton?"
"He's at a Yankees game with some guys from the baseball team, they had an afternoon game today," Finn said. "Kyle invited him when he was at their house with Amanda yesterday."
"That's good," Cody said, remembering how Clayton talked about how the people at school and on his teams talked to him at school and practice, but didn't ask him to hang out. He hoped the social situation was getting better for both him and his brother.
"Is Ben excited for the Tonys?" Rachel asked.
"Yeah, everyone else at camp is jealous we get to go!" Cody said. Ben was the most talented person at camp, other than Cody of course. "Just think, Mom, you're going to present me with a Tony one day."
Rachel smiled at her son. "I look forward to that."
The apartment door open and Clayton came in. "How was the game?" Finn asked.
"We had fun, even though the Yankees got no-hit," Clayton told his family.
"No hits, so a perfect game?" Cody asked.
"Not quite," Clayton told his brother. "The Dodgers pitcher walked one batter from the Yankees, so it wasn't quite perfect."
"That's something you have over him!" Cody said.
Finn and Rachel smiled to see their sons getting along again. "So you had fun with the guys?" Rachel asked.
"Yeah!" Clayton said. He'd been happy when he'd been hanging out with Amanda yesterday at her house when her brother Kyle, the shortstop on the baseball game, had asked him if he wanted to go to a game together. He'd gone to a game with Finn earlier this week as well and they were planning to go as well when the Indians came to town to play the Yankees and when the Reds came to play the Mets. He loved having his dad here and hoped he'd stay.
The doorbell rang, and Finn, Rachel, Cody and Clayton were all surprised. They weren't expecting anyone. Finn's phone vibrated with a text from his mom, saying they were here. "My parents are here!"
"We weren't expecting them until tonight!" Rachel gasped. She hadn't had time to really clean up the apartment.
"I'll go greet them," Finn said. He went downstairs to see his parents. "Mom, Burt, you're early!"
"We were able to get an earlier flight and we thought we'd surprise you," Burt said.
"This is great!" Finn said. "The boys are both home and you can see Rachel before she goes to her show!"
"We brought some more stuff for you and Cody, like you asked," Carole said.
Finn figured once they got upstairs, he'd tell his parents that Cody was staying in New York. And once he got some alone time with his parents, he'd tell them he'd most likely be staying here as well. "Thanks so much!"
"So, are you enjoying New York?" Carole asked Finn. Rachel had left for an interview and the boys were both hanging out with friends from their camps, so right now, it was just Finn and his parents.
"I am, I really am," Finn told his mom. "It's great to be with Rachel and with both the boys, and it's great to be in the same city as Kurt, too."
"How's Cody liking New York?" Burt asked.
Maybe now would be a good time to say it. "He loves it. In fact, Cody's staying here in New York. Unfortunately, the bullying at McKinley has gotten pretty bad. Sadly, it's not much different than it was when Kurt and I were there. Clayton's school has a no bullying policy, so we think that's for the better. And he'll have more resources for reaching his dreams in New York than in Lima."
"I'm so sorry to hear that," Carole sighed.
"I was hoping things would be better by now," Burt snapped.
"Me too, trust me," Finn said. Now he figured he'd tell them the rest. "And I really don't want to be without the boys. I've missed Clayton his whole life. I have him back now and I don't want to let him go again. And I can't say goodbye to Cody either. He's been my world for fifteen years."
"So, you're moving to New York?" Carole asked. She didn't sound opposed.
"I've started applying to jobs here in New York," Finn told his parents. "Reconnecting as a family has made me realize everything I've missed through the years and how much I love being a family. I don't want to give that up."
"As much as we'd miss you, you two should finally get a real shot, and the four of you should finally get a chance to be a family," Burt said. "Not everyone can get another chance with the person they love. You have a chance. You should take it."
"I never stopped loving Rachel," Finn admitted. "I was worried things wouldn't be the same if we ever saw each other again, but things are better than ever. I can see the four of us being really happy as a family in New York."
"Do you still get nervous the night of the Tony Awards?" Finn asked Rachel. It was the night of the Tony Awards and Rachel was wearing a beautiful dark blue dress and had her hair up.
"Yeah," Rachel admitted. "I always would have been embarrassed if I lost a Tony Award."
"Yeah, but you've won every time you've been nominated, and I think this is your best one yet," Finn pointed out.
"You think so?" Rachel asked.
"Yeah!" Finn said.
"Whether I win or not, this is going to be the best one because I have my whole family with me," Rachel told Finn.
Finn smiled at Rachel. "Shall we go to the living room?"
"Yeah," Rachel said.
Finn held out his hand as they went to the living room to see their families. "Rachel, you look so beautiful!" Shelby said, giving her oldest daughter a hug.
"Yeah, you look really pretty," Beth added.
"I can't believe I'm going to the Tony Awards," Ben said.
"Yeah, everyone from camp will be jealous," Cody added. He looked up at his mom. It had always been a dream of his to go to the Tonys, but especially since his mom was nominated. "I'm really glad I'm going tonight."
"I'm glad you'll be here, too," Rachel said.
"How about that dress I designed for her for tonight?" Kurt asked.
"It's beautiful," Finn said. "But Rachel always looks beautiful."
"Finn!" Rachel laughed.
"You'll need to design one for me for next time Artie's nominated for an award," Kitty said. "I'm sure he'll get his next Oscar when that season rolls around." Artie and Kitty were in town as well, since one of Artie's closest director friends was directing a production on Broadway and was nominated for a Tony.
"Deal," Kurt told Kitty.
"We're really glad you guys could come by," Rachel told Kitty and Artie.
"Of course!" Artie said. "We're so bummed we weren't in Lima Memorial Day weekend, when everyone else was." He looked over at his three-year-old son. "And I think Charlie had fun playing with your boys today."
"And the Tony Award for best featured actress in a musical goes to - Rachel Berry from Dear Evan Hansen!"
It never got old, hearing her name called. But this time was the most meaningful. She had Finn sitting next to her, just like she dreamed she would if she won a Tony Award.
Finn knew Rachel would win the Tony Award, but it was so much more special actually hearing it officially. He'd read online about her previous wins, but this time, he was here, next to her. She looked at him with the biggest smile on her face. "Oh my God!"
"I'm so proud of you!" Finn said, giving Rachel a big hug.
"I'm so happy you're here," Rachel said, hugging Finn before smiling over at her sons to hug them as well. She then hugged her extended family and then even her sons' guests before going up to the stage to take her award.
"Wow," Rachel began. "This is my sixth Tony Award and every time I win, it makes me feel so special. I'm so honored to be mentioned in the same category as these other actresses because they're all so talented. I'd like to start off by thanking the cast and production crew of Dear Evan Hansen, I love working with all of you so much and I'll miss you when I leave the show. I'd like to thank everyone who comes to the show, I love this show so much and I love sharing it with all of you. I love when I get notes about how much the show has impacted you. Thank you to the staff at NYADA for my education and how much you helped me grow as a performer. I'd like to thank my fathers for all those years of singing lessons and dancing lessons from the time I was a child and for always encouraging me and coming to my shows, and my mother, from whom I inherited my talent. I also have to thank my friends from glee club and my glee club director Mr. Schuester, you guys are so special to me and I really got my start in the glee club! And of course, my two beloved boys, Cody and Clayton, I love you both so much and I'm so proud of you. Thank you for being so supportive. And finally, to the love of my life, Finn, who's cheered me on and been there for me and believed in me since we were in high school and no one else did. You make me my best self on and off the stage. I love you so much! Thank you!"
Finn put his arms around his sons as he listened to Rachel's speech. He felt like he didn't deserve to be mentioned since they hadn't been in contact in fifteen years. He still felt bad that he hadn't been there to see the first five wins, but being here tonight made him sure that he wanted to be there for every single one of Rachel's milestones and every single one of their sons' milestones in the future. There was no doubt in his mind - this was where he belonged.
Chapter 18: Finally
Thank you so much for all your support. Hard to believe, this is the last chapter, but there will be an epilogue, and I'm considering writing a sequel of little oneshots of Finchel and their sons living in New York together :) I didn't think anyone would read this when I first posted it because Glee's been off the air for so long, so thanks again! Hope you enjoy the chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was hard to believe tonight was Rachel's last night in Dear Evan Hansen. She'd loved her time here. Seeing as this hadn't been a musical she'd grown up with, Heidi Hansen hadn't been on the list of dream roles she'd made in high school, but she'd developed an admiration for the musical while living in New York. She'd gone to see it when it first came out the year after she graduated from NYADA and had always loved the show's music. The director had approached her about joining the show over a year ago and she loved the idea.
The last show was always bittersweet, but this was different. She didn't know when and if she'd be back on Broadway. Ever since she was little and began watching musicals with her dad, she knew this was the career she wanted. In the back of her mind, though, she always wondered if it would work out. She lived in a small town and there were so many talented people out there. She never imagined she'd have six Tony Awards and have gotten to play her top two dream roles, Funny Girl and Evita, right out of college.
Still, she knew she was making the right choice by retiring, even if retirement ended up being temporary. Right now, the main thing she wanted to focus on was her family. The one thing she never liked about Broadway was being away from her family so much. This year, she was going to make a point to be at every single concert and every single game. She wanted to be there to help the boys with their homework after school.
And gosh, she hoped Finn would stay here. She'd just accepted a new job as a vocal coach on Broadway, so she would be able to be at home a lot in the evenings and on the weekends.
Finn sat between his sons in the stands, waiting for the show to begin. He was looking forward to the show, but he was even more excited to tell Rachel his big news after the show. He'd gotten a call earlier today that he was being offered a position as the band and choir director at a local middle school. All summer, he'd been applying to jobs around New York. He finally had an offer. He could stay here in New York with Rachel and their boys. He'd loved being in New York this summer. There were so many things to do and he and the boys had been to see Rachel's show a few times. He'd gone to see all the major landmarks. It was clear that Clayton loved New York, and Cody was happier than Finn had ever seen him. Both boys had loved their summer programs.
Cody loved living in New York. He'd finally seen every show on Broadway. He loved the theatre camps he'd attended. He'd grown so much as a singer and actor. The kids at the camp were great, too. He'd met so many Broadway actors through his mom and he was more and more sure he'd achieve his dreams of stardom. All the kids he'd met from Bancroft this summer had been so nice and it was a relief knowing that he'd be at a school where he had friends this fall, including his twin brother as his best friend. He was sure he'd go to more shows with some of those friends - and he was also looking forward to going to shows with his mom once she was done with Broadway.
When he'd been watching videos of Rachel Berry's songs on Broadway for all those years, he had no idea she was his mother. It made perfect sense now that he'd felt such a special connection to her all those years. His heart had known something that his mind hadn't known yet. He'd fantasized his whole life about meeting his mother and he dreamed of meeting Rachel Berry. It turned out Rachel was more amazing than he could have imagined.
Clayton had been attending his mom's shows since he was little. It was weird knowing that this might be the best one. He'd been so proud of his mom's career, but he was definitely looking forward to having her home more. He wished she could be at more of his games and she'd told him that now, she'd be at every single one. And she wouldn't be the only one at every single game. Finn and Cody would be at every game, too. Every now and then, the bands and choir had a combined concert, and Clayton couldn't wait to play his drums for some of Cody's performances with the choir.
This had been the best summer ever. Clayton loved having his dad and brother in New York with him. He couldn't wait to be at the same school as Cody in the fall and he hoped Finn would stay as well. After all, he and Finn had seen the Yankees and Mets, but he needed to take Finn to Rangers, Islanders, Nets, Knicks, Jets and Giants games. And just as Finn had taken Rachel to Sardi's, Clayton had taken Amanda there last weekend.
The show seemed to fly by and it was over before anyone in the family knew it. When the cast came out for their final bows at the end of the show, Rachel felt herself close to tears. She knew she was making the right choice by taking a break from Broadway to be at home with her family, but she would miss being in shows that impacted people. She would miss getting to perform these great songs. She would miss the friends she'd made in the Broadway world. And she would miss the applause, knowing that she was appreciated.
The director came on to the stage. "As many of you know, today is the last show for Rachel Berry."
The crowd burst into applause. Rachel was sure she could see Finn, Cody and Clayton on their feet in the front row.
"Rachel Berry is one of the best Broadway actresses of this generation," the director continued. "This show is different from many of the shows she's done, so I originally thought it was a longshot when I approached her about taking over the role of Heidi Hansen. But she loved the idea of doing it and I was so excited to work with her. I must say, she's one of the best actresses I've worked with during my time on Broadway, not just because she has a great voice, but she has so much passion, she works so hard and she's been such a great mentor to our younger stars. We're going to miss her, but we know she's looking forward to having more time with her family."
Cody knocked on the door of his mom's dressing room, thinking about how this was how it all began - he ended up in his mother's dressing room and met his brother for the first time. He looked over at Clayton. "Just think, it all started here."
"I'm so glad it did," Clayton said.
"Me too," Finn agreed. He didn't want to think about what their lives would be like if Cody hadn't snuck into the theatre that day.
Rachel heard the knock on the door, knowing who it was. "Come in!"
Clayton ran to hug his mother. "Mom, you were great!"
"I can't believe that was your last show," Cody rambled, hugging Rachel. "I've been watching videos of you forever and now you're done."
"We'll be back here soon to see you on Broadway," Finn told Cody. He turned to his girlfriend. "You're even more amazing than I thought you would be." He looked over at the many flowers in her dressing room. "You're a popular one tonight, huh?"
Rachel grinned. "Yeah, flowers from your parents, my parents, from Kurt and Blaine, Santana and Brittany, the Changs, the Evanses, the Abramses, the Schuesters, some of my former co-stars from through the years... even Coach Sylvester sent flowers." Before Rachel decided this would be her final show, her dads had a vacation planned for this week, so they'd seen the show one last time before they left. Shelby and Beth were also out of town for Beth's college orientation and had seen the show as well. She'd had a big group to see her first show, but this was more meaningful to share it with Finn and their sons. She still appreciated all the flowers and understood that it was harder for everyone to be here than it was before everyone started having kids.
"Coach Sylvester sent you flowers? She hates the glee club!" Cody gasped.
"She secretly doesn't, as much as she tries to hide it," Finn laughed.
The family had decided to spend the rest of the evening at home. They had to clear out Rachel's dressing room anyway, and it would be too complicated to carry it to and from a restaurant. They'd ordered dinner though, and Finn had told the boys they could have some champagne. He thought this would be a good time to tell Rachel and the boys the news. "I hope you two know we won't give you champagne very often," Finn said as he poured the boys' glasses. "This is a special occasion."
Clayton rolled his eyes. "We know."
"I'll just stick with water," Rachel said.
"So, my parents are bringing some things up next weekend," Finn said, trying to think of the right way to tell Rachel and the boys he, too, intended to stay here. "Cody's things... and I'll be asking them to bring my things too."
Clayton almost dropped his champagne glass. "You're coming here?"
"We're all going to be here together?" Cody exclaimed.
"I got a job offer from a school here," Finn told his family.
Rachel had been dreading the possibility that Finn might leave at the end of the summer. "Finn, that's amazing!"
"I didn't want to say anything until I got a job offer, but I really want all of us to be in New York together and be a family together," Finn said. "I know I was overwhelmed by New York right after high school, but I haven't been this summer. I love it here." He looked into Rachel's eyes. "I hope you know that."
Rachel was so happy to hear Finn was happy here and that he wanted to stay. All summer, this was what she'd been hoping for. Now, they were finally getting their second chance. "I'm so glad you feel that way. As long as we're all together, I'll be happy. I want us to live together and be a family together here, all five of us." She hoped Finn and the boys would catch the hint.
Clayton heard what his mom said. "Wait, what?"
"Five of us?!" Cody gasped.
Finn looked at Rachel. "Rach..."
Rachel grinned and put Finn's hand on her stomach. "Yeah, five of us."
"Oh my God," Finn gasped. He'd heard Rachel tell him she was pregnant before, but this time, there wasn't uncertainty attached to it. This time, they were all happily living in New York together and they'd all be a family. He wrapped his arms around Rachel. "I love you." He then pulled the boys into the hug.
"We're going to have a little brother or sister!" Clayton said excitedly.
"What do you guys want?" Rachel asked.
"I don't know," Clayton admitted. "It would be fun to have a little brother to play sports and xbox with, but I do already have a brother, so I think a sister would be cool, too."
"Yeah, I agree," Cody said. "Either one would be great."
Finn couldn't believe it. Not only was he going to live in New York with Rachel and their sons, but in a few months, they'd have a third child. And this time, he and Rachel would both be there for everything. "Do you have any idea, Rach?"
"I don't yet," Rachel admitted. "I do have a feeling there's only one this time."
"It might be another pair of twins," Clayton teased his mom. "Or who knows, maybe it's triplets or quadruplets."
"I'm pretty sure this time, there's only one," Rachel giggled.
Finn put his arms around Rachel. "I love you," he mumbled, kissing her gently.
Cody looked over at Clayton. "What do you know, we actually pulled it off!"
So Finchel are having another baby! I know, it's a bit predictable, but it was suggested to me early on and I loved the idea too much not to do it :) But should they have a boy or a girl? And what should they name the baby? I'm thinking it'll be something that starts with C to go with Clayton and Cody, but I'm open to suggestions :)