Title: Pink & Black Stockings
Pairing/Characters: Rachel Berry/Jesse St James
Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and company.
Prompts: Written for 5_prompts for the VRD challenge for the following picture prompt:
Notes: Future!fic, set sometime after Rachel's graduated from high school. No spoilers past Season One.
Summary: He wants to know this new Rachel Berry who wears pink and black stripped stocking instead of horribly tacky sweaters.
Word Count: 849
He finds himself staring at her pink and black striped stockings and he can't help but wonder if Tina had given them to her. The Rachel that he had once known would never have worn something like those stockings. She still moves with a dancer's grace and he wonders who partnered her in ballet after he left New Directions and went back to where he belonged.
Rachel leans one leg backwards, her cup of hot chocolate in one hand and a script in another. She gives him a look of irritation when she realizes that he hasn't been paying attention.
Her voice is sharp and demanding and somehow he manages to pull his eyes away from her shapely legs encased in those incongruous stockings. He gives her a smile before he recites the lines that she had been waiting for. Jesse's not really sure why he had agreed to do a one-on-one rehearsal with Rachel; he can only blame a sense of homesickness and nostalgia. When she had asked him for help in the play that they're in together, he had been prepared to say no but it was those stockings that had persuaded him otherwise.
“Look if you're not even going to pay attention, I don't see why we're even doing this. It's just a waste of my time and yours,” Rachel states.
“Sorry, I am just a bit distracted,” Jesse apologizes.
Rachel flexes her left leg and she watches as his eyes travel down the length of her leg.
“Look I don't have time for this.”
Rachel sets down her cup before she shoves her script in her bag and then turns to slip on her shoes.
“I should have known that you wouldn't have changed,” Rachel accuses.
Jesse realizes that she's about to walk out of his life for good and that he doesn't want that. He wants to know this new Rachel Berry who wears pink and black stripped stocking instead of horribly tacky sweaters. He wants to know this girl who's super confident about herself, and not just about her talent. Yet he's not sure what to say to make her stay. What he can say that won't offend her. Drawing on the fact that used to have the fashion sense of a five year old probably won't improve her mood.
“I should never have let Shelby convince me to go back to Vocal Adrenaline,” Jesse finally states just as Rachel's hand is on the doorknob.
She doesn't turn around to face him but she stills in her movements. “Why not?”
Her voice is strangely flat and Jesse thinks that maybe he should have just stuck with a simple comment on how he likes her stockings. But he's committed now.
“I should have stayed with New Directions. It's where I wanted to be, even when I was being handed the trophy at Regionals.”
This makes her turn around and he can easily see how furious she is with him.
“Don't you dare make this about you, Jesse St. James.”
“I only left New Directions because Shelby ordered me to,” Jesse tells her, his eyes focused on his clasped hands. “And I was so used to obeying Shelby that I didn't know what to do.”
“You know what you had four years in which you could have done this,” Rachel coldly states. “It's too late now for this confession.”
“Want to know what I regret the most?” Jesse asks, looking in her the eye.
Rachel sighs but she moves away from the door and closer to her. She won't tell him that she wants to know his biggest regret but he knows her well enough to know that he has her curious to know what it is.
“I regret that by doing what I though I was supposed to do that I missed out on getting to know who you've become,” Jesse tells her. “I don't know who the Rachel Berry that I knew briefly became this woman standing in front of me.”
He stands up and walks up to her. She's still angry with him but her anger doesn't stop him from brushing a strand of her dark hair off of her face and behind her ear.
“I regret that because I was so conceited about winning that I walked away from you and didn't get to see you go from a girl who used to wear knee socks with her Mary-Janes to a woman who wears pink and black stripped stockings with mini skirts that barely reach her thigh.”
Jesse takes the risk and places his hand on her thigh, just underneath the hem of her skirt. Rachel's breathing becomes heavier even though his hand is still, waiting for her to react. She licks her lips and he wants nothing more than to kiss her but he knows that he has to wait.
“It's too late to go back,” Rachel tells him.
“Far too late,” Jesse agrees with her. “But perhaps we could move forward?”
Rachel nods before she leans into him and places a chaste kiss on his lips in agreement.
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