For St. Berry Week (prompts 1 & 3). With a little help from Jesse & Kurt, Rachel finally achieves her dreams on Broadway.
St. Berry Week - Day Three (Broadway) : St. Berry as “West Side Story”
summary: new york may be a big city, but broadway is a small world. it’s only natural that if jesse’s there too, rachel would find him.
a/n: written for st. berry week, day three: broadway.
The first time she sees him, auditioning on a stage that she has rightfully claimed as her own, she thinks it’s a joke. He has to know this is her musical, her stage, her city. He’s supposed to be across the country, having fled back to California almost 7 years ago, but somehow he’s singing about lost love in front of her director, and she’s never been more terrified of what losing her co-star early could mean for her love life.
St. Berry Week Day 3: Broadway.
- Just call me if ever our paths may collide.
I want you to call me under these darkening skies.
whoever you love, whoever you kiss
the ones in between us I’m willing to miss
For St. Berry week- Day Three, Broadway.
She sits in the theatre, squeezing her hands together. He’s on her other side, but she’s sat by the aisle, just in case. Her hair has been styled perfectly and her dress was designed by Kurt for this specific event, but she still feels almost bare in front of the cameras that she knows are going to be trained on her face within minutes. She’s never been this nervous before, not ever and she can feel a sick, twisting feeling in her stomach. Her heat is pounding, blood pumping through her ears and she feels practically heady with fear. She’s just considering making a run for it when he reaches over and takes her hand in his, engulfing it with his own and placing a soft kiss against her palm.
She smiles gratefully at him and mouths ‘thank you’ because she isn’t actually sure if she can speak.
“You’re Rachel Berry,” He tells her firmly. “You’ve got this in the bag, I know you have.”
“You’re biased,” She points out, breathily, but her hand squeezes his tighter in thanks as the light dim slightly and a screen above the stage shows clips of the others nominated in her category. She watches it intently, but he seems determined to distract her as he leans over and whispers in her ear.
“I would never lie about something this important. You are brilliant- a star.”
She just squeezes his hand again as the screen shows a clip of her, singing on stage with dark backlighting and a single spotlight trained on her. Her throat closes up again as Sutton Foster saunters out onto the stage, her dark dress swinging around her ankles. She gestures to the golden envelope in her hands and plays with teh audience a little, although Rachel can barely hear her.
“Rachel Berry, Funny Girl.”
Rachel turns just in time to see the camera swing towards her and manages a small smile, she feels Jesse lean closer to her on her other side and squeeze her hands softly in his and then the camera moves away again.
“And the winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical is… Rachel Berry.”
She can’t hear anything. She knows that there are people around her talking to her, congratulating her, but the only thing she’s really sure of is the feel of Jesse’s hand on the small of her back, pressing against her and urging her upwards, into the aisle.
“Go,” are his words to her. “This is your moment- enjoy it. You deserve this.”
She stands slowly, unwilling to let go of his hand and clinging to him for as long as she can before he squeezes her hand softly and then lets it go, letting it fall to her side. She walks slowly, her eyes a little glazed as she takes in the people around her, smiling and clapping. The only thought that crosses her mind as she tries to walk as gracefully as possible up the stairs is that she’s left her notes with Jesse, back in her seat.
The familiar, hot sensation of stage lights is calming, strangely enough, and the warmth of Sutton Foster’s body as she embraces her is grounding. Turning, Sutton presses the award into her hands, curling her fingers over it and saying, her voice low, “congratulations kid.”
The award is heavier than she expected and there’s an awful moment as she walks to the podium that she thinks she might drop it, which she doesn’t, fortunately. Stepping forward, she rests the award against the podium and stares out at what little she can see of the crowd past the stage lights. She can’t see Jesse, but she knows whereabouts he is in the crowd and she tries to talk to him as much as she can.
“You know,” She starts, her voice a little shaky. “I actually had speech notes prepared and everything, but they’re still back in my seat.” To her relief, the crowd laughs appreciatively and she glances down unsurely, taking a deep breath. She’s watched the Tony’s for years, she knows she’s on limited time, but she seems to have gone completely blank.
“Thank you,” she says suddenly, looking out at the audience. “to everyone, my wonderful director and co-stars and fellow actors. To the set designers and my agent, who was the one who got my the role as Fanny in the first place, the role that it has always been my dream to play and now I’m here winning an award for it!” she laughs nervously and then continues. “To my friends and family, to my fabulous friend Kurt who designed this dress for me. To my fathers for always being by my side to catch or support me whenever I needed it. And of course to Jesse St. James, my gorgeous, talented, beautiful fiancé.” she holds out her hand to show off the ring to the TV cameras and enjoys the gasps and murmurs from the audience as they applaud and she is whisked off the stage and into an anteroom. The award is taken off her and she is hurried back to her seat where Jesse hugs her close and leans down to whisper in her ear.
“I told you it was inevitable… Future Mrs St. James.”
St. Berry Week Day 3: Broadway.
As long as you’re mine
I’ll wake up my bodyAnd make up for the lost time…”
New York City - Août 2023
It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
that I still need your love after all that I’ve done
You won’t believe me
All you will see is a girl you once knew
Although she’s dressed up to the nines
At sixes and sevens with you
St. Berry Week | Day three — Broadway
He slips into his assigned seat in the front row, raising his eyebrows when he realises that his seat was next to Mr. Schuester. It’s been over six years since he’d last seen the teacher, but a small smile plays on his lips as he speaks.
“I couldn’t stay away,” he murmurs to him, and he sees Mr. Schuester nod his head in recollection.
“I don’t think I have to ask you from which this time around.” The teacher replies, and Jesse shakes his head. It was no secret why he was there. It shouldn’t have to be. It may have felt like a last time since he’d last seen Rachel, but his feelings for her hadn’t changed in their time apart.
Before they could continue their conversation, the house lights dimmed, and a hush fell over the audience as they waited for the show to start.
Jesse doesn’t think he’s ever felt so proud in his life. Sure, he had no part in any of this, considering he and Rachel hadn’t spoken for years, but that was his Rachel up there, making her debut in a haze of beauty and extreme talent. Of course, she’s not really his, but in his mind she always will be. Watching her perform, watching her show the world how amazing she is — he doesn’t think they’ll ever be anyone else for him.
When the performance is over - after a standing ovation that went on for five minutes straight, with Rachel standing up on the stage looking so incredibly adorable - Mr. Schuester guides him towards where Kurt, Blaine and Rachel’s dads were seated. All of them insist that he join their party - even Kurt, who actually seems glad to see him. Jesse notices Finn’s absence, though he’d known they weren’t together. Shelby had kept him updated.
The group make their way backstage and into Rachel’s dressing room, though Jesse hangs back and leans against the doorway as he lets her fathers embrace her and Kurt and Blaine spin her around. He chuckles to himself at her excited squeals and giggles. Having made his debut years prior, when Rachel’s first year at NYADA was coming to an end, he knew what it was like to have the adrenaline coursing through your veins.
Now working in LA, getting time off had been a struggle. His director hadn’t been happy, but he’d promised to go back to work as soon as he could. And he wasn’t going to miss Rachel’s debut for the world.
It takes her a moment to notice him, too wrapped up in the excitement of the moment to focus on anyone but the people in front of her. She falters slightly when their eyes meet, but a smile breaks out on her face and she gestures him over. Obliging her request, he pushes himself off the door and embraces her, giving her a tight squeeze. She fits just as perfectly in his arms as ever.
“How did I do?” she asks him, pulling back but remaining in the circle of his arms as she speaks. If anyone can give her an honest opinion, it was him. He simply smiles at her for a moment before answering.
“You were perfect. Absolutely perfect.” He tells her, and he hears her sigh of relief. “I’m so proud of you.” He adds.
A blush colours her cheeks at that, making his smile grow at the beauty of it. “Thank you.” She murmurs, her eyes fixed on his. He wants nothing more than to lean down and kiss her, his eyes flickering to her lips for a moment before one of her fathers coughs, breaking them both out of it.
“Shall we get going to the after party, then?” Hiram asks, receiving nods from everyone else.
“Am I invited?” Jesse asks, and Rachel gives him a bright smile.
“You can be my plus one.” She tells him, lacing her arm through his
It’s nearing one am and Rachel and Jesse are walking the streets, discussing the highlights of her show. Neither of them are too intoxicated, because they wanted to spend their first evening together in years sober. Rachel’s dads quit the party around 10 to return to their hotel, and Kurt and Blaine left shortly before midnight.
Jesse had insisted on walking Rachel back to her apartment before returning to his own hotel - an aspiring actress couldn’t walk the streets of New York alone at this time - but the two of them are more interested in each other’s company than their destination.
When they reach Rachel’s apartment, she grabs Jesse’s hand. “Come inside,” she begs him, looking up to him with those wide eyes he couldn’t resist. Letting out a sigh, Jesse nods.
“Okay.” He shrugs. He wasn’t going to turn down more time with Rachel. Following her into the small apartment - now he understood why her dads were at a hotel - Jesse almost walks into Rachel when she stopped abruptly.
“Thank you for coming tonight.” She murmurs, her arms wrapping around his neck. Jesse opens his mouth to reply, but was taken aback when Rachel presses her mouth hotly against his in a demanding kiss. Caught off guard for a moment, Jesse remains still until he realised exactly what was happening, before responding to her kiss and wrapping an arm around her waist, the other placed on her cheek.
Lost in the feel of her lips on his, Jesse almost didn’t realise that Rachel was backing him into another room. Pulling away so he could look around, he realises that they were in her bedroom. As he looks back at Rachel, her gaze was steady and sure. “I want you.” She whispers, her eyes bright and her cheeks flushed.
Jesse honestly never thought he’d hear those words.
Waking up with a naked Rachel curled in his arms was not something Jesse had expected to happen. His plan the previous night had been to see her perform. But he wasn’t going to complain with how things had turned out.
As she began to stir, he smiles, threading her fingers through her hair as he waited for her to regain consciousness. She mumbles incoherent things until she finally opened her eyes.
“Good morning beautiful,” Jesse murmurs softly.
“Morning.” Rachel replies, a sweet smile gracing her features as she rests her head on his chest. “Last night was so perfect…” She says, looking up to Jesse. “I got Broadway and I got you. What could be better?”
His kiss is enough to secure that nothing could be.
Flowers are not exactly her style, or his. But when he drives from Akron to Lima for McKinley’s production of West Side Story the fall of her senior year, he brings a dozen red roses. It’s her theatrical debut, and he’s determined that she should have everything properly befitting a leading lady.
She’s shocked to see him again, considering how badly things ended between them the first time (his fault), and the second (hers). They never really talked about either as much as they should have.
So that night, once everyone else is out of earshot, they talk and yell and sing it out. She nearly considers beating him over the head with the flowers once or twice.
But by the end of the night, when she’s wrapped up
in his arms as he’s kissing her goodnight on her front porch, she thinks it’s the best opening night she could possibly have asked for.
He returns to California in the spring to repeat his failed classes at UCLA. Now that he doesn’t have unfinished business in Ohio hanging over his head, he’s determined to get his life back on track. Meanwhile, she graduates from high school - with honors, no less - and starts her college life at NYU.
Being separated by thousands of miles and three time zones is no picnic. Still, they make it work, squeezing in phone calls and Skype dates in between classes and rehearsals. Both of them dive into campus productions and vocal groups. He eventually makes his way into community theater in Los Angeles, and occasionally plays some gigs at clubs around the city with friends. Meanwhile, she makes friends with her professors, who help her land a string of small roles at theaters on Long Island and across the river in New Jersey.
Neither of them ever misses an opening night, or an important performance - though life makes it difficult at times. When he lands one of the lead roles in a campus production the first fall he’s back in Los Angeles (basically unheard of for a sophomore), he honestly doesn’t expect her to fly in and attend. He tells her as much while she’s arguing with him about it. She’s still setting into college life herself, and anyway, her salary from waitressing barely covers her third of the rent for the small Brooklyn apartment she shares with Kurt and Blaine.
So when his eyes wander into the audience during his first number, and he spots her front and center, he’s completely stunned. Later - after she smugly explains that Kurt and Blaine helped advance her the cost of the flight and she could afford to miss one Friday of classes - he lets her drag her back to his dorm to celebrate his leading role, post-show party be damned.
He returns the favor of flying across the country every time she has an important performance - most notably, when her string of small, supporting roles at crappy New Jersey theaters eventually morph into a role in a new Off-Broadway production during the summer after her junior year at NYU.
After the performance, he presents her with roses and with a bit of news - he just booked his first New York job. She manages to avoid crushing the petals - most of them anyway - when she giddily throws herself into his arms.
It’s so dark backstage that Rachel can’t see much - just strips of glow-in-the-dark tape along the walls so no one runs into things. She’s quietly mediating and waiting for her cue, so she jumps when a pair of arms slide around her waist from behind. She almost immediately relaxes when a familiar voice murmurs in her ear.
“No,” she whispers back, her voice pitched so it won’t carry beyond this one set of ears. And she’s not. Nothing has ever felt more perfect, more right - especially with him standing here with her.
“Good,” he says, squeezing her gently so as not to wrinkle the lines of her costume. “You have no reason to be.”
She turns to pull him down in the darkness, placing a kiss on his temple where she knows his stage makeup is thinnest. “I love you, Jesse.”
“I love you too.” He squeezes her hand, then releases her. “Break a leg, sweetheart.”
Later, she pulls him into her dressing room, the applause of the crowd still ringing in her ears, both of them a little giddy and high on it.
He has red roses waiting there, of course - what else for a Broadway debut?
She kisses him soundly to show her appreciation - then firmly locks the door behind them in order to properly congratulate him on his own smashing debut.