cruiscin_lan: (dear journal)
cruiscin_lan ([personal profile] cruiscin_lan) wrote2010-03-08 12:55 pm

FIC: The Bistro

Title: The Bistro
Rating: G
Pairings/Characters: Rachel/Will
Warnings: None.
Word Count: ~1400
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters.
Summary: As they try to move on from old relationships, Rachel and Will have an unexpected encounter.
A/N: Originally written for [ profile] dainty_bella for the [ profile] gleefics Valentine's Day Exchange.

The concept of dating had always somewhat confounded Rachel Berry. In high school she'd told herself she was too busy to date for two years, and then sort of fell into her first real relationship headfirst (Puck didn't count. Making out after finishing their homework was not a date). Rachel had never really had much of a chance to date casually, since whenever she committed herself to something, she committed herself one hundred and one percent.

That had been one of the sticking points for Finn, actually - her intense level of commitment. They'd gone to separate colleges, miles and miles away from one another, and while he wasn't too keen on maintaining a long-distance relationship, Rachel was insistent. They'd kept up with hour-long daily phone calls that gradually dwindled in length and frequency. Even spending all their time together in Lima over breaks wasn't enough to keep them going, and shortly after graduation (hers, not his - he was destined to be a supersenior) Finn finally called it quits.

In fact, this was the first date Rachel was trying since their break-up several months earlier. She'd given him six years of her life, after all, and that was a lot to get over. It still hurt when she thought about it.

But while she was hesitant to meet people in person, she found that she had a much easier time interacting with guys online. Perhaps it was rooted in her MySpace days in high school, but she once she'd signed up for an online dating site, it didn't take long for her to meet a perfect match.

They talked about nearly everything. It was easy to confide in him, even though they refrained from using names. She told him all about her relationship with Finn, how it was sustained only by her sheer determination. In Finn's defense, they hadn't had the sturdiest foundation - he'd never quite gotten over the whole Quinn baby drama, and Rachel was more for him to handle even in the best of times.

He told her about himself, too; it wasn't always a one-sided conversation (like it had been with Finn, nine times out of ten). He said he'd been married once, but that relationship had crashed and burned (he didn't go into too much detail, and Rachel didn't push him for them. She got the impression that it was better not to know). After that he'd been involved long-term with a coworker and close friend, but their relationship never really went anywhere. From what Rachel could gather, she'd been a bit of a head case with intimacy issues.

It had been his suggestion not to exchange pics or too many personal details. She agreed; at the time, it seemed like a wise idea. There wasn't any reason to get too involved until they met in person, right? But Rachel was already really invested in this guy. They had so much in common - shared love of show tunes and unrealized musical ambitions, for example. They'd both even been in glee clubs when they were in high school.

Even so, as she entered in lobby of the nicest Italian bistro in Lima (she'd moved back in with her dads to save some money for an eventual move to a larger city), Rachel wished that they had perhaps shared more details. She didn't know his age, she didn't know his build or even his hair color. They'd simply set a time and a place. He could be anybody, Rachel thought nervously. She tried to tell herself that it wouldn't matter what he looked like, or how old he was. She was determined to have a good time, even if they weren't soul mates.

When she approached the hostess, her heart almost skipped a beat. "Mrs. Schuester?" she asked, recognizing her at once.

The hostess narrowed her eyes at her, aloof and annoyed. "Do I know you?"

"I'm Rachel Berry, do you remember me?" It was a stupid question. Rachel could only be embarrassed by Terri Schuester's memories of her, whether they were doling out Sudafed like candy in the nurse's office or cooking venison casserole when she had that childish crush. Still, she couldn't stop herself from speaking, the words pouring out far too quickly: "I was in the Glee club at McKinley High School when your husband was in charge."

Terri raised an eyebrow with disdain. "Will and I divorced," she replied curtly. "It's Terri Bamboo now."

"Oh. Sorry," Rachel blushed with embarrassment. Oh well, she thought. At least it couldn't get any weirder. She almost forgot what she had come for in the first place when she looked at her hand and noticed she'd written "Minelli" inside her palm. It was the code name they'd made the reservations under, so they'd be sure to find one another (he came up with the idea, she'd chosen the name). "Is there a reservation for Minelli?" Rachel blurted out, hoping to allay the awkwardness. "As in Liza," she added, unhelpfully.

Terri sighed and rolled her eyes as she flipped through her guestbook. "Yes - it's for two. Care to be seated now, or would you rather..."

"I'll wait," Rachel offered. She was early. She'd be waiting at the table who-knows-how-long, and there was still a remote chance that she'd be stood up. At least the escape route from the lobby would be more direct, too, if her date showed up and turned out to be Noah Puckerman, or something.

And so she waited. She clutched her bag on her lap and leaned her head against the wall behind her, blinking into the light above. Her mind began to wander as she reviewed every email they'd exchanged, going over his words of comfort in her head. The nervous feeling in her stomach was finally starting to fade away into excitement when her reverie was interrupted by a familiar voice.


Rachel snapped back to attention. Her old Glee club advisor had just walked in, and now he was face to face with his ex.

Whatever awkwardness Rachel had been afraid of, it certainly couldn't be as bad as this, and she felt a little relieved and a little nosy as she leaned forward to watch the scene before her unfold.

Terri blinked at him. "Will."

Will stumbled, trying to find the appropriate way to greet someone he obviously felt uncomfortable around. "I... it's.... how have you been? It's good to see you."

"It's... good to see you, too," Terri replied, her words stilted.

"What a coincidence, seeing you here."

"It's a small town, Will," Terri said back, almost snapping. She clearly wanted him out of her sight as soon as possible, so she asked "Do you have a reservation?"

"I'm meeting someone here. The table's under Minelli."

When Rachel realized that Mr. Schuester was the "acafella2009" to her "s0ngstr3ss" on, her jaw dropped.

Terri, for her part, maintained her composure, although her face was turning red and the vein on her neck began to bulge. She shot a piercing gaze Rachel's way. "Your date is waiting for you right there," she told Will, almost accusatory in tone.

Will was shocked to see his former student, but he suppressed his surprise as best he could as he strode over to the bench and sat down beside his date. "Rachel? Rachel Berry?"

"Hi, Mr. Schue," Rachel replied, unable to control the way her voice was shaking.

"You can probably call me Will," he said, smiling warmly at her. It helped to diffuse her uneasiness, even as he mumbled under his breath "As though it's not awkward enough that my ex-wife is the hostess..."

"It doesn't have to be a date," Rachel offered brightly. "It can just be a friendly dinner. Catching up, all that."

"You know what, though, Rachel?" Will asked. "We've already done a lot of catching up. We just didn't know it was with one another." He shook his head, laughing. "Now it all makes sense. You and Finn...?"

"And you and Miss Pillsbury?"

"Yeah, Emma," Will told her.

"Not to interrupt your reunion or anything," Terri said harshly, interrupting, "but do you two want to be seated or what?"

Rachel and Will exchanged a timid glance, but then Will took her hand in his and rose to his feet. "Let's go," he said, and she smiled in return.

[Poll #1535448]

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