Drabble: Tears stream down your face (and I will try to fix you)
She’s crying before she even really processes what’s going on. It’s like her body just knows that everything’s falling apart and she reacts physically, taking a split second to comprehend it. She hears her own voice begging – pleading – for another chance, just one more chance, pleasejust one more chance…
It’s like an out of body experience and she feels numb, completely numb, until suddenly the feeling comes back and it’s real and it’s happening and suddenly she’s choking again, but this time it’s on the harsh sobs which force their way up from somewhere deep, deep within her, like they’re being ripped out of her very soul.
Her face crumples and she’s helpless to do anything but stand there, crying.
She doesn’t even see Ms Tibideaux leave – she’s not aware of anything except for her dreams which are crashing and burning; burning fiercely and destructively, engulfing her bright, burning star and smothering it.
She collapses to the floor as her legs simply give way beneath her.
The smack of her knee against the stage is just a harsh reminder of her emotional pain and she clutches it to her chest, rubbing it, as if soothing the physical pain will somehow fix her.
A strong, warm hand is placed gently on her shoulders, but she doesn’t look up – she knows it’s him. He’s pulling her up from the floor, but she doesn’t look at his face; she refuses to see the pity in his eyes.
Slowly, she raises her head to look at him, but still avoids his gaze.
They stand there on the stage for at least an hour, him rubbing a comforting arm up and down her back until her breathing is calmer and she can exert enough willpower to make the tears almost stop.
He takes her hand, but she pulls him in closer, clutching his arm. He leads her out of the auditorium, taking her to her locker.
He’s quiet while she opens it and takes her coat out, wrapping it around herself. She watches him lean forward and remove her tiny hands gently from the material before doing up the fasteners himself.
When he reaches the top button, he starts to speak.
“She should have given you another chance,” he pauses, while she looks determinedly down, feeling tears pooling in her eyes again.
“I’m sorry, Rach.”
Her voice is harsh, biting, even, and she whips her head up to glare at him, making him flinch. But he’s ignited a sudden fury and she can’t stop the torrent of anger. She pulls her hand away, recoiling from his touch and slamming her fist against the row of lockers.
“Sorry about what, Finn? Sorry that I screwed up everything I’ve ever worked for? Sorry that I’m a failure? Don’t be sorry Finn, because you didn’t do anything. It was all me. I wasn’t good enough and it’s all my fault and I don’t want your pity!”
She’s almost screaming by now, and she hates herself for making him look so hurt. She hates herself, she hates herself, she hates everything.
He tries to reach for her arm, but she steps back.
“Just leave me alone, Finn, please. I just want to be alone.”
The tears start to fall thick and fast as soon as she slams her car door, and she just wants to get away, just wants to get home and curl up in bed and pretend this never happened and wake up and realise it’s all a terrible, pre-audition nightmare.
She rests her head against the steering wheel, commanding herself to contain her crying. Then she starts up the car and speeds out of the parking lot.
Her tears blind her so she can barely see the road, and she’s forced to pull in to allow herself a moment’s reprieve. It’s another half an hour before she feels like she can see well enough to make it the rest of the way home.
Pulling up sharply on the drive, she scrubs at her eyes, doing every calming breathing exercise she knows to prepare herself.
The second she’s inside, she hears her daddy’s voice.
“Is that you, princess? How did that NYADA judge survive being blown away by my little…girl?”
Hiram’s voice trails off as he appears at the living room doorframe and sees her, his face immediately falling, and she can’t do it; she can’t face their disappointment and their concern, so she takes one look at him and then rushes upstairs to her bedroom, slamming the door and throwing herself onto her bed, taking hold of her pillow and pressing it against her mouth, letting out a long, loud scream. She doesn’t even care how much damage it’s doing to her vocal cords because it’s not like she’s ever going to need them anymore. She screams and screams until she feels sick and she can’t breathe and then she just puts her arms over her face and bawls.
He’s exhausted. It’s very nearly four thirty in the morning and all he wants to do is sleep, but he can’t even get close when all he’s thinking about is his fiancée’s utterly broken face and it’s making his chest hurt and his eyes wet.
He sighs, reaching his arm out to grab his phone from the desk beside his bed and unlocking it, scrolling through the messages he’s sent to her and seeing that she still hasn’t replied to a single one of them.
He lies back down. It’s not even ten seconds later that he checks his phone again, getting up off the bed and stuffing it in his pocket as he slips on his shoes and rushes down the stairs.
Fortunately, there’s no traffic at this time of night, so he makes it to her house within ten minutes. Her dad answers the door in his dressing gown, telling him they saw his truck lights from their bedroom window.
“How is she?” he whispers, a sinking feeling of dread in his stomach as he sees the expression on the man’s face.
Her dad just shakes his head and sighs and the ache in Finn’s chest to see her, right now, makes him take the stairs two at a time to reach her bedroom.
“Finn,” he hears her dad say quietly, “Please…do something.”
His heart clenches at the helpless look on her dad’s face. He knocks on the door of her room as he pushes it open quietly, listening.
He wants to cry when he hears the muffled sobs echoing from the middle of the dark room.
Feeling his way along the wall, he finds her standing lamp and flicks the switch, illuminating the room.
She’s sprawled across her bed, face down, her entire body shaking violently. In seconds, he’s crossed the room and scooped up her tiny frame, clutching it in his arms. The sound of his voice only makes her cry harder.
It feels like his heart is shattering because he has no idea what to do. Her sobs are wracking her body so much that he actually can’t hold her properly and he’s having to restrain her to save her from falling off the bed.
He doesn’t know what he can possibly say and he feels so, so useless. He thinks back to when Cooter rejected him and she came to his house and let him cry and reassured him. He thinks of everything she said to him that night and he feels so terrible because he can’t think of a damn thing to say that will make it better.
“It’s over, Finn. It’s all over.”
It takes a moment for him to understand her almost unintelligible words.
“No, Rachel, no, it’s not over. You’re a star, baby. You’re the brightest star out there and it’s still all gonna happen for you.”
She looks up at him then, her usually sparkling eyes bloodshot and puffy, and the devastation on her face goes right to his heart. Her face is streaked with salty tear-stains, which are rapidly being replaced by fresh, wet drops.
“But this was my chance, Finn. NYADA was the only chance I had and I screwed it up and now I have nothing. I’m not going to college and I’m never going to be on Broadway. I knew what I wanted to do; I’ve been helping you to realise your dreams and all this time the joke’s been on me. I’m the one who’s not good enough – I’m the one who’s not going to New York!”
Her nose is running and her face is screwed up and he realises there are tears on his own face too.
“No, baby, you’re still going to get there. We’re doing this together. Don’t say that,” he reminds her.
“But it’s true!” the words rip from her throat in a loud wail of anger and hurt, “I’ve been practising that song since I was two years old, Finn. I know it. I know it inside out! For fifteen years, my voice was the only thing I ever had – it was the only reason I made it through every day – and now, when it really mattered, it failed me. I failed myself. My dreams are over, Finn!”
She starts hiccupping violently and she’s breathing so raggedly that he begins to get scared.
Suddenly, she leaps off his lap, forcing her way out of his arms and rushing into her bathroom. He catches up with her when she’s retching over the toilet bowl, emptying her stomach into it in between sobs.
He’s never been so terrified in his life.
He holds her hair back off her face and, when she’s done, he pulls her against him on the cold, tiled floor. He’s murmuring quiet words of comfort repeatedly, over and over again, and running his hand down her hair soothingly.
“Come on, baby, you need to calm down, okay?” he whispers, pressing gentle kisses to the top of her head.
Finally, after an hour, her sobs subside and she begins to breathe more normally. He bundles her up in his arms, carrying her out to her bed and sitting her on it.
Taking the glass of water from her nightstand, he hands it to her, and she guides her trembling hands to her mouth, taking a big gulp.
“That’s it,” he whispers, placing the glass back on the table and tucking her into his side as she buries her face in his soaked shirt once more.
He continues whispering quietly, soothingly, until her breathing begins to even out and he feels the tension leave her body as she crumples into his side.
Taking care not to disturb her, he lies down, still holding her as close as possible as he lets himself finally start to drift off to sleep, his own tears beginning to dry on his cheeks.
“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay, I’m here. I’ve got you.”