Looking up from the cup of coffee that he was using as a distraction more than an actual beverage, Finn watched the changing emotions on Rachel’s face as she seemed to fully process his words. She never landed on one looking for long as a number of things flashed in those rich, dark eyes of hers. Searching for any hint as to what was going on in her mind, he couldn’t figure it out. They’d been apart for years, so he shouldn’t have been hard on himself for not knowing her as well as he once did, but he knew that wasn’t what was keeping him in the dark here. With everything that was going on around them and the situation they now found themselves in, he wasn’t the only one feeling a million things all at once. Finn had a girlfriend laying comatose in a hospital room, and he didn’t know if she was ever going to wake up again. His emotions had been running on fumes for days, but he still didn’t excuse himself for it. Finn was tired of not being able to do anything. The sitting and waiting wasn’t helping him in any way. While he could do nothing to change her condition, he had a shot at attempting to deal with everything he’d told himself was long over with Rachel.
Maybe he’d always been fooling himself into thinking he completely understood, just like he’d fooled himself that he’d been preparing for her to leave since junior year. It wasn’t supposed to have been a surprise when he was forced to say his goodbyes to Rachel and watch her walk away. He’d known of her plans, and she’d never been sneaky about it. They’d both known what was coming, but somewhere along the way he’d convinced himself that it wouldn’t go that way. Without knowing he was thinking about it, his mind had decided she would see what they had was important and stick around. It wasn’t fair to her to ask her to choose her dreams over him, and yet somewhere along the way without actually asking it out loud, it was exactly what he’d wanted. Finn had known it was coming, and managed to be completely surprised by it all at the same time. It was the same feeling he was experiencing again as Rachel was sitting in front of him again. He had thought all these emotions were dealt with and long since filed away, and yet here he was being confronted with them all over again.
Listening as she began to speak, Finn kept his eyes on hers even as she looked anywhere but at him. He could hear the confusion and frustration in every raspy word that she spoke to him. “You can’t make me feel bad for that.” The words rattled in his head and his immediate response was to get defensive. How could she think that? I would never. That’s not what I’m trying to do. But after thinking about it for a second, maybe that was exactly what he wanted. He needed someone to blame for all of this. His life was a disaster at the moment, and he needed a reason why this had all happened. He needed something he could hold onto as why this was all happening. If Rachel hadn’t walked away those years ago, if the stars had aligned and her dreams had fallen in place with his, if she’d never left, none of this would be happening right now. The thought sickened him as soon as it crossed his mind. That feeling only got worse as he listened to her continue on. He couldn’t pin this all on her, no matter how desperate he was for someone to fill that role.
It couldn’t be Rachel. He listened intently as she poured her thoughts into words, their eyes finally meeting again as it continued until she reached those three little words. They’d said them countless times to one another years ago, but their weight never got any lighter. “I love you. I think a part of me always will.” There was many days when he imagined those words being said to him again, but it was never like this. “Rach…” He knew he needed to break the silence, but somewhere between his mind and his lips, all words were getting lost. What could he say to that? That he loved her too, and that he always would? It was certainly an option, and a true one at that, but she was right. He’d moved on. He’d forced himself to stop waiting around and living in a dream world where she’d return to him to pick their life up again. It was never supposed to have happened, and yet here they were. Here they were sitting across from one another, and just like all those years ago when he’d said goodbye to her, a part of him was desperate to reach out to her and ask her to stay in his life forever. Also just like that day, he couldn’t. The reasons were different, but the results were the same.
“I can’t,” he finally as his eyes fell back to the table in front of him again. The guilt over all the emotions that were so easily pulled to the surface again was overwhelming. Michelle was laying in a hospital bed surrounding by beeping machines. He couldn’t abandon her now, not any part of it. The fact that his emotions were betraying his sense of loyalty made him feel like an absolute terrible person. He’d loved the life he’d created with Michelle and the future they were supposed to have. It was the simple like that he was supposed to have always wanted for himself, but as he sat across from Rachel, he was no longer sure about anything. He’d been looking for answers, but they’d only brought about more questions. “I have…I should go. I can’t do this. I can’t talk about this now, not with everything the way that it is. I can’t.”