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The Center Cannot Hold

(Nexus)

The crowd cheered as the ball Finn threw landed in Rick's arms. Wham! Wolverines defensive tackle, Morris, decks Rick with a vicious hit as he crosses the 20 yard line. The massive african-american tumbled onto his side as they both tore through the turf. "It's just me, loser." Morris remarked with an icy laugh. He puts one hand on Rick's helmet and pushes himself up. Rick moans as his face guard digs a huge chunk in the turf. A whistle blew and the play is over. As he finally gets up, he's got a huge piece of turf stuck in his face guard so that it obscures his face. Yet, he still has the ball, so possession is still with the Titans. Pulling off the helmet, he shakes and pokes out the grass, and dirt.

Finn made the time out sign to Coach Tanaka. With an exasperated hand wave, he signaled to the referees. Yet when seconds later, Finn jogged over beside Puck, he heard the am station commentary in the background.

"And another late hit by all-star Blake Morris. His third of the game."

"He's really putting a hurt on Sanders, Jack. I'm not sure how much more of this abuse he can take..." Puck slaps the side of his helmet, changing the channel off the commentary. Finn looked at him, disappointed. "What?! I got one of the geeks to allow me to switch channels."

"Huddle up!" Finn shouted, as Coach Tanaka, his black Motorola headphones on, was making a sweeping, gripping gesture. Into Finn's ear, he heard loudly, "15 rocket on hit"

Finn blew out a breath, as they huddled up. "Same play. Except let Morris by. Don't anybody touch him."

"What? Finn, wait..." Rick protested, "You saw what he did."

"I did, and I have a solution." Puck looked at him, amused. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw her again. They were doing 'Supergirl' again. The petite raven haired one in the gold and black kept trying to draw their attention. Smokin' body, wish I could see her face clearly.

"Puck, you hear me?" Finn shouted, staring

"Yes."

"Bull. I said let him through! On two!" Puck nods as they break the huddle. Finn goes into a shotgun. "Red fifteen. Hut! Hut!" He shouts then does a three-step drop from the shotgun. Puck and Rick hit out on either side of Morris, giving him a clear shot at Finn. Morris comes hard and fast. Finn looks downfield, winds up, and fires the ball at Morris's head. The ball goes like a bullet for fifteen feet and then blasts Morris in the face, bouncing off his helmet. He stands dazed for a beat before falling to the ground with a thump.

Still in play, the ball flies through the air and lands right into the massive hands of right tackle, Okimu. "Holy shiat!" he bellows surprised, as the other team barrels down on his massive 300 lbs. form.

"Haul it, Okimu!" Rick shouted back. Okimu snapped out of it. He thundered down the field. Rick lead the way, blasting out of the way a couple would-be tacklers.

"Holy shiat, holy shiat, holy shiat..." rumbles from his lips as he keeps rolling forth, his pursuers ever closer.

Rick goes down as he calls after him. "Go on! Puke on 'em if you have to!"

Wolverines' players catch him at the five, but Okimu is over 350 pounds of muscle and flesh. And he won't come down. He takes several guys with him before collapsing into the end zone. Jagged breath rolls from him as he pulls himself up, still holding the football. The referee calls a touchdown. The Titan crowd goes wild. The score: Wolverines 21 Titans 20 with one minute left in the game.

This huddle, Finn has this pleased, proud look. "I knew you had it, Okimu!"

The thick Fijian grunts, still winded. Puck catches the Wolverines cheerleaders, dancing and flipping. He looks back. Finn blew out another breath. He looked to the kicker. "Can you do this?"

The kicker nodded. Puck tapped his helmet into the kickers. "If you screw this up and we lose, you know what happens."

Rick grunted agreement. Jeff, the cornerback, commented. "Finn, that Wolverines cheerleader is staring at you again."
He looked at him with a mixture of concern and delight. Puck retorted. "The hot raven haired one?"

"Yea. The smallest one."

He had what could only be described as a dirty look on his face. Finn looked at him amused. "Good, let's show her and the rest of the Wolverines that we can win." And they broke. The play was set up. The kicker ran up, his foot slamming into the ball with tremendous force. It struck the uprights and spun to the right. Laughter and cheering rolled from the Wolverines side. And with the time pouring off the clock, Coach Tanaka threw his headset into the turf.

"We are not who you think we are; we are golden. We are golden," the Wolverine cheerleaders, cheered. The Cheerios were silent, almost morose. Coach Sylvester looked at Coach Tanaka which a look that was a mix of pity and disgust. Tanaka called his final time out with 30 seconds left.

Finn returned to the bench, and stood by the Gatorade cooler drinking cup after cup. Puck stopped beside him, bemused. "It's still a good night." Finn looked at him like he lost his mind. "I thought you were still pissed at me."

"I was until that cheerleader keep making eyes to you. It's like the squad is hot for you. Quinn is furious and that is hilarious. So how can I be mad if you haven't lost your mojo?" He pointed at her as she made another hand sign. She was standing beside a tall buxom blond who was making the same sign. "You can see she is checking you out from over there. I can't wait for the party tonight." He took a finger, touched his thigh and made a sizzle sound.

"Won't Santana care?"

"Nah, she loves threesomes."

Finn hid his disgust. The cheerleader kept making a sign he couldn't make out. Frustrated but intrigued, he raised his hands in a shrugging motion. Assistant Coach Johnson handed him his binoculars with a shove. "She wants to say something. And here I thought Puck was the stud."

"I'm with Quinn," he said quickly. Are you? Not more than three hours ago you were dancing with Rachel on stage. He sighed happily as he brought the binoculars up. The cheerleader motioned that she wanted to talk after game. He took the binoculars down, shocked. He shook his head. Putting them up quickly, he gazed deeply. Raven hair, petite stature, beautiful skin, and deep soulful brown eyes stared at him. It was the one person it could not possibly be.

Two and a half hours ago, Rachel stood at the entrance to the field house, annoyed. "For the last time, Vampirella, no! You can't get in. You can't see him. This is my turf. You are not welcome unless you are a football player or a cheerleader. Seeing how that will never happen, NO!" Quinn shouted.

Rachel glared at her, a loss for words. She stormed off towards the band room. As she passed by the door, she saw it was open. Brad was inside. He was talking to an older woman about Quinn's height with full red golden hair tied into an odango. The hair looked like twin streamers flowing from her head to her waist. She had a youthful face, yet worry lines and crow's feet etched obvious places. Almond shaped, yet wide hazel eyes beheld everything before they turned straight to her.

Rachel started to walk past, but stopped when she smiled. "I am sorry to interrupt but I need help," she said with a pleading look. Brad turned around, eyebrows raised but still warm. The lady wore a kind expression that matched the gold addias jumpsuit she wore.

"I'm surprised to see you here, Rachel. What do you need help with?"

"I wanted to ask Finn something before the game but I can't get to him. The Cheerios won't let me into the lockers or the field house." The lady raised an eyebrow.

Brad frowned briefly. "I can get you in. Can you wait a moment while I finish?"

Rachel smiled and nodded. "Thank you, Brad."

The lady's eyebrows shot up again as Rachel turned from the doorway.

Brad looked at Angela, who was wearing an intrigued but still desperate look. "I know what you are thinking. And it is dangerous."

She laughed; a high chipper laugh. "So tell me. Finn is the Titan's football captain. Why would she know him?"

Brad looked at her for a beat, rubbed his goatee. "Because they are in Glee club together and are dating." That's not a lie. I can see it in both of them. It just hasn't happened yet.

"So she a dancer…." Her mouth dropped open. "Why didn't you tell me!?"

"Because I don't want to be on the receiving end of Sue's wrath. She is already committed to destroying Glee and it just started." Angela waves that off with a brush of her well-manicured hand. The pink with gold starred fingertips sparkled in the fluorescent light. "I don't care about that because Elida has no Show Choir. But you did promise to pay me back."

"I did. But you do realize what you are suggesting would guarantee…"

"Sue's eternal hatred. Or the fact that she might call OHSAA regulations down on me? I have already prepared for that. She's dirtier that a pig in slop."

"Ok, but Rachel's heavily invested in music. There is no guarantee she would take it," Brad replied, concerned that Angela's need might damage Glee.

"Relax, I thought of that too." She smiled a wicked smile.

Brad walked to the door. He saw Rachel still standing there sort of despondent but trying to hide it with a cheery smile. "Come in, I want to introduce you to the lady you met earlier. Also, we will get you into the field house, promise."

The lady stuck her hand out. "Angela Grace, Head coach of the Forest Hill Wolverettes of Elida."

Rachel noticed her fingernails; a broad smile appeared. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I love your fingernails."

"Thanks. You know gold stars are a metaphor for success. So I try to have one on me always. It's a personal thing," She remarked nonchalantly. Brad looked at her and laughed silently. But Rachel lit up a bit. "When I sign my name, I put a gold star after it, for the same reason. My gold stars are a metaphor for me being a star."

Angela beheld her with the delighted look. She glanced back at Brad who shrugged. "Rachel, Brad said you are in show choir. How well can you dance?"

Relaxed and beaming, she responded, "Two years of formal dance, plus ballet, tap, ballroom and rhythmic performance. My dads' even got me into gymnastics, but I can't do balance beam or uneven bars." She looked over at Brad. "You've seen my choreography when we did 'Don't Stop Believing.'"

Angela's eyes grew wide but hid it only sending a very pleased glance to Brad who simply nodded. "It's your call but I believe you will be calling the fire down on yourself."

Something clicked in Rachel. "The Wolverines' are playing us tonight."

"Yes. And we are cheering or well we would be but…" Angela hesitated then decided that she needed her. And that from what it sounded like she needed them. Brad remained silent. "I am short one girl. For us to field for points towards regionals and nationals, we need 16. If we forfeit tonight's points we lose our standing in the ranking. We are second behind the Cheerios."

Rachel nodded, thinking. "You need me to find someone who could sub?"

Angela grinned at her. "Why aren't you a Cheerio, Rachel?"

Rachel blanched. "Because they all hate me. Coach Sylvester said I was a 'black hole' Wednesday."

"So it's not even possible?"

"No." Quick and matter of fact. Yet there was confusion on her face, as she didn't quite know what Angela was asking.

"Yet you date the Quarterback of the Titans."

Rachel looked at Brad surprised, but responded, "Technically…I—"

"He is in Glee with her and they spend time together." Brad covered. It was then it fell into place with a clatter.

"You want me." But as she said it, she looked into Angela eyes for anything to show it was a practical joke or something. Angela was serious. "I want you. You would become a full-fledged Wolverette with all the privileges thereof. There is a cost. You would have to go to Forest Hills for one class and you would have to attend practice, plus games and meets. Our other person is most likely out for the rest of the season."

Rachel blanched again. However, Brittany and Santana walked by. Looking in they saw her. They shot a disgusted look, with Santana flipping her off.

Angela saw that. "The best revenge would be to defeat them at regionals. Regardless how they treat you, you and they would know that you are better than them, because you won. That makes you are star, right?"

Rachel sighed, the emotions tearing at her. Angela saw that too and looked with compassion. "You won't have to leave here if you don't want to. My husband would be teaching the class. All you would have to do is take the tests. He can wave your physical attendance if you want. All the paperwork would be done tomorrow, and you would show up Monday for the 11'o clock English Lit class. Brad and I will take care of everything."

Brad nodded hesitantly. "You don't have to Rachel. There is no hard sell. And I am not telling you to. But think about this. You won't lose Glee, nor Choir. But you would gain a place where you wouldn't be slushied." Angela looked at him, frowned then looked at her who was thinking about it seriously.

"I want to help you but…I want more time." She frowned, sad.

Rachel stared at Angela, her thoughts a jumble. It was a wonderful opportunity. But it was also a major change. You would be on the same footing as Quinn. She is right. Taking their championship away from them would hurt all of them so much more. But the cost…I'm not a cheerleader. You told Mr. Schuester earlier this week that being a part of something special makes you special. Here is the opportunity to be special; to get Finn without him losing face with his chromosomally challenged teammates.

"I am willing to move practice to 5 pm to accommodate you and Glee," Angela said. "How about we say you do this tonight, and I will give you the week to decide. If you are still hesitant next Friday, it's no harm no foul."

"What matches?" Rachel asked warming up. "I know very little about Cheerleading."

"Six games, one local meet against the Harding Bulldogs. And exhibition in Boulder, the regionals in Chicago and the Nationals in Albuquerque a week before thanksgiving. I see you like 'Marc by Mark Jacobs'. Did you know they just opened a store in Chicago?"

Rachel looked at her amused. She knew when she was being bribed. However the temptation to stick it to Cheerios was getting too much. Then she realized it. If they find out they would really be vicious."

"I will do it if I can do Glee when I need to. I don't want to lose Mr. Schuster's class, Mr. Daniel's or Brad's" Angel nodded. Brad said, "Rachel, are you in Mr. Daniel's first or second hour?"

"Second." She replied. Brad thought then looked to Angela." Choir starts at 1 and runs to 2:30. "Mr. Schuester's second Spanish class starts at 12 noon. And his first at 10 to 11."

"I'm in his second hour as well," Rachel remarked. Brad relaxed. "You have first lunch." She nodded.

"Then you would go to Elida first until 10 and then to classes here and Glee and then return at 4:30." Brad suggested.

Angela frowned, shook her head. "You know. I am going to talk to Principal Domo about this. With Becca out for the rest of the year with the torn acl, he wants this as much as I do. I will get it waved. If you want to come to class with us you can, but you don't have to. Practice is only 3 days a week. We don't practice on Friday so it's actually Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is 4 hours. Saturday is meet day or trip day. We can work out something. So…." Angela said hesitantly with hope, "Will you become a Wolverette?"

"Yes." She saw that Angela wore a Gold star necklace with her name beside it. It was enough. I can leave if I want to. Dad Leroy always said I needed more socializing. Won't he be surprised?

Angela smiled broadly. "I'll give Brad our schedule. You will only need to perform tonight if Sue bitches about my amounts. So if I do some dances, can you repeat?"

"Absolutely."

"Then put down that suitcase and let's see what you can do."

The next thirty minutes was a whirlwind of dancing excitement, introductions and quick training. Kaylie and Emily Balor twin co-captains adored her. No one on their squad was basket sized, and Rachel bubbled over and did one in the locker room on an old gym mat. "You have amazing energy," Kaylie said, her sandy hair in a long pony tail. "I think Coach found us a perfect fit," Emily remarked.

Coach Grace came over to Rachel as she tugged at the black and golden spandex and polyester shell top with a star over her bust. Superimposed on the star was a black bear paw print. Under the star was the Wolverette stencil. The top stopped at her midriff leaving her abs exposed. The multi-pleat skirt was gold with black piping and came down to mid-calf.

Rachel stood in front of the full length mirror, admiring herself. Now there is nothing different between Quinn and I. Kaylie stood to her right. "You have such beautiful hair."

"Thank you very much. For all of this."

"No, it's us who need to thank you. You are allowing us our chance to defeat the Cheerios this year. Do you know what it is like to be technically superior but still number two in regionals?"

Rachel nodded solemnly. Coach Grace handed her a sheet of cheers. "We have four main cheers. There are several minor ones we do too but the Titans," Kaylie, Emily and several others giggled, "don't warrant them." She read the sheet absorbing names like Wolverine, Supergirl, Victory and 'We are Golden'.

After a minute, Coach Grace continued. "I know you have never done this before, so relax and follow Kaylie and Emily's lead. If what you showed me is anything like what you can do, you will be fine. Does the uniform fit?" She looked concerned.

"It fits fine." Rachel smiled, enjoying the attention

"Good. Tomorrow we need to get you fitted. When you come our fitter will take care of you." Coach Grace looked around at everyone. "Ladies, since Rachel is taking Becca's place at Regionals and Nationals we need everyone on the practice field tomorrow at noon for a new picture. OK?"

They all agreed. Rachel just beamed. Kaylie noticed she seemed happy. "You are not popular here are you?" Rachel frowned briefly. "That's what I thought. It doesn't matter to us what your status here is. You are a Wolverette now. You are as popular as we are now. Are we popular, ladies?"

"Hell yeah!" Rang up around Rachel but in the back of her mind, she thought, that won't help me here.

Finn stood motionless, the binoculars hanging at his side. "How?" He snapped out of it and gestured that he would at the games end. She immediately jumped twice. Of course games end was in 30 regulation seconds. The Titans were out of time outs and the Spartans had possession, so they would run down the clock.

He blew out a breath, excitement bubbling up. What would possess her to do that? Quinn would react with an evil I don't want to think about. I don't have to worry about Puck though. He would accept her then, that's how shallow he is. He looked at Puck on the field as the game ended. Not telling him, treason was not well accepted.

Coach was cursing, so he walked over to Assistant Coach Johnson. He handed him the binoculars back. Johnston, a tall wiry man, frowned watching everything on the field. He looked at Finn as he took the binoculars back. "Go, have fun. I'll cover. At least someone will enjoy the night."

Finn walked to the locker room and through and then into the hall that separated the men's from the women's. At the end of the hall was a bomb shelter under the field its self and it had another hall that connected to the opposing team locker rooms. It made a great rendezvous point for people who wanted to stay hidden for liaisons. And he knew that Santana and Puck had used it several times. I was hoping to use it with Quinn, but it doesn't seem like that's possible. Maybe Rachel…no I can't cheat on Quinn. Yet Rachel is nice and sweet and smells good all the time.

He entered the dark hallway, flipped on the old flickering incandescent bulbs and sprinted the distance. A quick pull open of the other door, he walked up the stairs not sure who he would find or what would happen. The hallway was empty. As he approached the door that led to the field, he ran into her.

"Rachel?"

She looked at him, still in his pads. "Can we practice at my place tomorrow afternoon about 2?" She had a brave smile on. But he saw she was exhausted and she still smelt good.

"Yes, but why this?" He asked honestly.

"Because I care enough about you that I don't want to do anything to harm you. So if that means I have to be like Quinn, fine." The earnest eyes and small smile told him she was doing it for him. It was a bit spooky but still wonderful. He beheld her in the black and gold cheerleading outfit with the gold star and realized it endeared him more. Then Rachel yawned, He stepped over and caught her as she fell into his arms again.

Rachel woke up in the backseat of Finn's car. "Finn?!" She gasped, scared and confused.

"Rachel, you are awake. I was worried." He pulled over and turned around. Rachel looked. No uniform, no papers. Was it a dream? "Was I at the game?"

"Yeah, you were at the 50 yard line. You forgot I gave you tickets?" He smiled.

She nodded. "I remember talking to you and then…"

He sighed. "Okimu tripped and fell into you. You hit your head on the ground. Quinn and the rest of them thought it was funny. I didn't so, she's angry with me for carrying you to the car. For the second time. He smiled to himself.

"So the Wolverines beat us?" Rachel commented, still trying to make sense of everything. Finn looked at her, worry splattered across his face. "No that's next week. We played the Spencerville Pumas tonight."

Rachel exhaled, relieved. Finn stared at her confused. He then smiled. "You want to go to the Waffle house? I am hungry and it's late."

"You sure you can?" She asked. "What if anyone sees?"

Finn turned back around, and started the car. "They are all at Rick's party. Except Quinn who never goes and is probably praying for my soul. You didn't see her face when I picked you up. It was the most angry I have ever seen her."

Rachel sighed. "Yes. Let's go." The she got out of the car. Finn looked shocked until she opened the front passenger side door. She looked at him and grinned. Then she saw the one euro cent hanging from his keychain. "Where did you get that coin?"

"On Mr. Hanson's European History tour in June. All that work for three days of utter boredom. It was twenty people across his two hours. The highlight was sneaking to the 'Fontana di amore' in the Piazza Borghese."

Rachel brightened. "I went too!" She had this bright, endearing smile about her. "I was first in second hour."

Finn hid his smile. "6th in first"

"Did you throw a cent into the 'Fontana di amore'?"

He nodded as they pulled in. "I took one out on a dare. The guys with me said they saw some raven haired girl throw one in so they dared me to take it back out. That's the one hanging on the keychain." Rachel remembered that she threw one in first. And that there were guys from the school there. After they left I snatched one because that girl was telling a friend about the legend. 'Whoever takes a coin from the fountain, the person who threw that coin in will fall in love with them. Wouldn't that be excellent? She thought as she exited the car. As they entered, 'Dreamweaver' was playing on the jukebox. Neither of them thought much of it.

Monday morning came early. Rachel was excited, because it would be Mr. Schuster's first day back. So she hurried up everything. That included just wearing the Windsor Light Denim Mini Skirt with the Peach Cream Long sleeve top with the ruched sides and flats. This way she had plenty of time to eat breakfast, say prayers with Dad Hiram, kiss and hug both dads good day, and make it to school with 30 minutes to spare. And she wanted to take her precious pink Mini Cooper® like every day she had since she got her license. Only when she walked into the four car garage, and flipped on the light, it wasn't there.

"Dad! Where is Mini?" She shouted, hiding her terror that it was stolen. Leroy walked into living room and stared her trying not to shake. "Jackson the mechanic, you asked for, picked it up."

"Now?! I thought it would be after 5?" She responded with relief and annoyance.

Leroy looked taken aback. "You expect him to work on it after business hours?"

Rachel frowned, realizing she was being irrational. "I wanted to be able to repay Finn for his kindness."

Leroy grinned, his eyes shining. "You mean another date."

Rachel blushed. "We aren't dating. He has a girlfriend." Who treats him and me like dirt.

"Right." He nodded, his face saying he didn't believe a word. "If you are ready, I'll take you. And I'll have Jackson drop the Mini at the school when you are done. Send him to the choir room or the auditorium?"

"I don't know. Have him find Brad Ellis, the Band Director or Mr. Schuster."

He shook his head. "OK, let's go. I have a meeting to attend or else no more 'Marc Jacobs' for you."

Fifteen minutes later, he dropped her off on the side road as it paralleled the left side of the parking lot. As she got out, she saw Mr. Schuster get out of his car. Running toward him, she dragged her pink rolling suitcase with her right hand.

"Mr. Schuester!" She shouted, hurrying to catch up.

He paused, turning back to see who called his name. "Yeah?" he said as Rachel began walking beside him.

"I went to the library and I got some sheet music. I want to run some songs by you that feature me heavily on lead vocal." She grinned brightly, pleased with herself.

"Thanks, Rachel. But I already got one picked out. It's uh…" he reaches into his shoulder bag.

Finn walks up beside her as she frowned at Mr. Schuester's rejection. "Let me take that."

She speeds up to keep up with him leaving Mr. Schuester behind. "Thanks, Finn. You're so chivalrous."

"Thanks. That's a good thing, right?"

She smiled at him. "Yes. How was Sunday?"

"Good. We got everything done we wanted. Are you feeling better?"

"Yes. Sleep did wonders. I am so sorry." She showed the sad face.

"It was no trouble, really." He smiled, thinking.

And with that they walked into the main building towards their lockers. She walked proudly beside him, her head lifted high. People paused, giving quick double takes as they realized he was dragging Rachel's pink suitcase. Shock and surprise abounded along with disgust and annoyance. As they got to their lockers, he leaned the suitcase beside the locker below hers, which she opened as well. "How did you get two?"

"Magic," she remarked with a pleased smile. "I asked. And I pointed out how important it was for a lady to be dressed correctly."

Finn smiled and nodded. "Ok." He went over to his own and opened it.

Rachel knelt down and opened the suitcase removing the bag inside. She then opened the upper locker, removed the bag and sat it beside the bag from the suitcase. That bag went into the locker while the other went into the suitcase. Then she removed the fresh makeup bag and other toiletries as well and place them in. Finally, she put the other used items into the suitcase, closed and locked it, and put it into the lower locker. She then locked that locker. Just as she locked it, Quinn came up to Finn. She glared at Rachel with venom before diving into a diatribe about how he's ruining his popularity.

"We are in line to be the next 'most popular' kids in school next couple of years; Prom King and Queen," Quinn said frustrated. Rachel turned away from them, but listened. And you've got a smile that could light up this whole town

I haven't seen it in a while, since she brought you down

You say you're fine. I know you better than that

Hey, Whatcha doing with a girl like that

The song continued tobubble up. She recognized and suppressed the smile listening and knowing the lines were true.

"Homecoming court royalty…"

I need something to look inconspicuous. Touch ups! She grabbed out her purple compact and used the mirror you see how Finn was reacting to the verbal assault. Finn grabbed his Algebra 1 book and notepad out of the locker, and put it into his backpack. He looked around, behind him, and held the expression of someone downtrodden.

"I am NOT giving up those shiny crowns just so you can express yourself," Quinn emphasized, staring with her full on intense face. She wrinkled her nose and squinted when she said 'express yourself' to drive the point home even harder.

"Look, you are making too big a deal out of this," he said, with an undertone of frustration but masking it with false humor.

Putting down the compact, Rachel stared at the floor briefly.

Oh I remember you driving to my house in the middle of the night

I'm the one who makes you laugh when you know you're about to cry

I know your favorite songs and you tell me about your dreams

I think I know where you belong. You know it's with me.

Suddenly, Quinn's whole attitude changed and she smiled brightly. Shifting the way she carried herself, she said, "Ok, let's compromise."

Finn looked away from her, continuing to rustle with stuff in the backpack. He returned to her suddenly happy expression, and held her gaze.

"If you quit the club, I'll let you touch my breasts," she whispers while reaching up and touching her cross necklace with a sultry smile.

Rachel's face changed to concern. Don't give in! Please Finn, don't give in!

"Under the shirt?" Finn asks with interest.

"Over the bra," Quinn growled. All pretense of happy gone again.

Rachel turned away, deeply disappointed. Shoving the song from her mind, she began to put the compact back into its pouch. The she realized, Finn hadn't answered. All she could hear was silence. Please say no! I believe in you!

Finn hesitated, frowning. Thirty seconds passed, and finally, "No. No. I can't. I want to do Glee."

Rachel remained perfectly poised. 'Yes, I knew it!' She turned to listen again still holding the compact.

"I am really happy when I perform." He said as he finished organizing the backpack.

Opening the compact again, she shifted to see him and Quinn.

Quinn held in a frustrated sigh, letting herself glower. "People think you are gay now, Finn. You know what that makes me?" She raised her hand, gesturing with each word, "Your big gay beard."

Zipping up the backpack, he slung it over his shoulder. "Look, I…I have to go to class. Just relax. Everything is going to work out."

Realizing he was done, Rachel put the compact into its bag this time, and quickly finished adjusting everything, hoping Quinn would leave. Of course, after Friday night she hates me even more. Watching him walk off, she frowned.

"EAVESDROP MUCH?" Quinn shouted. Rachel turned her direction, her hand on the locker door. Quinn's hands were clenched as she got up into her face. Rachel shut the locker door.

"Time for some girl talk, man hands." Quinn stared fiercely at Rachel who held a distrustful expression. "You can dance with him. You can sing with him but you can never have him."

You are jealous! The concern vanished replace with confidence. "I can understand why you would be threatened. Finn and I have made a connection." Quinn closed her eyes and looked away, trying not to laugh derisively.

"But I am an honorable person. I don't need to steal your man, I have plenty suitors of my own." And it is a true statement. Most are online and watch my YouTube® videos and chat with me on Facebook® but still they are suitors.

Walking backwards away while holding her gaze, Rachel remarked with satisfying smugness. "Every day, Glee status is going up and yours is going down. DEAL with it." Just then, Puck and one of the basketball players walks up. She turned around to go to class. They paused just long enough to throw their slushies into her face, the light blue slush splattering across the peach top, face and into her hair.

In the background, she could hear Quinn laugh as well as many others. And as she struggled, she knew it was Puck. He shouted something. She wheeled around, and marched back over to her locker. Quinn stood there, hand over her face laughing. "Glee status going up?" Rachel ignored her, opening the locker again. After she pulled out the bag, she slammed it. "Yes, it is," And she wiped the slush off her face at her, it spattering across her cheerios uniform. Puck and Jake stopped and stared at Quinn, all amusement drained away. "You Bitch! You are so going to pay for that!" she screamed, brushing slushie bits from her hair.

"HALT!" Mr. Daniels shouted. "Why is it we can't be sociable? I am gatherin' the usual suspects. Noah Puckerman, don't walk off. I saw you hit her with that drink. You find it funny?" He asked as he stared at him and Jake, standing in front of them. "Well I think three weeks of detention is funny. You too, Jake Martin. And you know what would make my day?"

"No, Mr. Daniels" Puck said contrite.

"Not wasting my time. I now have to write Ms. Berry a pass again. So, since you wasted my time, I will waste yours. You will do your detention from 5 to 8 pm each night under supervision of the lead janitor. You want to throw slushie; you get to clean them up. And scrub toilets. Perhaps that will make you think about your actions. Next one thrown, we will have a discussion with Mr. Figgins about you doing ANY extracurricular activities."

He walked down the hall and saw Quinn having a staring contest with Rachel. And she looked like she wanted to choke her right then.

"Ms. Fabray unless you want a discussion between Coach Sylvester, myself and Mr. Figgins, I suggest you go to class, now." He stared at her, his mustache twitching. Rachel realized then he wore the same basic clothes everyday: a white linen shirt, sliver silk vest, bowtie, formal knee length black frock coat and high rolled broad-brimmed planter's hat.

Quinn glowered hate at Rachel then turned and stormed off. Rachel flicked her hands again, shaking off the slush. Some of it splattered Quinn's back as she left. A loud groan emanated from her as she marched away.

"I'll see you in class, Ms. Berry. Do be fast; I had planned on a quiz today." And he walked off with Puck and Jake who also lost all humor.

After that small vindication, the rest of the day went well. She saw Finn at the lockers before their class together and he said, "I'm sorry."

"Not your fault."

"No. But she hates you more than anyone now. You stained her top. She had to change it before Coach Sylvester noticed; that cost her lunch."

Rachel stifled a laugh. "I'm so sorry."

Finn noticed and tried not to himself. "She was furious. I'll see you in class." He pulled out a Kal-teen bar, and then unwrapped it. "Can I have one?" Rachel asked, her stomach gurgling.

He shook his head, frowning. "No, these are protein bars. They make you get bigger." She frowned having avoided the cafeteria herself. "I did give one to Quinn though; well she took it from me." And he walked off. She walked to class with a smile. Still he keeps her around and values popularity. What I did only made things worse. At least there is glee.

Choir was warm and wonderful again. They had moved on from World Harvest's 'Lightning and Thunder' to Britt Nicole's 'Walk on the water' but not before Brad had a surprise for them. "Choir, I know you were expecting the full time for practice but I was blessed and inspired by this gift given to me by a friend. So without further introduction, give a warm McKinley welcome to Britt Nicole."

The young brunette lady with a chestnut hair and oval face walked around from the office with a broad smile. Rachel stretched to look at her, wondering who she was. Brad shot a glance toward her and then cast it over on the lady who was at least a few inches taller than Quinn. "Hello, everyone. Brad invited me to sing two songs for you to inspire and motivate. And how could I resist him? A little about who I am…" she said genuinely explain who she was, how she got into recording and how she came to be standing there. It was interesting. Dad Hiram always said I needed to be more involved in either synagogue or church.

Britt continued to explain that, "They all have a similar message of having the courage to step out in faith and walk in what He has called you to do even when it's scary. I don't want to be selfish anymore. I don't want to be safe anymore. When He tells me to step out and talk to somebody or believe for what seems impossible, I want to do it. And that brings me to the songs. I will sing for you 'How the Lost Get Found' and 'Walk on the Water'.

Brad suggested to the electric guitar player and the drummer to begin. He himself began to clap, as did several other non-playing members of the ensemble,

'Hello my friend

I remember when you were

So alive with your wide eyes

Then the light that you had in your heart was stolen

Now you say that it ain't worth stayin'

You wanna run but you're hesitatin'

I'm talkin' to me

Don't let your lights go down

Don't let your fire burn out

somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe

Why don't you rise up now?

Don't be afraid to stand out

That's how the lost get found

The lost get found

So when you get the chance

Are you gonna take it?

There's a really big world at your fingertips

And you know you have the chance to change it

There's a girl on the streets, she's cryin'

There's a man whose faith is dyin'

Love is calling you

Don't let your lights go down

Don't let your fire burn out

somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe

Why don't you rise up now?

Don't be afraid to stand out

That's how the lost get found

The lost get found

Why do we go with the flow?

Or take an easier road?

Why are we playin' it safe?

Love came to show us the way

Love is a chance we should take

I'm movin' out of the way

Don't let your lights go down

Don't let your fire burn out

somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe

(Stand out)

Don't let your lights go down

Don't let your fire burn out

(Stand out)

somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe

Why don't you rise up now?

Don't be afraid to stand out

That's how the lost get found

The lost get found

So when you get the chance

Are you gonna take it?

There's a really big world at your fingertips

And you know you have the chance to change it.'

Brad watched Rachel while Britt sang to the choir, happy that everything was working again. He used a favor to get her to come knowing that Will was to dump his old disco on them. That would go badly. Hopefully, Rachel would keep this in the back of her mind so she would be creative with the solution. He didn't need her mopey. And she looked pleased. Of course, when she entered she went on about how her new peach top was damaged. So she was wearing her emergency Ralph Lauren® 'Little Girl' wicket yellow cable cardigan and white blouse along with pink blanket plaid pleat skirt. He shook his head. Her with her details.

Britt spoke again. "Thanks for the applause. The other song is 'Walk on Water."

Brad went to the piano, and began to play as the clapping and other musicians began to play.

'You look around

It's staring back at you

Another wave of doubt

Will it pull you under?

You wonder

What if I'm overtaken?

What if i never make it?

What if no one's there?

Will you hear my prayer?

When you take that first step

Into the unknown

You know that he won't let you go

So what are you waiting for?

What do you have to lose?

Your insecurities try to alter you

You know you're made for more

So don't be afraid to move

Your faith is all

It takes in you

You can walk on the water too

So get out

And let your fear fall to the ground

No time to waste

Don't wait

Don't you turn around and miss out

Everything you were made for

I know you're not sure

So you play it safe

Try to run away

If you take that first step

Into the unknown

He won't let you go

So what are you waiting for?

What do you have to lose?

Your insecurities try to alter you

You know you're made for more

So don't be afraid to move

Your faith is all

It takes in you

You can walk on the water too

(step out)

Even when a storm hits

(step out)

Even when you're broken

(step out)

Even when your heart is telling you telling you to give up

(step out)

When your hope is stolen

(step out)

You can't see where you're going

You don't have to be afraid

So what are you waiting for?

So what are you waiting for?

What do you have to lose?

Your insecurities try to alter you

You know you're made for more

So don't be afraid to move

Your faith is all

It takes in you

You can walk on the water, walk on the water too.'

After the song finished, she thanked everyone for their applause again, and politely said her goodbyes.

"She had to go but free autographed CDs of her current album are over in that box by the file cabinet." Brad said. He then got up and walked over to Rachel with sheet music. "She gave these to me and I am giving them to you. What did you think?"

"I can see why you asked her to sing. She has an amazing gift, much like me."

Brad smiled at Rachel. "You know the journey has just begun for Glee right?"

"Yes, but I know we will succeed. We have to. We just need more people to join. We are good. Finn is great and I wish he was here to hear her sing."

Brad spread his hand out. "That's out of my hands. I just handle the band." He smiled, hiding his disappointment I asked Figgins twice about Art director and he asked me if I couldn't handle Glee why would he think I could handle Art Director.

Rachel saw he was done, walked over to her chair and put the sheet music into her folder. She noticed a set of 2 cds lying in her chair with a small card attached. The card was tied into a ribbon that held the cd to each other. In handwriting, the front of card said 'Rachel' with a drawn gold star. Eyes getting big, she opened the card. "I called to say no, instead I heard you sing. So thank you for reminding me who I was 5 years ago. Beyond that my lyrics say everything I could say but this; don't doubt the dream or Him. Hold on to both and the miracle will come." Rachel looked over to Brad who was up writing on the board about scores when he saw her. He paused briefly, rolled out his plan flat his eyes held to her and then continued on. But to her it was one of the best gifts yet. But how did she know about Finn?

Finn came into the choir room dogged. His last class was with Quinn. Her comment about being a 'beard' which made no sense until Rick explained it by asking Mrs. Pevensie question about 1920's lavender marriages. Quinn rolled her eyes and glared at him, especially when she referenced that the usage involving a gay man pretending to date a woman started in the 60s. Then it was notes about how hateful Rachel was and wronged she felt.

Rachel was standing the all abuzz quietly mouthing words off a sheet when walked up. There were still a few minutes until Glee started. "Hey, Rachel. New music?"

"Finn! No, its music from choir. Mr. Schuester said he had new music for us already so I am going to trust him." She looked at his downcast face. He was faking a smile. "What's wrong? You seem so despondent."

"Nothing. Despondent is bad, right?"

"Yes, it's deeply sad," she replied looking up at him with shining eyes. He smiled real this time. Sometimes I really wish I wasn't with Quinn, because you smell great. You're fun and smart. And you glow. I really wish I could spend more time with you. "Just upset at Quinn." She nodded as they both noticed Mr. Schuester entering.

Well, the music Mr. Schuster gotten was 'Le Freak' by Chic. And while fun to dance and sing it was older than everyone in there save Brad. And He wasn't quite sure about that either. At least Brad shared in their discomfort in singing it. It showed on his face as he played. Only thing that made it fun was trading glances with Rachel. And we connect so much. It's just like I am drawn to her. Even when Quinn was screaming at me, I wished…damn commitments. She was listening though. That shows she cares, right?

And then Mercedes breaks the flow by protesting about Rachel almost kicking her. It was funny and so not. Mercedes all indignant. Rachel poised and confident. And Mr. Schuester annoyed that we broke the flow. The song is old, and we wants us to do it front of the school. I can't do that. Quinn would be right. There has to be a better way. Otherwise I am so dead.

"Whoa, whoa, Hell to the no!" Mercedes shouted just after Rachel's flat came inches in front of her face. Brad rolled his eyes as he stopped playing, and waited staring at her. Finn looked at her perplexed. Rachel buttoned up her cardigan as she waited for Mercedes to finish.

"First of all, you try to bust my face again--" She said but Rachel simply folded her arms under her bust and waited, looking away. It's not like I did it deliberately. So would you give it a rest? The frustration threated to spill out, and she knew it so she refused to look at her or give her the satisfaction. I am better than you. I can sing better than you. I can dance better than you. And I dress better than you.

"--and I will cut you." Rachel frowned, furrowing her brow. Finn furrowed his brow as well. Even Brad looked annoyed by the disruption. 'Also, this song is terrible," Mercedes continued. Rachel glanced over at her, noticed she was addressing Mr. Schuester and stole a glance of Finn. He stood there shocked and fearful.

"No, no, it's not the song. It's just that you guys need to get into it," Mr., Schuster replied, explaining. Rachel looked to him and saw even Brad wore a sour expression.

"No. It's the song. It's really gay," Kurt remarked. Rachel stole another glance at Finn, watching his reactions, that he noticed Kurt's protest and his overall trepidation. Shifting over to beside him, she held his gaze as Artie said, "We need modern music, Mr. Schue."

"I'm sorry guys; we don't have time to discuss this. We are doing this song Friday at the pep assembly." Mr. Schuester insisted enunciating 'doing'.

Finn's face went white. Rachel stared at him, compassion and concern radiating from his eyes. Figuring she would distract him, she said, "You have large eyelashes like a llama." He looked at her all freaked, and her fake smile faded.

"In front of the whole school?" Tina asked, freaked.

"Exactly," Mr. Schuester responded with delight.

"They are going to throw fruit at us and I just had a facial," Kurt remarked, serious.

Rachel looked at the floor worried now. Now what? Everything was going so well. "I'll press charges if that happens," she announced after hearing Kurt. But she could see from Mr. Schuester's expression and body language that he didn't get it. Not hiding the annoyed stared as he expressed how important the pep assembly was, she keep her arms folded. You've been in tighter spots, how do we fix this? And why can't you listen! My song selection is so much better. Shoot, Britt's songs are better.

She stole another glance at Finn who was white with fear. It deepened her bubbling frustration. I'm not letting you drive him out of this. I WILL DO something else.

Mr. Schuester continued, explaining what she already knew. Yes, we only have 6. Yes, we need twelve. No, this isn't the way. And Finn, I promise I will fix it.'

Images of getting paintballed again. Of Quinn with her evil happy smile saying 'I told you so.' Image of Puck saying the same thing. Of the entire school laughing them off the stage ran repeatedly ran through Finn's mind as Mr. Schuester continued. It all let to one thing, "I'm dead."

Rachel knew one thing as they left practice. "Finn!" She shouted as he heading for the Field house locker room. "How about I return the favor you did me Friday night?"

He looked confused. "Drive me home?"

She smiled. "No. Waffle House."

"Ok. Practice ends at 6. Can you wait?"

"Yes. I have something I can do in the library. Meet you at the home side bleachers?"

He paused for a second, looked back at her, a neutral expression. "Ok. I'll see you then."

As Finn walked to the locker room, he realized he had an issue before him. You have a girlfriend, Quinn. Yet you keep giving Rachel signals. The problem and he knew it was that Quinn represented popularity, acceptance and being masculine. And really he did like her, when she was nice. Sad part was she was rarely nice. It was always hot or cold with her, mostly cold. They made out twice including the hot tub. If it wasn't for the 'mailman' he would have gotten her. Puck always lately dropped hints about her. That was, he did, until he clammed up. You can't be still pissed at me for joining Glee. And that lead to Rachel. And she was the opposite of Quinn. She respected his space, explained stuff, talked to him and generally cared what he thought. And this was from the sum total of four times they had been together. It was electric every time he was around her. I can be myself with her. No defending myself. No being talked down too. Waffle house was fun. I know she thought I didn't see her watching me. Why can't I just able to tell Quinn, 'It just isn't working', and not have my rear handled to be.

As he walked through the doors into the locker area, he sighed. Why can't this be easy? And why is Mr. Schuester an idiot. If we do 'Freak out' my problem is solved. It won't matter. I'll be dead socially

Puck walked over. "Let me guess, Homo explosion problems," he said with a smirk.

"Lay off, Puck. I'm having problems with Quinn."

He laughed. "I heard. She's 'dating' you." He did the air quotes when he said dating. "But lately you spend all your time with Rachel. She's hot but she's also social suicide. So spill, what do see in her? I saw you dragging her pink case into school this morning. And I'm f'ing doing bitch work for the next three weeks because Mr. Slave owner was pissed about me slushing her."

"Puck, that's not cool. It really ruins her day." Finn said while changing. Puck stopped, and stared at him like he had lost his mind. "Ok, I'll wait until Quinn is talking to you and hit her with one. What will happen?"

"Other than her and Santana beating your ass?" Finn laughed.

"It would be worth it to see you not defend her. You want Rachel."

Finn furrowed his brow. "No, I have a girlfriend." Puck laughed derisively this time. "No, Finn. You have two. And you will have to make a choice soon."

Tuesday was different. After the school saw Puck et al forced to sweep floors and scrub tile for throwing slushies, the assault stopped. Quinn stopped by the locker at various times trying to either beg him to quit or browbeat him into quitting. She continued to cast hateful glances at Rachel when she was at her locker but at the end of the day it was a bit much.

"Quinn, I'm not quitting. I like it. I am happy. Why don't you join?" Finn asked, trying to get her to stop. She froze, shocked. Horror crept across her face. Then fear filled her eyes. She focused on Finn who was stealing glances at Rachel. She steeled her face but it stayed with her. "NO. Absolutely not. If you want to be in the queer brigade, that's fine. But I won't lower myself to do it. I am better than that. I'm better than her!" I almost wish Puck appeared and slushied her so she could see how it felt. He blew out a breath.

Rachel wheeled around, her intense irritation showing. That's right. Queer is bad. "You're petrified." Finn looked at her confused. She's made of stone?

Rachel's face softened when she caught his expression. Quinn gritted her teeth. "I'm Cheerios captain, and who are you?"

"An Unsigned recording artist, princess of 4chan thanks to you and Santana and an excellent dancer. You don't want to because you can't sing. And face it; you make everyone miserable around you. And that's just not fair." She smiled smugly, closed the locker and walked off. Quinn took off after her, and blocked her exit. Finn stood at the locker staring, unsure. Puck walked by, amused and held up 2 fingers on his left hand and one on his right. Santana was with him and she simply looked disgusted with it all.

Quinn screamed. "I'm well liked and respected. You are hated by most everyone. It doesn't matter if I can sing. I CHEER! AND YOU CAN"T OUTDANCE ME! You aren't a cheerleader and you never will be." Rachel looked up at Finn, frowned briefly and then said, "I'll see you in Glee." And then strided off confident.

Quinn growled, and wheeled on Finn. "You are useless!" And then she stormed off. Why can't I make the decision? He looked around at the hall now empty, and knew. As long as he accepted that being popular was important, he was stuck. And he knew it. He wanted what he couldn't have.

Rachel stared at him, unsure. The choir practice was good and fun. There was a peace about being comfortable and not struggling. Brad always had the right words to say. But Glee was about career and future. And when Finn walked in, she saw he was hurt by the argument. I wish he would notice me. He didn't even say anything to stop her. The frustration started to rise but she pushed it down. So she stared, morose as Kurt and Mercedes insulted each other of fashion choices.

"How about a little Kayne?" Mr. Schuester said as he walked in with a stack of photocopies. Brad smiled to himself. Fortunately, he had the electronic keyboard still out from the lesson earlier in choir so, he powered it back up. Of course, he knew and Will told them that it wouldn't be used in the pep assembly but at least he heard him when he told him about what today's youth thought of disco. Still, that was a train wreck waiting to happen.

Rachel ran up, and smiled as he passed them out. Walking over to her, he said, "Communication is the foundation of any successful music group." He looked to Finn then stepped back to look at everyone. "If we are going to succeed we are going to need to communicate. You said you wanted modern music, I listened."

Artie piped up. "Mr. Schue, we would really not like to do disco at that assembly."

Rachel looked to Artie smiled and sighed. At least we are in agreement there. Her gaze floated back to Finn. He was reading the music, pensive. It's ok. I can sing anything. And I have faith in you. You can too. She shoved away the self-doubt again, resolving in her heart to do something about Quinn's statement.

She smiled when Mr. Schuester's response violated what he just said. "Finn, you're going to take the solo."

"What?!" Finn remarked shocked. "I can't do the solo. I'm still trying to learn how to walk and sing at the same time."

That makes no sense. Why would you say that? Disappointment and confusion crept in.

Mr. Schuester looked up with a mixture of exasperation and amusement. Taking out his jacket he remarked confidently, "No problem, I'll walk you through it." Everyone started ooh and ooo ing at Finn who looked even more embarrassed now. He looked over at everyone, locked eyes with Rachel for a second before looking up at Mr. Schuester. It was then that she realized why he didn't want to do the solo. And she smiled. The rest of the practice was nothing but fun. The surprise was that Mercedes could actually sing. So she let her. And with no football practice that day, she asked him if he wanted to grab a bite to eat.

"Quinn's pissed at me."

"I'm so sorry. It's she…"

"Raincheck?" He said disappointed.

"Raincheck." Rachel responded disappointed. She had a function to go to at 8 with her dad's. It was an award ceremony in Columbus for the group Dad Leroy invested in. Suddenly, Finn's phone rang. He answered and then responded, 'yes, Quinn. I am coming over,' sadly as he walked off. It was enough to make her want to throw up.

Quinn ended the call and returned the phone to her purse. As she sat on her bed, she regretted screaming at Rachel. Not because Rachel was an annoying, overbearing, vicious wench who regardless of what her lying mouth said was trying to steal Finn from her. No, she regretted screaming at Rachel because Finn would now mope the entire time. I will have to apologize if I want him to snap out of it. But why should I? Can't he see she's using him for her own purposes? The fear and all the insecurities settled on her as the tears stared to flow. Nausea gripped her stomach like it had all week. But she hid it and wiped away the tears. I just want it back the way it was. Without her eroding my perfection. If my sister can do it, why can't I?

Turning on her stereo, the Green Day song, 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' came on. It was appropriate so she sang with it.

'I walk a lonely road

The only one that I have ever known

Don't know where it goes

But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street

On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Where the city sleeps

and I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone

I walk alone

I walk alone

I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me

My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

'Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I'm walking down the line

That divides me somewhere in my mind

On the border line

Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines

What's f****d up and everything's alright

Check my vital signs

To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone

I walk alone

I walk alone

I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me

My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

'Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah

Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I walk alone

I walk a...

I walk this empty street

On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Where the city sleeps

And I'm the only one and I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me

My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

'Til then I walk alone...'

She laid back on the bed in her yellow sun dress, stared at the ceiling. When did it all go wrong? The day he joined Glee. Damn, Mr. Schuester and Coach Tanaka, Damn them both. She shook her fist at the ceiling. It's your fault, Rachel had the chance to meet him, and now, the wench won't let him go. He's stupid too but it was cute. Now…" The tears ran again. It wasn't the shiny crowns so much as she knew she could have picked anyone. But Finn had this lovable quality and she knew she loved him, she just didn't know how to express it right. And lately, he spent all his free time on the team or at Glee. So Rachel saw him more than she did. Santana said she saw them out at least twice. We've had four dates. She's been seen out with him twice already, one at the 'Waffle House®'.

The tears stained her pillow as she wallowed in the morass of her thoughts. How can I apologize to him when I know that vicious wench is stealing him right out from under me. How do I fix this?

In the background her mother shouted. It was an announcement that Finn had arrived. Pulling herself up, she saw her mascara was ruined. "I'll be down shortly!" she shouted as she went to her vanity. I have to fix this. But I'm not backing down from her. She's not going to get him without damage. And she smiled. I know what I can do!

Rachel didn't care for Ms. Pillsbury, the guidance counselor. So when she forgot to lock the stall door while she was feeling sorry for herself, she knew she would hear a lecture. Amazingly, it turned into more of a pep talk. And while last night's locking herself in the room, turning on sad music and crying sort of helped, especially after he didn't defend her, she knew that she wanted to Finn to notice her. And if being more like Quinn was the ticket she would. But the talk didn't lead that way. Find common interests and guard your heart. Let him like you for you. Well, I can do that. Finn and I both love music and Glee. There are so many ways to do this.

So during the entire function, she mulled over the lists of things she could do with Finn that involved Glee and rescued them from Pep assembly Topheth.1 It was a formal occasion, so she wore an eye-catching emerald green Catherine Malandrino gown, with ruffled sleeves and ruched waist. Completing the ensemble was Jimmy Choo® black satin 'luigi' flats which were a Christmas gift and a Chanel® clutch purse. So as Leroy and Hiram, in Brooks Brothers® tuxedos, mingled, she stood off to one side quietly holding her Moët & Chandon® champagne.

A tall guy with tussled blond hair the color of straw approached; a concerned look was in his eyes. "How's my favorite budding artist?"

"Hi, Mark." Rachel replied softly, distracted.

"What's wrong?" He asked, suddenly serious.

"Nothing," she looked past him out into the crowd.

"That expression is not nothing. You're not acting like yourself. As your agent, I'm concerned." He held a compassionate stare.

Embarrassment covered her face in a warm red. "I'm trying to decide what to do to hold Finn's attention. I want him to notice me. Really notice me."

"Finn? Who's he?" Mark commented, an eyebrow upraised. But the look on her face answered the question. "You're in love." He beamed.

"Finn Hudson is captain of the Football team. We are both in Show choir together."

He nodded. "You will send me the information on when your meets are?" She nodded. "Then, promotional items; you know this."

She nodded then sighed. "What about his girlfriend," Rachel commented sheepishly.

"Does he like you?" Mark glanced around, noticed the event ramping up to its middle.

"I don't know. I tried," Rachel, remarked, still a bit embarrassed, and a bit worried.

Mark stared at her. "Focus, Rachel. Do you believe that he likes you more than her? If you two spend significant time together that can override the dates she has with him."

"Yes. We eat together, sing and dance. We talk. And he does chivalrous things."

"Then he's yours. Not hers. He just hasn't figured that out yet. Now focus. You share a passion, do that and promote it. It isn't like you to mope in a corner. That's not the person I know. The person with over 500 YouTube® videos or the one while never visiting 4chan has managed to near eclipse Boxxy. My team still hasn't figured out who keeps posting your videos and pics there. But they love and hate you. And that's great for you. So go out and be you. Quit worrying about it." He took the nearly full glass from her with one hand and gently shoved her with the other,

Rachel smiled. I'll promote Glee tomorrow. Yes! Flyers! Now if I only knew what to replace 'Le Freak' with. The function was just getting to the meat of the awards as she wandered off to find Dad Hiram. Leroy was on stage presenting.

Then there was a break for about thirty minutes before the final spate of awards, so she spent them mingling, singing and laughing. Everything was great fun just like last year until right near the end. A cake was being rolled out celebrating the night's honoree of the year. Rachel, hungry now, stopped by, holding a nearly empty champagne glass. When she asked the servant that she wanted a piece, he went for the cutting knife and found it wasn't there. With a swift apology, he vanished to retrieve it. Suddenly, she felt a tap on the shoulder. Turning around, the smile froze on her face as she saw who it was; Quinn Fabray. Wearing a strapless off-white draped gown by Edition by Georges Chakra, the silver stone embellishments and black belt completed her look. And while she looked stunning, happiness wasn't the emotion on her face. Anger was.

"Why are you here?" she spat, an intense look on her face at the intrusion in the private life. It's enough you seek to torment me at school but here I won't tolerate it.

"I should ask you the same thing," Quinn retorted, a bit too loud. People turned around to witness the spectacle forming. The person on stage up front grabbed their attention preventing a scene by starting the final burst of awards.

"That's not an answer." Rachel said with quiet anger. Quinn looked at her, her eyes a touch fearful.

"My father works for Lauter Inc. The people being honored," she retorted arrogantly. Mark appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

"Problem, ladies?" He said quietly, looking at Rachel for a response. She glared at Quinn, her frustration evident.

Quinn looked over Mark and assumed from his tuxedo that he was beneath her. "You need to remove this intruder. My father is receiving an award tonight." She smiled sharply.

Mark looked at her amused. Glancing to Rachel who remained steely intense, he looked at the stage and the three people receiving awards. Catching Quinn's impatient gaze, he asked, "And you are?"

"Russell Fabray's daughter, Quinn."

"Mark Conners, Interscope Geffen. I gather you are unaware of the people who funded this function?"

She tapped her foot. "Yes."

Mark smiled; a dark devious smile. "I'll tell you. Ron Fair, Myron Lester, Jeff Standish, Bill Weston and Leroy Berry. Mind you, Leroy's VC investment was the smallest of them but it was still five figures. So I suggest that unless you want your father publically embarrassed by your ejection, you apologize to her now."

Looking up to the stage, she noticed her father receiving his award now. Her face ashen, she gritted her teeth and clenched her fists. Turning to Rachel, she said flatly, "I'm sorry."

"I accept. Thank you very much." She turned and walked a few paces away. Mark escorted her out of earshot. "What was that about?"

"She's the girlfriend. Head cheerleader at my school."

He smiled, amused. "She's at the high point of her life. You are nowhere near that. There will come a day in the near future where you will make more in one day than she will make in a year. He is definitely yours. So let it go."

Rachel looked back at her still by the cake. Her stomach growled. Out of the corner of her eye she though she saw Finn but then why would he be here. Dismissing it, she smiled deviously. "I will."

"Good. I'll see you next Saturday, ok?"

"Ok."

Mark walked away, towards Mr. Fabray and the other two honorees to congratulate them on their work. Walking back toward Quinn and the cake, she noticed the server bringing the utensils. Looking around, she saw everyone was busy congratulating the honorees. So stepping behind her, she shoved her hard enough that she fell face first into the cake. The server who had just cut off the first piece burst out laughing. She wheeled around, fury in her red frosting covered eyes. Blue frosting was in her hair and smeared across her face.

As she wiped frosting off onto the marble floor, Rachel stepped around her, taking that single piece. She whispered "Sorry." The server waved her off with a smile. Quinn grabbed her. "This doesn't end."

"It already has. Good Night, Quinn. Tell your father, congratulations." She shook off the frosting caked hand and vanished into the crowd.

Finn approached, catching Rachel's exit but not realizing it was her. He had a befuddled look as to what happened. Setting down the sparkling cider, he grabbed a napkin to wipe her face. She swatted him away, furious at his timing and her powerlessness.

Finn caught Rachel Wednesday morning as they entered school. "So why?"

"Why what?"

"The cake. She swears you did it to start a war." He spoke in a curious tone. Please give me a good reason for suffering through an hour of her whining about being bullied. Like you could bully her.

Rachel stopped at her locker. "You were there?" she responded with genuine surprise.

"I was her date. She had to go, so I went. Rented tux and all."

Rachel looked around then walked up real close. "She was rude. It was my dad's function. So she slipped." She smiled innocent. His face melted away the concern. "I wish I had seen you."

"Me too. You free for lunch. I have a surprise." She bubbled, holding a coupon in her hand.

"Yes! Quinn won't speak to me because when she told me, I didn't believe her. The server lady said she tripped reaching for the piece. She still cut up the cake and served it." He grinned, inhaling her.

Jacob Ben Israel walked by, paused and snapped a pic. She frowned. Looking at Finn smile she brightened up again.

"We will have a catered lunch so meet me at the craft room at 11 am."

Gosh, I want to hug you now. "Ok, 11 it is." And then he went off excited.

Rachel beamed the entire morning. Everyone watched her but stayed away. Walking into the choir room at 10:50, she saw Brad at the desk doing paperwork. He looked up, surprised. "Rachel, what can I do for you?"

"I'm sorry but can you help me get into the craft room?" She asked where a mischievous grin.

"Might I ask why?" He said then immediately thought better. "Nevermind, I know. It's about Glee and Finn isn't it."

"Mr. Schuester will ruin any change we have if we do disco, that's so not fair. So I have a solution, flyers! And catered lunch while we are doing them. Only I need to get into the craft room." She stood proud and delighted. Brad rubbed his goatee, pondering her words. "You think it will work?"

"Yes, Brad." She stood there holding the coupon, and a folder.

"You'll need access to only functional copier here, won't you? That's not in the craft room. That's in the Facility copy room. Coach Sylvester guards it like a hawk."

"Yes." The smile began to fade as she noticed it was now 10:55.

"When?" He asked, noticing her joy fade.

"Now, please." She wore the face, worry creeping in.

"Then let's go." He rose and walked out the door. She ran after him. "Thank you so much. You are my favorite instructor, Brad. Really."

He chuckled. "You will tell no one I did this. If you get caught, the door was unlocked. You didn't know you weren't allowed in."

When they arrived, it was all clear. The lights were off inside. Emptiness surrounded by student paintings. Brad unlocked the door. He then swiftly went in and unlocked the side door that opened into the copy room. The lights were off and the copier humming happily. He walked over to it, its screen glowing brightly in the darkness. A swift sequence of key pushes, and it was authorized to Coach Tanaka, awaiting a copy. Striking pause, he knew it would wait for an hour for him to push copy.

When he walked back into the fluorescent light, Rachel was paying the 'Old Barn Out Back'® delivery guy for the basket of sandwiches and side items. One table was already clear. He walked over to her and said, "Copier is ready. It will hold for another hour. Be careful." And he walked out, passing Finn as he came up.

"Was that Mr. Ellis, the Band director?"

"Hello, Finn. Yes, it was. Want a sandwich? I got a variety because I didn't know which you liked. I got cheese ones for myself. Plus there is coleslaw, salad and applesauce." She tried to hide the nervousness. There are so many things that could go wrong. Please, let it work.

As he grabbed a sandwich and a plate, she explained what she had planned for the flier. Time swam by. Once the food was put into its storage containers, they began to cut and tape together the flier. The metal stools weren't comfortable but it didn't matter. Rachel, taking the scissors, began digging in through the old magazines, looking for pics of artists.

Cutting out a shot of Kelly Clarkson, she changed the conversation. "You know 'performing arts' are a wonderful expression of humanity's desire to express itself. To expand its creativity and share collective wonderment with everyone. Look at Kelly Clarkson and all she accomplished."

"She's the girl from 'American Idol' ® right?" He asked, unsure.

"Yes, she is." She smiled, placing down the cut out of her on the flyer original.

"You know one of the amazing about being in the performing arts is that you can parley it into so many different fields. Like Justin Timberlake; he's a singer but he has a clothing line. He makes things like shirts and belts." She focused on the words she was cutting out.

"Who's Justin Timberlake?" He asked, looking at her confused.

She stopped, looked into his eyes; a mixture of endearing love and amusement along with a touch of concern. "William Rast, N'sync, dated Britney Spears," She frowned in distaste at the name, "Sang "Cry Me a River" and "Rock Your Body", The Superbowl Controversy. He was in a show choir in Shelby Forest, Tennessee."

"Ooh, him. He's that person." Finn looked embarrassed.

"You never know your potential unless you put yourself out there. Dad Leroy said to me."

Finn smelt the food and looked at the time. Lunch time was almost over. The flyer was done too. All they had to do was photocopy them. So he rose and walked over to the table with a smile. Why can't the times I am with Quinn be like this? She is never focused on me. 'It's always 'let's pray' or 'you have to do this' or 'why can't you be smarter' or 'how did you miss that'.'

"What do you want me to do with the leftovers?" He asked as she finished putting away the craft supplies. "Keep them. I can't take them with me." He nodded, smiling. The baked beans and coleslaw were still half full, and there were several sandwiches left. "Since Mr. Ellis let us use the copier, can we give them to him?"

She smiled at him, her eyes shining in delight. "That's a creative solution! You know where his class is?"

"The band room in the field house?" He asked not sure he was right but not sure he was wrong either.

"No. He teaches choir. He plays piano for us in Glee." She stared at him in loving wonder. He looked back at her with this wonder of learning something new and cool. "He does? I never noticed. That's good." He grabbed the tubs and put them into the basket with remaining 8 sandwiches. "I'll be back in 10, Ok?" He said as he left.

She walked into the copy room and began photocopying. On the 8th copy it chirped 'Load letter'. Sighing, she looked around the room for a ream of paper. There was none under the copier or in any of the unlocked cabinets. Taking the original, she walked back into the craft room, closing the door while she looked around for paper.

Coach Sylvester walked into the Copy room from the hallway, after noticing the light on. Walking to the still warm copier, she saw that it said it was out of paper and that Coach Tanaka used it last. "Idiot is too lazy to even refill it. And they ask why the titans haven't won a game in two years," she mumbled, as she unlocked the cabinet then refilled the copier.

Grabbing the cheer set for the upcoming Wolverines game, she activated the copier, having it copy off 30 sheets. Then her IPhone® rang. Cursing the fact that there was always drop out in the room, she left to take the call. Finn saw Coach Sylvester exit the Copy room as he approached the Craft room. Fortunately, her back was to him so he opened the door swiftly and saw Rachel standing frozen waiting.

"Shh, someone's in the Copy room." She whispered, holding her finger to her lips. He walked up to her and whispered. "I saw Coach Sylvester leave. It's all clear."

So she opened the door slowly. The room was empty and the copier was waiting. 17 copies in, Coach Sylvester returned with a fresh smoothie.

"What do you think you are doing?" She bellowed, sidestepping the smoothie mess.

"Using the copier. The door was unlocked and no one told us we couldn't. We need to make copies for Glee." Rachel smiled, masking her fear.

"You disgust me, and Mr. Hudson, I expected better from you. Principal Figgins office, tomorrow morning 8 am. I don't have time to deal with this," the 'this' was almost sneered, "today."

She left with the copies in hand and went to straight to choir where everyone was happy to see her. A confused look sat on her face as everyone kept saying thanks. Then Brad walked over to her and whispered, "Finn came in before class started and said that you wanted me and the class to have what was left."

She smiled at him, "Sorry, I forgot."

He looked at her, "No, you didn't. He didn't tell you." And the rest of the day remained at that level of happy. Even the comments on that night's video of Miley Cyrus's 'The climb' were favorable. Of course there was the usual spate of 'T&A or GTFO' but the bulk were kind. The cheerios were drowned out by everyone else. And even the older videos were in the 1000s. Her oldest, 'Defying gravity' had 34,000 now." The day was good.

For Finn though, the day ended with Quinn screaming at him on the football field about how she was even more embarrassed. He couldn't do anything right and that it cost the squad Jumping jacks. He was caught with Her in the copy room. And Coach refused to elaborate.

"ARE YOU SLEEPING WITH HER?" she screamed, red face intense in her fury. Her fists clenched, she bored into him with her glare. "Well!?"

"No." He said staring back. He frowned.

"So this is it. To keep her away, we have to? Fine, you can watch me shower. Will that be enough?" she spat.

Finn's eyes grew large but he kept his calm. "I…ah…no, I mean—". Words left him.

She looked at him, disappointment masking the anger and fear underneath both. Grabbing his hand, she pulled him to the locker door entrance. Looking around, she saw that the rest of the Cheerios were heading for their locker room. The men were still on the field. Pulling him into the locker room, she dragged him over to the shower stalls. He tried to shake off her hand but she simply tightened it. She stared at him, cold. "You want this, so it's time." Stepping into an empty stall, she threw his hand down.

"Quinn whatever you are going to do, you don't have to. Not like this."

"So I'm not good enough?" She growled. "You never once snuck me into an empty classroom for lunch." She removed her shoes and socks first. She kicked them toward the closest bench. Then she reached around and pulled off her Cheerleading top exposing her white UnderArmor® tank. Unsnapping her skirt, it dropped to the dry tile, exposing her yellow lace boy shorts. There was enough hair to give the line of camel toe through the panties and she knew it. A look of grim determination set her face. She glanced down at his crotch as she pulled off her UnderArmor® top revealing a yellow sports bra. She stepped forward, stepping out of the skirt.

Finn stared at her, stunned she was stripping in front of him. "You are beautiful, Quinn. I promise we didn't do anything but eat and make flyers."

Her face twisted as tears formed. "That's just it. You never asked me. Not once. It's like I'm not even here when you are with her. It hurts. So I have no choice." She reached around, and unsnapped her bra, letting it fall to the tile as well. Hot tears streamed down her face as she stared at him, fear, fury and disgust mixed. She glanced at his crotch. He was reacting to the stimuli. "Say it?"

"Say what?" He asked, desperately trying to keep his eyes locked on hers. He found that to be a lot harder than he thought.

She looked at him vulnerable and needy yet grim. With her thumbs, she pulled her panties down and stepped out of them. She kicked them to him. He caught them in his hand, inhaling her scent. She smelt good, but not like Rachel. He sighed. Looking at her standing there naked, he was suddenly uncomfortable.

She turned on the shower head, and let the hot water course over her. "Well, get me some soap. You do have that here, right, and a towel." She barked the order.

Finn tore himself away to get his body gel from his locker. While he was there, Rick walked in and saw him. "Coach wants to know what happened to you."

Finn nodded to the shower, and said, "Tell him anything. Tell him I'm throwing up."

"I need that soap now!" Quinn shouted. Rick's head jerked in the direction of the showers. "That's—"

Finn's face was pale. "Yes, and if you tell Puck or anyone else, I will use the paintball gun on your balls."

"Is she hot at least?" Rick asked. Then he noticed Finn still held her panties. A dirty smile grew. 'You go; dawg. I'll come up with something."

"FINN!" she shouted.

Finn looked at him as he walked away. "Yes. But the price was too high."

Watching her lather herself, he 'remembered the mailman' more than once. It was difficult trying not to embarrass her more. Yet he wished he could get in like Puck would. He knew Puck and Santana were having sex every chance they could. But everytime, he moved to do it, Rachel's face floated up. So he stood there, images of him dancing with Rachel and that injured mailman rolling onto his windshield alternating. It was a challenge to keep his face neutral. When she finished, she looked at him. "Was that enough?" She asked the same sadness and fury on her face.

"We are in Glee together, Quinn. Whatever you think, it's just friendship."

She tore the towel from his hand, wrapping it around her. "Do you love me?" she asked tenderly.

He held his breath, a neutral expression displayed. "I—I love you, Quinn" he answered, his face a mixture of emotions. She stared at him softly. Suddenly her face turned hard again. "You wish Rachel was standing here."

"No. no!" he protested swiftly. Her face softened again

"If we could do it right now, would you?"

He stared at her again, shocked. "You know the answer. They will be here shortly so I need you to go." He said as she bent over to grab her clothes. She stared at him with a hard look again. "I want you to remember this." She thumped her towel covered bust. "Everytime, you think of her, remember I am here. Remember me!" Then she stormed out, her hair glistening in the light, clothes in her arms. Not more than three minutes later the team came in. When Coach Tanaka walked over to him, as he sat on the bench, he didn't have to lie to the coach. The sickly expression showed it all. After he left, Puck walked by. He held two fingers up on one hand and one on the other. Finn glanced angrily at Rick who waved him off. Saddest of all, he knew he was falling for Rachel and really did wish it was her standing there saying 'I love you' to. It was at that point he knew everything had changed. He was a paper boat on the surface of a rushing river.

Thursday morning, someone thing interesting happened. The assembly was moved to the next Friday not tomorrow. Tomorrow, Mr. Schuester discovered professionals were stripping and waxing the assembly floor. They had another week. Also Figgins told Coaches Tanaka and Sylvester that Coach Anders of the Wolverines had to move their game to next Friday as well because an issue that he didn't elaborate with. However, it was something they couldn't take a default on. As Tanaka left sort of mixed emotion Rachel and Finn walked in morose. "Be thankful, he's in a good mood."

So Rachel happily paid for the copies they made to hateful Coach Sylvester. As they walked out of Principal Figgins office, Finn apologized. Rachel ignored that and remarked, "I'd like to get the flyers up before lunch."

Mr. Schuester, annoyed at her, stopped and turned around to address her and Finn. "You know what, guys; I don't want to hear it."

"Doing that song will kill any chance Glee club has. It's a terrible idea," she remarked with a mixture of determination and frustration.

"I have news for you, Rachel. Sometimes, you have to do things you don't want to do," Mr. Schuester said with a tone of finality.

Finn stood there silent, hanging back.

"You are doing the assembly, and you are not putting up those flyers," he stated, waging a finger at both of them. He turned and walked away. As he did he shouted with upraised arms, "Everybody loves disco."

The students beside their lockers as he walked by held a mixture of confused glances and laughter. It was clear that no one liked disco and some had no clue what it even was.

Finn looked out that the hallway, morose. "It's official. I'm a dead man."

Rachel looked up at him sadly. Now what? Then it stuck her. As they started walking again, she said with a cheerful smile. "Look I know you're nervous but you are really, really talented."

He immediately brightened. "Stop it."

"Then maybe it will all be ok." She remarked smiling herself, walking while looking at him. He didn't look at her directly but snatched glances thinking about dancing and singing with her. "Do you want to practice for the assembly tomorrow after school?"

"I can't. I have a celibacy club meeting." He said with a disappointed smile then walked off. She held the smile until he departed. What celibacy club? So when she arrived for Choir, she asked Brad. Apparently no one else of the facility knew of it either. Most thought the idea of it was funny.

"Yes, there is a celibacy club. Although personally, it's not a real club," he said distastefully. Rachel looked confused. "It's a secret?"

He chuckled. "No. Considering I am one the few zealot Christians according to Coach Sylvester. I was asked to administer the clubs founding. Yet, the club is exclusive to Cheerios on the female side. Even though technically, it is open to everyone." Rachel's face lit up.

Brad looked straight at her concerned. "Why? You are already abstinent, correct? I apologize for asking, but one of the provisions is that everyone be either virginal or chaste. Otherwise it's an exercise in futility."

Rachel looked around. Choir members began drifting it. Several waved. Whispering, she ignored the question then remarked, "Finn is a member."

Brad looked at her, understanding. "You're in then. There's a formal log sheet in the Principal's secretary's office. Sign that before heading to room 1005. I'll provide the authorization sheet when we are done. And as there is no Glee today due to facility meeting, I'll make sure it's official. However…," he paused, scrubbing his goatee while frowning. "Quinn Fabray is President of the club. And from what I am hearing about yesterday, she's not happy about your lunch date."

Rachel smiled at that. "It was awesome. Thanks so much for helping."

"My pleasure. We need to start class. Oh, we have a choir trip tomorrow. It's the concert, remember?" She nodded. 'I do."

"Good, take him with you if you can. It can only help Glee."

When Rachel walked into Room 1005, the Project Chanology classroom, she noticed that the signs were hidden. Specifically Mr. Rookwood's 'Strength Through Unity. Unity Through Faith' and the odd one about Xenu. And the masks were missing too. Having been in the class several times before, it was a bit intimidating to notice what was absent. Attention to detail is the hallmark of excellence. And excellence leads to success. It didn't get better when the room when abruptly silent. Quinn pivoted around, and suddenly the coldest stare possible hit her. "Get out!" she barked.

Rachel steeled herself. Quinn walked up to her and stared. "Look, Lilith. You are not welcome. So just leave." She turned away, exhaling a groan as she clenched her fists while walking slowly to her seat. Everyone else floated in staring at Rachel who remained still. Finally, Rachel walked up and dropped the authorization paper in front of her. Quinn glanced down at it, looked up at her with her pleased smile, and glared. She picked up the paper and held it as Brad walked into the door.

"Hello, ladies. I came it insure that everyone," He stared at Quinn. "Everyone welcomes your newest member. I see you have the authorization form Ms, Fabray. If you like I can take for you and file it appropriately. That way it doesn't get lost." His face was dispassionate, almost stoic. She handled him the paper swiftly, not looking directly at him. The rest of the Cheerios all held looks of annoyance as well.

"Thanks, ladies. Have a good day and I will see you next month."

Quinn looked up at him. "Next month?"

"I do apologize. Nevertheless, Principal Figgins requires open enrollment. You know this. Coach Sylvester would like it to be exclusive to you ladies. That means I have to open it every week. I can't be here for the next 3 days due to prior engagements, so either its next month or it's formally open."

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Understood, Mr. Ellis. Next month then."

"Thank you, ladies." And he left, holding the sheet in his hand.

Rachel watched them talk among themselves as she took her seat far away from them. Quinn dug into her bag and produced a gavel and sound block. Moments later, she looked at her fellow Cheerios who all nodded to her. "Why is she still here?" Brittany asked. Quinn, annoyed still, whispered, "To annoy us, watch her."

Quinn struck the sound block with the gavel. "The Celibacy Club is now in session. Thanks to a school rule that says that we have to let anyone join the club; we are welcoming a new member this week, Rachel Whatshername."

Rachel sat up, poised, but a touch intimidated by Quinn's constant stare. So she kept staring off at the other vacant areas of the room counting the missing items. 'It's being used as the American History room again.' When she heard her name she looked up at Quinn, leaning into the table with her fingers on the edges. Soft determination in her voice, she asked, "Where are all the boys?" This isn't going at all how I planned. Restraining a sigh, she heard Quinn answer almost as soon as she finished speaking.

"Down the hall," She retorted sharply, still glaring icily. "First half hour we separate; then we come together to share our faith."

"Faith? Like Judaism?" Rachel remarked, trying to mask the surprise.

Quinn sighed. She tossed a stare that said 'you are stupid, aren't you'. "No. The Christian faith. Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the disciples and—"

"The fishes! Buddy Jesus loved the fishes," Brittany commented with seriousness and delight. Everyone but Santana and Quinn chuckled. Santana sighed. Quinn shot her an evil look. "Well, Cardinal Glick told me that he always loved fishes." She responded before returning to her quiet reflection.

"That was when he visited here months ago." She sighed.

Rachel wasn't happy. "So I can't talk about Synagogue or that Rosh Hashanah is 16 days away?"

"No. Why would we want to hear about that? Father Carmichael said that Jews murdered Jesus." Irritation in her voice grew.

Rachel looked at surprised and confused. "The first century Judeans couldn't murder Yeshua. By the way, that is his correct name. Jesus is his name in Greek. They couldn't because it was against Roman law. So the Sanhedrin and High Priest Caiaphas offered him up to so he could." She paused for a second. Everyone seemed interested and a touch surprised. Everyone except Quinn. She sat silently looking at Rachel frustrated and torn. "When Pontius Pilate refused and chose to flog him, then used his politics against him forcing his hand."

Melissa looked over at Rachel with a smile. "But didn't the crowd shout 'Crucify him?' and choose Barabbas instead?"

"They did but Josephus states that the amount was less than one hundred and was mostly the paid to do so. Yeshua died and rose again for us all, isn't that enough," Rachel remarked. Everyone nodded and smiled except Quinn and Santana. Brittany quipped something, but Quinn hushed her.

She then rose. "So you say you believe in Jesus too?" She leaned against the table; her gaze was softer, unsure.

"Of course. Dad Hiram calls it 'Notzrim'. I believe the correct term is Messianic Jew."

Quinn stared stunned. "My sister has a dear friend who is one." She focused and her face hardened a bit. "Still, I think it's time to stretch. Kimber, Melissa, Janice, can you move away the tables so we will be ready when the boys arrive?"

They nodded. And as the tables were being moved, Quinn walked over to Rachel who held a pleased smile on her lips. "This changes nothing between you and me. You are trying to steal Finn from me and I won't allow it," she whispered.

Rachel caught her serious gaze. "I am honorable. If he comes to me, it is of his own accord. What we did yesterday was solely Glee focused."

Quinn held her temper. "Honorable people don't lie. At least admit you want him."

"He wants you," Rachel said sadness in her eyes. "If he breaks up with you, it's your fault." Quinn's eyes lit up. "Hey Quinn look," Brittany shouted doing a back flip after stretching. Quinn watched her then walked over to where Melissa was standing. Brittany came to stand beside her. "It's fun."

"Well, you know, Puck loves it when I do this." She spun around on her feet, her cheerleading skirt whirling high enough that her white cheer-briefs could be seen.

"God bless the perv that invented these." Quinn said with a smile and a shake of her head as Santana finished. With a finger pointed to Kimber, she reminded them, "Remember the power motto, girls: It's all about the teasing and not about the pleasing!" They said the last line together quite raucously.

Rachel had sat back down at the only unmoved table, a look of derision as the Cheerios danced among themselves. Why don't you notice me, Finn? Everytime we are together you seem happy. You have to like spending time with me. So why keep her? She shook her head. Then the music floated into her head. It was Britt Nicole.

Why do we go with the flow?

Or take an easier road?

Why are we playin' it safe?

Love came to show us the way

Love is a chance we should take

I'm movin' out of the way

Don't let your lights go down

Don't let your fire burn out

somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe

(Stand out)

Don't let your lights go down

Don't let your fire burn out

(Stand out)

somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe

Why don't you rise up now?

Don't be afraid to stand out

That's how the lost get found

The lost get found

So when you get the chance

Are you gonna take it?

There's a really big world at your fingertips

And you know you have the chance to change it.'

And then she realized by not dancing, by correcting Quinn, by being here, she was standing out. No, I do want him. But I am not going to take him from you. He is going to come to me willingly. I'm not letting up either. I love him too much for that.

She stopped, realizing what she just thought. I love him. Yes, I love Finn. He can sing. He's funny, and chivalrous and understanding. I just wish he'd love me back.

After the dancing ended, Quinn walked over and began inflating white balloons. The guys began entering, leaving the door open. Finn walked in and saw Rachel standing there and froze. She caught his surprise and they stared at each other until Jacob noticed Rachel and made a beeline for her. Why do you like me, you are so not my type, she thought as she winched.

Santana chuckled as she saw it, then she smiled as Puck came over to her. The remaining guys slowly distributed themselves among the girls. As Rachel took the balloon Quinn handled her, he face held a look of absolute misery, depressed sadness. Finn was alone waiting for Quinn to come over. The odious Jacob was standing nearby and she would be forced to pair with him. The thought was revolting.

Having inflated her personal balloon, Quinn announced, "Let's pair up for the 'Immaculate Affection'." With her gaze falling on everyone, she said forcefully, "Now remember, if the balloon pops, the noise makes the angels cry."

Everyone took their balloon and placed it between them, starting to sway. Not too close, not too far. Rachel looked with longing as Quinn walked to Finn a smile on her face. Finn smiled big back as they swayed together, the balloon touching their waists.

Yet she remained holding the balloon with Jacob off to her side. Looking at Jacob with resignation and loathing, she slowly pull the balloon to her waist. Jacob waddled up to it. He placed his arms on her shoulders, a broad smile on his face.

She closed her eyes as she placed her hands on his chest, visualizing Finn standing in front of her. It was shattered when Jacob said, "You enchant me." With that she looked away, just barely holding in her gag reflex.

Meanwhile, Puck moved his balloon to his groin and tried to grind it into Santana's. Of course she would have none of it. "Stop it!"

"Oh yeah!" he retorted, perversely.

It was right then that Finn and Quinn's balloon popped. Suddenly, Rachel looked over, a smile on her face.

"Finn!" Quinn shouted mortified. Shock and horror covered her face as he dove back. "It must have hit my zipper."

Suddenly, the song floated up again. So when you get the chance

Are you gonna take it? She broke free of Jacob, taking the balloon with her. Stepping to the center of the room, she announced. "You know what? This is a joke."

Finn and Quinn turn to her surprised. "Did you know that most studies have demonstrated that celibacy doesn't work in high schools?" She looked straight at Finn before looking to the rest of the room.

Finn looked at her surprised and with a bit of awe. Everyone else stopped and listened as well.

"Our hormones are driving us too crazy to abstain. The second we tell ourselves there is no room for compromise, we act out. The only way to deal with teen sexuality is to be prepared. That's what contraception is for."

Quinn's face turned livid. "Don't you ever mention the C-word!"

Rachel paused, taken aback by her vehemence. "Want to know a dirty little secret they don't want you to know?" She says looking at Finn, and raising her eyebrow briefly in delight. Finn stares at her with an interested look. And with gravitas she continues, "Girls want sex just as much as guys do." Maintaining her gaze for a second more, she releases the balloon and storms out.

As she marched down the hall, she noticed the clock said 2:45. Students were still buzzing about. However, the voices of Mr. Schuester and Coach Tanaka were unmistakable as they echoed up the hallway. "You are serious? Figgins told you that everything will be ready by Monday?"

"Monday. Anders resolved his problem so the game will be on Monday. That means your assembly will be on Monday. He will use a 'short day' to allow everything to fit." Tanaka said with genuine surprise.

"We will be ready," Mr. Schuester said with confidence as their voices faded. There goes the weekend, she thought as she stopped at her locker.

Finn was pleased when he saw Rachel was at her locker when he arrived. That speech was the first time he had heard anyone be honestly about sex and themselves there. Jacob was social outcast so he didn't matter. And he respected her opinion. He was glad the balloon popped now. "Rachel?" He said as she stood stooped over, buried in her bottom locker.

She righted herself quickly. "Finn? I thought you left with Quinn already?"

"No. She ended it after you left. You ruined the mood and made her nauseous. And she's upset with me for popping the balloon. Did you really mean what you said?" He held a thoughtful look, unsure.

"Yes, Absolutely. We need to be prepared," she said confidently. Suddenly, she froze and then lit up in delight like when she was singing. "I know this is a bit forward, but would you come with me on Choir's concert trip? Brad, Mr. Ellis, told me to invite you."

"When?" His eyes held that hesitant look, unsure but wanting. Why can't this ever be easy? At least Puck didn't mention that I have two girlfriends to every else. Just kept making those hand gestures.

"Choir room, 11 am tomorrow. We drive to the airfield to take the jet to the concert." She seemed pleased at the idea of the jet. What jet?! Then it burst on him. Oh! That jet. I thought that belonged to the Cheerios. He frowned and he face dropped. So he stopped frowning, returning to neutral. Intense! "Mr. Ellis's using the Cheerios' jet?" He whispered.

Rachel stared at him intensely, a soft smile on her lips. "No, he said school jet. Does it matter?"

"No, I guess not. Coach will have a fit again but I let him yell at me Monday this time. Do I need anything?"

"Just a parental approval form." She caught sight of someone approaching, and leaned to catch their attention. "Mr. Ellis!" She shouted as he passed them with Mr. Sinacori and the statuesque Mr. Rookwood. He whispered something to them and they continued on without him.

"Rachel?" He asked, stopping before her.

"Finn wants to go." She grinned, her hands clasped in delight.

"Mr. Hudson?" Brad said, turning to him.

Finn looked at him and replied. "I want to go. Mr. Ellis. Coach Tanaka is already aware that I will miss practice for Glee."

Brad frowned. Finn noticed it and looked to Rachel. She possessed a natural beauty, a loveliness that made him float. Why? He mused, as he looked back to Brad.

"This isn't for Glee and you aren't in my Choir class. I can't cover for you. You are welcome to come, but I'm not Mr. Schuester. I won't go to bat for you with Coach Tanaka. It's your call."

Finn sighed. That loveliness was etched with worry now. Worry that he would choose football over her. He cleared his throat. I can't explain that my primary motivation for going was this undeniable attraction to her. She's effervescent, and fun. Why not? "I understand. I am in no threat of losing my place on the team. I will deal with the consequences of my actions with Coach Tanaka when Monday comes."

Brad looked at him seriously. "Ok. Then meet me in the Choir room in 10 minutes. I need to give you the waiver that your parents sign. Rachel told you when, right?" He looked at her. She smiled, nodded once. "Yes. Thank you very much, Brad."

"You are welcome. I will see you tomorrow. And yes you can bring your cookies."

Finn's surprise grew as he didn't expect her delight to get bright but it did. Tomorrow should be fun. But what am I telling everyone? He thought with a touch of worry.

Rachel had indeed arrived with a Pink Tupperware tub filled with Yellow iced star shaped sugar cookies at 10:45am. When Finn walked in carrying his gear duffel, she shot him a worried look. He walked over to her, holding her gaze. "I had to bring it. Otherwise, Puck, Rick and the rest would be suspicious. Quinn is sick and that's my cover. She doesn't want me there but won't admit that I wasn't."

Brad looked over at them. "Honestly forms a strong foundation to stand on, while deceit is a trap for the soul."

A befuddled look crossed his face. Rachel took his hand, and gently said, "Lies are bad. Thank you very much for coming."

Others of the choir oohed and awed. He looked around, blushing. Marcus, a member of the jazz ensemble as well said, "No one here will say anything. We believe differently. You are safe with us."

Finn looked at him and his rustic Italian ruggedness. His face held concern but a look from Rachel melted it. I am going to have to make a hard choice soon.

Rachel withheld her giddiness as she gently let go his hand. But she couldn't contain the excitement. "You ready?"

"I think." He said with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation.

"Since Mr. Hudson is here, we can go. Remember, never talk about this. This is not the time to explain. IF ANYONE mentions we did this, it won't happen again." He sighed, and looked at Finn. "As much as I don't like it, you lie works for us, Finn is it?"

"Yes, Mr. Ellis." He said honestly.

"Call me Brad here. It makes things easy. Rachel I trust you to walk him through how this works with us, as opposed to Coach Tanaka and the football team."

"I will," she said looking up at him with joy. He stared back at her that same mixture of fear and excitement in his eyes.

Sue Sylvester stormed in to Principal Figgins' office all fury and angst. She was waving a document. He looked up from the paperwork he had on his desk. "Sue, I know why you are here. And before you say anything, I'll have you know my hand are tied."

"That's easy to say. But I'll have you know that those boosters who paid for the jet won't take---" she grumbled.

"What boosters, Sue?" He interrupted. "One Booster, Leslie Wexler. And it was given to the school to use."

"I was the one he gave it to. His financier had bought it for himself, and when he went to jail Wexler gave it to me so the Cheerios could us it," Sue insisted.

"Do you have the $10,000 a month it cost to upkeep it?" He asked flatly. "I thought not. I don't care if you use it, Sue. It's in the school budget. But it has to be maintained. Jim Dahlgren came in 3 hours ago to inform me it was being flown to Toronto for its annual 100 Hour Inspection and Maintenance. The plane will be returned Sunday night. I have the paperwork right here." He handed her the two signed sheets authorizing the plane to be flown by him to Downsview Airport in Toronto.

"'Jim Crazy Wind' Dahlgren? He's on staff here. He teaching electronics and ap shop?" She retorted.

"He's also a certified Bombardier® pilot and Airplane Maintenance Technician on staff with them as well," Figgins replied, rolling his hands.

"That doesn't explain why that zealot Brad Ellis and his Christian choir was seen leaving with luggage. One of the Cheerios overheard them mentioning seeing the CN tower. It so happens that is in Toronto." She paced, seething still.

Figgins sighed. "Sue, Sue, Sue. Listen to yourself. Mr. Ellis did not take the plane. His trip was planned and authorized last year as a part of his budget. They are going to Toronto. He teaches choir, so he takes the students to a choir concert. They left in a school bus an hour before Dahlgren arrived."

"Then explain this?" She threw Finn Hudson parental authorization letter on his desk. "It's odd that he would be taking a student who isn't in his class on a choir trip.

He glanced at the paper. "And?"

"And! Isn't that enough proof that zealot is up to something?" She shouted.

"My hands are tied, Sue. Brad Ellis did nothing wrong. If your Cheerios need to get somewhere, have them take a bus. Akron isn't that far away."

"Pandora's hope just escaped the box," she said tossing the papers onto the desk.

Figgins shook his head and returned to his work, thankful that at least Ellis was honest.

In the air, everyone was relaxed and enjoying themselves. As the jet, a Bombardier® Global Express 5000, was something no one but the Cheerios had been on, it was a special treat. Brad smiled to himself. I'm glad Jim told me that he was a pilot as well and that he had to take the plane to Toronto anyway. Thanks, Father. It was simple. The plane did need its 100 hr. check-up but that took a few hours and could have been done at the WMHS Hanger at Lima Allen County Airport. This here was favor, plain and simple. Jim needed to get the Bombardier® Aerospace HQ at Downsview, and in exchange he could do the maintenance there. They would get badges to get back to the plane and then Jim would fly them back. Plus they avoided customs among other things. It was win-win. The only flaw was what should have been a 50 minute flight had extended to almost 2 due to traffic and weather in Toronto. He looked back at everyone reclining in their leather seats, being served by the Flight attendant dressed like a Cheerio. She seemed genuinely pleased it was him and the choir and not the Cheerios. Of course, he would have to find her a hotel room too and that wasn't in his budget. Oh well, let Sue pay for it.

The interior of the jet looked as if it represented 'international travel in the 21st century'. Two bulk heads divided the cabins; each one incorporated a stylized, angular version of the world map in a patented metallic finish of platinum and silver. A combination of cool greys, slate blues and off white's, matched with sumptuous leather, grey cocobolo and angular walnut veneer adorned the cabins.

Synergistic, iconic world references created by renowned artist, Helen Murray were embroidered on the inset wall panels. The four tables featured a striking angular metallic design created from smoked nickel and carbon fiber inspired by a unique vintage 1940's gilded mirror. Or at least that's what Rachel thought. She chattered to Finn about it as she distributed her cookies. Then the real food appeared from the inboard kitchen.

Now, She was asleep on Finn's chest, him staring out a window at the stormy sky waiting for a break in the clouds. "Brad, why can't we land?"

"The storm has wind shear in it. That according to the pilot can cause the plane to lose lift and hit the ground hard."

"Okay, thanks." He looked down at her, breathing gently, brushed a few hairs out of her eyes.

"May I make an observation?" Brad said as he sat down in his seat, then swiveled it to face Finn.

"Go ahead." Finn said curiously.

"If You truly care for her, why are you still with the Cheerios captain?"

"It's complicated," Finn replied hastily yet softly.

"Really, it isn't. You need to decide about popularity. That's it isn't it?" Brad glanced to her stirring, her arm around his shoulders. He didn't move it. He simply shifted, letting her be more comfortable. "You have the chance very few have. Two opportunities are before you. One will allow you to continue and you star will rise and you won't top out until you are almost 30. The other will be top you out when you graduate. High School fame ends in high school. It never means anything. And it is inversely proportional to real world success. I should know. As does Mr. Schuester." He smiled softly.

"I understand. It's just hard," Finn said, the strawberry scent of Rachel hair filling his nose. "I want her, but if I do I lose everything. If I reject her I'm feeling like I reject joy."

"It looks to me like you made your choice; you just don't want to admit it yet."

"Attention everyone, we finally got out clearance to land. Sorry about the delay. We'll be on the ground in 10," Jim said of the PA system.

Brad rotated his seat back front. So did most everyone else. Finn looked down at Rachel still asleep on his chest and sighed. Why couldn't Quinn be more like you? And why do I have to make these choices? He remembered her showering before him and he wondered about Rachel. You know who you want, you just can't admit it. So you keep both. You are stringing Quinn along hoping she'll change. And you know she won't.

Rachel stirred. Opening her eyes, she stared him. A gentle smile returned as he gently brushed her hair back. "We're here. Sleep well?"

"Yes. Thank you," she whispered as she sat up. Pure joy radiated on her face. She reached up and rubbed his hair a bit.

"You're welcome." He said with a subtle smile. Yet the fear still sat in the back of his mind. I've made my choice and she is seated beside me.

The next several hours were filled with numerous things. The group getting finding transport to the Air Canada Centre. Brad discovering that the pilot had already taken care of that and it would a Bombardier® van that would be their transport. Them shopping at the Yorkdale Shopping Center because the promised van hadn't returned. Them being picked up at Yorkdale by said van. They were then given id passes which had been made while in the Bombardier Dehaviland® plant by said driver because they forgot to the first time. Then them finally being taken to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, which is across the street from Air Canada Centre, to check in for the night. The concert wasn't until Sunday at 10 am and all this had been planned without a jet at standby. It was working wonderfully. The most amusing thing was Rachel as always.

Rachel stood in the ornate lobby carrying eight large shopping bags. Finn was beside her carrying two bags of his own and dragging her suitcase. "Are you sure you got it?" Finn asked as she shifted the various paper and plastic bags around.

"Yes, thank you again," she replied, turning to look at him. I can't believe this!!! We are in Canada together. I won! I won! Of course he hasn't told me he is going to dump Quinn yet but something about his manner changed. He suddenly notices me a lot more. Thank you, God. Thank you, Moses. Thank you, everyone. Exhausted, she when to sit down at the cream colored divan in the center of the lobby while everyone else checked it. Thanks, Dads for letting me have the credit card again. And I am sorry I didn't tell you about Finn being with me but…I did know if he would come. She looked over at him as he looked around the hotel lobby in awe. Deep stained wood furniture was everywhere. The ceiling was at least 20 feet up and hand-painted with murals. Travertine pillars stood about. It was like being in Breakfast At Tiffany's.

"Finn look at that old clock," she asked him a bit louder than normal. He pulled his gaze from the bronze light sconces and marble floors to her bright deep eyes. "During World War II, Canadian soldiers promised to meet girlfriends under the clock in the lobby once the war was over. The clock has been a popular rendezvous spot ever since."

He smiled at her, sighing softly. Walking over to her, he sat down. His tone turned serious as he whispered. "Where am I staying tonight? Everyone seems to be paying for themselves."

"You didn't bring enough?" she whispered back, her tone serious but delight dancing in her eyes.

Trepidation creeped back inas he stared at her. Rachel leaned over to whisper into his ear but heard someone clearing his throat behind her. Turning around disappointed, she saw Brad stoic.

"I owe you an apology, Finn. I should have told you yesterday that you needed $500 for the trip. Choir plans this trip every year. One big trip at the beginning to set the pace. This is it. We got lucky because we could use the jet but the rest was planned months in advance. They have no spare rooms so you have to bunk with someone else, unless…" He paused, looking at Rachel who smiled.

"Nothing untoward, Brad. I promise. Beside Finn and I are not together." Yet, bubbled up in her mind as she shot a quick glance at Finn.

"Good, because all the rooms are fairly small considering the price," Brad remarked, rather stressed.

Finn's face dropped as he began to realize he would be sleeping on a floor tonight. It was then that a concierge stopped by them. "Ms. Berry?" He asked hesitantly.

She looked up at him, dressed in fine livery. He looked like a 19th century butler. Another two guys with bell hop uniforms on appeared with a Bronze luggage cart. "Yes, sir?"

"Good. We are ready to check you in." She shrugged her shoulders as she walked to the black veined marble check-in desk. Worry sat on Finn's face as he looked at Brad who looked more concerned than surprised.

She heard him apologize again as the Front Desk lady greeted her. "Ms. Berry, you purchased a Gold room, correct?" Rachel snapped her view to the elegantly dressed woman in a black satin uniform with buttons down the left side. She checked her own Marc Jacobs fuchsia chiffon dress with a bow-embellished front and black satin piping. Along with her suede booties, everything was still together. She had brought her Linea Pelle® Dylan Zip Tote with her this time. First time to use this since Mark gave it to me! The buttery soft washed Italian leather felt warm against her, as she unzipped on the three exterior to get out the credit card and her id.

"Yes, Ma'am, I did."

"Well, is that gentleman standing because Mr. Ellis, your traveling companion?" She said that suppressing a smile.

Rachel remained serious but smiled. "Yes, he is. He became so at the last moment."

"I see. How about I change you from a queen size bed to 2 doubles. This way he doesn't have to sleep on the couch and you don't have to lie to your chaperone." She smiled, crows feet and smile lines around still visible under her makeup.

"Thank you very much." She said as she placed the card and the id on marble counter. The lady glanced at on while swiping the other though a reader on her computer.

"All set. Room 1256. There is an elevator on the 11th floor that will take you to the 12th. Thanks for choosing the Fairmont Royal York®. The concierge will show you to your room. Complimentary cocktail canapés will be served at 5:00 p.m. in the Gold Lounge. And Continental Breakfast will be served at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow." She slid a paper pouch to her containing two golden plastic card keys.

Rachel wanted to scream but instead shot an overly confident gaze at Finn.

Brad knew something happened. "What?"

"I got Finn a bed." She replied with a smug joy.

Finn blushed slightly, looking at her warily. "So I am staying with you tonight?" He asked.

"If it's all right with our chaperone." There was amusement in her tone as well as a bit of arrogance.

Brad looked at her and rubbed his goatee. "Since this is my fault to suggesting this to begin with; I accept all responsibility. I also expect you to be a perfect princess. I trust you, considering you didn't tell anyone you booked a more expensive room on a different floor."

"I didn't expect everyone to be friendly at this point. So $60 to be alone seemed a good bargain then." She said defensively.

"Things change." Brad remarked. "Choices are made. Make good ones."

With that he grabbed his bag. The bellhops already had her bags on the cart and were waiting.

"See you at 10 tomorrow." Brad reminded her. "We need to get there early so we can get the loge set up."

She nodded. Following the bellhops Finn and she walked to the bronze logo embossed elevators. They waved as the ornate periwinkle and bronze elevator closed in front of them. She looked to Finn. "I am so sorry. I forgot to tell you about the hotel as well. Forgive me?" Her face was earnest and sad.

He took one look and the fear vanished. "Yea. How are we working one room though?"

She blushed. "We'll manage."

Quinn ended the call for the third time. Gritting her teeth, she resisted throwing against the wall, knowing her dad wouldn't replace it immediately. "Why aren't you answering?"

Her Mom stuck her head into her bedroom. "Everything alright?"

"Finn won't answer his phone," she said furiously, trying to hold back tears.

"Isn't he at practice right now?" She asked as she looked at the clock. It was 1 pm.

"You are right. It's just I am not feeling well again. I am crampy, nauseous and feel like a fat cow." She moaned to her as she got the bed and finished packing her cheer duffle.

"So you are still going to the meet?" Her mom asked concerned.

"I can't miss it. And I'll manage. I always have." And if I find out he's with her again, there will be Hell to pay.

The bellhop opened the door to the exquisite double room. As the other started carrying bags in, he waited at the door. Rachel looked at him and withdrew a twenty from her Dylan zip tote and placed in his hand. "I hope this is enough." The man nodded. If you need anything, the number is on the phone. You have access 24/7. Enjoy your stay."

Once inside, Finn marveled at the opulence. The beds were high up, dressed in light blue but small and separated by an old looking nightstand with no drawers at all. And old looking round lamp with a white lamp shade was on it. A modern phone was beside that. Across from the bed was a tall wooden closet type thing, his mother called a wardrobe. As he opened the stained cherry doors he found the TV and satellite receiver inside it as well as chest of drawers.

The bathroom had huge white fluffy towels, a black 22in suitcase on the rack and a robe hanging on the door. Toiletries were sitting in one corner, organized. The other room looked like a living room, with a light blue couch and chair and a desk off in one corner with writing materials on it. Rachel had already sat down at it, focused on something. "Rachel?" he asked curious, standing in the doorway. "Hold on, I'm writing my weekly letter to the Ohio show choir committee," she said as continued to write.

Finn frowned, and then wiped it away. Why am I upset with her? If it wasn't for her I would be in practice dealing with Puck's taunts and Rick's knowing glances. Opening his phone, he noticed several missed calls. However, the signal was spotty. Walking to the window didn't help. "I'm going to get a better cell signal," he announced as she continued writing away.

She stopped and stared at him. For a second it was this relaxed, determined focus, then delight washed across her face. "Did I tell you thanks for coming. I understand you are making a big sacrifice." He looked at her, struggling as to what to say. I can't say. It's not a problem. I wanted to because I am breaking off with Quinn. But I can't blow it off either.

"Thank you for inviting me," he said with a bit of hesitation. The worry in the back of his mind that he could screw this up nagged. "I need to go check on my messages and I can't get a signal here."

"Ok." She said, relaxed. The neediness in her eyes had almost vanished. As she approached, a soft comfortable ease rested on her. It was even more alluring than Quinn's strength when she knew she would win. "Here." She handed him one of the hotel keys. "Did you want to try the Behihana tonight?"

He stared at her, smile on his face masking the image of Quinn yelling in his mind. So this is what it would be like. He beheld her in her hot pink dress and her light make up, watching him patiently. Her face dropped slightly. "Or there are other places. There were so many restaurants near the hotel."

"Behihana would be great. Dad loved Chinese." He said trying to desperately mask the fear and worry. I made my choice. Why it is so hard? The image of Quinn wearing a towel shouting was that enough still haunted him.

"I promised to be good," the smoldering ogling continued. Holding on to his gaze, she stood on her toes. "And I will." She then turned and walked back to the desk.

As he left the room, he wondered what that meant. Of course, Brad told her to not to do anything inappropriate. It would be his fault.

The rich deep blues of the carpet marveled him. He decided to start taking pictures with his phone. This way he could show his mom the level of wealth they were at. The elevator stopped at the 11th and he had to get off to get to the one that took him to the lobby and below. As he walked down the hall he overheard some of the choir members talking. "Yeah, can you believe that Rachel drinks those Banana and Flaxseed protein shakes every morning? My bother said those where for bodybuilders. Does she look like that?" the short, scraggly black guy with the low ride pants said to the Hispanic guy beside him.

"Well, she did say she used the elliptical every morning. Maybe that's why," he responded not really knowing.

"No. There is something we are missing." He said quickly sensing someone behind him. "Hi, Finn." He said as Finn walked by.

Finn walked by them and nodded. "Hi guys." At the elevator, he tapped the down and waited. Thanks, you gave me a great idea. A way to say thanks.

Quinn was on the bus when her phone rang. The bus was old and the seats that green vinyl that stuck your skin when you sweat. Worst, it had no air conditioning. So as the highway to Akron shot by, she was in a foul mood when she answered. "Why didn't respond the first time?" she shouted.

Silence, then "Because I couldn't I had no signal. I just got a good one."

"Where are you?" She retorted.

Silence again much longer. "Finn, I asked---"

"I know. Not in Lima. Now's not a good time to talk, is it?" he asked calmly.

"Its fine," she said trying to contain her frustration. Other Cheerios were staring. "I was worried about you. And then you didn't answer. Coach Tanaka was ok when you missed practice because Rick said you were sick again. He wants a doctor's note though. Remember, Monday is the game so you need to be back by then. You WILL be back by then?"

"I will," came cheerily through the phone. "Your favorite color is baby blue, right?"

"And yellow," her tone softened. "Why?"

"I have a gift for you. We got to go shopping. And I got you a fluffy towel too."

She blushed. That memory wasn't the smartest thing she ever done but at least it worked. "Ok. Thanks. After the game then?"

"After the game. I want to talk." The voice said with confidence. The sound make her smile. Maybe he's finally done with Rachel?

"Ok. Same place?"

"Same place." The voice agreed.

Quinn looked around. Everyone was looking out the window, asleep or using an electronic device, "XOXO Finn."

"XOXO Quinn." The voice replied. Then silence as the call ended.

Perhaps this miserable trip was worth it. If they were on the jet, she wouldn't have got the call. Gifts! When was the last time he bought me anything? And the smile held until they got to the competition.

Rachel walked into the Royal York Behihana® in Finn's arm. Look at me! Everything is working just how I planned it. Perfect guy, perfect date, perfect night. The restaurant was fairly busy. Looking around, she noticed that a blue koi pond pattern. The chairs were birch wood with the backs in a y pattern. The seat cushion were red cloth. As a matter of fact, birch wood lightly stained was everywhere. Even the Hibachi tables were made of it. Thanks, Dad Hiram and your crazy hobbies. Over near the windows, there was another couple sitting by themselves at an empty hibachi table. They walked over them and sat down.

"Hi, I'm Lacy and this is Jack," The red-haired beauty said. She was as tall as Finn and buxom too. Jack, fit is name too, looking like the Captain Jack of the Disney® pirate movies only he wore khaki slacks and a striped Tommy Hilfiger® shirt.

"I'm Rachel," she smiled, shaking Lacy's hand.

"Finn," Finn responded cordially to both of them. "What brings you here?"

"Business," Lacy said as Jack said "Pleasure." They both laughed. "We are escaping bad relationships and spending time together. "You?"

Rachel to speak but Finn interrupted, "College trip. You know. We sing in Glee club."

Rachel shot a knowing glance but smiled. "Yes, we have tickets to the concert tomorrow."

They looked shocked. "That's been sold out for months. They are doing the taping for the DVD tomorrow."

Rachel beamed. Just them the waitress came over. " 'ello. What would you like?" she asked in a thick Japanese accent.

Finn looked at the Japanese lady befuddled. Rachel reached over and handed him a menu. "Hibachi Steak"

"What drink?"

"Coke®?"

"Yes, we have dat." She looked to Rachel who had been studying the menu.

"I want Colossal Mango shrimp. Green tea and a salad."

"Good choice." She nodded and went off to get the tea.

Within five minutes the chef in his red toque hat and white coat appeared. He read off the meals making sure he know who wanted what. Then he sat up the tea and distributed it. Finn's coke® had long since arrived. First the placed out the cups for the sauces. With a little pizazz, he shuffled and distributed like a Vegas card dealer. Next, he added little safflower oil to the cooktop embedded into the table and smeared it around with a spatula. Then came a minute of drum beat with the spatulas interspersed with playful banter. He introduced himself as Goku and produced a glowing orange ball with a Chinese Ideogram inside. Finn chuckled, and Rachel smiled at him for it but no one else seemed to get it.

Then the shrimp, chicken and other items were placed out to cook. The thinly pounded chicken breast scrapped off a metal plate in the center of the table sizzled happily. Then the veggies arrived beside it, making sure to move them to the top so they didn't overcook. Sauce was drenched over them, creating more sizzle. He sang a fairly bad song about sizzling while he did it. He then created a volcano with the onions that produced a ball of flame. Rachel grabbed Finn's hand and squeezed, to his delight and worry. Lacy and Jack smiled although Jack leaned back swiftly.

As Goku continued to slice and dice, Rachel watched in delight. This is my future. Success will allow me to do this when I am not making music. She snapped back to reality when he flipped those shrimp onto her plate with gentle plops none splattering. And the final one he flipped up and into the top of his toque hat. Next, came to what was called by Jack 'the egg bop'.

Goku bopped two eggs all over his spatula before executing a quick scramble and the pour onto the grill in a V shape. With a slice and slide of the spatula he created legs and a beak and added a pepper for an eye. Then with a wave it became part of Jack's dish. The final plating was next, the rice dish jumping over the grill and a strange wrist twist that slammed the rice into the bowl without a mess. Finn's steak had the least flair attached to it. It was flipped one, engulfed in flames with the announcement of 'Fire! Fire!" and then after a brief cooking served. The least exciting part was the green tea in little cups. It was magical, stylish and fun all around. It was also their most expensive dinner yet.

"This is excellent," Finn said as he tore through his steak. Rachel sighed a bit uncomfortable yet holding a smile. Lacy looked at her as she finished a bite of Salmon. "You a vegetarian, Rachel?"

"No. I am Jewish. So no pork. I am not supposed to each shellfish either but I crave them sometimes. And I can't bring myself to eat cow. Cows are beautiful animals."

"Tasty too," Jack announced, after finishing chewing. Both ladies shot him a look.

"What?" Lacy shook her head. "You know."

"You have yet to give me a useful purpose for a cow other than food stuff. And you do know that Koreans eat dog, right?"

Rachel's face scrunched up in disgust, gaging on a mouthful of shrimp. Lacy shouted, "Jack, we're eating!"

Jack just smiled. Finn shrugged his shoulders. Goku watched silently. "You want dessert, now?"

Everyone shook their head. "A1® steak sauce?" Goku stared at him. Finally, he laughed, said something in Japanese, and then tossed him the ball. "You make me laugh. You have. I have many others."

Finn caught it, a puzzled look on his face. A waitress walked by and he asked again. She stared at him, nodded and went back the way she came.

"Give it up," Jack insisted. "You are in a Japanese restaurant."

"I've never been in one before," Finn said as he worked on the side vegetables.

"Really?" Both Lacy and Jack replied. "This must be quite a shock," Lacy finished.

"Everyone is. I manage. And I have a great companion." He smiled at Rachel.

She lit up like a roman candle at midnight. Lacy looked at her, this sweet delight on her face and looked over at Jack who nodded in silent agreement.

"I do too. The very best," Rachel said as she clearing her plate. Placing her empty bowls on it, the waitress reappeared with a near empty bottle of A1® steak sauce. She sat it near to Finn's plate and the half eaten steak.

"Thanks!" Finn smiled, dumping a generous quantity on his steak.

"Welcome very much," the waitress responded clearing the remainder of everyone's plates.

"Excuse me for a moment, everyone," Jack said as he rose, his napkin on the table area where his plate was. He shot a knowing glance at Lacy and vanished.

"If you don't mind me asking, how long have you two been dating?" Lacy asked.

Rachel grinned, setting down her cup of steaming green tea. Finn almost choked on a piece of steak, his eyes wide. "We aren't."

"Yet," Rachel whispered after leaning over.

Lacy looked at Finn sharply. "You don't need to lie. I can see the chemistry between you two. You are a perfect fit. That is so rare among people your age. I would treasure that. People my age would give a vital organ for what you deny."

Finn finished his steak, laying the napkin on the empty plate. "It's complicated."

"Really?" Lacy remarked. "You enjoy spending it with her. She enjoys spending time with you. If you know what she loves to do and you do with her, regardless of whether you like it. And if you like each other in spite of your obvious flaws, that's destiny. Honestly, if you had an opportunity to be anywhere tonight, where would you be?"

Finn wasted no time. "Here." He stared at Rachel while he said it.

"You made my point," Lacy said smiling. Jack returned with paper cups with the Benihana® logo on them. Handing on to Finn and the other to Rachel, he gazed distant for a moment. "You tell them yet?"

"I was about to."

Finn and Rachel held confused looks. "Relax, it's good," Lacy responded, wistful. "On one of our dates, we went to a Benihana in Chicago. There we met a nice couple that pointed out to use what I just pointed out to you. They also paid for dinner as a 'Future wedding present'. 'I know that one day in the future you two will get married and you will stay that way for a long time. How? Because you have each other's hearts already.' He was right. We got married 3 years later. We had our ups and downs, heartaches and near breakups. But we survived. So on our wedding we made a vow that we would go to a Benihana once every year on our anniversary. If we found a couple who was just like we were, we would do the same. You are that couple."

"I see an inner strength in both of you that tells me that no matter who or what you are each other's soul mates. I know you don't want to hear that, not yet. But remember it. Even if you are dating other people. Life is too short and a rare few find theirs this early. And have an excellent trip. Good night." With that, he bowed to them and left arm in arm with her. It was then that Rachel noticed the beautiful wedding ring on her finger. Then she noticed Finn standing, stunned.

She sighed. "I have to do my nighty video to keep my talent fresh. I'll see you in the room."

He snapped out of it. "You do?" A smile wiped away the shock.

"Yes." She said walking off with her tea.

He grabbed his Coke, poured it into the cup and ran after her. As he caught up in the lobby she turned to him. "You didn't believe him, did you?"

"I don't know." His face was neutral. Silence answered as they stepped onto the elevator. I forgot the fortune cookies! Turning around to get back off she almost walked into a bell hop who had a small Chinese food 'to go' box. He handed it to her then stepped off. "You left this in the restaurant. They insisted I give it to you." The door closed as he finished speaking. Finn just stared at the door, and then looked to her expectant.

Looking back at him, surprised herself, she opened the box as they rose to the 11th floor alone. It was two fortune cookies. "Ok. That's creepy."

"Or service. We were the only students in there," Finn reminded.

"We were," she agreed.

The doors dinged. Opening, some of the choir members stood waiting. "We found a cheap restaurant nearby. Want anything?" One of them asked, not seeing the box.

"No but thanks." She replied as they stepped off.

In the room, she sat down the box on the table and immediately dug her pink bestickered laptop out of a red Wenger® laptop backpack. With it came a fairly long Ethernet cable, a pink optical mouse and a Barbara Streisand mouse pad. Once the laptop was on and connected to the internet. She logged into her YouTube® account to check messages. That was followed by email checking and MySpace® checking. Once done, she noticed the box was still setting there. Frowning, she got up and found Finn sitting on the bed watching VH1s 'What happened to…Lincoln Hawk'

'I forgot about the fortune cookies," she said sheepishly, her eyes downcast. He looked up at her with a smile. "You were busy." She handed his to him. Then she unwrapped hers. With a crisp snap, she broke it and withdrew the fortune.

As she read it, a questioning look appeared. She looked to Finn who shared the look. Exchanging fortunes, she read his first. "The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance." She grinned, handing it back.

He looked up at her, his eyes shining. "We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us." The silence held as they looked at each other. It's like He is trying to tell us something. Dads would have a fit if they knew I was alone with Finn as much as they like him. Well only Dad Leroy.

"I think…I don't know what to think," Finn just beheld her. The TV went unnoticed.

"Would you like to just me for tonight's taping?" Rachel held worry in her eyes, unsure if he was overloading or not. "No. It's not that I don't want to. I am concerned how it would be taken." She nodded, disappointed. He shut off the TV.

"I will watch if you don't mind."

"No. I don't." The smile was back. How could this day get possibly better?

Finn watched her mischievously-beautiful face focus as she withdrew and set up the camera equipment from her gear bag. Once it was on, she relaxed and preened for a moment. "How do I look?"

Like a person I would want to spend my time with. "Perfect." It would have been so much easier if you were a cheerleader. Then I wouldn't have to worry about popularity or Quinn. Still that is not going to be easy.

"Today is Saturday, September5th 2009. I will sing "I want to make magic' from the 1983 movie 'Fame'.

She inhaled and sang beautifully.

'I want to make magic

I want to be bigger than I am

I want to make people really care

Really give a damn

I want to make magic

I want to breathe fire on the stage

I want to make every single line

Jump right off the page

I want to do it all from A to Z

I want to do 'The Lion in Winter'

Brecht and Harold Pinter

Sophocles, Eugene O'Neill

I want to really see what I can be

Another Barbara Streisand or Liza Minnelli

Play a tragic hero

Go for it all and really show the way I feel

I want to make magic

I want to electrify the place

I want to be more than just a fool

With make-up on her face

I want to make magic

Magic

Magic'

"Thank you everyone for watching. I do appreciate your comments and encouragement. And thanks 'V Guy Fawkes' for saying I am the worthy successor of Boxxy. I don't know who she is but I thank you very much for saying I am a princess." She tapped the stop record button.

Finn stood up and walked over. I really shouldn't but I just can't let this moment pass. And I love singing with her. He hit what appeared to be the off button but what was the record button. The system silently began recording.

"I want to sing this to you." He said as he stepped over to where she was, still in front of the camera. She opened her mouth to say something and he looked so loving at her. She went silent. "I want to you do what I say, OK?"

She nodded.

'Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling' He reached out and took her hand and put it on the wrong side of his chest. She didn't see because her eyes were closed. Nor did she want to open them either.

'Do you feel my heart beating, do you understand?

Do you feel the same, am I only dreaming?

Is this burning an eternal flame?

I believe it's meant to be, darling

I watch when you are sleeping, you belong to me

Do you feel the same, am I only dreaming

Or is this burning an eternal flame?

Say my name, sun shines through the rain

A whole life so lonely, and then you come and ease the pain

I don't want to lose this feeling, ahh ahhah'

He paused. "Do you feel it?"

"Yes," she lied. But tears slid out her closed eyes.

Say my name, sun shines through the rain

A whole life so lonely, and then you come and ease the pain

I don't want to lose this feeling, ah ah

Close your eyes and give me your hand

Do you feel my heart beating, do you understand?

Do you feel the same, am I only dreaming

Or is this burning an eternal flame?

Is this burning an eternal flame?

An eternal flame?'

He leaned over and gently brushed his lips with hers. But just as he was putting pressure, a sharp knock ruined the moment. Letting her hand go, he groaned as he went to open the door.

On the other side stood two exhausted hotel employees and a dolly with an elliptical on it. "Sorry but it was hell getting it here. We'll put it in the other room now. Rachel stared at them, then realized what Finn did ran over and hugged him.

"Thank you so very much!" She said trying not to squeal.

Finn grinned broadly back. "It's the least I could do."

What neither of them knew was that 'Eternal Flame' was on her recording of 'I want to make magic'. And before the night was over, it would be seen by 3000 people including three who Finn didn't want or need to see. It was those very three that would cause all the problems.

Rachel woke up groggy. As she rolled over, she looked at the time. It was 5:50 am. Pulling herself out of bed, she shook of the sleep and walked into the other room, still in her pink lace boy shorts and silk camisole. At least the elliptical was here. She beamed; glancing over at Finn's still sleeping form in the other bed. I just wish he would notice me more. Walking to the window to look out at the dawn, she noticed a note on the minibar, "Open me." Grabbing the key, she unlocked an opened the door. Inside sat a glass with a label on it. Hand written it said, "Rachel's Banana and flaxseed shake."

"Awww." She looked over at him and sighed happily. He is so thoughtful. So she took the shake and drank it watching the darkness fade. Then she jumped on the elliptical for a good run. He hadn't awoken as she finished so she decided that now would be a good time for a shower. I don't want it to be awkward. As least not like last night. After the delivery guys left, Finn sort of at a loss as to what to say. So he watched her upload the video and made small talk. Then he spent a long time in the bathroom only some of which was shower before watching TV and finally falling asleep. Taking an appropriate change of clothes into the bathroom, she took a warm shower. Afterwards, she did her daily facial of Clean & Clear® 'Morning Burst', then put on some foundation, blush and a little lipstick. I want to look serious, but not whorish either.

Steam rippled from under the door as Finn woke up. Only he wasn't thinking happy, peaceful images. Remembrance of Quinn's shower and the comment of was this enough still bothered him. As he climbed out of bed wearing his grey McKinley Titans T-shirt and red boxers, he stopped to think. It's not that I don't Quinn. She is hot and popular and a Cheerio. It's just her attitude not just about me but everything that drags me down. He sighed. Rachel brought him up and he had fun around her. But then when he got to close there came 'the mailman' and suddenly everything messed up. He want to kick himself for not being sociable the remainder of the night. And the opposite was true with Quinn. The heat of the Hot tub was the only time short of the shower that the mailman appeared and that time it was a sheer struggle not to let her have satisfaction.

Rachel opened the bathroom door but didn't come out. "It's safe, if you need something. He shook his head. Why am I even debating this. I chose Rachel and nothing short of embarrassment will change that. I can bring her up. She shouldn't pull me down.

He walked to the bathroom door. She was brushing her hair still, dressed in a mint dress with a little darker toned green vest. She looked up at him looking her over and stood up to preen. "It's a Michael Kors Cashmere Shrug & One-Shoulder Sheath Dress in Mint."

Finn looked confused. "Who's Michael Coors? Is he the owner of that brewery?"

She chuckled. "No. He's a designer. Kurt worships him. It was delivered last night after you went to sleep. My agent called and discovered I was here as well so he had it delivered."

Shock washed over Finn like a breaking surfer wave. "You have an agent?"

"Of course. How else will I be a star? I don't do anyone of this for nothing. I will introduce you when we get to the arena. I wonder if we have enough time for breakfast?"

"I don't know. I still need shower and get dressed." He rubbed his unshaved face, sort of embarrassed. She looked at him and rubbed his stubble. "We should be fine. We have to be down there to check out by 9:00. Its 7:30." She walked out of the bathroom with her toiletries. A brief rushing and then she shouted. "The stubble is cute."

Blushing, he closed to door.

At 8:30, there were downstairs, eating breakfast while everyone else crept down having made do with take out or pizza. Returning to the fabulously ornate lobby, Tim Horton's coffee in hand, Rachel smiled at a serene Brad. "Thank you so very much. I will never forget today. Or yesterday." She held her hands together, radiating joy. Brad looked over at her pleased, noticed Finn with the Bellhops and their brass cart filled with five bags this time. He was conflicted, his eyes were filled with joy and hope but he held deep worry. "Where are the rest of the bags?"

"Rachel compressed the mall bags into her new suitcase. Plus her three and my new one makes five." He nodded.

Once everyone arrived in the lobby, Brad gathered them around. "I am going with the Bombardier® pilot back after he comes to pick up the luggage to make sure we will be ready to go after the concert. So here is everyone's tickets." He handled out the second row seats that they had bought last year to each person. When he got to Rachel, Brad handed her two. "Finn gets the spare. I should be back before it starts."

At that moment, the pilot entered the lobby. Brad walked to him, spoke something and nodded. Rachel tried to listen but heard nothing. Finn watched intently but gave up as well. "So when do you meet your agent?" He whispered.

She looked at him, surprised then remembered. "Before the concert. They are recording it for the DVD so it's going to be their best. He didn't tell me what, just to meet me before."

Brad flagged the students over. And everyone began to leave. Finn walked to the front desk and waited for a moment. A gentleman turned around, and seeing him, smiled. "I truly hope she is worth it."

"I believe so."

"Did she like the shake?" He asked, watching the bellhops pull her stuff out.

"Yes. She drank it." He said pleased.

"Then you succeeded. And it's on the house. That couple you met last night in Benihana paid for your room too. And they gave me this." It was a visa gift card in a white door-key pouch. "Jack said for you to use it only when committed to her and only her. And if you don't on something you truly love. Nothing else."

"Thanks again." Finn looked at the card before pocketing it.

"Good luck and think of us for your honeymoon." The man smiled

Finn shivered. I don't want to even think of that yet.

Rachel couldn't find Finn outside as they walked over to the Air Canada Centre. Finn Pointed out the CN tower nearby as they approached the West end. Piling into the Galleria, they were stopped by the guards who took their tickets then let them mill about the Galleria. Michael W. Smith memorabilia was already set up for sale. Everyone flowed to the Galleria snack bars save Rachel who had paused looking around before heading toward an escalator and Level 300. As she approached the escalator, that same tall guy with tussled blond hair the color of straw waved from the top. Rachel looked back at Finn, and gestured for him to come.

At the top of the escalator, Mark Conner stood patiently in his three piece Jay Kos suit. "Hello, Mark." She hugged him after looking around and seeing no one around her.

"Is this the guy you spoke about earlier," He whispered as Finn crested the top. Rachel nodded, beaming. "Hello," Mark said, extending his hand with a smile.

"Hi. You are Rachel's agent?" Finn held a mixture of surprise and awe.

"Indeed I am. Mark Conner, Interscope Geffen. I and several others believe that this lady here is the next Taylor Swift. We just haven't convinced her to come to Hollywood yet." He gestured with his hand as he spoke.

Finn looked from him to Rachel who stood placidly and back. "An actual record?"

"Yes. An actual deal." He snickered. "Rachel, I have someone you want to meet." He pulled two backstage passes from his jacket pocket, tossing one to her. Clipping his to his jacket, he waited for Rachel as she pulled the lanyard over her head and then clipped the tag to her dress. "Can Finn come?" She asked with a pleading look in her eyes. Mark grinned. "Yes, We'll get him one when we get there."

It was a fairly long walk around the bowl to the back stage loge where Michael and the rest were prior to the beginning. A guard stopped Mark about Finn and when he said it was ok that he would vouch for him. The guard produced another badge for him. Finn looked at the lanyard like it was a gold metal.

Mark walked into the room first. Looking back, he waved Rachel and Finn in. The room was luxurious. Thick red pile carpeting covered the floors while the cream colored couch rested against the wall. Before the large opening overlooking the stadium was several leather chairs. A mini bar sat on the open bar which housed a mini kitchen. Michael sat on the couch talking to a lady who stood beside him. She had a round face, deep brown eyes and small button nose. She was a dwarf beside him, being about five foot tall herself. She had golden olive skin and chestnut hair to her shoulders. When she noticed them enter, she stopped her explanation and stepped away.

"Mark Connor, always a pleasure," Michael said as he walked over to them. He had a strong jaw on his oval face. Blue eyes scanned both of them before turning to Mark who smiled.

"The pleasure is always mine. I thought you would like to meet Rachel." He nodded, casting a non-verbal cue that Michel received.

He smiled pleasantly. "Hello, Rachel."

Rachel noticed his short cropped dark blond hair, but then felt incredible warmth suddenly. Completely relaxing, she grinned. "Hello, Mr. Smith. It's a pleasure to meet you." She noticed his baby blue shirt sticking out of his suit jacket but shoved it away.

"Mark says you can sing well. Do you know my music?" He asked, a curious look on his face. Rachel glanced to Finn who was talking to the lady, and ignoring everyone else. Mark was beside her, hesitant. "A little. Dad Leroy listens to it, but beyond that…"

"What do you know?' He asked, glancing up at Mark who shrugged.

Rachel closed her eyes and took deep breaths. She sang a piece of 'Breathe'. "This is the air I breathe. This is the air I breathe. You holy presence living in me."

As she continued, Michael looked up at Mark. Finn had went silent as did the lady whose name was Sarah. Michael nodded, and turned to Sarah who got a sheaf of music. He touched Rachel on the shoulder. She opened her eyes, and with a concerned face said, "Was that good?"

"It was excellent. We had a chorus member who got sick at the last moment. She had to miss this concert, so we were going to go on without until Mark called. Would you like her spot? I realize its short notice."

Rachel's eyes grew large and she gazed at Finn first with sheer delight and then to Mark. Then she looked at Michael. "Yes. Thank you very much, Yes!"

Sarah handed him the music. "Then here is the music. Its 12 songs and Sarah will guide you through it."

Rachel looked at Finn and then Mark. "I guess I will see you after the concert."

"You will. I will be waiting for you." Finn said, a broad smile on his face. Then he noticed the time. "Brad! Brad will be wondering what happened."

"Mr. Smith, Mr. Connor, it was a pleasure meeting you both but I need to go find our chaperone."

Mark held him back as he tried to leave. "Hold on. You need this." He handed him a pair of Front row tickets and a bag of stuff. Finn took it, anxiousness overshadowing his curiosity. "Front row. This way, you can support her from the closest spot possible."

Finn nodded, then ran out as soon Mark let him. Mark looked to Rachel. She seemed calm. "He's never been on a trip with Mr. Ellis before. He knows I say apart from the group."

Indeed, Brad was unworried by the two empty seats, figuring that Rachel was elsewhere getting souvenirs and spending time with Finn. She's going to be heartbroken if he rejects her. I should have never invited him. It's that I see them together.

Setting aside the thoughts, he relaxed. Everyone was seating and enjoying themselves. It was interesting because two seats on the first row were empty which never happened at a concert of this size. And the bowl was packed. The choir flowed into their places and the musicians arrived and set up. He shook his head. Late! I am going to hear about this but oh well. I will remind her, this was her doing not his.

It was then that Finn ran up carrying a large gift bag from the souvenir stand. "Sorry, Mr. Ellis. But I got lost trying to get down here." He was panting from running. His face was agitated. "What is wrong?"

"Rachel was invited to sing with the choir. So I wanted to tell you when I relied that you had no clue where we are."

Just then his phone rang. It was Rachel. Brad answered. "Hello?"

"Brad, its Rachel. I'm not down there because I was invited to sing with the choir. I'm up here in the choir stand." Brad looked up. Rachel was waving at him and Finn. Finn waved back, pleased. She hung up the phone.

Finn still out of breath struggled for words. "Finn, you don't need to apologize. Rachel is destined for greatness and it won't wait for any of us. I should know. You got caught in the tide this time. It happens."

Finn stared at him. "I got front row seats."

Brad stared at him. "Really?"

He nodded. "Then let's use them. And you really should consider joining choir next year. It would be good for you."

"I don't know Mr. Ellis." Finn hedged.

"Think about it," Brad responded amused.

Quinn stared at the computer screen as the video played again. Tears stained her face as Finn sang to Rachel 'Eternal Flame' "Why!" She shouted at the screen, before hitting stop again. "Am I not good enough?" It was the fourth time and that was enough. I didn't believe it when Santana called to tell me that I had to watch Rachel's latest video. Why would I want to help that skank when she already had her claws in Finn? But she insisted. Saying I needed to. But I ignored her. When Brittany called saying the same thing in her own way, I knew something seriously wrong was going on.

"That's our song Finn! Our song!" She yelled at the ceiling after throwing herself on her bed. Her parents weren't there, on a business function. And normally she would be in the hot tub with Finn like last week. But now, what now?

The darkest thought bubbled up as she sobbed. I have to have sex with him. I'm not ready. It's bad enough that Puck got me drunk and we did it a month ago. I am too close to my period to do it. Still what else? Did I lose him. Damn you, Rachel. I do love him.

"I love you, Finn Hudson! Really I do. I can't help it that I can't express it right. If I confront him, he will get defensive and break it off. So I can't. I can't tell him at all.

Suddenly she felt nauseous. She hugged herself until she really felt the desire to throw up. Dashing into the bathroom, she made the toilet just in time to discard dinner. Collapsing onto the floor, she stared at nothing and realized she might become like Coach Sylvester. Pulling herself up, she vomited again. Crumpled to the floor she stared at the ceiling and shouted, "Why can't I have want I want?'

Phantom Rachel stared down at her, disgusted. "Because you don't deserve it. You treat everyone like trash. I am taking everything from you, Quinn. All of it. And once you know what it's like to be me, then you will change or break. Your choice." She pointed a finger. "ALL OF IT!" Then she faded away.

Quinn pulled herself up, and crawled into bed sobbing. "I don't believe you! I DON'T BELIEVE YOU!" I need him back. I'll join Glee. And I will be nice. I have to. And for the first time, Quinn felt fear when she thought of Rachel,

The Concert was awesome. They were two hours in and at the final intermission. Brad thought at he looked out at the students. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Well Finn was disappointed, not expecting it to be praise and worship service. 'It's church,' he said surprised. And when I said that is what he sings he seemed disappointed. And then Jim called to say the plane was ready. It was all working out beautifully. Maybe not Finn, nothing is perfect.

The announcer came out and asked if they were enjoying it. Brad shouted up a bold "Yes." Finn remained silent and a bit wooden. He got up when everyone else did but he looked caught, like a bear in a trap. His face showed his discomfort. Mostly once he released that he was in a 'church service' he watched Rachel. Looking up occasionally, she seemed to have no problems at all. She wore a black jacket over her dress, which looked out of place but she blended in. She looked like she was genuinely enjoying it. Then again she got the chance of a lifetime so I guess you would have too.

The final set of songs began. The first on the queen was the one he had spent all this money to see, 'New Hallelujah'. I am still amazed they shot this at Lakewood already. This one is for the international audience. The African Children's choir came out and they got ready. Then Michael came out and they sung that song and two others. It was warm and powerful and very uplifting. Then there was brief prayer and altar call. And then it was over.

Rachel came down immediately. "Brad, Finn did you see the African Children's Choir do Siwano? Wasn't that amazing?"

"It was wonderful," Brad remarked. Finn remained distant. "Finn?"

He looked at her blankly. "I wish you had told me this was a church service."

She blinked. "I thought you knew. Brad is the Choir director as well as Band Director." There was no harshness, more disappointment and concern. "I am sorry if you didn't enjoy it. I really thought you would, seeing that Quinn always wants to pray."

Finn looked at her, mixed emotions. "She would have loved this. And I am not like this. Yes, Mom, dad and I went to church unless he left for Iraq. When he didn't come back, well we stopped."

Sarah and Mark ran up at the same time. Sarah held a clear plastic folder than held a few papers in it. "Thanks for all your help. I wanted to give you this when you went back up. But then I remembered you aren't coming with us. I also ran into Mark who told me where you would be." She handed the folder with a broad smile, then pulled Rachel into a hug. Rachel looked back all wide-eyed but let her finish. Sarah noticed she overstepped and looked contrite. "I am sorry. I overstepped. I just know there is a storm coming. And the center cannot hold. If you need to talk to someone, My number is in there. I live in Chicago and I'm a good listener. Good bye Rachel. I am always praying for you."

Mark shrugged his shoulders. "I know as much as you do. Anyway, Rachel before you left you said you wanted to tell me something."

Rachel shook of the weirdness. "I wanted you to come to our Pep rally at William McKinley High School tomorrow. I wanted the recording for my portfolio."

Mark smiled a curious and thoughtful smile. "Really, what is your Glee club doing?"

"Not 'Le Freak', she said with a glance to Finn who was finally shaking off the heaviness of the concert. "Something the opposite of this. It will get attention."

"Really. Ok. I will come with a camera guy. Surprise me. You always do. And I want you know if it's good I am taking to the set up." He reminded her seriously.

"I understand. Thank you so much for everything, Mark." Rachel said seriously.

"Always a pleasure for my favorite budding artist." He flashed a broad grin then checked his IPhone. Realizing he was hallucinating it buzzing, he looked over at Brad. "She is the next Taylor Swift. But I don't want to make the mistake we did with Cheyenne Kimball." His face was completely serious.

"Who?" Finn asked confused.

"My point. She was a pop sensation on MTV in 2005. Had her own show. Her career went nowhere because it took off too soon. I won't do that with our Ms. Berry here. And I do have to go. See you tomorrow at…" he gestured to his phone.

Rachel blanched. Looking at Brad, he said, "2 pm it starts. So I would be there then. Who knows you might find more talent." He quipped.

"Or I might sit through the first of American Idol interviews." Mark quipped right back. "Really, I must go." And with that he walked off.

Brad looked at Rachel as they headed over to where the rest of the choir was waiting. "What are you up to?"

"I'll fill you all in on the plane," she said to them both with a mischievous smile.

Monday was indeed a minimum day. For Rachel that meant, abbreviated classes and plenty of time to prep for what would be a prep assembly that would shock everyone. She even passed out the flyers in her classes. After Finn warming back up and agreeing with her idea, he even gave her the goodie bag. He kept only his backstage pass. So when she had come in that night, Leroy stood there, curious/ It turned to relief when he saw the suitcases and the bag. The odd thing was Quinn didn't look at her directly. The one time she did she had a spooked look in her eyes. Her face was still hard though. She had really hoped to see Finn before choir but it didn't look like it was going to happen. So she knew she would bump into him at Glee directly after the day was to end; 12:45 pm.

Finn went to school still unsure how he was going to handle breaking it off with Quinn. So when she came up to him at the second period break, he remained silent.

"I just want to apologize for all the mean things I have said recently. I want you to be happy. If that means Glee," She hesitated, clenching her fists briefly before relaxing them. "Then I will support it."

He looked at her with this sort of confused joy. "Do you mean it?"

"I do." She said with smile, he wasn't sure it was fake.

"I accept." And with that suddenly things got more complicated. Finn looked at her and stared. Say it. Say, "I don't want to date you anymore because I don't believe you. And Rachel lifts me up. Even after the church concert, she apologized for me being uncomfortable. And his mouth dried out. "See you at the pep assembly," he said, flat. As he walked off, he realized it would be far harder than he thought to do it.

At 12:45 Rachel walked in to the gymnasium, mentally ready to reveal her plan. She had her costume and got the others as well. It will work. Getting out her gavel and sound block, she checks her Izod® polo shirt and her purple cable knit sweater tied around her neck as everyone comes in. She patted down her 'True Religion' Black jeans and red/ tan flats. Everything was good. As Tina and Artie entered, she smiled at everyone. Finn sat highest followed by Kurt and Mercedes. Tina sat on the first row beside Artie.

Pounding the gavel into the sound block in her other hand, she announces, "I officially call this meeting of Glee club in session."

Artie looked her confused. "But Mr. Schuester isn't here."

"Mr. Schuester isn't coming," she said with mischievous delight. " I paid a freshman to help with the regular verbs."

Mercedes made a disgusted sound. "I am so sick of hearing you squawk, Eva Peron." Rachel looked at her with a frown.

Finn, who knew what was coming, held a delighted smile. "Let her talk." Then he raised his eyes to her which she brighten, not realizing that she opened her mouth.

Gazing over everyone, she said, "I have another idea for the assembly."

"Can I once again stress my most strenuous objection to this attempted suicide," Artie spoke with force and worry.

"They're not going to kill us," she said looking at him and then at everyone else, still with the delighted mischievousness. "Because we are going to give them what they want."

"Blood?" Kurt retorted, all prim and serious.

"Better. Sex," she replied. pleased. Finn's eyes go big then he smiles.

"Sex?" everyone repeats. "How?" Mercedes blurts out.

"Christina Aguilera's 'Dirrty'. I think it will fill their need just fine."

"Why not 'Push It' by Salt and Pepa?' Mercedes continued.

Rachel looked at him, and raised her eyes back. You were right. "If you have the choreography then we can do that too."

Mercedes looked shocked. "Yes, I do."

"Good. Then we will do 'Push It' and 'Dirrty' second. It should take ten minutes tops. I even have the uniforms by the doorway. We can get changed and go through the moves of both before Mr. Schuester gets here."

Artie relaxed. "How long did you pay the freshman to delay Mr. Schuester?"

Rachel grinned. "Until two."

"Perfect," Kurt quipped.

At about 1:50 Mark found Rachel dressed in her BB Dakota Indigo Blue dusty denim skirt and top. "You look real good," he said after looking her up and down. "Since this is going on camera, I have a hair and makeup person for you. If you can pull away."

She grinned broadly, gesturing to Finn who nodded and grinned. "I can. Where?"

"Women's locker room. It's the best I could do. This school is huge and does everything. You even have badminton and curling." Surprise was something she hadn't seen on Mark before.

"We even have a 'Steel drum band'. Brad Ellis is the Band Director, Choir director, head of the music department and coordinates for them and the Jazz Ensemble. Glee is the only thing he doesn't run. So he plays piano for us."

"So I heard," Mark said with a distasteful air. "Your Principal is letting the Spanish teacher run it."

Rachel looked up at him as she sat down on the bench . The make-up lady approached and began touching her up for the dance. "Better than the previous one," she said with a frown. "He was the only one who cared. Brad couldn't do it, he has enough to do."

Mark put his hand out. "Ok, I believe you. You trust him and Brad who I respect. He had good credentials. But remember, my job is to watch out for your career and you." He stared at the mirror and her flat expression. 'Relax. You will do this hundreds of times once everything launches." Her expression changed as she focused on the routine. "Bitch face wasn't what I meant. Try placid, calm."

Rachel shot him a look. "I am calm."

"You are now." He said with candor. "We are recording the entire thing. If yours is the only good we will edit the rest out."

"What time is it?" She asked.

Just then Finn walked in and stopped. He stared briefly before remembering about the camera. "Everyone wondered where you went."

"Bathroom." She said with a mischievous grin.

"Done!" The make-up lady announced.

Finn nodded. "I'll follow you out." And leaning over to her, he whispered into her ear, "You look beautiful."

Rachel sighed and squeezed her fist. This will work! They came over to the stage and as they walk up, Mr. Schuester caught to them. "Sorry, I am late. Is everyone ready?" he seemed anxious and a little proud. Rachel stared at him and flashed a fake smile. "We are."

"I'm sorry that you didn't get first, but I got so at least you aren't last," He said pleased.

Rachel held her composure as Finn looked at her to control his. "Thank you very much. Who is last?"

"Steel Thunder; the Jamaican Steel Drum Band. Mr. Clarke seemed to be quite accommodating." He seemed pleased. Rachel nodded. "We are going to practice one more time," She walked with Finn to the area outside the gymnasium set up for the music groups. Turning to him, she held his gaze, worried. "What are we going to do? This upsets the timetable."

Artie, who was talking to the Jazz ensemble about songs, overheard. "There is a problem?"

"Mr. Schuester convinced Mr. Clarke to go last instead of us." Rachel said a bit of genuine fear in her voice. She tried to focus but knowing that Mark was recording it set her a bit on edge.

Jonas Clarke, an older man with a tanned, wrinkled face that contrasted his red-gold dreads until a rainbow knit Rasta hat. He wore a Hawaiian pattern button shirt with khaki slacks. "Rachel Berry?" he said with a perfect British accent.

She looked at him with a frown. "Mr. Clarke, can you help us, please?" She pleaded, showing her sad face.

"I already have. Mr. Ellis told me what you have planned. That's why I volunteered to move. Mr. Schuester can't stop the assembly if you aren't last because it would embarrass him. It would give Coach Sylvester ammunition. Not that what you are going to do won't already. Besides, Having an actual agent here recording this, is a boon for all of us. It raises all our game. If you succeed, we succeed." He walked off, shaking his head, grumbling in patios.

Rachel relaxed. It will work. For once everyone is behind you. You will have fame and be known, loved and respected. And the uplifting songs rolled through her mind, as she looked at Finn who had finally stopped staring at Mr. Clarke in horror. He gazed back in joy. "We got this."

The assembly started at 2:00 without a hitch. Principal Figgins announced that there was to be no booing during the assembly. They he explained that the game would start at 7:30pm. Then Brad, Coach Sylvester and Coach Tanaka explained the special booster night program, where appropriate canned foods could get free tickets. Brad reminded them that dog food relabeled wouldn't qualify. Then Principal Figgins returned to the microphone. He told them that tomorrow was a minimum day as well. And that it an excused absence day for the Titan Football, Cheerios, Titan Storm and the performers here. That garnered some boos from athletes who weren't performing.
Finally done, Principal Figgins turned the microphone over to Brad who introduced the Titan Storm; the WMHS marching band. They played the School song, and the theme to 'Clash of the Titans'. After they left, the Highland Clouds came on and played jigs with their bagpipes. Everyone groaned until the lead player pointed out at almost all bagpipe songs revolve around alcohol. Then laughter. And a scowl from Coach Sylvester. Then the Jazz Ensemble played 'In the mood; followed by Thelonious Monk's 'Round About Midnight'. Jack, from the Choir played the piano.

The Choir came on and played "Hold us Together" by Matt Maher. Jack, who was also the lead singer came up and said to the crowd. "You can sing this with us if you like." Then he started, singing solo. Others played guitar and used the tambourine.

"It don´t have a job

Don´t pay your bills

Won´t buy you a home

In Beverly Hills

Won´t fix your life

And find easy steps

Ain´t the low or the limp

Or the government

But as soon you needed...'

The rest of the Choir, including Rachel sang the chorus:

'Love will hold us together

Make us a shelter

to weather the storm

And I´ll be my brother's keeper

So the whole world will know

That we´re not alone'

It´s waiting for you

Knockin´ at your door!

Every moment of truth

When your heart hits the floor

When you´re on your knees then...'

By this point most of the students began clapping and singing with the choir. The Cheerios remained silent, but Brad expected that. He stared back at Coach Sylvester who glared at him. He shrugged.

'Love will hold us together

Make us a shelter

to weather the storm

And I´ll be my brother's keeper

So the whole world will know

That we´re not alone

This is the first day of the rest of your life

This is the first day of the rest of your life

´Cause even in the dark you can still see the light

It´s gonna be alright s´gonna be alright

This is the first day of the rest of your life

This is the first day of the rest of your life

´Cause even in the dark you can still see the light

It´s gonna be alright s´gonna be alright

Love will hold us together

Make us a shelter

to weather the storm

And I´ll be my brother's keeper

So the whole world will know

That we´re not alone

Woooho!

Arhaaaa! ' Jack and the choir bowed. Rachel walked back off the stage, exhaled. This was it. A small intermission of 5 minutes for them because Principal Figgins left and returned. She walked outside to the rest of Glee. Jack, a short pacific islander with spiky black hair followed her. "That was awesome Rachel. Thanks."

Finn looked at Rachel excited. "We are really doing this."

"We are. I am shooting for standing ovation." She looked at everyone. "Are we ready?" She clutched her gold star necklace. No one is going to give me fame. I have to make it." A student ran over with mikes and packs and gave them to everyone. They all adjusted them to blend in. Rachel looked at him, "Headsets after 'Push it'.

'What are you waiting for' bubbled up and she smiled. I have this.

Quinn sat silently in the bleachers. Today was just a bad day. First, the video wasn't fake because she saw the duffle still here. His excuse while cute was a deflection. I was chipper and kind all day and he seemed wooden like he wanted to tell me something and couldn't. Then in class she was nauseous again. So she had to take more pills. Damn PMS! And I refuse to support her in anyway. So she sat there with a scowl. I won't let that skank scare me off. And I certainly won't let her have him either.

Principal Figgins walked up to the microphone and tapped it as Mr. Schuester went and sat down in a chair by the stage. He wore a confident look. Everyone still buzzed amongst themselves about tonight and tomorrow.

"Silence, children. Silence. First, an announcement." He paused a moment, scanning the crowd. "The toilets are broken again," he said in a flat tone. "We are fixing the problem but let me warn you there will be zero tolerance for anyone soiling school grounds. We will not have a repeat of last time."

Several chuckles rise from the students. Members of various athletic teams high five each other. Other look over at them in disgust. A few students look disappointed. Quinn looked at Brittany. Brittany looked at Coach Sylvester. And she looked amused.

"We a treat for you guys today. Mr. Schuester." Figgins walks back to his seat as Ms. Pillsbury the guidance counselor said loudly, "Yea, Glee! Glee kids, hooray !" clapping alone. Coach Sylvester looks at her like she's lost her mind. Other facility look embarrassed or disgusted.

"Hi. When I went to school here, Glee club ruled this place. And we are on our way back," he said with confidence.

Coach Sylvester watched with amusement. Quinn watched with a mixture of contempt and amusement. She leaned over and whispered to Santana, "He's a fool, right?"

She whispered her agreement back.

Behind the curtain, Glee got into its places. The jazz ensemble got ready to play. Mark leaned over to the camera man, whispering, "Don't miss any of this. I want both."

Finn lifted Artie onto the platform while Mr. Schuester continued. "But we need some recruits to join the party. Now I could tell you all about how great Glee is but I think I am going to let some friends of mine show you instead." He gestured the entire time speaking, leaning into the microphone as he said 'friends of mine.' When he said 'instead' he waved his arm at the curtain as he ran out of the way. The curtain opened the same way it had the last couple times. This time as students removed the chair and microphone, they were in position. A tape of the background vocals that couldn't be sung by them, the jazz ensemble provided.

Everyone did their bit perfectly and it elicited the reactions from various people. Ms. Pillsbury and Principal Figgins enjoyed it. Mr. Schuester quickly discovered that Rachel had lied and wasn't doing 'Le Freak' or disco at all. He held his hand over his mouth. And Coach Sylvester was first amused then disgusted. Mark was pleased. He smiled brightly, remembering what he needed to tell his bosses about this. Quinn had such a mixture of emotions, but stared. Finn while performing kept looking over at the football players, fear crossing his face, but the enjoyment of the song overshadowed it.

As 'Push It' ended, everything was silent. That is until Jacob sitting with the Football team dove up and shouted '"Yes!" Almost everyone then immediately stood up and applauded. Coach Sylvester and the Cheerios didn't. A surprised then thoughtful looked crossed her as she watched.

Rachel, her hands on Finn's shoulders, And Artie's on her waist and Finn's above that, relaxed. I got it. I knew they would love this. Just wait.

As the applause died down, everyone separated. Rachel and Finn walked to the edge. A student ran over with two headset mikes. Putting hers on, she said softly. "Everyone began to sit down. "We have one more song. Then you will get Steel Thunder."

Rachel looked over at Finn and raised her eyes. He went and lifted her up.

Then Finn sang:

'Ah, dirrty (dirrty)

Filthy (filthy) Nasty,

Rachel sang:

Nasty, you nasty (yeah)

Too dirrty to clean my act up (haha)'

Artie shouted: 'If you ain't dirrty

You ain't here to party (woo!)'

Rachel and Finn together as he flipped her around and sat her down:

'Ladies (move), gentlemen (move)

Somebody ring the alarm

A fire on the roof

Ring the alarm (and I'm throwin' elbows) (7x)

Rachel strutted to the edge reaching around the back of her blouse for the Velcro® strip.

She spoke, 'Uh, let me loose.' Finn walked over as the others danced squat thrusts and pulled on the strip releasing the blouse. She shook it off revealing a blood red crop top that only exposed her midriff. It remained tight near her neck.

He pulled on the skirt and it fell away revealing a shorter one, blood red as well. Then her, Tina, Mercedes and Kurt did the precise choreography of the boxing ring piece of the video.

'Ooh, I'm overdue

Give me some room

I'm coming through

Paid my dues

In the mood

Me and my girls gonna shake the room.

DJ spinning (show your hands)

Let's get dirrty (that's my jam)

I need that, uh, to get me off

Sweating till my clothes come off

Artie and Finn stayed on the outside grooving and flowing until Rachel began the second verse when they followed closer in. Artie rocked the chair several times.

It's explosive, speakers are thumping (oh)

Still jumping, six in the morning

Table dancing, glasses are crashing (oh)

No question, time for some action

Temperature's up (can you feel it)

About to erupt

Gonna get my girls

Get your boys'

Finn went behind her and ran his hands down her sides, stopping at her buttocks.

'Gonna make some noise

Gonna get rowdy

Gonna get a little unruly

Get it fired up in a hurry

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time that I came to start the party

Sweat dripping over my body

Dancing getting just a little naughty

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time for my arrival'

Then they moved to the choreography of the platform section. Artie would do a wheelie around them as they danced, then rock back and forth.

Ah (ah), heat is up

So ladies, fellas

Drop your cups

Bodies packed

Front to back

Now move your ass

I like that

Tight hip huggers (low for sure)

Shake a little somethin' (on the floor)

I need that, uh, to get me off

Sweating till my clothes come off

Let's get open, cause a commotion (ooh oh)

We're still going, eight in the morning

There's no stopping, we keep it popping (oh)

Hard rocking, everyone's talking

Give all you got (give it to me)

Just hit the spot

Gonna get my girls

Get your boys

Gonna make some noise

Rowdy

Gonna get a little unruly

Get it fired up in a hurry

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time that I came to start the party

Ooh sweat dripping over my body

Dancing getting just a little naughty

Wanna get dirrty (oh, oh)

It's about time for my arrival

Here it comes, it's the one

You've been waiting on

Get up, get it rough

Yup, that's what's up

Giving just what you love

To the maximum

Uh oh, here we go (here we go)

What to do when the music

Starts to drop

That's when we take it

To the parking lot

And I bet you somebody's

Gonna call the cops

Uh oh's, here we go's (here we go)

Ohh ooh ohh, yeah yeah...

Artie:

Yo, hot damn, Doc and Jam like a summer show

I keep my car looking like a crash dummy drove

My gear look like the bank got my money froze

For dead presidents I pimp like Huddy roll

Doc the one that excite ya divas (ow!)

If the media shine

I'm shining with both of the sleeves up

Yo Rachel (what), better hop in here

My block live and in color, like Artie hair (yeah)

The club is packed, the bar is filled

I'm waiting for sister to act, like Lauryn Hill

Frankly, it's a rap, no bargain deals

I drive a four wheel ride with foreign wheels

Throw it up

Baby it's Brick City, you heard of that

We blessed, and hung low, like Bernie Mac (Bernie Mac)

Dogs, let 'em out, women, let 'em in

It's like I'm ODB, the way I'm freaking

Gonna get rowdy (rowdy, yeah)

Gonna get a little unruly (ruly)

Get it fired up in a hurry (hurry)

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time that I came to start the party (party)

Sweat dripping over my body (body)

Dancing getting just a little naughty

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time for my arrival

Rowdy

Gonna get a little unruly

(Ooh oh)

Get it fired up in a hurry

(Ooh ohh, whoa)

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time that I came to start the party

Ooh sweat dripping over my body

Dancing getting just a little naughty

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time for my arrival

Rowdy

(Let's get dirrty)

Gonna get a little unruly

(I wanna get dirrty)

Get it fired up in a hurry

(Let's get dirrty)

Wanna get dirrty

It's about time that I came to start the party

(Ooh baby yeah)

Sweat dripping over my body

(Let's get dirrty)

Dance and getting just a little naughty

(Wanna get dirrty)

Wanna get dirrty

(Oh yeah)

It's about time for my arrival

Uh, what"

As it ended, everyone was exhausted. The standing ovation was immediate as was the reactions. Schuester was shocked, amused and disappointed. Figgins and Ms. Pillsbury enjoyed it although she looked a bit confused at some words. Quinn was horrified, especially at the two times Rachel squatted almost showing her panties to the crowd but definitely showing them to Finn as he scooped her up. But Coach Sylvester was speechless. She stared at them then looked at Brad who shrugged his shoulders.

Rachel walked to the edge of the stage, dripping sweat. "Thank you very much for watching us and I hope you come join us. We need only 7 more."

She then took off her mike as she stepped off the stage. Mr. Schuester began walking over but stopped when he saw a man he never saw before move swiftly towards her. "Who's that?" He asked to no one in particular. Brad answered having stood to introduce 'Steel Thunder'. "Mark Connor of Interscope Geffen, the record label. He has been recording the entire rally." Mr. Schuester plopped back on the bleacher annoyed.

Rachel saw Mark coming and grinned. Finn stood beside her, proud by winded his hand around her waist. "You guys are awesome. Rachel, that was an excellent rendition of Dirrty. Push it was unique as well and good for your vocals. I am pleased with both and I know I will have good news when we talk in 2. I am going to stay to finish because this is the first school I have been to that has this many performing arts and they are all good." He smiled at her and then walked back to the camera guy. As they left, Rachel looked over at Mr. Schuester. He was not happy at all.

Twenty Minutes later, Finn and Rachel were outside Figgins' office while Mr. Schuester and Coach Sylvester were talking to him. Apparently, Kevin from A/V decided to broadcast the pep assembly on WMHS Channel 56. When he bumped into the cameraman, he lied, telling him that a Special Olympian would be speaking on overcoming adversary. So Kevin called the program director of WTLW channel 44 who was willing to spare an hour for that too. Problem was WTLW is a Christian station that broadcasts evangelical Christian programs and local sports. So the moment 'Push It' came on, angry emails began to fill the system at WMHS. 'Dirrty only compounded the problem.

So Rachel and Finn who had followed an deeply annoyed Mr. Schuester to the office were waiting outside when Kevin came by embarrassed. "I didn't know. The camera man said that a 'Special Olympian would be speaking on overcoming adversary'. He was carrying all the right gear and looked official. There was even an actual truck outside. How did I know he lied to me." He frowned, contrite. "By the way, you all were awesome." He stepped up to Rachel, leaning over to whisper into her ear. She cringed a bit. "You were hot."

She looked at him like he was a pervert briefly. He smiled and nodded. "You were! Don't say you didn't intend that." He chuckled at her eww face.

Mark walked up to them alone carrying a disc. "I figured that since you are still here, I would give you this before you go. It has both the edited version I am showing Ron as well as the unedited version. If everything goes above expectations, expect a call sooner. Otherwise, see you in 2."

"Excuse me, Mr. Connor but did your camera man tell a student that a Special Olympian would be speaking on overcoming adversary?" Finn asked flatly.

"I think so. I didn't want anyone to know we were here to film Rachel exclusively because they tend to ham things up. Damn American Idol. Hope he didn't cause any problems." He walked off, commenting to himself about Simon Cowell being an ass.

Finn walked over and rested his arm on her. "I had fun." And as he stared into her eyes, Quinn walked up. She cleared her throat loudly. An icy glare fell on Rachel.

Finn looked over an sighed. "We need to talk."

"Yes we do. Not here. The locker?" She suggested with her most pleasing smile. He nodded looking back at her with a shrug.

Turning to the wall, Rachel banged her head on the door several times before stopping and waiting. Sensing motion, she turned around to see Coach Sylvester come up. She glared an even more icily during the fingers to eyes hand sign as well. Mr. Schuester followed soon after.

"Mr. Schuester, I'm so sorry," She said as he walked past. He stopped to look back at her.

"You understand what you did today?! You lied to me!" He remarked, embarrassed and frustrated. "And you ruined our chances. No parent in their right mind is going to let their kid join Glee now." He looked at a piece of paper that was given to him.

"Oh and her is a list of the songs we are allowed to sing," he said with less intensity but more disappointment. He handed her the paper. A quick glance revealed it was filled with some of the very same songs she had heard at the concert. Most of which were inappropriate for Glee. The other 20 were ones with weird names like Kajagoogoo, Nena or Night Ranger. And even the Rickroll was on there. Like I am going to sing Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. And what is O-zone's 'Dragostea Din Tea'?

"What's a luftbaloon?" She asked contrite.

"Look, I know how much you care about Glee club and I understand why you did what you did but I don't like the way you did it." He said with a intense stare before walking off still frustrated. Rachel stood there for a moment sad before walking to her locker to get her gear and go home.

Finn stopped as he got to his locker. He looked at Quinn again. She was smiling and cheerful. She complimented him on the performance and even said a nice thing about Rachel. "Are you ok, Quinn?" he asked concerned.

"I'm tired from this bug that keeps bothering me but other than that yes. Why?"

"I'm concerned about you. You seem not yourself."

"I'm fine. And now that we are here I want to tell you that I am joining Glee!" She said with a bright smile. "Isn't that great. I saw how much you loved it up there. So I realized that I can't take that from you if I do care about you so I'll join." He stared at her looking for any sense this was a prank. Yet her face was lit up like before school started. "You tried out?" He asked seriously.

"I'll do so Wednesday. Right now we have to get out there. We have a game to prepare for.

Rachel walked up just as Quinn was leading Finn off. She looked back and saw her. Staring, she stopped. "I'll be just a moment, See you out there." She called to him as she walked over. Rachel looked up at her as she stood there with that intense look. "I came to tell you. You are NOT taking anything from me. Least of all, Finn."

"You assume that you still have him," Rachel retorted. "I told you I won't take him."

Quinn stepped closer, placing her hand on the locker beside her. "I saw the video. I saw Finn singing to you in a hotel room. So don't lie. He's mine."

I've had enough. "I'm not sorry that he came or that we slept in the same room without a chaperone. Or that we had dinner together."

Quinn face fell but she recovered. "You've had him because of Glee. That changes because I am joining Glee."

Rachel frowned. No. No, this can be a good thing. Focus on the positive. She can't be happy constantly. "Good."

"See you Wednesday then," she sneered as she walked off.

Rachel finished and took her suitcase out to the car. Putting it the backseat she drove home. Tearing up the stairs to her room, she pulled open the closet. She tugged out the fire proof file cabinet and unlocked it. Scores of jewel cases laid before her. Finding the one from the night at the hotel, she flew down the stairs to the library. Hiram shouted, "A problem?"

"Yes!" She opened the doors to the armoire and activated the dvd player. Sliding the disc in, she hit play. The song came up and she fast forward through it.

"You alright?" Hiram asked as Rachel held down the remote, her face intense.

"No Dad. It just not far. Quinn doesn't believe me and she's hurting Finn because of it." And then she saw it. Finn's song was on the tape. That meant it was online. Everyone saw it. I have to tell him. She looked up at her dad who was holding a lox and cream cheese bagel. "I have to go find Finn."

He looked at her. "Here, take this." He handed her the bagel. She crammed a bite into to her mouth as she jetted back upstairs with the disc.

Well everything unfolded just like the dream a week ago. Quinn wouldn't let her in. And when she walked by she saw Brad talking to the Wolverettes coach. One thing led to another and when Coach Grace asked her to be a Wolverette and uproot her routine. Yet the fury of her altercating with Quinn changed things. She didn't say "I want to help you but…I want more time," like she did in the dream. No, this time she said yes. "Yes, I'll do it." I am tired of you Quinn getting in my face about Finn. He'll come to me. I know he will. This will guarantee it. You want to join Glee because he's there and damage me. Then I will become a cheerleader. I can do this. I can be popular there and get them a championship. Finn will want me even more because I'm not at the bottom of the social heap anymore. She nodded. All success takes sacrifice. So I lose some free time. I will still get everything.

It was amusing because the game unfolded the same way the dream game did. It wasn't until she saw Finn drop the binoculars in shock that she knew she made the right choice. And the game ended with the Wolverines winning. The only difference was that she couldn't start over there until next Monday. And that her Saturday was gone now too. But sacrifices were required.

Finn stood motionless for real this time. This was no dream. The binoculars hanging at his side. "How?" He snapped out of it and gestured that he would at the games end. She immediately jumped twice. Of course games end was in 30 regulation seconds. The Titans were out of time outs and the Wolverines had possession, so they would run down the clock.

He blew out a breath, excitement bubbling up. What would possess her to do that? Quinn would react with an evil I don't want to think about. I don't have to worry about Puck though. He would accept her then, that's how shallow he is. He looked at Puck on the field as the game ended. Not telling him, because treason was not well accepted.

Coach was cursing, so he walked over to Assistant Coach Johnson. He handed him the binoculars back. Johnston, a tall wiry man, frowned watching everything on the field. He looked at Finn as he took the binoculars back. "Go, have fun. I'll cover. At least someone will enjoy the night."

Finn walked to the locker room and through and then into the hall that separated the men's from the women's. At the end of the hall was a bomb shelter under the field its self and it had another hall that connected to the opposing team locker rooms. It made a great rendezvous point for people who wanted to stay hidden for liaisons. And he knew that Santana and Puck had used it several times. I still haven't figured out a way to break it off with Quinn. And with her suddenly being nice like in the beginning it would like kicking a kitten. He frowned. He was caught again. It not fair to either of them.

He entered the dark hallway, flipped on the old flickering incandescent bulbs and sprinted the distance. A quick pull open of the other door, he walked up the stairs not sure who he would find or what would happen. The hallway was empty. As he approached the door that led to the field, he ran into her.

"Rachel?"

She looked at him, still in his pads. "Your song is on the video we shot in the hotel room" She had a brave smile on. Oohs rose from the background. But he saw she was exhausted , covering in sweat. Yet she still smelt good. The words stopped him. The he realized that he wasn't embarrassed by them. "That's OK.. It happens. But I have to ask, why this?" He asked honestly.

"Because I care enough about you that I don't want to do anything to harm you. So if that means I have to be like Quinn, fine." The earnest eyes and small smile told him she was doing it for him. It was a bit spooky but still wonderful. He beheld her in the black and gold cheerleading outfit with the gold star and realized it endeared him more. But it also unsettled him. He didn't want her to change and be more like Quinn. I want Quinn to be more like Rachel. And that won't ever happen.

"Can you help me with my singing," he asked softly as he reached over and pulled her in, hugging her. "Tomorrow in the auditorium?"

"She whispered back. "Yes, I will."

"I like you, Rachel. You are my best friend." Aww floated up from the rest of the squad.

"Look, I don't care if you're the Queen of Sheba, go back to your own side," shouted in from Rachel's right. Then Emily said, "You got fifteen seconds to go away or I swear I will make you eat that turf."

It was a furious scream, which caught her attention and caused her to step away from Finn. Quinn stood there, intense and furious, her hair messy from the night. "You are not getting away with this!"

Rachel walked over to Quinn. Waving the rest of them back, she stepped close to her. "Away with what exactly? I believe you said only Football players and cheerleaders were allowed on the field. That's all I see."

Quinn desperately masked the fear that cropped up. "Finn! Why are you over here?"

Finn looked at her and said flatly, "Because I needed help with my singing." And he smiled at her. "We need to get back to the locker room. Our respective coaches will be wondering where we are."

Emily smiled darkly at Quinn. "Run, blonde. Remember, next time, you aren't picking on her. You are picking on us."

Quinn shook her head and stalked off. Finn tried to comfort her but she rebuffed it. He paused and turned to her right there about to speech when she looked and said, "I'm sorry. I'm just tired, and annoyed. "

Finn frowned for a moment, looked over at Rachel who was watching them along where Emily and two other squad members. He whispered into her ear. "Why are you worried? She knows nothing about Cheerleading. You are captain and won nationals last year."

Quinn looked up at him with a fake smile. Anger was still in her eyes and he saw it. It wasn't a good feeling but it was honest. Rachel did have an ulterior motive, and hurting Quinn was a part of it. He sighed, a deep frown on his face. As last look at Rachel and she was disappointed and frustrated as well. It only left him more confused. So why do I regret what I just said?

Rachel got home late. Hiram was sitting in the dark again when she walked in with her suitcase and new black and gold cheer duffel. "What happened?"

"Dad, I'm so sorry. I forgot to call. It got really hectic when I got there and then I became a part of the Wolverines Cheer squad…"

Hiram walked over to her and stared. She held her sad face with her dark puppy dog eyes. He read her and saw she wasn't lying. "I thought WMHS's cheer squad was the Cheerios?"

"They are. I joined Forest Hill's"

He shook his head, amused. "I assume permission slips are in that duffel."

"They are," she said stifling a yawn. It was almost 11. "Dad, I am going up to take a shower and go to bed. Can we talk tomorrow? I have no school."

"Of course. And I didn't get to say it earlier. Your performances were beautiful. A bit raunchy but beautiful."

She smiled and hugged him. "Thanks Dad Hiram. Did Day Leroy see it?"

"Yeah, I tivoed it. He thought it was hilarious that it was on channel 44."

She nodded, stifling another yawn. Leaving the duffel downstairs to be washed, she went up to her bedroom, washed up and collapsed on the bed.

The next morning, Rachel was up at her usual time. But after her morning routine, she knew she needed to see what she got herself into. So she drove to Forest Hill High School in Elida to talk to Coach Grace. The office was bookshelves filled with motivation and uplift books, an Awards case with personal awards including several gymnastics medals and even a small jacket faded with age. Spirit sticks where on another level held with pride. The walls were pink with gold stars raining down. On her desk a ceramic bear sat on one side of her name place. A statuette of the Marvel Comics character sat on the other side. An in and out box were on the ends of the desk and a touchscreen laid.

Coach Angela Grace, wearing a pink addias tracksuit, sat in her chair taping at the screen. Noticing motion, she looked up. "Hello, Rachel. I didn't expect you here yet. Is there something I can do for you? Come, sit."

Worry covered her face as she came in. "Coach Grace, I, I am so sorry. I think I shouldn't be here."

Angela looked up at her, concerned. "Did you get slushied when you walked these halls?"

"No. No one knows me yet."

"Yes they do. They know you are a Wolverette. They saw it because you are wearing a gold star necklace and black skirt. But more importantly, they saw last night. But all that aside, we don't allow slushie throwing here. But you didn't come because of that. You believe you made a mistake agreeing. You believe you agreed because you want to stick it to the captain of the WMHS Cheerios, right?'"

Rachel stared at her shocked. "Yes."

"We want the same things. I want what is constantly taken from me through deceit and manipulation. The Cheerios are not a superior squad. Sue – Coach Sylvester molds the rules so she can win. We have played fair for the last two years and came second. Now Union Varsity Cheer of Tulsa, Oklahoma, they took Super Large. They are an awesome squad. We are in large which is 16-20. So it's a tradeoff. You get everything you are missing out on. Support of a team that cares about you and all want to win. A place where you are at the top where you belong, and have a chance to become a winner."

Rachel frowned. I want all this. But what about Glee? "I'm worried that practice will interfere with Glee."

"It won't. And why can I say that? Because we need you. Taking their championship away from them would hurt all of them so much more.I gather you didn't see the inscription above our Trophy Wall. It was put there last year by our Basketball Coach Parker. Come, I'll show you." She rose and walked out the office down the long hall, past the A/V rooms. A left, a right and near the library. It covered a wall with a marble outlay. At the top, in carved Thasos white marble with gold raised letters it read "Being a part of something special makes you special."

Rachel stared at it with wide eyes. "You need us. We need you. I am calling in chits and a few favors to bend the rules for you so that for once we all will have a victory that has been denied us. But it is your choice." Coach Grace walked back to her office, leaving Rachel standing there. As the bell rang, various Wolverettes came up and welcomed her and smiled and asked about when she was starting class.

She smiled and answered 'Next Monday'. They always seemed excited. Guys would walk by and smile at her. It was all surreal. Finally, the students melted away except the hall monitors who ignored her. Walking back to the office, she paused at the door. Coach Grace was looking at her jacket. "I got this jacket when I was selected for the 1999 national Gymnastics team. I made Sydney too. Got injured thereafter. Never competed again. I am a champion. You are too. You just need to see it. Taste it. Smell it."

"You said 3 meets, the practices, the games and one class?" Rachel looked upbeat.

"That's the minimum. If you want you can be here all day and only be there for the classes you want. But I understand you want to keep a presence there."

Rachel nodded. It might be hell but it was home. "How long?"

"We need each other until we win the National Championship. There are actually two. One in mid-November in Albuquerque and the other in early January. I would like both but the Cheerios only usually go to the November one ran by National Cheerleading Association. The Universal Cheerleading Association is in January. I also understand that you want to be in Glee more so I wouldn't want you feel trapped."

Rachel smiled at her. "I made you a promise. We will be victorious," she shouted.

Coach Grace looked up at her proud and handed her id badges, locker location and locker room keys. "I need those permission slips." Rachel pulled them out her purse, then handed them over.

"Those keys are for exterior access. After they close up the interior. As you saw we have one building so our Locker rooms have interior and exterior access. And we trust our ladies. Oh and one final thing. Everyone loved your performance on Channel 44 yesterday. You rocked."

Rachel grinned. Clutching her stuff, she knew her star was rising. It was the balance that worried her. I'll make it work. And Finn was so pleased. Finn! The practice tonight! "I have a glee practice tonight!"

Coach Grace looked up at her calmly. "I know. Brad sent me the schedule. So We will start late. I need everyone to get used to the later hours anyway, so be here at 6 pm. Emily will get you used to our routine. Tell if you already performed so we don't make you warm up. If you are it's a waste of our and your time. And besides everything, Rachel, I am genuinely happy to have you here. No matter what I want you believe you can come to us with anything. Emily, Kaylie and I are behind you one hundred percent." She smiled, a broad pleased smile. "And now I have a meeting, so see you tonight?"

Rachel nodded. Something's moving, Something's changing, see His glory, feels like heaven on earth. As she left, the lines drifted though her mind and she wondered, I can't have won. It feels right but a piece is missing. She sighed as she walked down hall remarkably different than WMHS. They were newer, more modern and even the lockers were newer. It didn't feel like home. It felt foreign. AS for the first time she could remember, she felt torn. If she keeps her promise then I can be famous and someone now. Or I can continue there and struggle. So why is it so hard to choose?

Finn wasn't happy. His relaxing day was melting down into a chatter of angry Cheerios screaming at him. Like this is my fault. Quinn was surprising silent. She held this spooked look in her eyes like she had walked on someone's grave. It was almost time for the singing practice he had asked Rachel to help him with The one where I was supposed to tell I had broken up with Quinn. But something is going on with her so I have to wait.

"You have to do something, Finn. Talk to her, convince her to invest more time in Glee. Something, like make-out point, Santana prattled, agitated. Quinn wheeled on her, venomous look in her eyes.

"What exactly can I do? She made her choice. Why is it that important?"

Finn asked this as Coach Sylvester walked up to the locker and the cluster of Cheerios. "I thought there would be no Cheerios here today. Care to explain Q?" Coach Sylvester looked serious.

"Rachel became a Wolverette." Quinn stated flatly, with a touch of sadness.

"Not possible. She is enrolled here. She would have to be enrolled in Forest Hills as well and attend class there." Coach Sylvester stated as several Cheerios shook their heads. "Brittany was she out on the field in uniform last night?"

"Yes, Coach. She spent most of her time eye f***ing Finn though." She said with a smile like she made a joke. Quinn shot her a vicious look and elbowed her in the ribs. "What?" she said looking back.

Coach Sylvester sighed, her face flat. Then she realized some and grew extremely angry. That faded just as fast. "Go enjoy the rest of your day off. Be thankful I have something to do or we would be practicing today.

"What about Rachel?" Quinn asked.

"It will be handled Q, And I need you, Santana and Brittany in my office in 30 minutes."

Each said, "Yes, coach."

Finn relaxed as everyone left, but Quinn walked back and grabbed him, pushing him into the wall beside the locker. "You are not breaking up with me now. She won't be one that long. And it changes nothing." She leaned in a kissed him hard and long, taking his hand and putting it on her breast. Then she took the other one and put in down her skirt. Breaking, she leaned on him and whispered, "I want you," in her most sensual voice.

Finn immediately had the 'Remember the Mailman' problem. Quinn let go of him, a sex smile on her lips. "See you tonight. I think we can resolve this."

Stunned, Finn watched her walk away. Puck came by looking for Santana. He seemed amused. "Good choice. I have only one question. Did you do Rachel?"

"What?" He stared annoyed at Puck.

"In the Hotel room. Did you know, the horizontal mambo between the sheets.

"No." He said remembering the night and its wonder. Then Puck saw Finn's face.

"It you touch her and choose Rachel she'll kill you. If you do Rachel, she'll break you. You are stuck and it's all your fault.": He laughed. "And I thought I was good. How'd you convince her to be a cheerleader. That takes props man." Puck slapped him on the back. "All is forgiven man. I should have never doubted you."

Finn walked towards the auditorium and uncertainty. Why now? Why can this ever be easy?

The practice was good. Finn learned that Rachel could play piano sort of. And as they practice, his problems melted away. No talk of her being a Wolverette or her sudden obvious poking at Quinn. It hid away under the dancing and singing. An hour passed and he started to warble. So she suggested that he do a vocal exercise that she was shown years ago. She sat down at the piano and tapped the G3 piano key.

"Try." She said with a buoyant smile.

"Laaaaaaaa."

"Good!"

"That was good." He grinned back at her.

"Ok, One more up." She tapped the G4 a couple times.

"LAAAAAA." He hit the note higher and better.

"That was really good," she encouraged him, delighted.

"What that good?" He asked concerned.

"Yeah. That was. It is like the holy grail for a bari-tennor. So it's a good note." She looked at the keyboard as she gestured with her hands. Her smile was broad, and pride kept flushing her face. Anxiousness crept into her voice. "I'll start at the bottom and we will go up higher."

Finn saw her flusteredness. "Can we take a break? Singing kinda makes me a bit hungry." As does looking at you in the shortest skirt I have seen ever wear.

Getting up from the piano, she said nervously, "Sure. Lucky, I prepared for that." She gestured towards the picnic basket with food and the blanket spread out on the stage.

"Wow!" Surprised delight coated his words as he glanced over at it. "I was wondering what that was all about."

Hesitant and Anxious, Rachel stood adjusting her hands behind her deep maroon sweater. Finally after several tense seconds, she asked, "Wanna sit?" gesturing to the blanket.

"Yeah. Yeah." He said as we walked over. "Absolutely."

"I was wondering why you asked me to help you with your singing," she said as she walked over to the blanket. As she sat down, she pulled down of the skirt to tuck it under. "You kicked butt at the assembly."

He sat down watching her take the food out of the basket. "Well this is my only chance to be, you know, good like you." All tense and nervous, He beheld her. Her polite rustling in the basket. The slight slouch she had. The fact that her hand covered her skirt. And that she wore argyle socks. Why is it so hard now? I need to make the choice. I know who I want. Why can't I say it? Because I will break someone's heart.

She stopped looking through the basket. She beheld him, with that pensive desire that he had seen her hold everytime they spent time together. Not taking her eyes off him, she said, "You think I'm good?" And a small puff of breeze blew some strands of hair.

Finn smiled. "Well, when I first joined, I thought you were kind of insane." He raised his eyebrows. "I mean you talk a lot more than you should. And to be honest, I looked under the bed to make sure you weren't hanging out under there." She looked away, embarrassed and sad. "But then I heard you sing," he continued not breaking his gaze, serious.

She looked back up at him, a light in her eyes even as the disappointment still remained. A soft wonder. A hope. "I don't know how to say this but you touched something in me." She brightened not smiling but not unhappy. "Right here." He put his hand on the wrong side of his chest again. She looked at him, subtly amused. Her face softly lit, a smile with pursed lips. She took his hand, reached over and moved it to the correct side. "Your heart's on the other side of your chest."

He gazed in typical befuddled awe and wonder. You know all these things. I like you so much already. I can do this. I want you to be my girlfriend, not Quinn. Looking down at his hand he exhaled, embarrassed, "Oh, it's beating really hard."

She beheld him, the tension growing, the desire growing as well. Inhaling her scent, he stared her deep brown eyes. Moments passed. "You're cool, Rachel."

Overwhelmed, Rachel pulled her hand away. Looking back to the basket, she said "Do you want a drink?"

"Yeah." He stared at the blanket as she withdrew a blue thermos and glasses. Why didn't you say it? His mind drifted to Quinn briefly before he brushed it away. You have to say it or this insanity with continue. They are already in a cold war. Or do you enjoy this? He knew he didn't. The memory of them sparing bothered him more than he wanted to admit. You are afraid of what Quinn will do if you do break up with her? You have to overcome this. You are better than that. Rachel has an intangible quality you didn't have, a quality he wanted to possess. He sighed.

"Virgin Cosmos," she said as she uncapped the thermos.

"Cool."

She giggled at his comment.

"That stuff you said at the celibacy club. That is really cool." He inhaled, tense again. She handed him the plastic cup. The smell was of cranberries. "Thanks."

"Well…" she said as she poured a glass for herself. "Cheers!"

"Cheers!" He said hesitantly but jubilantly. They tapped glasses and he drank noticing it tasted a lot like Ocean Spray® cranberry juice with but more tart. Shaking it off, he gazed at her watching her drink. She gazed back as she did, her face enraptured. Time to make my move. To make it or break it.

"You got a little Cosmo right here," he said lovingly as he took his thumb and brushed the area under her nose. He stared into her eyes as he did it. She looked down it as he pulled his hand away, connected with him in perfect harmony.

It was then he knew. Rachel with her deep maroon sweater, tan skirt and argyle socks. Rachel with her endearing aggressiveness. Rachel was more beautiful than he had ever seen her before. And as he went to say it, a lump caught in his throat.

"You know you can kiss me if you want too," she said with a gentleness that spoke volumes. It was as if she had said something else. And she waited tense and hesitant.

Trying to clear the lump, he couldn't. The emotions which were never there with Quinn started overwhelming him. As he stared at Rachel he gasped, inhaled and calmed himself. Taking a gulp, it cleared. I want you to be with me. Not Quinn. You. I want you, Rachel. "I want to." 'Halo' floated though his head. Odd.

She leaned back as he leaned forward. He slipped his arm around her, cradling her. She held her arms beside her, her hand closed. She looked into his eyes with love and trust and innocent gentleness. She rested her back on the pillows as he leaned her balancing himself so he didn't hurt her. Then he leaned in and kissed her softly. It was gentle, warm and wonderful. It was everything he wanted.

He let up to inhale then kissed her again, more deeply that he had ever kissed Quinn. Visions of Rachel dancing while the 'Halo' music played filled his mind as the taste of her pink lipstick mixed with cranberry filled his mouth. It was the best moment all year. And then the 'mailman' ruined it.

Visions of that scene ran though his mind as the phone in his pocket buzzed. The injured 'mailman' shattered it like a mirror striking a stone floor. Breaking free, he dove off her, the fluid staining his boxers. Embarrassed, his face contorted, he looked in horror as he stood.

Rachel propped herself up, and said softly, "Did I do something wrong?"

"No. No. Uh," His face wincing. "I just gotta go." He looked at her, concerned but the softness was gone. As he backed away, he said, "Please don't tell anyone about this." And he ran off the stage.

As he left, his mind screamed, You ruined it. Now not only is she going upset at you but what about tomorrow. Disappointment and anger crossed his face as he knew he had wounded her unintentionally. The phone rang again and he pulled the battery from it. As he ran to the locker room, he knew he'd lost her. He wanted to hit someone but the problem was the only person he could hit was himself. His embarrassment ruined it. How do I fix this?

Rachel sat them, crushed as he ran out, horror on his face. What happened? Am I that bad? Tears began to flow as she covered her face kneeling there. After a few minutes of sobbing, she drew up enough strength to gather up everything including the uneaten sandwiches and go. She had a full hour before her first practice as a Wolverette and her face was now tearstained. Heartbroken, she screamed as she left the auditorium, "WHY ME! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?"

In to her mini cooper she went, tearing out of the parking lot. 20 minutes later she was at Forest Hills. Heartbreak had morphed to anger. That Anger morphed to a cold realization that she had to do this herself. That she could only trust those who cared for her. So how Finn felt it wasn't enough."

She has this fierce intensity as she stormed down the halls with her duffel. Arriving at the locker room, she found her locker. It had her signature on it with a gold star beside her name. That immediately made her feel better.

Emily and Kaylie walked over already in uniform. "Damn, that skirt would never have passed here. Oh well, welcome Rachel. Meet us out on the field when you are dressed."

Kaylie walked off. Emily stayed behind. "And if you need someone to talk to, we can. There's no hard push unless you screw up. A loved horse runs far better than a beaten one. A true trainer knows the difference."

Rachel hesitated. "Thank you very much. It's been a bad day. It's so unfair." I need to remember that I have to change in front of them now. And maybe it is my fault that he dove up. Maybe I am not enough like Quinn. Well this should fix that. And with that she changed rapidly into her uniform. Out on the field, everyone stopped and applauded Rachel.

"Em said you looked like you were crying. Everyone ok? Anything we can fix?" Coach Grace asked after she walked over. "No. It's my fault. I'm love with someone who doesn't feel the same. It won't affect my performance." And she looked at her like a mother looks at a daughter. "If he does love you, he'll be back and he will make it up."

Emily whispered. "He does care about you. I saw it the way he looked at you and the way he looked at her. He cares about you far more than her. For her its lust. You its deeper. And guys are weird with their emotions."

Quinn had sat in Coach Sylvester's office for the better part of an hour now without her. Santana and Brittany didn't know what happened either. But no one wanted to leave. So there they remained. So Quinn called Finn to remind him about tonight. The first one went to voice mail after about five rings. The second went immediately. "Damn that wench!"

"What? " Santana said, startled.

"Our resident strumpet is rehearsing with Finn alone right now," she said furious.

"And that's bad. How do you play the strumpet?" Brittany asked.

Quinn glared at her. And then the door slammed.

"Well, ladies. Apparently, it did happen. Rachel is officially a cheerleader for the Forest Hills High school. She is dual enrolled using an obscure law that allows it because she wasn't doing any athletics here. But that isn't why I wanted you here Q. Or the two of you either." Sue sat down in her chair.

"Let me get this straight, you are joining glee club?"

Quinn was immediately contrite, begging, " I am sorry, Coach Sylvester but something is going on between Finn and that thing!" She raged at the word 'thing'. Santana and Brittany sat there impassive and silent.

"You saw how it was undressing him with its eyes." Coach Sylvester sat there dispassionate and uncaring as she spoke. "Please don't kick us off the Cheerios," Quinn pleaded.

Coach Sylvester's face softened. "Cease fire with the waterworks," she pointed to her. "You know I don't want to see it. You know, Q, when I first laid eyes on you I was reminded of a young Sue Sylvester, although you don't have my bone structure. But it wasn't until this very moment, I saw how alike we really are."

Santana looked over at her as Brittany sat poised and silent like a statue.

"You three are going to be my spies. I need eyes on the inside." Sue pointed to her head. "We are going to bring this club down from within." Santana and Brittany smiled darkly as Sue spoke while Quinn looked relieved. They high fived each other, pleased to be a part of it.

"And I am going to get my boyfriend back," Quinn said with a hesitant, self-conscious smile.

"I don't care so much about that," Sue said dispassionately. "So go make it happen. And keep me aware of what is going on."

That night Quinn expected Finn to show just like she knew he would. He had wanted into her pants since as soon as they met but she had always held back. Now, she had to put out to keep him away from the skank's claws. Plus she was going to have to foot the bill for him next time the Cheerios went somewhere to she would be on even footing with her. Where is he? He's now late. He's never late. The phone still went to voice mail too. It didn't make since and fear kept telling her that they were making out. That Finn had told her what happened and that her wanted her. That because she was a cheerleader now, he would take her instead.

Finally the phone chirped. It wasn't a ring. It was a text. It said. "Not coming. Sorry. See you tomorrow."

Dejected yet relieved, she snuffed out the candle and went to bed, alone.

Finn closed the phone, sating at the floor. I can't even do the simple things right. Turning on the cd, a song he remembered came on. 'Fever Dreams' by Dashboard Confessional. So he sang with the music.

'Fever Dreams

Can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

They can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

They can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

They can only haunt you

Beneath your skin

And your games

You're alone

But you're so contagious

Tell me, what am I to do?

When a fire, and a fever rages

And I have caught it too,

So who's to blame

Fever Dreams

They can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

They can only haunt you

I've had enough of these moves

I've had enough of these moves

You get everything with

I've lost all I can lose

To your skill and your games

But you're so contagious, so contagious

Fever dreams

Can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

They can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

They can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

They can only haunt you

'Til the fever breaks

But you're so contagious

Tell me, what am I to do?

When a fire and a fever rages

And I have caught it too,

So who's blame

For who gets burned

For holding you?

As he finished, he wondered which was he addicted to, Quinn or Rachel? And could he ever make the choice. What scared him was no, he couldn't. And worse that he damaged his friendship with her. That caused a tear to fall.

Thursday was hard. For the first time, she saw the contrast between schools. She saw how bad everyone treated her there. And the difference was night and day. There were outcasts at Forest Hills too. But there the emo-punks and the Goths who were it. They made themselves outcast. No choir did make an odd difference. She understood how Quinn held her power. It didn't make it any easier when they came in. However, they hadn't yet. As when Mr. Schuester did he sorted papers for about five minutes today.

Mr. Schuester announced, "Rachel, I changed 'Don't Stop Believing'." And suddenly wearing a black vest over a white and black heart blouse wasn't a good idea. The sheet music for 'Don't stop believing' was laying on the piano.

"You are giving Quinn Fabray the solo?" She said with disbelief. She shook her head. "That's my solo."

Mr. Schuester looked up at her with an disappointed, tired tone. "You made this happen, Rachel. You were the one that wanted to sell sex at the assembly. Quinn's audition song was on Figgins' approved list, and frankly, I think she did a heck of a job singing it." He stopped sort, and leaned over looking at her.

"You're punishing me." Rachel stated, annoyed.

"Contrary to your beliefs, it's not all about you." She looked away, dejected and tired. "Or I realized about me. Look I screwed up too."

She looked over at him confused and surprised. He continued, contrite. "I am as responsible for what you did at that assembly as you are. I should have never pushed disco so hard." With a smile, he leaned over the piano. "When we did it back in '93, it was cool. We had fun." Rachel looked at him and smiled, shaking her head in amusement. "And that, that is what glee is supposed to be about." He looked at her earnestly.

She looked away. "If we are going to succeed, we both need to change our mindsets." He stood back up and returned to sorting. "You are not always going to be the star." He began to put the sheet music into his satchel Rachel withdrew, looking sadly at the floor before looking up at him when he said star. "But I promise to do my best to make sure you are always having fun." Looking away from him, she looked at the empty room, pensive. Why does everyone always say I have to change when it isn't me whose the problem? Had you not pushed this, I wouldn't be in this. She felt tired and sore. She knew Quinn would be hanging off Finn today. And it bothered her.

"We are on our way."

"Can I use the auditorium later to practice? Our neighbors are filing a lawsuit."

"Sure."

That practice she sang 'Take a Bow'. That night, Quinn's house got toilet papered and her car got egged. Not that Rachel knew she just practiced in both locations and did her nightly ritual. I'm not changing a thing. If he has a problem with me he has to tell me. The apology call came that night as well, She took it but was a perfunctory as he was too Quinn. Score one for her, she would come down easy. Nor was he ready to give her up.

None of it made since until she sat in Mr. Grace's 11 am English Lit class. At the beginning of the class he read from Yeats.

"Before I read this, I want you to prepare your mind. Understand where he is coming from. Why he wrote this in 1919 in the midst of World War one. I want a full page opinion essay on it by the end of class.

The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

"The center cannot hold," she mumbled as she wrote swiftly.

1 Topheth is the Hebrew version of Hell. It was a real place in the Valley of Hinnom, where the Canaanites sacrificed children to the god Moloch by burning them alive.