It's a Metaphor, right?
- Chapter 3 -
Rachel thinks about the past year, specifically the egging incident. She comes to the conclusion that it was not an act of hate or a funk-ified prank, but a metaphor. And metaphors are important. Rachel-centric/Finn/Jesse/Shelby
Arriving at Shelby's house, Rachel drops her jaw slightly as she sees the beauty of the home. It's not abnormally big, but just the right size for a small family. The house has a few colorful flowers in front, lining the walkway to the front door and an attached garage to the right.
"Looks like she got her garden, too," Rachel says dejectedly to herself as she pulls into the driveway after Shelby. So she now has a new baby in her house with a garden. Why should that matter to Rachel? All she needs now is a dog to fulfill all her wants. Rachel wonders whether she can fit into her mother's life now, too. That's what she wants; hopefully after their talk, she - and Shelby - will figure out a way to have her in her life as well.
Rachel shuts off her car and steps outside, continuing to observe her surroundings. Shelby must have done pretty well at Carmel high to live here and be able to support a new baby now.
I wonder if she's going to get another job now that she quit Carmel. She can't possibly be able to live off of what she earned forever. No matter how large her salary at Carmel was it was still a teacher salary, not a CEO. Rachel thinks to herself as she watches Shelby carry baby Beth out of the back seat of her car and through the door inside the garage to rest of the house.
"So, do you want anything to drink or something to eat? I think I have some homemade iced tea left in the fridge, I always make it during the summer," Shelby says placing her keys in the basket on the end table by the door. She makes her way to the chair at the island in her kitchen and hangs her purse on the back while balancing Beth. Rachel closes the door behind her as she enters the room fully and turns to face her mother starting to walk to the stairs to go up to Beth's room.
"I had dinner before I left, but I'll just have a glass of water, thanks," Rachel responds, ending with a soft smile. When she heard Shelby moving around in a room upstairs, Rachel takes a moment to look at the room around her. She traces her fingers over a small gold star engraved strategically at the corner of the island countertop. Rachel smiles proudly. This is just another reason she can use for why her mother belongs in her life. They both have an affinity for gold stars. That definitely says we're meant to be together. Rachel believes wordlessly, her smile never leaving her face.
As she waits for her mother to come back downstairs, Rachel decides to fix herself her glass of water. Most kitchens have similar layouts, so it will not be too hard to find a glass and then fill it with water from the door of the refrigerator. She grabs a glass from the windowed cabinet and proceeds to put in a few ice cubes and then water. As she turns around from filling her glass, she bites her lip, eyes wandering around the kitchen.
At home when she or her dads fixed her a glass of water, she always drank it with a crazy, brightly colored straw. Since she was very little and her dads started the ritual of bringing her a glass of water when she was upset, drinking the water out of crazy straw moved from tradition where it was to make a little girl smile, to a habit that has become so common with this ritual that she cannot do without it. Of course, given the circumstances, she can deal with a plain bendy straw as those are more commonly found in most homes. Rachel sets her glass on the table in search of one.
After opening and closing many cabinet doors, Rachel is ready to admit defeat when she opens her final cabinet. There, to Rachel's delight, is a box of straws on the right hand side. She reaches her hand out to grab one when a sparkle of light at the back of the cabinet catches her eye. Curious, she moves the pile of napkins in front slightly to the side and gasps. At the back of the shelf lies a discarded crazy straw that probably has not been used in a long time. Rachel pulls it out and examines it in the light. It's not like the ones she has used since she was 3 at her house. Those are only pink or green spirals. This one is different, special. This one is golden-yellow and bends in the shape of a star.
A few minutes later, Shelby descends the stairs. She enters the kitchen in an entirely different outfit than the one she was wearing before.
"Sorry I took so long, Rachel, I was changing my-" Shelby begins as she catches sight of Rachel leaning on her elbows on the table, her fingers holding the straw as she takes a sip of the water in the glass. Rachel's eyes open more widely as she looks up mid-sip and Shelby finishes her sentence more to herself, "clothes."
"What… where did you find that?" Shelby asks curiously after a few seconds. She points lightly to the star-shaped straw her daughter is now using.
"Oh, I found it in the cabinet over there," Rachel says as she looks at the place where she got the straw. She starts to smile, but quickly stops as she realizes she never asked her mother if she could use it. She glances at her mother's face and Rachel quickly back-pedals and explains herself, "I hope you don't mind that I used it! At home I've always had a glass of water when I was upset, but I've always had it with a crazy straw. I was originally looking for a plain bendy straw since I know that it is very rare for most people to have brightly colored straws in fun shapes, but you obviously are the exception. As soon as I saw this in the cabinet I knew I had to use it, not only because of tradition, but it's a gold star! I… I have a thing for gold stars and this is just another point that proves that we're meant to be together! When you gave me that cup a month ago, I was so happy. Not that you were walking away, that part made me very mad actually, but the fact that you obviously took the time to give me something that is near and dear to your heart and something that we both share—" Rachel rambles before being cut off by Shelby.
"Rachel!" Shelby interrupts laughing, "It's okay! I'm glad you're using it. To tell you the truth, I forgot I even had that back there." Shelby sees Rachel gasp dramatically. She smiles softly, "I'm happy that you found it. I feel more of a part of your life now."
Rachel grins happily, her eyes sparkling. My mother likes me! She really likes me! Rachel continues smiling as she takes another sip of her water, communicating more with the woman in front of her than she had in the two times she encountered her at school.
"So, what was this about seeing Jesse tonight? You said you wanted to talk about when he egged you?" Shelby asks concerned after she and Rachel had situated on the couch in the living room. They had begun talking about mundane things – the weather, glee, and summer – before jumping into what Rachel had said she wanted to discuss before arriving at the house.
Rachel looks down at her lap as she moves her hands to play with the hem of her shirt. She doesn't know where to begin. She can start with explaining what happened when she was egged to Shelby and see her point of view, but then again, since she is her mom, no matter if she's been there or not, so she may get overly emotional and have a biased opinion on what the right course of action should be after telling her new theory. Best to change topics entirely until she can figure out how to begin. Rachel starts to speak, letting the words tumble off her lips before she can stop them.
"Why did you adopt Quinn's baby?" she asks blatantly, catching Shelby by surprise.
Shelby sighs, leaning back into the cushions of the couch. She had been expecting a question like this due to Rachel's reaction to Beth back in front of the school, but thinking she would have prefaced it with other questions or comments, Shelby takes a deep breath and responds.
"I missed my chance with you," she starts and continues quickly as she sees Rachel is about to interrupt, "I missed my chance being a part of your childhood, helping you grow up. I'm not getting any younger and at this rate, I'll probably not be married in my lifetime. I want the chance to raise a child myself so when you told me that Quinn had her baby I took it. Not just that this was an opportunity to have a baby, but this baby had a connection to you." Shelby pauses and looks at Rachel and into her eyes, having previously been looking straight ahead from her position on the couch.
"Beth wasn't just some random baby in the hospital ward. She had parents too young to take care of her and while they could have been anybody, they were your classmates, your fellow glee members. Not only that, but I saw a little of myself in Quinn," Shelby says and breathes deeply again. She continues to look at Rachel, who is staring intently in her direction, her interest piqued.
"When I decided to have a baby, you, for your dads, I was not that much older than you are now. I had just graduated from college and needed money to go to New York to try my hand on Broadway. Being so young, I didn't realize the implications of carrying a child for nine months and then letting her go. I… had believed I could stay detached and go to New York… with no regrets and become the star I always knew I would become. But I was wrong… so, so very wrong." Shelby takes a deep breath, controlling her voice as all of her emotions from that time began to flow through her.
"With each month of pregnancy, I loved the baby that was inside me, often imagining teaching her, teaching you everything from singing to dancing, you name it as you grew up," Shelby continues and smiles genuinely, tears stinging her eyes.
Rachel bites on her lip and lets it go slowly as she watches her mother blink, releasing a tear down her cheek. She was not the only one to lose after they sang Poker Face or after they met at Regional's. Her mother was just as upset as she was, had been, is… She never meant to hurt Rachel. She just wanted to have that experience of helping a child grow up, something she couldn't do with Rachel from the beginning. That should not stop her from pursuing a relationship now, however. Rachel thinks to herself for a few minutes, allowing a comfortable silence to wash over the two of them before speaking.
"I understand," Rachel says softly, giving Shelby a small smile. "But can I ask you one favor?"
"Sure, honey," Shelby responds genuinely as she turns slightly on the couch to face Rachel more fully, "what is it?"
"I know that you said we should just be grateful for each other from afar because you wanted a family, a garden, and a dog, but I want you know to that I can be your family, too," Rachel says wringing her hands, "I'm not a baby, and yes, I do have two parents who love me and have given me everything that I needed, but they are guys! I haven't had a motherly influence in my life since I was five and daddy's mother came over for the last time before saying she didn't approve of his life choices anymore and couldn't even fake it for me," Rachel explains.
Shelby raises her eyebrows. She looks forlornly at her daughter, sad and regretful that she walked away from Rachel thinking she didn't need her at all. She hadn't realized that Rachel would not have had a female influence growing up. She had figured at least one of her dad's mothers would be in her life and if not that, being gay must have allowed them some inclination to the lives of women, right? One of the things that kept Shelby from breaking down every minute after she had left for New York was her rationalizing that Rachel's dads will be able to give her the same influence and love that she, as a woman, can give and that she was not needed in the slightest. I guess the great, Shelby Corcoran can be wrong sometimes, too, she realizes.
"We can give it a try," Shelby says as she sees Rachel's eyes light up, "but it will probably be better that we take things slow." Rachel nods in agreement, a serious look on her face, before Shelby resumes speaking. "Since I have not been there for the first 16 years of your life, I feel that it will be better if I start as your friend or mentor in a way and then go from there, sound good?" Shelby tilts her chin down, smiling slightly.
Rachel smiles widely, eyes lighting up showing her excitement. "That would be wonderful! As much as I do want a mom, I need a friend… a best friend!" Rachel says animatedly. Shelby returns the smile wholeheartedly, excited at the prospect of finally being reunited with her daughter… for real this time.
"I don't really have any friends at school," she continues sadly, her cheeks reddening in embarrassment at revealing her life at school to her mother, "I guess there is glee club, but they only really tolerate me for my voice."
"Well, I will be honored to fill that role," Shelby replies, eyes twinkling as she smiles at Rachel, who smiles appreciatively in return. Slightly saddened at the fact that her baby does not have many friends, Shelby puts the emotions in back of her mind for now to focus instead on enjoying the happy moment between her and her daughter.
"I assume you want to know the original reason of why I agreed to come back to talk you, right?" Rachel asks after a few minutes had gone by. Both she and Shelby had spent those minutes talking about Rachel's very first performance (that she can accurately remember considering her actual first performance was at eight months old) when she was 3 years old and she sang a beautiful, if she does say so herself, rendition of Tomorrow from Annie. Shelby laughs amused, adding in the little fact that her mother loved that song and had her sing it whenever possible.
"Yes, that would be correct. I almost forgot why you had come here as well," Shelby responds, chuckling.
"Well, after thinking about being egged by Jesse in the parking lot, I have two theories," Rachel begins, looking at Shelby who is paying acute attention, "I came up with one at home a few hours ago, but the second one came to me while I was driving over here. I'll tell you the second one since I do believe that it is more comical and not at all true as compared to my first one. First, in order for you to laugh at my second theory I have to give you some background." Shelby smiles amused at her dramatics. Rachel takes a breath and continues.
"When Jesse and I were dating, things got pretty… for lack of better words, hot and heavy. He obviously found me attractive and wanted to sleep with me, but we only got close, we never actually did. So, the eggs he threw at me were apparently a metaphor for the eggs inside my own body that he wanted but never got to permeate," Rachel says with as straight a face as she can, straining to hide hide her grin.
Rachel watches Shelby's eyes widen in surprise. She tries to keep her face passive, but can't help the wide smile that grows across both her cheeks, "Wouldn't that funny? If that was Jesse's motive for doing what he did? I would have certainly disregarded the fact all those baby chicks were at my feet if that was reason for turning me into an omelet. It's always nice to be thought of as attractive," Rachel continues, laughing harder as she stops talking.
Shelby puts her hand up to quiet Rachel's laughter as she lets a few giggles herself, "I'm going to disregard the fact that my student tried to sleep with you for the time being so I can ask, what was… is your first, better theory?" Shelby raises an eyebrow as she ends her question.
Rachel blushes and looks down a moment, "My first idea is much deeper. I'm a bit nervous to say… figuring this out made me realize that my feelings for Jesse may have never really gone away. I'm hoping that… that you can help me better understand what I'm thinking… that's what friends do for each other, right?" Rachel hesitates slightly.
"Of course," Shelby says genuinely, "I'm all ears… and I will help as best I can," she looks at her watch, "it's almost a quarter to ten now, are you planning on seeing Jesse tonight?"
Rachel widens her eyes, completely ignoring the question as she realizes how late it is getting. "Oh no! I said I would call my dads at 9:30 if I were going to be out later! Do you mind if I call them? I'll only be a minute then I can continue explaining everything to you," Rachel says hurriedly as she takes out her phone and starts holding down the speed dial button for home before Shelby can get a word in edgewise.
"Go ahead," Shelby responds, chuckling lightly at how dramatic Rachel can be yet again. She leans back in seat on the couch, taking a deep breath as she watches Rachel start to talk on the phone. She thinks to herself. Having a relationship with Rachel is not as difficult as I had thought it would be. I see so much of myself in her that I'm reminded of how I used to be when I was her age. Things can only get better from here.
AN: Another chapter down. :D Do you like the continuity of the last sentence from the last chapter? I promise the next chapter will have Rachel's original, normal theory on the egging metaphor. I figured I would make her think of this one because Rachel is one to want to feel attractive by other people considering she is always put down at school by Santana or Quinn or even Finn.
In the next chapter Rachel will finally talk to Jesse. About time, right? :) How did you all like this chapter? Were Shelby and Rachel still in character? I may have strayed them a little, but I think I managed to keep them true to their personalities. What do you think? Is there anything that you want me to consider for the next chapter(s)? Anything you think should happen, whether it's between Rachel and Jesse or Shelby?
I put in an Idina reference in this chapter. I was inspired since I saw her in her one-woman show with the new york philharmonic conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. She was spectacular / amazing / fantastic / entertaining / humorous / great and any other synonym for any of those. :) During the show, she mentioned that when she was growing up, her mother loved the song Tomorrow from Annie and then she ended up singing it toward the end of the show in dedication to her mother. It was funny when she first started singing it because of how she introduced the song earlier in the show. Someone most likely recorded it and put it on youtube.
Remember, reviews are important... they can make the difference between getting in trouble for performing while drunk or getting praised for scaring the student body away from drinking entirely. (Wasn't Figgins hilarious in the Blame it on the Alcohol episode? Ke-dollar sign-ha!)