Sorry, I didn't write Sunday, as promised. Was watching Golden Globes. Did anyone else cheer when Robert Downey told Gervais off? And to think, I used to really like that guy!

"Good Ruck: Magic Mirror"

The night of The Sweetheart's Dance had finally arrived, and Rachel was brushing her hair-100 strokes precisely-in front of her magic mirror. It had been a gift on her seventh birthday from Perky Dad and she had always treasured it.

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall...did I do the right thing?" she asked it, sadly. She held her breath and pressed the worn out button that miraculously still worked.

"You are the most stunning creature in all the land," the somewhat creepy electronic voice croaked back. Not exactly the answer she was searching for, but it would have to do. After all, the magic mirror wasn't an eight ball or a gypsy. It was nothing more than an ego booster.

But right now, Rachel didn't need to be told how pretty she was. What she wanted to know most was whether she was right in demanding Finn still take her to the dance, even after he had reneged on his invitation. Or rather, after the Wicked Witch of the West calmed down from her meltdown the next day and gave Finn the ultimatum of his life. If Finn didn't tell Rachel he was only joking when he asked her to the dance, Kara would never let him ride on her broom again-or something to that affect.

So, right in front of the cheerleader from Hell, Finn told her he had only been kidding and that he already had a date to the dance.

Rachel was so humiliated, she was about to let Finn go, when Kara's satisfied cackling caused her quickly to reevaluate the situation.

"Once offered, you can never take back a Sweetheart's invitation, Finn. It's considered very bad luck," Rachel lied.

"You've got to be kidding me Berry," Kara clucked. "How desperate can a girl get? Let's get out of here, Finsey," she urged, attempting to pull him away.

Finn wasn't budging. "Wait, what do you mean bad luck?"

Rachel knew how superstitious Finn was. He had previously told her all about the Grilled Cheesus incident. And though she was impressed by the number of sheer coincidences that had precipitously occurred after he'd encountered the holy sandwich, Rachel knew in her logical heart that her boyfriend was among the superstitiously afflicted. This gave her the upper hand now, and she decided to play it for all it was worth.

Fortunately, she had a brain that could freakishly recall any student related fact instantly. As she tapped the data banks for examples she could now use to make her point, several graduates' case studies flashed through her mind.

Rachel quickly zeroed in on Paul Founderling, the varsity captain of the basketball team two years ago. He had asked Patty Reed to the Sweetheart's dance and then later took it back. The team never won another game all year, she pointed out.

"Yeah, that's right," Finn agreed.

"Stupid coincidence!" Kara dismissed.

"Really, then what about Steve Jennings on the Wrestling Team, after he dumped Tina Prescott for Laura Hemsley, Steve and his friends went cow tipping the night before the dance. Strangely enough, the cow tipped over onto Steve causing a life transforming groin injury," she said.

"Isn't Steve Jennings one of the freaky crooners in your Glee Club?" Kara asked.

"Yeah, he sings Soprano," Finn replied. "No one can hit a high note like Steve can. Not even Curt."

"Well he didn't used to, before the accident," Rachel informed him.

"Tell her, Finn, you're not buying into this crap," Kara ordered.

Finn shook his head. "I'm sorry, Kara, I have to take Rachel to the dance." His voice was tinged with fear. "One male soprano in my family is enough."

"She's making all this up!" Kara, said, stamping her foot.

"Unlike some other ginger headed girls I know, I don't lie," Rachel replied, and Finn had actually backed her up on this.

Two days later, as she sat before her magic mirror, Rachel knew she wasn't guilty of lying to Finn that day, but she had played upon his worst fears in order to be his date.

She knew she should feel happy to have this chance to win Finn back tonight, but there was something nagging at her that she tried her best to ignore. Something just wasn't entirely right with this scenario, and every time she tried to figure out what that was exactly, Puck's intense gaze somehow kept popping into her mind, blocking her thoughts.

Even as a figment of her imagination, Noah could be so disruptive, she thought. But also so incredibly kind, too. It was all so confusing. Without making any fuss at glee rehearsal, he'd swept in and saved her from scarring embarrassment and then quietly sat back down, as if he hadn't saved her very life that day. Okay, maybe not her life, but definitely her reputation. It was because of him that Finn wanted her again-if only for a few brief minutes, while she sang.

But now the song was over, and here she was looking at a complete stranger in the mirror. This wasn't Rachel Berry staring back at her, she was this freaky, morphed version of Quinn & Kara combined. Finn liked simple and pretty, so she decided that the only way to win him back was to give him exactly what he liked.

Rachel had studied these girls' looks carefully and copied their style to a tee. For the dance, she wore her hair up with soft curls dangling, and held together with a headband, laced with baby's breath. Her dress was pale pink and made of a fine jersey that hugged her curves, while at the same time appeared modest and ultra feminine.

The consummate actress, Rachel channeled Finn's girlfriends so completely, that she practically floated out her bedroom door and greeted Finn in her living room with a voice that was soft, alluring, and completely not her own.

Finn became instantly tongue tied, his mouth gaping open as he took in the angelic sight that flew toward him with such ethereal grace.

Her fathers did not seem as impressed, but wore frowns of disappointment. Plaid dad called her into the kitchen, while Perky dad regaled Finn with details of past sweetheart dances he'd attended, causing Finn to visibly squirm.

In the kitchen, Plaid dad removed a box from the fridge that contained a pink carnation and attached it with loving care to her wrist.

"Sweat Pea, what was wrong with the dress your father and I bought you?"

"I absolutely love it, dad, and I promise you it won't go to waste. I plan on wearing it to my very first cast party on broadway. It was just a little too Burlesque and I was going more for Great Gatsby. It's what Finn likes," she added, her head slightly lowered as she revealed her motives to him.

Her dad tipped her chin up and looked into the expressive eyes he loved so well.

"I get it," he smiled. "But you know, sooner or later, you gotta leave the stage, remove the costume and makeup and let the real you shine through. If Finn can't appreciate the beauty beneath the facade, then maybe you're not with the right guy."

"You're wrong, Dad. Finn is everything to me, and I'm going to be everything to him. He may not see the real me now, but he will. With Finn, you just have to appeal to the outside first, before he can see what's beneath it."

Her dad sighed. "Okay, you play it your way sweet pea. I just want you to have fun."

Have fun? she thought. Her life had never been about that. It was always about reaching goals, and upon attaining them, she'd focus on setting new ones. Not once did having fun every enter it. "I'll try to have fun, dad," she replied.

"You do that. It's what life's all about."

Rachel cocked her head strangely. "You've never told me that before."

"Until now, you've never needed to hear it," he replied.


Finn had so far been the perfect date and she had felt like some storybook princess. They had piled into a limo and sat beside three other couples who were friends with Finn on the football team.

For once, Rachel felt completely normal and accepted by everyone.

"Wow, Rachel, I almost didn't recognize you. You look amazing," one of the girls had said to her.

"Yeah, amazing," another agreed.

Finn took in all the compliments with pride, and placed a possessive arm around his girl.

Rachel smiled brightly and thought, "My plan is working so brilliantly. Finn will definitely be mine again before the night's over."

"You having fun?" Finn whispered in her ear.

There was that word again. Why was everyone so obsessed with it.

Before she could answer, they pulled up to the school. Finn escorted his date out of the car, behind the others. Someone called his name. He turned, and saw it was Kara and she was crying.

"Please, Finn, can I speak to you just one minute?" she asked in a voice so defeated it melted Finn's heart.

"Rachel, I'll just be a minute," he said, leaving her there. "I'll be right back."

Rachel stood awkwardly beside the limo, waiting for Finn to return. The minutes ticked on, and she started to get nervous he wasn't coming back. And then she heard a voice calling out to her. "Rachel!"

It was Finn, and he sounded strange, like he was in trouble. Without thinking, Rachel ran quickly to the voice that sounded like it was near the dumpster. Did someone throw Finn in there? she wondered.

She lifted up the lid and peered inside. No one there. And then, all it once, she was lifted into the air by several practiced hands-cheerleaders she'd suspected-and hurtled inside the dumpster.

The lid was replaced and Rachel was alone in the bin, in the dark, with all the horrible debris.

To Finn's credit, he spent the next half hour looking for his date, but was then told by one of Kara's friends, whom she'd instructed, that Rachel had gotten sick with some stomach bug and had gone home.

"Oh, that's too bad," he said, and went back into the school with Kara.

Puck had been standing behind Finn when he received the news that Rachel had gone home sick. His bull meter sounded loudly, and he knew something was definitely rotten at McKinley high. No, not rotten, but maybe rotting in the dumpster where bullies liked to throw out what they considered to be trash. He outta know, he'd tossed plenty of human refuse, himself, into that very dumpster.


Rachel wasn't sure if it was fear, self-loathing, or the rotten onions surrounding her that was making her cry. Probably all three, she suspected. At any rate, the tears fell in streams, and her sobs were now sounding quite desperate.

She began to pray for rescue and in her delirium she imagined a fetching white knight in sanitation overhauls lifting up the lid and saving her from asphyxiation. Was it possible to die from cafeteria remains? Given this school's menu, she imagined it was.

Rachel removed a sticky banana peel from her face and started to choke on its rotten smell.

"Rachel is that you coughing up school sludge?" a muffled voice was asking her.

Her white night sanitation worker had arrived. It was Finn, she was sure!


The suspense continues. Stay tuned. If anyone is interested, I've got free audio up on my site (www dot time warped dot net) of weekly chapters entitled, "Diaries of an Angry Midget." Everyone who subscribes to it on my web page will be thrown into a raffle for a free professional-one hour-astrology reading. Pretty cool, huh? Hope you'll check it out.