Chapter 11

A.N. So apparently I suck at subtle plot twists because pretty much all my reviewers guessed the gist of what is coming (although I still have a few surprises up my sleeve). Perhaps Shelby manipulating Jesse and Rachel into reproducing is not just my own pet fantasy. As one reviewer noted, why would Shelby send a sexually active high school senior to "befriend" her 15 year old daughter unless, like Jesse, "befriend" and "seduce" are the same thing in her vocab? It does make one wonder.

"Déjà vu," Rachel murmured to Jesse as they slouched down in their seats at the back of the auditorium. It was the week after their play had finished its run, to much acclaim, so they found themselves with quite a bit of spare time on their hands. Although most of that spare time was happily filled with make out sessions that continued to escalate in intensity, now the two singing mavins were starting to feel the call of the stage again so they had decided to sneak into the closed rehearsal and see what Vocal Adrenaline were preparing for Nationals.

"What is?" Jesse stage whispered, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and bringing her against his body.

"Sneaking into a Vocal Adrenaline rehearsal. The first time was to find you – "

"Ah yes, the rape whistle," Jesse remembered fondly.

"Then the next time was when I heard Shelby singing "Funny Girl" and I realised she was my mom."

"Do you ever regret that moment? I mean, finding Shelby did kind of derail your whole life. Do you ever wish I hadn't interfered and you could have kept your blissful ignorance?"

Rachel shook her head against his shoulder. "Although your methods were dubious, I can't say I'm not happy with the end result. I mean I finally have the mother I've been longing for all my life and I'm mending fences with my dads. Not to mention I get to attend a school where I am not ritually tormented and belittled."

"Aren't you forgetting something? What about the devastatingly handsome and monstrously talented boyfriend who lights up your day?" Jesse asked with raised brow.

"Yeah, he's alright," Rachel shrugged. Jesse's response of course was to dig his fingers into her most ticklish spot under her ribs until Rachel was laughing and gasping (luckily the music was loud enough to cover their antics so they remained undiscovered). "Enough, please, I surrender!"

"Surrender, hmm? What shall I claim as my prize?" Jesse smirked.

"Whatever you want," she answered simply.

Detecting the absence of teasing in her words, Jesse quickly raised his gaze which had been fixated on her plump lips to her eyes which were shining with love. His mouth went dry as he processed what her few words promised.

"Are you sure?" he said a little hoarsely. "I mean, I know you wanted to wait until we were married and I completely respect that. I don't want you to feel pressured in any way."

"I don't. I'm ready, Jesse. In fact, I've been ready for the last month. And every time we touch I feel so ready I could explode."

Jesse laughed at her wry tone. "How do you think I feel?"

By way of response, Rachel crawled onto his lap, circled her arms around his neck and kissed him with decadent abandon. "You feel wonderful to me."

Jesse smoothed her silky hair behind her ear and held her eyes with his own. "I love you, Rachel." It was both a statement and a promise.

"I love you, Jesse," Rachel vowed. "Always."

"And forever," Jesse finished.

A few minutes later when their heart beats returned to normal, Jesse asked "So if you've been ready for a month, how come this is the first I've heard about it?"

"Yes, well, emotionally I've been ready but there were a few mental roadblocks I had to overcome." At her boyfriend's quizzical look, Rachel elaborated. "You see, for years my fathers have warned me against having sex before I was properly established in life because of the devastating effects an unwanted pregnancy would have on my career. And if I ever thought they were exaggerating, witnessing the fallout from Quinn Fabray's teen pregnancy removed all doubts. That was the main reason I wanted to wait – I was afraid of ending up like Quinn and having to give up Broadway before I even got to take my shot at it."

"Baby, you should have told me. You know I would never put you at that kind of risk. I'm not Noah Puckerman – I know how to use contraception responsibly."

"So does Noah, usually. He told me with Quinn the condom broke."

"You don't have to worry about that. Shelby issues all the VA people these top quality condoms – guaranteed foolproof."

"Your teacher gives you condoms? Isn't that kind of – inappropriate?"

"It's just part of Shelby's control-freak issues. She doesn't want any unexpected surprises interfering with her show choir, and she knows what an incestuous lot they are – the constant rehearsals don't allow for much of a social life so everybody pairs up with each other and sex tends to be the most popular way of letting off steam."

"But you're not in VA anymore – how are you still getting this... er.. fringe benefit?"

"I may not be in Vocal Adrenaline but I am dating Shelby's daughter – I guess that is a good enough reason to keep me well supplied." Truth be told Jesse had been surprised yesterday when Shelby had called him to her office and then silently slid the box of condoms across to him before curtly dismissing him. It was an unspoken acceptance of his relationship with Rachel he had not expected from her, considering the stormy looks she had cast his way every time she saw them together. He had to assume she had finally admitted defeat in her attempts to come between her daughter and protégé.

"I think Shelby is much more laid back about all this sex stuff than my dads," Rachel said. "Which makes sense because they have always been squeamish about all the female parts of my upbringing, usually sending me to one of my aunts to talk about any womanly issues. But my mom sat me down last week and told me how natural and normal sex is and so long as I was in a loving, monogamous relationship and provided I'm on birth control and my partner uses a condom, realistically, there is no risk of pregnancy. Then she gave me some birth control pills which she said are top of the range with a 100% success rate. I've been taking them all week so I should be safe now."

"That is... surprisingly cool of her," Jesse said. "It almost make me wish – " his thought was interrupted by Shelby's tortured shriek of anguish.

"Stop! For the love of God, just stop this putrid display before my ears start bleeding."

Jesse and Rachel jumped in their seats, thinking they had been discovered, until they realised it was her show choir Shelby was denouncing.

"That was the most boring, uninspired piece of drivel I have ever witnessed. It makes me long for the performances that were like watching beige paint dry – I obviously never realised how good I had it!" Shelby blasted.

"Was it really that bad? I wasn't watching," Rachel whispered to Jesse.

"That's a sign of the times right there – ordinarily, you can't help watching VA perform, the spectacle demands your attention. Sadly, my former teammates just turned Nirvana into elevator music."

"You miss it, don't you?" Jesse shrugged noncommittally. "Jesse!" Rachel said in her warning voice.

"So much it's like I lost a piece of my soul," he admitted in a hollow voice.

"Drama queen," Rachel murmured affectionately.

"It's not our fault," Rachel's mortal enemy, Giselle, whined defensively to her coach. "You've always trained us to support the most talented performer, to blend into the background so the star can shine. Without a star, we're just a chorus line. If you just let me take the lead, I'm sure we can – "

"You're not good enough to carry the lead, Giselle," Shelby said, running a frustrated hand through her hair. "I've tried each of you on lead and none of you are good enough to win us first place at Nationals." Shelby sighed dejectedly and gathered together her sheet music. "Just – go home, kids. I'll figure something out, just – go."

The show choir remained on stage even after Shelby had left; they could not believe Shelby had actually ended a VA rehearsal early (an unprecedented event).

"Should we go?" one of the freshman members asked timidly.

"And have Shelby hand our asses to us if she changes her mind and comes back to find we've left? No thanks," Giselle replied in a contemptuous tone.

"I wonder if I might offer a solution," a voice spoke, approaching the stage from the auditorium.

"Who's that? This is a closed rehearsal," the Latina girl, Cara, said.

"Well, if it isn't the midget dramagik and her traitor boyfriend," Giselle sneered as she identified the pair. "What are you doing here?"

"We were supposed to be checking out the latest Vocal Adrenaline masterpiece," Jesse replied, "but all we could hear was this annoying droning sound. Nothing like the nationally ranking show choir I used to know."

"Hey, you don't get to walk out on us and then criticise a mess of your making," Cara said, stepping forward angrily.

"People, please! All this fighting is not going to do anyone any good." Rachel clapped her hands together to command their attention. "For all the unscrupulous intimidation practices of Vocal Adrenaline that I disliked, I always admired your dedication as a team to do whatever it takes to win. Now, if that still holds true, you will set aside your issues with Jesse and I and listen to what I have to say."

"Dude, she's like a mini-Shelby," one of his old team mates whispered to Jesse. The other VA's were thinking along the same lines because they automatically switched into student mode as Rachel began to pace in front of them and outline her plan.

GLEE / GLEE / GLEE / GLEE / GLEE / GLEE / GLEE / GLEE / GLEE / GLEE /

Shelby walked into the early morning rehearsal trying to muster up some sense of hope that her choir had magically transformed itself over the last 3 days. She rubbed her forehead tiredly, her restless night having left her with a dull headache. Apparently worry and guilt were not an emotional cocktail conducive to sleep.

"Okay guys, let's run through Teen Spirit one more time," she declared, settling herself into the director's chair.

"Actually," Cara said, motioning to the band, "We've been working on something a little more... fresh."

Shelby frowned as an unfamiliar song began to play and was just opening her mouth to object when she heard her daughter's voice ring melodiously from the stage.

Hail Caesar shadow on my backseat
And his friends are standing right in front of me
World wide from the Cimmaron to Turkey
Open up, said everybody loves me
And you don't have to make a sound
'Cause they got what you need, what you need Oh, oh, oh, oh

From the opposite side of the stage Jesse appeared, stalking towards Rachel and claiming the next verse, his words an open challenge.

Got love for the people that have warned you
God love all your sentimental virtue
Eight balls with the takers that'll make you
Lay cards with the lovers that'll hate you
And you don't have to make a sound
They got what you need,
what you need
Make you say

[everyone] Oh my, feels just like I don't try
Look so good I might die
All I know is everybody loves me
Head down, swaying to my own sound
Flashes in my face now

All I know is everybody loves me
Everybody loves me,
Everybody loves me

Shelby watched, mesmerised, as Vocal Adrenaline belted out the One Republic hit, her once lacklustre choir energised by the firetrail that Rachel and Jesse left in their wake. The two leads paced around each other as though sizing the other up until coming together with dance moves so smouldering Shelby half expected the teens to spontaneously combust on stage.

Don't need my health
Got my name and got my wealth
I stare at the sun
Just for kicks all by myself
I lose track of time So I might be past my prime
But I'm feeling, oh so good Yeahhh

Rachel got chills from the way Jesse drew out that last note. She was tempted to look at her mother, to see if the worried creases on her face had been smoothed out, but kept her focus on Jesse like the professional she was. She just hoped her mother would take their interference in the right spirit – an attempt to help.

Oh my, feels just like I don't try
Look so good I might die
All I know is everybody loves me
Head down, swaying to my own sound
Flashes in my face now
All I know is everybody loves me
Everybody loves me
Don't you know who you are?
Everybody Everybody Everybody Whoa, yeah

As Rachel set free those last joyous notes, a silence filled the auditorium, broken only by the panting of her fellow performers, recovering from their exertions. Then they heard it; the steady click of designer heels as Shelby slowly walked towards the stage. Her face gave nothing away as her features were revealed by the stagelights.

"And what are two dramagiks doing on my stage?" Shelby mused. "This rehearsal is for Vocal Adenaline members only."

Rachel's face fell at her mother's words. "We thought... we just wanted to help."

"What makes you think I need your help?"

"Last Monday's performance, for starters," Jesse interjected, bringing his mentor's glare down on him. Rachel nudged her boyfriend into silence and then approached her mother, speaking softly.

"I noticed how distracted and worried you've been these last 2 weeks."

Shelby looked away, suddenly unable to meet her daughter's eyes. "Yes, well, stress is a normal part of a choir director's life."

"I also know that if it weren't for my play, Jesse would have never left Vocal Adrenaline and you would have no reason to doubt your next Nationals victory." Rachel took her mother's hand, clasping it warmly. "Mom, you have done so much for me to make my dreams come true; please let me return the favour."

Shelby finally met her daughter's innocent eyes to find her own suddenly misty. "You've already done that, just by being here," she choked out. Rachel smiled widely and embraced her mother, who clung to her child as though she never wanted to let go. When Rachel finally pulled away, she asked eagerly "But did you like our performance? I thought One Republic would be novel choice as they have not been overdone like the more classic artists and their spellbinding harmonies are perfect for show choir."

"Not to mention you and St James have egos that fit that song like a glove," Giselle added, but with less snideness than usual.

Shelby addressed her choir. "Overall, I'd have to say, your song choice, execution and general performance was...brilliant." An astonished gasp was heard in perfect synchronicity at this judgement from their coach, who was usually much more sparing of her praise. "Not that there isn't room for improvement." There was the coach they knew!

"So, we have our group number, now we have to come up with a solo just as electrifying. Jesse, Rachel; any thoughts?" Shelby asked.

"Well, I have become partial to a certain Carly Simon song recently," Rachel said, glancing furtively towards Jesse. "I don't know if it's suitable for nationals though."

"Let's hear it and find out," Shelby said, taking a seat in the front row. Her heart swelled with love as she watched her daughter give instruction to the band. She could not believe how close she had come to disaster, hatching that crazy, desperate scheme. As soon as she got home, she would set things to rights. Rachel and Jesse would never have to know...

Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you're the best

Oh God no, Shelby's conscience shrieked. Calm down, her common sense ordered sternly. It's probably just a song. No reason to think she's singing about Jesse.

I wasn't lookin', but somehow you found me
I tried to hide from your love light
But like heaven above me
The spy who loved me
Is keeping all my secrets safe tonight

It's official. Shelby groaned. I'm the worst mother ever.

A.N. I heard "The Spy Who Loved Me" on the radio a few months ago and thought what a perfect St Berry song – Jesse, the Vocal Adrenaline spy who seduced and fell for our favourite diva. Ever since I've been scheming of a way to work it into a story!