They're holding hands.
Granted, they're holding hands because Lucy's mortified that someone's going to see her like this and since they can't seem to find her backpack in the hallway, she's going to have to try the lost and found in the office. Which means she's going to have to directly speak to someone.
They're standing around the corner from the office, next to the big case that houses all the school trophies. Rachel looks longingly at it and Lucy glances over her shoulder to try and see exactly what she's staring at.
"What?" she asks, turning her head back to Rachel.
"I'm just very much hoping we win Nationals this year. It is my senior year, after all."
Lucy redirects her attention to the case and looks at one of the giant golden trophies inside. "But... you already won last year."
"That doesn't mean we should stop. I don't plan to win only one Tony." Rachel's absolutely serious and Lucy's taken with just how driven Rachel can be.
"That's a good point." She clears her throat and takes a glance down the hallway. They can't stay here forever. "Okay, I'll go see if they have my bag and then... we'll go." Go where, she has no idea. But now that Lucy's focused on leaving campus, she can't wait to make the escape with Rachel.
"Just remember, commit to the part and no one will question you." Rachel's fingers tighten around Lucy's hand in a squeeze, then they release.
Lucy nods. "If I'm not back in five minutes, go on without me." She begins to turn around, but then pivots back. "Don't really leave without me."
Rachel grabs Lucy's shoulders and pushes her back toward the other direction. "Go." But when once Lucy is just beyond her reach, she says, "Wait!"
"What?" Again, Lucy turns.
"That." Rachel points to the cardigan wrapped around Lucy's waist.
"Can't I just leave it?"
"It will be a much more difficult sell if you compromise the uniform," Rachel reasons.
Lucy takes a deep breath and tugs the arms of the sweater out of the secure knot she tied only minutes before. Before she can convince herself that it's the worst idea of all time, she balls up the garment and tosses it to Rachel, who catches it with waiting hands.
And then it's no turning back.
She strides into the office and walks right up to the counter. She's cold and nervous and absolutely convinced this will never work, but Rachel insists that it's foolproof if she can just remain focused.
There's usually a student aide behind the desk at this time of day, which could make this whole thing easier. It would be a breeze if it were someone Lucy actually got along with, like Lauren Zizes, but of all people, Jacob Ben Israel is the one standing between Lucy and the freedom of the remainder of her day.
"Hi," Lucy says, "I'm here to see about a missing backpack."
"Do you have a hall pass?"
It's time to really turn it (whatever it is) on and hope it works. "Do I look like I need a hall pass?"
Jacob's eyes narrow. "You're not on the Cheerios."
She has to resist every urge in her body to wave her hand in front of his face, Jedi-style. "If I wasn't a Cheerio, why would I be wearing this? They- We don't just let anyone walk around in these uniforms."
His mouth opens, but he can't seem to formulate a reply that defies the logic she's presented. "Can you describe the backpack?"
"It's that one, right there." She points past him at a black and white plaid Jansport that's now featuring an added splotchy blue design.
"Can you provide any proof of identification?"
"There's a notebook in the side pocket."
"This is school. That's, at best, an educated guess and not even a good one."
"Okay, in the front pocket are two mechanical Bic pencils, a retractable black pen with gel ink, and a regular absorbency tampon with a plastic app-"
"Fine! I get it! It's yours." Jacob frowns and quickly retrieves the bag. As he passes it over the counter, he takes a look at Lucy's uniform. "Do you think they'd let me try out?"
"I think you should definitely try. First thing tomorrow. Five AM." Lucy generally isn't spiteful, but the idea of Jacob showing up so early for something that isn't going to happen is... well, it's funny. Or it is until she's three steps from the door and remembering what it's like to be the one who realizes that they've been tricked and that someone else is laughing at their expense. She stops and looks back over her shoulder at him. "They- we aren't really having auditions. And the school blog needs your full attention, anyway."
It's possible he makes a sound in agreement, but Lucy doesn't wait. She wants to leave, to get out of this school and out of this uniform and out of sight. Rachel's peeking out at her from behind the corner by the trophy case. She hurries toward the shorter girl and then they're both running down the hall toward the side exit.
When they break through the door out into the sunlight, they're both laughing as they move into the parking lot, but Rachel suddenly grabs Lucy's arm and drops down behind a car, pulling Lucy with her.
"Oh my god, what?" Lucy watches Rachel with wide eyes. Rachel puts her finger to her lips and carefully peeks up over the hood of the car. Lucy tries to get a look at whatever's on the other side, but Rachel's hand lightly slaps against her forehead and pushes her back down.
Finally, Rachel lowers herself back down and says, "Mr. Schue."
Lucy waits for any further explanation, but there isn't one. Instead, Rachel takes another peek and seems to be satisfied that the coast is clear, because they're now darting between cars until they're headed right for her red bug. She fumbles in her bag for her car keys and pushes the unlock button. Rachel giggles as she pulls open the passenger side door and, for the brief few seconds that Lucy is alone, outside of the car, she lets herself recognize that, once again, she feels something tugging at her.
But right now, they need to get off campus before someone sees them.
As she settles into the driver's seat, she runs her hands over her legs. "I don't understand how the Cheerios stay warm."
"I always thought they were possibly genetically modified," Rachel muses as she digs into her bag for something. She passes the cardigan back to Lucy, who actually puts in, for now. "Here, maybe these will help."
She holds out a pair of rainbow striped knee socks and Lucy wastes no time pulling off her shoes to slip the socks up over her calves. "That's a little better, thanks." But, right, they're supposed to be leaving, so she starts the car and exits the parking lot. "Where should we go? I can't... um... I can't go home to change until after one, because my mom will be there. And I don't really feel like explaining any of this."
Rachel nods. "All right. Is there a place you like to go when you need an escape? For me it's Between the Sheets."
"As in... your bed?"
"No," Rachel laughs. "The sheet music store. Though, I've been known to crawl into bed in times when I've felt defeated."
"What, like twice in your life?" Lucy asks.
"It happens more than people would think. I do try to maintain a positive outlook but... there have been days."
Lucy hates the idea of someone like Rachel... or just Rachel, really, ever feeling that low that she'd need to bury herself under the covers. She knows exactly what that's like.
"I like to go to Alter Ego. It's the comic shop," she adds, realizing Rachel probably has no idea what it is.
"Then we should go there."
"You... would go there with me?"
"You valiantly took a slushie to the face this morning. Anywhere you'd like to go, I'm willing to join you."
Lucy's ears are warm, again. "Okay." She has no idea what else to say, so she hands her iPod to Rachel. "You should pick something for the drive over there." It's only ten minutes away, but there's no way she'll be able to have any kind of conversation without embarrassing herself.
And when Rachel picks Fidelity by Regina Spektor, Lucy does her best not to read into any of it, at all.