Okay so when I said no more stories I really meant...
Rachel was wondering when exactly this conversation began to spiral out of her control. One minute Mercedes, Tina and her were seated in the cafeteria discussing their future options with Rachel providing some heart warming, inspirational and motivational words and the next it seemed as if Tina and Mercedes were ... well 'beginning to gang up on her' for want of a better phrase. Rachel tucked some hair behind her right ear before leaning forward to ensure she made good and extremely sincere eye contact with her fellow Gleeks.
" I was merely saying that nothing is impossible if you want it enough" she explained," You just need to be clear what you want and organised enough to take the appropriate steps to achieve it" Rachel tried to ignore the fact that Mercedes was rolling her eyes before she was even halfway through what she was saying.
"Hell no, Rachel, that is so not true. I couldn't possibly want to be a successful recording artist more than I do now - doesn't mean it's going to happen" Mercedes replied, doing little to hide her exasperation.
"But that's just a wish Mercedes, what steps are you taking to make it happen? Are you sending demo tapes out, uploading songs on to YouTube, applying to participate in reality tv talent shows" Rachel paused for breath noting the slightly guilty look on Mercedes face," and that's the mere tip of the iceberg of strategies to get yourself noticed. If you're not doing at least that then you obviously don't want it enough."
Tina glanced between the two girls currently glaring at each other over table top. Mercedes looked about ready to erupt. She wafted the plate of tater tots under Mercedes nose to distract her before directing a comment to Rachel.
"Rachel, somethings are just impossible whether you want them enough or not" she added timidly to the conversation.
Rachel sighed in frustration - were these two being deliberately obtuse?
"Well obviously," she tried to rein in her sarcastic tone and go for sincerity, "things that are impossible can't be overcome by determination alone, I mean I'm never going to be able to walk on water."
"Really, I thought you already did that" snapped Mercedes snidely. Rachel huffed.
"But just because something is very difficult doesn't make it impossible you just need some self-belief.." Rachel persevered.
"Yeah you've got plenty of that" Mercedes interjected in a manner meant to insult rather than compliment. Rachel eyed her with a is-that-all-you've-got look
"So the key is wanting it enough?" Tina tried to distract again only to be met with a loud sigh from Rachel.
"No " she explained in a patient tone that clearly emphasised her impatience "what I am saying is that a positive mental attitude is key to overcoming obstacles and achieving what others would consider impossible" Rachel glanced at her less than enthusiastic audience. Time to dumb it down," You either want it enough or school yourself into the mental attitude of appearing to want it enough and then.."
Tina look perplexed "Sorry," she whispered, 'I'm a bit lost"
Rachel decided to limit herself to two syllable words," What I am saying is if I need to achieve something, that I don't particularly want to do and that I find hard, then I try to take on the mental approach of wanting to do really well. Once I have the 'wanting it enough' state of mind ready then I can go on to achieve."
She paused to think of an example, "Like that last calculus assignment. I spent the first few days of the homework gearing up into developing a "I want to be the best at calculus' frame of mind and then when it came to completing the task it was easy"
Okay, maybe that was a slight misrepresentation of the truth as no-one in their right (or even left) mind would consider that calculus death-by-notation assignment easy, however she had found it easier to complete once she'd been determined to do well on it so her point still held. A sly look passed over Mercedes features and Rachel could feel a frisson of slight fear sweep over her.
"So what you're saying Rachel is that given a difficult task, that you don't particularly want to achieve, you can succeed by a triumph of will power?" Mercedes asked with a faux friendly tone.
'Yes" replied Rachel hesitantly, her eyebrows betraying her confusion at Mercedes abrupt change of tone.
"So you're saying that if we came up with a seemingly close to impossible challenge. " Mercedes started.
"That you weren't even interested in achieving" joined in Tina.
"Then you would be successful by will power" finished Mercedes. Rachel considered this carefully – that essentially was what she'd been saying so why did she feel there was a catch?
"Yeeeeees" she concluded hesitantly still unable to anticipate Mercedes motives.
"You don't sound too sure" goaded Mercedes.
"Yes." She replied firmly, "Yes I would. It a simple case of.."Rachel hastened to explain
"Don't believe you" muttered Tina.
"Yeah, no way Rachel, you're full of.." Mercedes bit off the end of the statement on seeing Rachel's disapproving look. She winked at Tina surreptitiously. The unstated implication that she was in someway lying really stung Rachel. So much for sharing the benefit of her experiences to enable her friends to achieve beyond their expectations she berated herself.
"I've used this technique numerous times, for example.." Rachel hastened to explain but was cut off by a hand held in the air by Mercedes.
"Maybe you just thought you didn't want these things but deep down in your subconscious you really did?" proposed Mercedes. Rachel pondered for a moment
"No I that's not the case" she stated emphatically.
"Yeah but as it's your subconscious the whole point is you wouldn't be aware of it" Mercedes retorted triumphantly pleased to note Rachel's scowl.
"That's ridiculous" Rachel complained before a brilliant idea came to her. There was no way she was going to lose this argument to Mercedes, "Why don't you two come up with a task that is nigh near impossible, that I obviously don't want and then I'll prove to you the power of positive thinking"
Rachel was too busy envisaging the awestruck and admiring responses she'd gain from these two once she had succeeded to note the triumphant smirk on Mercedes face.
"Oh I'm not sure that's a good idea" replied Mercedes conversationally
"It is. You're just worried I'll prove you wrong" said Rachel gaining confidence now that Mercedes seemed to be hesitant.
"What about giving us two all your solos" Tina suggested noting the pained expression on Rachel's face," and being pleased to do so" she added rather pleased with herself. At least she'd get to sing a bit more and frankly she didn't care whether Rachel liked it or not.
"No, albeit it difficult that's not not 'nigh impossible' enough" Mercedes made air quotes in the air. She considered her next response carefully. She let her eyes sweep round the room, stopping as they alighted on the Cheerios and hangers-on table. Now it came to the crunch, dare she suggest it?
"What about..no that's ridiculous." Mercedes shook her head then added "You couldn't possibly have a hope.. Rachel let's just forget about it" Mercedes artfully baited her trap. Everyone knew Rachel couldn't resist an opportunity to prove herself correct.
"What about what? Come on Mercedes issue your challenge. I insist" Rachel was adamant – the more seemingly impossible the better. She'd show her sceptical companions the sort of mental focus that had served her so effectively thus far in her fledgling career.
"It wouldn't be fair" Mercedes muttered shaking her head and adding," No-one could do it" in a resigned tone.
"As long as it's not illegal or something that'll ruin my perfect student record I'm up for the challenge" Rachel struggled to rein in her enthusiasm. She was invincible when she put her mind to it.
"It's a bad idea, forget I said anything" Mercedes responded. It was almost too easy and Mercedes felt a slight twinge of regret that she quickly supressed. It was about time Rachel learnt some humility and what better way than a challenge she couldn't win even with all her over inflated self-belief?
"Mercedes just tell me. Whatever the challenge is I accept" insisted Rachel realising a split second too late the error of her ways as a predatory grin appeared on Mercedes face.
"Well in that case.." Mercedes paused to enjoy the mix of apprehension and anticipation on Rachel's features," The task is for you to get Quinn Fabray," she noted Rachel paling slightly and felt smug," to go out with you for at least four dates."
Four was pretty arbitrary, one could be a misunderstanding but four…
Mercedes sat back to enjoy the look of horror that swept across Rachel's features "Quinn Fabray?" Rachel's voice wavered. Why was she focussing on the Quinn Fabray part? Getting anyone to go out with her on 4 dates was hard enough.
"But she hates me" Rachel added rather superfluously as everybody (and their dog) knew that. Rachel struggled to pull her thoughts together. Straight as a ruler Quinn Fabray on a date?
"You want me to get Quinn Fabray to fall in love with me?" she asked wondering why her heart was racing and her blood pounding in her ears –abject terror she supposed.
"Oh No" Mercedes laughed, 'That would be impossible. You just need to persuade her to go out on 4 dates with you – nigh impossible? Check. Something you don't want? Check. " Mercedes would be lying if she said she didn't enjoy the fear that seemed to be preventing Rachel from speaking.
"You don't have to do it Rachel" Tina volunteered, worried that Rachel was undergoing some kind of panic attack. Surely she needed to breathe?
'That's right Rachel, maybe positive mental attitude isn't always enough to overcome everything" sneered Mercedes already picturing how amused Kurt was going to be when she relayed this conversation about how she bettered Rachel. Rachel took a few calming breaths and then a few more. She wasn't one to back away from a challenge – a small part of her brain was suggesting maybe this was the time to change that.
"Fine" she said with a big grin and projecting an air of confidence she certainly didn't feel," but I feel some rules first. No-one outside us three is to know about this challenge" she eyed the two other girls and was pleased to see Mercedes slightly crestfallen look.
"Secondly we need to clearly define what we agree is a date and then I think a time span within which the four dates should occur needs to be specified" Rachel paused for breath and Mercedes began to regret her challenge, they'd have graduated by the time Rachel had clearly defined what all terms of the agreement meant. Life was too short for this when Rachel didn't have a snowball in hell's chance of even exchanging friendly words with Quinn let alone going on a date…
"Face it Rachel you're not even going to get one date which I'd define as you and Quinn spending time together without the company of others" offered Mercedes trying to derail Rachel's train of thought before a written contract was drawn up, witnessed and signed.
"And we'll need to agree on what constitutes evidence of a date in that case, if just Quinn and I are to be present" Rachel continued trying to drown out the voice in her head screaming at 'this is going to end badly ' at her. Further musings on Rachel's behalf were drowned out by the ringing of the bell for the end of lunch and it was with relief Tina headed away from the other two. She wished she hadn't been present for Mercedes setting Rachel up on a kamikaze mission. Rachel could be annoying but no-one deserved to be put in Quinn Fabray's firing line anymore than Rachel already was. It couldn't end well and if anything Quinn would up her hostile treatment of Rachel if she even dared to have the impudence to suggest she and Quinn went on a date. Tina shook her head in disbelief and bewilderment – what was Rachel thinking? She was still in earshot to hear Quinn's sneering Rupaul remark make its way across the room and Rachel to make a bright, friendly, seemingly oblivious to the insult, reply. Tina stifled the urge to groan – this was so not going to end well.