Hi everyone! I can't believe this is my seventh story! This story is somewhat of a sequel to "Keep Holding On." It takes place three years after "Keep Holding On" and mostly focuses on Finchel and their thirteen-year-old daughter. If you haven't read "Keep Holding On" yet I recommend you do so you have a better idea of the background. It's also part of the sequence with "Senior Year" and "The Future"
A few changes: thanks to my RPing, I have decided to work Finn and Kurt's little sister from my RPs into my story. She'll be appearing in future chapters. Another thing I'm wondering about - I've used Fabrevans in previous stories in this squence, but I'm being converted to Quick, so which should I use for this story?
Hope you enjoy the first chapter and review if I should keep going!
Chapter 1: Back to School
Finn and Rachel Hudson were in the kitchen together, making pancakes for breakfast for their four children, Ryan and Emma, who were thirteen-year-old twins, Sarah, who was nine, and Grant, who was three. Today was the first day of school, the first year all four kids would be going to school. Leaving Finn and Rachel empty nesters for the first time since they were in college.
Rachel turned to Finn as she flipped a pancake and sighed. "I can't believe at this time next year, our little boy and our little girl will be in high school."
"It's crazy, isn't it?" Finn said. "I remember when we were picking them up from OSU's baby day care center!"
"Before we know it we'll be taking them off to college," Rachel said, not believing how fast her kids were growing up.
Finn laughed. "Don't say that, Rachel! I don't want to think about them leaving!"
Despite their complicated past in high school, the craziness that had been their college years and the family tragedy three years ago, right now was a good time to be Finn and Rachel. Even though they'd originally thought they'd live in New York, with Rachel as a Broadway star and Finn as a professional football player, their life in an innerring suburb of Cleveland, where Rachel directed the high school's vocal music department and Finn taught writing to gifted writers at one of the district's three middle schools. Ryan and Emma would be starting eighth grade at Miramar Middle School, Sarah was starting fourth grade at Cambridge Elementary School and Grant was starting preschool at the district's early childhood center.
"Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy!" Finn and Rachel looked down to see Grant standing there.
"Hey little guy," Finn said. "Ready for your first day of preschool?"
"Yeah!" Grant said. "It's the same one Ryan, Emma and Sarah went to, right?"
"That's right!" Rachel said. She resisted the urge to add that Jack went there too, but it was still difficult for her to talk about Jack. She and Finn often talked about him after the kids were in bed. Ryan, Emma and Sarah still openly talked about Jack several times a week.
"Aren't the big kids excited for school?" Grant asked.
"They've been in school for a while," Rachel said. "I think the beginning of a new school year's less exciting for them by now."
"I'm going to wake them up!" Grant shouted, running upstairs screaming. "GET UP! SCHOOL STARTS TODAY!"
Finn looked at Rachel and laughed. "We'll see if he's this excited in a few years."
"I predict next year Ryan and Emma will be excited though," Rachel said. "I mean, they're starting high school next year."
"Yeah, I think Heights will be a better fit than Miramar," Finn said. Because of where they lived in the school district, Ryan and Emma were forced to attend Miramar Middle School. It was no secret that Roxbury Middle School, where Finn taught, was easily the best of the district's three middle schools. It got the highest test scores, had the least fights and the kids there, for the most part, were very well behaved. The majority of middle class families in the area of the city where the Hudsons lived sent their kids to private schools. No one knew why, because that area's demographics weren't much different from the rest of the city.
"Do you think it was a mistake not trying to get them a transfer to Roxbury?" Finn suddenly asked.
Rachel began thinking. "Well, Ryan seems to be fine," she thought out loud. "I mean, I know he doesn't have a lot of friends but he has Nick and they're pretty inseparable... it's really Emma I'm worried about."
"I know," Finn said. "And I feel like an idiot... she never talks about school and doesn't seem to have friends there..."
Every time Finn and Rachel tried to talk to their daughter about school, she insisted everything was fine. "She says things are fine but I don't think they are," Rachel said.
"We'll need to watch her carefully," Finn said. "I saw red flags right away when both her close elementary school friends left the district."
Now Rachel was feeling increasingly concerned about her daughter. She'd gotten through two years at Miramar and only had one left, but one year could be a lot. Rachel knew that well. She'd had a difficult high school experience. She didn't want her own kids to go through what she'd been through. Over the past few years, the family had in a way still been grieving and sometimes let their grief take over. But everyone else's life was still going on around them.
"Last year of middle school!" Finn and Rachel turned to see Ryan standing there. "Top of the school! Next year - Heights!"
"And you're the goalie of the soccer team now!" Finn told his son.
Ryan smiled wide. "Yup. And student council president, vice president of Science Olympiad and Mock Trial, first chair trumpet and lead baritone in the show choir."
Rachel looked at her son. "Keep an eye on your sister, okay?"
Ryan gave her a confused look. "Okay. She's often off to the side at school though."
"Encourage her to join some of your extracurriculars," Finn said, looking at Rachel.
"Okay, I will," Ryan said. "Is she okay? She seems fine..."
Rachel looked at Finn. "We just want her to enjoy her last year of middle school."
"You made pancakes! Thanks Mom!" Rachel heard Sarah call. Rachel now knew it was time to stop this conversation.
"Fourth grade," Sarah announced proudly. "Now I'm old enough to be in challenge choir, FINALLY. I think I've BEEN talented enough, but the school has a fourth grade requirement."
"Of course you're talented enough," Finn said. "You're Rachel Hudson's daughter!"
"The school just didn't want to have you outshining all the older kids," Rachel said proudly. So apparently Ryan and Sarah WERE looking forward to going back to school.
Rachel looked over at Emma who was just eating her breakfast. Emma had enjoyed the summer, mainly because of summer camp, writing camp, the family trip to California and summer swim team. But now she looked pretty bummed.
"You okay?" Rachel asked her oldest daughter.
"Mom, I'm fine," Emma said. "Don't worry about me. You've had enough to worry about to last you the rest of your life."
Don't worry about me. You've had enough to worry about to last you the rest of your life. Something definitely didn't sound right there.
"Okay, honey," Rachel said quietly. "But you can always come to me."
"I know," Emma said.
Rachel and Finn took the kids' traditional first day of school pictures before Finn left for Roxbury and Rachel left for Heights, dropping Grant off at preschool on the way. Rachel watched as Ryan and Emma began walking down the street to Miramar and Sarah began walking to Cambridge. She just hoped everything truly was alright.
Emma nervously walked to school with her brother. She didn't want to go back to Miramar. The teachers weren't that great and lots of the kids were obnoxious. Fights broke out at least once a week.
"Hey, you know if things are ever upsetting you at school you can tell me, right?" Ryan suddenly said.
"First Mom and Dad, now you," Emma said. Had someone told her family something? "Why is everyone so worried?"
"Maybe because we care," Ryan said. "You should think about joining some of my extracurriculars. Maybe you could find some friends there."
"The paper's enough," Emma said.
"The paper that comes out three times a year that teachers re write just about everyone's stories but yours for," Ryan said. "You could find more friends if you join some of the groups I'm in."
"I'll think about it," Emma said.
"You should," Ryan said.
Ryan's best friend, Nick, came up to Ryan and Emma. "Hey Ryan!" He looked at Emma, causing Emma's heart to skip a beat. "Hey Emma. Didn't see you much this summer because you were at writing camp for so long. How've you been?"
Well, now she was good because Nick was talking to her. Nick Dougherty. The cutest, nicest, smartest boy at Miramar Middle School. But there was no chance Nick Dougherty would want to be with Emma Hudson. He wasn't exactly Mr. Popular, but he was the school board president's son, captain of the soccer team, vice president of the student council, president of the Middle School scholars Program, first chair French horn and lead tenor. What more did he need? "I'm doing fine, how are you?" Emma asked, still trying to hide how happy she was.
"Another year here, but at least one more year till Heights," Nick said. He turned to Ryan. "I just hope people don't give me a hard time..."
"It's not your fault!" Ryan said. "It's HER fault. If people give you a hard time, they're idiots."
"Wait, what happened?" Emma asked, feeling bad for butting in on her brother's friend's business.
"Oh, it happened when you were at writing camp so you didn't hear," Ryan said. "Over the summer, Mackenzie decided to cheat on Nick and have a fling with a senior from the high school."
"That's awful," Emma said. She didn't understand why Nick had dated Mackenzie Adams, a girl in the grade above them, for about six months last year. That girl didn't even seem very nice. She did feel a guilty pleasure that Nick was now back on the market, but felt sorry for him nonetheless.
"Look Nick, at least you don't have to see her every day now that she's at the high school," Ryan said.
"I guess you're right," Nick said. "It's just embarrassing, you know?"
The three teens approached the school. "I'm going to go to my locker, okay?" Emma said to her brother.
"Okay," Ryan said. "Just remember what I told you earlier."
Emma sighed as she headed to her locker. For the past two years she'd been getting bullied, but she tried to cover it up. She didn't want to upset her family, they'd already been through so much. But it didn't seem like she could hide it much longer. Finn, Rachel and Ryan all seemed to be able to tell something was wrong.
Emma went to her locker in the girls' hall. Miramar had all the girls' lockers in one hall and the boys' in another because they thought the hall fights would decrease that way. Little did they know...
Emma unlocked her locker and began putting her books in. She heard a voice behind her. "Oh look, the loser's back."
Emma turned to see Dominique Washington, Tiffany King and Brianna Chandler. They were the three girls who'd tormented Emma the most over the past two years. This year, sadly, they were also the eighth grade cheerleading captains.
"Leave me alone!" Emma said.
"What are you going to do?" Dominique asked. "Tell your parents who had you at 20?"
"Don't talk shit about my parents!" Emma snapped.
"Getting defensive now are we?" Tiffany laughed as she pushed Emma over. Emma frantically looked around the hall as the three girls laughed. Almost everyone seemed involved in their own conversations. She hoped no one had seen what happened.
The first bell rang, indicating students that it was time to go to class. "Saved by the bell," Brianna sneered. "But you haven't seen the last of us."
Fighting back tears, Emma picked up her books and began heading to class. It was only the first day and already she'd been shoved. How much more could she take?
PREVIEW OF NEXT CHAPTER: Finn and Rachel talk to some Glee friends about their concerns for Emma. Hudson family moments. Emma and Nick get closer.
Review if I should keep writing!