"Rachel, can you and Jordan come in here, your father and I have something to tell you," Hiram called out from the living room.
Rachel and Jordan both came down the stairs and the difference between the two girls couldn't have been clearer. Rachel sat down with her back straight on the edge of the couch ready for whatever her fathers had to tell her, while Jordan just flopped down in the corner and yawned. Hiram and Leroy, their Dad and Daddy respectively, smiled at their girls, so close in age but so different in personality.
Before Hiram could even start Rachel blurted out, "If this is about what happened at school I can explain." Rachel kind of shrunk a little as she saw her Daddy raise an eyebrow. It was obvious to her now that they didn't know about what had happened, but now they were going to have to be told about it.
Hiram gave a soft smile before addressing Rachel, "We'll talk about that later but for now you're Daddy and I have something to tell you that you might not like, but we have talked about this and we believe it is best for all of us." He gave a sigh then did what he was best at and just blurted it out, "We're moving."
Rachel gasped while Jordan just shrugged, and before Rachel could start Leroy jumped in, "The hospital there has offered your Dad the head position for the entire hospital and they also offered me the head position for the pediatric ward. Your Dad and I have both worked very hard at what we do and we feel that this new change will be good for us and allow us to put more away for your college Rachel, and to continue to pay for yours Jordan. Also, though we did leave when you both were young this is where you both were born. We have always planned on going back eventually; the job offers just sped up the process a little."
Rachel sat there in shock as her fathers looked at her with trepidation. They weren't sure how she would react and frankly neither was she. The silence was broken by the grandfather clock announcing the time and Jordan, Rachel's sister, gave a small giggle highly amused by what was going on. Jordan had graduated high school a long time ago and was currently working on getting her master's degree in psychology. She did that from home anyway so it didn't matter where that home was located. Rachel on the other hand attended one of the high schools on the outskirts of Columbus and had many friends that she would have to give up. Jordan could see the storm gathering strength in Rachel when she sighed and gave her fathers a look telling her that she would once again handle Rachel. Jordan had always been the peacemaker for the family. She did not like conflict and did her best to avoid it.
They both gave her a small smile as she sat forward and started running her hand up and down Rachel's back. "Hey Songbird, this isn't as bad as you're making it out to be. Lima is a couple hours from here, so you'd still be able to come and visit everybody and they can come see us there. Plus this is a once in a lifetime opportunity." Jordan stopped there and sat back again waiting for Rachel to take the bait, and it wasn't a long before Rachel was staring at her with a cautious look on her face. Jordan couldn't blame her either. The last time Jordan had said something like that Rachel had ended up breaking her arm in two different places. Their fathers also gave her skeptical looks but allowed her to continue, mostly because they couldn't veto anything that hadn't been said.
Rachel sighed, "What opportunity Star? What could possibly make leaving my friends and my life before I absolutely have to any better?" Rachel sunk back fully into the couch and crossed her arms while pouting.
Jordan just smiled, used to dealing with everything Rachel Berry, "Well for starters no one at this new school knows you at all and…"
Rachel cut her off, "And that is a good thing? You know how hard it is for me to actually allow people in. I like my life here. I love my friends, and I don't want to have to start over. Yeah I know I could do it, and I'd excel at it because I'm me, but that doesn't mean that I want to start all over again. Isn't there some way that I can just finish the next year of school here? I've worked so hard to be the best that I could be at everything I do. This knew place will have new rules and new people, plus I won't have my teachers anymore. How am I supposed to prepare myself for my time on Broadway if you take me away from my resources? What about my future? This could hurt everything I've worked towards." Rachel gave her fathers a pleading look, while they stared at her sadly.
Jordan cleared her throat getting their attention again. When everyone was looking at her she pointedly asks Rachel, "May I continue without interruption now?" It was only after Rachel had sulkily nodded and slumped back in her seat that Jordan continued. "As I was saying Rachel, no one knows you so they don't know how you act. Perhaps you could use this new change as an acting exercise. We could come up with a role for you to play and then give you goals for the week to complete. This is a chance to practice for when you get on Broadway. You're going to end up pretending you're someone else on stage every night, so this could be the dry run except, well, it'll be interactive theater where no one actually knows the ending. You would still be able to come home and be yourself, and we'd come and spend weekends with our friends, but this could be a really good thing. You'd get to see if acting is what you really want."
Rachel just sat there staring at Jordan going over everything in her mind, carefully weighing all that Jordan had said with everything that she felt. Hiram cleared his throat, "Star I'm not sure if it would be beneficial to Rachel's wellbeing if she can't be herself at all during school, and has to act the entire time. It might start to wear her down and make her unhappy having to pretend."
Jordan just nods, "I had thought of that, but honestly this is what she wants to do with her life. She wants to act and if she can't handle it now then how is she supposed to handle it for a career. Besides I'm not saying that she can't incorporate herself into the character she is going to play. From what I've read it would be best if she used who she is as the basis and just make a few changes that she can use to cleanly separate the Fake Rachel from the Real Rachel. All of that plus the fact that she gets to come home and be normal. I have faith in Rachel and her acting ability. I think that this would be just something else that she could excel at. Besides, if Rachel does start making some friends that she wants to bring in on the game then there is nothing stopping her. It will be a continually changing thing." Jordan looked at her fathers still seeing a little apprehension but a little more understanding. They realized that in her own way Jordan was giving Rachel a way to make sure that she could handle Broadway. They both gave Jordan a nod telling her that they would stand behind both of them no matter the decision.
Rachel however was still sitting there trying to figure out if this was something that she would want? They all knew that Rachel drew into herself and got really quiet when she was thinking deeply about something, so they just left her be while talking quietly amongst them about what Lima was really like. None of them had been to Lima since the Berrys had adopted Jordan when she was four. Leroy was telling Jordan about how they would start looking at houses on Saturday when Rachel butted in, "I'll do it. Acting while I'm at school sounds like it is going to be hard, and I never step down from a challenge. I think you're right and this will give me practical experience for when I go to Broadway, and even though I won't be able to list it on my resume it will help me get better. We'll have all summer to hammer out the details because I won't be starting school there until next year, right?," When both of her dads nod she continues, "We'll have to set out some ground rules about the personality of my character, and exactly how the weekly goals are going to work, but I am strangely excited about moving now."
Both Hiram and Leroy let out a relieved breath as they realize that this move is now going to be so much easier than they thought, all thanks to Jordan's idea. The girls moved closer on the couch and started to work on Rachel's new character giggling as they both started listing the craziest things they could think of. They both decided that this was going to be a good move.
I dreamed a dream gently woke me from my slumber on one of the biggest days of my life. This is my moment to shine, to show my family that I truly have what it takes to be a Broadway star. It's not as if my family isn't behind me, but today starts the biggest performance I've ever undertaken. To go to a completely foreign place and convince a group of people that I am someone else for an extended period of time is daunting, but I am up to the task.
My fathers had set up a small workout room in the fourth bedroom, and that was my first stop of the day. It was only six in the morning but my sister was already running on the treadmill. She prefers to run while I enjoy the elliptical. We had started working out together in the mornings several years ago when I first began middle school. With Jordan beginning college that year we didn't have much time to spend together and this suited us both. We're both very conscious of our bodies, and the environment.
I snuck a glance at Jordan glad that she was my sister, and that she had come up with this plan. I was still a little nervous about it, but fully committed. Normally I'm a very relaxed person, and nothing really bothers me. Yes, I am driven to succeed but I do know how to have fun. The character I'm supposed to play is just as driven as I am, but in no way knows how to have fun. In fact if I met someone like the fake me, I'd probably be irritated by her. Not to mention the wardrobe. I'm very much a t-shirt and jeans girl with some gorgeous dresses for the proper occasions. My character has hideous fashion choices, I mean animal sweaters? Jo and I had fun shopping around at thrift stores looking for the most heinous items we could find. Needless to say we found quite a few articles that fit the bill. Thankfully I get to change as soon as I come home.
Half an hour later I finally got off the elliptical and went to go take my shower. Jordan had finished fifteen minutes earlier so she could take her shower first. The best part about having Jordan as a sister would be waiting for me as soon as I finished my shower. Jordan loved to cook, and has made breakfast for me every day before school for a long time. It was a perfect way to start the day and gave us more time to spend together. No matter what happened in my life she is always my best friend and safe place even more so than my fathers.
I sat down for breakfast and smiled at Jordan. She smiled back at me and I could see the love and pride in her eyes. I knew she had faith in me, and I would do my best to live up to the person she knew I could be. I looked fondly at my parents as they quietly chatted over the morning paper. To some people my life would be to normal and boring, but to me it was perfect.
Dad's phone beeped and he picked it up to turn off the alarm, "Okay Songbird, it's time to take you to hell… I mean school." Everyone burst out laughing at his terrible, but probably true joke as I got my things ready for school. I smoothed down my retro argyle skirt that we picked up at this cute little shop in downtown New York where we spent a week this summer, and readjusted my knee socks with a sigh. I truly hated dressing like this, but it had been decided that the Rachel I was going to be at school had no fashion sense. It was part of my role, and I would have to get used to wearing skirts to school. At least the skirts got to be short. If I was going to have to dress terribly then I wanted to have a little fun with it. I gave one last look at Jo before taking a deep breath and entering that space in my mind that we had perfected over the summer. I called it my diva place and had taken several days to properly arrange it to fit the character I was portraying. It was time to be a whole new person.
Dad pulled up to the school, and I didn't get out of the car. I really didn't want to do this. Getting out of the car marked a change in my life; no longer would I be Rachel, but instead I would be Rachel Barbra Berry future Broadway star. I had put on a brave face for my family, but there was little I wouldn't give to walk into my old high school today.
Dad reached over and grabbed my hand. He knew how hard today would be. I've attended a private school for the gifted with a very liberal background for most of my life. Public school was a mystery to me that he knew all too well. I looked over at him and gave him my Broadway smile.
"Don't worry Dad, I've got this. You and Daddy have taught me how to handle myself, besides it's only a year. Maybe it'll even be fun."
Dad gave me a lopsided grin, "Just know that your Daddy and I are here for you at all time for all things. We love you and want you to be happy."
I gave him a kiss on the cheek, "I know Dad. You had better hurry up before you're late for work."
I hopped out of the car and waved at him as he drove off. I could hear some chuckles around me but internally shrugged. My entire goal today was to be as outlandish and vibrant as I could be. I wanted to get noticed, and my fake personality demanded the attention.
I sauntered into school dragging my pink wheeled bag behind me. I could feel the stares of everyone around me, but it just increased my cockiness. This was going to be easier than I thought.
I was twenty minutes early to school so I had plenty of time to wander the halls to get my bearings. Going down the last hall towards my destination, the main office, I noticed a large bulletin board that contained sign-up sheets for all the different clubs that the school offered. In my old school I was only in three different clubs, the drama club, the Honor Society, and the glee club. My friends were all in the same clubs, and I enjoyed the time I devoted to them along with my other after school classes.
I carefully considered the board. There was an overwhelming number of clubs listed, at least fifteen. Now I had to decide which ones to join to further develop my character. I sighed; I couldn't decide what to do. Each one of them had the potential to help make me seem more overambitious and annoying. Finally I looked at all the times that the clubs met, each one only meeting once a month besides glee and drama. I glanced around the hall looking at those around me. Most of them had already stopped paying attention to me. I pulled out my pink pen and sheet of gold stars and did the only thing I could do, I signed up for all of the clubs.
I stuck the last star on the New Directions sign-up sheet, and turned around with a little flourish. It took a few seconds for my brain to register the cold stinging sensation starting at my face and slowly dripping down the rest of my body. I wiped my eyes clean while the whole hallway stopped what they were doing to laugh at me. Two giant football players, by the look of their jerseys, were holding Big Gulp cups and I was now wearing their content. They high-fived each other and I finally had control of my legs again after the abrupt shock. I ran into the girl's room and quickly grabbed some paper towels. Even though I didn't like my sweater I still needed to try and salvage it. I managed to get most of the stain out, and all of the stickiness gone from my head upper body.
I still couldn't believe that those jocks had done that to me, and that no one had stopped them. From the reactions of the crowd I could deduce that this was a common occurrence. It took all I had not to track those Neanderthals down and take them down a peg. This is not what I signed up for when I agreed to move here. An ear shattering bell rang out of the intercom and I cursed. I was supposed to have already been to the main office to find out where I was supposed to go.
I made it to my locker without any more incidents. I would have just enough time to get it set up before I had to head to my home room, which was conveniently close to where I was. As I hung up the mirror I'd brought to give my locker a little more personality I saw something that took my breath away. Coming down the hall was the most gorgeous girl that I had ever seen. Her dark skin contrasted the red of her cheerleading uniform perfectly. I could feel my heartbeat pick up as she drew closer to my locker. I turned around after she had passed me, just so I didn't have to lose sight of her. I barely paid attention to the two blondes walking with her.
The bell rang, once again bringing me out of my stupor. I couldn't believe the feelings that one girl could evoke in me. It had taken me a little while to accept that I was gay. I had spent so much of my life focused on my life and school that I hadn't given it much thought. When I entered high school and had my first major crush my fathers encouraged me to experiment with both sexes before labeling myself as gay or straight. It only took one kiss from a boy to realize that I enjoyed kissing girls more. Since that day I had owned and accepted the fact that I am gay.
I slid down into my seat for first period and kind of zoned out. The first day of school was always the worst. The teachers went over the same thing every period and every time everyone had to introduce themselves. Even at my old school where everyone knew each other and had been in the same class since elementary school the teachers still did the same thing. It must be in a teachers handbook somewhere; how to bore your students to death 101.
I breezed through the first part of the day, and started psyching myself up for the lunch time audition. I knew that I could sing my very worst and still sound better than most of the students in this hell hole, I mean school, but I still wanted to give it my best.
When I slipped into the auditorium there was already someone auditioning on the stage. It was a boy who looked my age and his voice was breath taking. Just sitting there I could picture the harmonies we could obtain. I knew that there was no way that the teacher would turn this boy away, and I felt that if the others were like him we might be up to par of my old school.
I sat through the rest of the auditions before I headed to the stage to sing. Most of the singers had been rough, but with a little polishing they could be great. I stepped in to the middle of the stage and let loose one of my show smiles.
"Hello, my name is Rachel Barbra Berry and I am going to sing On My Own from Les Mis."
The teacher looked a little doubtful, so I enjoyed his look of astonishment after I began even more. Most people saw me and thought that I was just a small girl who wasn't very special, but when I opened my mouth no one could deny the talent that I had.
Unfortunately that was the highlight of my day. It was the last period, and I hadn't even seen the cheerleader who caught my attention again. The bell rang to dismiss us from school, and I quickly gathered my stuff up so I could get to my locker. What I hadn't counted on was the Spanish teacher, who happened to be the glee director, to ask me to stay behind to chat. I had to put my acting abilities to the test as I sat there and made small talk with him. He wanted to know more about the vocal training I had undergone. After about ten minutes I was finally able to convince him that I really had to leave or my ride might leave me.
I practically ran out of the classroom, heading towards my locker. I never even looked up, but I should have. I ran straight into a very warm body and ended up bouncing back and hitting the ground hard. I looked up to see the gorgeous Latina cheerleader who had caught my attention earlier being helped up off the floor.
"Watch where the fuck you're going manhands," the girl growled before stalking off down the hall with her friends. Self-consciously I looked down at my hands. They were small and perfectly manicured. I shook my head, manhands, what that girl needed was glasses. I sighed for the umpteenth time today. I sincerely hope that when the girl gets to know me she won't be so dismissing. Well if she ever got to know the real me.
These depressing thoughts followed me as I made my way to my locker, and then finally out to the parking lot where my sister was waiting. My fathers had offered to buy me a car, but I had opted to put the money in a savings account instead. I wouldn't need a car when I moved to New York for college, and it wasn't like Jordan wouldn't take me where I needed to go.
"Hey Songbird. You look a little down. Did today not go the way you wanted it too?" My sister asked as I hopped in the car.
I let the seat back and closed my eyes, "Today was the worst day I've ever had at school, and I'm pretty sure it's just going to get worse before it gets better.
"I sat up suddenly to stare at her. "Do you know what they do to people they classify as losers in this school?" She shook her head no, and I pointed to my stained sweater, "They through slushies in their face, and the whole hallway laughs. None of the teachers even do anything to stop it. Ugh." I threw my hands up. "Can we just go home and be normal for a little while."
"Actually I have a better idea that I already cleared with Dad and Daddy. We just have to be home by ten, and since it's already close to four we're going to have to hurry up." Jordan said as she started up the car and pulled away from the front of the school.
I sat my seat up so I could see where we were going, "Uh, Jo where are we headed."
She smirked at me and pulled out onto the highway, "We're headed to see our friends and relax with some fun times."
The school week went by pretty fast after that first day. I started to settle into my new role, and things started to bother me less and less. The only thing I truly hated was the slushies. No matter how hard I tried to avoid them, I got hit at least once a day. I even started bringing things to change into and clean myself off after one of these attacks. Other than that I had no complaints. I was excelling at all of my classes, and everyone thought I was an obnoxious know-it-all. I couldn't believe it was going so well.
Today was Friday and I had made plans to go spend the weekend with friends as soon as I finished at school. It put a spring in my step that the other students seemed to hone in on. During the day I was hit with a total of three slushies. My only consolation was that the gorgeous cheerleader that I saw the first day wasn't there to witness my humiliation. In fact I had only seen the girl two times since the first day, not that I was counting.
My last period seemed to drag on forever. Every time I looked at the clock it seemed as if the hands hadn't moved at all. It wasn't until I discreetly checked my watch that I realized that the clock was broken. I felt like slamming my head on the desk. I had spent twenty minutes agonizing over how time didn't seem to be moving at all when the clock didn't even work. I was so out of it, ready to visit my friends that I wasn't even sure how I was going to make it through glee practice.
When I had signed up for the New Directions I was expecting something similar to what I had experienced in my old school. I was expecting rigid practice structure, dedicated vocal and dance coaching, and a great deal of effort put into it by not only the students but also the teacher. In the week of glee practices that I had already endured none of that had happened. Mr. Schuester seemed to care more about "feelings" and less about competitions. In my old school we would have already had a set list planned out for our invitational, sectionals, regionals, and nationals. We were the national champs for six years running.
When the bell finally rang I made my way out of the classroom fairly quickly. I didn't want to get stopped by Mr. Schue when I was going to see him in a few minutes. Besides the only times I saw my cheerleader was when I was at my locker. I tried to spend as much time there as I could. I'm not trying to be creepy or anything, I've just never felt this way about another person without having spent time with them.
I carefully placed things in my locker just to pull them out while looking in the mirror. I watched as the four other glee clubbers walked past me. None of them even glanced my way. While I had going for annoying, I had hoped that they would at least make an attempt to be my friends. I'm sad to say that as soon as they heard my voice I could feel the animosity rolling off them. They had all been in the club since their sophomore year, and did not appreciate me coming into their territory. Apparently Mr. Schue liked to have all the club members audition a song at the beginning of the year regardless of the fact that they were already in the club; most of the time I think that he is off his rocker.
The hallway emptied and I finally shut my locker door, accepting the fact that I wouldn't see who I was looking for. I finally made it to the bathroom to throw on the hideous workout outfit that Schue wanted us to wear. Not only were we doing stupid songs, but we had to wear stupid outfits. If I was myself I wouldn't have been caught dead in the hideous clothes, but as Rachel Barbra Berry I owned those clothes. When I finally exited the bathroom I held my head high and strutted to the choir room.
When I made it to the room I could hear the others having a lively conversation which stopped as soon as I walked through the door. Internally I sighed; they could at least have a little more tact. I turned away from them as if I hadn't noticed anything and had Brad, the pianist, go through my scales with me. Regardless of whether or not I was playing a character, my voice was the most important part of my body and I did my utmost to take care of it. The others could care less about their voices, and often began practice without a proper warm up. All through the week I had done my part in lecturing them on the dangers of singing without warming up to no avail. Today I could care less about what they did; I just wanted to get out of there so I could go pretend none of this had ever happened.
Just as I finished my warm-up Schue walked in, late as usual. That man needs to get it together before his whole world falls apart around him. He made us all line up and handed out the assignment for the day. We had to sing "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat". I couldn't believe how frustrating this was. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with following directions, but it was becoming increasingly clear that Mr. Schuester was using the glee club to relive his high school days. Now, there is nothing wrong with the song but it is not something we should be singing. Mercedes is an excellent female vocalist, and so is Tina when she sings, and no one would deny the fact that Artie and Kurt aren't great singers, but none of them fit the role of a leading male vocalist. In my old club the auditions were a tool our director used to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each singer and developed a female and male lead from the information she gathered. Mr. Schue seemed content to assign parts willy nilly.
After the fifth time of messing the song up I finally had enough.
"This is crazy. No one is going to buy this. I mean you gave the main part of 'Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat' to a guy in a wheelchair. No offence Artie, but you've got to see the irony in that." I told Mr. Schue. The whole room, minus Brad, looked at me like I was crazy.
I through my head back and groaned, no one was getting the point. They couldn't see the problems jumping up and down in front of their faces. I just couldn't deal with it anymore and stormed out of the room. "I can't believe they're also so blasé about this whole thing. Don't they know that it was activities like this that got you into good schools? Did they want to be losers their whole life?" I thought to myself as I headed towards my locker.
I know I should have been paying attention to where I was going, but the hallways were supposed to be empty so I didn't. I can honestly say that I am not upset about the results of not looking where I was going. I just so happened to run full force into the girl who had captured my attention a week ago. Her friends caught her before she could fall to the ground, but I was not so lucky and hit the ground hard.
I sat there on the ground staring up at the three gorgeous girls, and did the only thing my brain could think of. I raised my hand and held it out, "Hi, I am Rachel Barbra Berry. I'm new to this school, and we've yet to make each other's acquaintance."
The three stood there staring at me before the girl I had been thinking about non-stop for five days scowled at me and said, "Watch where you're going manhands," before walking away with the two blondes.
I stared at them open mouthed for a good two minutes before I finally recalled that I was sitting on the ground. I couldn't believe that someone who had invaded my thoughts so thoroughly could dismiss me so easily, but what could I really expect; I was at the bottom of the ladder, and she was at the top.
I was still contemplating what had happened in the encounter as I changed into my school clothes, and gathered my stuff from my locker. When I looked down at my watch I nearly hit myself in the head. I had walked out on glee club with forty-five minutes left and had only wasted fifteen of them. Jordan wouldn't be to school to pick me up for another half hour. She had an important test she had to take, and I was supposed to be occupied during it. How was I supposed to know that I would have a meltdown at glee club today?
I made my way out to the bleachers to wait for my salvation. It was a pretty private place where I could still see the parking lot. I didn't think anyone would bother me while I was sitting here, but was I ever wrong. Ten minutes into my peaceful reprieve from the hell hole they called school I spotted Schue making his way towards me.
He sat down one row above me for some odd reason before speaking, "Changed out of your costume," he noted. He was not getting off to a good start, but I decided to have mercy on him.
I took a deep breath and slipped back into character. "I'm tired of being laughed at," I told him, feeling true pain caused by the laughter of my peers. Even though I had engineered this, I had not thought so many, I mean all, of those around me would be duped by my rouse. I could feel what my character was going through and it just added weight to my performance.
Mr. Schue sighed, "You're the best kid in there Rachel, and it comes with a price."
I squared my shoulders and threw out my line, "Mr. Schue I am a senior in high school. The clock is ticking, and I can feel the countdown beginning. I don't want to leave high school with nothing to show for it."
He took the bait; hook, line, and sinker. "You get great grades, and you're a fantastic singer," He began. I could tell he was just trying to placate me so that I wouldn't leave his precious glee club. I had seen his eyes light up in my audition. He needed me to make his club something, and we both knew it.
I turned back around and faced the football field. I could feel the defeat weigh down on me. "Everybody hates me," I whispered as if it was some dark secret. It was true though. Because of my acting I had not made a single friend during the week I had been in school, and I didn't expect to make any soon.
"You think glee club is going to change that?" He asked confused. I glanced back at him and had to quickly look forward to hide my smirk. The man was so far past confused I didn't think he'd ever find his way back.
I gave him my best determined face, the one I had spent two hours practicing in the bathroom mirror one summer in acting camp, and declared, "Being great at something is going to change it. Being a part of something special, makes you special right? I need a male lead who can keep up with me vocally."
Finally the man seemed to follow along with what I was saying. I could see the cogs working in his head when he finally offered up, "Maybe I can coach Artie along."
I had already prepared myself to have this conversation with Schue, and concocted an appropriate response. I knew that with the right coaching Artie could take the male lead on some of the song we would have to perform to be the best, but honestly he didn't have the versatility that a true lead vocalist needed.
"Look, Mr. Schue I really appreciate what you're trying to do but if you can't give me what I need, then I'm sorry. I'm not going to make a fool out of myself. I can't keep wasting my time with glee. It hurts too much." I said in my calmest voice.
Just as he was about to reply the football coach blew his whistle to catch the Spanish teachers attention. Schue just looked at me and shook his head before heading down to the field. I grinned when he wasn't looking, knowing that I had just started the man on a journey to find my perfect leading man. He did after all want to bring his precious little club to national victory, as did any decent club.
I glanced at my phone, and jumped out of my seat when I realized I had just enough time to make it to the parking lot before Jordan pulled up. This was the part of the day that I had been looking forward to the most, the point where I could be myself.
As I hopped in the car I saw my cheerleader staring at me, and lamented the fact that I still didn't know her name before shaking it off.
"Hey Rach, you ready for a fun weekend at Mom's?" Jordan asked as I buckled myself in.
As she pulled out of the parking lot I started messing with the radio before answering her, "Yeah, I can't wait to see Mom again. I know we saw her on Monday, but it is so weird not seeing her every day. I really miss having her as my glee coach, but I mostly just miss having her around."
Jordan nodded understandingly as we fell into a comfortable silence listening to the radio. We were already going to have to go over our days with Mom so there was no point to tell each other now when we could relax with some music.
I know it sounds weird, us talking about our "Mom" when we both have two dads, but she really is my Mom. Eighteen years ago my fathers had decided that they were ready to start a family, and set out to find a surrogate. My mom had aspired to go to New York to make her mark on Broadway and had needed the cash to do so. She had agreed to become their surrogate with the condition that she would always get to be in my life in some form or fashion. My fathers adored my mother and agreed to her terms.
Twelve months later I was born into a loving family with three parents. My mom had went to Broadway, and had headlined one of the biggest plays of my generation before realizing that she just missed me too much. She moved back to Ohio around the time my dads moved us to Columbus. That was also around the time that Jordan was adopted into the family. Instead of using another surrogate my fathers decided to adopt a girl my age at the time, who had been my Daddy's patient. My mother took Jordan in just like my fathers and we became a very happy family.
The next thing I know someone is shaking me. I open my eyes and jerk back into my seat. Jordan laughed at my reaction to her face unnervingly close to mine. I can't believe that I fell asleep on the short trip. School must have really taken its toll on me.
I punch her in the arm before hoping out of the car and heading up the walk. There's no need to bring anything for a weekend because we've had a second wardrobe here for a long time. Whenever we have problems with each other or one of our fathers Jordan and I both know that Mom's door is always open for us.
I walk in and call out, "Mom, we're home." I hear a muffled sound coming from the kitchen and head that way to investigate with Jordan following me now that she's entered the house. When we walk in I can't help but laugh. Mom is on the floor messing with the pipes under the sink. The entire kitchen looks like a tornado has come and gone a couple of times.
When she hears us laugh Mom sticks her head out looking chagrined, "I had hoped to have this fixed before you girls got here, but then one problem turned into three and I got overwhelmed."
Jordan went over to the sink and gave her a hand up. "Why don't we just call a plumber tomorrow and go out somewhere for supper tonight. We can clean the mess up tomorrow while we're waiting for the plumber to show up," Jordan offered up as we all surveyed the mess.
"Good idea," Mom replied, "Let me go change into something less messy. You guys should call your friends and tell them you made it here alive, and invite them to supper. We can all go to our normal pizza place, and then you guys can hang out with them while I come back here and start on this mess."
Jordan and I looked at each other before shrugging. "Alright," I said, "but don't worry too much about the kitchen tonight. We'll help you clean it up tomorrow. It will give us plenty of time to catch up. Now, no offence, but you're much too messy to hug right now so I'll save it for later."
Mom nodded her head, "Duly noted and understood, but I think the important thing here is what in God's name are wearing. That thing is ugly."
I glanced down at my sweater, "Oh, it's just a unicorn. It's totally in these days," I bluffed, "but you wouldn't know because you teach private school." I gave her a thousand watt smile as she just shook her head laughing. She knew exactly why I was wearing the sweater, but I was glad she had mentioned it or I might have forgotten to change.
Jordan made the calls to our closest friends while Mom and I got changed. Did I mention that she's the best mom in the whole world? We lived over an hour away and only got to see her on weekends, but she still made sure we got to see our friends too. I guess it does help that they're all in her glee club, but still it's the thought that counts. Somehow she manages to balance awesome mom with dedicated coach all while making it look easy.
It was about seven when we finally made it to the restaurant. It was mostly empty, and that's just the way we liked it.
"Hey Mr. P how are things going, it feels like it's been forever since we've been here?" I asked the man at the register. We've known him since I was little for a couple of reasons; first he made the best vegan pizzas I have ever tasted, and two his twins are two of my and Jordan's closest friends.
"Same old same old Brown Eyes, I see you and your sister are doing well." He gave us a big grin, "The trouble makers are at your normal table. I put the usual in when Jo called. They'll be out in just a few."
Jordan and I both gave him a kiss on the cheek as we moved towards the back of the room. We left Mom up there talking to Mr. Pointe; they had things to catch up on. He was like a third father to me and Jordan just like our parents were surrogate parents for his twins.
"Jesse, Soph, Luke it's so great to see you guys." Jordan exclaimed as soon as we got close to the table. The two boys and Sophia got up and hugs were exchanged all around. We all became close when we were around five, and we've been inseparable since. Sophia and Lucas Pointe are Mr. Pointe's twins, and Jesse St. James is pretty much exactly like me except male. We all loved to sing and dance and the three attended many of the same after school activities as I did. They got to know Jordan through play dates my dads would set up when we were younger. Now we are all the best of friends.
"Jo, Rach! God it's good to see you too. Life is much to tame without you guys around." Jesse exclaimed before dramatically pouting. I laughed because I knew it was true. While the five of us were always doing crazy things, Jordan was normally the instigator. In fact some of our best times stemmed from one of Jordan's ideas.
I punched Jesse on the arm, "That just means you guys are staying out of trouble, just like we are. It's much too boring in Lima without you guys. All I've got is that one." I said pointing at Jordan who promptly stuck her tongue out at me.
"Watch it Jo or your face will freeze like that," Mom said as she finally made it over to our table followed by our pizzas. For the next hour or so we laughed and messed around with our friends having a good time. Most people would balk at including their mom in a friends outing, but not us. We were always able to joke around freely, and talk about our life without fear of judgment, not that we ever did anything truly bad. In fact, Mom is one of the major contributions to many of our schemes. Without her assistance when we were younger we wouldn't have the great memories that we do now.
When we finally got home around nine I was more than ready to change into my jammies and relax in the living room with a movie on the T.V. thankfully everyone else had the same idea and we all ended up snuggled together on the couch after putting the Avengers in.
After Friday night the weekend just seemed to fly by. Saturday morning we helped mom clean up the kitchen, and that afternoon we spent time just hanging out with her and having fun. It wasn't until that night that we actually spent some time with our friends. All in all it was a good weekend and I felt refreshed when I got back to Lima on Sunday night.
Almost as soon as I stepped through the door on Monday morning, Schuester grabbed my attention. "Rachel, I've got great news. I've found your male lead. He'll start practice with us this afternoon. You'll see, this is just what glee needs." He giddily told me before getting distracted by Ms. Pillsbury the guidance counselor. A male lead is just what this group needed. Hopefully soon I'd be able to build it up into something that could actually compete against my mother, who happened to be my old glee club coach.
Today was the beginning of my second week of school, and I had decided to step up my game a little. Last week was like a teaser for what was to come. From now on I would be more consistently in your face than I had been last week, when I was still adjusting to a new school.
During the break between classes I made sure to saunter where ever I went, and thankfully I wasn't slushied that day. In class I made sure to raise my hand for every single question, most of which I actually knew the answer to. At lunch I pulled out a very elaborate lunch and real china to eat on. Anything that would make people think that I thought I was better than them in everything I did, and had plans to continue. By the end of the day even the teachers were tired of me.
When it came time for glee club I could tell that the members didn't want me to be there, except for one. The new guy, who must be the male lead Schue was talking about. He kinda waved hi to me, but kept to himself in the corner. I could tell that he wanted to be anywhere else but here. He was kinda cute though if you liked boys. If I were into them, I could totally see myself falling for him as long as he had a personality as good as his looks.
When Schue finally showed up, late as usual, he passed out the song that we were going to sing. I was pleasantly surprised that it was from Grease, one of the better musicals. We all lined up on the stage and Brad played the opening. I think all of us were holding our breath waiting for Finn, that's what Schue called him anyway, to start singing.
When he opened his mouth and the song came out I was shocked. I had not thought that he would be that good. I could tell that he was very raw and had no training at all, but there was a lot of potential for him. There was a lot of potential for him for much more than being a leading man in the glee club. Finn could be very useful for my acting, for what kind of diva didn't have a leading man in her life. Of course I'd rather have a leading lady, but the only person I wanted to fill that role wouldn't give me the time of day. With that thought I decided that Rachel Barbra Berry was going to pursue glee's new leading man Finn Hudson.
As soon as I made up my mind I heard my cue to start singing. This would be the perfect time to begin the seduction of Finn Hudson, even though it made me want to gag. I threw the lyrics behind me and put my training to good use. When this song was finished everyone would know I was going after Finn, including Finn. There wouldn't be any wiggle room on the interpretation.
I moved around Kurt messing up his hair, mostly cause I knew it would upset him while keeping my eyes on Finn. He was giving me weird looks, but I'm pretty sure he understood the meaning I was trying to get across. The next victim in my way towards Finn was Tina. As I reached in to push her away I accidently got her boob instead of her arm, but she didn't seem to mind that much. Hmmm, I'll have to store that little tidbit away for future use. Next came Artie who was easy just to roll out of the way leaving only Mercedes between me and the boy I had set my eyes on. I figured the best way to get to Mercedes was just to ignore her and pretend she wasn't there, which I must say did garner the reaction I was looking for. I could feel her recoil away from me as I stood in her personal space. The look on Finn's face as I reached out for his hand was hilarious. I might have to take back my earlier assumption that he knew what my intentions were because now he just looks really confused and slightly frightened.
"Oh hell to the no. Look, I'm not down with this background singing nonsense." Mercedes interjected. The anger and frustration in her voice quite clearly got her point across. "I'm Beyoncé. I ain't no Kelly Rowland," she told Schuester. I was quite curious how he would handle this outburst. On my old team any public outburst like this would result in immediate dismissal.
"Okay, look, Mercedes, it's just one song." Schue threw out trying to placate the fuming diva.
Kurt jumped in to help Schue by adding, "And it's the first time we've been kind of good." I couldn't help but agree with him. We weren't national champions good, but we were better than last week.
"Okay, you're good white boy." Mercedes conceded, "I'll give you that, but you better bring it. Let's run it again."
"Alright, let's do it. From the top" Schue exclaimed. I don't know what he was so excited about. He in no way handled the situation, Kurt did. I just shrugged and moved back to my starting position. If he wanted to let his glee club spiral out of his control that was his problem.
As we continued practicing I kept up flirting with Finn. By the end of the rehearsal all I accomplished was making Tina laugh. That girl seemed to find my failed attempts at wooing the new guy kind of funny. Maybe there was one person in school who didn't hate me as much as I thought.
I went home that night feeling better than I had after any of the previous days last week. Even if Finn hadn't caught my meaning, I was one step closer to building the perfect cover, and I had a potential ally if I needed one.
I hoped in Jordan's car and drove myself home after school, excited to tell Jo about my day. I got to borrow her car because she stayed a little longer in Columbus for some school stuff. Jordan took all of her classes online, but for some of her classes she had to go on campus for the exams. Jordan's crazy smart, but most of her achievements stem from the fact that she's not very comfortable around people she doesn't know. After being hospitalized for a severe panic attack on the first day of kindergarten Dad, Daddy, and Mom all worked out a homeschooling schedule for Jordan so she would feel safe. Jordan spent most of her days in a corner in Mom's classroom; she's a high school English teacher, where she worked on her own school work. While it wasn't the best solution for a homeschooled five year old, it was the one that worked.
I pulled into the drive and quickly raced into the house. If I was lucky Jo would be home by now. I just had to tell her about Finn, she would get a kick out of it.
I slammed the door when I entered and was rewarded with a, "In the kitchen," from Jordan. I just rolled my eyes. If she wasn't doing school work or doing something crazy with me and our friends, she was in the kitchen. Not that anyone complained, she was the best baker in the group.
I skipped into the room and sat down in what was quickly becoming my spot. Though I had protested the move, I loved the house we moved into. It was a lot larger and nicer than our little home in Columbus. It was nice to be able to move around and spread out.
Jordan tapped my nose with her flour coated finger, "What are you grinning about Songbird? It looks like you're the cat who's finally got the cream? I'm going to guess you had a good day at school."
I nodded as I snuck a bite of her vegan cookie dough, "I had a wonderful day. It almost felt like I was back home, except no one talked to me. I made it all day without being slushied, and Mr. Schue finally found a male vocalist who should be able to take this little group somewhere, though he's nowhere as good as Jesse." I pouted, now that I thought about it I would have to do a lot of work to whip this group into shape. They had the potential but not the leadership to achieve their dreams.
"Aw cheer up Rach, you know you like a challenge." Jo encouraged me as she carefully placed her shaped cookies on the baking sheet.
"I know, but I would like to win my fourth national title this year. It would look really good on my college apps, but that wasn't why I was smiling." Jordan raised her eyebrows at me encouraging me to go on.
"I met a boy," at this she let out a very un-Jordan-like snort, "Hey, I can meet boys besides it's not as if I really like him. I just think he'd make an interesting addition to my character acting. I mean if I'm supposed to be as conceited and self-absorbed as I portray then I should be dating the male lead of the glee club. It only makes sense."
Jo and I sat there staring at each other before she finally nodded, "Yes, you're right. It's typical teenage behavior for the alpha male and female in a subgroup to seek each other out as potential mates. It increases the likelihood of successful offspring, or in high school terms it solidifies your place at the top."
I just rolled my eyes; of course she would go off in some technobabble. Luckily for her I still loved her. "That's what I was trying to say. For my character it would look stranger if I didn't pursue him due to his looks and voice. His personality is lacking, but from observing most high school boys that is to be expected besides it's not as if anything would actually happen." I shrugged, "I think I might have made a sorta friend too."
Jordan gave me a funny look, "How do you make a sorta friend?"
"Well, she didn't seem to be upset or irritated by my antics today or really all last week if I think about it. She seems more amused by me if anything. Today it was kind of like we were sharing a private joke because every time I did some crazy flirting she would laugh. It was kind of nice."
"That's nice. Maybe you two could be friends? It would probably be nice if you had some friends outside of Columbus." Jordan observed as she cleaned her hands.
I shook my head, "I don't know. I'll think about it. I might let her in on the secret soon, but for now I've got too much to worry about. Speaking of worry, can you believe my Lit teacher has already assigned a paper? Its due in two weeks, but still it's only the second week of school. She could have at least waited until the weekend to spring the news on us. Anyway I'm going to let you finish your baking while I go up to my room to tackle my homework."
Jordan stopped gathering the ingredients for her new recipe long enough to smile and reply to me. "Well I'm sure you know best, and if you need any help I'll be down here. Dad and Daddy both have to work so I was thinking some BBQ tempeh for supper with a nice fruit salad for desert. How does that sound?"
I couldn't help but rub my stomach. Most people thought vegan food was disgusting and tasteless, but that's only because they've never eaten Jo's cooking. Dinner sounded delicious and I couldn't wait for it, and I let Jordan know, "That sounds divine. If you need any help making it I'll be up in my room." She just waved me off and I headed up to my room. I knew I'd be back down to help chop the vegetables later, but there was nothing I would rather do than spend some quality time with my sister.
When I got to school the next day I discovered that Mr. Schue had called an early morning glee meeting, so I didn't get to hang around my locker watching the crowds. I switched out my textbooks and made my way to the choir room. I was actually very curious about this meeting.
Once everyone was there and settled down Schue, who was there early for once, wrote sectionals across the board. "As you all know, this is a show choir and a show choir performs. This year I want each one of us to focus on our ultimate goal, wining nationals. Now the first step is sectionals, and while we don't compete against this school until regionals, I would like to make a trip to Columbus tomorrow afternoon to see the national champions."
After he finished there was an excited buzz going throughout the room, except for me. He was talking about Vocal Adrenaline, my old group. When the bell finally rang I woodenly walked out of classroom. I had never planned for this when I decided to go forth with my plan. My face is plastered all up and down the trophy cases at Carmel High School. I would have to come up with something good to keep everyone from finding out.
It only took me half a period of dedicated thinking to figure out a plan. I would call Jesse and ask him to remove my pictures, and my mom to ask her to stay out of sight. I mean there is no way that someone can look at the two of us and not know that we're related. We look much too much alike to fool anyone.
With a plan in mind I held my head high as I moved towards my locker to get the books I would need for the next two classes. Just as I got to my locker I looked up to see this mountain of a boy coming in my direction. I knew what was coming, as did most of the students in the hallway. I squared my shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes as he slushied me. The brute at least had the decency to look ashamed. I just shook my head and grabbed my kit so I could clean up. At least my teacher for the next period wouldn't say anything when I came in late, she never did. God I hated this school, but I had already committed to acting a certain way and I wasn't going to change it.
As I was about to enter the bathroom I saw the one thing that was guaranteed to ruin my day, my cheerleader. To my abject dismay she had seen everything. The last thing I wanted was the girl I had a crush on see me get slushied. I'm ashamed to say that the bathroom took the brunt of my humiliation, and I now need ice for my swollen knuckles.
After that my day was a shithole. Nothing went right all day and I was relieved when Jordan finally showed up. I was slushied twice more during the day and the third one had ruined a homework assignment for my next to last class. The teacher was not understanding about it at all, and now I had twice as much math to work through tonight. I just hoped that my dad's didn't have to work late again because I wasn't the best in calculus and neither was Jordan.
Thankfully when I got home Daddy was already there. With his help I was able to power through my calculus homework, and I actually understood it. I gave him a kiss on the cheek then excused myself after we were finished. I still had a couple phone calls to make so that tomorrow wouldn't be a complete disaster.
The calls were a complete success and Mom even agreed to help Jesse take down the photos to help me out. When the group went to Vocal Adrenaline's performance tomorrow there should be nothing that would tip someone off, even the members were being ordered to pretend like they don't know who I am. I actually think that I could pull tomorrow off without any hitches, and I might even be able to get some one on one time with Finn.
I played it low key the next day at school. I wore a pretty outfit to school, and the last thing I wanted to do was have a slushy ruin it. I made it all day without a single incident, and the last period finally came around. The five other glee members, Mr. Schue, Ms. Pillsbury, and I partnered off to drive to Columbus. Unfortunately Artie rode with his Dad and the rest of the kids rode with Kurt. I was stuck riding the entire way with Schue and Emma. I just popped my headphones in and worked on my homework for the hour ride.
"You're very talented." I told Finn as we waited in line together to buy snacks. This was the first opportunity that I have had to talk to him alone since Monday. It was about time I started to put some moves on him.
"Really?" he said surprised.
"Yeah, I would know. I'm very talented too." I told him. Well it was true; I had led a show choir to national championship for three years in a row. "I think the rest of the team expects us to become an item. You the hot male lead and me the stunning young ingénue that everybody roots for." I smiled at him. There was no way he could misunderstand what I was saying.
Finn kind of avoided my eyes as he started to speak, "Well… I, uh, kinda have a girlfriend."
"Really? Who?" I asked. I knew I should have been paying attention to the social structure at McKinley, but it was only the second week. I think I could be excused for not knowing everyone's business, especially since I really didn't care.
Finn just kind of shrugged and said, "Quinn Fabray."
"Cheerleader Quinn Fabray? The president of the celibacy club?" I blurt out. Even as out of it as I am, I know who Quinn Fabray is. She's the ruler of the school and a person's social standing rests in her hands. If she likes you you're cool, but if she doesn't may God have mercy on your soul.
"We're almost four months now. She's cool." Finn tells me before losing the conversation, "Mmm, I wonder if they have Sour Patch Kids."
The boy was an idiot, but not all was lost. So he had a girlfriend. That didn't mean that she had to stay his girlfriend. In fact it would be quite a coup for me to steal the Queen of the school's boyfriend away.
We got our snacks and headed back to the auditorium, they did in fact have Sour Patch Kids. I didn't try to flirt with Finn anymore; I had to go about this in a different way now. I had to be more subtle about the whole stealing a person's boyfriend thing, mostly cause I would never get the chance to do it again.
"Hey, guys, so this is supposed to be our competition, but, uh, I honestly don't think that they've got the talent that we've got. But let's be a good audience, all right? Give them some of that ol' McKinley High respect." Mr. Schue said as we were waiting for the show to start. It took all I had not to stare at the man. Didn't he know who Vocal Adrenaline was, and all of their accomplishments? He was deluded if he thought that our group had half the talent of theirs.
I sat back to enjoy the show as the curtain rose. When they started singing I realized that my mom had pulled out all the stops. She must have switched up her set list after my call last night to show off her club more. I smirked and shook my head; I would have to thank her as I looked at the stunned and horrified looks of the club. I did my best to keep my expression similar to theirs.
No one really talked to me about what we saw as we left the building. I could see that they were all still trying to process what had happened. I knew that tomorrow would bring about some strong reactions, and boy was I right; it just wasn't the reaction I was expecting.
Mr. Schue once again called an early morning meeting in the auditorium. I thought it was going to be about our set list for sectionals, but I was far from the true reason.
"Guys there is something that I have to tell you, and I know it's going to be hard but it has nothing to do with you guys. I have to leave the school, and quit teaching." Schue told us with a pained expression.
"You're leaving us? When?" Artie asked. It was the question on all of our minds.
"Well, I've given my two weeks' notice, but I promise I'm gonna find you guys a great replacement before I go." Schue replied without going into much detail.
"Is this 'cause those Carmel kids were so good? Because we can work harder." Mercedes asked.
I spoke up "This isn't fair Mr. Schuester. We can't do this without you." Any decent coach wouldn't leave his kids like this. What could possess this man to quit a job he loves.
"So does that mean that I don't have to be in the club anymore or…?" Finn asked from the background. I glared at him.
Schue interrupted me before I could say anything. "This isn't about you guys. Being an adult is about having to make difficult choices. It's not like high school. Sometimes you have to give up the things you love. One day you guys are going to grow up and understand that. I have loved being your teacher." Schue said before walking out of the auditorium. I could see the tears in his eyes. What could possibly be so bad that the man had to quit his job?
"What are we going to do?" Kurt asked as soon as it became apparent that Schue wasn't coming back and after Finn had left too.
I took a deep breath before standing in front of the group. "The only thing we can do is continue on. I vote that we continue to hold practices and wait for Mr. Schuester to decide he doesn't want to leave or we get a new advisor."
For once everyone agreed with me, and we all made plans to meet up today at the normal time. Kurt was going to deliver the news to Finn while I planned out what we were going to do. School was quite boring that day so I had ample time to plan out today's practice. I was thinking that we could go over songs that we wanted to sing at sectionals, if we ever got the proper number of members.
I was on pins and needles waiting for school to be over. I really wanted today's practice to go well. I was finally going to get to show them what a proper practice looked like. I'm sure they would balk at my being leader, but it would be for the best.
I walked into the glee room only moments after the bell rang. There was no time for dawdling in the hallway. Thankfully Brad was there and I was able to give him some sheet music to look over before we started practice. I had picked songs that only showcased my voice, but it worked for my character.
I patiently waited for the other members to show up, and ten minutes later I was rewarded with all the members minus Finn. Honestly I wasn't surprised, based on his comments earlier I knew he wasn't there by choice.
"Okay group, with Mr. Schue gone I have taken it upon myself to appoint myself as he interim director." I said.
"Whoa hold up," Mercedes interjected, "what gives you the right to take over. Kurt and I should take over since we've been here the longest."
"And frankly, we don't even know if you're qualified to take over as director. You've only been here for two weeks now." Kurt said coming to Mercedes's defense.
"Okay," I slowly nodded, "You guys have a point. You don't know me very well, or my qualifications. How about we have a competition, each of us who want to take over will perform a song. Those who don't want the position and Brad, if he agrees, will judge it."
I looked around and everyone was nodding, including Brad. This was a chance to show off my talent, and blow them away.
"Alright, who wants to run practices?" I asked. Only Kurt and Mercedes stepped forward. "Okay, it looks like there are three candidates and three judges. Hopefully we can resolve this quickly. Why don't you and Mercedes decide who wants to go first, and I'll go last." I directed towards Kurt.
Kurt and Mercedes looked at each other before Mercedes stepped back. We went and sat on the risers too give Kurt the space. He spoke with Brad for a moment before singing a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Blackbird by the Beatles. It honestly took my breath away. I had known he had a stunning voice, but this was just beautiful, though I felt sad because I knew that I would still out perform him.
Mercedes high-fived Kurt as she moved to take the floor. Again she consulted with Brad about her choice before taking a deep breath. When she started singing I couldn't help but smile, though predictable Whitney Houston's I look to you sounded great coming from her. It showed the power and range of her voice. She was still a little raw, but I felt that with some help she could be a powerhouse.
Finally it was my turn and I made the snap decision to do this without piano accompaniment. My voice was good enough to blow them away, and I wanted them to get the full effect, so I whispered to Brad that he could just sit there and listen. I took a deep breath and started my go to song, Don't Rain on My Parade. I had adored the song since I was small, and had practiced it more than any other song I knew. Therefore I wasn't shocked by the awe I could see on their faces. I knew what my voice did to people, and I used it to my full advantage.
When I finished my song the three of us stepped in the hall so we wouldn't influence the judging. I hoped that the others would vote for me and this wouldn't turn into a popularity contest, but I couldn't be certain. I was waiting on pins and needles for them to tell us to come back in.
"Where did you learn to sing like that?" Kurt asked me.
I shrugged, "My mom and dads sing so I've pretty much sang my whole life, but I started vocal lessons when I was two. I loved to sing so much that I begged and begged for voice lessons, and my dad's caved. I've been training ever since then at least three times a week even during breaks."
"Wow," was all they said before the door was opened. I nervously walked into the room while still keeping my head held high. We all stood at the front of the room and waited.
Tina stood and looked at all of us before saying, "We discussed this and based on talent we were tied, but we felt that Rachel being new had something she could teach us." She turned and faced Kurt and Mercedes, "Let's face it, we all know we're good but we're getting nowhere. We need a new take on this. This is our last year and I want to win something, maybe Rachel can help us do that. So we decided that we need to give her a chance."
Tina smiled at me as sat back down. Kurt and Mercedes nodded their acceptance and sat down. I let out my biggest smile and nodded. "Okay, the first thing we need to do is warm up. Each one of you sounds amazing, but you will all sound so much better after a proper warm-up." Mercedes looked like she going to protest so I raised my hand, "I know it sound odd, but does your voice ever hurt after you sing those really powerful notes," she nodded and I continued, "With a proper warm-up your voice won't hurt anymore and you'll be able to sing for longer."
The practice was amazing. I knew it wouldn't last very long, but for now the entire group was listening to me. It gave me a sense of power, but I tried to keep it from going to my head. After all, I know that at some time they would balk at my control or we would get a new director. I was going to enjoy it while I could.
Practice ended with smiles and laughter, and I left the room feeling better than I had ever felt at this school. That was until I felt that ice cold fury of a frozen slushy hit me in the back. I spun around to berate my attacker when a second slushy was thrown. I got hit with three additional slushies before someone pushed me down. The only thing I heard while they were walking away was, "Take that you freak." I couldn't help the tears that fell. I had gone from feeling so happy to being attacked. The difference was painful and disorienting.
I don't know how long I sat on the floor before I felt someone coming towards me. I quickly wiped my eyes and scrambled to my feet. Jordan was headed towards me with this heartbroken look on her face. She came and gathered me in a hug despite the fact that I was still sticky with slushy.
"Come on Songbird, let's get you home and in a hot bath then I'll go get some treats for us." Jordan said as she used a tissue to try and wipe off my face.
"I'm okay." I told her, "I'm going to be okay."
She took my hand and led me out of school to the car. I hesitated at getting in the car but Jo assured me that she needed to get it detailed anyway. I just sighed and got into the car. I don't know why I felt so down after that attack, but I just couldn't understand why they would hate me that much.
When we got home I went upstairs and drew a very hot bath so I could soak for a while. I added a bit of lavender bubble bath and lit a few candles to help relax me. My last act before getting in the tub involved starting my relaxing playlist. I sunk into the tub and let it wash away the hurt I felt. School hadn't even been in session for two weeks yet and I had been hit with over twenty slushies including the five today.
I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew the bubbles were almost gone and the water had turned lukewarm. I heard a knock at the door and Jordan called out to me to see if I was okay. I called out an affirmative, and started getting out of the tub. The soak did me good and I already felt better. I couldn't wait for that treat Jordan was talking about. I walked down to the basement with my fluffy pajamas on to see takeout cartons littering the coffee table.
"Hey Rach, do you feel better?" Jordan asked as she finished putting a DVD in the player.
I shrugged and plopped down on the couch, "Yeah, but I'm sure that a good movie will do some good."
"Good, I've put on a light-hearted classic, Finding Nemo," I couldn't help but giggle. Jordan ignored me and continued, "I also picked up a selection of vegan food from the Chinese place in town and grabbed us some organic ice cream."
"You got us ice cream? That is definitely not vegan." I told her shocked. Jordan had refused to eat or use anything from animals since she knew it was possible. Sometimes I cheated with my Daddy and we went and ate ice cream together, but we never did it when Jordan was with us.
She shrugged, "I found a place that does organic everything. I took a trip out there one day when you were at school. The place is actually cool. All the cows are treated nicely and voluntarily come up to the barn just to get milked. I just figured that maybe I needed to open my mind to some possibilities."
Jordan sat next to me and I snuggled into her, "Well if you're open to possibilities I think I am too. I think I'm going to tell Tina. It would be really nice to have a friend at school."
I felt a kiss on my head then felt Jordan's chest move, "Why don't you invite her over tomorrow after school and tell her."
"That sounds like a great idea," I agreed.
After that the conversation died off they sat in silence, but it was a comfortable silence. Finding Nemo played in the background as Jo and I gorged ourselves on Chinese food and then the best ice cream I had ever had. None of that made the abuse I had to receive okay but if I could home to a support system like this then I could endure anything.
I walked into school the next day with my head held high. I didn't want anyone to know that just yesterday I had broken down in the hallway. As far as I was concerned it was in the past and it was going to stay there, besides there were several things I needed to do today. First on my list was to talk with Finn about why he wasn't at glee practice, and then I was going to find Tina.
I wandered around school looking for Finn before I finally saw him at his locker. I walked up just as he closed it and he just stood there and stared at me like an idiot.
"Didn't see you at glee club yesterday." I commented. I didn't want to come off as accusatory and scare him away.
"Is that still happening?" He asked perplexed
I quickly fixed that misconception, "I've taken over."
"Oh," was all he replied before I continued.
"I'm interim director, but I expect the position to become permanent." I told him, leaving out all of the details of yesterday's sing-off.
"Hi, Finn, RuPaul," came out of nowhere. I turned and saw that it was Quinn and my cheerleader, whose name I still didn't know, just as Finn mumbled a soft hey.
"What are you doing talking to her?" Quinn demanded to know. I could tell by her body language that she did not like me, and it strangely made me feel satisfied. Even if the jerks of the school tossed slushies at me I could feel proud because the head of the school saw me as a threat.
Finn seemed at a loss for words so I decided to help him out, "Science project —we're partners."
I could tell that Quinn didn't believe me, but Finn seemed glad when she changed the subject even though it was about Christ Crusaders.
"Look, I should go." Finn told me as the duo walked away. "I can't do glee anymore. It conflicts with.."
"Your reputation?" I butted in with. I had thought it would come down to this but I had hoped I was wrong. In my old school being in the glee club meant you were at the top of the food chain, here it meant you were worse than anyone else.
"You've really got something, Finn, and you're throwing it away." I told him as one more desperate plea to get him to come back to glee. Unfortunately I didn't see a way for New Directions to win nationals without him. There wasn't another male voice in the group that was up for the task.
"I'm going to be late." He said, and I could see that he really wanted to get away from me. I could see that he was thinking, but I didn't know if it was enough.
I threw out my last hook, "You can't keep worrying about what people think, Finn. You're better than all of them." Now I would have to wait to see if I caught anything.
After Finn left I just kind of shook my head and then went in search of Tina. I wanted to catch her before the bell rang so I could ask about her free period. I thought we had the same one, and just wanted to make sure and set a meeting place if we did. I made my way towards her locker dodging a few jocks holding slushies on the way. Thankfully when I got close I could see that she was there. Unfortunately she was surrounded by the rest of the glee club. I had to think of something fast that she would see through and that the others would believe.
"Hello everyone." I said as I got closer with a thousand watt smile plastered on my face.
"What you want?" Mercedes asked sounding slightly irritated.
I just shook it off and set my plan in motion. "Tina do you have study hall third period." She nodded and I laid all of my cards down on the table, "Would you like to get together somewhere and work on singing? This past week I've noticed that your upper range could use a bit of work to fully utilize it the way you should be able too."
"Uh-h-hh-h…" She stuttered before I discreetly winked at her. "Su-sure, we cou-could meet in the ch-choir room."
"Good" I nodded before heading off towards my locker. I didn't want to stick around because it was quite obvious from the way the others were looking at me that they didn't want me there. I was fine with that because I did not want to be there.
I patiently waited for the time to pass by, and third period came quickly enough. I hurried to the chorus room so that I wouldn't be late and softly said hey as I saw that she was there before me.
"H-hi," Tina replied nervously.
"It's okay Tina, you don't have to stutter. I had a really good friend who had a stutter, and you can tell that yours is faked." I put my hands up, "Not that there is anything wrong with faking a stutter, you just don't have to pretend around me. Actually the reason I wanted to talk to you was about pretending to be something you're not." I moved to take a seat next to her, making sure that I could see the entrances to the room. I really didn't want what I was about to say being overheard by someone.
Tina blushed and hid her face behind her hair, "Do you think anyone else knows?"
I patted her on the back, "No, no one else knows and your secret is safe with me."
She smiled at me, "Thank you. Your secret will be safe with me too."
I took a deep breath, "Well it all started a couple months ago. My dads told my sister and I that we were moving, and I wasn't very happy. My sister came up with an idea, and the more I thought about it the more I liked it." I shrugged and studied my nails, "The idea revolves around my acting ability because I truly want to be on Broadway. We worked out a personality and quirks for a character, and during school hours I play that character."
"So you're not normally so bossy and loud?" Tina asked after she had thought about it for a moment.
I couldn't help but laugh, "No I'm actually really laid back. My mom is really bossy and loud, and we based that part of the character on her. She was an actual Broadway star and has worked with me to achieve my goals."
Tina nodded, "Okay I think I've got it all. This is like method acting, and you use what you know to make it work?"
I grinned, "Yup, that's exactly what it is. We figured that this would give me an edge at college next year."
"You and your sister, right?" Tina asked.
"Yeah, she's my biggest supporter for everything I do. You should come meet her today after school. I'm sure you would love her." I gushed. Jordan and I really were closer than most biologically related siblings.
"Okay," Tina laughed, "I can stop by today."
After that things just seemed to really click. Tina and I talked about nothing important, but we clicked just like I did with Sophia. It was nice to find someone who I felt comfortable around in McKinley. The bell rang and we both headed off to our next destinations. Today was looking good, and I just hopped nothing would go wrong.
When glee practice started Artie was oddly absent, but we continued with practice anyway. We really needed to work on dance moves, and Artie was really good. He normally got the moves after one or two demonstrations, so he wasn't necessary for the practice.
We had been going over the dance moves for ten minutes all while I was getting increasingly frustrated. No one was getting the moves, and I had to keep redoing them. "Look guys, these steps are not hard. I've been doing them since preschool."
I can see that they're all just as frustrated as me, and Kurt spoke out. "I'm sorry. Did I miss the election for Queen? Because I didn't vote for you."
"I know what I'm talking about. I won my first dancing competition at three months old!" I practically yelled at them. I knew that there would come a time when they would question the decision to make me the leader, but I hadn't expected it so soon.
I spun around as I heard someone coming across the stage. I looked over and saw Finn pushing Artie. I was curious about why he was here, but didn't want to tip my hand so I offered up a, "This is a closed rehearsal." Honestly it was the only thing that I could think of that made it sound like I was upset with him.
Finn looked contrite as he began talking, "Look, I owe you guys an apology. I never should've quit. I don't want to be the guy that just drives around throwing eggs at people."
"That was you?" I said shocked. It had happened over the weekend, and I had never found out who did it. Now that I knew I was truly upset. It had taken me hours to get that stuff out of my hair. Now that I knew who did it I would have to come up with a suitable punishment.
Kurt jumped in too listing some of Finn's crimes, "You and your friends threw pee balloons at me."
"I know," Finn began.
Kurt wasn't finished though and continued, "You nailed all of my lawn furniture to my roof."
This time Finn successfully butted in, "I wasn't actually there for that, but I'm really sorry. Look that isn't who I am, and I'm tired of it. This is what I want to be doing, with you guys. I used to think that this was, like, the lamest thing on earth, and maybe it is, but we're all here for the same reason because we want to be good at something."
"Artie, you play guitar, right? Think you could recruit the jazz band?" Finn asked. I had no idea where he was going with this, but the others seemed to be responding well to it.
Artie nodded in response to Finn's question, "I do have some pull there."
"Alright," Finn chuckled, "Mercedes, we need new costumes, a-and they have got to be cool. Can you do that?"
Mercedes grinned and gestured down her body, "Damn, don't you see what I've got on?"
"Rachel, you can do choreography." He told me before moving on to the last member of our group. "Tina, what are you good at?"
Poor Tina being put on the spot like that, even though she didn't really have a stuttering problem, she was still shy. She barely stuttered out I before Finn moved on, "We'll figure something out for you." I rolled my eyes, and A for effort but a C for follow through on trying to be nicer.
"And, what are you bringing to the table Justin Timberlake?" Mercedes asked, voicing the question that had begun to form in my mind.
Finn grinned a cocky little grin and stated, "I've got the music."
I'll be the first to admit that I thought that the others would balk at being told what to do by one of their tormentors, but I was wrong. Everyone snapped to attention and began doing what Finn had asked them too. Artie went to get the band, while Mercedes grabbed Tina and Kurt and they began preparing the costumes. I shook my head in amazement. Maybe I needed to work on making Finn see things my way so that he could boss around the others.
I sauntered over to him just as he was finishing up with Brad, and placed my hand on his arm to stop him from moving away, "You never did tell me what changed your mind. This morning you seemed dead set against coming back to glee club."
He just shrugged and looked embarrassed, "You did actually. What you said this morning really got to me. I don't want to be a loser for the rest of my life, and glee is something that makes me happy. Maybe if I start changing now I'll be able to get out of here."
I grinned up at him, "That is fantastic Finn. I am proud of you for realizing that you need to change to improve. I think that if you really try you'll be able to do anything you want."
Finn grinned down at me and opened his mouth to say something, but at that exact moment Artie came back with the band and the others called us over to try on the costumes. Finn went to deal with getting the band set up, and I went to look at the simple costumes Mercedes had come up with. There wasn't really much to work with and she honestly did the best she could, but we ended up with simple red shirts and blue jeans. Luckily they had clothes in everyone's size and we were able to change into them. By the time we had changed and figured out who would be singing what the band was ready.
The opening bars to "Don't Stop the Beat" rang out and I could feel electricity that hadn't been present before. It was like the club was finally realizing that they could be great and were putting in the effort. The song was flawless. It was better than I had thought it would be. There were no sudden stops or outbursts. We were able to move through the entire song without even hitting a wrong note. When the song finished I heard clapping coming from the audience. When I looked up and saw Schue I was shocked. He was already supposed to be gone. What was he doing here?
"That was good guys, a nine. We need a ten. Rachel, you need to hit the ones and fives. Finn, I think if we worked on it, you could hit a high B." Schue said as he moved towards the stage. I was a little affronted by his assessment, but I had been a little weak there. If my mother had been coaching us she would have called it a failure. Maybe Schue would make a good coach.
"So, does this mean that you're staying?" Finn asked hopefully.
Schue smiled, "It would kill me to see you win nationals without me."
We all smiled and looked at each other. He had a different style than I was used to, but I could see the potential he had. Maybe just maybe we would be able to pull off a win at nationals, provided of course that we got the required minimum number of members.
Practice lasted for another half hour, and we polished up our routine. It felt nice not to have to boss anyone around, not that they listened to me anyway. If only they knew exactly how much I knew about this stuff.
When practice finally ended I waited around for everyone to leave before I made my way out of the building. I had texted Jo earlier to tell her Tina was going to bring me home, but I still wanted to make sure no one saw us. We had discussed it during our study period and had decided that it would be best if we kept our friendship from others. This way Tina wouldn't fall any farther down the social ladder, since I seemed to be at the very bottom.
We chatted about practice as Tina drove towards my house. It was basically small talk, and it was a comfortable drive. I was a little nervous about Tina and Jordan meeting, but then again I was always nervous when Jordan met new people. Sometimes she did fine, and other times she had panic attacks that sent her to the hospital. Hopefully this would be one of the better times.
When we pulled into the drive Jordan was standing on the porch waiting for us.
"That's my sister Jordan. She's cool, but sometimes it takes her a little time to warm up to people, just be patient with her." I told Tina before we got out of the car.
Tina nodded and as she approached Jordan she stuck her hand out, "Hi, I'm Tina. I go to school with Rachel."
Jordan accepted the hand and smiled, "Hi Tina, I'm Jordan. Why don't you come in, I've made some black and white cookies."
"I've never had those before, are they good?" Tina asked as she followed Jordan in the house.
I let out a relieved sigh. The meeting had gone spectacularly and I now had a friend at school. The week had taken a bad turn earlier, but it was finally looking up.