Finn jerked his head backwards, and his locker door skimmed his nose as it was slammed shut by a short overly-dramatic soprano.
"Eh...oh...hey, Rachel, listen I...uh,kinda need to get my books - "
"Finn, glee club is once again in need of your popularity and metaphorical clout."
"Listen to me! The new kids. Have you seen them?" Rachel had no time to explain yet another word to her boyfriend.
"No, not yet. Can I get to my locker?"
"Well, I have seen them. They're gorgeous. They look like a gang of invading supermodels. We need them in glee club. They'll be just the front we need for Sectionals."
She turned to walk away, but Finn stopped her. He had thought of something to say, and it was quite relevant if he said so himself. He was proud of himself.
" Can they sing?"
" I don't know. But I think so. I know a fellow artiste when I see one. There are six of them, Finn, at least one must have some talent."
Finn had been left behind by the conversation once again. " Artiste? Rachel, I'm failing Spanish."
Rachel was monologuing. " Although, the short one makes me nervous. I hate it when people are shorter than me, it's just not natural. Ever since Sunshine...Anyway! You need to convince them to audition for New Directions. Tell them all the cool kids do it, that they'll never have a life at this school if they don't, whatever."
She went to leave again, but Finn had one last point to make.
"Rachel...wouldn't that be lying?"
She cast him a disparaging look, which she quickly amended to puppy eyes.
"Finn, don't you love me?"
He looked horrified at being put on the spot. She changed tactics.
"Let me make this clearer. Do you ever want to touch my boobs again?"
Wih that, the bell rang, and Rachel scampered off down the hallway with Finn staring after her in defeat.
*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *
The Cullens had chosen a table isolated from the rest of the cafeteria to set up camp, and were holding a conversation at vampire speed.
"I'm telling you, this school isn't normal." Edward was saying. "We need to get out of here. I've been reading their minds all day, and there's something wrong with everyone. This is worse than the time you locked me in a mental institution overnight as a prank. There's this one kid, Jacob Ben Israel, and his thoughts...I can't take this, I'm cracking up, help me Bella..."
He laid his head in the table and Bella started stroking his hair. The rest of the Cullens broke into a barrage of opinions on Edward's news.
"They seemed normal, well, except what that short, annoying girl was wearing - "
" - he was wearing a one-of-a-kind Marc Jacobs jacket, it was so beautiful, and then just, slushied! It was a travesty! I'm with Edward, we can't stay here, we can't risk my clothes - "
"Their emotions are all out of wack. I sat next to this cheerleader - I think her name was Brittany? - last class, and I started picking up on her emotions...I've never been so confused in my immortal life. I keep forgetting what gender I am, I have to go to the restroom and check..."
"TMI, Jasper! But, this short,annoying human - I'm nearly ninety-seven, and I don't dress that much like a granny!"
"There was a woman in a red track suit storming the hallways. I've never been afraid of a human before, but I wanted to curl up and hide. I kept having flashbacks to my encounter woh the grizzly."
" Never fear, Emmett, I'm still a newborn, I will protect you."
"Shouldn't you be helping your husband through his breakdown?"
Bella transferred her attention to Edward in time to see him leap from his plastic chair, and make a run for the cafeteria doors at human speed, screaming as he went:
"My God! The voices! Make the voices stop!"
His wife and siblings stared after him in horror, and Rosalie broke the deafening silence he left in his wake. " Didn't Carlisle say to keep a low profile?"
Emmett shook his head. "Why is it always Edward who blows our cover?"
Bella defended him. " This isn't as bad as juggling full-sized vans. We can pass him off as schizophrenic."
The newly schizophrenic Edward had almost reached freedom when his path was blocked by a hulking figure in a football jacket.
"Hey. I'm Finn Hudson." The figure introduced itself. He held his hand out. " You're one of the new kids, right? The...Cullens?"
Edward shook the proffered hand tentatively, before gazing up at Finn with pleading topaz eyes. Finn made the mistake of gazing back.
Woah, was his last thought before his insides turned to mush.
" Would you please," Edward whispered," Try not to think?"
Finn couldn't process the weirdness of this request in his dazzled state.
" Uh...yeah, sure...I can do that. My girlfriend always says I never use my brain, so." He stuttered.
A chastising whisper, to low for human ears to register, flew across the cafeteria.
" Edward! What have I told you about looking directly into people's eyes!"
Edward replied at the same pitch.
" I can't help it Bella, I'm losing my mind. The thoughts are too much...please, shield me, I'm begging you love..." He trailed off pathetically.
Bella sighed, and closed her eyes for a moment to concentrate. Edward looked instantly relieved, his customary charm and arrogance returning.
" Edward Cullen." He introduced himself coolly. " You wished to speak with myself and my family?"
He made the question a statement, turning on his heel and striding back towards the Cullen table.
" I...yeah, that'd - that'd be great!" Finn still hadn't recovered the use of his mental faculties, but the wasn't that noticeable. He stumbled along behind Edward like a lost puppy.
They reached the table, and Edward dropped elegantly into his former seat, gesturing for Finn to pull up a chair, which he did.
Edward began introductions.
" This is Finn Hudson, the quarterback on the school football team." He announced.
" This is my sister, Alice Cullen." She waved.
" Her boyfriend, Jasper Hale." He nodded, his expression fixed.
" My brother, Emmett Cullen." He grinned widely.
" His girlfriend, Rosalie Hale." Finn gaped.
" And this," He paused to kiss Bella's hand with a flourish. " Is my Bella."
Finn stayed silent, trying to absorb all the new information, and a little creeped out by the last display. Edward was trying to exude as much poise, confidence and sanity as possible to make up for his breakdown, in hopes of avoiding Emmett and Jasper doing impressions of him running from ' the voices ' for the next decade. Alice's visions were not encouraging in that regard.
" Hey." Finn started. He was suddenly really nervous, and something about the Cullens unnerved him. He cleared his throat. " So...um...what I wanted to talk to you about, is, I'm not just the quarterback, that's what I wanted to talk to you about." He gained a measure of confidence from who knows where (though Emmett and Bella glanced suspiciously at Jasper.) and his voice became surer. " I'm also in glee club. And...and...we just placed twelfth at Nationals...and we have a lot of fun, and" He hesitated, guilt choking his tongue, but hethought of Rachel's boobs and found his courage. " All the popular kids are in glee, and all the glee kids are really popular - "
Rosalie held up a hand. " I'm gonna stop you right there." Her voice was skeptical. " Glee club is really popular?"
" Yes?" Finn tried squeakily.
" Is that why I saw a boy from glee getting slushied this morning before class?" Alice enquiried brightly.
" That was probably Kurt." Finn muttered.
"Or why I rescued a glee kid in a wheelchair from a port-a-potty?" Emmett suggested.
" Oh...poor Artie." Finn mumbled.
"Or why a glee girl was walking around with a sign saying ' If you kick me, I'll shut up ' on the back of her tartan skirt for three periods today?"
" Rachel has a tartan skirt." Finn nodded.
" And why the only name on the sign-up sheet is Sucka Penis?" Bella chimed in.
" Um...yeah." Finn answered miserably.
Edward took pity on him.
" We'll think about it." He said kindly.
Finn spoke really fast, trying to explain himself.
" It's just...my cocaptain told me to get you to join,and she's kinda my girlfriend, and she's really short and bossy, so I sorta have to do what she says."
Jasper was genuinely sympathetic, nodding and giving Alice sideways looks.
"I feel your pain," He said solemnly.
Bella snorted with laughter, her hand flying up to cover her mouth.
" Sorry." She apologised, seeing everyone looking at her. " I just thought of a really good joke."
" Well, thanks." Finn said shortly as he fled the table. The Cullens watched as he exited the cafeteria.
" He seems nice," Jasper commented. Everyone hummed noncommittally. " What was the joke, Bella?"
They all stared.
" There was no joke, Jazz." Emmett began.
" It starts, and there's an empath vampire at a table." Bella told him.
" In a bar?" Jasper asked.
" If you want," She shrugged. " And there's this human at the table aswell, and he's complaining. Anyway, the vamp really gets what he's going on about, so he says ' I feel your pain'.
Jasper thought for a second, then laughed. " I get it! 'Cause he's an empath! Funny, Bella!"
He started giggling, and Alice shot her husband a worried look before leading him by the hand to his next class.