AN: And so it begins. ;) At least I got this one out sooner than the last one? ^^;

Rachel still hadn't calmed down any from finding out about her callback. This was her dream. She was meant to be on Broadway. She couldn't even begin to imagine not being on stage. Kurt and Kendra both finally had to let her be and found their MP3 players with headphones rather quickly. She had been offended, but could understand that maybe her over enthusiasm could be a little too much to deal with.

But Barbra. Perhaps she could meet Barbra. It made her heart flutter.

"I hear congratulations are in order Miss Berry," said a voice next to Rachel. She turned quickly in the hallway of NYADA to find Carmen Tibideaux leveling her gaze at her. The brunette had to calm her nerves before speaking. She was still on the high from the weekend and she hadn't come down yet. It probably wouldn't the best to be a frantic fan girl all over Carmen.

"Word travels fast around New York, doesn't it?" said Rachel. Carmen chuckled.

"It does, especially when it concerns my students."

"I do have a callback for Funny Girl," said Rachel, trying not to smile too much. "But it's just a callback, I'm not-"

"Callbacks in your freshman year here are not something to be taken lightly Rachel," said Ms. Tibideaux, giving her a look over her glasses. "Especially with a show that is held in high esteem."

"I'm not-I'm not," said Rachel. "It's just that I don't want to get my hopes up, even if I really really want to. Ms. Tibideaux, this role would mean so much to me and I-"

Ms. Tibideaux smiled at Rachel. "I think I know. We all have things we'd like to achieve. Be optimistic, but be cautious. Don't let this role, if you don't get it, forecast the rest of your Broadway career. You obviously have raw talent Ms. Berry, and it is a pleasure to see others seeing it. Have a good afternoon."

Rachel echoed the sentiments, losing herself in thought for a moment as she continued walking towards the elevator. She heard her phone go off, smiling as she heard Mercedes' ringtone. It had been one she hadn't heard in awhile as they usually ended up texting or on video chat. She answered it as she pushed the button for the lobby.

"Skype. Fifteen minutes. And the only reason you can be late for is that you have to get back to your dorm. Tina told me the new news. Kurt AND a callback? And how long were you going to keep it secret from me?"

"I wasn't!" said Rachel, whimpering into the phone. "Tina monopolized my time last night after I got back from New York. And then I had to do homework and sleep."

"Mmhmm," said Mercedes, although Rachel could hear her lightly chuckling. "A likely story."

"And I wish I could get on Skype," said Rachel. "But I'm helping Kurt with his audition piece for the play today. This is NYADA's big production that they sell tickets to. It's very popular with the critics because they can come see the new, fresh faces of the future."

"And Kurt's trying out?"

"He is," said Rachel. "One of the drama teachers practically told him to."

"He must be really good then."

"He can get into a role quite well," agreed Rachel. "I really hope he gets a part."

"So I heard you were getting a little extra something something this weekend."

"Mercedes," said Rachel, gasping. "It was not like that."

"I know," she said, laughing. "You know Tina had to go make everything grandiose. She even said you two had flowers, candles, and a 12 piece orchestra."

Rachel couldn't help but laugh into the phone as she walked around the empty elevator. While the thought was really romantic, it was still special even without all the bells and whistles. Being with Kurt had been amazing on its own.

"No, it wasn't that... extravagant," she said as the elevator dinged. "But it was lovely."

"Uh-huh," said Mercedes. "So this callback..."

The loudest squeal escaped Rachel's lips before she could stop herself.

"I could get the role of a lifetime Mercedes. It's always been my dream. Although you and Tina probably know that all too well."

"You think?"

"I know, I'm obsessed."

"We all are, in our own little ways," said Mercedes. "So what are you going to do?"

"... I don't know yet."

"Really Rachel? I would have thought you would have known the minute you got the phone call."

"I should," she said with a sigh as she started walking out the door of the building. "But... I don't know. I need something that defines me, though nothing from the show itself. I need to be unique."

"You'll find something. You always do."

"You have no room to talk," said Rachel.

"That's why I can say it so lovingly," teased Mercedes. "I gotta go. I have a meeting with a producer."

"You coming home for graduation?" asked Rachel. She hoped it was a yes.

"I think Sam would kick my ass if I didn't."

"And Tina."

"Tina definitely for sure," agreed Mercedes. "Let me know what you decide on and I'll give you my advice."

"I will," said Rachel, smiling. She hung up the phone and sighed, wistful. She missed both Mercedes and Tina, even though Tina had talked her ear off the night before, wanting to know all the details about her trip to see Quinn. She had even managed to squeeze in a little time right before bed to upload the videos of both Kurt and Quinn's performances. She hadn't checked the comments, but her phone had been vibrating all day. She wondered what Kurt would think if she posted the video to NYADA's Facebook group. Though she might want to ask Adam first.

Both Rachel and Adam had helped grill Kurt on his audition piece. Adam had been more helpful since he had been through the process more than a few times. He directed Kurt just to be himself and not worry about fitting into a mold. It had been a lot of fun to see Kurt getting into the part. Adam had been nodding his head in appreciation. Kurt had a lot of skills as an actor. His whole entire demeanor had changed. Rachel wasn't even sure if she could pull that off. There would always be a small part of herself in her acting.

Maybe she needed to get lessons from Kurt. She sighed and pushed on the door to her room. Her callback was in two days and while she had picked out a song for the audition, she was still very, very nervous.

"Oh there she is," said a voice very sweetly. Rachel looked up, surprised to see Santana, who was smirking at her. Across the room, Kendra was mirroring the same smirk.

"... Hi," said Rachel, sitting down her things. "Wha- what are you doing here Santana?"

"Looking for you," she said, standing. "I'm making Brittany's graduation present and I need your help." She stood up. "I'm making her some congratulatory messages from the rest of the glee club. She doesn't think that anyone cares that she's actually graduating and I'm going to prove her wrong. Since you're here in the city and-"

"Aww, Santana I'd love to," said Rachel. "Why didn't you text me? I could have come back sooner."

"I was, but your lovely roommate here and I started swapping stories, and I think I've discovered a new best friend." Kendra laughed, her eyes dancing at Rachel's expression.

"You two would get along," she muttered.

"Yes, we both started talking about our sexual escapades," said Kendra with a grin. "Santana had some stories to tell."

"I do hope none of them are recent since the both of you two are in dedicated relationships?" said Rachel, picking up her brush off a side table next to her desk and started brushing her hair out of her ponytail. If she was going to be on camera in any way, she was going to at least have great hair.

"Nah, we're good," said Santana. "Although we did have sex on your bed Berry." She patted the comforter she was sitting on. "It was totally consensual." Kendra started laughing out loud.

"I need your phone number," said the Canadian. "I think we need to go dancing." Santana hopped up off Rachel's bed as the brunette rolled her eyes. The duo were typing in each other's phone numbers and planning to go out to some clubs that next week.

"Do you think you can get Spaghetti Boy, er I mean Kurt, to come do one too?" said Santana, looking up at Rachel.

"I don't see why not," she said, feeling surprised. "Why Kurt?" Santana rolled her eyes.

"She still loves him, for whatever reason."

"I'll text him," said Rachel with a shrug.

"Thanks," said Santana quietly. She gave Rachel a smug smile after a moment.

"So I've heard you two finally did the deed. Congrats Berry on finally losing the big V card."

Rachel shot a quick glare at Kendra, who shook her head no. While she hadn't been sure, Rachel was glad her assumptions about her roommate not telling her business were correct.

"Yes," she said after a moment. "Kurt and I had a nice weekend together."

"He really must have rang all your bells and played all your whistles if that's all you can say," smirked the Latina. While Rachel was used to Santana's quite open and rude comments, she was just going to shut herself down from commenting even further and turning it into snippity comment contest. She took Santana by the arm.

"Come on, we can do the video down in one of the study rooms."

Wednesday night, Rachel had taken to pacing the hallway outside her dorm room. She was freaking out. Her callback was the next day, and her boyfriend was nowhere to be found. He had his audition for the play earlier in the afternoon, and he hadn't said a word on how it went. In fact, she was fairly certain he wasn't on campus that she could tell. She looked for him in the music building and in the dance rooms, but he hadn't been at either. Nor the library. And only his roommate was in his room.

She wondered where he had gotten off to. He could have let her know something. She went back to her room and sat down on her bed, pouting a little. It was her first callback. He should be here.

But then, he had an audition. Maybe it wasn't over yet for some reason? He was supposed to have texted her when he got out. She wanted to know how everything went. But he hadn't. At least he hadn't tweeted about it. Then she would have hurt him for updating social media instead of coming to her. She fiddled with her necklace, frowning. She thought about sending him another text, but the eight she had sent already was probably enough. She had already texted with her Dad and Tina, hoping it would quell some of her nervousness. She picked up the script for Electra's play and started to read it, hoping it would help her stop overthinking.

There was a knock on the door, and Rachel went and opened it. Kurt was standing there looking at his phone.

"Seriously Rachel, how many texts did you send?" he said, looking flabbergasted.

"Kurt it's 9 o'clock!" huffed Rachel as she crossed her arms. "Where have you been?"

"Um... oh. Right. Adam called an emergency Apples meeting after my audition. Princeton is doing this weird thing where-" He stopped when he saw her glaring at him..

"What?" he said. Rachel poked him in the chest.

"Your audition? You were supposed to text me!"

Kurt winced at that.

"Right... I um... it went fine I guess. I read through the part and the student director kept nodding. He said he would be in contact with me."

"So he... didn't say anything at all?" said Rachel with a half-frown. Kurt shook his head.

"We'll just have to wait and see I suppose," he shrugged. Rachel poked him again.

"Ow," he said, rubbing his chest. "Violent tendencies much?"

"Sorry," she said. "I was just wondering where you were. You haven't... you didn't respond to me."

"We were sitting around having coffee and tea at the coffee house," said Kurt. "It's only been a couple of hours Rachel."

"Yes, and it's my job to worry about you."

"I'm grown," said Kurt, pointedly, giving her a glare.

"Just wait till I tell Burt," she smirked.

"I am about to be 19," he complained.

"Just come and sit down," she said, gesturing to the bed. Kurt took off his jacket and sat down on it, frowning at the script as he did. Rachel sat down and curled up beside him.

"You know I do care about your future career and your well-being."

Kurt sighed loudly.

"I supposed I should be flattered I have a nanny who looks after me. But you don't sound like Mary Poppins."

"I also don't have a magic flying umbrella or a bag that holds everything," said Rachel.

"Maybe someday," he smirked, rubbing her head. "You can be in the stage show."

"Audition and call back," she said giving him a look.

"Did you really think I would disappear?" he said, rolling his eyes.

"No," she said with a frown. "I just worry."

"Too much," he said, giving her a smug look.

"Don't make me poke you again," she said, still feeling slightly irritated. But she was glad he was there. Kurt wrapped his arm around her.

"I wish you could go with me tomorrow," she said with a sigh.

"Class," he said automatically. "But I'll be there with you in spirit. And you can text me when it's over. We can go to lunch."

"I don't know. Maybe I should go out by myself," she said sarcastically. "And also keep your birthday present."

"I'm sure it'd probably wouldn't do you much good," said Kurt casually. "... Hold on. I thought you weren't doing a present."

Rachel smiled and got into his lap. She kissed his lips softly.

"You just wait. You'll see."

"Yes Tina, you're going to be gorgeous," said Rachel on her way to dance class. "I know Prom is tonight. Like you're ever not going to be pretty Tina. You're going to kick ass and win because I know you will. Remember Quinn said that you had her blessing. No, I don't think she'll be able to be there to crown you Tina. She's kind of busy with class, I'd imagine." Rachel rolled her eyes as she waited on the elevator up to her classroom. She shifted the phone to her other ear and checked her ponytail in the mirror on the wall next to it. She was just relieved her hair was lying down and her part was perfect. She was not going to let Cassandra get to her. Today was her callback, and nothing was going to ruin her day.

Although she was miffed at her boyfriend. She could understand getting a little distracted by friends. She would be the same way if it was the New Directions. But he had cuddled her and coddled her fears. She loved him for that. She knew she was just too nervous and over reacted. Kurt had the right to do what he wanted. It wasn't like he'd never come back to her.

The elevator opened the doors and she entered with another student and they both hit the button for their respective floors. Tina was going on about her shoes and Rachel was on edge. She was just a bundle of nerves about the whole day ahead of her.

"Reach down your hand in your pocket, pull out some hope for me," Rachel sang to herself. Kurt's iTunes had been on a 90's Alternative Rock run and now it was all stuck in her head.

"Did you say something?" said Tina. The brunette laughed softly.

"No, I'm just nervous," said Rachel. The elevator dinged again and she waited for the doors to open. "It's going to be a long day. And I need details T. You'll have to tell me everything."

"You and Mercedes," said Tina with a sigh. "I just hope Mike gets here."

"Your boyfriend isn't going to abandon you," said Rachel as she stepped out of the elevator and headed down the hallway to her classroom. "And I need to go. Class."

"Text me later," said Tina. "I need to know about your callback."

"Always," promised Rachel. She hung up the phone and entered the classroom. She looked confused when everyone looked at her as she entered. Had she intruded on a class? No, this was her class...

"Rachel, so good of you to join us," said Cassandra at the front of the room. "From the chatter around school, one would think you would have skipped class for the rest of the week."

As usual, CJ was going to be grating on her nerves. Rachel took a deep breath and smiled.

"While the thought is appreciated, I do value my education, Miss July. And while we may not see eye to eye, I do think I can learn from you."

"Fine words from the freshman wonder student," said July. "But let's see if you can live up to them. Tell me Miss Berry, which dance is the Balboa most compared to?"

Rachel blanked for a moment, struggling. This wasn't exactly on the syllabus for that week.


"Just as I expected," said Cassandra, trying to hide a small smirk. "You-"

"It would be the Lindy Hop," said Rachel after a moment. She was still clinging to her bag, glad for once she had it in her hands. It felt like a lifeline. "And they both are most associated with swing music, having come along in the same era." She put down her bag and her light jacket and nodded to Cassandra, doing her best to not smile as she went and stood with her fellow students, who was trying not to be amused at the exchange. Rachel knew this wouldn't appease Cassandra, but maybe it'd make her start class without anything further, which would run things even longer that day. She did have to leave campus soon to be on time at the theater.

While waiting on the director, Rupert Campion, to return after needing to take an important call, his assistant Felicity lead Rachel down to the room where they were holding the auditions. The two producers were chatting quietly. Sydney, the producer who had liked her during her first audition, offered a smile and a nod of his head to indicate his greeting. She smiled back and blew out a breath of air, trying to calm her nerves. In a way, she really was glad both Tina and Mercedes had been a little busy. It had given her some time to think. It had been... nice just to zone out for a while. So much had gone on lately and the few minutes she had to herself had let her sort out her feelings. There was a lot to unpack. Maybe she should go visit her therapist when she went home for graduation. There would be a lot to tell her and work through.

She could feel her phone vibrate in her purse, but as soon as she went to reach down to check it, she saw Mr. Campion come back into the space. She'd just have to call whoever it was back later. It was probably Tina, wondering what gloves would be best with her dress.

"Here goes nothing," she sighed, but smiling, remember how she had said the same thing to herself before the first audition. Maybe it'd be a good luck charm. She stood up to greet the director as he rejoined the group.

"So they didn't say anything at all?" said Kurt. "Not even a little hint?"

"All of them were as straight face as they could be," sighed Rachel, sitting down on the edge of the bed. She and Kurt were supposed to go get something to eat for lunch, but she had opted for meeting up with Kurt after his class. Now they were in back in his room. Kurt was sitting in his desk chair, staring at his laptop screen.

"Your video post in the Dalton Facebook group now has more likes than last year's Regionals performance," said Kurt with a sigh. "Trent said the theatre club sponsor proudly had it on repeat, using it as an example of displaying emotion through song."

"Well, it was a good performance," smiled Rachel. "First rate." Kurt gave a noncommittal grunt, which made Rachel frown.

"Kurt, is there something the matter? You are kind of avoiding looking at me."

"Yes," he said. He sighed. "No... it's just... have you read the play yet?"

Rachel was confused. "The Death of a Salesman? Not since the extra readings I did in high school, but..."

"Not that one," said Kurt. "Your play. Electra's."

"I read it," said Rachel with a shrug. "I didn't think there was that much to it. It doesn't seem all that difficult. I-"

"Did you read the stage directions?" asked Kurt bluntly.

"Not closely," frowned Rachel. "Why... did you read it?"

"No, not yet," Kurt said. "But... Kendra did. And there's a scene..." He sighed. "There's a scene where you will be appearing topless."

Rachel was surprised. She must have not really paid that close attention to what she was reading. She got up off the bed, frowning.

"... Topless? Completely?"

Kurt nodded. Rachel was really confused. She must have really missed that part entirely or her psyche was hiding it from her. Showing... showing her bare chest? On camera? Where others could see? It was a bit overwhelming, thinking about being halfway nude in front of others. But, it was her body. She had nothing to be ashamed of, really. Rachel was sure she had been quite blessed in the beauty department. But while the thought was empowering... she knew something was up. She crossed her arms. And it probably had to something to do with a certain male's ego.

"So... you don't want me to do it."

"It's just... I'm concerned. It could look bad on your career in the future."

She uncrossed her arms, putting her hands on her hips, giving him a look. "And is that the only reason?"

"Rachel..." said Kurt, standing up. "Don't even insinuate that. While I think I might be a little possessive considering the closeness of our relationship, my point is: are you sure you're ready for that? That's awfully-"

Now her ire was up, if she was correct on what he was thinking.

"What... are you trying to tell me that I'm not adult enough for that? I may be younger than you, but you have no right-"

He rolled his eyes at her. "I'm not talking age Rachel, I'm talking experience. This is a whole other territory."

"Just because I don't have any theatre experience doesn't mean I can't do whatever Electra wants. I could do topless."

Kurt sighed, obviously tired of the whole argument already. "Rachel... do you seriously want your first appearance in the industry to be something risqué? This is your career."

"I'm not a child," snapped Rachel. "I don't need to be protected and coddled Kurt."

He raised an eyebrow at that. "Seem didn't seem like it yesterday."

"I do have a right to be nervous about my first callback. And you disappeared!"

"I didn't disappear Rachel. And this isn't about me. I'm just worried about-"

"It is about you! You think just because we're together you can dictate to me what I can and cannot do."

"I- I never said that," said Kurt, looking something between annoyed and hurt. "At all. I was just worried about you. If you can't see that, then you are being very, very blind."

"I'm going to have a talk with your source of information," said Rachel, turning away from Kurt. "She could have come to me."

Kurt came around and faced her. "Don't bother Kendra about it, she was trying to help and thought it might sound better coming from me. She was just worried about you like I am. We both care about you Rachel. We're not trying to work against you."

"Then why did neither of you talk to me upfront about it?" Rachel said, giving Kurt a glare.

"Maybe I should have," he said, softly. "And that's a point we can discuss later. But right now... are you sure you want to do it?"

Nothing in the world mattered more to Rachel than doing that play right now.

"Yes," she said, determined. "Because I can do this Kurt Hummel. Just watch me."

"Alright," he sighed. "If this is what you want..."

Rachel walked out of the room without saying another thing. She didn't even hear Kurt call after her. She tore up the stairs and went to her room, her brain still madly running through the words they had just spoken. Kurt and Kendra had been talking about her behind her back. It wasn't like she was used to that sort of thing, but right now it stung. They thought she was still innocent, too naïve for that. She could understand Kendra. Rachel knew she wasn't exactly a woman of the world like she was. But her own boyfriend? Couldn't he be supportive?

Although she should be flattered he was trying to protective. It almost felt like he didn't want to share. But instead of flattery, it just felt like he thought she was still a child. She didn't have to be coddled. She knew how the world worked. Sex sold. And Electra was trying to get her play seen by others so she could sell herself as a writer and director. She curled up in her desk chair, but she chastised herself. Now she really was acting like she needed to coddled. If she was going to be Rachel Berry the risk taker, then she needed to be proud and confident. Come to think of it, she had just had a successful call back. She should be going out and celebrating. Rachel stood up. And she would. She was going to go have a nice strawberry and kiwi smoothie and call her dads again. She should call-

She grimaced at the thought No, she couldn't call Kurt. She was still a little upset with him. She should give him some time to think about how he had gone behind her back. There was a little pang in her chest that he wasn't on her side in this. But she held her chin up high and grabbed her purse. She wanted that smoothie.

A rapid fire knock on her door made her go over and open it, thinking it was Kurt, although she wondered why he knocked. He usually just barged in when the door was open. But instead, Adam was standing here, bag slung across his body.

"Hullo," he said, looking excited, rubbing his hands together. "Is Kurt here by chance? He wasn't in his room."

"No," said Rachel, shaking her head. "Last time I saw him, he was there."

"Ah, he must have gone to class early," said Adam. "I couldn't get him by text. I thought there was something he might want to see in the Main Hall. They just put up the names for the school's annual production."

"Oh, did he get a part?" said Rachel, feeling excited even if she was still annoyed at him.

"Not just any part," grinned Adam. He took out his phone and showed her a picture of the list.

"He's playing the MAIN CHARACTER?" said Rachel, stunned. "He's going to be thrilled!"

"And from what I heard about auditions, rightfully so," Adam said. "I need to be heading to practice or the bus shall be leaving without me. Do tell Kurt congratulations on my part!"

Rachel nodded numbly as she closed the door behind Adam. This was big news. Kurt deserved to have the role, like Adam said. They had to celebrate. It was a big occasion on both their parts.

"I'll just have to put this away for now," she said, breathing deep. "We love each other. We care about one another. This is just a small... dip in the road. He was just looking out for me, that's all."

While she could push the feelings away for a little while, she knew she had to address them sometime. She looked at the time on her alarm clock. She knew exactly where Kurt was. He had a special budget just for that. She made her way downstairs and out onto campus. She quickly walked over to the coffeehouse and found Kurt waiting for his order. He wasn't exactly paying attention to anything around him, so she could catch him and surprise him. She marched over to Kurt and put her hand on his shoulder. She wrapped her other around her necklace and leaned up to kiss him. She had caught him by surprise, but the fact that he kissed her back made Rachel smile.

"Hi," she said softly.

"Hi," he responded. He looked at her confused. She couldn't blame him. She had just walked out of his room after an argument without saying a word, then the next time she saw him was her coming up and kissing him in public.

Come with me," she said, a little bit amused that Kurt seemed stunned. She grabbed his hand. "There's something you need to see."

"Wha... what is it? I've got class-"

"It won't take long," she said. The barista handed him his coffee with a grin, and she pulled on Kurt, laughing. She couldn't believe she was going to get to be the one to tell him first. It was almost infectious, and it got him smiling too. They made it into the school's main hall where there were people surrounding the bulletin board where Adam had said they had posted the cast.

"What-what's going on?" he said. Rachel rolled her eyes and lead him over to the bulletin board. One of their fellow students clapped Kurt on the shoulder and told him congratulations. Kurt quickly looked between the student, Rachel, and at the list.

"I-I-I-" he stammered, not putting together a cohesive thought. Rachel giggled and kissed his cheek.


"I've got the LEAD?" he said loudly. Rachel bounced up and down beside him.

"You did. Adam came looking for you. I knew where you'd be, so I thought I'd come surprise you."

"Well, I am surprised," he said. "But Rachel-"

"Shhh," she said, shaking her head. "Now's not a day to worry about that. I can put aside anything that's been said for a while. We both have good news today."

"It- it is," said Kurt. "I got the lead Rachel!"

"I know!" she giggled. "You're going to do a great job as Willy."

"Oh god, I hope so," he whimpered. "This thing gets reviewed, you know."

"I know," she said, rubbing his shoulder. "And you've got to get to class."

"Do I have to?" he whimpered. "I want to call Dad."

"Yes," said Rachel. "Because after this, we're going to celebrate."

"It was so much fun Mercedes, you have no idea. I thought your prom was great, but the Warblers did such a good job! I think we danced all night. And Rachel, you should have seen Trent and Unique! We took lots of pictures. They were so adorable!"

"I'm sure it was a lot of fun," chuckled Mercedes, who was holding a cup of hot tea in the video chat. "I still feel bad that I couldn't make it back to be Sam's date, but neither could Santana. He said he enjoyed his friend date with Brittany."

"They did a lot of dancing," said Tina, grooving a little in her seat in front of the computer's camera. "We all did. Even Finn was out there cutting the rug with Marley. She couldn't stop laughing at his dorky dance moves."

"Rachel?" said Mercedes. "You're being awfully quiet."

"It's- it's nothing," she said. "Just not in the best of moods."

"Even after your callback and Kurt got the lead role in the school's annual production? I would have thought you'd be smiling your face off."

"I was- earlier at least," Rachel sighed. "I've been sitting here thinking that I blew up at Kurt for no reason."

"What, why?" asked Tina.

"I thought he was trying to make decisions for me and he clearly wasn't," she said, thinking. "I over reacted. My very feminist upbringing had a moment."

"What decision was it?" Mercedes asked.

"He... well, Kendra my roommate, read through that senior's play that I told you about? The one she wants to film with me as the star. It has a very um, adult scene." Rachel let out a breath. "It's topless. Very um, topless. And I hadn't noticed. Kendra talked to Kurt about it without mentioning it to me. He doesn't... he doesn't think it's a good idea. He thought it might hurt my career somehow, or hurt me emotionally. And my stubbornness got the best of me and I yelled at him about it."

"I'm sure Kurt was trying to be helpful," suggested Mercedes.

"I know he was. And so was Kendra, I guess," said Rachel. "It felt like he was trying to decide for me. But it's too late now. I can't back out after I've committed to her. The only way I could do that is if I do get the part for Funny Girl. I can't do both. I told her that in the beginning."

"Well, maybe things will work out," said Tina. "And you won't have to do it."

"Maybe," said Rachel. "I feel bad I got upset at Kurt. But-"

"You might have had a point that neither of them had come to you about it," said Mercedes. "Maybe he really didn't know what to do so he was trying to figure it out too."

"That- that's true," sighed Rachel. "I don't know what to do about it either. But I kind of want to do the play out of spite too. Just to show the both of them."

"Rachel, don't you think that doing something out of vindictiveness is maybe going a little bit too far? It sounds like Kurt wasn't trying to keep you from doing anything, he just wanted you to think about it."

"Maybe I did over react," said the brunette with a sigh. "You're right, I shouldn't... Kurt's... Kurt. I'm the one not thinking. I should have read the script earlier and paid more attention. I'm doing the play itself a disservice."

"Nudity though Rachel?" said Tina.

"It's... it'll be fine," she said. She picked up her phone and texted Kurt.

Unlock your door for me. I'm coming down. - R

She turned off her phone and smiled.

"I think I'm going to go. We'll talk more about prom later Tina. And Mercedes, you have to tell me more about the problems you're having. Tina was texting me."

Mercedes sighed. "It's nothing, really. Nothing I can't handle."

"Then I'm texting Sam for the details," smirked the Jewish girl. Mercedes gave her a glare through the chat window.

"Don't you even dare."

"Night ladies!" said Rachel, closing her laptop and sitting it back on her desk. She really hoping Mercedes wasn't having too bad of a problem with her record company. She really wanted to hear her friend's first album soon. Rachel put on her slippers and headed downstairs. She knocked lightly on Kurt's door and entered the dark room. He was already in bed, still looking at his phone.

"Come on," he said. Rachel chuckled to herself and pulled up the covers and slipped into bed beside Kurt.

"You're lucky your roommate's already gone for the weekend."

"And I thought you were still upset with me?" said Kurt as he scooted closer to the wall to give Rachel more room.

"I was," she said. "But I think I may have went overboard. I know you wouldn't intentionally think something like that. I know I don't have a lot of experience, and I should be thinking about how this could give me a bad reputation. But-"

"I know," said Kurt softly. "Believe me, I ran through everything in my own mind."

"Thank you," said Rachel, rubbing Kurt's face in the darkness. "Even if you don't fully agree with my decision."

"Well, it wouldn't be the first time," smirked Kurt. "I still have questions about some of your wardrobe."

Rachel rolled her eyes and pinched his side.

"Since we're still celebrating the good things, would you mind if we-?"

"Mind if we what?" asked Kurt. Rachel started undoing the buttons on his pajama top.

"Make use of your roommate not being here," she said with a small giggle. "I really, really want to be with you right now."

When Kurt's lips met her own and she felt his hand grazing her stomach, she knew he wasn't going to have a problem with it. They both needed to put the day's events out of mind.

And she was going to have to get used to be semi-nude, so this was good practice.

The next day, Rachel had gone off campus to pick up her new prescription for birth control pills after the doctor's office had called them in for her. She was still feeling weird about them. It was a sign that she really was an adult, making decisions that affected her present and future as far as having a family. It was funny how one act of bonding could change her whole entire outlook on life. Her body had even felt different after having sex. She knew it was making changes, getting even more ready for having children than puberty had prepared her for. Even her breasts seemed firmer. It wasn't anything wrong, just different. She tucked the bag into her purse as she got closer to the school. She almost wanted to groan when the first thing she saw after getting back on campus was Brody Weston. Rachel wanted to shut her eyes and walk quickly past him... but he was a senior who had been through a lot. He was sitting at an outside table near the student center, working on something while enjoying the mid-morning sunshine.

"Question," she said, coming up and sitting down at the table. He looked surprised as he put down his pen.



He gave her a look. "Please tell me that loon hasn't hooked you into doing one of her latest indie projects."

Rachel went to speak, but decided to not say what she was about to.

"Yes, she wants me to star in her latest play. She also wants to film it so she can add it to her visual portfolio."

Brody grimaced. "Well, it could be worse. Electra doesn't have much in the way of taste, but I suppose it could be useful to you."

"There might be a small issue," she continued. "I thought I might get your opinion on it since you've been in the business. I mean, you're done Broadway work and you're on TV. There's a scene where I'm supposed to be topless. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. Or what it might do for me. I don't want to be known for that sort of thing. Not that there's anything wrong with the sex industry or even tasteful nudity. I'm just not sure if it's... me."

"Oh I see, now I'm useful to you," said Brody, skeptically.

"I'm just thinking and wanting to hear other people's thoughts," said Rachel. "I'm not exactly that close to anyone else on campus yet... and I do value your opinion."

Brody looked at her for a moment, as if he was gauging whether or not she was telling the truth. He squared his shoulders and bounced his pen against the metal table.

"While I doubt that anything Electra does will go mainstream and suffer you some embarrassment, I can understand why you'd be hesitant. I didn't think at first doing this kid show would look good on my resume. I mean, look at all the Sesame Street actors. But... it gives me a peace of mind. And I can finish school and look for other work while other people here on campus are busting their asses working 60-80 hours busing tables. I'm getting the one thing they're not, which is experience. Experience and exposure are things that are hard to come by. This town is full of stories of failure. Not everyone gets to have their big star dream."

"So you think I should do this to get the experience."

"I'm not telling you to do it or not to do it," said Brody. "I think that's something you have to decide for yourself. I'm just telling you what I think. You wanted my opinion, so there you go."

"You're a lot of help," scoffed Rachel. She sat back in the chair with a sigh.

"You're welcome," he said, giving an amused look before going back to his notes. He and Rachel both looked up as a shadow fell across the table.

"Brody, there you are," greeted Cassandra July as she took off her large, dark sunglasses. "And Platypus. I was wondering if you had a chance to look over those papers for me before I head back out to Soho."

"I did," he said. "They're on your desk in the green graded folder. I even read through the extra credit."

"Good," said CJ. "So how did your callback go Schwimmer?"

"It went well," said Rachel. "I haven't heard anything back yet."

"It's a pity that we probably won't get to see you choke on stage this year." Brody looked at Rachel quickly, but Rachel knew she couldn't snipe back..

"And why would that be Ms. July?" said Rachel. Her usual anger at the dance teacher was starting to settle back into her bones, but she wasn't about to act on it. If July knew something about the production, she wanted to know.

"Investors are pulling out left and right," she said, putting back on her sunglasses. "There's a lot of conflict between the producers. Some want to keep it classy, do it with an unknown cast. Others want to do a modern version with a famous actress in the lead. Rumors were they were seeking out Idina, but she's still dealing with a messy divorce and doing some sort of voice over work for another godawful Disney movie."

"Cassie," began Brody. "Rachel here has a small problem she might want your opinion on." Rachel looked at the senior like she was going to murder him.

"And what would that be?"

"Electra Natch," smirked Brody.

"Oh Jesus," said Cassie. "What is she doing now?"

"She's written another play," stated Brody. "And roped Rachel into it. Thing is, she's wanting Rachel to go topless for a scene or two."

"And you think it'd look badly on that sad little career you're going to have someday?" said Cassandra, looking at Rachel. For a moment, the brunette thought she saw something that might resemble concern in her teacher's eyes. But she brushed it off as she was just thinking of something sarcastic to say.

"Something like that," said Brody.

"I'd say go for it," said the dance teacher, putting back on her sunglasses. "It's just a student film. And one of Natch's. It's not like it's really going anywhere."

"You don't have a lot of faith in her do you?" asked Rachel.

"Directing and writing are not my thing," said Cassie. "But there's talent, and there's talent worth developing. And there's some people here with neither of those." She pointed at Brody.

"Don't forget, I need you Monday." He nodded and she walked off.

"And there's you a lesson," said Brody. "Now if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to my studying."

Rachel was left wondering what Brody mean for a brief moment. There was her a lesson?

"Rachel!" said a voice. She turned around and looked behind her. Kurt was running towards her, quickly. He was out of breath as he came towards the table.

"Kurt?" she said, standing. "Something the matter?"

"Dad just called," said Kurt. "There's-there's been a shooting at McKinley. Someone came into the shop saying that the school's on lock down. Police are blocking off the roads there."

"No-no," said Rachel, absolutely in shock. Her mouth was hung open and her hands were balled up tightly. "Anything at all about the students?" Kurt shook his head.

"T-Tina," she said, whipping out her cell phone. "I've got to call Tina, see if the others-"

"If there's still an active... shooter," said Brody slowly, making the both of them look at him. "I don't think that'd be in this... person's best interest if their cell phone is ringing."

"Brody's right," said Kurt. "We wouldn't want-" Rachel launched herself at Kurt, clinging to him.

"Brittany, Sam, Artie, T-Tina," sniffed Rachel. "They could be hurt, Kurt. What if-"

"We don't know anything yet," Kurt said. "They could be alright."

"Finn!" said Rachel, looking up at Kurt. "Nationals is soon, he could be at the Glee club." He shook his head.

"Finn's at the shop. Dad said he's having to basically force Finn to stay there in his office. He's- Marley..."

Rachel nodded, trying to wipe away the tears that were forming. Her eyes widened.

"Santana. Oh god. Brittany-" She put a hand over her mouth. "I've got to tell her Kurt. She probably hasn't heard." She pulled out her cell from her purse and started to dial her friend's cell phone.

"She's not picking up," said Rachel after it ran a few times. It went to voicemail.

"Can she have her cell phone on at work?" asked Kurt.

"Probably not," said Rachel. "We could go to the diner. Come on Kurt!"

"Surely they've could have given any sort of fucking statement by now," growled Santana. A few hours had passed and it was now heading towards late afternoon. Kurt was sitting in front of Santana's laptop in her sparsely decorated apartment. He kept refreshing several pages, hoping they could get some sort of news from Ohio. No one was picking up their cell phones, even though the two former New Directions members had tried many, many times through calls and text. Rachel was sitting beside Santana on her couch. The two of them weren't sitting very close, but the brunette was still holding her friend's hand. She kept squeezing it gently, hoping to give Santana some comfort. Dani had told Santana to go on home after the Latina had gotten nauseous at the news. Santana was usually the strongest out of everyone in the glee club, but Brittany was her weak point.

"One month. One freaking month and she would have been out of that hell hole." Santana sighed when she saw a sharp look from Rachel.

"I know it wasn't all that bad."

"Compared to New York, no, it's not that great," said Kurt. "But we all do still have family there."

"It'll always be home, even if it doesn't feel that way," Rachel said with a nod.

"I just wish someone would say something," said Santana as she shook her head. "It's probably some stupid drunk redneck idiot bringing his new gun to school to show off."

"It's not like we didn't have our fill of disgruntled students," Rachel said with a sigh. "It could be anything." She held onto Santana.

"Found a tweet from some kid at McKinley," said Kurt. They both looked over to him as he started to read.

"Sadly school has been re-opened. Suspect found and arrested. #surroundedbyidiots"

"What?" said Santana "Nothing else?" Kurt shook his head.

"That's good, right?" said Rachel. "Someone's been arrested, and the school is back open to the public."

"It is a good thing," said Kurt. "Maybe-"

Both Kurt and Santana's cell phones started going off.

"OH THANK GOD," said Santana as she looked at who it was. She answered it quickly.

"B-baby?" Santana's face brightened quickly and Rachel smiled. Santana gave her a small smile and got up off the couch and headed into her bedroom to talk. She looked over to Kurt after he had hung up.

"That was Dad. I told him to call me if he found out anything. Finn went down to the school," said Kurt. "Everything's clear and everyone is fine."

Rachel sighed a huge breath of relief.

"So... what happened?"

"Santana wasn't too far off. One of the football players said some freshman kept boasting that his mom and dad buys him guns, but no one believed him. So he brought an automatic... something to school, and it started going off. Dad said he probably didn't have the safety on."

"I'm glad it wasn't more than that," said Rachel, wrapping her arms around herself. "I don't want to think about losing any of the others."

"Tina and Sam and everyone are ok," said Kurt. He got up from the chair he was sitting in at Santana's table and went over to her. "They'll all live to see graduation, unless Nationals kills them first."

"Don't even," warned Rachel lightly. "There are plane crashes, bus accidents... the highways in L.A. are the worst..."

He chuckled and sat down beside her.

"They're okay. Now you can go back to being annoyed at me." She shook her head and pushed her hair behind her ear, moving closer to Kurt.

"I'm... I'm not annoyed at you. I'm more annoyed at myself really. I should have read the play. And I should have trusted you."

"You were right that I should have talked to you about it," he said. "But-"

"The past is past," said Rachel with a sigh, laying her head on his shoulder. "Besides, you're too cute to stay mad at. And I do want to thank you for staying with me and Santana today. You didn't have to."

"Well, they're not my friends, but I did worry. I can't even imagine if something like that happened at Dalton."

"No making out on my couch," said Santana, sounding disgusted. She was looking at them in disdain.

"Brittany?" said Rachel standing and looking at Santana.

"She's- she's ok," said the Latina, her shoulders relaxing. "She got caught in the bathroom by herself. Well, one other girl she didn't know. Mr. Schue came and found her. She said she had never been more happy to see his gelled hair. When they got back into the choir room, Tina wouldn't let her go. Said Sam and Mr. Schue got everyone into a big group hug after they started opening doors and telling students they could go home."

"Poor Brittany, being all by herself," frowned Rachel.

"I'm going down there," said Santana. "I don't think she's quite over it yet... She said her mom won't stop hugging her." She paused and looked at them both.

"Thanks- for staying."

"I wasn't going to abandon you," said Rachel, giving Santana a hug. "Even if you think I have some sort of weird Jewish cooties." Santana pulled back and held up a finger.

"I said coochie, not cooties. They are two entirely different things." Kurt was doing his best not to laugh, hiding his mouth behind his hand.

"I'm not going to ask," said Rachel, shaking her head. "But, take care going home Santana." The Latina gave her a soft look of gratitude.

"At least Santana's girlfriend is okay," said Kendra, who was sitting on her bed while Rachel was explaining about her day. Rachel gave her a nod.

"I'm glad they're all alright. Tina called me after dinner. She said they had all been huddled in the choir room, except for Brittany. I can't even imagine. Going from Prom to... that."

"World's changing. Especially since you have parents buying guns like they are candy," said Kurt sarcastically, though he was trying to be casual about it. He was sitting on the bed, a copy of Death of a Salesman draped over his crossed legs.

"Why is Kurt here if you want to talk to me?" asked the Canadian girl, eyeing him. "Shouldn't you be practicing?"

"Doesn't start till Monday," he sighed. "And then my evening will be taken up for a few weeks."

"And I won't get any Kurt time," pouted Rachel.

"I'm raising my rates," he said, flipping a page and side-eyeing Rachel. "My time is too valuable."

"You'd better," said Kendra. "I heard good things about your audition from the assistant director."

"You're an understudy, aren't you?" Kurt said. Kendra shrugged.

"Not enough females in this play for a leading role. So I'll deal with what I can."

"I'd love to do something with you one day," he said with a smile. She returned the gesture.

"I'd like that too, but I don't think Rachel would let me. I would die by her jealous death glares," smirked Kendra. She paused and looked between the two. "So why am I here again?"

"We're both in trouble," said Kurt. He nudged Rachel's shoulder. She sighed.

"Sort of," said Rachel. "I may have... yelled at Kurt when he finally told me about Electra's play. I was annoyed with the both of you that you didn't come to me about it."

"The play?" repeated Kendra. "Oh the... yeah." She shrugged. "I figured it'd be better coming from Kurt than me. Sorry."

"I know," said Rachel. "And it's my fault, really."

"Yes, you should have read it before you agreed," commented Kurt. Rachel nudged his shin.

"I know that," she said sheepishly. "But next time, would the both of you come to me if you think something might be a problem?"

"I'm just going to learn to be quiet," said Kurt, looking at Kendra, a bemused smile on his face. Kendra chuckled softly.

"It's probably for the best," Kendra said. "She talks enough for you anyways."

"Don't I know it," said Kurt, rolling his eyes.

"If you two would stop poking me with your barbs," said Rachel in a huff, stomping her foot. "I was just going to say that I am grateful that you two were looking out for me, even if I am an adult."

"Gotta protect that innocence somehow," said Kendra, standing up. Kurt nodded.

"Maybe I should consider joining the pranking war for you two," said Rachel sarcastically.

"Oh no," said Kendra. "I'm finally not stepping on silly string in the hallways. Please let this one die down."