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Don’t stop believing
“Who am I? You know that already.” The Cheerio said as she shot out of
Physics. “It‟s for the video yearbook. Coach Sylvester demanded we do video bios of all the Cheerios. You are the last one left undone.” He exhaled heavily as he ran after her, his flabby physique straining to keep up. She looked back at his square face and beady coal eyes. “Under one condition.” “What? We are running out of time.” “You will do Glee too.” She stopped abruptly in front of her locker across from the band room which functioned at the Glee room as well. An old fashioned analog clock showed six minutes to sixth hour bell. He blinked, inhaled, gulped then exhaled. Staring at her left shoulder dirty blonde ponytail, he wiped the sweat of his brow. “Umm…well.” Ignoring him, she spun the locker combination wheel 3 times and popped the lock. “Well?” she glared. “Kevin?” “They‟re a bunch of social misfits, Alicia. Coach Sylvester would have my head.” He pointed the camcorder at the floor as Kurt and Mercedes walked by. Kurt glanced over then ignored her as she focused on Kevin. “Coach Sylvester doesn‟t run A/V or the yearbook committee. She wouldn‟t know. Beside this isn‟t the real yearbook, it‟s an A/V project.” A small smile creased her pink lips. “I have a spare disc.” He looked, and there in a black shell against a sea of pink lettering, gymnastic articles, cheerleading notes and single pic, sat the disc on the shelf. “Ok.” He sighed, wiping his brow. She motioned for him to start as she grabbed the disc off the shelf with one hand while placing the pink book bag on the bottom with the other. With her foot, she shut the door. “Who are you?” He said again, camera pointed at her. “Alicia Zoe Shade. Cheerios lieutenant, Vice president of the Chastity Club, Glee club member and Brittany‟s brain.” She chuckled. “You are the only one to pass Mr. Farnsworth‟s first of the year flash test. The one he gives out every year with the reward of your own private bench and no final.” “Yes. I‟m the first since he started it 10 years ago. He thought I cheated until I proved in front of the class as he demanded.” She beamed, azure eyes sparkling. Kevin glanced at his watch, brow furrowed. “I‟ll get you a pass, don‟t worry,” she said while brushing her hand by her right hip. Rachel walked by, head held high. “It‟s almost time,” she said towards her as she entered. “Ok, tell me a bit about your family.” “Family?” she repeated, suddenly anxious. He frowned. “Yes. Coach Sylvester wants it for the boosters. It will go good with this year‟s national‟s victory.” “No.” She took a few steps towards the class, pausing in the middle of the hall. Kevin hadn‟t moved. She shook her head, brow furrowed. “NO.”
Sweat beaded on his olive toned skin. “You know her. I have to. Look I‟ll even do a rehearsal.” He gulped. A sharp glare pierced him as she exhaled, visibly angry. “Fine. My father is…” “You are going to be late!” Rachel shouted from the Glee room doorway, hands on her hips. A sharp stare turned her. It was broken by one of the Football players who stopped when he realize who he was passing. Uncapping his Big Gulp, he gazed over to Alicia and Kevin. He smiled when he saw the camcorder. “Party tonight. Location two is clear. You know the time. It‟s all there. Greg has your package,” He whispered into her ear. “Can I come to the party?” Kevin asked. Rachel eyebrows raised, a hesitant look on her face. “Depends. It this gets into the yearbook then yes.” He raises the cup to drink. But then brings it back down without drinking it, glancing at Rachel who is looking away. “It will, I promise.” He nods, pointing the camera at an impatient Rachel wearing a red/gray argyle sweater, cream button shirt and plaid skirt. With a flick of the wrist, the cherry slushie splatters across her hair, face and collar. Anger and sadness flash across her face as she sprints for the bathroom. And in the same moment, Alicia swept his feet from him, he slamming his back into the hard linoleum. “I told you, not around me!” She snarled as Kevin reached out his hand. He slapped it away. Springing up, he laughed. “Did you see her face? Come on, Alicia. That was priceless.” She glared at him, and then sighed. “The shallow queen deserved it. I heard her down the hall.” It was then the bell rang. Kevin and the football player cursed. Alicia sighed, grabbed Kevin and pushed him into the classroom. Kurt and Mercedes stared at her, confused. “Slushie,” she said scanning the room. “Where‟s Mr. Schuster?” Relief washed over them. “Mr. Shue stepped out for a phone call. So what‟s A/V guy?” Mercedes asked. “Video yearbook,” he intoned then turned to her. “You ready to finish?” Artie looked over at them from his book, quizzical. An exasperated “Yes” exited her. “Remember?” “I do,” he nodded then motioned with his other hand that the camera was back on. “I have a guardian. Dad‟s new money, millions of it. He lives and works in Manhattan. I didn‟t want to go to a prep school there. So he threw at dart at his map of the US. It hit east Ohio. He tacked up a map of Ohio and it hit Lima. So here I am.” The last words came out a bit happier than the rest. “Your mother?” “A singer in LA. Is Ok with this. Too busy to have me there anyway,” A wistful sigh escaped. “Thanks.” He said stopping the camera. Looking over at the Glee group chatting amongst themselves, he cleared his throat. They looked up. “I agreed to do the Glee club bios for a separate video yearbook project that A/V is doing. It‟s a new idea that will be sold alongside the normal yearbook this year. But it is completely separate.” “And you are doing this because…” Artie asked hesitantly. “I made him agree too, otherwise he would have the wrath of Coach Sylvester on him, right?” she glanced at him with a smirk.
“Right. It‟s voluntary and will be used. So,” Alicia handed him the new disc as he popped out the old one. “When I move the camera to you, state your name, who you are and a little about yourself. Be brief.” Kurt shook his head. “This is unacceptable,” he said, stepping in front of the camera. “This will subject Glee to a level of ridicule that our obscurity shields us from. Did you even look at the last year‟s yearbook?” He stares at Alicia, while Kevin points the camera down. “You‟re serious?” She retorted. “You are socially invisible. This won‟t bring social retribution. With the exception of Rachel, you are mostly invisible. This,” she waved her hand at Kevin, “isn‟t going out to each member of the student body. It‟s going, first to Cheerio‟s boosters, then to those who want to pay the $100 dollars for short bios of the Cheerio‟s, the Titans, the drama club, the jazz ensemble, the band, and every other serious group here. Farnsworth‟s science nerds are even in it. There are 837 students here. And right now there are only 96 bios. There‟s isn‟t a guarantee that this will be done next year.” She exhaled heavily. “It‟s your choice. I think it‟s fairly important. And before you say it again. I saw last year‟s yearbook. There is no way it can be defaced.” Mercedes cocked her head. “Did you mention it in yours, Miss Cheerio? Hmm.” She and Kurt high fived. “Actually, she did. If you don‟t do any, it will be the only mention of Glee,” Kevin commented, after a glance at Alicia. “I‟ll do it. I don‟t fear anyone and I can‟t anymore invisible than not even in last year‟s yearbook,” Tina offered. “The camera breaking wasn‟t your fault,” Kurt replied. Kevin nodded. “Ok, I‟ll do it if Tina does,” Artie said. Kurt looked at Mercedes. She shrugged her shoulders. “We‟ll do it to.” Kevin smiled. “And if you don‟t get into the yearbook itself, well then at least you have this right?” Kurt frowned, a worried look on his face. Alicia glared at Kevin, threw up her hands and sat down. Five minutes later, he finished up everyone but Rachel. As he turned away from Kurt, Rachel walked back into the classroom. “Did you record that?” she asked as she saw Kevin standing there. “No,” he lied, looking at the floor. Her hair glistened from the wetness still she looked at them all. “Mr.Shue‟s still on the phone. “ Alicia shot a „well?‟ look at Kevin. He shrugged his shoulders. “I was using the time to let Glee into my video yearbook entry.” “To hold us up to ridicule no doubt. You could have stopped him.” She said with „the face‟. “You could have moved.” Alicia retorted. Kevin cast a pleading glance. Alicia shook her head. Sighing, he walked over to her seated, looking at a sheaf of music. Kurt turned to her, “Its ok. It‟s a different project. And it would be a great addition to your new MySpace page since the other was destroyed by 4chan. “ She perked up. “Ok where do we start?” “At who are you?” Kevin replied, relieved. Five minutes later, Mr. Schuster finally walks in, apologizing for the delay. Rachel is still talking about Hiram and Joseph, her two gay dads. Alicia looked up from her seat near Tina. “My fault. Coach Sylvester insisted we be in the video yearbook. I told Kevin,” she pointed toward him, “I wouldn‟t do it without him doing Glee as well. Sorry.”
He smiled. “So she‟s been talking…” “Way too long,” Kurt interjected as everyone nodded. “I‟ll write him a pass.” As he walked to the desk, he added. “I think that will be enough, Rachel.” “But Mr. Shue, it‟s important they get a grasp of the real me.” “I think they did,” Kevin quipped. Alicia chuckled and everyone else smirked. And with that he shut down the camera, took the note and shot from the room. “So back to „Cats‟,” Mr. Schuster says as he walks to the whiteboard. “‟Cats‟ is a Broadway musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on „Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats‟ by T. S. Eliot. It opened on Broadway in 1982, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne. It won numerous awards, including both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical. The Broadway production ran for eighteen years, setting long-run records. Actresses Elaine Paige is known primarily because of the musical. One actress, Marlene Danielle, even performed in the Broadway production for its entire run which ended in 2000. So can anyone name their favorite song?” Rachel‟s hand immediately went up. Alicia glanced at her dismissively, sighing under her breath. She raises her hand as well. “Artie?” Mr. Schuster asks, ignore Rachel. “Umm, no.” “No,” Tina comments quietly. Rachel rolls her eyes. Kurt smiles, “Actually, I like „Old Gumbie Cat‟” Rachel shakes her head, and rises, but Alicia beats her up. “Memory, Mr. Shue. Brad, if you please. „Midnight, not a sound from the pavement Has the moon lost her memory She is shining alone. In the lamplight the withered leaves collect at my feet And the wind begins to moan. Daylight, see the dew on the sunflower And a rose that is fading‟” She looked at Rachel who plopped back down in her chair, the pouty look on her face. Maintaining her serious look, she continued to sing to everyone, her gaze landing on everyone briefly. „Roses wither away Like the sunflower I yearn to turn my face to the dawn I am waiting for the day Now Old Deuteronomy, just before dawn Through a silence you feel you could cut with a knife Announces the cat who can now be reborn And come back to a different jellicle life Memory, turn your face to the moonlight Let your memory lead you‟ „Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is Then a new life will begin‟ „Memory, all alone in the moonlight I can smile at the old days I was beautiful then I remember the time, I knew what happiness was Let the memory live again Burnt out ends of smoky days‟ The stale cold smell of morning The streetlamp dies, another night is over Another day is dawning Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise I must think of a new life And I mustn't give in When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too And a new day will begin Sunlight, through the trees in the summer Endless masquerading Like a flower as the dawn is breaking The memory is fading Touch me; it's so easy to leave me All alone with the memory Of my days in the sun If you touch me you'll understand what happiness is Look, a new day has begun.” When she stopped, silence still hung in the air. Everyone stared at her, not quite sure what to say but not wanting to breach the silence. Even Rachel, her annoyance still glowing, sat silently. Kurt finally rose and clapped softly wiping a tear from his eye. “Beautiful.” “Thanks.” She smiled back down beside Rachel who scooted away. Kurt whispered to Artie, “I believe Rachel just got out-divaed.” Artie chuckled. “I agree.” Mr. Schuster snapped out of his amazement. “Excellent, Alicia. Thanks. Moving on…” Hours later after Cheerios practice, Quinn sighed. “How do you keep that „six pack‟? I can‟t even get one.” She looked at her own slightly tanned abs, comparing them to Alicia‟s as they stood by their lockers toweling off from the showers. “Two hours of gym a day. Four on the weekends at Karizma Academy of Starz. You should come.” Giggling echoed in the background. Quinn furrowed her brow, as she finished her own towel off. “I don‟t want to know what that was about.” Dropping the towel, she grabbed yellow boy shorts from out of her locker. “You don‟t know? Ok.”
Quinn just stared at the bank of lockers briefly. She shrugged her shoulders. “4 hours on the weekend? You need to get more life.” “I got enough, thanks. Besides Pat's Donuts & Kreme nearby makes a great veggie wrap.” Alicia remarked as she pulled on her own white lace boy shorts and „body by victoria‟ bra. “Donuts are angel halos!” Brittany remarked as she rounded the corner, dressed in tight 7 jeans and a cashmere sweater. She was wiping was appeared to be glaze off her mouth and nose unsuccessfully. “Party tonight, right?” “Yes. New house, though. That other one got sold finally.” Alicia remarked as she pulled on her bone white Emilio Pucci capris and Michael Kors black sleeveless ruffled blouse. “It‟s near my house this time.” Quinn looked at herself in the full length locker mirror as she snapped on her bra. Turning herself back and forth she stared at her abs and hips. “Do I look fat?” A chorus of no rose as she drew on and buttoned up her Juicy Couture yellow blouse. “There is a mixer in Columbus tonight. We could go to that,” Alicia offered, deflecting any questions about the party near her. “You would let me?” She said surprised. “Of course. It isn‟t formal and it doesn‟t need an invite for friends of the invited. I think you will have fun. And you need fun.” Quinn looked up from putting on her sneakers. “I do?” “Stress is contagious. It makes you bark,” Brittany remarked. “You do. So do I. See you at 7?” Alicia asked, as she finished zipping up her boots. “Ok.” “Ladies, I have a meeting in 30 minutes. Let‟s go. This isn‟t lesbian social hour,” Coach Sylvester shouted from the doorway. “Alicia. In my office when you are finished.” “Yes. Coach.” She zipped up her gym bag, grabbed her black „Miu Miu‟ handbag and headed to the office. Appearing in the doorway, she looked at Sue. “Alicia, sit” “Thanks, Coach. What can I do for you?” “Mr. Schuster says you signed up for Glee. So your father will send that check that he promised?” “Yes. Coach. He is a man of his word.” She stared at the desk briefly then looked back at her. “I don‟t like it. I won‟t ever like it, understand. Anything other club would have been fine, but that bunch of tribal misfits is dangerous. You are better than them. Look at you. That‟s what, $1500, on you? But a booster check for $150 grand,” she held up the cashier‟s check, “during this recession even with this concession is more than enough for me to look the other way. So who‟s on the misfit parade?” “Artie, Rachel, Kurt, Tina and Mercedes.” “So you are slumming with a cripple, the slush diva, the femboy, the Asian and Aretha wannabe. They any good?” “No, coach. They suck.” Alicia frowned. Sue sighed. “I agreed that you wouldn‟t lose any position in the Cheerios or remove you from the squad if you joined Glee club. I keep my word. But don‟t expect
any favors. You will be treated just the same. Oh, and Santana‟s a lieutenant too. Just to let you know.” “I understand, Coach.” “Good. You have a calendar? I emailed one to your guardian, Sven, it is, right? And to your Father. Will either of them come to the meets?” “Sven will. My Father might if his schedule allows.” She frowned again. “Good, now go.” She waved her off. Alicia rose and left. “God help her if they get good.” She stared at the check. “But at least she has a spot.” Finn stood in the Fabray‟s grand foyer, patiently waiting for Quinn to come down. Russell Fabray stood beside him holding a half full glass of Jim Beam Black® „on the Rocks‟. “So this is a mixer of some sort?” “Yeah, Mr. Fabray. I‟m Quinn‟s escort.” “And it‟s not formal?” he deadpanned, the lack of belief evident on his face. “No, sir. It‟s more social,” Finn said unsure that was the right word. “Daddy, quit grilling Finn. He doesn‟t know anything,” a smirk crossed her lips. “I‟m concerned. There‟s not much information to go on.” “Alicia invited us to one of the mixers she has to attend in Columbus. She is the daughter of a wealthy businessman.” His eyes said, „so are you. Your point?‟ “It‟s suspicious.” Just then Quinn‟s phone sang. “Alicia, can you come inside?” she asked after answering it. “Ok‟ whispered from the phone. “Who was it?” Russell asked. “Alicia. She‟s going to explain. At least I hope so, she thought. “That‟s good,” He said sipping the bourbon. Finn looked at her and smiled, an „I tried look‟ on his face. She smiled back, endeared. The doorbell rang and immediately Russell opened the door. Finn stepped over beside Quinn, which allowed the door to reveal Alicia in Preen's curve-contouring pleated bubblegum bandage dress and fire red suede Christian Louboutin taper toe covered platform ankle boots with button-and-loop closures. In her left hand was a Jimmy Choo „Martha‟ perforated fuchsia leather clutch. Finn goggled, and got an elbow in the side. “Hi, Alicia. Russell Fabray, Quinn‟s father. We met before?” She nodded. “Yes, at regionals last year. It seems I miss you each time I am here.” He smiled. “So where are you taking Quinn?” “It‟s an OSU Columbus sponsored mixer held by their regents. It‟s for the wealthy boosters to see who‟s who and what‟s on the agenda.” Both Russell and Finn relaxed. Alicia pursed her lips. “It lasts until midnight. It‟s a great way to meet people, to jump start that career or get a scholarship.” She glanced at Finn, smirked. “So you are saying you won‟t be back until two am?” His brow furrowed. She stepped inside allowing him to close the door. “No. They can be back anytime you want. I have to stay until midnight.” “Why?” Curiosity echoed in his voice.
“Part of the rules allowing me to be here rather than „Constance Billard School for Girls‟. They don’t have cheerleaders.” A deep set frown set in. “I hate to be rude, but I need to go to be on time.” Russell looked away, swirling what was left of his drink. “I have no reason not to trust you. Don‟t change that.” His gaze shifted to his daughter. “As soon as you are done, call.” She nodded. “Finn, I expect you to be a complete gentlemen.” He stared at him, hand on his shoulder. Alicia opened the door, and then turned to face Russell. “Thank you, Mr. Fabray. They will be back on time.” “Until then.” He took a sip from his drink watching as they left. Then he moved to the doorway and watched as they walked to the waiting limo. “You let her leave?” Judy said from upstairs. “I didn‟t have a reason not to. Something good will come of it. Opportunities like that don‟t come along every day.” “You trust Alicia?” “I have no reason not to, but she‟s a teen and rich. You never know.” “She‟s never steered Quinn wrong.” “That‟s why I let her go.” In the limo, Alicia smiled, relaxing into the luxurious grey leather. An unopened bottle of „Brothers Drake‟ mead sat in the seat beside her. “Sven, to the party please.” “Yes, miss.” He said this as they pulled away. Silence reigned for a few minutes until Quinn realized they weren‟t heading toward Columbus. She stared at Alicia, worried. “Where are we going?” “Not to Columbus. To the party Brittany asked about.” She smiled brightly. “You said we both need fun.” She frowned, her darkened. “You lied to his face.” “No, I didn‟t. There are mixers. One was yesterday. There was no class today. There is one tonight but I am not required to go to it. Yesterday‟s I was.” She frowned as she spoke about it. “So if he decides to call, I have someone that will cover if we aren‟t there. And I can have them shunt the call to my cell if necessary.” She smiled. “If you want I can drop you down there.” A smirk slipped by. Finn shook his head. “No.” Quinn jabbed him. “She wasn‟t serious.” Alicia nodded, chuckling. “You aren‟t the social butterfly either. This will be fun.” “We are here, miss.” Sven said raising the partition. “Your place. The house is 3 down from here.” The engine stopped and he got out. Seconds later, the door opened. With a firm hold on the mead bottle, Alicia got out and waited for Quinn and Finn to. “Where is it?” Quinn asked as walked into a sea of parked cars. “Over that way,” she pointed north. “The limo can‟t be here or there. So why draw attention?” “Makes sense,” Finn offered as she crawled out. Quinn looked at him and sighed. The walk was quick but not direct as they had to weave around ones parked on lawns as well the street. “Why did no one park at your place?” “Because of the ban that comes with it,” Alicia retorted more amused than anything. They walked up the cement path, past the pulled up and tossed aside „foreclosed sign and the fake „for sale by owner‟ sign beside the overgrown shrubs. Quinn and Finn
stopped by stone stair leading to the front door. Alicia stopped in front of the door itself but off to one side. The house was a standard two story house in well repair. Curtains were still up. The mailbox was still there, surrounded by granite stones. The lawn was mowed, if a bit poorly and still smelt freshly cut. All in all, it didn‟t give the appearance of an abandoned, foreclosed house at all. With another glance around, Alicia put the phone to her ear. Suddenly, the metal front door opened. “You‟re here,” The football player from earlier announced. Alicia brushed her right hip w/ her hand as she put the phone her clutch. Silver glitter dusted her feet unnoticed. “I am. Told you I would.” “Rick!” Finn remarked. “Finn, glad you … and Quinn are here. This is quite a surprise.” Raised eyebrows spoke as he looked back at Alicia who stepped beside him. :”They are my guests. No spikes, no drugs, no hardness,” she whispered. “I‟ll let them know. Disappointments galore.” She pulled away a second as she saw out of the corner of her eye Quinn‟s mask of worry had deepened. She said something to Finn. Alicia‟s face grew hard. “If I have to clean up a mess, someone will payback. It won‟t be in money. Lulz aren‟t worth it, trust me.” Rick blinked his face bloodless. “They will understand. I will tell them now.” And he vanished, the door shutting. The raging inferno of sounds emptying from the party vanished, replaced by His voice but it was garbled by the closed door. Quinn noticed the emptiness of sound and said, “What happened?” “Just business that had to be taken care of. Come on,” She smiled disarmingly as she led them in. Rick was already walking back through the crowd as they entered; the bombastic techno-beats flooded the living room with sound. College age guys looked at them, smiled, shook heads and looked away amused. “Rick. What‟s up?” Finn asked. “Nothing,” He glanced at Alicia frowning. “Keg‟s by the wall.” And he tapped a tall guy in an open brown trench, tan shirt and slacks. Disheveled wavy brown hair framed his face. Black eye shadow made is his brown eyes pop on his pale face. And he carried a leather shoulder bag. Quinn stared at him like he was a ghost as he walked over to Alicia. When he approached, she handed the mead to her. “He‟ll smell cherries if you drink it. If not, look like it. And relax. You are white as a sheet. Nothing is going on.” Finn looked over when she said that, noticed the guy and shrugged. With that Alicia ascended the stairs, a way opening for her and the guy rose. Quinn blinked, and shivered, then looked around. Finn had vanished. With a sigh, she unscrewed the cap. „Way too much weirdness here’, she thought as she noticed the crowd. There were several Titans there, each in various states of stupor. Some held red solo cups. Others held whole bottles of various alcoholic products, most she didn‟t recognize. Many of the guys she didn‟t recognize. Some had football jackets with Spartan heads, pumas or other logo on them. Others were obviously college age. Same for the ladies. Some from McKinley were there but most were unknown, college age. There was a DJ wearing a gas mask, spinning techno at the turntable. Five or six skanky girls were dancing around it. Others were bumping and grinding to the beat, mingling. Still others were making out on the lone amber couch. No Brittany, no anyone who could tell that she was here. “Thank you, God, for small favors,” she whispered the
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prayer. “Please let no one drug or rape me, okay. I promise I‟ll even be nice to the losers.” She took a swig of the mead as Finn returned with two solo cups. Her nose scrunched as she struggled to not spit out the sharp, sweet liquid. He stood there patiently. “What?” she barked at Finn after swallowing. “Beer?” He offered. “No.” She groaned, glaring at him. “This is a bad idea.” “You haven‟t given it a chance. You aren‟t mingling.” He took a swig of the beer, frowned, tasted the other, and then sat the first one on the table beside the stairs. It immediately vanished in the forest of other solo cups of various fullness. She looked at him, trepidation all over her face. “I don‟t like the music, they” she gestured with the bottle to the girls dancing near the booth, “are skanky skanks. And I trust anyone.” He looked at the girls dancing. Most wore short, solid color skirts, heels, tight tops of various types and style and jewelry. At least two wore bikini tops. He looked back to her in her demure gold cocktail dress, shoes and updo. “I see.” She frowned at him. “Even Santana doesn‟t dress that bad.” He shrugged and took another drink. The music stopped. The DJ announced he was „taking 5‟ and walked to the bathroom. Out of the corner of his eye, Finn thought, he saw someone he recognized. As he turned away, Quinn stated, “I‟m going to find Alicia so we can go. Don‟t disappear.” Finn nodded his focus on the girl near the booth with the long raven hair. Quinn sighed and started up the tightly packed stairs, squeezing by jocks and girls making out, standing and watching. A guy vomited over the banister as she passed behind, pushing herself closer into the wall to avoid him. A shout of disgust and a feminine voice screaming obscenities drifted up as she moved up the stairwell. Rick had stopped at the top, scanning the crowd. “Rick!” she shouted as she broke through. He looked toward the voice, saw her and said, “Make a hole!” Dancing, carousing and the hook-up in the hall as people flattened against the walls. Rick stepped into the middle of the opening. Quinn walked quickly to him as the people moved back to where they were behind her. “That was nice. Thanks.” “No problem. You are looking for Alicia, right?” She nodded. He looked at his watch and grinned, quite pleased. “Second door on the right.” He pointed toward the college age guy and his redheaded skank pressed into each other. She frowned, stopped and stared, then looked back at Rick, blowing out a breath. “Brittany or Santana here?” “Why? He asked with raised eyebrows, “Because I don‟t want anyone to know,” she replied. Various chuckles rose from the crowd. “You don‟t know my father.” Rick nodded, his smile buried. He walked over to the couple, put his hands on their backs and tapped. They stopped, annoyed. The music started again, loud and rambunctious. It drowned out what Rick said to them but they walked over to the ajar door across the hall and vanished. Rick waved to Quinn and people moved to let her through. ‘What is going on!?’ “Thanks again. Is there anything going on?” “No. You are Alicia‟s guest. That‟s all.”
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‘Um hmm. Something no one is telling me.’ She held her sigh as she pasted on a fake smile. “This door, right?” He nodded, glancing at his watch. He grinned as he walked off. Opening the door, a voice said quite sharply. “I said no one comes in right now. Can‟t you see I‟m busy?” Quinn stood there in the open doorway, stunned. Alicia held the syringe to her naked right ankle; it balanced on an end table. She balanced herself against the plastic wrapped mattress on which rested another three syringes in a blue felt metal box. Two vials, one fluorescent blue and the other sparkling milky white lie beside them. Beside the vials were small silver ampoules of cortisone with the labels facing the wall. She pressed the plunger, the fluid coursing into her ligaments. At least close the…” Alicia looked up irritated and saw Quinn visibly shaken. Her face softened, “It‟s not what it looks like,” she said softly. “It looks like you shooting up to me.” She responded, trying to hold back tears. “How, why?” The door shoved her inside as it closed. She walked over to where Alicia was. She gazed at her, her blue eyes troubled. “I didn‟t want you to know like this.” she said softly. “I am not doing drugs.” “Looks like it to me,” she quipped, her face hardening. “You know me. Look at the vials.” She dropped the syringe into the felt case, moving her foot back to the floor. Quinn takes an ampoule off the bed, and reads the label. “Cortisone.” “Yes. Cortisone. That‟s Zydrate® in blue and in white it‟s …Risagain®.” “Those names mean nothing to me, except Cortisone. They are?” she asked, distant. She sat as Alicia did on the end of the bed. “Zydrate® is an opioid analgesic stronger than OxyContin®. I don‟t take it. It‟s for someone else who needs it. Risagain® is a rebuilder. I injured myself prior to coming here, so this is helping fix that. You Ok?” She said softly, squeezing her hand. “No. You are my only friend. The only one I can trust. Dad likes you. And I feel like the bottom just dropped out.” “This has to remain private. People,” she paused, staring at the cheap Wal-Mart® furniture, “at school wouldn‟t understand. You think I want to waste half my allowance on these raves? It lets me do this,” she points to the syringes, “without judgment.” “Why can‟t you go to a doctor?” “Because I would get pulled back. He would know almost immediately and I would be stuck at that prep school overlooking the Hudson that would make Santana kind by comparison. Look up gossipgirl.com if you don‟t believe me. Cortisone is via prescription only and getting that normally draws the same questions. The others are experimental. Mark does the custom order and in exchange gets a bigger cut.” “He‟s a drug dealer,” she said flatly. “Ex-drug dealer,” she corrected. Quinn pulled her hand away. Alicia looked into her eyes, holding back her own sadness. “Nothing has changed.” “Everything has changed.” Tears ran down her cheeks. “How so? Ignoring the obvious,” Alicia responded gently. “You are still my best friend. The one I tell everything to. The one I share my clothes with. The one I drive 200 miles so we can go to World Harvest church to the worship service every Sunday after Mass at St. Simeons. How does this,” she waved at the vials, “destroy everything you
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know about me?” Quinn wiped at the tears, staring at the floor. Alicia slid off the bed, kneeling on the floor. “Who am I, honestly? You know.” “A lonely rich girl who hates Manhattan and wanted a real friend. When I met you last year at Coach Sylvester‟s office, I immediately liked you because of the way you convinced her to take you sight unseen. Then at that first practice, when you embarrassed Santana and Brittany, I laughed.” The tears stopped as a smile crept in. “I remember. She was so mad at me for doing that reverse „Around the World‟ with you and Jeff after she insisted it wasn‟t possible. She swore no one could do it.” “And what about that hotel room debacle at regionals?” Quinn remarked, smiling. “Yea, the guys were so upset about their room, so we switched with them.” “And then you stayed even after that guy from the gay bar,” Quinn furrowed her brow thinking. “Electric Stag, climbed into your bed.” “Merrill. A drunk, aging hippy who loved cheerleaders.” Alicia laughed. “Coach kneed him in the groin after she realized he was trying to sneak into the guy‟s room.” “And then she screamed about him in a scene from Cheech and Chong. Did you ever figure out who they were?” “No, but when I asked my dad, he gave that freaky frown look that suggested it wasn‟t a polite thing to ask.” “Then we spent the rest of the night discussing fashion, guys and makeup on the Upper East Side.” “You gave me your Prada bag. Got a New Fendi one three days later, right?” Alicia nodded, standing up and stretching. “So have I changed?” She shook her head. “Why didn‟t you tell me?” “You never asked. But you are right. I‟m sorry. I should have. Let‟s agree that we never hide anything for each other again. Agreed?” “Agreed.” Quinn stood up and embraced her. When Alicia let go, she sat back down onto the bed, propping her foot back on the end table. “If I don‟t finish, my foot will swell and hurt something fierce.” She reached for the second syringe and the white vial. “We‟ll work something out but I don‟t want you to do it here anymore.” Quinn held a serious expression. “I can‟t do it at your place. You‟ve seen Mark.” “I don‟t like it and I came up here to tell you I want to go.” “Ok, it‟s still early. You want Waffle House®?” “You and Waffle House®.” She sighed, amused. “Yeah.” “Then help me, this hurts a lot more.” She grabbed Quinn‟s hand. “And I joined Glee.” Quinn squeezed her hand involuntarily and Alicia stared at her teeth clenched. “Why?” “Because My mother‟s a pop star. And I never cared about singing. But I figured it would be fun. Who knows, I might be better than Rachel Berry.” Quinn released her hand when Alicia dropped the empty syringe. “That troll? 4chan hacked her page after her videos were leaked onto their site. You don‟t think you are better. I know you are. So why worry?” “It‟s not that. It‟s fun. And If I best her on occasion, that‟s worth it.” Quinn shook her head. “Coach will kick you from the squad.”
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“$150,000 says she can‟t. Dad is now her biggest booster. Another after regionals, but only if I am not demoted or removed because of Glee.” She smiled. “So he bought her off.” Quinn stood stunned. Alicia nodded. “Let‟s Go.” And she opened the door, Quinn following her out. Finn watched Quinn walk up the stairs. When the guy vomited over the railing, he looked to see who it hit and about passed out laughing. Santana was using words he didn‟t know she knew as she took off toward the kitchen to get the creamy brown chunks out of her hair and off her blouse. Scanning the crowd, he saw the dj return and as he returned to the booth he announced, “Now it‟s sing along time. You know, I know it. It‟s by request of our favorite gold tressed dancer, Brittany Bretagne!” Brittany got on to the small trampoline placed in the center of the room. Everyone cleared an opening around it. Finn jostled his way to the front, his cup abandoned on the steps. “Are we ready?” The dj shouted. “READY!!” Everyone bellowed back. “Is Brittany ready?” the dj shouted again. She smiled, her blood red vinyl skirt and black leggings contrasting her black and red Lycra® top. “I am.” “And here we go. Sing everyone!” “Bing bang diggiriggidong First thing that I say after I wake up. Bing bang diggiriggidong I say those words before I go to sleep. “ Brittany sang loudly, managing to even top the crowd. Finn gazed at her, bouncing on the trampoline lightly as she sang. “Get on up it's time to dance yeah. It's so much fun being up on our feet.” “So we go Up, up -- do the jump Move around and clap your hands together. Down, down -- turn around Having fun is what it's all about. “ Everyone followed the words, doing the exact steps as she sang. When it reached, „do the jump‟ Brittany bounced hard enough to almost touch the cathedral ceiling. She landed, still singing and flipped, on „Turn around‟. On the second chorus, Finn joined. Beer had already sloshed everywhere. But being beside the window, he missed it. “Bing bang diggiriggidong Funny words I sing when I am dancing. Bing bang diggiriggidong Silly words that can mean anything. “
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“Get on up it's time to dance yeah. It's so much fun being up on our feet.” “So we go Up, up -- do the jump Move around and clap your hands together. Down, down -- turn around Having fun is what it's all about. “ “Ooohh, One two -- me and you, Move around and clap your hands together. Three four -- on the floor, Having fun is what it's all about.” “So we go Up, up -- do the jump Move around and clap your hands together. Down, down -- turn around Having fun is what it's all about. “ “One two -- me and you, Move around and clap your hands together. Three four -- on the floor, Having fun is what it's all about” “What it's all about...what it's all about?” “Let‟s hear it for Brittany Bretagne, William McKinley High Cheerio. Isn‟t she just the best?” The DJ shouted. „And we have a special request. I was asked to extend this because I owed a favor to our gracious host. So Rachel, come up.” Rachel dressed a plaid short shirt and yellow blouse staggered up the DJ table and the man himself. Completely wasted, she tried to remain poised and stand straight. A massive smile was plastered on her face. “I am gathered someone spiked her drink?” Laughter rolled from the crowd. Brittany held a bottle of Bacardi 151 aloft. “Now how can I fulfill the request if she‟s toasted? I know. Rachel, can you sing?” “Yes!” “Can you sing naked?” One of the college guys shouted. “No! Not here anyway.” Finn stood amazed. Her voice hadn‟t slurred. She just seemed far brighter than he has seen her. As much as he didn‟t want to admit it, she was pretty. Of course, she was a social pariah but still.” He blew out a sigh. Quinn would have his sack if she saw him talk to her. “Well, you wanted to sing to someone a song right?” The dj said off the mic. “I don‟t have all night. Unless you are planning to show something.” She shook her head staring at him.
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“I can‟t say who you are, because I care. So this is dedicated to you.” She said into the microphone.” To the DJ, “Play the song, please.” He nodded. And it cued up. Soft brassy instrumental flowed into the room where moments earlier it was high energy techno. Then Rachel began to sing. “I‟m standing on the bridge I‟m waiting on the dark I thought that you'd be here… by now There‟s nothing but the rain…no footsteps on the ground I‟m listening but there‟s no sound Isn't anyone trying to find me? Won't somebody come take me home? It‟s a damn warm night Trying to figure out this life Won't you take me by the hand? Take me somewhere new I don't know who you are but I… I‟m with you I‟m with you I‟m looking for a place I‟m searching for a face Is anybody here I know Cause nothing's going right And everything's a mess And no one likes to be alone Isn't anyone trying to find me? Won't somebody come take me home? It's a damn warm night Trying to figure out this life Won't you take me by the hand? Take me somewhere new I don't know who you are But I… I‟m with you I‟m with you Oh… Why is everything so confusing? Maybe I‟m just out of my mind
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Yeah…yeah…yeah... It's a damn warm night Trying to figure out this life Won't you take me by the hand? Take me somewhere new I don't know who you are But I… I‟m with you I‟m with you Take me by the hand Take me somewhere new I don't know who you are But I… I‟m with you I‟m with you Take me by the hand Take me somewhere new I don't know who you are But I… I‟m with you I‟m with you” As the song began, Finn realized that Rachel was staring at him and only him. As he moved forward, he eyes stayed on him. It was as if He was the „you‟ of the song. She couldn’t be in love with me could she? That would be so cool. She hot and talented and…damn, Quinn would kill her dead, and then me. He thought as he locked eyes with her. AS the song finished, he got up to the dj booth. She finished and tried to step over but lost her balance. She fell right into his arms. Looking up at him, she said, “I knew you would.” Speechless, he sat her down. She gazed into his eyes. “I‟m with you.” And then passed out straight into his arms again. It was at that moment, that Quinn shouted, quite furious. “Finn! What the HELL!!” “Umm she passed out. We have to take her home.” Alicia came up beside them as Quinn has bounded down the stairs when she saw him staring at her. “Good thing my car‟s on the other side of that sea outside.” Quinn stared at her. “You are not suggesting, he actually do that.” “No one can stay in the house. And I don‟t trust anyone else. I don‟t want to. What harm is it?” Quinn glared at Finn, furious. “Let‟s go. You can get the misfit queen home and then…” she sigh heavy and hard. People backed away as he walked forward. In ten minutes they were out the door, over to Alicia‟s and on their way to Rachel‟s house. “How in the hell did that happen?” Quinn roared.
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Finn shrugged. “She sang, and then she passed out.” “Inside voices, the maybach is sensitive,” She said, patting the steering wheel. Quinn looked at her, “Oh please. It‟s just a Mercedes.” Alicia laughed at her. “Um hmm. Just no screaming, okay. Tear body parts off later.” “Fine. We are so going to discuss this later.” She folded her arms under her bust and looked forward. Just then, Alicia found the house matching the street address on Rachel‟s license. Pulling up into the driveway, Finn dug her keys out of her purse, and then tried to open the doors. “Don‟t. Let me.” And Alicia hit the switch, opening the doors automatically. “Only a Mercedes.” She looked at Quinn. “A half million dollar one.” “Sorry,” she said with a smirk. Finn carried her up to the door. As he got to the door, he opened it with one hand. Quinn went to get out but Alicia restrained her. “Let him do it. If she really loves you, this will mean nothing, okay.” “I‟ll remember that when your boyfriend carries off some other unconscious girl into her bedroom.” Quinn bitched. “Deal.” As he went inside, it was dark because her fathers were asleep. Not knowing where to go he bumped into an end table. “Upstairs, first door,” a voice came from the kitchen. A white face appeared, looked at Finn and smiled. “I owe you thanks,” He said as he stepped out. “Hiram Berry.” “Finn, sir. Someone spiked her drink.” “Not surprised. I told her it wasn‟t wise to go. But she went on about how Brittany had invited her, telling her were this party was, and that it was important to be seen. I‟m glad you brought her home. At least she has a boyfriend.” Finn shook his head. “Oh no Mr. Berry. I „m not.” Rachel stirred, mumbling, “Been here all along so why can't you see? You belong with me.” Finn blushed. “She needs a friend. Can you be that at least?” He looked back at the door, now closed and to her, warm in his arms. She was beautiful. She still smelt beautiful even after those hours in that party. Quinn never smelt that beautiful. “Yes, I can be that.” “Good. Then you are welcome anytime you like. Want anything. I have detoxifying shakes. Great for after party snaking.” “No thanks. Going to Waffle House ® after.” “Okay. I‟ll lock the door.” And with that, he walked back into the kitchen. Finn sighed. “What did I get myself into?” “Thank you.” She mumbled again, still not lucid. “You‟re welcome.” And then he carried her up the stairs. When he got to her room, he laid her down gently on her bed. “Don‟t go yet.” She mumbled, struggling to sit up. “Please.” She showed her sad face. He looked at her and stopped. “I have to. Quinn going to kill me. Really. And there will be no end to the fury you will get for this.” “I care…” she tried. “You don‟t know what you are saying. Good Night, Rachel. See you in class.” She still held the face. “You belong with me.” And then she fell asleep.
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Sighing, he walked over, and pulled up the comforter over her, before slipping out. And he knew nothing would ever be the same.
(postscript: For the record, the arrow is pointing to Alicia is bottom left. Jeff is the obvious dude. Brittany is bottom right, and Alicia is holding Santana’s foot.)
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Rachel awoke with a pounding headache. When she rolled out of bed she noticed she was still wearing last evening‟s clothes. Desperately digging through her memories, she couldn‟t find out why. She couldn‟t even remember how she got home. And the headache wasn‟t helping either. „Not again. And I just proved that I don’t drink the hard stuff. Dads are going to be so disappointed. Especially Dad Leroy.’ She sat on the bed and listened to her mind. Nothing but patches after 9pm. „I can hold my alcohol so what happened? That second cup of beer tasted bad, not like beer at all. And Brittany handed it to me while I was at the keg because something distracted me. Rick owed me from the last time. No, she wouldn’t do it, would she?’ She sighed. „She is a Cheerio after all.’ The voice of her dad, Hiram echoed in room. “Rach? You awake?” “Yes, Dad.” “You, decent?” “No.” “When you are, come down. We need to talk.” The voice was kind but empty. „That’s bad. Someone happened. What?’ She groaned, rubbing her forehead. The headache pounded, throbbed. Throwing off her old slept in clothes, she laid out a new outfit before diving into the shower. „Defying Gravity‟ reflected off the shower walls as she let the steamy water soak her. Still nothing came after 9 pm except bits on the gas masked dj, dancing, and Brittany‟s jump song. Lazy town is for children, why! As she scrubbed herself, she looked for new tattoos. The well hidden gold star on her right wrist was a reminder of the last time she was so wasted, she lost the time. A new song bubbled up as she got dressed; Taylor Swift‟s „You belong with me‟. She sang it while she brushed her wet hair, cleared tangles, and did her makeup. The smell of beef sausages and eggs floated out of the vents. „Dad Leroy is cooking breakfast. That’s a good sign. Waffles and juice would be waiting. Hopefully a painkiller as well. My Dads are awesome, even now’. “Morning, Dads,” she shouted and then winced, as she ran down the stairs. Dad Hiram was waiting in his dapper blue smoking jacket and matching slacks. His round face was sad and serious, but his eyes were smiling. He rubbed his head brushing his short, black hair back. “We need to talk about last night. Do you remember how you got home?” “No, I don‟t. I‟m sorry.” She cast a sad face. He looked at her and sighed. “You were brought home; carried in in fact by a guy. Finn, he said, his name was. Really nice guy.” Rachel‟s eyes grew wide as she staggered back. He brought me home! He’s the captain of the Football team! “He carried me in?” she said softly. “You don‟t remember anything, do you?” The frown deepened as she nodded the answer to the question. “I remember being at the party. I remember dancing and yes, I had a beer. Two, tops. It‟s patchy after that until I woke up. My head hurts, but its ok.” “All we ask is that you be careful,” Dad Hiram said sadly. “When he opened the door, I knew something was wrong. We had hoped that this one would be different.” Dad Leroy walked into the foyer, carrying a glass of sparkling water with AlkaSeltzer® floating in it. She looked at him, his dark chocolate skin and dreads contrasting against his silver workout shorts, grey slacks and large military belt. He offered the
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glass, his thick, muscular arm glistening with sweat from the kitchen. “Shall we finish this in the dining room? Breakfast is ready.” She followed them into the dining room. The ceramic dishes and cups were out and filled. Waffles and OJ were waiting, the steam wrapping her in its wheat goodness. She sat down and waited while Dad Hiram said grace. The she reached for the butter and syrup, slathering the waffles with them. “Drink it before it fizzes out,” Leroy remarked. She smiled, and downed the glass. “Thanks, Dad.” “You‟re welcome.” He looked to Hiram. “You know where this is going, Rach. We have been down this path before.” He said between mouthfuls. “You have to get an AIDS test and no parties for two months. Also the tox screen, to make sure no did anything worse.” She frowned, sad face staring at them. Leroy looked up from his sausage and eggs. “It‟s not that we don‟t trust you. We both are concerned something will happen to you. This is the second time you were brought home wasted or unconscious. Remember New Year‟s morning? That blonde girl from your school brought you inside. We had this talk then. I don‟t want to say this but those people at the parties you go to, don‟t like you.” He started eating again. Hiram looked at him with a frown. “The boy did. He held her in his arms the entire time. Spent at least 10 minutes in your room.” The fork hit the near empty plate. She stared at him stunned. “He was a complete gentleman. Leroy looked up. “But we don‟t know why he would do that. Or if he…” She shook her head. “I apologize.” “For what? If I thought you deliberately got yourself drunk, it would be different. I‟m concerned you‟re a target for worse.” “You are a beautiful lady. I‟m not surprised that Finn would help. He really seemed to enjoy it.” Hiram said with a smile. “Can I be excused?” Rachel asked. Leroy looked at Hiram. “When I call, I want you to be ready. No punishment for now other than the party ban. Understand?” She nodded. “Then, yes.” As she left the table, „You belong with me‟ returned to her mind as well as the image of Finn carrying her up to her room. Finn was having a crappy morning. He knew taking Rachel home was the right thing to do but damn did Quinn hate it. What was supposed to be a peaceful, free meal at Waffle House turned into a hurricane of fury because Quinn hated the party. She hated the fact that Rachel was there and that she got drunk. Her loud anger caught numerous stares. And when the waitress came over to mention that, the silence was even worse. She ate fruit and just stewed; making catty remarks about a girl I don‟t know. At least she answered the phone. “I understand. No more parties.” He said as he stood in the basement near their washer. “And you promise not to go near her again,” Quinn‟s voice came through tinny on his phone. “I promise.” He said sincerely. „I don’t know if I will but I certainly won’t be blatant about it if I do.’
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“Good. I have to go. Dad wants me for something. I‟ll see you Monday, okay?” “Okay. Bye.” “Bye.” Came through as he hung up the phone. It didn‟t pick up the sigh that fell out right after. „Is it true about love at first sight? But it’s not love, it’s something. I don’t know her but she was nice, smelt great and could sing drunk. Wonder how she sounds normal.’ Then reality sucker punched him. She can sing! She’s one of the Glee Club! Isn’t that the guy Puck and the others throw into the trash almost every day a Glee Club member? He sighed. The guys would rag on me to end. Is it worth it? Oh well. As he went back upstairs, her words echoed in his mind. „You belong with me.’ “I wish I did, but I can‟t,” he said to himself. “What?” His mother said coming around the corner. “Nothing. Just thoughts about Friday night,” he commented, torn. She nodded, yet her face showed she didn‟t understand. Quinn answered the door. “Alicia?” “You didn‟t get my message?” she asked, surprised. Quinn looked away from Alicia‟s skinny jeans, amber blazer and navy blouse with bow belt, to her phone. As she scrolled through the instant messages, Alicia walked in and closed the door behind her. Russell shouted from the other room. “Who is it?” “Me,” Alicia responded with a hint of amusement. Russell stepped into the doorway. “Thanks for bringing them home early. I really appreciate that.” He smiled back “You‟re welcome, Mr. Fabray. But I can‟t take credit. They wrapped early due to an issue,” she beamed back, that hint of amusement on her face. Quinn looked up at Alicia confused. Just then, her phone chirped. An invitation to a day of shopping and fun scrolled up. “Oh, yeah.” She smiled, delighted. “Can I go shopping with Alicia?” she asked Russell, who had turned his gaze to her when she spoke. Alicia still looked at him and quipped, “We still have our gift cards from being first at Cheer camp so this would be a great time to use them.” He nodded. “Yes, you can. We were going out ourselves.” Alicia leaned over and whispered, “You look fine, let‟s go.” “Let me grab my purse,” Quinn said gesturing her to follow, then went up the stairs quickly. As Alicia went up the stairs herself, she noticed a few small changes. The stairs themselves were carved deep stained oak and quite ornate. It was the pictures on the walls going up that had changed. Gone were the old pictures of Quinn and her sister alone. Now a large picture of her mother, father, sister and her husband beside her hung in its place. Framed in bronze, it contracted the smaller ones of Quinn cheerleading, her sister doing the same, last year‟s formal and chastity ball. At the top of the stairwell, a fairly full trophy case sat advertising Quinn‟s awards with a few blank spots where her sisters used to be. Quinn stood beside her open bedroom door. She waited until Alicia entered before quickly shutting and locking the door. “I need your help.” “What‟s wrong?” Alicia asked, concerned. “I need Dramamine. You know how my parents are. 100% holistic. Ibuprofen is as far as he will go.” She plopped the phone into her purse. Then she turned to face her
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full length mirror, and gazed at her waist. “I look fat. And I still feel nauseous. I know it wasn‟t from last night.” She made the drinking sign with her hand. “I don‟t know what‟s wrong. I‟ve felt like this on and off for two weeks.” She grabbed a red blouse and changed into it then touched up her makeup at her vanity. “Have you seen a doctor?” Alicia said as he checked her makeup in the vanity mirror as well. Quinn frowned. “The Cheerios one is in tomorrow. But our family doctor is a good friend of my father. I don‟t have money for any other.” Confident her makeup was fine, Alicia suggested, “Let‟s go before either get suspicious. We can discuss this in the car.” Quinn nodded. And with a quick goodbye hug to her dad, she and Alicia were out the door and on to the lawn, “I assume your dad has no clue about last night or the event.‟ She made a private hand sign that meant sex. Quinn turned white for a second. “No, no clue. I don‟t know how he‟d take it. It wouldn‟t be good at all. And it scares me.” She got into the Maybach in silence, still pale. “Mother thinks something is up, but won‟t ask. She‟s worried that it will be a repeat of my sister and there nothing behind it.” Alicia drove to the mall on the highway as they sat in silence remember that particularly bad event that happened shortly after she arrived. “Crimson wave?” she asked breaking the silence. Quinn looked at her, quizzical, then realized. “This week, usually, but it‟s been late a couple days before.” “You think it‟s related?” “Yes.” “And…” Alicia commented as they pulled into the vast parking lot. Cars and trucks parked in orderly rows passed them as she circled around them for a spot. “If I go to a gynecologist, he‟ll think the worst. That‟s what happened with my sister and nothing happened. She was fine.” Quinn stared out the window, her reflection scared and distant. “I‟ll take of it, this time. But we‟re in the same boat. At least, I can call.” She frowned, focusing on the open spot. The maybach slid in with ease. “You will?” Quinn said, surprised. “Yes, of course. It‟ll be in Columbus, but it might take a while. He a general doc and…” Quinn nodded. Her face suddenly turned ashen. She began sweating profusely. Alicia hit the switch opening both doors at once. “Can you stand?” Quinn nodded. Alicia dove out and rushed around, helping her to her feet. A winking light in the corner of her eye caught her attention. An off duty ambulance sat nearby, its EMTs taking a break. “We are going to walk over the ambulance. Hopefully they can help.” She spoke softly yet focused her arm around Quinn as she stood. “I‟m fine,” she said brushing her arm away. Alicia beheld her wobbling, her brow furrowed. “You are not. I should have never taken you out last night.” “One of the EMTs got out to stretch. Alicia waved at him, gesturing at Quinn. His smile vanished when Quinn doubled over, vomited onto the asphalt. “Damn it,” she cursed, leaning against the car. The EMT sprinted the short distance to her. “Are you Ok?” He, tall with cropped tan copper hair and deep brown eyes framing his square face asked. “No. I am nauseous and tired.” Quinn said annoyed under her breath. She looked at him, irritated but still pale.
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“How long?” “Since yesterday,” Alicia interjected. “She needs something to stop this. We have school tomorrow and cheerleading.” “Stop what; the nausea?” Quinn nodded. The EMT looked at Alicia, pointed toward the ambulance. “You ready? Or do I need the gurney?” “I can walk over.” Quinn commented slowly but still irritated. Alicia ignored her and walked behind her as they slowly moved to the ambulance. When they arrived at the backdoors, he opened them, and jumped inside. The other EMT came out the driver‟s side and walked around. An older man, broad shouldered and tight waisted, he stopped in front of the both of them. “She doesn‟t want her family to know so I‟ll take of it.” Alicia said standing beside Quinn. He looked at her earnest face, glanced at Quinn woozy and then to his partner who appeared with a blood pressure cuff. “She wants it.” He held up the clipboard so the other could see it while he was taking Quinn‟s blood pressure, gesturing to Alicia. “Let her. Make sure she knows the rules,” the one tending to Quinn said while looking at the analog gauge and releasing the pressure. The older EMT returned his gaze to Alicia. “I still need her information for treatment but I can use yours for billing.” “Ok,” she said with a frown, then gave the address. “And yours?” Alicia opened her purse. “How about I pay you now?” And she withdrew a Centurion card; an ebony American Express card. His eyes grew wide. “Is that real?” “Yes, it‟s real,” She nodded, hiding her frown. “I know this is irregular. But both of us are monitored in different ways. So can I pay now?” The EMT blew out a breath, looking out at the parking lot and the cars driving around. “Yes. The equipment is in the cab. It‟s only been used once though. Let me get it.” He went into the back and Alicia held him mention the card and then the other said “Seriously?” A minute later, the older EMT stepped out of the driver‟s side again with a small black plastic slider attached to Kindle® like device. “I need you to fill out the form and sign it. I will seal if after it goes through.” She took the device and tapped in her info and then slid the card. In the background, she could hear Quinn explaining the „infamous night‟. The EMT asked the obvious question. “Not yet,” she said softly. “No I haven‟t taken a pregnancy test. My father would flip if I even brought one home.” The Kindle ® like device reported that it was finished and the transaction was successful. It then spat out a receipt. Alicia took it and handed the device back to the EMT. She put the card back in her purse, along with the receipt. “Thanks for your discretion.” “No problem. It‟s not often someone can drop $700 on the spot.” He quipped. “It‟s not often, I need medical service but not able to use my doc,” she said looking over at Quinn. She was climbing up into the ambulance. Quinn sat down on the gurney, and rolled up her right sleeve of her blouse again. She looked over at the EMT who was sort of cute. “So this is [anti-nausea] drug. When I inject it, it should take care of the problem for the rest of the day. However, I really
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recommend you going to the free clinic. They can give you the pregnancy test as well as see if it‟s someone else, something more serious.” “Really?” she sighed, desperately hiding the fear that something happened. Something that couldn‟t happen if everything was to remain stable and normal. He shook at iodine packet before tearing it open and withdrawing the stick. “You ready.” “Yes,” she said as she fought another wave. The pain from the needle prick didn‟t make the battle much easier. As he put the bandage on, he said, “It will be alright.” He reached over to a shelf, withdrawing a box of samples. “This is a box is a samples of what I just gave you in pill form. We don‟t give samples so it got stuck here. There should be enough for five days.” He handed the box to her with a reassuring smile. “My niece went through the same thing. There are always options.” “I‟m not pregnant!” she shouted, annoyed. She glared at him to make the point crystal. “It‟s something else.” “My apologies,” He said sincere but disbelieving. He handed her a printed sheet to the free clinic in the area. She took it, placing both into her purse. “I‟m done?” “You are.” He smiled. She sprang from the gurney and stepped down and out. Alicia stood there waiting, her bug eye sunglasses on. “We are good to go. You ready for some shopping?” she smiled. Quinn rubbed her arm, “Yes, I am so ready.” Mondays were always a joy for Rachel. „It’s another opportunity for success. Glee will be better because of me. I can’t carry everyone so they will just have to get better. And Finn is in two of my classes so I will get to the truth of him and Quinn dating. She’s not nice.’ She thought, with her head held high as she walked to her locker. The usual people passed her by. And they ignored her. It was a new year. At her locker, she checked her spare clothes bag nestled beside her textbooks to make sure everything was full and fresh. „Can never be too careful, considering.’ Taking out Mr. Daniel‟s First period „Comprehensive English Literature‟ and Mr. Schuster‟s „Hola! Mundo en Español‟ book and their respective folders, she saw Finn approach. As he walked by, she smiled at him, her hand up in a silent beauty queen wave. He smiled back as he went on past. Then he stopped briefly, looked past her then went on. When she turned back around she was surrounded by Quinn, Brittany, Alicia and Santana. “Look, Fiona, I didn‟t forget. If you think that meant something, you are mistaken. He felt sorry for you,” Quinn retorted, her fierce face focused. Santana smirked and nodded. Brittany simply looked perplexed, mumbling „Fiona?‟ Alicia whispered, “Shrek‟s wife. Secretly ugly.” Brittany laughed until Quinn glanced at her. “That‟s the only time he‟ll ever touch you, understand?” She tightened her fists and turned and walked off. Brittany and Santana followed her. Alicia, however, did not. “I tried. You can‟t have him.” She noticed motion and shifted to her right. “And duck.” She then turned as Hank Saunders came around with a cheery slushie. Sliding a bit to her right, Alicia made it look like she slid into Hank as he threw the slushie. Rachel shut her locker door and ducked in enough time to fell only the spray of the slushie as it whizzed over her head. It splattered across the lockers including hers, sprayed the floor and Alicia‟s back.
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She turned to him incensed. “You hit me!” She then kicked his feet from him. All motion in the hall stopped when she shouted. Quinn and the others wheeled around and saw him fall. Mr. Daniels walked up just then, looked down and offered Hank a hand. He wore a white linen shirt, sliver silk vest, bowtie, formal knee length black frock coat and high rolled broad-brimmed planter's hat. Once Hank got to his feet, he rubbed his handlebar mustache with forefinger and thumb. “Detention all week, Mr. Saunders.” He spoke with a very distinct Tennessee drawl. “Perhaps then you‟ll understand the inappropriateness of your behavior.” Alicia smiled at them both and walked off. As she reached Quinn, she said, “Not a word. Not a word.” Daniels looked Rachel. “Target again, Ms. Berry?” “Yes, Mr. Daniels.” “Then I should thank her that I don‟t have to write you a pass to clean up again?” He shook his head and walked off. Rachel followed after him. Hours later, she wore a fake smile. That tall, mohawked jock they called Puck had tried to hit her was a grape slushie but missed as well because she bent down to pick up something just as he rounded the corner. It hit Lance the Cheerio instead who sucker punched him in the gut. That led to a fight which was broken up by Coach Sylvester who took Lance‟s side. And then Coach Sylvester decided saw Rachel standing them amused. “Rachel Berry, this is all your fault. You are a black hole. Yes, a black hole orbiting the Cheerio‟s star,” she barked before leaving with Lance. Lance looked back at her annoyed. With a sigh, she walked towards the choir room. Since Mr. Schuester got Glee restored, him and Brad Ellis the Choir Director, Jazz ensemble faculty advisor and Titan Band Director had made a deal. Mr. Schuester can use the room and Jazz ensemble when Brad (he insists on being called Brad instead of Mr. Ellis like everyone else) isn’t busy with Band, because they train on the field at 4, but they do use the room sometimes. Also, he would play piano for them to save cost. Choir used the room at 6 th period so there was no conflict. This way her day would never totally suck. The problem was Glee did still. I am so much better but I can’t do this alone. It will get better,” she reminded herself. In the background as she approached she heard singing, “I'm the life of the party So contagious All the boys wanna catch me But I'm just playin'” Rachel glanced at one of the old mechanical clocks mounted to the wall high above the lockers. It said the same thing her cellphone said. The Bell was in two minutes. “One….One, Two, come and see what I can do Two….Two, Three everybody‟s after me Three….Three, Four, let me tell you what's in store Let‟s go, everybody on the floor.” When she got to the Choir room north side door, it was open. And as she knew, it was Alicia singing. She stepped inside and watched as Alicia caught in the moment, continued, doing a dance.
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“I'm supergirl I'm everywhere I'm flashing lights They stop and stare I'm fire red I'm on a roll I'm in your head and everybody knows I'm, I'm, I'm supergirl.” She stopped abruptly when she turned and Rachel standing silently but intently watching. “Good, Alicia. You are sounding much better. It‟s much less pitchy.” Brad looked to where Alicia was looking and caught Rachel‟s surprised look. “Good afternoon, Rachel. We were wrapping up.” “its fine, Brad. We need to talk prior to Glee starting,” Alicia remarked. He looked at her, nodded. He rose, walked to the file cabinet and exchanged one manila folder for another. Rachel‟s face grew annoyed. “We need to talk? About what?” “About this morning...” Alicia sighed. “You aren‟t helping your cause.” “You mean being bullied by you and your clique. I thought we are friends?” Frustration filled her words as she drew close. “I didn‟t bully you.” Alicia stated calmly. “You didn‟t? You didn‟t help either.” Rachel remarked. “Duck isn‟t really helping you know.” Alicia groaned. “You don‟t get it. Do you know how much it cost me to stay there? Or to trip Hank? Or delay Lance just long enough so he will be behind you as you round the corner? I get crap for being here. Catty remarks about slumming on the isle of misfit toys. Do you know how much it cost my father for me to even be allowed to do both?” She blew out a breath, her intense, fierce face shining. Rachel shook her head, took a step back. “Maybe I don‟t but…” she stopped when Brad approached them. He handed Alicia a sheet of paper. Then he sat down at the piano with the rest of the manila folder open in front of him. “You told me to give that song to you if you ever get mad at Rachel for anything. I gather you‟re mad at her,” Brad said seriously. Rachel‟s frustration melted away, replaced by confusion. Alicia read the sheet and exhaled, her petite yet muscled frame slouching briefly. “It‟s queued?” she asked as the rest of the Glee kids entered. Mr. Schuester walked in behind Artie, but didn‟t say anything as he saw Alicia about to sing. “Looking back from where I‟ve come I can‟t believe I am here Gave my all, Paid the price and I do it again I walked alone in my head I‟ve cried in my bed But the morning lies o‟ so bright Wake me again.‟ It‟s about faith, it‟s about fate It‟s about risking it all everyday. It‟s about hoping when you want to let go It‟s just believing in all that you know
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Here I am now Standing on the edge Everything I know coming together. All my life, I‟ve seen it in my dreams Waiting for the day I‟m just a second away. Taking time, reaching down to walk through my fear Break it down in my head; I can see it so clear I work it out in my heart, I see it up here The world is so beautiful from the view up here It‟s about living, not just getting by It‟s about reaching when there is nothing inside It‟s about breathing when it‟s almost too much It‟s about standing when you want to give up Here I am now Standing on the edge Everything I know coming together. All my life, I‟ve seen it in my dreams Waiting for the day, I‟m just a second… Everything is disappearing…Standing up here alone now I feel like I can stand here forever. This is where I belong now. Yeah. Here I am now Standing on the edge Everything I know coming together. All my life, I‟ve seen it in my dreams Waiting for the day I‟m just a second away. Here I am now Standing on the edge Everything I know coming together. All my life, I‟ve seen it in my dreams Waiting for the day I‟m just a second away. I‟m just a second away… I‟m just a second away.” “Who sung that? I never heard it before.” Mr. Schuester said while everyone smiled except Rachel and Mercedes. Rachel looked at Mercedes dismissive expression, and felt her own concern. „She’s not better than me. But that song speaks on so many levels. I can do that so much better. Yes, I can.” She smiled a pat smile. ‘Why did I believe she could even be my friend? I am better than them. I am a star.’ “Carly Patterson. Olympic gold medalist Athens 2004. She sung it as the first song at her debut concert benefiting the Tooth Fairy Foundation, June 23, 2007 in Allen, TX. But the actual song isn‟t available until January, 2010.” “So how did you get a copy?” Mercedes quipped. “I know people,” she glared at her, hands on her hips. “Besides, if you have been at the charity concert in ‟07 you would have heard it.”
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Brad silently chuckled in the background. That vanished when Mr. Schuester went to a storage closet and dug out the old 1993 costumes. He walked back out carrying them over his arm. He then dumped them on the chairs behind them. “I have costumes I want you to put on. Once you do that we will more to the auditorium for rehearsal.” Rachel took her costume and frowned immediately. No one else was happy about them either. Kurt had a disgusted look at the shirt, holding it at arm‟s length. Mercedes smelled hers numerous times, like it bore a fragrance but she kept grimacing each time. Artie and Tina took theirs with a frown. And Alicia didn‟t even take the last one. She handed Mr. Schuester an envelope. She whispered something to him. He frowned, whispered something back and laid the envelope on the piano. Then she took the uniform and left. And she followed her out, running to catch up. Alicia stopped when she saw Rachel running and turned around. She frowned, her arms out. “Nothing has changed.” Her fierce face shown again. “Can I even ask?” She said sadly about 8 feet away. “Glee costs sixty dollars a month according to our principal. So I gave him a hundred. He didn‟t like it and told me not to do it again.” Alicia exhaled deeply, turned and walked off then stopped. “Quinn hates you enough after Friday night. And I can‟t help you if you keep this up.” “What? Can‟t we be friends?” Rachel looked pleadingly. “Sure,” Alicia said distant. “Everyone who surrounded you this morning joins Glee. Then I can.” Clenching her fist, she walked off to the locker room to change. Alicia walked into the auditorium, uneasy. There was a note on the women‟s locker room bulletin board saying that practice today started thirty minutes earlier than normal due to an event Coach Sylvester had to attend. That would mean that Cheerleading practice and Glee would overlap. She cursed to herself. So she pulled off her maroon Cheerio skirt, slid the loud bell bottom pants on then pulled the top over her uniform. The pants pulled tight over her legs, the bell bottoms stopping mid-calf. It was the ugliest thing she ever wore. She looked over her tacky yellow orange swirl polyester top. It stretched poorly over her bust making her chest look even bulkier. „The only thing preventing them from peppering me with names and hitting me with slushies is the fact that I am a Cheerio and I pay for the raves.’ She sighed, frowning. Then she caught herself. You chose this. You can leave. So what is it? Even if you land face on the mat you still are a champion. No one can take that away. She shook her head to clear the cobwebs. Kurt glanced up and down. “She-Hulk it is.” “Don‟t go there Kurt,” she spat, annoyed. “You shook your head at my approach.” She glared a split second and then saw Mercedes and Rachel approach. Folding up her skirt, she placed it on the edge of the stage. About ten minutes later they assembled in the auditorium. “You look awesome!” Mr. Schuester said with pride. “I am not wearing this,” Mercedes retorted. Kurt watched her silently. Tina and Artie remained silent and morose. Rachel beamed a smile as she stood listening. Alicia stared at Mercedes annoyed.
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“The ‟93 team took Nationals wearing those.” “I know. I can still smell them. I want a new costume.” Mr. Schuster frowned and masked it quickly. “I‟ll take it to the dry cleaners.” “You can take it to the moon, baby,” She retorted with sass. “Everyone knows you can‟t get stinkass out of Polyester.” Rachel sighed, folding her arms under bust. Mercedes looked over at her pissed. “You want to be starting something Britney?” She spat. Rachel stormed out. “Rach?” Mr. Schuester called after her but she was already walking up the stairs. “Is she going to diva out after every rehearsal?” Kurt asked, disgusted. “Probably,” Mr. Schuester remarked. “Let me see if I can find her. If we are not back in 30, we are done,” he said as he looked disappointed at the entrance to the auditorium. Alicia smiled and then took two steps back and ran to the edge of the stage. At the edge, she somersaulted off the stage landing just short of the first row. With her skirt in her hand, she sprinted up the stairs on her way to the nearest bathroom. ‘They don’t get it. Being a part of something special makes you special. It makes you famous and popular. It requires sacrifice and preparation. I can’t do this alone!” She sighed again as she pulled off the costume. I know you aren’t as talented or as driven but do you have to suck the joy out of everything too? She stared at her clothes; the perfect blouse and sweater vest and magenta skirt. I am so tired of being laughed at. Even Brad heard! What is so wrong about wanting to be great at something before leaving high school?’ As she dressed, the thoughts continued in various sequences. Finally she left the restroom and was almost ran down by Alicia. She shook her head and walked back to the choir room. In the background as she approached she heard singing and the jazz ensemble playing. „Something‟s moving, Something‟s changing, See his glory, Feels like heaven on earth.‟ „I don’t recognize that song,‟ she thought as she approached. She recognized the voices, and it intrigued her. Rachel glanced at one of the old mechanical clocks mounted to the wall high above the lockers. It said the same thing her cellphone said. The end of day was past. If Glee has the room, then the jazz ensemble is done for the day. „Whoa oooh ooh, heaven…. There is lightning and thunder, Miracles and wonder, Sound of many waters, Heaven on earth. When she got to the Choir room north side door, the bell rang. The door was open but silence reined. They had just ended the song, which sounded unlike anything she had heard. „I listen to a lot of songs too except the stuffy Christian hymns. That definitely wasn‟t that.‟
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Brad smiled at her. “That look tells me you heard that song.” “What is it, it was all warm,” She replied, trying to remain upbeat. But whatever it was faded as everyone left. “Something I picked up at WHC in Columbus. I noticed you are having issues again.” She nodded. “I can handle it.” “Good, but I would like to sing this song for you. My voice isn‟t nearly as good as yours. However, I think you should hear it. It‟s Kutless, „What faith can do‟. „Everybody falls sometimes Gotta find the strength to rise From the ashes and make a new beginning Anyone can feel the ache You think it‟s more than you can take But you are stronger, stronger than you know Don‟t you give up now, The sun will soon be shining You gotta face the clouds To find the silver lining I‟ve seen dreams that move the mountains Hope that doesn‟t ever end Even when the sky is falling And I‟ve seen miracles just happen Silent prayers get answered Broken hearts become brand new That‟s what faith can do It doesn‟t matter what you‟ve heard Impossible is not a word It‟s just a reason for someone not to try Everybody‟s scared to death When they decide to take that step Out on the water It‟ll be alright Life is so much more Than what your eyes are seeing You will find your way If you keep believing I‟ve seen dreams that move the mountains Hope that doesn‟t ever end Even when the sky is falling And I‟ve seen miracles just happen Silent prayers get answered Broken hearts become brand new That‟s what faith can do
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Overcome the odds You don't have a chance (That‟s what faith can do) When the world says you can‟t It‟ll tell you that you can! I‟ve seen dreams that move the mountains Hope that doesn‟t ever end Even when the sky is falling And I‟ve seen miracles just happen Silent prayers get answered Broken hearts become brand new That‟s what faith can do That's what faith can do! Even if you fall sometimes You will have the strength to rise.‟ She listened, a thoughtful look on her face. As he finished, “Just what we were working on in choir, but we are done now.” He gestured Rachel over. “I know you have faith in yourself and your ability. But when it gets hard, remember this song.” As she stepped away from the piano, Brad rose, gathered his notes and other paperwork, and then walked over to the file cabinet to store them for tomorrow. When he was done, he walked back to gather the remainder of his stuff to go out on the field to coach Band. As she collected her purse. Brad looked over at her and whispered „Remember‟. He then pointed to the notes still on the piano and left. Another sigh left her, as she dropped off the costume on the piano. There was a note in Brad‟s handwriting addressed to her. Taking it, she read; “Rachel, the sheet music for the Kutless song is yours. Take it. And I wanted to say I am sorry we didn‟t include you in the other song. It was spur of the moment. “Have faith, something is moving. Something is changing. And I will see you tomorrow at 1 pm.” Taking the music, she took it back to her locker. I wonder…’ she thought as she headed out to the bleachers. Climbing up to the center of the bleachers she could see the field and the Band, the Cheerios and the Titans practice. Of course, Coach Sylvester‟s bull horn could be heard over everything. “That‟s horrible. Worse than Patrick Steward‟s „Scrooge‟. Do it again!” She smiled. That was a bad Scrooge. She watched them for a little bit more then realized what she was doing. Why am I doing this? Look they are special because Cheerleading makes them special. Finn is special because football makes him special.’ Just then, Finn got sacked. Well, maybe not. She laughed. He has to have a girlfriend. She sighed, staring glumly off. ‘You belong with me‟ bubbled up again. She smiled, looking over at him. I could sing that song tonight! She sat there peacefully dreaming about the day when he woke up and found that what he was looking for has been four lockers away the whole time. It was just after she saw them at the prom in her mind that Mr. Schuester came up and sat down beside her. I’ll be honest.
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Lance was the weak link. Brittany was beside him, helping him up as Alicia and Quinn watched Mr. Schuester climb the bleachers. “Why?” Quinn asked honestly. “It‟s fun.” “Really?! Not good enough,” she said with sharp undertone. Alicia ignored it. “It‟s therapeutic.” “It‟s a hopeless waste of your talents and a squandering of your capital.” Alicia turned to her as Santana approached. “And what is that?” she asked amused. “Singing,” Alicia said as Quinn said „Glee.‟ “I saw the list, Alicia. Most of us did,” she said darkly. “This cow town only does set of decent raves that doesn‟t need id and that‟s Rick and his party krew.” She leaned over. “I know you fund them.” She shook her head, annoyed. “It‟s the ONLY reason you get a pass for hanging out with those freaks. Alicia glanced up at the bleachers. Mr. Schuester was still sitting, talking to Rachel. Another glance at Lance, Brittany and Coach Sylvester said the break was almost over. She stared at Santana, hands on her hips. “I think I get a pass for more than that, bed surfer.” She then turned her back on Santana, Quinn‟s eyes wide. Santana lunged for her but stopped when Coach Sylvester walked over, and stopped beside Quinn. “Problem, ladies?” “None, Coach,” everyone said in almost unison. “Good, now do the routine again. This time with spirit,” she shouted into the megaphone. Santana just glared at Alicia as they formed up again. Glee the next day was all of five minutes of Brad telling them it was canceled because Mr. Schuster was in a facility meeting regarding Glee. That was ominous. What was even more so was that Rachel wasn‟t there. Alicia knew she had choir the hour before and that she should have been in the room. The fact she wasn‟t meant something was wrong. I’ll figure it out later. Glee will survive. So when everyone else left, Alicia remained behind morose, walking over to the opposing door to think while Brad sat the room up to do the 15 minutes of Band teaching he did every week. Rachel walked into the choir room, looked around, downcast. Brad has his back to her, so she slumped down into an empty seat. The tears began flow as she stared at the floor. Brad turned around and saw her. “Rachel, right here,” he said as he motioned to Alicia, who frowned but walked over herself. “Mr. Schuester canceled today because of his meeting with facility.” She looked up at Brad with her sad face but it changed to annoyance when she looked at Alicia with her sad face. “Why are you still here, don‟t you have practice?” she snarled. Alicia sighed, shoving a box of Kleenex® in to her hands that Brad gave her. “Now, Rachel…” Brad said in a soft tone. “Remember.” “Can we talk…alone?” “I think it would be better if this was worked out with Alicia as she is having basically the same problem.” She sighed, casting her a dark glance. Alicia sat down beside her. “Can we talk?” “Isn‟t that against our agreement?” “Not anymore. I think they are jealous of our gifts.” Alicia flashed a wan smile.
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“I quit Glee. It‟s just too painful. No one can keep up with me. And I am running out of time.” She sniffed. Alicia stepped back. “I understand. As much as I have tried, I can‟t stop the slushies or Quinn leading the hate on you but I can stop tolerating it.” Rachel looked surprised as she dabbed away the tears. “You‟re willing to stand up for me?” “I‟m tired of them treating us like a pariah. Santana decided that the only reason I am on her level is the parties and then I discovered what happened at the party.” Brad stopped what he was doing. Alicia looked over at him. “And for the record and because I need a witness, I will say that No one will spike your drinks anymore. I know who was responsible. She‟s now on party probation.” Brad laughed. “That‟s new.” Rachel smiled. “You are making her anonymous. That‟s worse than being poor. Fame is the most important thing in our culture now.” Alicia raised a brow. That is a true statement. A sad but true statement. “It is, isn‟t it? Rick agreed. He doesn‟t like it but he agreed. Her personal clique is furious with me for it. So she can‟t drink until summer.” Rachel looed surprised. “You defended me?” “I fixed the problem. She crossed the line. I took care of it.” Brad‟s face showed sudden understanding. “So that was why Santana screamed as you entered today.” “Yes. Coach Sylvester now knows. And if either of us becomes a distraction we all pay. So there is an uneasy truce.” “Santana spiked my drink?” Rachel asked surprised. “What do you remember?” Alicia hedged. “Very little.” “Yes. I am so sorry. It won‟t happen again.” Rachel smiled and beheld the woman half a head taller with the accented blond hair. Her petite frame rippled with taut muscles while still being feminine. But her blue eyes held sadness. Sadness she recognized. You really do understand. “Thank you very much. I‟m going to hug you know.” Rachel said as she pulled her into her. Alicia hugged her back quickly then pushed her away. “This problem won‟t go away. If I hang out with you, they will attack me. I can handle that. However, Quinn will try her best to crucify you. So let‟s go easy.” She wiped her own eyes. Brad who was silent through all this, walked over to them. The room was ready and Band members were entering. “Rachel, remember the song. And Ladies, it‟s time to go.” Alicia nodded realizing that she needed to be out on the field in 15 minutes. “I have to go to practice,” Alicia rose. “We will endure. And so will Glee.” And she left. Rachel watched her leave and wanted to believe but without a male to keep up with knew it was futile. Once Alicia got on the field, she knew something was wrong. Everyone was just standing around, fear in their eyes. Except Quinn, she looked pale again. “There‟s going to be no sets today, because we have problems to work out. One, Quinn is sick,” Coach Sylvester shouted. “I‟m fine, Coach,” Quinn replied quickly, but not loudly.
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“You are whiter than Marley‟s ghost. The only reason you‟re out here is you are captain. I want you to see this,” She said to Quinn softly “Two,” she shouted again. “We have discord. We can‟t win if there‟s no team. We can‟t be a team with discord. So out with it!” Silence as Alicia stared at Santana, her hands on her hips. She brushed her right hand across her waist in a sweeping motion as she shot a „well?‟ look. Santana glared back. “Fine,” Coach bellowed into the bullhorn. “Santana, since I could hear you from my office, you have 15 seconds or everyone but Alicia and Marley here does mountain climbers.” She grinned wickedly. Silence as Santana glared at Alicia more. “10, 9, 8, 7, 6…” collective groans began. “5…4”. “Fine, she cut me off from the parties,” Santana yelled, her fists clenched by her side. “She cut you off from the parties…” Coach Sylvester repeated deliciously. Then she shouted into the bullhorn, “You are telling everyone, you threatened our victory in Regionals over parties?” “She didn‟t tell you why I gave her party probation?” Alicia snarked. Santana‟s heels tore up the turf as she stood glaring. Quinn shook her head, anxious. “Please don‟t, Alicia,” she said weakly. “Hush, Marley.” Coach Sylvester commented, a wicked smile on her lips. “Do tell Alicia. We all want to hear about party probation.” Soft groans emanated from the others. “She spiked someone‟s drink,” Alicia said staring at Santana. She turned so Coach Sylvester couldn‟t see her face and shot a look at Brittany who looked immediately looked Santana, pleading. She spun back to face her coach. “It was Rachel Berry,” Santana shouted, fury in her voice. “You are defending the misfit queen?” Coach Sylvester asked surprised. “No. There were rules broken. One, don‟t attract attention. Rachel passed out in front of everyone and had to be carried home. Had she not and someone took advantage, that would be the end of the parties.” Quinn nodded, wincing. The Cheerios medic came out finally with a small hand bag. A thin, wiry guy with sandy brown spiky hair and a goatee; he was fit in red Under Armour® Sleeveless T-Shirt with the cheerios logo on it and invert shorts. Silence held while he took Quinn to the bench on the sidelines saying softly about the medicine lasting a week. “One each day. And eat more.” He pushed a prescription bottle of pills into her hand. Into the other arm, he prepped her for an injection. Alicia watched trying to contain the sigh. Something is wrong with her. I mean if you are pregnant, you would know. She shoved that thought away. It was more likely for Rachel to become pregnant than Quinn. And when she walked back over, Coach Sylvester whispered. “OK?” Quinn nodded. Into the bullhorn, she shouted, “So this is about rule breaking at a rave?” Alicia nodded but there was a silence so sharp you could hear the grunts from the football players across the field and Brad‟s directions to the band. “I don‟t care if you drink or have sex with each other or the whole damn football team,” Six people not including Alicia or Quinn looked at Santana who stood motionless
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her face a mask of fury. “I care about victory and unity. Santana, your actions no matter how much fun they seem, threatened that. Rape and death look bad on all our records. So, if I find out you went to a party until summer, you are off the squad. And stop being a damn statue; you know you can‟t take Alicia.” “With respect, I CAN!” Santana hissed. Alicia snorted. “Coach, let her.” Coach Sylvester looked at her sharply. “If either of you break anything, you are off the squad.” “I need one minute,” Alicia quipped. Santana ran and pounced. Alicia backflipped away with a pivot so she landed behind Santana as she rose from her fall. She then struck Santana in the small of her back hard enough that a sound erupted. Santana crumpled back to her knees, breathing heavy. Alicia, her face fierce, grabbed her pony tail and jerked her around, tearing some hair out. Tears streaming down her face, Santana shouted. “I hate you!” She struggled to rise and fell back to her knees, the pain intense. Humiliated, she hissed. “I won‟t ever forget. I hate you forever, bitch.” The face Alicia held went completely blank as she struggled not to knock her out. Coach would be furious. Damn you, Santana. She blew out a breath. Her eyes filled with anger, looked at the ground. Brittany tried to run over, but Quinn grabbed her. “Don‟t. You will make it worse.” “How?” Quinn sighed, but held her arm. Alicia sighed again. She whispered as Santana tried to stand again, her hand on her back. “I know who is really guilty. You took the fall and that is honorable. But mark me, if she…ever does it again, I will hurt her worse that what you are feeling. I know her game.” “I swear if you touch so much as one hair on her head, I will…” “You‟ll what get, what?” Alicia stared, pissed now. “Go ahead, hit me.” “Alicia!” Coach Sylvester shouted. “I‟m done!” Santana pulled back to punch Alicia in the abs, but stopped an inch before, her arm lighting up like she stuck her finger in live socket. A half second blue sparkle burst from the area. She shook it off as nothing as the pain from her back caused her to see stars anyway. She staggered away, Brittany running to her. “You OK?” “I am. I‟m sorry.” Santana said still teary eyed. “Why?” Brittany said, holding back tears herself. She escorted her to the bench. “Santana!” Coach shouted. “I‟m done!” She shouted back. “For now,” she whispered. She held up a finger for Brittany to be quiet. “Everyone! This never happened,” Coach Sylvester said in a normal voice because she got the point across. “Hit the showers. Santana see the medic. Alicia, tone it down. You aren‟t the trash collector and you are paying for that care.” “Damn straight, she is.” Santana moaned as the medic looked at her back. “It‟s bruised. She knew exactly where to hit you. But we will still need a scan to be sure. Can you walk?” “Yes,” she hissed. “Good.”
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“Wait.” She waved off the medic as Alicia walked passed her and Brittany, her face hard. “Look, bitch, you are going down.” Alicia stopped, looked around. No one was close who could see anything. “You want to make this personal?” Brittany stared at her, fear on her face. Santana glared, a mixture of hate and humiliation. “Yes.” “Then you are a fool,” she spat and reached around and jerked her pony tail so it tore off. Santana screamed into her fist. Brittany burst into tears, and the medic just stood there stunned. “If I‟m paying for it, I‟m getting my money‟s worth.” The she handed the bloody ponytail to Brittany who stared at it, tears streaming from her face. Quinn came by. Saw Brittany crying, Saw Santana‟s face contorted in pain and saw Alicia storm off. Then she saw the ponytail in Brittany‟s hand. That‟s when she vomited on the grass in front of them. She staggered into the locker room. “I‟m fine.” She said to Alicia as she came over. “Why?” “Because she wouldn‟t back down. At least you have a reason for you hating on Rachel. She didn‟t. Then she thinks I am going to roll over.” Quinn stared up at her, exhausted. “I don‟t have the energy to call you out. You tore her pony tail off. You know she loves her hair.” “I let her go. She was covering. She wanted to make this personal. That is a reminder as to why she shouldn‟t.” “No, it‟s a reminder when we lose it will be because the two lieutenants can‟t trust each other.” Out on the field, off in the distance, Coach Tanaka blew a whistle. “Show‟s over folks.” It was Friday and Rachel was torn. It was hard not going to Glee, really. Especially with Mr. Schuster and Brad (Mr. Ellis) being her favorite teachers. But it still hurt and as did giving up. Brad was sympathetic and they even did the „Heaven on earth‟ Song for World Harvest. Didn‟t know where it was, but the song was warm and wonderful. While Dad Leroy was skeptical about the song, he never said anything negative. Dad Hiram on the other hand was visibly shocked and pleased. He didn‟t say where World Harvest was or what it was but it had something to do with being Jewish. All she knew was that she had a desire to go to Glee today and having just finished choir she stood in the room as everyone left most wishing her goodbye. It was strange. Brad looked at her. “So are you staying for Glee? Mr. Schuester said you quit because they wasn‟t a strong enough male lead to keep up with you.” “Yes, it hurt too much being made fun of. No one likes me,” she stared at the door, wanting to leave, knowing if she stayed she would have to explain why and be embarrassed more. “No one at all?” Brad said, emphasizing „at all‟. “The choir was pleasant for once,” she remarked. “They seemed pleased I was involved.” “You shined. And for once you believed in what you sang. You try so hard and nothing comes of it. Until today. Something is moving. Something is changing. But you
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have to move with it. Giving up isn‟t an option. So you going to Glee today?” He asked as he rose with his notes. „They are rehearsing in the auditorium?” She asked. “Yes, they are. And you aren‟t late until I arrive.” He said as he walked out the door. She followed after him wondering about what was changing. „It was my star. It is rising, and I have to be there because no one will hand it to me.‟ And she walked smartly towards the auditorium. As she walked down the stairs, she was intrigued. Finn was there, looking nervous. A smile formed but she wiped it off. „There is another issue to deal with.‟ “Can I come back, Mr. Schue?” She asked up to him, his back turned. Kurt and Mercedes rolled their eyes, while Kurt added, “The shallow queen returns.” He mock bowed. Finn kept reading the sheet of music; his brow furrowed trying to make sense of it. “Guys!” Mr. Schuester scolded. “Yes, Rachel. Welcome back. Have a spot beside Alicia at the end.” He waited until she got to the stage before he handled her the sheet music. Brad sat down at the piano focused on the music before him. He held an amused grin on his face that vanished as he focused on the music. Finn didn‟t know how to take this. The music had little symbols above it. There was that punk chick Tina and then the wheelchair guy from Farnsworth‟s class. Then there was Kurt the gay kid that Puck dumped in the dumpster every other morning. The only person he recognized was the Cheerio Alicia who was all quiet today. „I have no choice. It’s this or six weeks of detention of which he will tell coach why and my mom will find out. And I will be branded as a druggie. The only good thing is Rachel is here. Quinn constantly jokes about her MySpace page and how Santana got 4chan to kill it recently for something disgusting.‟ Then the music began. Focus, imagine the shower. I got chills. They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. 'Cause the power you‟re supplyin', it's electrifyin'! Rachel burst forth with „You better shape up, 'cause I need a man‟ Rachel stepped around Alicia who moved away. Finn noticed her dancing, and stared, briefly surprised. Whoa! Ok, Focus. „and my heart is set on you,‟ she sang as she rubbed Kurt‟s face. Trepidation crossed his face, „She rubbed his face! She can sing but whoa!‟ She is coming my way. „You better shape up; „You better understand,‟ Rachel continued in her intensely powerful singing voice. She shoved Artie forward, him being stopped by Mr. Schuester. „to my heart I must be true‟ came as she danced in front of him. She‟s dancing in front of me. Whoa! Remember…She just pulled me forward! Nothin' left, nothin' left for me to do.
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You're the one that I want. you are the one i want, oo oo, honey. The one that I want.‟ He sang with her as she kept pulling him forward. Suddenly, Mercedes broke it up shouting. „Who is Kelly Rowland? Nevermind, this is actually fun. But I don’t know, I just don’t know.‟ Rachel stood next to him, looking up in awe as he listened to Mr. Schuester talk to Mercedes. „He can sing!! And good too’. She looked over when Mr., Schuester said „From the top,‟ With a broad smile, she said “Tell me about it, stud!” He looked over at her, shocked then amused as it was the omitted first line. As he sung his lines again, he was relaxed even more. This time during the chorus, when she grabbed his hand, he didn‟t look shocked. He actually smiled. „If you're filled With affection You‟re too shy to convey, Meditate in my direction. Feel your way.‟ She sang staring into his eyes. Intensity dripped from her. „I better shape up, 'cause you need a man‟ he sang back staring into her eyes. His face began filling with joy. „I need a man who can keep me satisfied.‟ She continued, releasing his hand with a squeeze. Kurt and Artie turned surprised as he approached her this time. „I better shape up if I'm gonna prove‟ he sang as she wagged a finger at him. “You better prove that my faith is justified,” she sang as she pulled him into her. He caught her again, and sat her back on her feet as the sang; „Are you sure? „Yes, I'm sure down deep inside.‟ The chorus went the same except Mercedes didn‟t interrupt. When they finished, Mr. Schuester clapped. “Much better. Tomorrow afternoon, we are going to go the Akron, to Carmel High School to hear our competition at Regionals, Vocal Adrenalin.” Rachel beamed. Road trip with Finn to hear the competition. Saturday, I can’t wait for you. As Alicia left the stage, Finn followed with Rachel trailing him. She looked to Finn. “Good thing, Quinn‟s doing extra credit in Farnsworth‟s class.” “Yeah.” He looked to Rachel. “I‟ll see you tomorrow morning.” “I‟ll be there,” Rachel said with a effervescent smile. He turned with Alicia as they both headed for the locker rooms. Tonight would be the first game of the season. “Ready for tonight?” She smiled. “As much I ever will be, considering neither me or Santana can lift or support each other.” “So what did happen? Everyone saw the fight.” “I‟ll tell you if you tell me why you were in Rachel‟s for so long last week.” Finn paused, hesitant. “I met her father.” “Really?” Alicia asked, disbelieving.
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He paused, “Yes. He was inside waiting for her. We talked. I took her upstairs and put her to bed. Told her good night and I‟ll see you tomorrow. Nothing romantic.” Alicia beheld him. “I believe you. Does Quinn?” He frowned. “Sort of. She‟s still annoyed that I did it. So what did happen out there?” Alicia pressed her lips together, nodded. “On the field?” “Yes. All we saw was Santana attack you, you take her down and then an altercation near the benches. Puck says that Santana hates you forever. Brittany is a little afraid of you.” Alicia blew out a breath as the stopped by the male and female locker room entrances. “You can‟t tell anyone, understand?” He nodded, sort of confused. “Brittany spiked Rachel‟s drink. I found out and went to her about it but Santana insisted it was her so I got Rick to ban her from drinking at the parties. She threw a fit of which Coach addressed on the field. Santana hates being humiliated so she wanted to beat me up for it. I was an elite Gymnast, so I hit her in the perfect spot to drop her.” Finn eyes widened. Puck walked by, saw Alicia and paused. “You hurt her.” “She figure out how to reattach the hair yet,” Alicia retorted to him. He looked as if he was hit with a slushie. “You need to be in fight club.” He laughed and went in. Finn shook his head, eyes wide. “How?” “I told her that it was nothing personal but I was coming after Brittany next time because I know her game. She wanted to make it personal and that pushed me too far, so handed Brittany, Santana‟s ponytail.” “Remind me never to anger you.” Finn remarked, amused. Alicia chuckled as she entered. Well, Saturday came. It also had rude awakenings that challenged the beliefs Rachel gained on Friday. First was the fact that Quinn Fabray was really Finn‟s boyfriend. Even if he didn‟t seem too excited about it still was an obstacle. Second, Vocal Adrenalin was excellent. It stunned everyone how excellent they were. That led to hopelessness. And while watching him eat sour patches was fun, the day sunk fast. The final blow came Monday when Mr. Schuester announced he was resigning. In choir, Rachel basically lost her heart again and neither the „heaven on earth‟ nor any other song helped. The raw determination and abrasiveness returned as did the isolation. The fact that Glee would formally end when Mr. Schuester left made things much worse. Still, there was hope. “Rachel?” Brad said as choir ended. “Yes?” “Something is still coming. You can‟t stop believing when adversity comes.” She looked at him doe eyed. “I haven‟t.” „Yes, you have. Everyone noticed when your joy left and it was last Tuesday.‟ She smiled at him, a wan smile. „This is all I have left.” “No it‟s not. Glee will continue, even if I have to do it for free after Band practice. But I heard buzz. And I think you should go get everyone and practice in the auditorium. And take this,” He handed her sheet music for Journey‟s „Don‟t stop Believing‟.
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She smiled at him, amused. Her eyes lit up. „I have to go find him.” “I know, ” he said as the jazz ensemble people came in. “Let‟s go to the auditorium. It‟s going to be today Glee gains the strength to rise from the ashes and actually make a new beginning.” Finn about dove from his skin when he saw Rachel behind the locker door. He felt really bad about leaving Glee but after the paintball attack he couldn‟t risk it going back. She smells so good. Why doesn‟t Quinn smell this good. Wonder what she wants? “Didn‟t see you at Glee club today.” “That still happening…” “Got taken over,” she said forcefully. “An Interim director but I suspect the position will become permanent.” Quinn and Santana walked up. “Hey, Finn.” She said with a smile. Then they both realize that Rachel is standing there talking to him. “Rupaul,” she spat. “What are you talking to her?” came out with no small amount of annoyance. Finn froze and mumbled. He then looked over at Rachel. “Science project. We‟re partners.” He looks at Quinn which an agreeable smile. “Cressco sitters at my house, five o‟clock.” She states staring at Rachel with hate. “Sounds great,” he says without joy. Rachel stares at the floor, waiting. Finn sighs heavily. “Look, I should go.” Defeat masks his face. “I can‟t do Glee anymore it conflicts with….” Rachel beheld him and remembered Friday and „you belong with me‟ and the faith song and what Brad said. With determined compassion and a bit of frustration, she spat, “Your reputation? You really got something, Finn and you are throwing it away.” “I‟m gonna be late.” He said conflicted. “You can‟t keep worrying about what people think of it, you are better than all of them.” She smiled at him; a warm, bright eyed smile. And then left to find the others. What she didn‟t see was that Brad had heard the conversation and then saw Finn leave towards the locker room. So he went to the auditorium and told them to delay 30 minutes. „It‟s happening now.” “Right now?” Nick the sax player asked. “Noah, Rick and another football player grabbed Artie the wheelchair bound kid, so either Finn defends him or he buckles. But after what Rachel said, I think he will defend him.” “I have faith, Brad. I agree.” They all nodded. “I‟m going out to see. Call my cell if either of them show up and keep them here.” “Understood.” The call came 10 minutes later. When he returned, Rachel was arguing with Kurt over choreography for the song. Standing off to the side silently, he noticed when Finn came in pushing Artie. Squeezing his fist in success, he went over to the piano. The rehearsal was amazing. During a break he walked to the Facility break room and saw Emma and Will talking with a laptop. He was telling her about the 93 nationals. She asks him about what is more important. And then he realized what was happening.
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Setting down his coffee, he runs back to the auditorium. And they are ready to go, so they begin the next set just as he walks by so he can hear it. Hear the passion. Hear „Don‟t stop Believing‟. Only two problems no one saw. Coach Sylvester was in the Break room as well and knew that Brad didn‟t run for anything. That meant something was happening. When the band practice was canceled that confirmed it. He never canceled band. The other was Puck telling Coach Tanaka that Finn baled on practice to do „Homo Explosion‟ so he sent him to the auditorium to confirm it. All this after, Mr. Schuester walked in and saw them in Red band Under Armour® long sleeve shirts as costumes, except Kurt who wore a Band top shirt complete with ruffles. Something had moved. Something had changed. They didn‟t stop believing. And he knew from the look on everyone‟s faces Glee would be going to at least Sectionals if not Regionals. Then he heard Mr. Schuester say, “It would kill me to see you will Nationals without me.” For Alicia, noticing Coach Sylvester frowning in the rafter entrance with Quinn and Santana wasn‟t a happy thing. It soured the good mood she had. Everyone was perfect just like she knew it would be and this damaged it. So after the second set and more eye sex between Rachel and Finn, she excused herself to use the restroom. Only it was the restroom near the Coach Sylvester‟s office. She caught her as she was returning with both of them. “I noticed you saw the performance.” “I did. I‟ll ask you again, why do you want to do that?” “For the same reason, I want to do Cheerios. I enjoy it.” “You want victory. You think you can have both?” Coach asked as both remained silent. Santana‟s hair was clipped in as an extension and she refused to stare at her. “If I say yes, will that change anything?” Alicia responded hesitantly. “No, that‟s the correct answer.” Then she walked off. Alicia stood there, actually wearing the glee outfit, fear cropping up. Something was moving, something was changing. But when good came so did the attack. And was her coach going to be that attack?