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Wish You Were Here
Season 5, Episode 9
JamesWYWH
Air date June 3, 2014
Written by JamesonOTP
Episode Guide
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Wish You Were Here is the ninth episode in Season 5 of Glee: The Next Generation. It is the first part of a two-part episode that spans both Glee: The Next Generation and Glee: The Next Generation presents The NYADA Years. The storyline will begin in Wish You Were Here and will conclude in the current episode of Glee: The Next Generation presents The NYADA Years, Runaway. This two-part crossover serves as an Avril Lavigne tribute.

James loves being married to Jaxon, but sometimes the distance is too hard. When Jaxon's busy college life limits how much they text and Skype, the lonliness starts to overwhelm James. When James mentions to Jaxon that it's Avril Lavigne week in Glee Club, it inspires Jaxon and his NYADA classmates to attempt to pay tribute to Avril in their own way. After watching Mean Girls, Tess is inspired to try to become more popular by weaseling her way into McKinley's mean girl crowd, but what will it cost her? Meanwhile, James decides to skip school and run away to New York, boarding a train and later showing up on Jaxon's doorstep.

SongsEdit

Song Title Original Artist Performed by
Innocence Avril Lavigne Davies Dawson
Wish You Were Here James Holland
The Best Damn Thing Ana Watson, Sadie Rosetti, and The Cheerios
Sk8er Boi Jayden Hebberd
What the Hell Tess McCord
One of Those Girls Kimberly Williams and Etta Amato
Hello Kitty Natalia Jensen feat. Liam Clarke, Timmy Summers, Julie GarrityBen ConradJayden HebberdCharity Layne, and Jonathan Pierce
Complicated Teddy Cruz
Alice Reece Montgomery
Smile New Directions

EpisodeEdit

So here's what you missed on Glee: The Next Generation:

Things were pretty confusing for Ana and Davies, who have been in a “should we, shouldn't we” limbo ever since Davies kissed Ana twice, leading to the break up of Ana and Natasha. At Thanksgiving, Natasha tried to win Ana back, but only succeeded in pushing her further away. Of course, Bella blamed Lana for everything, but Lana really did resolve to stay out of it. Bella didn't believe her and the two of them got into an argument that caused Bella to slap Lana. Looks like the two frenemies are just straight-up enemies again. But as for Ana and Davies, Ana walked Davies home and then the two shared a kiss, this one from Ana instead. The two of them seem to finally be out of limbo and official. Jayden revealed that had it not been for Glee Club, he would still be an outcast and might have ended up as a poster child for It Gets Better. He also met Jonathan, the younger brother of his idol, Jaxon. The two seemed to have a connection. Ryder is having trouble fitting in at home due to how he can't get along with his sister Alana, who makes it impossible. And, to make matters worse, she is now Beckii's right hand girl when it comes to terrorizing McKinley.

And that's what you missed on Glee!

________________________________________________________________

James raced down the stairs and into the senior hallway, making his way through the crowd toward his locker. No sooner than he stopped at his locker and started to enter his combination, his phone started to vibrate in his pocket. James quickly pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked the caller ID. Once he saw that it was Jaxon, he answered it, raising it to his ear.

“Hey, baby,” James said. “What's up?”

“I just had to call you and tell you about what happened,” Jaxon said. “So, it all began at NYADA the other day. Lana and I were discussing what we wanted to do for our midwinter critiques. Somehow, we both were thinking about Avril Lavigne. So, the next thing we know, we're turning our midwinter critiques into a small competition between us. Then, one thing led to another and I decided to have New Horizons pay tribute to her in Glee Club. Can you believe that?”

“Yeah, that's amazing,” James said, sounding a bit disappointed.

“What's wrong?” Jaxon asked.

“Nothing,” James replied. “I just wish that New Directions would pay tribute to Avril Lavigne, too.”

“Well, you're co-captain,” Jaxon said. “Pitch the idea and use your pull to get Glee Club to do it. Look, I love you but I have to go because I'm going to be late for Songwriting 101. I'll Skype you later, okay? Although, it might be a while because I have to have the perfect song for midwinter critique to reflect NYADA's recent inclusion of modern and contemporary music since Carmen and the school board has gotten a lot of flack from a few of the bigger name music conservatories. But I will Skype you as soon as possible.”

“Alright,” James said solemnly. “I love you, too. Bye.”

As James hung up the phone, he sighed loudly. Jaxon had just flown home yesterday morning and already seemed like they had been apart for weeks. Perhaps he had gotten a little bit too used to having him around in Lima again.

________________________________________________________________

A few hallways down, in the sophomore hallway, Davies took her second and third period books out of her locker and closed it with a loud bang. As Davies turned around, she saw Bella and her hot pink highlights headed her way.

“There is no way this can be good after what happened Thanksgiving,” Davies said under her breath. “Oh my gosh, Bella, what brings you here?”

“Hey, girl,” Bella said as she greeted Davies. “Do you have a minute? Can we talk?”

“We have four minutes before class starts,” Davies said.

“Good, then walk with me and talk with me,” Bella said as she put her arm around Davies, making the later a tad bit uncomfortable. “It's about Lana and what she pulled at Thanksgiving.”

“I thought we were all going to put that behind us,” Davies said.

“Oh, Davies, if only it were that simple,” Bella replied. “It's come to my concern that Lana and Natasha might be in cahoots.”

“Cahoots?” Davies asked, perplexed.

“You know, conspiring together,” Bella replied.

“Conspiring to what?” Davies asked as she stopped walking, turning to face Bella completely as they stood in the middle of the hallway.

“It's not secret that Natasha wants Ana back and it's clear that she has recruited her oldest friend at McKinley, Lana, due to her past history of fighting dirty,” Bella replied.

“Lana would never do that to me or Ana,” Davies argued.

“Davies, Lana and I go back,” Bella said. “I know from experience that Lana's allegiance to Natasha is older than her allegiance to Ana and much older than her allegiance to you. If forced to take a side, she would take Natasha's side.”

“You and Lana may go way back, but I know Lana better,” Davies replied. “Lana and I got really close last year because we were both going through the same things. We formed a bond and a connection that she had with no one else, not even her closest friends simply because they weren't going through the same thing.”

“Trust me, I know her on a whole different level, too,” Bella said. “I know her on the level as both friend and enemy. I know what it's like to be pitted against her. I've been there for years of on-again-off-again friendships and rivalries. We have frenemy status. I know that Lana looks out for number one, Davies. Lana wasn't above trying to fool her mother into thinking she was dating Ana to get her way. She fights dirty, just like she fought dirty to take Hallie from me. Hell, right after Lana transferred, she even seduced Cherry away and used her to get closer to Hallie. Of course, that backfired and Hallie and I ended back together, but the point is—”

“Lana is not as bad as you're making her out to be, Bella,” Davies argued. “She's not this monster that you have demonized her to be in your mind.”

“Davies, I'm just trying to warn you,” Bella said before she was interrupted by the ringing of the school bell.

“Well, what do you know?” Davies asked. “Our four minutes is up and now we're going to be late for class.”

“Bella, you've done enough damage,” Reece said as he appeared beside Bella. “Let's get to class before you mess things up.”

“Reece, I'm trying to be a good friend to Davies and warn her about Lana's bad habits,” Bella said as she turned to Reece.

“You have a really bad habit of giving unwanted advice,” Reece said. “Can we just please just let Davies live her own life and get to class before Mr. Schue suspends us for being late?”

“What's gotten into you?” Bella asked. “It's like here lately, you haven't been the same Reece I first met my sophomore year.”

“Things change, as do people,” Reece replied. “But maybe my problem is that you're always butting your nose in where it doesn't belong. Now please, come on.”

Bella started to protest, but gave up when Reece put his arm around her and led her away from Davies, who gave a thumbs up to Reece, who smiled at her over his shoulder. Davies finally let out a sigh of relief before noticing she was late and needed to get going.

“What's up, Sis?” Aleksander said as he appeared suddenly behind Davies. “What are you doing out here?”

“Geez, Aleks!” Davies said as she jumped. “You scared me!”

“Ah, first time skipping class,” Aleksander mused. “You'll get used to it and soon, you won't be as jumpy.”

“I'm not skipping class,” Davies replied. “Bella made me late with her unwanted advice and now, I'm just trying to get to class. What are you doing here?”

“I always skip class,” Aleksander said with a proud smile.

“Yeah, well, I'm honestly not surprised,” Davies replied.

“How does it feel to be off the market again?” Aleksander asked.

“I don't even know if I am,” Davies said. “How do I know?”

“You'll know,” Aleksander replied. “Did Ana say anything that implied if you two were official?”

“I don't know,” Davies replied. “I'm kind of clueless about those kind of things. You practically have to go all caveman on me, club me, and drag me back to the cave, saying 'me Ana, you Davies. You my girlfriend.' Besides, I snuck a little alcohol from Jaxon's mother's liquor cabinet when no one was looking and I might have been a little under the influence.”

Aleksander rolled his eyes. “In that case, you and Ana need to find out where you both stand.”

“How do I do that?” Davies asked.

“Ask her I guess,” Aleksander replied. “But anyway, I'll be seeing you around.”

Davies waited until Aleksander was out of sight before she pulled out her phone and decided to text Ana and ask her if they were official or not. As Davies walked, she typed out her question and pressed send. A few seconds later, Davies received Ana's response: yes. Davies smiled as she put her phone back in her pocket and headed into class.

________________________________________________________________

After all her classes were over, Davies walked out into the hallway, getting ready to head into the choir room for Glee Club. As she put her books in her locker and shut the door, she turned around to see Ana making her way through the crowd, headed toward the senior hallway. Davies smiled to herself, both proud and overcome with emotion.

I'm smiling again, Davies thought. I'm smiling for the first time since before Teddy and started having our problems.

Waking up I see that everything is okay,” Davies sang as she walked down the hall, her arms crossed. “The first time in my life and now it's so great. Slowing down, I look around and I am so amazed. I think about the little things that make life great. I wouldn't change a thing about it. This is the best feeling. This innocence is brilliant. I hope that it will stay. This moment is perfect. Please don't go away. I need you now and I'll hold on to it. Don't you let it pass you by.”

Slowly, the scene faded to the choir room, where Davies sat on top of the piano as Dexter played.

I found a place so safe, not a single tear,” Davies sang. “The first time in my life and now it's so clear. Feel calm, I belong, I'm so happy here. It's so strong and now I let myself be sincere. I wouldn't change a thing about it. This is the best feeling. This innocence is brilliant. I hope that it will stay. This moment is perfect. Please don't go away. I need you now and I'll hold on to it. Don't you let it pass you by. It's the state of bliss you think you're dreaming. It's the happiness inside that you're feeling. It's so beautiful, it makes you wanna cry.”

Davies looked at Ana, their eyes meeting as Davies sang directly to her. Ana smiled, her heart aflutter as she watched Davies perform.

It's the state of bliss you think you're dreaming,” Davies sang. “It's the happiness inside that you're feeling. It's so beautiful, it makes you wanna cry. It's so beautiful, it makes you wanna cry. This innocence is brilliant. It makes you wanna cry. This innocence is brilliant. Please don't go away cause I need you now and I'll hold on to it. Don't you let it pass you by. This innocence is brilliant. It's so beautiful, it's so beautiful. This moment is perfect. Please don't go away. I need you now, it makes me wanna cry and I'll hold on to it. Don't you let it pass you.”

As the song ended and Davies slid off the piano and took a bow as everyone applauded and cheered. Davies walked back over to join Ana, who immediately took her hand. James looked at them, feeling lonely now that Jaxon was back in New York.

Because Davies and Ana are the ones who are like us,” James said in his mind as he thought back to when Jaxon was back in Lima for the Madonna lesson. “They're us in our sophomore year.”

“James, is something wrong?” Ana asked as she looked over at James, who had a vacant expression on his face as he stared off into space.

James is something wrong?” Jaxon asked in a flashback he stood in his front door, looking at James on his front porch, wet from the pouring rain.

Jaxon leaned forward to take James by the hand and lead him inside and as he moved, the light from the living room revealed that James had a busted lip.

What happened?” Jaxon asked. “Who did this to you?”

James began to cry as Jaxon reached out and grabbed him, holding him tightly.

Shh, it's okay,” Jaxon said as he comforted James. “No one is ever going to hurt you again. Just tell me who it is.”

I can't” James said as he looked up at Jaxon. “I got in trouble and I can't go back home...ever. Can I stay with you?”

Of course,” Jaxon said.

James was brought back to reality as he looked up and noticed Kurt standing in front of him, looking down at James in concern.

“James, is something the matter?” Kurt asked.

“Can I perform?” James asked as he looked at Kurt. “I have a song I would to sing, and like Davies' performance, it's also an Avril song. In fact, I had an idea.”

“Go on,” Kurt said, stepping back out of the way as James stood up and made his way to the front of the choir room.

“Jaxon and New Horizons are declaring this week Avril Lavigne week in Glee Club at NYADA,” James said. “I think that Avril is a very relevant artist who speaks directly to our generation and the things we go through.”

“But we just dedicated a week to Madonna a couple of weeks ago,” Kurt said. “Isn't it too soon for another week-long artist tribute?”

“Avril speaks to me,” James said. “She has gotten me through a lot of dark times in my life. There were times I wanted to die and the only thing that kept me alive was Avril's music. No matter what I have been through, there is always a song of hers to which I can relate.”

As James said this, Ana looked down at the floor. She hadn't realized just what all James had been through or that he had struggled with such dark thoughts in the past.

“Well, if everyone agrees it's something they would like to explore,” Holly said.

“I support his idea,” Ana said as she raised her hand.

“Me, too,” Davies said as she raised her hand as well.

“Me three,” Adam said, his hand shooting up in the air.

As James looked around the room, more and more hands shot up into the air until all of them were raised in agreement. James smiled, feeling the love and support of his friends.

“Alright,” Holly said. “This week will be Avril Lavigne week at McKinley as well. Go ahead and sing your song, James.”

James cleared his throat as he looked at the band and walked over, handing them a folded up piece of sheet music.

“Would you mind?” James asked as he looked at Dexter, who was still seated at the piano.

“I'm already here,” Dexter said with a smile.

James made his way over to Dexter and turned the page in the book of Avril Lavigne sheet music that he already had open due to Davies' song. James took Dexter's hand and led it to the pages and let Dexter read the braille with this fingertips.

“I know this song,” Dexter said. “I've got you covered, buddy.”

James slowly walked back over to the microphone stand and gave the signal to the band, who sprung to life, playing the intro to James' song.

I can be tough,” James sang as he gripped the microphone stand tightly. “I can be strong but with you, it's not like that at all. There's a boy that gives a damn behind this wall. You've just walked through it. And I remember all those crazy things you said, you left them running through my head. You're always there, you're everywhere, but right now I wish you were here. All those crazy things we did, didn't think about it, just went with it. You're always there, you're everywhere, but right now I wish you were here.”

As James sang, Ana watched him, her face showing empathy as she felt every word her dear friend sang and every emotion that surged through his performance. Davies realized how much it was affecting Ana, tightening her grip on Ana's hand.

Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you here, here, here,” James sang. “I wish you were here. Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you near, near, near. I wish you were here. I love the way you are, it's who I am. Don't have to try hard. We always say, say it like it is and the truth is that I really miss. All those crazy things you said, you left them running through my head. You're always there, you're everywhere, but right now I wish you were here. All those crazy things we did, didn't think about it, just went with it. You're always there, you're everywhere, but right now I wish you were here. Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you here, here, here. I wish you were here. Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you near, near, near. I wish you were here.”

Ana reached up and wiped a tear from her eye, the emotional performance breaking her heart as she was able to feel every bit of James' pain. Davies looked over at her, frowning, and then laid her head on Ana's shoulder.

No, I don't wanna let go,” James sang. “I just wanna let you know that I never wanna let go. No, I don't wanna let go. I just wanna let you know that I never wanna let go. Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you here, here, here. I wish you were here. Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you near, near, near. I wish you were here. Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you here, here, here. I wish you were here. Damn, damn, damn, what I'd do to have you near, near, near. I wish you were here.”

As the song ended and James started to sob loudly, Ana stood up and walked over to James. She took him into her arms and held him tightly as James cried on her shoulder. Davies watched from her seat, feeling empathetic as she watched Ana comforting James. Back in their seats, the rest of New Directions didn't know what to do, they watched silently, most of them on the verge of tears themselves.

“Let it out,” Ana said to James as she held him.

“I miss him so much,” James said between sobs.

“I know, baby,” Ana said softly. “I know. Just be strong. It's only a month until you get to see him for Christmas.”

________________________________________________________________

As Davies and Ana made their way down the hall, hand-in-hand, Ana looked upset. Davies looked over at her, noting how upset she was.

“I know you're upset about how depressed James is,” Davies said.

“I just wish there is something I could do,” Ana replied.

“But there's not,” Davies said. “Well, nothing short of asking Jaxon to cut his education at NYADA short and move back to Lima. I guess James could transfer to a school in New York, but then we lose one of our strongest performers and we've got Sectionals coming up.”

“That kind of makes us sound selfish,” Ana said.

“It does, doesn't it?” Davies asked. “No matter what happens, someone has to lose. Why can't life be fair?”

“Because that's how life is,” Ana replied.

________________________________________________________________

James took a five dollar bill out of his wallet and handed it to the cashier, a grizzled older man in a flannel shirt. As James waited for his change, he looked at the magazines that lined the magazine rack below the counter. He picked one up that had a feature article about NYADA and thumbed through it.

“I'll go ahead and take this one, too,” James said as he took another five dollar bill out of his wallet and threw the magazine on the counter.

“What is a nigh-adda?” The cashier asked, trying to pronounce NYADA.

“NYADA,” James corrected. “Like knee-odda.”

“Mm hmm,” the cashier noted. “I don't reckon I see what's so special about it.”

“It's a performing arts school,” James replied. “Like music, dance, acting, and Broadway. My husband goes there and I've applied for it myself.”

The cashier laughed. “Husband? I don't reckon I see what business two men have marrying each other. If you're gay, that's fine, but I don't get why anyone would want to be married when their marriage isn't even legal in half of the country. What good does it do you being here in Ohio, where that sort of thing isn't even legal? Technically, with him in New York, he's the one one of you married at the moment.”

“That's kind of mean to say,” James replied.

“Kid, I'm just being honest,” the cashier replied. “I'm not against gay people, I just think gay marriage is pointless until the whole country gets with the program. Why be married when you can go on vacation to another state and all of sudden, your marriage isn't recognized there? Marriage is an all or nothing kind of thing.”

“I'll take my chances,” James said as he took his change, shoved it in his jacket pocket and snatched his back off the counter and hurried to the door.

“Kid, I have a gay son,” The cashier said as James walked out the door. “He goes to your school!”

________________________________________________________________

At NYADA, Jaxon, Lana, Camryn, Honey, Monique, and Chuck stuck together as they walked down the hall. Jaxon stopped as he looked over and spotted Miles standing against the wall, Logan and Krystal on either side.

“I ought to go show Miles a piece of my mind,” Jaxon said as he felt two sets of arms grab him.

Jaxon looked back to see Lana and Chuck holding him back. Jaxon sighed, wishing that they would just let him go so he could take care of things.

“Please, don't go and get yourself kicked out of NYADA,” Lana said. “If you feel you must kick Miles' ass, please do like Logan did and do it after school.”

“I work after school four nights a week,” Jaxon said.

“Then do it on one of your three off nights,” Chuck said. “Trust me, Miles of all people is not worth throwing away your NYADA education.”

“He's lucky,” Jaxon replied. “If we weren't at school right now, I'd rearrange his face.”

“I can't believe that Honey let a guy like you get away,” Krystal said as she put her arm around Miles.

Logan looked jealous as he watched Krystal getting all cozy with Miles. Miles smiled, eating up her attention.

“Well, it's her loss, right?” Miles asked.

“Who did she pass you up for anyway?” Krystal asked as Lana rolled her eyes.

“I'm out,” Lana said. “See you guys later.”

Jaxon looked confused as Lana and Camryn headed in the opposite direction. Jaxon looked at Chuck, who shrugged.

“I doesn't matter,” Miles said. “I'm back on the market, ladies.”

“Hey, Miles,” Madison said as he approached Miles. “What's up?”

“Nothing that would be any of your business,” Krystal scoffed. “Now, run along.”

“I'm free to talk to whoever I want, Krystal,” Madison said. “Last time I checked, Miles was friends with both of us.”

“Not for long,” Krystal replied.

“And who are you to decide that?” Madison asked. “Are you his girlfriend now?”

“I'm not sure I'm willing to commit to anyone just yet,” Miles said. “I'm back on the market, but I wanna play the field. Besides, there is plenty of the love machine to go around.”

“That's good,” Madison replied. “So, Miles, do you wanna hang out later?”

“Miles, remember,” Krystal said. “If you wanna be my friend and popularity at NYADA come easily to you, then you will have to choose: me or her.”

“I see how it is,” Madison said as she glared at Krystal. “I don't need any of you.”

Miles watched Madison storm off, wanting to say something to her, but he knew by the look on Krystal's face that it wouldn't be a very good idea. Instead, he stood there, not saying a word as he averted his gaze.

________________________________________________________________

As Lana made her way to her next class without Camryn, who had a different class, she stopped when he she heard someone call her name. When Lana turned around, she saw one of her teachers, Page Ackerman. He taught her composing class, which was her first period class, and as she learned from his appearance with Erica at Supernova's, he was also her ex's half-brother.

“Mr. Ackerman,” Lana said as she tried to be formal.

“Please, Lana, you're not in my class right now so you can call me Page,” Page replied. “I was just wondering how you were doing preparing for your Midwinter Critique? I know that Jaxon, Monique, and Aldy are getting help from Shayne; Miles, Chuck, and Nicole are working with Chase; Honey, Rose, and McKenzie are working with Jesse; and Camryn, Tyler, and Evan are working with Carmen. I couldn't help but feel that maybe you had gotten left out.”

“I'm fine preparing on my own,” Lana said as she pulled her duffle bag's strap back up on her shoulder.

“I'm free, Lana, and I'm offering my services,” Page said. “I know that you're a first year and Midwinter Critiques are very important. They count for a huge chunk of your final grade for the semester. I want to make sure you're as ready as you can be. Why don't you stop by this afternoon after Glee Club?”

“I have to work,” Lana replied.

“Tomorrow then?” Page asked.

“Work again,” Lana said, a bit uneasy.

“Lana, I know that you and Erica have had a torrid past, but I'm not taking sides,” Page said. “I honestly don't care about what happened between you two. I'm your teacher and I have a responsibility to you. I'm here to help you. Erica will not be there. It will be in my classroom, just us two. I just want to help you.”

“Okay,” Lana said, finally agreeing. “I'll have Breezy cover the first hour of my shift and I will see you after Glee Club.”

“Good,” Page said. “I'll see you this afternoon.”

As Lana turned around and walked off, Jaxon joined her. He looked back at Page and then at Lana.

“Wasn't that you-know-who's brother from that night at Supernova's?” Jaxon asked.

“It is,” Lana replied.

“Well, if that doesn't raise a red flag, nothing does,” Jaxon said.

“Says the guy who's fresh-out-of-the-insane-asylum ex-boyfriend showed up at the loft door while we were in Lima,” Lana replied.

“Well, he hasn't been back has he?” Jaxon asked.

“I'm disturbed at how well you've taken this,” Lana said. “I thought you would be pretty worried. I mean, he's done time in a looney bin.”

“They released him,” Jaxon said. “I'm sure he's cured.”

“And why did he get locked away in there in the first place?” Lana asked.

“I don't like to talk about it,” Jaxon replied.

“I rest my case,” Lana said.

As Jaxon passed a window, he looked out on the lawn and stopped as he saw someone standing beside a tree, looking at the window. It was too far away to be sure, but Jaxon could have swore it was Thomas. He closed his eyes and opened them again and this time, no one was there.

“What's wrong?” Lana asked.

“It's nothing,” Jaxon said, still feeling uneasy. “I guess our talk just has me a bit jumpy.”

“Once again, I rest my case,” Lana said as she and Jaxon walked toward their class.

________________________________________________________________

Back at McKinley, the Cheerios lined up at the sideline for the Titan's practice football game. Beckii and Taylor stood front and center as Adam, Sadie and Ana stood behind them. Ana crossed her arms, glaring at Beckii and Taylor. On the field, Kevin threw the ball to Teddy, who ran after it as fast as he could. The ball soared through the air, not seeming to get any lower. Teddy took a chance and jumped, but the ball slipped right through his hands. Teddy felt himself hit the turf hard and he watched helplessly as the ball came down ten yards in front of him and rolled to a stop inches from the endzone. Teddy groaned, half in embarrassment and half in pain.

“No good!” Coach Beiste shouted after she loudly blew her whistle. “That looked like a nasty tumble, Cruz. Walk it off!”

Teddy groaned as he slowly stood up, clutching his stomach. He felt like he was going to puke from the sheer force to his stomach.

“Teddy, are you blind?” One of his teammates shouted. “No offense to the actual blind kid.”

Dexter rolled his eyes. “I'll try not to take offense to that.”

“What a pathetic attempt at a catch, Cruz!” Another teammate shouted.

“I think he did pretty good,” Tess said as she walked toward the field. “At least he tried.”

“What do you want?” Coach Beiste asked as she turned toward Tess. “You looking to try out for linebacker?”

“Um, no,” Tess said. “I'm here to try out for the Cheerios.”

“Oh,” Coach Beiste said, taking a bite out of a donut and then speaking with her mouth full. “Too bad.”

“You should have taken the Beast's offer,” Sue said as she walked down to greet Tess. “I don't have fat Cheerios, at least not after that tragic pyramid fiasco that put one of my best Cheerios in a neck brace for the rest of her life.”

“Why should one's body size have an impact on their abilities or acceptance?” Ana asked as she stepped forward to join Sue. “I happen to think that Tess would be a great Cheerio.”

“Sue and I don't want a fat Cheerio mucking up our image,” Beckii replied. “We have an image to uphold. We parade Shamu out onto the field during half-time and we're going to be laughed out of that game.”

“That's offensive!” Ana said as she turned to face Beckii. “How dare you liken someone who's plus sized to an Orca! It's girls like you who are the reason that plus sized girls have poor body image. You should be ashamed of yourself!”

“Yet, oddly I'm not,” Beckii replied.

“Besides, she would have to fight Beiste for the donuts,” Sue said, pointing at Coach Beiste, who had an entire donut shoved in her mouth.

“I can't believe what I'm hearing here!” Ana said. “Tess, I'm so sorry.”

“No need to apologize for them,” Tess said. “I know you're nothing like them.”

“Me either,” Sadie said. “It's not right, Tess. You should be allowed to try out if you wanted to.”

“You know we love you as you are,” Adam said. “You don't need a Cheerios' uniform to prove anything to us.”

“It's not you guys that I wanna prove something to,” Tess said. “It's shallow people like them. But I can clearly see when I'm not wanted. I'm sorry for wasting your time.”

“Tess,” Ana began but Tess shook her head.

“Yeah, keep trotting off in the opposite direction, you hippo,” Beckii said. “I'll come see you at the zoo!”

“I've had enough of you, Beckii,” Ana said.

“In case you girls and Justin Biebers didn't notice, the football team isn't doing too good out there,” Sue said, cutting the argument short. “Do your job, huh? Get out there and boost the team spirit.”

“Fine,” Ana said. “But I'm using my pull as co-captain to force Beckii to sit this one out after that.”

“What?” Beckii asked. “You can't do that to me!”

“I can,” Ana said. “I can do whatever I feel is for the best of the team. So, I'm making you sit this cheer out.”

“You're not the only captain, you know,” Beckii said as she looked at Taylor. “Taylor? Help me out here, please.”

“I'm sorry,” Taylor said. “That was too far, Beckii. You're sitting this one out.”

“Fine!” Beckii said. “I guess some people can't take a joke.”

“A joke shouldn't hurt someone's feelings,” Ana said. “Maybe you should try and learn that. Sadie, you're taking Beckii's part. Lead us off.”

“Me?” Sadie asked, her face lighting up.

“Yep,” Ana said with a smile as he patted Sadie on the back. “It's your turn to shine.”

Let me hear you say hey, hey, hey!” Sadie sang as she pranced to the front of the other Cheerios.

Hey, hey, hey!” The Cheerios cheered.

Alright, now let me hear you say hey, hey, ho!” Sadie sang as Beckii stood back toward the bleachers, glaring at her.

Hey, hey, ho!” The Cheerios cheered.

I hate it when a guy doesn't get the door, even though I told him yesterday and the day before,” Sadie sang. “I hate it when a guy doesn't get the tab and I have to pull my money out and that looks bad.”

Where are the hopes?” Sadie and Ana sang. “Where are the dreams? My Cinderella story scene? When do you think they'll finally see?”

That you're not, not, not gonna get any better,” Ana, Sadie, and the Cheerios sang. “You won't, won't, won't, you won't get rid of me, never. Like it or not even though she's a lot like me, we're not the same. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm a lot to handle. You don't know trouble, I'm a hell of a scandal. Me, I'm a scene, I'm a drama queen. I'm the best damn thing that your eyes have ever seen.”

Alright, alright, yeah,” Sadie sang.

I hate it when a girl doesn't understand why a certain time of month I don't want to hold her hand,” Ana sang. “I hate it when they go out and we stay in and they come home smelling like their ex-boyfriends.”

I found my hopes, I found my dreams,” Ana and Sadie sang. “My Cinderella story scene. Now everybody's gonna see.”

That you're not, not, not gonna get any better,” Ana, Sadie, and the Cheerios sang. “You won't, won't, won't, you won't get rid of me, never. Like it or not, even though she's a lot like me, we're not the same. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm a lot to handle. You don't know trouble, I'm a hell of a scandal. Me, I'm a scene, I'm a drama queen. I'm the best damn thing that your eyes have ever seen.”

Give me an A! Always give me what I want,” the Cheerios sang. “Give me a V! Be very, very good to me. R! Are you gonna treat me right? I! I can put up a fight. Give me an L! Let me hear you scream loud, let me hear you scream loud. One, two, three, four!”

Where are the hopes?” Ana and Sadie sang. “Where are the dreams? My Cinderella story scene? When do you think they'll finally see?”

That you're not, not, not gonna get any better,” Ana, Sadie, and the Cheerios sang. “You won't, won't, won't, you won't get rid of me, never. Like it or not, even though she's a lot like me, we're not the same. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm a lot to handle. You don't know trouble, I'm a hell of a scandal. Me, I'm a scene, I'm a drama queen. I'm the best damn thing that your eyes have ever seen.”

Let me hear you say hey, hey, hey,” Sadie sang.

Hey, hey, hey!” The Cheerios sang.

Alright, now let me hear you say hey, hey, ho,” Sadie sang.

Hey, hey, ho!” The Cheerios sang. “Hey, hey, hey! Hey, hey, hey! Hey, hey, hey!”

I'm the best damn thing that your eyes have ever seen,” Ana and Sadie sang.

As the song ended, Beckii folded her arms as she glared at Ana and Sadie. Ana looked back at Beckii, flashing a smile that showed she was proud of herself for taking a stand and knocking Beckii down a few pegs.

________________________________________________________________

Tess walked down the hallway, sobbing loudly as she rushed in the direction of the nearest exit. She was only focused on getting out of there as quick as possible following that embarrassment with the Cheerios. Dexter heard sobbing as he headed back from practice and decided to follow the sound.

“Who's there?” Dexter asked.

“No one,” Tess said. “Just go away.”

“Tess?” Dexter asked. “Look, don't let those girls hurt you. They're mean-spirited. It's just what they do.”

“Did they make fun of you, too?” Tess asked.

“They used to,” Dexter replied.

“How did you deal with it?” Tess asked as she turned to face Dexter.

“I just focus on proving everyone wrong because that is the best revenge,” Dexter said. “No one can stand being wrong about you when they have you pegged to be something else.”

“You're right,” Tess said. “They think that because I'm plus-sized, I can't be popular. They think I have to be a loser, but I'm going to prove them wrong. I'm going to infiltrate them and become one of them. That is the best revenge.”

“That's the spirit,” Dexter replied. “I think.”

“I'm going to go straight home and watch Mean Girls,” Tess said. “I will learn how to become one of them by any means necessary.”

“That's not exactly what I meant,” Dexter said, but it was no use because Tess didn't hear him through her loud, excited laughter.

________________________________________________________________

Back at home, Tess popped the Blu Ray of Mean Girls into the Blu Ray player and sat back as the movie began. She watched it intently, taking notes on how to become one of McKinley's mean girls.

Step one: make a burn book, Tess scribbled into her notebook, capitalizing every letter of burn book, underlining it, and drawing flames around it.

________________________________________________________________

Natalia ran across the field, zeroed in on the soccer ball. She saw her chance as she ran toward it and sent it lying past the goalie and into the goal just as the buzzer sounded. Natalia's teammates raised her above their heads in victory as she smiled and waved at her closest friends on the sidelines.

“Explain to me again how this soccer thing works,” Eric Layne said.

Eric was a transgendered student at McKinley, who usually felt more comfortable living life as a female. For whatever unknown reason, today Eric wasn't Charity, his chosen female identity, but instead his birth identity, Eric.

“I think you kick the ball past those blocker people and hit the net,” Jayden said. “I don't know much about sports.”

“Hey guys,” Natalia said as she appeared with Julie Garrity, Ben Conrad, and Liam Clarke at her side, all three of them wearing their soccer uniforms. “We're all going to the mall to celebrate. Do you guys wanna hang with us?”

“Sure,” Eric said. “I have nothing better to do.”

“I'm in,” Timmy added.

“Sounds fun,” Jonathan replied as he looked at Jayden for his response.

“Uh, why not?” Jayden asked.

“Great,” Natalia replied.

“So, you're a sophomore?” Liam asked Jayden. “How do you know Natalia?”

“We're in Glee Club together and we've become pretty good friends,” Jayden said. “Thanks for inviting me, Natalia.”

“Any time,” Natalia replied.

________________________________________________________________

At the mall, Natalia stopped walking, her group following her lead and stopping in their tracks. Natalia sighed as just ten feet ahead of her, she saw resident school bully, Alana De Luca.

“Guys, we've got trouble,” Natalia said.

“If you ignore her, maybe she will go away,” Ben suggested.

“She and Beckii Castor live to make our every waking moment at McKinley a living hell,” Natalia said. “They torment us constantly because we're just 'fresh meat.' The worse thing we can do is run into one of them outside school, our only safe place away from them.”

“So ignoring her won't work?” Ben asked.

“She probably already knows we're here,” Timmy replied. “They can smell freshmen from a mile away. They're like overly hair-sprayed, covered in two pounds of make-up sharks. We've disturbed the waters, now we're dead meat. All it takes is one drop of blood to start a feeding frenzy.”

“You are awesome,” Eric said as he looked at Timmy.

“What is he doing?” Natalia asked in horror as Jonathan approached Alana, trying to look and act smooth.

“Oh, this is not good,” Liam said, shielding his eyes.

“Imagine meeting you here, gorgeous,” Jonathan said as he leaned against a pole, looking at Alana and winking at her. “Look, I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of the Build-A-Bear workshop? I lost my teddy bear and I need something else to cuddle with and I wanna make sure it looks like you.”

“Kid, work on your pick-up lines,” Alana said. “That one is never going to work for you. Besides, I'm way out of your league. Now get lost, hobbit.”

“Maybe the one who should get lost is you,” Jayden said as he appeared beside Jonathan. “Why don't you go find Beckii so you can use the single brain cell you share to find the nearest sale on stupid, superficial teenage girl things?”

“You're all losers,” Alana said as she turned around and walked off.

“Um, thanks for having my back,” Jonathan said as he turned to face Jayden.

“I know, right?” Natalia said as she joined Jonathan and Jayden, the others right behind her. “Jayden is fifteen shades of awesome. Anyway, I wanted to invite you guys to my unsupervised fifteenth birthday tomorrow. I was going to have it this weekend and have a big thing, but I talk my parents into letting me have a smaller, unsupervised party after school.”

“Your parents let you have unsupervised parties?” Timmy asked. “My dad and father would never allow that.”

“My parents trust me,” Natalia replied. “Besides, they're never home anyway. They're too busy with work. The only rule is no lesbians or straight guys. They think straight guys are going to hit on me and they think I'll hoop-up with the lesbians. Seeing as you're all guy guys—or in Julie's case, straight girls—then we're good to go.”

“I'm bisexual,” Jonathan said.

“And I'm straight,” Ben added. “I mean, I guess sometimes I might be a bit bi-curious, but for the most part, I'm straight.”

“And I'm only a gay guy when I'm forced into this awful male identity,” Eric said. “When I am the true me that I was meant to be, I'm a straight girl.”

“Well, what my parents don't know won't hurt them,” Natalia replied. “Jonathan, you can pass as gay because you halfway there. As for Ben, I think my parents think you're gay anyway.”

“That's a bit offensive, I think,” Jonathan said.

“Sorry, I just sometimes don't know the best way to say what I mean,” Natalia replied. “Anyway, will you guys be there? It would really mean a lot to me.”

“Depends,” Eric said. “Am I allowed to come as my true identity?”

“Charity is more than welcome,” Natalia said with a warm smile. “Everyone is free to be whoever makes them happy.”

________________________________________________________________

After everyone had split up for the afternoon, Jayden somehow ended up with Jonathan, volunteering to go with Jonathan to the skate park to break in the new board he had just bought. Jayden had to admit: this was a place that he had never been before. As Jonathan sat his new skateboard on the pavement, he took a sip of his water from the bottle, and tossed it to Jayden to hold on to. Jonathan raised his arms above his head and pulled off his t-shirt, revealing his naked torso. Jayden was hypnotized as he looked at Jonathan shirtless. He traced his pecs with his eyes, moving down to what was more an eight pack than a six pack, and stopped at his treasure trail.

“Oh my,” Jayden whispered to himself.

“Hold my shirt?” Jonathan asked as he handed his wadded up and slightly sweaty t-shirt to Jayden, snapping him back to reality.

“S-sure,” Jayden said as her took Jonathan's shirt and clutched it tightly.

As Jonathan raced to the half-pipe, Jayden thought back to how Alana shot Jonathan down. How could he even like someone like that bitch Alana? She was fake, rude, and had a reputation as a whore. Is that what it took to get Jonathan's attention?

God, I just wanna know what it's like to be liked by him, Jayden thought.

As Jayden thought back to the mall incident, where Jonathan was shot down by Alana, he watched Jonathan doing his skateboarding tricks on the half-pipe.

He was a boy, she was a girl,” Jayden sang as he watched Jonathan. “Can I make it anymore obvious? He was a punk, she did ballet. What more can I say? He wanted her, she'd never tell secretly she wanted him as well. But all of her friends stuck up their nose and they had a problem with his baggy clothes. He was a skater boi, she said see ya later, boy. He wasn't good enough for her. She had a pretty face but her head was up in space. She needed to come back down to earth.”

Jayden sat down on the pavement, sitting Jonathan's bottled water aside as he still clutched Jonathan's t-shirt.

Five years from now, she sits at home, feeding the baby, she's all alone,” Jayden sang. “She turns on TV, guess who she sees? Sk8ter boi rocking up MTV. She calls up her friends, they already know and they've all got tickets to see his show. She tags along and stands in the crowd, looks up at the man that she turned down. He was a sk8ter boi, she said see ya later, boy. He wasn't good enough for her. Now he's a superstar, slamming on his guitar. Does your pretty face see what he's worth? He was a sk8ter boi, she said see ya later, boy. He wasn't good enough for her. Now he's a superstar, slamming on his guitar. Does your pretty face see what he's worth?”

As Jayden sang, Jonathan soared into the air, doing a flip, and making a perfect landing. It was obvious he was showing off when he looked back to see if Jayden was watching and smiling big when he saw that he was.

Sorry girl, but you missed out,” Jayden sang. “Well tough luck, that boy's mine now. We are more than just good friends. This is how the story ends. Too bad that you couldn't see, see the man that boy could be. There is more than meets the eye. I see the soul that is inside. He's just a boy and I'm just a boy. Can I make it anymore obvious? We are in love, haven't you heard how we rock each others world? I'm with the sk8ter boi, I said see ya later, boy. I'll be backstage after the show. I'll be at his studio, singing the song we wrote about a girl you used to know. I'm with the sk8ter boi, I said see ya later, boy. I'll be backstage after that show. I'll be at the studio, singing the song we wrote about a girl you used to know.”

As the song ended, Jayden was snapped back to reality as Jonathan appeared in front of him and took his shirt from Jayden's hands.

“Are you ready to go?” Jonathan asked. “I think I broke my skateboard in pretty good. I'll walk you home.”

________________________________________________________________

James sat at his homework desk, his laptop opened with Skype pulled up. He kept waiting for a call, but it never came. James sighed, tears welling up in his eyes. He thought back to the last two weeks that he had spent with Jaxon, the two best weeks of his senior year. Now, Jaxon barely had time for him. Yes, he understood how important Midwinter Critiques were, but surely he was important, too.

James nodded, making up his mind. This distance wasn't working at all. He knew what he had to do. He was going to run away from Lima and head to New York. Yes, it would take a little bit of research, but it was worth it. This time next week, he'd be back in Jaxon's arms.

James took one last look at his laptop, hoping to see an incoming video call, but nothing.

________________________________________________________________

The next day, which was Tuesday, Tess marched into McKinley in her new look, acting like she owned the place. As heads all turned in her direction, she ate up all the attention. As a girl got too close to her, Tess pushed her out of her way.

“Watch it!” Tess said. “I'm walking here!”

“Who is that?” Alana asked as she turned from Beckii into the direction of the commotion that Tess was causing.

“I don't believe it,” Beckii said as she looked at Tess in disbelief. “Her? Who does she think she is?”

“I think she thinks she is one of us,” Alana said.

“As if!” Beckii said as she slammed her locker.

“You with the face!” Tess said as she grabbed a boy by the collar of his shirt and threw him up against a locker. “Give me your lunch money!”

From down the hall, Dexter and Teddy stood there in horror as Teddy watched and Dexter listened to what was going on. Kimberly and Joshua appeared, joining them.

“I told you so,” Kimberly said as she watched Tess wreaking havoc.

“I feel partially responsible,” Dexter said. “I mean, I didn't tell her to become this, but I did encourage her to prove the mean girls wrong.”

Teddy shook his head in disbelief. “I'm going to talk to her.”

“I'm coming with you,” Dexter said. “After all, I guess this is kind of my fault.”

Teddy and Dexter made their way over to Tess. Teddy took a deep breath and cleared his throat, trying to get Tess' attention. Tess turned to face Teddy and Dexter and all of a sudden, it was if she was towering over them.

“What do you want?” Tess asked.

“Tess, this isn't like you,” Teddy said. “Why are you doing this?”

“People change,” Tess replied.

“But why?” Teddy asked.

You say that I'm messing with your head, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah,” Tess sang as Teddy looked confused.

“That's not what I said at all,” Teddy said.

All 'cause I was making out with your friends, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah,” Tess sang as she circled Teddy and Dexter.

“You what?” Teddy asked, confused.

Love hurts whether it's right or wrong, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah,” Tess sang. “I can't stop 'cause I'm having too much fun, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah. You're on your knees, begging please stay with me. But honestly, I just need to be a little crazy. All my life I've been good but now I'm thinking, what the hell? All I want is to mess around and I don't really care about if you love me, if you hate me. You can't save me, baby, baby. All my life I've been good but now, whoa, what the hell? What, what, what, what the hell?”

“I really wish I could see this,” Dexter said as Teddy looked at him, still in shock.

So what if I go out on a million dates, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah,” Tess sang as she danced around Teddy and Dexter. “You never call or listen to me anyway, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah. I rather rage than sit around and wait all day, yeah-yeah, yeah, yeah. Don't get me wrong, I just need some time to play. You're on your knees, begging please stay with me. But honestly, I just need to be a little crazy. All my life I've been good but now I'm thinking, what the hell? All I want is to mess around and I don't really care about if you love me, if you hate me. You can't save me, baby, baby. All my life I've been good but now, whoa, what the hell?”

“Is this really happening?” Teddy asked as he watched Tess' attempts at twerking like Miley Cyrus.

You say that I'm messing with your head,” Tess sang as she took Teddy by the collar of his button up and slowly walked him backward against the lockers. “Boy, I like messing in your bed. Yeah, I am messing with your head when I'm messing with you in bed. All my life I've been good but now I'm thinking, what the hell? All I want is to mess around and I don't really care about—all my life I've been good but now I'm thinking, what the hell? All I want is to mess around and I don't really care about if you love me, if you hate me. You can't save me, baby, baby. All my life I've been good but now, whoa, what the hell?”

Tess slammed Teddy against the locker, their faces inches apart. Teddy gulped, not sure of what to expect next. Tess leaned in close as if she were about to kiss him, but instead she turned around and began to dance again.

You say that I'm messing with your head,” Tess sang. “Boy, I like messing in your bed. Yeah, I' m messing with your head when I'm messing with you in bed.”

As the song ended, Tess turned back to face Teddy. Teddy looked at her expectantly.

“Um,” Teddy said, waiting to see what happened next.

“In your face,” Tess said before she walked off, leaving a very confused Teddy against the locker.

"Girls, man," Teddy said as he looked at Dexter, who put his hand on Teddy's shoulder as he gave an understanding nod.

Kimberly and Joshua looked at Teddy, Kimberly stifling a laugh as she covered her mouth with both hands.

“We need to work out a plan,” Joshua said. “It's time for some damage control. It's obvious that our dear friend Teddy likes Tess so we need to change her back—one way or the other.”

“Ditto,” Kimberly said, finally managing to get herself under control.

________________________________________________________________

Later that day during Glee Club, Joshua leaned closer to Natalia. Natalia looked at him over her shoulder, trying not to give away that they were planning something.

“I think it's time to spring our plan into action,” Joshua whispered.

“Etta and I got this handled,” Kimberly replied. “Once we make Tess feel about two feet tall, she will see the error of her ways and if she likes Teddy like he likes her, she'll decide to make a change and be back to her normal self.”

“I like the way you think,” Joshua said.

Natalia stood up and gave the signal to Etta, who nodded. Etta also stood up from her seat.

“I guess we have volunteers for our next performance?” Holly asked as she looked at Kimberly and then Etta.

“You do,” Kimberly said. “Etta, you ready?”

“Ready as I will ever be,” Etta said.

“Hit it!” Kimberly said, looking at the band.

I know your kind of girl,” Etta sang as she walked over to Tess' chair. “You only care about one thing: who you've seen or where you've been, who's got money.”

I see that look in your eyes, it tells a million lies,” Kimberly sang as she cornered Tess on the opposite side of Etta. “But deep inside I know why you're talking to him. I know what you're all about. I really hope he figures it out.”

She's one of those girls, nothing but trouble,” Kimberly and Etta sang as they walked to the front of the choir room and danced together. “Just one look and now you're seeing double. Before you know it she'll be gone, off to the next one. She's so good that you won't see it coming. She'll take you for a ride and you'll be left with nothing. You'll be broken, she'll be gone, off to the next one. Off to the next one.”

She's going to be the end of you,” Kimberly sang as she walked over to Teddy. “At least, that's what they say. It's been a while, you're in denial, and now it's too late.”

The way she looks, it makes you high, all the warning signs,” Etta sang as she joined Kimberly, her hands on her hips. “Cause her blond hair, her blue eyes, it makes you want to die. I know what she's all about. I really hope you figure it out.”

She's one of those girls, nothing but trouble,” Kimberly and Etta sang. “Just one look and now you're seeing double. Before you know it she'll be gone, off to the next one. She's so good that you won't see it coming. She'll take you for a ride and you'll be left with nothing. You'll be broken, she'll be gone, off to the next one.”

You know it's a game, you know it's a game,” Etta sang. “She keeps playing around with your head, playing around with your head.”

She's so insane, so insane,” Kimberly sang. “She's the one to blame, she's the one to blame.”

She's one of those girls, nothing but trouble,” Kimberly and Etta sang. “Just one look and now you're seeing double. Before you know it she'll be gone, off to the next one. She's so good that you won't see it coming. She'll take you for a ride and you'll be left with nothing. You'll be broken, she'll be gone, off to the next one. Off to the next one. Off to the next one. Off to the next one.”

As the song ended, Tess merely acted as if it didn't bother her. As Joshua looked at Tess, he realized that their plan had failed. Kimberly and Etta looked upset that their song didn't work and they slumped back to their seats, looking sad.

“I think it's time for Plan B,” Joshua said.

________________________________________________________________

Natalia opened the door to her house and smiled when she saw her friends: Julie, Timmy, Jonathan, Jayden, Charity, Ben, and Liam. They stood together in a group, smiling from ear to ear as they clutched their gifts.

“I'm so glad you all made it!” Natalia exclaimed. “Come in!”

As everyone walked into Natalia's house, Liam looked around at the decorations. He seemed in awe.

“It looks so beautiful in here,” Liam said.

“Thanks,” Natalia said. “My mother decorated it. She's an interior designer.”

“It looks really fancy,” Liam added.

“It only looks that way,” Natalia said. “My mother knows how to fake it and make it look like it's really pricey, but it's just your average stuff. She's pretty good at what she does.”

“Where's the drinks?” Charity asked. “I could use something cold.”

“In the kitchen,” Natalia said. “I have some punch.”

“Thanks,” Charity said, smiling.

“Girl, I love your cupcake tutu!” Natalia exclaimed as she grabbed Charity's tutu and got a better look.

“Thanks,” Charity replied. “I love the Hello Kitty t-shirt. We should totally raid each others' closets for things to borrow. I know you'd love my closet.”

Mina saiko, arigato, ka-ka-ka-kawaii,” Natalia sang as she turned sharply to face her friends, her hands on her hips. “Ka-ka-ka-kawaii. Mom's not home tonight so we can roll around, have a pillow fight. Like, a major rager OMFG. Let's all slumber party like a fat kid on a pack of Smarties. Someone chuck a cupcake at me!”

Hey, hey, hey, hey!” Timmy, Jayden, Liam, Ben, Charity, Jonathan, and Julie sang as Timmy took a hot pink iced cupcake and threw it at Natalia, who caught it.

It's time for spin the bottle, not gonna talk about it tomorrow,” Natalia sang. “Keep it just between you and me. Let's play truth or dare now. We can roll around in our underwear how every silly kitty should be.”

Hey, hey, hey, hey!” Timmy, Jayden, Liam, Ben, Charity, Jonathan, and Julie sang as Charity jumped up on the dining room bar and leaned back, batting her eyes at Ben, who smiled.

Come, come kitty, kitty,” Natalia and all the others sang. “You're so pretty, pretty. Don't go kitty, kitty. Stay with me. Come, come kitty, kitty. You're so silly, silly. Don't go kitty, kitty. Play with me.”

Ka-ka-ka-kawaii!” Natalia sang.

Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty,” Natalia and the others sang. “Hello Kitty, you're so pretty. Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty, you're so silly.”

Wake up, got a secret,” Natalia sang. “Pinky swear that you're gonna keep it. I've got something you need to see. Let's be friends forever. I wanna do everything with you together. Come and play with kitty and me.”

Come, come kitty, kitty,” Natalia and all the others sang. “You're so pretty, pretty. Don't go kitty, kitty. Stay with me. Come, come kitty, kitty. You're so silly, silly. Don't go kitty, kitty. Play with me.”

Ka-ka-ka-kawaii!” Natalia sang as she hopped up on the table and began to dance around.

Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty,” Natalia and the others sang. “Hello Kitty, you're so pretty. Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty, you're so silly.”

Minna saiko, arigato, ka-ka-ka-kawaii,” Natalia sang. “Mina saiko, arigato, ka-ka-ka-kawaii. Ka-ka-ka-kawaii, ka-ka-ka-kawaii, ka-ka-ka-kawaii, ka-ka-ka-kawaii!”

Meow!” Charity sang.

Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty,” Natalia and the others sang. “Hello Kitty, you're so pretty. Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty, you're so silly. Come, come kitty, kitty. You're so pretty pretty. Don't go kitty, kitty. Stay with me. Come, come kitty, kitty. You're so silly, silly. Don't go kitty, kitty. Play with me. Hello Kitty, Hello Kitty.”

Natalia jumped off the table and grabbed a can of silly string, spraying it at all of her friends. Charity ducked behind Ben, using him as a human shield as she shrieked.

“Protect me!” Charity shouted.

Natalia laughed as she turned the silly string on Timmy, covering him yellow string.

________________________________________________________________

At that same time, James made his way through the crowd, making sure his envelope of cash was still in his jacket pocket. James had cashed in all the tips he had made waiting tables at Breadstix for the entire past three months. He didn't want to ask Hiram and Leroy for any help getting to New York because he knew that they would be dead-set against it, so James had settled for a much cheaper train ticket.

James now stood at the train station boarding area, waiting for the train to arrive. He thought about how he hadn't said his goodbyes to anyone, not the Hiram and Leroy, nor his friends. He knew they all would try to talk him out of his decision, but none of them understood just what he was going through. He had to do this. He had to say goodbye to Lima and head to New York. It was hard to face them knowing what he was doing, so he had skipped Glee Club to be here right now.

“This is goodbye,” James said as he thought back to his now empty bedroom. He pictured himself walking out the door and turning around for one last look at his room. With a tear streaming down his cheek, James reached up and turned ff his light, casting the barren room into darkness.

“All aboard!” The conductor said as the train doors opened, snapping James back to reality.

As James stepped onto the train, he looked back at the boarding area, pretending like he could see his friends all there, seeing him off, and saying their goodbyes. He waved at the emptiness as if they were really there.

“Bye, guys,” He said as he the doors closed behind him and the next chapter of his life began.

________________________________________________________________

After both Glee Club and football practice was over, Teddy made his way down the hallway, headed to his locker to collect his books and stuff before going home. As Teddy opened his locker he head someone walking behind him.

“Look at what I got,” Tess said, pointing at the Cheerios uniform she was wearing. “Aren't you proud of me?”

“Proud?” Teddy asked. “So, what? You got on the Cheerios? Good for you, but you did it the wrong way, Tess. I'm disappointed in you. This, what you've become, it isn't you at all. You're not the person your reputation makes you out to be. I see that. Too bad you can't.”

“Sometimes you have to adapt,” Tess began to say, but Teddy cut her off.

“You didn't adapt,” Teddy replied. “You changed into something you aren't.”

“I did what I had to do,” Tess said.

Chill out, what you yelling for?” Teddy sang as he slammed his locker shut. “Lay back, it's all been done before. And if, you could only let it be, you will see I like you the way you are. When we're driving in your car and you're talking to me, one on one but you become somebody else 'round everyone else. You're watching your back like you can't relax. You're trying to be cool, you look like a fool to me. Tell me why'd you have to go and make things so complicated? I see the way you're acting like you're somebody else, gets me frustrated. Life's like this: you, you fall and you crawl and you break and you take what you get, and you turn it into honestly. You promised me I'm never gonna find you fake it, no no no.”

Teddy started to walk around Tess, who watched him, every bot as confused as she had been when she had did the same thing to him.

You come over unannounced,” Teddy sang. “Dressed up like you're something else. Where you are ain't where it's at. You see, you're making me laugh out when you strike a pose. Take off, all your preppy clothes. You know, you're not fooling anyone when you become somebody else 'round everyone else. You're watching your back like you can't relax. You're trying to be cool, you look like a fool to me. Tell me why'd you have to go and make things so complicated? I see the way you're acting like you're somebody else, gets me frustrated. Life's like this: you, you fall and you crawl and you break and you take what you get, and you turn it into honestly. You promised me I'm never gonna find you fake it, no no no. No no, no no no. No no, no no no. No no, ooh.”

Tess looked upset as Teddy circled her, singing out his frustrations. She stood there, her head hung down as she cut her eyes upward to watch him every now and then.

Chill out, what you yelling for?” Teddy sang. “Lay back, it's all been done before. And if you could only let it be, you will see somebody else 'round everyone else. You're watching your back like you can't relax. You trying to be cool, you look like a fool to me. Tell me why'd you have to go and make things so complicated? I see the way you're acting like you're somebody else, gets me frustrated. Life's like this: you, you fall and you crawl and you break and you take what you get, and you turn it into honestly, You promised me I'm never gonna find you fake it, no no. Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated? Yea yea, I see the way you're acting like you're somebody else gets me frustrated. Life's like this: you, you fall and you crawl and you break and you take what you get, and you turn it into honestly. You promised me I'm never gonna find you fake it, no no no.”

When the song ended, Tess looked up as she tried to plead her case to Teddy.

“Teddy, I'm sorry,” Tess said, unable to find the words for anything else.

“You wanna know the worst part, Tess?” Teddy asked. “I actually liked you before all this. I really thought you were something special. But now, I don't anymore.”

As Teddy walked away, Tess felt her mouth drop open. She turned to watch Teddy walk down the stairs, disappearing.

He really liked me? Tess asked, shocked and disgusted at her own actions now. Oh God, I've become the very thing I ran away from at my old school.

________________________________________________________________

Reece sat in the cold examination room, waiting for the results from his doctor. This was starting to become a routine. Finally, the door opened and the doctor entered, clipboard in hand.

“Dr. Taylor,” Reece said. “Please tell me it's good news. This whole cancer thing is starting to get tiring.”

“I'm afraid that things will only get more tiresome from here on out,” Dr. Taylor said. “Reece, I'm afraid that the chemotherapy's effectiveness has came to a halt. It seems to no longer be doing any good against the osteosarcoma.”

“What does this mean for me?” Reece asked.

“Reece, we expect the cancer to start spreading again,” Dr. Taylor said. “If that happens, the only option is to remove the cancer. That would mean amputation. You started off responding slow, but there was a chance for it go into remission. Now, it seems like those chances are very slim. I need to talk to your parents and plan what will happen next if the cancer continues to spread. Osteosarcoma is a very resilient cancer, Reece. It may take time to get the chemotherapy to respond to it and put it remission. Or, it could mean that we have to—”

“Amputate my legs,” Reece said. “I understand. I'm screwed. I'm putting my body through the stress of chemotherapy, which isn't even working except for making my hair fall out. Now, you're telling me that am going to end up unable to walk, unable to dance—I've been given a death sentence!”

“Reece, cancer isn't always an instant death sentence,” Dr. Taylor replied. “You can have a decent quality of life for years to come. You're young and I know that you think this is the end of the world, but it's not the end. You have a chance, Reece. Don't give up.”

________________________________________________________________

Back at Reece's house, he stared blankly at the wall, not moving, not saying a word. After he had sat there in silence for about twenty minutes, he reached up and ran his hand through his once-perfect hair. He winced as he saw all the loose hair falling down and into his lap. Reece stood up, but he got weak and fell to his knees.

Tripping out, spinning around,” Reece sang. “I'm underground, I fell down. Yeah, I fell down. I'm freaking out. So, where am I now? Upside down and I can't stop it now. It can't stop me now. Oh oh, I'll get by. I'll survive. When the world's crashing down, when I fall and hit the ground, I will turn myself around. Don't you try to stop me. I won't cry. I'll play the game but I can't stay.”

Reece slowly pushed himself up, summoning all his strength as he grabbed his desk for support.

I've got my head on straight and I'm not gonna change,” Reece sang. “I'm not gonna change. I'll win the race, keep up with the pace. Today's the day that I start to pray. You can't get in my way. No, I, I'll get by. I, I'll survive. When the world's crashing down, when I fall and hit the ground, I will turn myself around. Don't you try to stop me. I, I won't cry. I found myself in Wonderland. Get back on my feet again. Is this real? Is it pretend? I'll take a stand until the end. I'll get by. I'll survive. When the world's crushing down, when I fall and hit the ground, I will turn myself around. Don't you try to stop me. I won't cry. I'll get by. I'll survive. When the world's crushing down, when I fall and hit the ground, I will turn myself around. Don't you try to stop me. Oh oh, and I won't cry.”

As the song ended, Reece walked over and looked at himself in the mirror. His hair was starting to look thin from all the hair that kept falling out. He sighed as he reached up and pulled the mirror off the wall and sat it face down on his desk.

________________________________________________________________

Ana stood outside McKinley, dialing James' number for what had to be the third time. She was hoping he was okay since he skipped Glee Club, but she couldn't get through to him. On the train, James looked down at his phone and saw that Ana was calling him again. As much as he wanted to answer and let her know that he was okay, he knew she would only try to tell him how big of a mistake he was making. No, he couldn't talk to any of them until he was in New York.

Ana hung up the phone as it went to voice-mail. As she let out a sigh, Davies put her arm around her and pulled her close.

“Everything's gonna be alright,” Davies said. “James is fine.”

________________________________________________________________

The next afternoon, Ana looked upset as the bell rang and James was still not in Glee Club. Davies noticed how upset Ana was and she put her arm around Ana. Teddy noticed that Tess was missing too, making him worry if he had made her quit McKinley like she did her old school.

“I can't just sit here and act like everything is okay,” Ana said. “It's not. Our friend is missing and no one knows where he is. His room has been stripped, his dads have tried to file a missing person's report—which they can't do just yet because it hasn't been forty-eight hours and a lot of bad things can happen in less than forty-eight hours, by the way.”

“Maybe you're just overreacting,” Bella replied.

“How can you not be worried?” Ana asked.

“I didn't say that I wasn't worried,” Bella said.

“James took Jaxon going back home pretty hard,” Ana said. “It's clear that he was depressed. For all we know, he could have did something like kill himself—”

“Shut up, Ana!” Bella shouted. “For once in your life, shut up!”

“Why don't you care?” Ana shouted back. “Why is it that you don't seem to care about what happened to James?”

“Because you're sitting here talking about suicide, but you're not one of us who lost our friend to suicide,” Bella said, tears welling up in her eyes. “For you, it's just a possibility. For people like me and Kevin, it's reality.”

“Look, Bella, we all took John's suicide hard,” Kevin said. “I know you're upset about it, still. It's affected all of us and we're all worried about James. But you don't have to lash out.”

“Sorry,” Bella replied, wiping her tears. “It's just that is a tough subject for some of us. It's even tougher when we've been through it once and now think we might have lost another good friend to it, too.”

Adam looked down at his own cutting scars, suddenly feeling guilty. He carefully pulled his sleeves down to hide them.

“I may not have known John,” Ana said. “But I know all about losing people you love to death. I lost my parents when I was a kid. I deal with that every day of my life. This is something that is not foreign to any of us.”

“You're right,” Bella said. “My bad.”

“I'm with Ana,” Taylor said as she jumped up from her seat. “But I'm not content with sitting here and feeling sorry for ourselves. I say we meet in the auditorium to perform a group number to cheer us up. We may not be able to do anything about James, but dammit, we can stop wallowing in self-pity over it and try to make the best out of a bad situation.”

________________________________________________________________

In the auditorium, everyone made their way to the stage for the big group number as the exit door opened and Tess walked in, dressed in her normal clothes. As everyone turned to see who had entered, Tess raised her hand in a wave.

“I just wanted to come by and apologize for my recent behavior,” Tess said. “You were all right. I wanted so bad to fit in that I left myself turn into the very thing I ran from. I treated you all badly and I hate myself for how I behaved. If it's okay with you guys, I wanna come back to Glee Club, that is, if you haven't voted me out.”

“You're always welcome here,” Kurt said. “That goes for any of you. This is your home and we are your friends and family. This is where you belong, no matter what.”

“Welcome back,” Teddy said with a smile as he put his arm around Tess and walked her back over to the group, who all pulled her in for a hug.

“How about that group number?” Adam asked as he walked up on the stage.

Taylor was the next one onstage, grabbing Adam and hugging him as they both smiled big smile. Gradually, the rest of New Directions took their places onstage with them as the music began.

You know that I'm a crazy bitch,” Taylor sang. “I do what I want, when I feel like it. All I wanna do is lose control.”

Oh oh,” New Directions sang.

But you don't really give a damn,” Teddy sang. “Ya go with it, go with it, go with it 'cause your freaking crazy, rock n' roll.”

You said hey,” Etta sang as she bounced across the stage. “Whats your name? It took one look and now I'm not the same.”

Yeah, you said hey,” Joshua sang as he put his arms around Teddy and Ryder. “And since that day, you stole my heart and you're the one to blame, yeah.”

And that's why I smile,” New Directions sang. “It's been a while since everyday and everything has felt this right. And now, you turn it all around and suddenly, you're all I need. The reason why I, I, I, I smile.”

Last night I blacked out, I think,” Davies sang as she and Ana danced together. “What did you, what did you put in my drink?”

I remember making out and then—” Ana sang.

Oh oh,” New Directions sang.

I woke up with a new tattoo,” Aleksander said as he walked into the auditorium. “Your name was on me and my name was on you. I would do it all over again.”

Davies smiled as she looked at her brother. Aleksander smiled back at her as he walked up onto the stage and joined her, taking her hand. Aleksander then looked beside him at Dexter and he put his arm around his friend, pulling him closer.

You said hey,” Natalia sang.

Hey,” New Directions sang.

Whats your name?” Natalia sang.

Whats your name?” New Directions sang.

It took one look and now I'm not the same,” Natalia sang.

Yeah, you said hey,” Adam sang.

Hey,” New Directions sang.

And since that day,” Adam sang as he spun around on the rope that controlled the curtains.

Since that day,” New Directions sang.

You stole my heart and you're the one to blame,” Adam sang.

And that's why I smile,” New Directions sang. “It's been a while since everyday and everything has felt this right. And now, you turn it all around and suddenly, you're all I need. The reason why I, I, I, I smile. The reason I, I, I, I smile.”

You know that I'm a crazy bitch,” Tess sang as she walked center stage for her solo. “I do what I want, when I feel like it. All I wanna do is lose control. You know that I'm a crazy bitch. I do what I want, when I feel like it. All I wanna do is lose control.”

And that's why I smile,” New Directions sang as they all surrounded Tess and lifted her into the air, like a champion, as Tess smiled proudly. “It's been a while since everyday and everything has felt this right. And now, you turn it all around and suddenly, you're all I need. The reason why I, I, I, I smile. The reason why I, I, I, I smile.”

Finally a place I feel like I belong, Aleksander thought as they all sat Tess down and began to hug one another.

Adam walked off to the side and took out his cell phone, trying to call James. After six rings, Adam's phone went to voice-mail as well.

________________________________________________________________

After Glee Club, Tess walked into Sue's office and threw her Cheerios' uniform on the desk. Sue looked up, shocked.

“I quit,” Tess said, quite matter-of-fact in her delivery.

“Why?” Sue asked, her own words quite matter-of-fact as well.

“I don't wanna be a part of a team where I am expected to be a mean girl,” Tess said. “I don't feel right bullying people and alienating myself from my friends.”

“Is that what you think I want?” Sue asked. “Well, you're mistaken. I didn't want a mean girl. I wanted a tough girl who wouldn't put up with anyone's bull or let peer pressure change her into something she's not. That's why I tested you. I'm losing Ana and Taylor next year and I need a really tough, strong head Cheerio to captain our team. Beckii and Sadie, they don't have what it takes. Beckii's too full of herself, not to mention distracted with silly things, and Sadie is a human welcome mat. I see a young, plus-sized Sue Sylvester in you. I just had to bring it out of you. That uniform, and that spot on the Cheerios is still yours if you want it. You passed the test. I would be proud and honored if you reconsider and put that uniform back on.”

Tess stood there, thinking over her decision.

________________________________________________________________

That night, in New York, Jaxon and Lana were watching Daria as there was a knock at the door. Jaxon almost asked Johanna to get it, but he remembered she was at work. Jaxon stood up and made his way to the door and as he opened it, his mouth fell open in shock.

“What are you doing here?” Jaxon asked as Lana stood up and walked to the door to see what was going on.

“James?” Lana asked as she looked at the doorway.

James stood in the doorway, a bunch of luggage at his feet. Jaxon looked at James, the luggage, and then at Lana.

“I moved to New York,” James said, smiling. “Surprise.”

“My biggest fear right now is that I will wake up and this conversation won't be a dream,” Daria said from the TV in the silence that followed James' announcement.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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