Disclaimer: I don't own Glee or any of its characters
A/N: An experiment for a new multichapter I plan on doing after I finish up Denial. I wanted to test the waters for this one, so this is just the start. It's the launching point, I suppose. Let me know if you think I should continue this...
Just a Kiss
Chapter 1: She Never Forgets
'Today's my last day,' Rachel Berry thought to herself. 'Today's my last day at Belleville Middle School.'
It was a hot, sticky day in Ohio. The sun's harsh, yet brilliant rays shown through a dense heap of clouds and cast its light on Belleville's austere, crème stone facing.
Little Rachel Berry sat against the chain-linked fence near the attendance office, resting beneath the shade of the huge Sugar Maple shading the building's right side.
The tiny little brunette, clad in a small plaid dress, wrote on the earthy soil, music playing over and over in her mind as she transposed it into the dirt. Her face glistened with streams of sweat, prompting the young sixth grader lift a hand to prevent a grimy film from taking root on her face.
On the single hottest day in Lima, Ohio… on the last day that Rachel would ever spend in Ohio, why did Papa have to get her late?
The girl sighed, throwing the stick to the floor, abandoning the task as she drew her legs up against her body and held them there, resting her face in the crease. Tanned lids closed over large brown orbs as sadness fell over her.
Papa was probably down at the house with Daddy, getting the last of her stuff. Papa was probably crying while Daddy yelled at him again for leaving. Or maybe Daddy was crying because Papa was leaving, and he was taking his 'little star' with him.
Rachel sniffled, shoulders shaking. She wouldn't be surprised if that was really happening right now. It'd happened so much over the past year.
The Berry family had always been a cohesive unit. They ate dinner together, supported each other in everything that they did, and strived for perfection in each other and as a family.
Hiram Berry, or 'Papa' was the heart of the family. He stayed at home, cooked, cleaned, and made sure that the house was running ship-shape. He doted on his little daughter, spoiled her with every sort of dancing, instrument, or singing lesson imaginable.
Daddy, or Leroy, provided the stern, yet gentle part of family man and disciplinarian. He loved his 'little star' to death, and took it upon himself to spend every waking moment of his free time taking his daughter to see every sort of musical available (whether on CD or in the local theatre, or out of town).
Hiram and Leroy Berry loved their daughter, and they loved each other as much, if not more. Rachel knew that her Fathers did, because she had never seen them as happy as when they spent time with each other. There were moments when they danced in the living room to old records on Hiram's phonograph, or smiled reverently at the other during meals (sometimes their 'lovey doviness' made Rachel want to vomit), or held hands while walking down the street with Rachel pulling at the joined palms with contented grins set on their bright faces.
But somewhere along the line, Daddy and Papa fell out of love.
In the last two years of her life, Rachel had been privy to far more fights than a twelve year old could possibly handle.
There was screaming, door slamming, crying, and violent threats in all sorts of dreadful language. Rachel would stay up late into the night, trembling underneath her gold-star comforter, eyes eye with panic as she listened to her Fathers… her loving, gentle Fathers, rage endlessly and yell obscenities against each other.
But when Daddy would leave, the roaring of the car signaling his departure, Papa crept into Rachel's room and held her against his chest and whispered all sorts of apologies into her fragile ears.
A few months after a messy custody battle, more tears, and more fighting (which involved Rachel taking a blood test to prove that she was, in fact, Hiram's daughter, and citing her belief that it was 'best if she remained with her Papa') here she was, the last day of sixth grade for her before she moved onto the 'Golden State' of California.
It was bittersweet to leave Belleville.
Not because she had any friends or anything. No, most of the kids at Belleville were cruel to her. They teased her clothing, the eighth graders called her 'faggotty-anne' because of her 'transvestite' clothing and her 'faggot dads' (how eighth graders knew these words, could never understand), and outright ostracized her from the rest of the student body.
If anything, all of Rachel's friends were in the theatre, instrumental, and dance classes that Papa had taken her to over the years. The parents in the classes were far more gay-friendly (some of the couples were gay as well) and the kids were tolerant and good to her.
But leaving Belleville meant leaving Ohio.
Leaving Ohio meant leaving Daddy and her old life behind.
And that just wasn't something Rachel felt ready to do yet.
Because as distant as Leroy had been lately, he was still Rachel's Daddy. He was still the man who spoiled her to death, recited musical scripts with her, and encouraged her to reach for whatever she wished to be.
She still loved him.
The sound of laughter broke Rachel from the heavy haze of her thoughts.
A loud, agonized cry followed, sending a fresh shock of panic down Rachel's spine. She knew those sounds all too well. Because she was usually the one surrounded by that hideous laughter. She was usually the one crying.
The girl quickly got to her feet, dusting her knees off and following the sound of the jeering (Daddy always did say she had impeccable hearing), creeping along the side of the building and peeking out to see around the corner.
A ring of two or three tall, heavy-set boys stood in a ring around a single, chubby little girl, who fumbled around on the floor for her glasses.
One of the boys, muscular about the arms, held the girl's pair of heavy black, square-rimmed glasses in his hand as he taunted his victim.
"What's the matter, Lucy Caboosey, can't find your eyes?" his voice cracked unattractively as he let out a harsh bray of a laugh.
"I think we did Caboosey a favor, Kevin," another in the group said, "now she can't see her ugly pizza face anymore."
"Then again, Lucy Caboosey can't even see her own reflection in the mirror," the last cruelly chimed in with a vicious smirk of his yellow teeth. "Her nose is too big!"
Rachel watched the girl's curiously hazel eyes overflow with tears, attempting to blink them back as she groped across the ground, ignoring the boys taunting her.
Anger welled in the young singer's veins. How dare they do that to such an innocent girl? What had she done to them? She didn't deserve any sort of this treatment!
Rachel stepped out from behind the wall, tanned skin dark with anger as she crossed her arms.
"HEY! NEANDERETHALS!" Oh, that'd gotten their attention alright. In fact, their dim, pig-like little eyes were now fixed on Rachel, who stood her ground firmly, chocolate orbs flashing furiously.
"Awww, Faggotty-Anne came to help Lucy Caboosey?" the kid named Kevin sneered as a sick grin twisted across his features. "So now Caboosey's gay too?"
"I'll have you know that engaging a young girl in such a manner and then continuing in taunting her," Rachel marched forward slowly, "is molestation! I could have the ACLU in here in seconds!"
"What's that?" one of the kids muttered to his companion, who shook his head.
"Well what are you gonna do about it, dyke?" Kevin tossed the girl's glasses casually in his hand. "Gonna go and get your faggot Dads to deal with me? Are they going to rape me?"
Rachel's face boiled, she looked down, fists clenching. "Don't you dare talk about my Dads that way."
"Or else what?" Kevin snarled, leaning down to get into the girl's face. "There's nothing you can do about it, dyke. Your Dads are freaking rapists that suck co-."
Before the bully could finish the sentence, he loosed a loud cry, the glasses dropping to the floor as he clutched at his nose, blood dripping between his fingers.
Little Rachel Berry's fist, covered in blood, shook before the downed Bully's frightened features as a murderous glint took residence in her eyes.
"I don't care what you call me," Rachel growled, "but don't you ever insult my Fathers. I know how to fight. So if you don't want me to rearrange your ugly face, I suggest you get out of here."
"Y-you're insane!" the bully squeaked. Stumbling to his feet, the boy took off down the other side of the building, his cohorts following closely after him.
Rachel sighed, dropping her fist. The world was full of so many stupid, narrow-minded people? How many more would she have to deal with before she found acceptance outside of the dance studios and theatre classes?
The little singer smiled sadly at the girl the boys had been taunting, picking up the set of glasses and wiping them on a clean portion of her dress, kneeling down beside her.
"Here you go," Rachel pulled the girl into a sitting position, placing the frames gently in pudgy digits. "Those idiots always bother me… Don't let them get to you, though. They're just jealous."
"Thank you for helping me," the girl replied meekly, adjusting the thick rims onto the bridge of her nose. She studied Rachel from behind the lenses, wiping tears from her cheeks as she sniffled piteously.
"I'm Rachel Berry," the singer supplied, handing the girl a fresh Kleenex from the pack in her dress pocket.
"Lucy," a pair of unique hazels continued to stare at the ground as the girl dabbled at her cheeks.
Rachel frowned as steady streams continued to fall unchecked from Lucy's eyes, settling cross-legged in front of the girl, leaning forward slightly. "What's wrong? Did those apes say something particularly wounding?"
"N-no," Lucy denied weakly, though the streams strengthened at the mention.
"Hey," a hand went to Lucy's sweater covered shoulder as Rachel urged the girl to look up at her. "I might be a stranger… but I know exactly how you feel… It feels better when you talk about it, you know? Get it off your chest and into open air."
Lucy observed Rachel for a few moments. Looked into the concern flashing in chocolate eyes, right down to the faint line of patience creased in the girl's lip, before looking back down again as she drew in a shuddering breath.
"Th-they were making fun of me for not having my first kiss yet," fresh tears fell from the girl's eyes. "All the girls in sixth period said they had it except for me, and they found out… An-and they said that I'm too ugly to love. Th-that no one would ever want to kiss me."
Rachel's heart broke as the girl broke out in fresh sobs. The world was so cruel to people who were different. People were so insecure in themselves, they felt the need to pounce on others to validate their self-worth.
True, Lucy wasn't much to look at. She was a bit heavy for her age (Rachel supposed the girl was thirteen at the oldest), had a bit of acne across her forehead, mousey brown hair, and glasses… But she wasn't ugly, like the boys claimed. She had a nice jaw, a nice frame… and the most unique set of hazel eyes that Rachel had ever seen.
They were amber with little flecks of bottle green that shimmered in the harsh Lima sun. They looked like little emerald starbursts, and sparkled as the girl sobbed.
Someone could love Lucy's eyes, surely.
No one was unlovable.
A crazy idea came to Rachel's mind. It was a reckless thought, one that the little diva wouldn't do in her right mind if she was going to remain longer at Belleville. But Rachel was leaving. She would be in California by this time tomorrow.
So crazy ideas seemed plausible at the moment.
"…Lucy?" Rachel lifted the girl's chin softly, forcing her to look into her eyes, wiping away the tears running down the girl's cheeks in steady streams.
Sparkling eyes found their way to soft, red tinted, earthy browns, waiting.
"…Can I kiss you?"
There was silence. Lucy's hazel orbs widened and searched the little singer's features for some sort of taunt. For a joke.
So Rachel waited. Sat there, and waited for the girl to give some sort of nod, of permissive gesture. Because she won't do something that Lucy doesn't want…
But there was the soft nod of the head.
Lips touched tentatively… softly, pressing against each other and melding. Rachel could taste the saltiness of Lucy's tears… taste the sorrow in each bitter drop.
And just as quickly as the kiss started, it ended, Rachel smiling gently.
"There," Rachel said, brushing away the girl's brown locks with a faint grin on her lips. "The first of many amazing kisses for the most beautiful girl I've ever seen."
A horn sounded off in the distance, along with a deep, worried call.
'Papa... he's here.' Rachel closed her eyes. What a way to leave Belleville… what a way to end her final day.
The singer got to her feet, dusting off her legs and giving one last look to Lucy, sitting there with a sort of dazed, awed look on her features, a hand touching her lips tentatively.
"Lucy," a funny sort of smile played on Rachel's lips, "love yourself, alright? It's the best thing you can do… and don't let people tell you who you can and can't be."
The diva rested her hand on Lucy's shoulder, giving it a faint squeeze before turning to walk toward her car. To walk toward her new life and leave Lima, Ohio behind once and for all. Because that kiss had a sort of finality to it. It's almost like sealing the deal on a good life by doing one last good favor.
And when Rachel Berry leaves Lima, she forgets about the kiss. She forgets what she did for Lucy Fabray.
But Lucy Fabray never forgets.
A/N: I think I'll switch around to first or second person for the next chapter. I wanted this in third because I didn't want to quite jump into Rachel's mind yet. Leave a review if you think this should be continued. Thanks for reading :)