Well, here it is - the last chapter! Thank you to everyone for sticking with me (and Emma) throughout Emma's eighth grade journey. I really enjoyed writing this story and hope that by covering some controversial issues I made at least somewhat of a difference. I will definitely miss it and it was hard to write the last chapter!
I have some ideas for my next fanfic. I'm considering writing two at once, updating each once or twice a week. What do you think of that idea? One would be a high school Finchel story. Rachel is heading for NYADA and Finn is still conflicted. He's considering the army, but a twist of events in Rachel's event changes everything. The other would be a future Finchel fic, a sequel to this one, covering freshman year of high school for Emma, Ryan and their friends. It would feature a lot of Emma, but also some storylines about Ryan, plus Emma helping Nick cope with life changing family news. Also Finchel during Rachel's pregnancy - should she have a boy or a girl?
For the last time - please review and let me know what you thought of this story, your favorite part, and what you think of my next ideas!
Chapter 17: First Day Of High School
Rachel looked at the four backpacks packed, side by side. This was the year. Ryan and Emma would be starting high school, Sarah was starting her last year of elementary school and Grant was starting preschool.
What a contrast today was in contrast to this year last year. Last year they'd been dreading the return to school, today there was nothing to worry about.
"Morning sweetie," Finn said, sneaking up behind Rachel and giving her a quick kiss.
"Finn!" Rachel giggled. "I didn't know you were up!"
Finn laughed. "Yup, let's see how long the kids take to get up. To be honest, I'll miss having Emma at Roxbury with me."
"Don't worry, next year you'll get Sarah," Rachel said. "I, meanwhile, get both Ryan AND Emma at Heights with me."
Finn smiled and touched Rachel's growing baby bump. "Until you have to leave on maternity leave."
Rachel giggled. "Yeah, I expect you to help them after school to prepare for Nationals if I'm not back in time."
Finn smiled. "You can count on me. How's the baby doing this morning?"
"He or she's been moving around a lot," Rachel said. "Just think, next week we'll find out if it's a he or a she."
"I can't wait," Finn said. He put his hand on Rachel's stomach as the baby kicked.
"How's the baby?" Rachel and Finn turned to see that Emma was up.
"Your little brother or sister has started kicking," Finn said. "Come on over and maybe you can feel a kick."
Emma came over and put her hand on Rachel's stomach, feeling another kick. "Wow! I remember you'd let me feel Sarah, Grant and Jack kick too."
Rachel smiled at her daughter. It was nice to see her looking so happy. Last year she'd been so reluctant to go to school. Now she was the first of her siblings up, looking excited, complete with a "Heights High School" shirt.
"I'll probably be one of the few high school kids getting a little brother or sister this year," Emma said proudly.
"That's true," Finn said. "And once we know what it is, you know that you and your siblings are getting to pick the name."
"It has to get approved by us though," Rachel added.
"I know," Emma said. "I remember you guys told me about when you were naming Ryan and me... lots of names got eliminated."
"Speaking of Ryan, isn't your brother excited for high school?" Rachel asked.
"I'm sure he is," Emma said. "He's upstairs, talking on the phone with Ava."
"Are the four of you still walking to school together today?" Rachel asked.
"Of course we are," Emma said. "It's nice out and we don't have a bunch of heavy books."
"Do you know what time Nick's planning on getting here to walk to school?" Finn asked.
"He was thinking about 8," Emma said. "That gives us half an hour. Same with Ava."
"You four be careful," Rachel sighed, thinking of all the difficulties from Emma's time at Miramar.
"Mom, I'll be fine," Emma said. "I'll have Ryan and Nick and Ava with me. Once I get to school I'll have Lizzie and Laura and Meg and Izzy and Lexie. And even if something happens, I know where your room is."
"Okay, honey, sorry for being an overprotective mother," Rachel said, hugging Emma.
Finn leaned down and whispered to Emma, "I've seen it five times. Her pregnancy hormones do make her mildly crazy."
Emma giggled as Ryan came downstairs. "Emma! We're in high school now!"
"I know, I can't wait!" Emma said.
Rachel felt happy that her kids were so excited about starting high school, but also a little sad. Ryan and Emma were no longer the little kids who thought their parents were so cool, spilled their milk at dinner or rode tricycles down the street. They were becoming an independent young man and woman, going off to high school to make their marks on the world.
"Don't be sad, we'll always be your little boy and your little girl," Ryan said.
"I know," Rachel sighed. "Now where are your brother and sister?"
"Right here!" Grant shouted, running into the living room.
"You're finally starting school!" Finn said.
"Like Ryan and Emma and Sarah!" Grant said.
"That's right!" Finn said. "Your preschool's at the same school that your siblings went to elementary school."
"Only one more year of elementary school!" Sarah said, coming in.
"Then you'll have the honor of going to school at mine," Finn said.
Rachel smiled to herself. She felt so lucky to have an amazing husband and four great kids.
"We'd better take the first day of school pictures before the significant others arrive," Finn said, getting out the camera and taking pictures of all four kids together. As soon as he put the camera down, Rachel heard a knock on the door and went to answer it, seeing Ava at the door and Nick coming up the walkway.
"Come on in," Rachel said, leading Ava and Nick in. "You two excited for your first day of high school?"
"You know it!" Ava said before running into Ryan's waiting arms. Rachel leaned and whispered to Nick, "You take care of Emma."
"Don't worry," Nick said. "I won't let the mean kids anywhere near her."
The four teens talked briefly before Emma looked up at her mother. "I think we're ready to go now."
"Okay," Rachel said, feeling her anxiety rise. "Have a great day, you guys."
"We will," Ryan said. "I'm sure we'll see you, Mom."
Nick took Emma's hand and led her out the door, with Ryan and Ava following close behind. Rachel stood on the porch and watched them walk down the street until they were out of eyesight. Finn stood next to Rachel and put his arm around her. "They'll be all right," he said.
Rachel looked into her husband's eyes and kissed him. "I know they will."
The walk to the high school was about 20 minutes. By the time Emma arrived at her locker, other students were starting to arrive. It was hard to believe today was really here. She was really in high school now. But if she'd gotten through everything that had happened at Miramar, there was nothing at Heights she couldn't handle.
"You okay?" Nick asked.
"I'm more than okay, I'm great," Emma said. "I think high school's going to be a great experience."
"So do I," Nick said. "At least we have three classes together."
"Yeah," Emma said. "Plus our lockers are near each other."
"Remember though, if anything ever upsets you, just tell me," Nick told Emma. "I'm not going to let anything like that happen again," Emma said, putting her lunch in her locker.
"We should probably get to our first period classes," Nick said.
"Yeah, we should," Emma said. "I'll see you third period. Love you!"
"Love you too," Nick said, hugging Emma.
Emma began walking to Room 318, her first period class room. Then, the first bell rang.