When Stacie Ann was 12 she knew that eventually she would have to commit murder of the first offense. By 14 she was simply waiting to see which of her older brother's train wreck girlfriends would push her over the edge. At 15, she was quite sure she had found a winner in one Rachel Berry—Rachel Barbara Berry to be precise.
Stacie and Stevie had been dealing with their brother Sam's girlfriends for as long as they could remember. There had been a few good years, back when the family lived in Lima, but since their relocation to a town just outside of New York City Sam Evans' love life had turned into a train wreck –constantly stocked with dull, ignorant, overbearing and rude girlfriends. At first, Stacie had reasoned that these girls must be nervous. It couldn't be easy walking into someone's home and trying to prove yourself worthy.
But the pity did last long.
Rachel Berry came after a small drought of women. Sam had seemed much more interested in locking himself in his office to slave over promoting his new website and comic book, but the bright lights and splendor of the city brought him Ms. Berry. A young, petite brunette beauty who is striving for her place amongst Broadway's greatest—which she never let them forget. Among her many topics that night, Rachel particularly enjoyed explaining in great detail her plan to reinvent the face of Broadway with her career—though Stacie had a sick feeling that they had lucked out with the abbreviated version. Stevie and her father did managed to sneak in a question about Mr. & Mrs. Berry, but that led to a 20 minute divergence on Rachel's precious childhood with her fathers. Stacie was all for equal rights, Ebbie McDaniel, the closest thing she had to a best friend was bisexual, but if Rachel mentioned Liza Menilli, her fathers and the Rosie O'Donnell cruise one more time, she was going to be forced to end the aspiring starlet sooner than any of them anticipated. Even their mother, Mary, had a hard time keeping a straight face.
So when the dust finally settled and Samuel excused himself to walk Rachel to her car, Stacie stood from the kitchen table to let loose.
"Is he serious with this chick? I mean, Oh my god! Is this real life—''
"—or is this just fantasy?" Stevie cut in. "Caught in a landslide—"
"Seriously?" Stacie snapped. "Now is not the time for you to quote the stupid songs that play in your videogames!"
"Stacie," her mother frowned, gathering the empty plates.
"It's Bohemian Rhapsody! By Queen! It's a classic!"
"I don't care if it's a Darren Criss sex riot—"
"—that makes no sense," Stevie frowned.
"—none of that changes the fact that Freddy Kruger has a better shot at picking out his future wife than Sam does."
"That's not fair, Stace," her father chided from the sink.
"Not fair? Was I the only one who witnessed that motor-mouthed travesty?"
"She's got a point," Stevie added. "I mean, she didn't even stop to breathe."
"So what did you guys think?" Sam had jogged into the kitchen, a smile stretching his face as his parents and younger brother struggled to find an adequate response. Stacie, on the other hand, dived straight in.
"Does she not have an off button?" Stacie snapped turning to her older brother.
"No, apparently you don't either," Sam answered, a scowl developing as he stepped further into the kitchen.
"At least I don't spend every waking moment of life making it all about me!"
"What your sister means Sam is that Rachel is a bit…eccentric," Mary Evans cut in, before son could retort.
"You're mother's right, but Rachel is a smart girl, she obviously has a lot of ambition and has goals set up for herself, which is excellent," Dwight Evans added.
"So you hate her," Sam frowned. His parents instantly objected. Stacie shrugged.
"Well hate her if you want or be silent,"—Sam side-eyed his look-a-like, who'd found bronze centerpiece on the table extremely fascinating—"But Rachel Berry, is my girlfriend, and I expect all of you to respect that."
"Of course, Sam," his mother sighed.
"And we expect you to let us know when you're ready to bring home the next disaster," Stacie replied as her brother left the kitchen. After her father followed him out, Mary Evans turned to her youngest daughter and sighed.
"You're going to have to stop doing this," she said. "Both of you."
"I didn't do anything," Stevie objected.
"That's my point, Stevie. And Stacie every time Sam brings home a girl you sit there and nitpick at everything about their personality. Sam's a grown man. Obviously if he's bringing these girls home, there's bound to be something special there!" Mary Evans began.
"Mom's got a point," Stevie agreed. "The last time you liked on of Sam's girlfriends, Stacie, you were 5."
"That is not true! I like Santana Lopez!"
"After they stopped dating," Stevie added leaning back in his chair.
"Thank God they stopped dating," Mary Evans mumbled under her breath.
"It's not my fault that they were better off as friends than lovers!"
"I would give you the time we met Brittany," Stevie continued, "but she came here with Artie, her boyfriend!"
"I said both of you, Steven," their mother repeated. "Your silence doesn't help either. Let's face it, both of you still act like toddlers when it comes to Sam's love life. Now, I know it isn't easy but—"
"—but maybe if he weren't so horrible with picking them!" Stacie interrupted. "It wasn't always this bad. There was Quinn! And Mercedes!"
"I loved Mercedes," Stevie sighed. "She was perfect."
"She was flawless!"
"She's gone." Mary Evans brushed her hands free of the water from the sink and turned to face her two teenagers. "Mercedes and Quinn were both lovely girls, but they're in the past. This is Sam's future, and we need to support him."
"Fine," Stacie huffed. "Can I still go out to Sarah's tonight? We're studying for that Hammerstien's test."
"On a Saturday night?" Stevie scoffed.
"Sarah has a family thing all day tomorrow," Stacie snapped, "and besides, I hate cramming for tests."
"Smells like trouble," Stevie sang.
"Stacie, you know the rules no funny business," Mary Evans said. "And Stevie since you've got so much to say, why don't you get your keys and drop Stacie off. That wasn't negotiable, by the way."
Sarah Everdeen lived on the outskirts of town, in a neighborhood crowded by obnoxious children, stepford wives and men who make workaholics look like saints. Sarah Everdeen was near the top of the food chain at the high school Stevie and Stacie attended, which never ceased to amaze him. Sarah's easy looks and constant effort the ass of nearly every significant upperclassman on the outset seemed to clash with his sister's brash and sarcastic outlook on life, but the pair had inseparable since the beginning on the year. And Stevie supposed he couldn't judge—as head of the AV club and serious animation-stan, the Legend of Korra series was coming out in a few weeks and he wasn't ashamed to admit that fact that he'd wet himself in anticipation-he'd somehow managed to snag the co-captain of the cheerleading squad as his best friend. Ebbie McDaniel was the first person Stevie had ever spoken with after they moved from Lima and despite having the charm of the devil, she'd weaseled her way in as a permanent fixture in life—and had somehow earned herself an open seat for Sunday dinner. But she was still Ebbie, flirting with every guy and girl in sight. Earlier in the year, there had been a string of rumors that claimed that she had slept with half the football team and girl's lacrosse team over the summer. He'd tried to ignore it, but as he pulled up to her house after he had turned around when he was nearly half way back from dropping Stacie off because of an 'SOS' text, Stevie remembered why the rumors always seemed true.
The front door to Ebbie's house was open and she stood in the lit archway with nothing but worn Superman t-shirt—was that his?—and a pair of pink boy shorts. Her hair hung and a loose set of curls and did nothing to help the post-coital look that she was sporting. Then again, when she was out of the uniform, Ebbie McDaniel always had that look.
About twenty feet in front of her stood a raven haired figured, whose arms were extended outward and flailing in the air.
He must be new, Stevie sighed as he shut the car door and made his way to the arguing pair.
"And you're screwing guys now!"
The he, who morphed into a she as Stevie came closer, turned to him with scathing eyes.
"Honey, I screw everyone," Ebbie shrugged. "I told you that. And we sort of have this thing planned, so…"
"So, what just get off my porch and forget that last night ever happened?" the girl snapped glaring as Stevie made it to the door.
"Pretty much," Ebbie answered.
He rocked on his heels for a moment before offering, "You could come back and try again next week?"
There was a loud huff and groan that teetered on being a screech as the girl stormed off into the darkness.
"Well, I guess you learn something new every day," Stevie said turning to his brunette friend. "Apparently, 'SOS' means 'Save me, Odysseus from these terrible suitors, love Penelope'."
Ebbie threw her head back and laughed. "You're Odysseus in this scenario? Then tell me, my dear and loyal husband, who's Calypso?"
"Still working on that," Stevie smiled stepping inside, "but I'll let you know."
"Well at least you always come home to me," Ebbie teased shutting the door. "Isn't that supposed to be the point of the epic love story in the Odyssey?"
"Among other things," Stevie reasoned taking a seat at the island in the kitchen.
"Oh, quit judging me. If I wanted a lecture or poorly phrased metaphor, I'd first, care that my parents aren't here to give it and then second, listen whenever they tried," Ebbie shrugged pulling out lemonade and two glasses.
"I'm your friend Ebbs, it's my job to be honest with you," Stevie said accepting a glass from her.
"Well right now that's not important," Ebbie shrugged taking a sip. "My issue with Gina is not the reason I asked you to come over. I thought you'd be more interested to hear that you sister is on her way to a 21+ club."
"Bullshit. She's supposed to at Sarah's studying."
"Because that's what girls do on a Saturday night when in 15 minutes you can cross the bridge to party it up in New York City," Ebbie deadpanned. "You have to have more intelligence than this. Besides all the boyfriends of those girls that Stace hangs out with wrote about it on Facebook. One of them was even stupid enough to tag her, but she was quick to shut that down."
"Yeah, that's because she's friends with Sam on Facebook," Stevie groaned.
"Well you can mope about this or you can go upstairs and change some clothes I snagged for you that are a bit more appropriate for sneaking into a club and go nail your sister."
"How long have you known about this?"
"Long enough to arrange a few favors," Ebbie replied standing up. "But hey, if you want to just sit here while your sister gets hit on by a couple of 24-year-olds…"
Stevie was half way up the stairs by the time Ebbie finished her empty threat.
The SugarShack wasn't the most glamorous club in New York City. It teetered on the edge of Manhattan and Harlem but despite its rustic looks, the line inside wrapped around the building. Stacie and her friends weren't in the line and Stevie wanted to turn back then, but a few unwelcome reminders of what could be waiting for them in the club kept him by Ebbie side. His job was to stand there, grimace and let Ebbie do all of the talking—which she did, sweet talking their way inside the club after the bouncers paused over their fakes. It was also probably fortunate that the black bondage dress that she sported left little to the imagination.
Ten minutes inside with the rowdy crowd in the club had Stevie convinced that Ebbie had dragged him along to simply screw with him, but they soon found the blonde head of his sister easy to find. She sported a mask of makeup and tight green dress that Stevie could swear to have never seen before. And best of all she was headed for the dance floor.
"Stacie!" Stevie hollered, bulldozing through the crowd to grab his sister. It would have been quite the sight for Ebbie, watching Stevie transform into the Incredible Hulk in the middle of the dance floor, if it weren't for that fact that Evans siblings were one of the few people that she would stick her neck out for without hesitation. She lived her life and held little qualms about it, but she also held no remorse for the hypocrisy that kept her from letting Stacie enjoy some of the same pleasures she did; particularly the illegal ones.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Stevie fumed.
"You're supposed to be at the house!" Stacie yelled over the music.
"You're supposed to at Sarah studying!" Stevie retorted. "I don't think this was Mom and Dad's intention when they said 'have a good time'."
"So I decided to have a night out! Good God, just let me live a little!"
"Living is one thing," Ebbie cut in, "trying to imitate a hooker with clown's make up in 21+ club, when you're underage is another."
Above them, there was a music break and a muffled announcement for a change in artists.
"And you've never been to The SugarShack," Stacie challenged.
"Of course I have," Ebbie replied, "but I was A) smart enough not to get caught and B) stupid enough to go."
"That doesn't make sense!" Stacie growled. "You shouldn't judging me for shit that you do."
The live artist had made her way onto the stage, that much Stevie could see from the corner of his eye, but he turned his focus back to his sister.
"The point is that you shouldn't be here. None of us should. So we're leaving."
"Like hell we—"
Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I give you fever that's so hard to bare
The Evans siblings froze mid-argument and Ebbie was left to try to snap them out of their haze.
"What the hell is wrong with you two?" she yelled. Her voice was too loud and carried harshly as the club had calmed down to listen to the songstress. She was shushed by several onlookers and waved off by Stacie, who moved forward to get a better look.
You give me fever
When you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight
"Oh my god," Stevie said numbly. "Is this the real life?"
"Or is this just fantasy?" Stacie finished her eyes glued to the stage. "Tell me this isn't happening."
"Tell me why we're quoting Queen and wetting ourselves over some random singer!"
In the morning
Fever all through the night
"She isn't just a random singer," Stevie replied, his eyes still forward. "That's Mercedes Jones. That's my brother's ex-girlfriend."
"Wrong," Stacie beamed. "That's my brother's future wife."
"Your brother's ex-girlfriend is his future wife?" Ebbie frowned. "Weren't you just talking on the way up here about him dating some chick named Rachel?"
"Oh Stevie this is a sign!" Stacie gushed. "We have to get to her. We have to talk to her. We have to make her come back—"
"Steven Michael and Stacie Ann Evans!" a shrill voice, rampant with rage, rang behind them.