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Perfectly Cast

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Rachel opened the cardboard mailing envelope with utmost care. She’d spent half her summer babysitting money to buy this book. She still couldn’t believe she’d been lucky enough to find a copy on eBay. Only one hundred had ever been printed, and that was decades ago. This was her new prize possession and the key to making her dreams come true. Now more than ever. Mr. Schue had told the newly-formed glee club this afternoon that he was leaving McKinley. Without him, the extra measures that Rachel was planning would be even more crucial.

Holding her breath, she slowly slid the volume out of the envelope. It was an odd shape, tall but narrow in width, bound in red leather and embossed with gold cursive lettering.

The Diva’s Essential Book
of
Broadway Spells

Rachel hugged the precious book to her chest and breathed deeply. It even smelled like magic! Not that she knew what magic smelled like. She’d never tried to cast any spells before. Talent and hard work had gotten her far in life, but you can only do so much before calling on deeper and more mysterious powers. She was ready to take this next step. She couldn’t let the glee club die. It was too important to her dreams and her future stardom.

Opening to the first page, Rachel scanned the table of contents. There were charms to protect and improve your singing voice, spells to remember lyrics and dance steps, luck spells for auditions, and much more.

What would be most useful to her right now? Her voice was already perfect. The dance steps Mr. Schue had choreographed were laughably simple. Spells for charisma and ticket sales were useless without a show to perform in. She slid her finger down the page line by line, rejecting spell after spell. None of them seemed helpful for her current situation. Until …

A Spell to Create Community Among Performers

Rachel’s curiosity was piqued. She turned to page thirty-seven and read the introductory paragraph.

No performing group can succeed unless they work as a team. All members of the cast and crew must be devoted to the performance and to each other. This is a gentle spell that will guide the hearts of your team toward each other and bring peace, joy, confidence, and community feeling to the entire group. Follow these simple steps:

A smile spread across Rachel’s face. The materials were all things she could find easily, and the instructions didn’t look too difficult, either. She set about putting them together immediately. When she was finished, a candle with marks in the wax had melted away completely and a rainbow of colorful embroidery threads were wound securely around toothpicks arranged in a hexagonal pattern.

Finn was at his locker when she snuck up behind the open door. He didn’t see her. Her thin fingers just barely fit between the back of the locker bank and the wall, where she attached the talisman with a piece of sticky tack just before he slammed the locker shut and startled at her presence. Though shaking, she managed to project confidence throughout the conversation with him.

“You’re better than all of them,” she admonished him before she walked away.

The words echoed in Finn’s head. They echoed all the way to the locker room where he changed into gym clothes. They echoed all the way out onto the football field where he did his warm-ups and sweated through his shirt. Why wouldn’t those words go away? She was just a Glee loser. She shouldn’t mean anything to him. Why couldn’t he get her out of his head? He was dropping out of glee club. He told Puck. The whole thing was over.

Until they locked Artie in the port-a-potty. Dissonance built up inside Finn. Glee club wasn’t over. It was … it was … he didn’t know why, but it felt like it was something huge in his life that was only just beginning. He couldn’t turn his back on it. He couldn’t turn his back on them. Even Artie, the loser in the wheelchair. He opened the port-a-potty door and, struggling to find a path through the confusion in his mind, wheeled Artie away from the football field.

Even as he strode into the auditorium and told the glee kids he wasn’t quitting, he didn’t quite know why he did it. It just felt … right. These were his new friends, right here on this unfamiliar stage that already felt like home.

Rachel’s frustration turned to relief as she realized that her spell was working. Finn was back, and not just grudgingly like before. He was back with conviction and confidence and leadership.

She hadn’t expected the spell would be powerful enough to reel Mr. Schue back in too, but it happened. Maybe she was as talented at spellcasting as she was at singing! Her whole body tingled with the excitement of power. There were whole new words to explore here, whole new opportunities to seize! Sophmore year was going to be – dare she even think it? – magical.