“Go over our checklist with me again? Please? Because I know we’ve been over this four times already before this morning, but I would feel much more comfortable about this whole situation if we did it again just to make sure you understand how the social hierarchy here at McKinley works. The cheerleaders, jocks and people of those statures are at the top of the food chain, while people like, well me, are at the bottom. Like if you see a sudden flash of red and white, run the opposite direction, it will spell out nothing but disaster for you, trust me. Now, checklist? Please?”
After rolling my eyes, I popped the trunk of my car, pulling out both mine and the diva’s backpacks, letting myself smile slightly at the girl’s rant. Then again, she wouldn’t be Rachel Berry if there wasn’t a rant involved somewhere. “Sure, Rach. Go ahead.”
I nodded, pulling up on the handle of her rolling pink backpack for emphasis. “Check.”
“I put it in your backpack last night.”
Tapping my front pocket, I nodded, drawing an invisible check mark in the air, causing the small diva next to me to smile slightly. “Check.”
“Okay, what about a restocked slushy kit?”
“Uh, you have one in your backpack. I did not bring one.”
Before I could even chance a look at the girl, I knew she was giving me a panicked look. Not that I blamed her. From the stories I had been told by her, by the apparent years she’s been tormented here at school, if I were in her place, I would panic at the thought of being unprepared in this environment.
“What? Logan, I’ve been telling you since you moved here to make sure you brought an extra change of clothes with you here. Have you not been paying attention to the things I’ve told you about this place? People are relentless here to make their status known, and they do that by throwing slushies at those who are at the bottom of the food chain, and I am the very bottom of that barrel. I’m a loser and by default, if you’re caught anywhere near me for any other purpose than to make fun of me, you will be given the title of loser as well, and-.”
Frowning, I halted in my movements to close the trunk of my car, holding up one hand in a successful attempt to get the diva to stop talking. “Rach, I have been paying attention to what you’ve been telling me, but you apparently haven’t been listening to what I’ve been telling you afterwards. You’re not a loser. Those people? The ones who have been tormenting you for years now? They are the losers.”
She opened her mouth, but I cut her off, closing the trunk before reaching over and taking her hands in mine. “No, Rach. Listen to me. They take one look at you and they know that you have plans to get out of this place, and the talent to make those plans happen and they envy you for it. They take their anger out on you because they know you’ll do more in one year in New York than they’ll do in their entire life here in Lima. But that all ends now that I’m here. I won’t let them harass you anymore. I’ve got your back, Rach. Okay?”
After watching me for a few seconds, her eyes probably searching my face for any hints that I would be lying, she let out a sigh, nodding as she looked around us. “Okay. We should probably get going though, before we’re late to homeroom.”
I smiled slightly, and after a brief argument over me taking her backpack, which I won, we were heading towards the front doors of the school. Of course, Rachel had been right about one thing. With every step we took, I could feel the eyes on me and the diva. I could also hear the quiet whispers coming from most of the other students around us.
Tearing my attention away from the people around us, I turned to look over at Rach, raising an eyebrow. She shifted nervously for a second, eyeing the ground at her feet. “You didn’t have to say all those things about me. You also don’t have to stand up for me when we step inside those doors, you’re under no obligation too.”
“I kinda am, Rach.”
“Still. And I also want to say thank you. It’s nice to know someone has confidence in me and my expectations to get out of Ohio.”
Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, I gave her a gentle squeeze as we entered the school, smiling when the nervous look disappeared from her face and was replaced with the smile I was accustomed to at home. “Oh come on, Rach. Everyone who has ever met you and sat through one of your very Berry rants knows that you’ll get out of here. It’s in your blood. Besides, you don’t have to thank me for boosting your confidence, songbird. I’m your sister. It’s what I’m here for, and it’s also makes me obligated to protect you. And I want to. If I had known things were like this before this summer, I would have asked my parents to move here sooner.”
I let her guide us through the halls, mostly because I had no idea where we were going and I wanted to get a lay out of the school I would be attending for the next two years. When we finally stopped a row on lockers where I assumed Rachel’s was, I let her take over control of her bag, leaning against the cool metal and letting my eyes wander around as she launched into her usual paragraph about her plans for after high school.
New York after graduation, school, Tony by 25 and all that jazz. And if I had been giving her my full attention, I wouldn’t have noticed the crowd of students parting in the hall as two rather tall guys in letter-man jackets started rounded the corner, both of them carrying plastic cups full of something. Judging by the way some of the other kids visibly flinched away them and then sighed in relief when nothing happened, I assumed they were what my sister referred to as a “slushy”. Also judging by the fact one guy had pointed to my sister, I knew at least one of them was meant for my diva, if not both of them.
It all happened faster than I expected it to honestly. One second one of the guys was yelling out one of the names Rachel had mentioned some of the kids called her, cup already in position to be thrown when she turned, then the next he was up against the lockers behind me, the cup of frozen drink spilled in a pool at his feet.
“What the hell man?!”
I gripped the edges of his jacket tighter, suddenly thankful for all the boxing classes my parents had put me in throughout the years, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to re-slam the dude into the metal lockers again, this time with a little more force. “Alright, jock strap. Let’s get one thing straight, shall we? That is if you can concentrate enough with whatever brain cells you’ve been graced with after receiving so many blows to the head in whatever pointless sport you play. This is the last time I will ever see one of those things even in her general direction. If I so much as even see you looking at her, I will castrate you right where you stand with my bare hands. I’ve dealt with worse assholes than you, so don’t think that just because I’m a girl that I won’t hurt you. I’ve done it before and trust me, you don’t that to happen to you.”
With a little more force than necessary, I jerked him away from the lockers, causing him to stumble out into the hallway and into the crows of kids who had former a war circle around us during the commotion. “Let this be a warning to everyone here! Rachel Berry is off limits now! You understand?! You mess with her, you mess with me and I mess you up!”
Turning my attention back to the other jock, I pointed one finger at him, causing him to back away slowly. “You can tell whoever sent you what happened and what I said. Tell them my invitation extends to them as well. This ends now. If they have a problem with it, tell them to come find me and I’ll make sure it gets resolved. Got it?”
After nodding quickly, he took off down the opposite way, all the other kids dissipating with the ringing of the bell, which caused me to turn towards my sister, who was currently giving me a look of both gratitude and shock. “What?”
“You just…you…Logan, you could have gotten hurt!”
I shrugged, picking up my backpack off the floor before taking the books she pulled out of her locker and wrapping an arm around her shoulder, glaring at a few kids who were staring at me with the same wide-eyed expression my sister had given me. “I could have, but I didn’t. Because I know what I’m doing. Now are you ready to start the day?”
My sister continued to give me that shocked expression, which I found slightly humorous. Who would have ever thought the world would see the day where Rachel Berry was rendered speechless excluding out of protest or sickness? Then again, I don’t think anyone had ever disrupted the social status here like I had apparently done.
But, then again, someone had to. So, hello McKinley High School. Be prepared for the change that is Logan Mackenzie, Rachel Berry’s half-sister.