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“I can’t,” Len gasped. She was pacing up and down behind the great curtain. “I just can’t do it.”

“Yes, you can,” said Artie patiently, for the tenth time.

“You don’t understand! My whole family is out there – my mother wrote this play, and we still haven’t told her we changed it!”

“She’s going to find that out, whether or not you do it,” Quinn pointed out reasonably.

“I know, but... To sing those songs, and dance like – like you do – in front of them? Rachel,” she twirled, searching. “Rachel, you’ve got to go on instead of me. You know the part. You take it.”

Rachel stepped up to her and took her hands, looking her in the eye.

“I’m not going on,” she said firmly. “You are. You’ve worked hard for this. Every minute of every day. You’re not going to let your mom put you off. Don’t even think about her. Nothing – exists – but the play.”

“The Play,” Len repeated in a daze.

“This is your moment,” said Rachel. “Now take it.”

She released Len’s hands and pushed her towards the entrance.

“You are a star!” she called after her in an undertone.

Len made her entrance. She could make out the audience, but not clearly. She knew her parents would likely be in the front row, but she didn’t search for them. She was Lucia now, and Lucia’s words came easily to her lips. The audience was hushed as she spoke.

When it was time for the first musical number, Len took her position next to the chorus and slightly in front. The instrumental began, and now she had time to scan the faces below for her mother, whose expression grew puzzled at the unexpectedly fast beat. Len could look no longer – she had to give all her attention to singing and remembering the dance steps.

There was a shocked pause when the song finished, but after a couple of seconds, they received loud applause. It buoyed Len’s spirits.

The rest of the Play seemed to pass in a blur. Len’s solo went off perfectly, and she was cheered heartily. The Chorus danced all their dances with no mistakes or accidents. When Margot forgot one of her lines, Tina threw it to her from the wings, and Margot recovered so quickly that nobody noticed.

Before they knew it they were onstage for the last time, performing the final scene and the last song, which involved everyone. Each girl now had to dance up to the front of the stage and take her bow. Len was the last to do so, and when she had, the whole cast danced to the chorus. She could see Finn in the wings, mouthing the words, and Mike doing the steps along with them. It told her what she needed to do.

The audience was on its feet, clapping, cheering and stamping. The girls filed offstage, every one of them on a high. Len stayed. She approached the front of the stage again and waited for silence.

“Thank you very much,” she began. “We hope you’ve all enjoyed our Play.” Fresh applause assured her that they had. Laughing, she held up her hand. “Thank you,” she said again. “I’d like to thank my mother, Mrs Maynard, for writing the play, and Miss Ferrars for directing it.”

More applause, which a slightly stunned Joey accepted with a smile and a nod all around. Miss Ferrars made a brief appearance onstage to acknowledge Len’s words.

“However,” said Len, noticing Miss Annersley in the audience, and cringing internally, “we couldn’t have done it without our special guests, who are here visiting us from McKinley High School in Ohio. So I’d like to invite them onstage to give us a song, because it’s their talent that made all of this possible. Mr Shuester?”

Mr Shuester came out, smiling, to more applause, and he waved. “Thanks, Len, but it wasn’t just us. The Chalet School already had amazing talent – as you’ve seen. We just helped you to display it a little differently. So this song is from us to you – thanks for a fantastic time here in Switzerland.”

He motioned to the Glee clubbers, who came out together – Len was amazed to see all of them in matching red outfits. She hadn’t noticed them changing. She retreated backstage, clapping along with the audience.

They began with a medley from “The Sound of Music”, which made everyone chuckle, and then broke effortlessly into “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life”; as they reached the line “I owe it all to you,” Mr Shuester pointed at Miss Ferrars, who laughed.

Nobody noticed that Miss Annersley was no longer in her seat in the audience, but when the Glee clubbers left the stage, Miss Ferrars intercepted Will Shuester , grimacing in a silent attempt to convey a message. He frowned, unable to interpret, and then saw the headmistress waiting for them both, eyebrows raised.

“Miss Annersley,” Kathie began, “I can explain.”

“We’re sorry we didn’t consult you,” said Will, “but please don’t be mad at Miss Ferrars. She put together an amazing show-“

Kathie spoke over him. “Even if it wasn’t exactly what was written, I think-“

Miss Annersley held up her hand to silence them both. “My dear,” she said, “do you honestly think you could prepare, audition, rehearse and put on a show like this without my knowledge?”

Will and Kathie looked at each other. “You knew?” said Kathie.

“Of course I knew. I made the decision to let you get on with it and see how it worked out. It was certainly an interesting experiment.”

“And... you’re not angry?” Kathie ventured.

Miss Annersley shook her head. “It was unusual, that’s for sure – but you’re right, Mr Shuester, it was an excellent Play. However, you may explain to Joey exactly what your thinking was.”

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