A/N: Hopefully this chapter will pick things up a bit. If you guys like Darren Criss, you'll understand more of the things in this story. I know the character's name is Blaine, but he is based off of Darren's personality. He was my inspiration and broke me out of my writer's block so it was only fair to dedicate a character to him. :)

Chapter 12

I clicked out of my e-mail and started signing out of my school username. Not even a second later, I felt someone grip the back of my chair. Blaine appeared on one side of me. As I felt the grip loosen, Andrew appeared on the other.

"Whatcha doin'?" Blaine asked, turning the monitor to face him.

"Signing out." I slung my bag over my shoulder and began walking toward the exit of the library. "Now I'm going to lunch." Andrew and Blaine followed on either side of me.

"I have so much spam," I stated to no one in particular, giving an exasperated sigh and throwing my hands up. Blaine held onto my hand. At first I thought he was protecting himself in case I went into an all-out rage over spam, but he held on all the same.

"I always get that," he said. "They all say stuff like, 'Help! Help! I'm trapped in London and need 10,000 dollars quick!' And I would always get confused because I would've seen that person the day before and would be wondering how they had gotten to London so quickly."

Andrew nodded. "I get those e-mails about those pills. You know, the, uh, male-part-enhancement things. But they always end up in my junk."

Blaine and I stopped dead in our tracks and looked at Andrew, stunned.

He turned to us, noticing that we were no longer beside him. He stared for a moment then his eyes grew wide as he realized what he said. "No! No! Not like that! I meant to say mail. Junk mail."

I burst out laughing and Blaine let out a relieved breath of air.

"You guys are perverts," Andrew mumbled under his breath, turning red in the face. He walked quickly into the cafeteria without looking back at us.

Blaine and I made our way over to our usual table. It normally consisted of me, Eli, Emma, Blaine, and Andrew. I didn't know if Eli and Emma would still be sitting with us now that they were a thing. They were taking a little longer than usual.

He took out his brown bag and pulled out a small carton of guava juice. I observed him as he slurped away.

"What?" he demanded, letting the straw drop from his mouth.

"Is that any good?"

He stared at me in shock. "Have you never tried guava juice?"

I shook my head. "I'm more of an apple juice kind of gal."

"Apple juice, man…fucking delicious." His eyes had a faraway look as he apparently daydreamed of the deliciousness of apple juice. After a moment, he turned to me and said, "Here, try the guava juice. It's really good."

I took it cautiously and slowly began to sip from it. I didn't really know how to explain the taste, but it sure was pulpy. It wasn't too bad. I actually really liked it.

I handed it back to him and nodded my approval just as Andrew sat down.

"Eli and Emma still aren't here?" he asked.

"They're in the library," Blaine answered, slurping noisily from the straw. He stopped and shook the box, pouting at the silence. "I guess you really liked it."

I patted his hand. "Thank you."

He rolled his eyes playfully.

"Are you not eating?" Andrew asked, through a mouthful of cheeseburger (at least I hoped it was cheese. Mr. Armstrong swears otherwise).

"Had a bad night," I said. "Too tired to eat." I looked at Blaine. "Aren't you tired?"

"I'm fine," he assured me, digging into his cream-of-mushroom soup/rice mix. "Speaking of bad night, did you notice that Mick came home drunk?"

Andrew nodded. "How did you know?"

Blaine began filling him on our busy night out. "And now you owe me, because I still can't get the smell out of my car," he finished.

Andrew shoved the rest of his burger in his mouth, unable to think of a comeback.

"That's another thing: he ate my burger."

Andrew shrugged and dumped his foam tray out. Blaine tossed his bag.

"Are you going to teach me the rest of 'Fields of Gold' tonight?" I batted my eyelashes at Blaine in an attempt to be convincing. I was actually really getting into the song.

He frowned and shook his head. "I would, but Mr. Tate wants us all after-school to help out with the play.

I crossed my arms and huffed. "Why did you guys start the production early this year? Now I never get to see you."

"There's a production for musical theater and regular theater. Musical theater's going first this year." He threw an arm around my shoulders. "Besides, it's just busy for now. In a little bit, they're going to be less frequent then they'll pick back up again awhile before opening night for actual rehearsals and stuff.

I shrugged and followed him out as the bell chimed, signaling the end of lunch.

/

"Math textbook, history textbook…English binder," I mumbled to myself. I was getting all my things that I needed to take home so that I didn't have to come back at the end of the day. I didn't want to have an incident like last time.

Andrew leaned against the locker next to mine. "Got everything?"

"Yup." I shut the door and set the dial so that I could open it easily next time. Not exactly safe, but, hey, I'm lazy.

"Who's excited for history?" Blaine exclaimed, approaching me with a bear hug and a giant grin on his face.

"Not me," Andrew deadpanned. "I'm tired as hell."

Blaine's face fell. "Killjoy…"

Andrew shrugged it off.

I heard shuffling behind me and turned to find a very paranoid looking Eli.

"Where were you at lunch?" I pressed.

"Library with Emma." He looked behind him and then back at me.

"Oh…Is everything alright?"

He shook his head. "Honestly, I think Stan wants to kill me. He saw me last night as I was leaving their house."

Emma ran up to Eli urgently and started shaking his shoulders. "He's coming!" I had never seen her show any emotion other than elated, so to see her terrified was discomforting.

Eli spun around, attempting to escape, but was stopped by Owen Parks, who grabbed him roughly by the front of his sweater and practically threw him at an approaching Stan. Dave Miller, another football player, shoved past Blaine to make his way to Stan's side. They stood obediently by him, although they were no friends of his, and he wasn't too fond of them either. They used him for the badass image. He used them for back-up.

Stan shoved Eli into the lockers and lifted him up so that his feet were a good six inches off the ground.

"What were you doing in her room last night, you little son of a bitch!" Stan demanded, shoving him against them again. I heard my brother inhale sharply through his teeth. He shut his eyes tight, trying to bear it. I remembered the bruise on his back and tried not to think about the pain he must be in.

There was now a crowd that Blaine and I had suddenly reached the back of. We both tried desperately to make our way through.

Eli struggled with the meaty hands clinging tightly to his sweater and began to stutter nonsense, too scared to answer.

Andrew stepped forward. He had been more successful in pushing through the onlookers. "Back off, Stan!"

The henchmen made a move to attack Andrew, but Stan stopped them, still keeping a firm hold on Eli.

He looked angrily at Andrew. "Don't you dare try and stop me, Hardy. You should know how I feel. I mean you're sister's fucking gorgeous. She's probably sleeping with men all over the place. As a matter of fact, I heard a little rumor that…"

Andrew tackled Stan before he could finish his sentence.

"Shit!" Blaine exclaimed angrily. "Aren't there any teachers around here!" He ran off in the direction of the nearest hallway: math. A bell chimed in the background to let us all know that our last block of the day was about to start.

No one made an effort to be on time.

Andrew managed to get in a few good punches before Owen and Dave pulled him off. Eli, newly freed from Stan's grip, jumped on Dave's back, trying to get him to release Andrew.

But his freedom was short-lived. Stan collected himself and wrestled Eli to the ground. He threw punch after punch. I couldn't tell which ones hit and which ones missed.

The whole time Emma was slapping anybody she could get her hands on in an attempt to stop the fight.

"No!" I screamed. "Someone stop them!" I tried to push past people, but they were all trying to get as close as they could without completely becoming a part of the action.

But of course, no one did stop them. A few even chanted, "Fight! Fight! Fight!"

Finally, I heard the voice of none other than Mr. Armstrong, screaming orders down the hall. Kim and Blaine followed close behind.

The students scattered at the sound of a teacher's voice. Owen and Dave fled.

"Hey! I said STOP!" Mr. Armstrong grabbed Stan around the waist and pulled him off of Eli. He dragged him to an open spot by the lockers. "Don't move," he ordered.

Kim helped Andrew up and Mr. Armstrong brought Eli off the ground.

"Let's get them to the office," the teacher said, turning to Kim.

She nodded and began leading Eli and Andrew upstairs. Mr. Armstrong took Stan by the arm and looked toward me, Emma, and Blaine. "We need you three to come, as well."

/

We all sat nervously in Principal Truman's office, Stan on one side, and the rest of us crowded into the other. We had already told him the whole story and Eli, Andrew, and Stan were waiting for the parents and/or guardians to arrive so they could talk punishment. Emma was there for Eli. She stroked the swollen areas around his eye and lip. Blaine and I stayed for Andrew…and because we're nosy.

The door opened and all our gazes were toward it as we wondered which one of us was going to get it first.

But it wasn't one of the parents that entered. It was a girl that I recognized from a few of my classes. Her name was Nicole.

Nicole was beautiful, which always made me wonder why she wasn't swarming with friends. I know it sounds shallow, but that's just the way it works in high school. It's not something I agree with, but it's honestly what happens.

She came in and made a beeline towards Andrew. "I'm Nicole!" she said, gesturing toward herself. She was wearing a pretty cute outfit: skinny jeans and a light blue, fitted cardigan. But something threw it off. It was a feather that she wore in her hair. It was light blue, just like her cardigan, and stuck out of the back of her blonde bun, making her look like a turkey that had escaped seconds before it could be completely plucked on Thanksgiving.

Andrew leaned back in his seat and looked up at her. "Um, I know. You're in my history class."

"I saw the whole thing," she said, sitting on the arm of his chair. "It was really cool of you to step into the fight like that.

Andrew gulped and nodded. I figured the poor boy hadn't gotten sleep, like the rest of us, and getting beat up really didn't help. He must've been alarmed by her abruptness.

"Anyway, you're cute." She pulled out a bright pink Sharpie and wrote something down on his arm. "Call me." She skipped out of the office, looking back only to wink at Andrew on her way out.

A few minutes later, Mick was the first to arrive, looking disappointed. Principal Truman motioned for him and Andrew to enter. Blaine flashed Andrew a good luck grin, but it didn't convince him in the least.

Mr. Heartless entered next. He stood over Stan's chair and gave him the silent treatment, which Stan really didn't seem to mind. Emma stayed beside Eli, but kept a safe distance as the two eyed her father anxiously.

Mick exited the office, followed by Andrew. Mr. Truman called Stan and his father in next. Eli was still awaiting our dad.

I watched Mick as he turned to glare at Andrew. "I cannot believe you," he said.

"Not here, Mick. I'll explain when we get home." Andrew tried to edge his way out the door.

"No! You know that when we get home, you're going to lock yourself in your room again! I am so sick of this, Andrew. What am I supposed to do with you?" Andrew hung his head and shut his eyes tight. He shoved his hands deep in his pockets and shuffled his feet, looking more and more like a kid that just got caught sneaking candy before dinner. The only difference: it looked like he was seriously struggling not to shout back.

"Please, Mick, we should really go," he begged.

Mick shook his head in disappointment.

Stan and his father exited Truman's office. Mr. Heartless was dragging Stan, who looked like he still wasn't done with the conversation yet, out by the lapel of his leather jacket.

"What did you get?" Stan demanded, advancing as far as his father's grip would allow toward Andrew.

He looked up and said, "A week's worth of detention."

"Detention! Are you kidding me! I'm getting suspended!"

Truman didn't even flinch. "You're being ridiculous, Stan."

"Emphasis on the 'dic,'" Andrew said quietly, but loud enough for Stan to hear.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Stan snapped.

"It means you're a dick, Stan."

"Fuck you, Hardy!" Stan broke free of his father only to be stopped again by a Mick-Principal Truman tag-team. They calmed him down and forced him out the door. Mr. Heartless led him out and they were gone.

Emma slumped in her seat and pouted. "I'm so sorry, Eli, Andrew," she said. "I never meant to cause this much trouble."

Eli sighed and put an arm around her. "Not your fault, Em. Stan is just an a-" -I gave him a sharp glare- "a-angry…person?" I nodded and he rolled his eyes at me.

My parents were the last to arrive, my mother a few minutes after my father. It was the first time I'd seen her since she stormed out.

And apparently my father's as well. "You're here," he stated, eyeing her incredulously.

"Of course I'm here. Why wouldn't I be?" My mother shot him a death glare that I couldn't help but take pride in. It was about time someone other than Eli stood up to my father.

I was disappointed in myself for not being that person.

My father straightened up and said, "Well, you left last night. I didn't think something as simple as Eli acting up like he always does was going to bring you back."

"What do you mean like I always do?" Eli demanded.

"I mean these past few months you've just added extra unnecessary stress to this family."

Mr. Truman stood by his office door and cleared his throat. Blaine and I were the only ones that noticed.

"I've added stress to the family? Are you completely oblivious to what you've been doing? Don't you remember what I saw!" Eli was shaking with fury now. My father clenched his jaw the same way his son had last night.

Blaine, feeling the rising intensity, gripped my hand. "We should leave."

I kept my hand locked with his, but stood up. "No," I said. He stood up with me. "What are you talking about?" I asked, addressing Eli. Emma, Andrew, and Mick looked at him with just as much confusion.

"I think we've all known for awhile, Liz," he said. "I'll say it anyway for the sake of anyone who feels like they're missing the point." My mother sounded like she was whimpering from her spot. Eli turned away from her and continued. "Just before summer vacation, I had to go to my father's office. I told her I was bored one day and she told me I should surprise my father for lunch. She had made his favorite: spaghetti with mozzarella cheese. Liz drove us down there and I went in." I flinched remembering that day, noticing something was up but too afraid to ask.

"Shut up, Eli!" Dad shouted. He pounded his fists on the secretaries' counter, but they were all so mesmerized by the story.

"When I went to my father's office, I saw him talking to a co-worker. I was going to enter when I realized that they were acting, like, really close. So I watched them for awhile.

"He kissed her. Right there in his office. He saw me and told me not to tell anyone, especially Mom. 'I love her,' he said." Eli looked at my father. "You don't love her. You don't care for anyone; not for your family, not even for your co-worker, the one that you betrayed us with."

My dad grabbed Eli by the shoulders and looked him in the eyes. "Eli, I was going through a tough time. You know that. You said you understood."

He shoved his hands off of him. "It's been driving me crazy! Why do you think I've been acting out? I just want you to know how I feel!"

My father stormed out, not giving a single look back. My mother collapsed into a chair and Mick hurried over to comfort her.

"Blaine, Emma, please try and catch what little is remaining of your final classes," Mr. Truman said, making his way toward my mother.

Blaine gave my hand one final squeeze. Emma touched Eli lightly on the arm and followed Blaine out.

I watched as Mr. Truman and Mick, two men that had barely spoken to my mother before, comforted her as my father neglected to in a very long time, offering her a ride if she needed one or maybe someone to talk to. Through her fading sobs, she kindly rejected their offers and stood to go. Eli looked down at the floor and started after her, so that I was left alone with the others.

"Are you alright, Liz?" Andrew asked.

I swallowed the truth and looked up at him. "Yeah, I'm fine."

"You are, of course, excused to be with your mother at this time," Principal Truman said. In that moment, Mr. Truman, who was around the same age as my father and probably had a family of his own, showed so much compassion that I wanted to hug him as if he were my guardian.

I held back the temptation and thanked him quietly.

I drove us home; my mom wasn't okay that night.

A/N: If you guys took the time to read this, thanks so much! Also, please review. It only takes a moment and it really makes my day. Critique is welcome, just no flames, but please help me improve. If you see something that I'm doing well, or something I could be doing better, please let me know. And I made a music video for Darren Criss's song "Not Alone" based off of the characters in this story. Here's the youtube link:

/watch?v=-AfWkp_Ch9k

Hope you enjoyed this chapter!