The Rival Part 1

Special thanks to T.J. for helping plot this series. If you haven't read "A New Finn" this features several incidents that occurred in it but from a new angle. Jeanie previously appeared unnamed but featured in "Sudden Losses" while Martin Poland was in "New Beginnings".
The senior prom is a night that most girls and boys never forget. For 14 students at Winnisimmet High School, it will be the last time they are truly together before graduation. For their parents, it's the last right of passage for their children as they show the world that they are no longer their little babies but are now fully grown adults and ready for the world.

For the Finn Family ladies, it was the night they had dreamed about since they started 9th grade together. They were finally going to be leaving the nest and flying on their own. It was the night they would be allowed to spend the night with their boyfriends, they were old enough to deal with the repercussions and if something came from the night they would deal with it like adults.

That was really just a test by the adults, they knew the ladies wouldn't fall for the trick and the boys happily declined the offers of hotel rooms for all of the couples. Jenna Connors grinned at her mother and told her firmly "we could have done it any other time before, do you think we are foolish to actually do it when you give your blessing? It's not us, it never will be us, and we like each other too much to upset our plans by bringing in a child we aren't ready to care for."

The one with the most nerves was Jaimie Finn. The buzz around school was that she was the leading candidate for prom queen and was running against Monica Porter, the second most popular girl in school behind the seven Finn ladies. She and the other six tried to get out of the race but her classmates wouldn't let Monica win by default, Jaimie deserved the title and none of her friends would allow her to give it up especially as her boyfriend Richard "Rick" Samuels was the shoe-in for prom king anyway and Monica would not hesitate at trying to make a move on Rick to get the two separated and land the biggest prize among all girls in school.

Across the city, in a high-priced penthouse condo, Monica Porter was fuming. She had just seen the advance results of the prom queen vote thanks to paying off one of the juniors doing the tabulating and she had lost in a landslide. The 2nd place and 3rd place winners who were named to the prom court were Stacy Lopez and Courtney Bollinger meaning that Monica wasn't even going to end up in the yearbook!

This angered Monica. She had tried hard to get the prom queen title, campaigning and paying off the "geeks" and "losers" of her class to vote for her instead of one of the seven Finn ladies. Unbeknownst to her, those same boys were actually friendly with Stacy and Courtney thanks to their connections to both due to being in the science club and through Courtney's boyfriend Michael. Monica never had a chance at getting the crown.

The "losers" were actually track and cross-country team members as well as fellow artists and martial artists that simply stayed away from the cliques but who were friendly with the guys of the Finn Family. Thanks to sparring with or competing against them they were some of the few who respected the family for what they were not what they had, something they learned from knowing the guys for so long. The artists respected Scott Nelson for his talents and helped him bring some of his ideas to life with an underground comic book that was sold by the students to pay for their school dances and prom.

The "geeks" were all members of the science club and debate team which Stacy, Jaimie, and Courtney were all part of. They treated the guys with respect and enjoyed talking with them for hours as they prepared for competitions. They were the only ones in the school who didn't on them and helped them get seats on the student council, the guys then quietly campaigned for Jaimie to win the prom queen title with the blessing of Courtney and Stacy who accepted 2nd and 3rd place with smiles.

The whole situation upset Monica. She worked hard to get others to get her ahead while stepping on others to get what she demanded, all that is except the Finn Family. Jaimie winning was a culmination of four years of anger, frustrations, ridicule, and disciplinary actions that left her at wit's end. Something needed to happen to Jaimie to humiliate her and fast. Monica needed to take action no matter the cost.

Summer before 9th Grade
It had been a nice run in private school but Monica was forced to finally attend public school starting in 9th grade. Her mother Jeanie had set her sights on being the new president of the Winnisimmet Teachers Union but with two daughters in private school, it was hard to accomplish. She touted their schools over other cities but with her daughters attending private schools it made her into a hypocrite, they were withdrawn and enrolled locally saving her reputation and keeping her hopes alive.

Her mother had unsuccessfully campaigned to get her brother Martin Poland rehired by the middle school after he had been fired for harassment, vulgar language, and verbally slandering Jaimie Finn the previous April. Martin had been on the outs with the teacher's union for three years but had gotten his sister to bully others into keeping him around. When he overstepped himself for the third time and done so in front of multiple parents and was recorded doing so there was no saving him.

Jeanie chose to save her own skin and make Martin accept his fate. She had to make up for the lost clout that Martin had eroded, it would take her a year or two but she would get it back. Her daughters would survive "regular" school, she just had to finagle them into harder classes and let them show their stuff and use whatever means to keep ahead.

The forced transfer to regular school was hard on Monica, she was already slated to be a cheerleader but now she had to actually earn a spot on the team. It was normally just a simple formality but thanks to eight new girls joining the coach wanted them to show what they knew, what they could do, and what they had to work on. This angered Monica, normally Winnisimmet accepted any girls but this year was different and it worked against her.

Monica was used to coasting by on her looks and hadn't actually participated in any school activities let alone the middle school cheerleading. She was an alternate and would have been in their high school but now she had to actually earn her spot. When she had to show her skills she was uncoordinated and struggled to keep up with the other girls, almost falling down several times and nearly hitting Jaimie in the head twice.

The seven other incoming freshmen were much better, in fact, they were a great team all their own. They were actually familiar with the team's moves thanks to the co-captains Paige Seville and Hannah Morris, and had been together for two years working alongside one another so were familiar with each others' movements, strengths, and weaknesses. Even Christina Seville was keeping up, she had the least contact outside of school with the other girls yet her older sister had worked with her to get her ready for the season when they weren't working during the summer.

The girls tried to help Monica but she angrily told them off. Jaimie tried hard to help but when she learned from her mother that Jaimie was transgender Monica freaked out and tried to demand that she be kicked off the team. When Jaimie changed after practice Monica tossed her out of the bathroom while Jaimie was topless but was then physically tossed out by the other girls who refused to let her inside until Jaimie was done changing.

The lines were drawn, Monica on one side and the six on the other. Christina was in the middle, she knew the six but wasn't friends with them and hadn't liked what she was seeing from Monica either. She chose to go with her classmates rather than Monica, she knew them since kindergarten and had her own issues but Jaimie's gender change wasn't one of them. Even if she was a snob Christina wasn't a bigot nor was she a fool, Jaimie had too much to fight against.

At home, Monica complained about changing with Jaimie causing her mother to threaten the school on behalf of her daughter. Jake Bollinger grinned and pointed to the school district's policies and had Shawn Xavier, the school's athletic director, point out that she had every right to participate including changing as she was no harm to the girls while Monica's complaints were actually out of line and borderline offensive. Facing backlash that would ruin her chances at the presidency Jeanie was forced to back down, Monica was on her own.

Monica tried everything possible to get Jaimie booted from the team. She sent an email to the football coach to get him to cause the guys to do something about Jaimie not realizing that she had caused him to fall into a trap Shawn had set up for the man. She watched in shock as the man was fired right in front of her eyes, with Hannah and Paige eyeing Monica knowing that she was actually the one responsible for his firing.

Things got worse for her as she saw the new football coach. She tried to talk with him after the practice the next day only to be told that he would see to it that her father knew exactly what she was doing to a girl her father owed his personal fortune. Sean Beretta wasn't fooling around, he had met Shea Porter and knew him to be an honorable man but distant from his family because of a nasty divorce from his wife.

Monica's father had been a great engineer who had earned millions building up his manufacturing business before selling out to a large conglomerate. He still held multiple patents on products that were licensed by various companies earning him a steady income that was enough to retire on. When he caught his wife in bed with a young rival he sued for divorce but had a protracted battle as Jeanie went for his patents and savings.

The judge knew the man Jeanie was sleeping with and ruled in Jeanie's favor despite their prenuptial agreement. He went one step further and stripped him of his rights to see his children causing him to become reclusive and angry. He loved his kids but hated seeing them become just like their mother.

Jeanie added further insult by getting awarded their former condo and making Shea move out immediately. Shea tried to fight to see the kids multiple times but neither wanted to see him again thanks to their mother's lies and courtroom antics with the judge. This resulted in Monica becoming her mother's daughter and her sister Rosalind barely knowing their father.

Jeanie couldn't counter Sean's threats as he knew a young lawyer named Ricardo Ramirez who was itching to battle for Shea. Sean, in fact, had her backed into a corner as the school department wouldn't go against John Finn or Jake Bollinger nor would they overrule Shawn's contract with the man. He was clearly in violation and no matter how much Jeanie pleaded and threatened they couldn't change the outcome.

Monica was forced to deal with Jaimie directly, making the two into teammates while Monica plotted a way to get rid of Jaimie. Jaimie simply treated her as a normal person, albeit at arm's length and was never alone with Monica due to the others not trusting her. The six others wouldn't let that happen, even if she wasn't her friend Christina could tell that Monica was going to harm Jaimie if she felt angry enough. As vain as she was, Christina was still her teammate and classmate.

Since the start of practices the only person who would deal with Monica was Christina Seville. She was fast becoming a friend to Monica but who was actually seen by Monica as her ticket to getting Jaimie off the team. In Monica's mind, with her sister Paige being co-captain the sisters could get the other members of the team to book Jaimie even if it meant the other five went with her.

Christina though started to change as August wore on. Jaimie and the others split into groups with Monica being forced to work with the older teammates as she learned the routines from the members of the team that didn't need refreshers. She was terrible, but she was good enough to serve as a base for their pyramid and do some simple arm movements and crowd noise generating cheers that weren't too complex.

As school started the two ladies fought one another with Christina growing frustrated by Monica badgering her to get at Jaimie. The second day of school Christina finally snapped, telling Monica off before going home early in tears. Monica was chastised by the team, earning her an angry snub by everyone and warning from Hannah to back off or she was off the team.

Monica stewed over the actions of the team. As the week wore on she saw Christina changing her tune and becoming a different person from the brat she had been to being a lot more like the Finn ladies. By the start of the next week, she was unrecognizable and had started to get the six to accept her as one of them while abandoning Monica. Jaimie was the first to embrace the new Christina, with Courtney, Stacy, and Jessica Nelson following suit.

Monica though tried to sow seeds of doubt in the girls, having Jenna Connors and Claire Peterson act as her proxies by subtly making them think it was all an act. During the football game they had their chance to knock the new Christina down but instead saw them embracing her and befriending her after Monica had gotten them to say something to cause her to break down. Jaimie was all smiles as the girls hugged and saw the seven form their own group within the cheerleaders leaving Monica all alone now.

Monday Monica was outraged. She kept complaining to the others about Jaimie which led to her being warned by Hannah and Paige. Monica tried to retaliate by going behind their backs to the coach and the other cheerleaders but was kicked off the team by Hannah with Paige concurring, they wouldn't let her act out against a teammate for no reason except petty jealousy and bigotry especially as Jaimie had done more to help the team come together than Monica had done.

She was shunned by the girls and through them, the school started to snub her and spread rumors about why she wasn't on the team anymore. It was even worse as Christina had been the closest she had to a friend. Monica tried to appeal to this friendship but Christina countered with how little Monica had actually done as a friend and how much she had actually done to show she was just using Christina to get at Jaimie.

This new Christina was full of energy. Monica learned it was thanks to the issues at the Labor Day cookout the team had and Monica missed out on because she had purposely been left out of. Her insistence on blaming Jaimie was laughed at, everyone knew Jaimie was innocent and the real reason was Monica being jealous of Jaimie's and the girls' friendships that Monica could never match.

Her only solace was that she could get revenge without them knowing it. She had a long talk with Mrs. Nunez, the Spanish teacher, about Miles Arnold and the Finn Family and the lack of actual work they were doing. She alleged that Miles was getting help from them and not doing his own work as she had seen them doing it for him before practice.

Mrs. Nunez didn't know that she wasn't on the cheerleading team anymore, she believed the lies and was hostile towards Miles in class allowing Monica to sit back and watch the fun. It was a small victory, but it was one that worked for her. Should Mrs. Nunez try to retaliate against her Monica simply told her mother and got Mrs. Nunez to back down or she wouldn't support her against John and Jake when they sought to have her fired.

When her plan to discredit Miles and the others didn't work quick enough she started to plant rumors about the group but unfortunately for her got caught by Paige and Hannah. The duo was blunt and to the point: stop the rumors or have a miserable time in school. Monica gave in, their confrontation was in front of the entire school and caught the gaze of Jake making what she did after that subject to examination by him and putting a target on her back that her mother couldn't remove easily.

No matter what she tried to do after that people ignored her. She had to endure weeks of scorn from the students and close scrutiny from the teachers. It didn't help that the boys were normally all over her causing the teachers to separate her from them and making her have to do her own work during class.

Ms. Paula, her geography teacher, was the worst teacher at doing that. Monica had boys all over her and did all of her homework for her. During tests, she got answers handed to her via cheatsheets and subtle movements but it didn't fully work, she had to actually study several times or risk failing.

At least she had some satisfaction. Mrs. Nunez was making Miles miserable which was affecting the other Finns especially Jaimie. Miles hid his troubles but Jaimie and her brother Michael worked through the troubles yet the more they worked with him the less Mrs. Nunez thought he did the work hurting Miles' reputation with her.

On Halloween, Monica became the laughingstock of the school as she had to wear spare clothes the school kept on hand because she came to school dressed as a princess. The rules for the school were clear, only seniors could dress up but she ignored them in favor of trying to play her mother against them. It got worse as John Finn filled in for Ms. Paula for the day and sent her to the locker room to change, with Jake having his secretary ensure she actually followed the rule while she explained that her mother didn't dictate the school rules- Jake did.

Humiliated but not beaten, her next strike came at the school dance that evening where she got a boy to try to break up Christina and Miles. She promised him sex but had no intention of ever giving it up to him, he was just a tool to be used by her and he didn't have a way of making her pay up afterward. The plot failed badly and the boy tried to take payment but instead got run out of the dance by the school police officer allowing her to get out of payment. He got his revenge by going after Miles and ended up in jail because of that.

Ms. Paula was out the following Monday making John cover again, only this time Monica's antics failed again as she was caught cheating by him red-handed as he had her show her hand and removed the notes she was hiding in her palm. The boy that passed them confessed that he wrote them out for her and got detention while Monica received a week's in-school suspension.

Sean Beretta was covering it. He was blunt with her, she was on thin ice and was facing harsh penalties that her mother couldn't counter and actually faced expulsion if she tried her cheating trick again. He was not happy that she was abusing her mother's job to get away with her activities and swore that he'd personally see to it that her mother was fired if she used her mother that way again.

That wasn't the worst of her punishment for cheating. She was forced to sit down with Ms. Paula, John, and Jake and undergo testing to see if she actually belonged in her advanced geography class. It was horrible for Monica as she struggled with the most basic concepts and definitions and got every question wrong. It was even worse when she found out that it was a basic test that the remedial students had taken the week before and that she should have easily passed.

Ms. Paula shook her head and silently cursed herself over missing the whole thing. Jake looked over the results and consulted with his secretary as well as the heads of the science, language, math, and English departments to see if she was doing the same in other classes. The results were similar for all but one class.

Beth Helena explained that the reason for her not coasting by on the work of others in Spanish was that it was impossible to fake as she had to actively participate in the verbal lessons and writing. Being a freshman who hadn't studied the language before it was not surprising that she was having a bit of trouble in some places but doing better in others. Each student in the class was at a different level of comprehension so far and she was no different than any others albeit she was running about a "C" average for the class instead of the "A" that she had been tentatively given by Mrs. Nunez.

Ms. Paula examined Monica's work for geography, then the work of several boys around her and found they had done all the work for her at some point. It wasn't a one-time thing, Monica had cheated since the start of the year and coasted by with nobody noticing. As group work was encouraged she hadn't noticed it but given multiple boys were being used by Monica it was seen as cheating instead of working together, she hadn't done any actual work according to her notes and papers but as it was encouraged they couldn't directly discipline her for it.

Monica got off with being removed from the advanced classes and placed in the remedial classes until she was able to show she didn't belong there. She was stuck with boys and girls who were trying hard to get out of the classes which led to her being ridiculed by her classmates the next day. John took no pride in telling her mother, Jeanie couldn't change what was being done as her daughter had been caught in the act and escaped harsher punishments than she truly deserved.

At home, she blamed it all on Jaimie and the girls. Jeanie calmly told her to shut up or she'd end up expelled and there wasn't anything she could do to save her. Jeanie was more upset that it reflected badly on her, the teachers at the elementary school gave her cold stares and whispered behind her back about her daughter cheating and brought up allegations that she had coasted along thanks to her mother's influence. It was partly true, she had used her sex appeal and hormone driven boys and girls instead of her mother back in middle school to get ahead.

The nine Finn girls became central figures in the school as time went on. Monica loathed them and complained to anyone who would listen about them. The boys were only interested in her sexually and gave her an ear but were busy ogling her barely within limits tight clothes than what Monica actually had to say to them.

She saw the seven dating boys and openly complained about Jaimie and Richard Samuels dating. She wanted Richard for herself, he didn't deserve to date the tranny freak. She spread rumors about Jaimie secretly being a boy in a dress with fake breasts and only dating Richard to hide Jaimie being gay but nobody believed her. Anyone who spread the rumor was stopped cold by Hannah and Paige who happily explained why it was both wrong and incredibly stupid while getting the school to laugh at her again.

In January Monica and her cluster started physical education and she was upset that she had to share the locker room with Jaimie and her friends. Her classmates didn't give a damn, all of them had been around her long enough to have seen the little bump in her panties multiple times and didn't really care as it never got larger and Jaimie never made a move on anyone except Richard. This was the first time Monica had been forced to actually change with her though, she refused to dress with her in the room before but now she had no choice.

Monica freaked out at the end of class as they were changing again and saw the telltale little bump in Jaimie's panties. She tossed Jaimie out into the hallway and was screaming at her. She was about to strip her of her last remaining clothes when she was stopped by her classmates.

The gym teachers were quick to remove Monica, getting her suspended for a week while getting her another week of in-school suspension. Her mother tried to get the suspension lifted but it didn't work, Valerie Finn intervened on Jaimie's behalf and refused to let her daughter's assailant get off easy when Jaimie now had a pattern of harassment documented against her by Monica.

Monica was lucky to avoid a longer suspension, Jake had managed to calm Valerie down enough to agree to a week at home and a week in-school suspensions while also having Monica put on disciplinary probation. She wouldn't let Monica strike again without it being either jail or expulsion, and it would lead directly to a lawsuit against Jeanie and Monica.

Monica could see the look of contempt and annoyance on everyone's face as she returned a week later. Hannah and Paige had let it be known that Monica was transphobic and was on her last legs at the school. Monica had to endure the talk behind her back and the whispers in the hallway and during class, it was torture for her but for once nobody was going to help her out as she had gone too far.

Jaimie took Monica's actions in stride. She knew about Monica's connection to Mr. Poland. In her mind, it wasn't much of a stretch to think that his bigoted mindset rubbed off on her. Her mother wasn't much better either, at least according to Jake and John.

Monica was able to keep her out of trouble the rest of the year but never made it back into the advanced classes. She barely made it out of the remedial classes, she was on the level of the regular classes but slightly below them academically. She'd need to work harder the next or she could kiss any college goodbye.

That spring Shea had gotten a hearing in front of the replacement for the judge who had overseen his divorce and who ruled against him in the custody issue. Judge Martha Perez read the transcripts of the custody case and laughed at the sheer idiocy of her former colleague. She offered a scathing review of the case which added fuel to the judge's already heated removal debate, Ricardo Ramirez and Sean had fought the man and won but Judge Perez ensured that he received his just desserts in having him removed in public disgrace.

Monica hated having to be forced to visit her father. Her sister was no better as the bitter divorce still lingered. Shea tried but it was a lost cause with Monica while Rosalind barely acknowledged him. Shea ensured that his daughter was kept busy but kept away from Jaimie the following year, she didn't deserve the crap Monica was giving her and he actually enjoyed that Jaimie was making the school into a place that was worth attending instead of the playground for privileged that Monica believed it to be.

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