Key:

Dialogue: "Blah"

Thoughts: Blah

A/N: Here I am listening to "45" – by Shinedown and I got inspired to write. Sorry this is so late, once again, but it can't be helped. I'm a slow writer, but I hope this story is worth the wait. Thanks for the reviews, keep them coming please!

Chapter 3

So far Lauren's first day back to school wasn't going good at all. She had to deal with the whispers, the rumors, some of her friends wouldn't even talk to her! The rumor she hated the most was the one saying she hit Michael on purpose because he had given her AIDS! Where anyone ever got that was beyond her, she hadn't even ever slept with him. Lauren wasn't a virgin, but she was NOT a whore! She had no diseases and no infections, so that rumor annoyed her, the part where she had hit him on purpose hurt her though...she hadn't and she wished people would believe her.

All day, every time she walked into a classroom the whispers would start, did they think she couldn't hear them? The popular girls were the worst, they spread rumors about her as it was, but this time they were just nasty. Sometimes she wished assault was legal.

The day dragged on and her thoughts ran miles faster than the seconds the clock ticked by. I haven't seen Michael again since this morning...I need to talk with him, at the same time I can't. He doesn't hate me but yet he's pissed at me. Men say us women are confusing, have the heard themselves lately?

I need to get out of here, Lauren turned to look at the clock, she was in her last class of the day. English 11 CP. There was ten more minutes of class, How had the time gone by so fast? I didn't hear a thing the teacher said the whole time.

She sighed as she turned to listen to the last bits of her teachers lecture. All her teachers had given her massive amounts of work to make-up. After the work was done she had to set up dates with them to make up tests and quizzes. Don't they have hearts? Can't they see she is injured and mentally distressed? Lauren hated teachers. All except for one, her history teacher. He was a little Irish man by the name of Rodney Keenan. She adored his accent and thought he was hilarious. All you had to do to bribe the guy was buy him Reese's peanut butter cups. No that she would bribe a teacher, oh no, Lauren was a good girl. At least that's what she told herself.

"Ms. Cole?" Lauren blinked...oops she had spaced out again. Her teacher was glaring at her and the whole class had turned in their seats to stare at her, nosy bastards.

"Yes?" Lauren glared right back at the old hag, she hated her English teacher the most. If she wasn't correcting everything that came out of your mouth then she was bitching at you for not talking. Why would you want to when all she does is correct your grammar? We're teenagers lady, get over it. None of us use proper grammar.

"Were you paying attention? You don't have much right to not be seeings how you were out for so long." Her nostrils had flared, if there's one thing her teacher hated it was when you were out for a long time, you could be dying and she'd still yell at you for it.

"I was out because I was in the hospital. I'll get all my make-up work done, so don't patronize me lady." Ooh, that had made her mad.

"Excuse me young lady? I think you need to step outside the door and stay there for the rest of class." Of course, the lady had no sympathy for anyone but herself, so here Lauren was with a cast and crutches and she was going to make her stand outside the door. Lauren hated her.

"Whatever." Lauren picked herself up, grabbing the crutches she fit them under her arms, picked up her stuff, and walked out slamming the door as she went. The class hadn't stopped staring at her the whole freakin' time.

xxx

Lauren had had to wait for Jessi an extra ten minutes after school; she had been busy making out with her boyfriend in the middle of one of the empty hallways. When Jessi had gotten outside she apologized, asked why she hadn't gotten the car keys from her, and then helped Lauren get in her tiny purple car.

"So how was the first day back?" Jessi asked as she waited at a traffic light.

"Horrible." Lauren grunted, she didn't feel like talking about it. Best friend or not.

"I see..." Jessi stopped talking then, not knowing what to say to Lauren. It was pointless for her to even try when Lauren was like that anyway and Jessi knew that. So they drove home, once again, in silence.

Jessi dropped Lauren off quickly, saying she'd be there the same time tomorrow morning. Lauren was tempted to tell her just to forget it, that she never wanted to go back there again. School wasn't fun anymore, now it was hell. But Lauren said nothing, just waved and walked into her house.

No one was home yet and wouldn't be for a few hours. Normally Lauren would need to do chores around this time, but her mom had decided to let her get away with not doing them until her cast came off. Lauren threw her bag into an empty kitchen chair and then went hobbling around her pantry for food. She didn't eat at school, hating the lunches there. All processed frozen foods, not her idea of a healthy meal.

She made herself a ham sandwich with nothing but cheese on it. She didn't get why people thought she was weird for not liking mayonnaise or ketchup. Lauren hated everything like that. They smelt horrible, how could anyone stand eating them?

Lauren sighed, she'd been doing a lot of that lately, and slowly ate her sandwich, wishing everything could be alright again.

xxx

That night Lauren decided everything would be much easier if the excuse, 'my dog ate my homework,' was a good way to get out of doing homework. The funny thing was that she could feed her homework to her husky, she'd eat it. The dog had a strange fixation on paper. She would eat anything made of the stuff, including about 3 rolls of their toilet paper a week. But Lauren decided that wouldn't be the greatest idea. Her mom would catch her and then it'd be all over. Not to mention the evil homework paper with it's ugly ink words on them would probably make the poor dog sick. So there she sat, with the piles of make-up work in front of her. She had lots of time to do it, but between this and the homework she got every night she wouldn't be doing much besides work for the next couple of weeks.

She was at her old oak desk that was kept in a corner of her room, her stereo played softly in the background, the song had switched to one of her favorites. It matched her mood so perfectly that Lauren wanted to cry, but all she did was sing softly with it as her eyes closed shut slowly.

Send away for a priceless gift

One not subtle, one not on the list

Send away for a perfect world

One not simply, so absurd

In these times of doing what you're told

You keep these feelings, no one knows

Whatever happened to the young man's heart?

Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart.

She took a breath in as the chorus to the song came, her favorite part.

And I'm staring down the barrel of a 45, (45)

Swimming through the ashes of another life, (another life)

No real reason to accept the way things have changed

Staring down the barrel of a 45.

Her voice had grown in volume and she hadn't heard or seen the person standing in her door-way, just watching her. Thinking how beautiful she was, how amazing her voice was, how powerful and emotional she sounded. She didn't even hear as the person started to sing with her.

Send a message to the unborn child

Keep your eyes open for a while

In a box high up on the self, left for you, on one else

There's a piece of a puzzle known as life

Wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight.

What ever happened to the young man's heart?

Swallowed by pain, he slowly fell apart.

As Lauren started to cry the person took his first steps into her room. Walking quietly and still singing with her. He saw her tense, knowing he was there finally. But she didn't stop singing so neither did he.

And I'm staring down the barrel of a 45, (45)

Swimming through the ashes of another life, (another life)

No real reason to accept the way things have changed

Staring down the barrel of a 45.

Lauren's voice grew even more powerful as his did, he watched as she turned and stared at him. Even though tears raced down her cheeks she still sounded and looked amazing. Her voice never cracked, and it kept perfect tune as she got lost within his eyes.

Everyone's pointing their fingers

Always condemning me

And nobody knows what I believe

I believe

And I'm staring down the barrel of a 45, (45)

Swimming through the ashes of another, (another life)

No real reason to accept the way things have changed

Staring down the barrel of a 45

45

Staring down the barrel of a 45...

The song ended and they watched each other stop singing. Finally Lauren stood, walking until she was directly in front of him, "Why?"

Even through the whole song, her voice hadn't cracked once, but asking that simple question had completely broken it. There standing and looking down at her, as he contemplated what to say to her, was Michael. After school had ended that day he had realized that what he had said to her was wrong. She was suffering a lot more than he was, he may have been in physical pain, but she had to suffer with both. Her mental anguish came from more than one reason and he had not helped ease her pain at all. So he was there to do just that, to tell her he was sorry, that he missed her more than anything, and to say his feelings. But perhaps that should wait, she had enough on her mind.

He was just going to come right out and tell her then leave, but he had seen her sitting at her old desk, singing so wonderfully, that all his thoughts left as he began to sing with her. Almost like an invisible force had made him sing, it had been coaxed out of his throat. Michael played guitar and he could sing pretty well too, but never in front of anyone. But something had changed that today, perhaps the song, or maybe because Lauren was just so amazing. He didn't know, all he knew was that he had no answer to her question anymore, besides on thing.

He grabbed her shoulders roughly and pulled her into a bruising, powerful, passionate, kiss. It was smashed lips and teeth, but oh so good at the same time. Lauren's eyes were the size of saucers and her knees had gone weak. As he pulled away to allow air to return to their lungs he had to grab her as her legs gave out and she almost collapsed to the hard wood floor.

Her hair hung in her face and the fading sunlight played across her cheeks as she stared up into his eyes, unable to form words. He hefted her up until she was safe to stand on her own again, looked away, and before she could grab him so he wouldn't go, he ran from her room, down the stairs and out her front door. Lauren heard her mom call out good bye to him as she stared out her window, watching as he also ran down their little suburban street.

Was it really that horrible?

xxx

Mike slammed his bedroom door shut as his mother called out questions to him. He heard none of them as he raced to his desk so he could sit instead of collapsing to the floor. What had he just done? Not only did he kiss her but he ran, literally, afterwards.

No, this wasn't how it was supposed to work. I was supposed to be all romantic and suave, 'Lauren, I've loved you for the longest time and if you feel the same way I was hoping you'd be with me?' No!! I'm so stupid! How could I have done this?

Michael's thoughts were out of control, he needed to calm down, he's breathing was far too fast, as was his heart rate. As he took in slow deep breaths to calm himself he replayed the scene over and over and over. He felt embarrassed and lousy.

She's going to hate me.

xxx

Lauren didn't sleep that night, she sat and stared out of the window her bed was next to. She wrote in her journal and listened to her ipod. She did everything but sleep and when morning rolled around she still wasn't tired. She left for school with a smile on her face and talked with Jessi the whole way there. Her life in a very small way had just gotten amazingly better.

End Chapter 3

A/N: So there you have it. Once again, I'm sorry this took so long but I will get right on working on chapter 4 and that should be up in a couple of days even, but no promises ok, haha.

Please review! They make me want to write more and I could really use ideas and advice on this, so pretty please be a bunch of sweet hearts and write me a review. Thanks!