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Three

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Shopping for the dress went horribly wrong. Audrey anticipated getting in and getting out of the store, but her mother was so insistent on finding the perfect dress, that she dragged Audrey around for more than two hours. Audrey had shopping on her favorite things to do list, but when it was with her own mother, it was far, far down on the list. She had to listen to her mother complain, and have her mother trying to get the dress she wanted. She even tried to get a purple, glittered dress on Audrey—a color that made Audrey throw up in her mouth a bit at the sight of it. It wasn't her much loved color.

They finally agreed on a glittered black dress that was gorgeous in Audrey's eyes, but 'okay' with her mother. The back was gone, only two straps running across her back as she tried it on, a built in bra pushing up her bosom.

Audrey tossed her new bathing suit on her made bed, her choice being a navy blue two-piece with floral patterns decorating the suit. She ran a hand over her stomach as she heard it growl, a bit of pain following afterwards as she groaned, bending down to grab her back pack. She was hungry, and she had to head to Oliver's place to study for their test.

'I could always eat a little over there…'


--

"Wow…you seem," he paused briefly, watching as the redhead basically attacked the bowl of ramen noodles, "hungry."

She nodded, unintentionally slurping as she lifted her gaze to him across the table. She had arrived at the tiny apartment, full of smiles as he opened the door, the two of them alone. She glanced around as she entered, a couch, recliner, and a small table with chairs in the living room. No pictures littered the walls, but one picture was placed on the table of Oliver and Tally smiling with their faces side by side. She was currently nowhere to be seen, which disappointed Audrey a bit, wanting to meet his sister. She continued to let her eyes roam, finding no evidence of his parents living with him.

Oliver eyed Audrey, her loosely curled hair thrown into two high pigtailed messy buns. She was wearing a yellow sundress—a color she looked amazing in, he noted—with a small jean jacket thrown over. His eyes fell to the bowl he had gotten for her, "I can take that when you're done—unless you want more?" He had combined two packs of noodles when he made her something to eat, so certainly she wouldn't—

"Can I have more?" She asked with a little smile, "I can make it this time. After I'm done, we can hit the books."

"Sounds like a plan-"

"Oli, I'm home from work," his sister mumbled as she opened the door, closing it quietly as she slipped her sneakers off, her blue eyes darting to the unfamiliar redhead in her apartment. Without question, a smile bounced onto her face when she remembered what Oliver had mentioned about a friend. "Ohhh, so this is your friend?" Oliver groaned inwardly, staring down his sister and giving her the look not to say a thing. He wanted her to go into her room, or just pretend that they weren't there.

His eyes narrowed when she neared them, the smile never falling from her face. "I'm Tally," she introduced, holding out her hand. Audrey shook, introducing herself as well. "You're a beautiful girl—Oli didn't bother telling me anything about you, or what you looked like." Before Audrey could thank her, Tally continued, "Are you done?"

"She wanted more—"

Tally interrupted Oliver, "Then I can make more for you," she spoke, taking the bowl from Audrey. Audrey opened her mouth to protest, but she was ignored, hearing something about being a guest as Tally left the two of them alone. Her green eyes flew back to Oliver after watching Tally walk away, "She seems really nice."

'That's what she wants you to think.' He merely shrugged.

"When are your parents coming home?"

He should've known she was going to ask since he made up the lie of even having parents around. Tally beat him to the answer, peeking out from the kitchen with a raised brow, "Dad is remarried and living with his wife and new kids. I didn't want to live with him, so I got a place of my own and decided to take care of Oli myself. Our mum, however, walked out on us when Oli was eight."

Oliver gave Audrey a self-conscious smile when her eyes met his.


--

"I kept telling myself, Audrey, don't say anything, Audrey—"

"It's alright," he murmured, sitting down with her on his bed as he opened his Chemistry book, removing folded pieces of paper that he stuffed inside. "You were bound to find out sooner or later, right?"

"I know, but…"

"I didn't mean to lie, but telling people that my mum walked out on us isn't something I like revealing," he replied as his eyes drifted down the page, mainly giving attention to the bolded words of vocabulary.

Audrey nodded slowly and opened her book as well, deciding to drop the topic, trying to focus on Chemistry, but she couldn't help but ask herself a few questions. His blue eyes looked at her from the corner of his eyes, the corner of his mouth twitching upwards into an amused grin as he watched her brows furrow. He could easily read her.

"Curious about anything?"

"I—"

"Feel free to ask," he offered gently, "it's alright."

"Really? It's okay?"

"Perfectly fine."

"Are you sure—"

He let out a sigh. "Audrey, I'm sure."

"Okay, sorry." She held onto her book, "Do you know where she is?"

He shook his head, closing his eyes for a short time, as his voice softened, "No clue." Audrey stared at him, a blush sneaking onto her cheeks as his voice unpredictably sent a chill down her spine. "One morning, she just…wasn't there anymore. For a few months, I ran home from school to see if she was finally home, or I would wait for her phone calls and every time the thing rang, I would get hopeful. The hope died down, and soon enough, Tally and my dad never mentioned her ever again."

"…I'm sorry."

He gave her a true smile, "Hey, don't feel sorry for me. I was eight, and I'm over it. I have my sister."

"But I'm sure that you must…wonder sometimes, why she left in the first place. No one likes unanswered questions."

For a split second, his smile fell from his face as she spoke factual words. He never wanted to admit that at times, his mother did enter his thoughts before he fell asleep at night. "But enough about that—what about your dad? Can I ask about him?"

"Yes…hmm, my dad. We don't talk much, because we never really had a close relationship. His new wife, I don't know her well, but she seems nice, and she constantly wants to be in my life, but I'm not too interested."

"I can understand that."

"You can?"

She laughed a bit, "My dad got remarried too. I'm sure his new wife is nice…I guess, but I get jealous knowing that he has a new woman in his life—and at first, it upset me that he didn't love my mom anymore, but I'm old enough to see why she would drive him away the way she did."

"Oh?"

"She's not the nicest person in the world, and she's very shallow."

"Sounds like your complete opposite," he teased lightly, nudging her arm. "You know who else seems like your opposite—that steroid popping boyfriend of yours."

She gasped lightly, "Don't say that!"

He grinned, "Emma told me—is it true?"

She smacked at his shoulder, "Yea—I mean, he did take steroids, but he stopped taking them when his parents found out."

"I see. How did you two get together anyway?"

"I met him through Emma two years ago—you know, we're not really getting anywhere with this 'studying'," she told him with a smile, "even if I did enjoy getting to know you a bit better."

"Okay, let's get started then."

"Oh," she started softly as she glanced around his room, her eyes landing on two guitars positioned against his poster-covered wall of musicians, "another question, Oli."

The nickname slipped, Oliver noticed, but he didn't say anything about it. Coming from her, he liked the way his name sounded when she spoke it. "Does it have anything to do with Chem?"

"No."

"I thought we were cracking down on studying!"

She laughed, "Okay, just a quick question that doesn't relate to Chem, and then it's all Chem from then on."

"I suppose."

Her smile got smaller, and her green eyes softened considerably, a hint of sadness flashing through her eyes. "…Is it okay if I come over whenever I need someone to talk to?"

"That someone being me?"

She rolled her eyes, "Of course. You're a good listener and I'm sure that you won't run around telling people things I share with you."

"I don't have many people to run to and tell your business anyway."

"You're not very…talkative with people at school."

"I don't care too much to make many friends. It has been that way my whole life, I think."

"Doesn't it get a little lonely?"

He rested his chin on the palm of his hand, glancing at her one last time before looking back to his Chemistry book, "I'm content."


--

Emma rested her hands on her slim waist, her mini skirt grabbing attention by the many guys' that passed her. It was surely against the school dress code, but she never cared and ignored the principal whenever he had something to say about what she wore. She whistled, glancing over at her redheaded friend that was currently searching through her messy locker. Audrey looked over her shoulder when she heard the whistle, "Someone new catch your eye?"

"Definitely. That Oliver Storm is just too cute for words."

Audrey lost her smile quickly, but forced another onto her face, "Don't tell me you're planning to sink your claws into him."

"Why? Want him for yourself?" She asked dryly, covering her arms over her chest as her brown eyes traveled back to Oliver, watching as he pulled a notebook from his locker.

She stood up, closing her locker and pulling the strap of her purse onto her shoulder. "That's not funny, you know I'm with Logan…and you know he'd beat the shit out of any guy I left him for."

"Logan wouldn't give you up too easily either. That guy is crazy about you…"

Audrey didn't bother to reply, walking with Emma to their next class that they had together, "You're coming to the pageant, right?"

Emma nodded.

"Oli will be there."

Emma grinned, "Perfect opportunity for us to get to know each other a bit better. He never talks to me unless you bring him around." Audrey sighed inwardly, knowing what Emma planned on doing. When she was interested in a guy, she simply slept with them and ditched them for another once she got bored. She was like a playboy…only people dubbed her as the school whore instead. As they both passed Oliver in the hall, Audrey smiled and waved, the both of them forgetting that Emma was there between them.


--

Audrey cringed as she left the bathroom in the empty hall, trying to ignore the fact that another girl was currently throwing up in one of the stalls. She hurried down the hall, her black hells clicking, but she quickly came to a stop when Oliver rounded the corner, surprise appearing on both of their faces. Audrey smiled, "Oli! What're you doing wandering around? Didn't you already get your seat?"

His blue eyes made a quick scan of her body, "I did—Emma is saving it for me. I just wanted to come and tell you good luck. I didn't get a chance to before."

"And you totally ruined the surprise of me walking out on stage in this dress," she pointed out, "I didn't want any friends to see it before the pageant."

"You make it sound like there's a wedding going on." His eyes darted to the girl that came walking out of the bathroom, giving the both of them a quick smile before she hurried away herself. He smiled slightly at Audrey, "Just don't trip."

"That's comforting."

"I'm sure you'll do just fine. Your mum is in the crowd, isn't she?"

She sighed, tilting her head, curls falling over her bare shoulders, "She is. Thanks…a lot, for wishing me good luck. She didn't even take the time to say 'good luck' or 'break a leg'. All she could say is 'suck it in when you walk' and 'damn that hair stylist'. Apparently, she hates the way my hair is. She wanted more done to it."

Oliver looked over her tightly curled hair, a glittered black butterfly clipping back a few curls above her right ear, and to him, nothing was wrong with her hair. He took his time looking over her figure in her dress, clearing his throat and wanting to smack himself for letting his thoughts drift off to her soft curves that the skin hugging dress outlined. A crooked smile appeared on his boyish face, his hands reaching out to rest on her upper arms, "If it matters any, I think you look amazing, and none of these girls compare."

She blinked once in surprise, staring at him for a moment before letting out a laugh, "You don't even know what the other girls look like."

"No, but just go along with what I said." He removed his hands from her arms, backing away from her towards the doors that held all of the people waiting for the pageant to start, "I have to get back. Look for me in the audience."

Her eyes followed him out the doors and the moment he was out of sight, her cheeks caught on fire and butterflies attacked her stomach.


--

Emma watched as a brunette struck a pose in front of the judging panel, her bright white teeth shining for everyone to see in the audience. She sighed softly under her breath, crossing her legs as she turned her attention to the boy next to her. "So, what're you doing this weekend?"

"Hm? Oh…nothing really. Just sitting at home."

"That sounds a little boring."

He glanced at her, finding sitting at home and playing his guitar plenty of fun. He spent his time doing something he enjoyed, so it was far from 'a little boring'. "Why do you ask?"

"There's this kickass party happening, and anyone is invited, so I'm inviting you since I'm positive that Audrey forgot to mention it. She forgets things every now and then."

He would say no, if it weren't for her mentioning Audrey, "I'll think about it. I haven't been to a party yet."

"It'll be really fun! Trust me." They both glanced towards the stage when another girl came out on the stage, plastering a fake smile onto her face that was covered with thick make-up. Oliver cringed slightly before looking at Emma.

"You come to a lot of these pageant thingies?"

"Whenever Audrey bothers me to come and cheer her on," she replied, a bored expression coming onto her face. She didn't want to talk about Audrey, she wanted to flirt and talk about other things. She pointed out Audrey's mother when Oliver asked, "She's a true bitch and she treats Audrey like she's some type of puppet that she can dress pretty and pull the strings whenever she wants to." She sighed, running her fingers through her brown hair; "But Audrey makes things harder on herself. She likes to talk back to her mom most of the time, and in return, her mom just gets bitchier and more strict with Audrey."

"More strict?"

"You know, giving less food to Audrey. She wants Audrey to be skinny always, so she can always win and get far in life or something lame like that. Last year, she put Audrey on this cottage cheese only diet. Gag me. I can't imagine eating the same thing three times a day, every day."

"…And her dad doesn't do anything about it?"

"Audrey doesn't tell anybody. She even fainted at school in the beginning of the year, and she told the nurse that it was because she wasn't getting much sleep. Total lie. Her mom was only giving her salad and water like…once or twice a day." She shrugged, "But oh well, what can we do, you know? It's Audrey's business, and she needs to take control of things. She can be such a pushover, but enough about Audrey, let's talk about something else."

Oliver raised a brow, taking a sip of his energy drink as he eyed the brunette. For a best friend, she didn't seem too caring for Audrey and she came off as a bitch herself. His eyes went back to the stage, a smile coming onto his face when a familiar redhead entered onto the stage. A smile was plastered onto her face as well, but it without delay turned into a real smile when she scanned the large audience and found Oliver sitting next to Emma.

He returned the smile without hesitation, oblivious to the brunette next to him that was staring him down with a small frown. Emma's blue eyes drifted back to Audrey when the two of them smiled at each other, and her frown deepened.

'Bullshit that they're 'just friends' and they only see each other as friends,' she thought coldly, crossing her arms as she returned her gaze to Audrey, a small smile coming onto her lips. 'I think Logan will need to know about the obvious attraction between the two.'


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Thanks for the awesome reviews! Sorry for any grammar mistakes in this chapter. If you see anything, let me know, and I'll go and edit it when I get the chance to. Also, if you're reading any of my other stories that are somewhat collecting dust, don't worry, I'll update those stories whenever I get past this writers block that I have with them. Kay? Feel free to ask any questions about characters and such.

As always, reviews are appreciated :)

Q: did Logan do something to Audrey, and will we find out what?

A: yes, and yes.

Q: how old is everyone so far?

A: Audrey is sixteen, same as Oliver, except he turns seventeen before her. Logan and Emma are seventeen, and Tally is twenty-two.