Karen turned up the volume on my iPod as the white van rolled along the freeway. They were on our way to Yosemite. She knew joining the Adventure Club would pay off. She was getting tired of those damn beaches. They were over-crowded and she didn't really enjoy watching girls and boys eat each other while half naked.

She turned her dark purple eyes out the window while "The Click" blared. Even when they were a ways away from Yosemite, it was beautiful. The sky was a bright blue and showed through the thick canopy of the forest. These trees were huge and old, with the dark green of the evergreen leaf.

A guy tapped her shoulder and brought her out of my overly descriptive musings. She turned and yanked out one headphone. Darren. He was your typical nerd turned to gorgeous model-type complete with brilliant smile and shaggy hair. His brown hair was in his bright green eyes. He went through this transformation the summer leading up to junior year. But, during junior year, he dated up a storm and became the player that Inglewood High lacked. He was mean, arrogant, and a complete charmer to those high up on the social pyramid, which wasn't Karen. She didn't mind the arrogance so much, it just hasn't really bothered her much. But you'll find out why she thought his name like she wanted to murder him.

"Hey, Karen," he said in a whisper, "are you anorexic or bulimic? Cause my friends are wondering because it must be a great weight loss program." The girl next to him giggled and then he started kissing up her neck. She averted her eyes in disgust, turned up her iPod and stared out the window, a lone tear sliding down her cheek.

You see, in freshmen year Karen wasn't the skinniest thing. In fact, she was rather plump. She was teased about it constantly and in the summer she went to her uncle's ranch in Washington. She worked there, and even though she ate her aunts desserts and food as fast as the other farm hands, she lost a lot of weight. There was no library or computer so she spent all my time outside. She swam, rode horses, and just explored the countryside. She became skinny and when she returned to school, she caused quite a stir. Rumors floated around. "She got liposuction." "She's bulimic." "She's such a wannabe." Karen ignored them but when someone attacked her with the anorexic or bulimic comment directly, it hurt. Her sister died of anorexia.

She turned up the volume even higher as "My Paper Heart" turned on. She felt eyes on her and turned to see a junior looking at her. She turned the iPod down and asked, "Can I help you?"

Any other guy would've blushed in embarrassment but he just shrugged and said, "Darren seems to really hate you."

She shrugged, "He has too long of a memory."

The junior cocked his head and asked, "Of what?"

"He asked me out before he was… popular-afied. I accepted but then later told him, I couldn't because my grandma's funeral was on that day. He's hated me ever since." she said with a simple shrug.

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Darren's smirk gone and replaced with a venomous glare directed at her. She wasn't fazed. Death glares were overrated. She turned up the iPod again and tuned the world out. She slouched in her seat and leaned against the window panel and fell asleep.

Darren watched as Karen fell asleep against the window, breathing deeply. Her mouth was open slightly and the eyes that were such a dark violet were closed. Her dark brown hair let down and resting on her shoulders. He wouldn't be so cliché as to say that she looked peaceful and cute while she slept. She looked content. When she was awake, it was like she was in a constant struggle. Struggling to keep up her ten AP classes. Struggling to keep her social life, as small as it was. Struggling to keep away from all the peer pressure, which wasn't hard because she was, after all, a nerd. Her glasses were askew on her nose and his fingers twitched, almost wanted to adjust them. He snorted inwardly, she blew you off for that guy at the mall and lied about it. Don't get all romantic, Darren. He told himself firmly.

His eye started to burn. Damn contacts. He hoped they would arrive soon so he could change it. It was really bugging him. It hurt, a lot.

He shut his eye tightly, trying to ignore the pain. He didn't even notice Karen wake up and grope around the seat for her iPod. She jammed her elbow into his ribs and he hissed in pain.

"Oh! I'm so sorry! Are you okay? I'm so sorry!" she cried, shoving her iPod into the backpack she had. She looked at him carefully, "You're contacts are bugging you, aren't they?"

Darren was too miserable to snap back so he nodded. She rolled her eyes and pulled out some eye drop from her back pack. She gently removed his hand from my eye and said, "Open up."

He cautiously opened my eye and she dropped some eye drop into his eye and said, "Take it out."

He complied and the world became rather fuzzy, but his eye didn't hurt anymore. "Thanks," he said rather tersely, glad that most of the kids in the bus were asleep and couldn't witness his wussy moment.

She smiled sadly and nodded, pulling out her iPod and turning it on. He felt... guilty about his comment earlier. She was so kind. Maybe she didn't blow him off for that guy. But what else could she have been doing with him?

He reached over and removed the other headphone from her ear and stuck it into his ear. Darren was greeted by the sweat sound of Everything is Alright by Motion City Soundtrack.

Tell me that you're alright
yeah everything is alright.
oh please tell me that you're alright.
yeah everything is alright.

Give me a reason to end this discussion,
To break with tradition, to fold and divide.
'Cause I hate the ocean, theme parks and airplanes,
Talking with strangers, waiting in line.
I'm through with these pills that make me sit still.
Are you feeling fine?
Yes, I feel just fine.

Tell me that you're alright.
yeah everything is alright.
oh please tell me that you're alright.
yeah everything is alright.

I'm sick of the things I do when I'm nervous
Like cleaning the oven or checking my tires Or counting the number of tiles on the ceiling.
Head for the hills, the kitchen's on fire!

I used to rely on self-medication.
I guess I still do that from time to time.
But I'm getting better at fighting the future.
Someday you'll be fine.
Yes, I'll be just fine.

Tell me that you're alright.
yeah everything is alright.
oh please tell me that you're alright.
yeah everything is alright.

Give me a reason
(I don't believe a word)
To end this discussion
(Of anything I heard)
To break with tradition
(They tell me that its not so hard)
to fold and divide
(It's not so hard)
So let's not get carried
(Away with everything)
Away with the process
(From Here to in-between)
of elimination
(The long Goodbyes)
I don't want to waste your time.

Tell me that you're alright.
yeah everything is alright.
oh please tell me that you're alright.
yeah everything is alright.

(Alright)
Tell me that you're alright.
(hi, everything's great)
yeah everything is alright.
(hey, everything's fine)
oh please tell me that you're alright.
(hey, everything's great)
yeah everything is alright.

Hey, everything's fine.
Hey, everything's fine.
Hey, everything's fine.

Hey, everything's fine.