a/n: Gah I just want to get into the real guts of this story...you know the sexy stuff, the awkward encounters, the etc etc...too be honest I'm basically freestyling the guts of this fic and hoping I end up with something that makes sense...ah well slow and steady right :)

chapter three

"When Jesus is my portion,

A constant friend is he,

His eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me."

Emme sighed as she watched Rhonda Balvert sing the hymn 'Eye on the Sparrow' and applauded enthusiastically once she'd finished.

"You could sing that song heaps better." Sam muttered under his breath, as the room applauded Rhonda's performance, and Emme elbowed him in the chest, "Owwww." he groaned, rubbing the spot she elbowed, before making a face at her, "I'm just saying."

"He's right!" Bryn whispered, "You're voice is sick. Such a shame, the world will never be able to appreciate it's beauty."

"Shut up!" Emme hissed, "You guys will get us into trouble."

"Miss Brave?" Mrs Morehu called out, causing Emme to freeze, "Something you'd like to share with the rest of the class.

Emme turned bright red and shook her head, staring into her hands shyly.

"We just couldn't get over how incredible Rhonda sounded!" Sam gushed, winking in Rhonda's direction, causing the girl to giggle and blush. Mrs Morehu nodded,

"Yes that was very nice Rhonda." Mrs Morehu agreed, "Though I was hoping there would be more volunteers for this song." she added casting a glance directly at Emme, who continued to twiddle her thumbs and ignore her music teacher.

Thankfully the bell rang and Emme let out the breath she'd been holding since Mrs Morehu had told them that she required volunteers for a hymn to be sung during the school's assembly for God Week. Rhonda Balvert was the resident attention whore and immediately volunteered to show off her vocal abilities, but Emme knew that Mrs Morehu really wanted Emme to sing as well. This became evident when Mrs Morehu stopped her just before she left.

"You know I was hinting at you to volunteer too." Mrs Morehu said, placing a hand on Emme's elbow. The teacher sounded so disappointed in her and it made Emme feel terrible. Her music teacher was her favorite of all teachers after all.

"I'm sorry Mrs Morehu." Emme said softly, refusing to meet the woman's eyes, "I- I- I just can't."

Mrs Morehu nodded, "I understand sweetie and I'll let you off the hook...this time." she added, before walking over to her desk.

Emme walked out the door to find that Sam had waited for her and the pair walked to Math together in rare silence.

Rhonda bounced in step next to them and Emme glanced at her curiously.

"So I had this crazy thought Emme and was thinking maybe sometime you could help me with my vocals." Rhonda said smiling sweetly, Sam raised an eyebrow at Emme, who clutched her backpack and nodded,

"I spose. I mean you sounded all right to me." Emme said staring at the ground,

"But I want to sound like the best, and you're the best!" Rhonda said still smiling, "Beside's you know I don't give a damn about that shit Baker pulled."

Emme smiled gratefully at Rhonda, before nodding again,

"Maybe Wednesday then?" Emme suggested,

"School auditorium?"

"Bleurgh...Music room." Emme replied quickly, never wanting to step forth on that stage again,

"School auditorium Emme." Rhonda insisted, "I need to know how I'll actually sound on the day."

Of course Emme conceded with a sigh, nodding while Rhonda grinned, happy that she got her way even though it wouldn't take much of an effort. Before waving goodbye to the pair and winking at Sam.

Sam stopped her, just before class.

"I miss Crazy Emme." He started a sad look on his face, "Remember her?" He asked, "That stupid girl who didn't give a rat's ass what people thought of her. The maniac who performed 'Albi the Rascist Dragon' with me during Culture Week in 5th Form. The attention slut who used to get off from applause...what happened to her?"

Emme rolled her eyes, "Oh Sam, who are you trying to kid with that 'I'm so sad' face. I know you well enough to know that you have no heart and you just want me in your band."

"I just don't understand Em." Sam said in frustration, "Please help me to understand and I'll never bug you about it again." He added pulling her to a stop before she could enter their math class. Emme frowned, staring down at her feet as she tried to make sense of her feelings.

The horror of people staring at her...judging her.

The disgust in their eyeballs.

The vomit that had creeped up her throat as she realised what had happened.

Emme began to shake, her stomach convulsing as the memory returned at full force. Alarmed, Sam grabbed her and pulled her into a tight hug.

"I'm so sorry Em." He murmured, holding her tight until she calmed down abit, before letting go and heading into the math class. Emme followed, wiping a stray tear from her eye as she did and forcing a smile when she caught Mr Hunt, giving her a concerned look. The smile became less forced as she approached her seat and remembered her crazy dream about him.

The idea of Mr Hunt drunk was so funny to her, she had to chuckle to herself.

"Alright guys, I've arranged a scavenger hunt, it sounds a bit gay I know, but I figured it'd be cool to get out of the classroom for abit. Today you're all going to be partnering up and working together." Mr Hunt announced as he leant against his desk with an old bowler hat in his hat, "In this hat are a bunch of numbers. As I go around pick a number and then find your partner. Because there is an odd amount of you, I too will pick a number." As soon as he made that announcement the girls swooned, while Emme glanced round the class as Mr Hunt explained the details of the scavenger hunt.

Her eyes met Jordan's piercing green eyes, and Emme tried to fight the urge to jump over the other students and beat him to him a pulp. Instead she gave him a glare and the finger, before praying to God, Buddha, Allah, or whoever would listen, not to put her in a group with him.

Mr Hunt had already made his way around the room as students began to pair up and begin the exercise. He stood at her desk, and Emme reached into the hat and pulled out the number, while Mr Hunt and the other students stared at her expectantly.

"7." Emme said glancing first at Sam, before noticing a resounding sigh of disappointment erupt around the room. Emme guessed that whatever she'd done, had pissed off alot of the girls in her class.

"Congratulations Miss Brave." Mr Hunt said, "Looks like we get to work together on this one."

"Oh." Emme said, trying to hide her groan, but she couldn't hide her disappointment face, remembering the last time she had to work with a teacher was in primary school. She'd gotten in trouble for talking too much in class and had been forced to move her desk right next to her teachers. She'd been the only student to be punished in such a way and kids who'd been in that class still liked to mock her about it.

It was Sam's turn to pick out a number, and his shoulders slumped when he realised his partner was Sarah Dickson, the resident gossip who thought she was 'Miss Thang', and Emme smirked she heard him growl under his breath.

"Alright guys." Mr Hunt said once he'd made the rounds, "Let's get to it then."

Standing begrudgingly to her feet, Emme decided that worse things could happen. She could lying in a hospital bed fighting of some deadly illness. She could be running for her life in some country that denied woman simple rights. She could be on stage with hundreds of eyes pointing and staring at her, while she threw up in front of all her peers.

That thought made Emme shudder the most.

He grabbed a measuring tape from the pile and lead her towards the school field where the rest of the class were taking measurements outside their classroom window.

Having Mr Hunt as her partner, turned out to be extremely beneficial, but not really fun at all. He'd explained to her the importance of each exercise, and helped her understand a few concepts that had always confused her. Furthermore, he didn't yell at her, when she got frustrated at some of the exercises. They finished before everyone else, and sat on the bleacher's waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.

Emme had the taxi jingle stuck in her head, and hummed it as she picked stray wild daisies that had grown by the grassy bleachers.

"Ummm...so I wasn't going to bring this up." Mr Hunt started, causing Emme to glance up and find him rubbing the back of his neck nervously, "But I figured it was time to acknowledge the elephant in the room or well...field."

Emme wondered what had gotten into Mr Hunt. She sat down on a row just below him, with her bouquet of daisies.

'Why is he talking about elephants?' she wondered staring at him questionably.

"I wanted to thank you..." he started, "...for letting me crash at your place." Emme's eyes widened as he went on staring at his hands, "I'm extremely embarrassed about the entire situation and I can assure you it won't happen again."

"Oh...ha ha, I thought it was just some crazy dream." Emme admitted outloud, before chuckling, her fingers beginning to work the daisies into a chain...she figured she'd have enough for a headband.

"Well I'd appreciate it, if the entire night was just forgotten." Mr Hunt asked, a serious and unsure look on his face. Emme nodded, and his face flooded with relief

"Forget what?" she replied in good humor, before meeting his eyes, then quickly turning her attention back to her daisies.

"What were you doing out on the streets in the middle of the night anyway?" Mr Hunt asked suddenly frowning,

"I thought we were going to forget that night ever happened." Emme teased, turning to find a frown on Mr Hunt's face,

"I'm serious Miss Brave." Mr Hunt started, "The streets are no place for a young woman at that time of the night. I could've been an axe murderer."

"In the spirit of forgetting that that night never happened...you're not doing a good job of keeping up your end of the bargain." Emme commented dryly, and Mr Hunt sighed,

"Is this a habit of yours Miss Brave? Walking the streets past midnight?" Mr Hunt went on, and Emme shrugged carelessly,

"Maybe it's everybody else who should watch out for me." Emme started as she threaded a daisy, "How do you know I'm not the axe murderer?" she finished mysteriously, turning back and raising her eyebrows at him. Mr Hunt looked at her perplexed for a second before chuckling lightly,

"Touche Miss Brave, touche!" Mr Hunt replied shaking his head, turning his attention back to his students on the field, who were doing anything but finishing the quiz. A group of guys had even initiated a game of touch rugby, so Mr Hunt left the bleachers to break up the game, and checking on everybody else's progress.

She noticed Sam and Sarah walking towards the bleachers and smiled at the pair. Sam sat next to Emme his eye twitching in irritation at the girl who decided to sit next to him. Sarah's scowl went unnoticed by Emme, who turned her attention to Sam, who was fiddling with her crown. She slapped his hand away,

"Piss off!" she said guarding her crown, while Sam grinned at her and shrugged,

"You look very ethereal with that thing on your head Em." he said,

"I have no idea what that means." Emme admitted suspicious, "It sound's like a compliment, but it could be an insult."

"It's a compliment Miss Brave." Mr Hunt interupted, the light in his eyes gone, his face more hardened as he sat back on the bleachers and sighed, muttering to himself...something about this class being the worst class he'd ever taught. Emme shrugged her shoulders at Sam,

"Well thanks I guess." she said awkwardly, while Sam smirked at her,

"You're so naive Emmeline." Sam said shaking his head in amusement, "When are you going to realise how pretty you are?" he wondered nudging her as she grimaced at him,

"Shut up Fool!" Emme said shoving him, she couldn't stand the awkwardness associated with compliments. What was she meant to say?

'You too can look like this if you use Dove Triple Moisturizing Soap!'

The thought made her lol, but it was too late to say that now. So she decided to save it for next time someone complimented her appearance. Mr Hunt left again, when Jenna made her presence known, and tried to saddle up next to Mr Hunt. As quickly as she arrived, she scooted of after him, like a little puppy dog.

"Seriously though." Sam said with a very serious look on his face, "You could rake in any guy out there. Yet you choose to hide behind me. You need to get laid Em."

"Pfft!" Sarah interupted, a look of disdain on her face, "You know, no guy here will touch her after Jordan..."

"Shut the ffuck up Sarah. I'm having a conversation with my best friend here." Sam spat, narrowing his eyes at the brunette, who huffed and stomped away to follow Mr Hunt around, Sam glared after her before looking at Emme, and sliding closer to her,

"Jordan keeps asking me about you." He said gently, trying to gauge Emme's reaction, "It's fucking me off to be honest." He went on, "Everyday, he's like 'What should I doooo? Well she ever forgive me? Pleeease get her to talk to me?', like some 13 year old school girl."

Emme squirmed in her seat, "I gave him 2 weeks to explain to me what happened, and instead he chose to ignore me up until now...so I'm not talking to him just because he is ready to talk."

The bell rang interrupted him, signaling the start of lunch, but Sam and Emme remained on the bleachers for a bit longer, so he could finish,

"Jordan is a good guy Em. He fucked up, but you can't pin all this on him, just cause the she-devil has gone to Uni and you have no one else to for my sake and sanity, hear him out...because I'm fucking sick of him badgering me about you...kay?!"

Emme sighed and stood to her feet, "I'll do my best okay."

Sam stood and rubbed her back smiling, "That's all I can ever ask of you in the end." He said satisfied, "Now let's go get our shit from that classroom."

Emme nodded following Sam's lead, but not before catching Mr Hunt's eye. He had his usual grimace on his face but when Emme smiled at him, she couldn't help but notice his face soften a bit. She felt Sam chuckle next to her and nudge her in the ribs.

"Looks like somebody has a soft spot for you." he teased, Emme tore her eyes away from Mr Hunt and forced a bright smile.

"Who doesn't?" she joked brightly, pushing him playfully with her shoulder

"I sure as hell don't." Sam retorted as he shoved her back lightly and Emme laughed.

Emme couldn't ask for a better friend, and she saw where he was coming from.

She was a strong, fierce, independent and most importantly BRAVE woman!

Emme turned around when she felt something tap against her shoulder, only to meet the green gaze of Jordan Baker, who was shuffling from foot to foot nervously as if he had no right to touch her.

Which by the way he didn't.

Sam grinned at Emme, "On that note I bit you adieu!" he said fleeing the scene. Emme glared hopelessly after him, before scowling at Jordan, crossing her arms impatiently.

"What did I tell you last year?" she snapped,

"To leave you the hell alone." His husky voice said as he shoved his hands into his pockets nervously,

"That includes my friends." Emme said,

"But you need to hear me out." Jordan started, before looking back down at his feet, when Mr Hunt approached the pair,

"Sorry to break up this love fest." Mr Hunt started, "But I'm locking the classroom and I don't want all your crap in there!"

'Always the charmer.' She thought rolling her eyes as the pair followed their math teacher back to the classroom and gathered their stuff.

"Will you hear me out?" Jordan pleaded, as he grabbed his bag,

"I don't need you to tell me what I already know." Emme replied, when Mr Hunt interrupted,

"As much I love seeing a soap opera play out in my classroom," He started sarcastically, "I want you two out!"

Emme didn't need to be told twice, she walked out the door in a huff, Jordan hot on her trail. Grabbing her wrist he pulled her towards him, before caging her with his arms against the lockers.

"What the fuck Jordan?!" Emme said incredulously deciding from then on, she would never fall for anyone of Jordan's stature again. The boy, was a beast. Tall, broad shouldered, muscular from years of dedication to his sport, and completely unavoidable in these kinds of situations.

"I need to talk to you and you need to listen!" Jordan demanded. Emme shot him a look of death, before sighing to herself in defeat, when he gave her a weird look...she probably just pulled off her derp face.

Who was she kidding with this tough girl act. She couldn't scare a kitten, let alone a 190 lb teenager. SHe knew she needed to grow some balls and a backbone...she was sick of being such a pushover and was sure that one day she would snap and go on a murder spree due to years of repressed feelings.

"Then talk!" Emme said annoyed, as her stomach reminded her that it was time for food.

"I'm sorry okay!" Jordan started, raking a strong hand through his thick dark hair, "I'm sorry, and I don't know what I can do to make things right, again."

"Well you could start by leaving me the hell alone." Emme muttered, smirking when Jordan's eyes hardened at her remark.

"Why are you blaming me for all this anyway?" Jordan asked exasperated,

"Because its YOUR fault!" Emme said through gritted teeth, poking his chest once before feeling herself get emotional, "You...you ruined everything for me."

"It was never my intention to hurt you, please know that." He said gently, putting his hands on her arms as he bent to try and get her to look into his eyes, knowing how crazy she went over his eyes. Emme took three deep breaths,

"What do you want from me?" she asked as calmly as she could, still refusing to look into his eyes.

"I want us..." He started, "I want us to be friends."

"Fine lets be friends." Emme said, hoping he'd go away now,

"No I want us to be real friends." Jordan said, "You know, like occasionally hang out, grab a meal, like how you are with Sam and Bryn."

"Can't we just acknowledge the other exists and be done with it." Emme argued, forcing herself to not feel sorry for him, when she glimpsed into hurt emerald eyes, "Listen, I'm sorry Jordan. But that day was just so fucked up. I can't even do what I love anymore because of it, so what makes you think that being here with you is any different?"

"Because those 3 months I spent with you, were the best I've ever had." Jordan said, his hand reaching down to grab hers and squeeze it gently. Irritated, and exasperated, Emme sighed pulling her hand out of his and looking down the hall, knowing that the cafeteria would be out of her favorite pie by now.

"Why now?" Emme asked, "You never wanted to to have anything to do with me until now. Is it because your girlfriend is gone, and you need some action?"

"I just want us to be friends Emme." Jordan said, his hand moving her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes.

"You need to give me time okay." She said, her eyes staring off to the space at the side of his head, "Darla, hurt me with that video, but you hurt me by being such a jackass about it afterwards."

"I know Emme." Jordan said as Emme shoved him away and stood straight again, "But I will do anything to show you that I'm sorry."

Emme glared at him, "I want you to dance!" she demanded folding her arms and narrowing her eyes, maybe if he made a fool of himself, she'd feel better.

Jordan gave her a shocked look,

"Like, right now?" He asked, his voice wavering in shock. Emme knew he didn't have the balls to do it. He was way too macho for his own good.

"You said you'd do anything right?" Emme said mockingly, "I want you to dance."

"B- but there's no music." Jordan argued, looking around the hallway nervously. There were a few students around but not enough to care about what they were doing, so Jordan clenched his fists and began to jiggle from side to side, a pained look on his face as he did it.

Mr Hunt chose that opportunity to walk out of his room and lock the door. He glanced at Emme, who acknowledged his presence with a sour look, and then at Jordan, who'd been doing his grandpa dance. Emme smiled when Mr Hunt smirked at Jordan.

"Try not to hurt yourself with that dancing." Mr Hunt joked, before walking away from the pair. Emme stifled a smile and glanced at Jordan, who was red with embarressment.

"That was stupid." Jordan said before a smile crept onto his face when he saw Emme was no longer scowling. Feeling a bit more confident, he began to dance again, raising his arms and shaking his hips.

Emme thought he looked so ridiculous and let out a laugh, as she watched him make a fool of himself.

"Alright, okay, stop, this is just too embarrassing to witness." she said wiping the tears from her eyes, while Jordan looked at her smiling, his big green eyes hopeful. Emme shrugged and bit her lip as she tried to think of a resolution, "I have decided that I will be civil to you from now on."

Jordan grinned, his face lighting up entirely, "You won't regret this Emme. Even if I have to spend the whole year trying to make it up to you."

Emme fought the grimace from her face and nodded, "Yeah, yeah, okay, whatever." she said, "Can I just go to lunch now?"

Jordan nodded, shoving his hands into his pocket as he walked alongside her. They walked in silence, and when they separated in the lunch room, Emme let out the breath she'd been holding.

Because she was still furious at him.

Because she let him get his way again.

And because she wasn't strong enough to avoid getting her heart stomped on for a second time.