Disclaimer: Faking It, the character and stories belong to me in no way shape or form. Any and all error, grammatical, continuities, mathematically or otherwise are, however, completely my own.

You'll find out in this chapter what I mean about character differences. That said, I do love the series and intend to keep them as close to the originals as possible.

Nabians: Aww, thank you for the review! I'm so glad you're enjoying it! This one has been holding onto me since I started it, so hopefully I get a chance to get to the end that I've envisioned! Yes, I actually have most of the story all planned out, which is a change. As for Lauren's friend… you are indeed very smart, however I will neither confirm nor deny that. No spoilers ;)

Anne: I am absolutely, 100% Karmy fanatic. So you can pretty much guarantee that if I write something it, will have a happily ever after with the two of them a couple. That said… it will be a bumpy road in this case. I hope you stick with it though, I assure you, it will be worth the wait!


Chapter Two

"Shit." I swore in annoyance and kicked the wheel of my suitcase in an attempt to remove it from the ditch. The stupid thing broke off in front of me. "Fuck!" I yelled out, throwing my head back in frustration. Needless to say, I wasn't in the best of moods.
I threw the thing at the curb, ignoring it for now and pulled the next one from the trunk of my car with a glance toward the house I was parked in front of.
No, don't help. I'm fine out here. In the cold. By myself! I thought bitterly. Slamming the trunk shut, I grabbed the handle of the good suitcase, and that of the now bad suitcase and dragged them both behind me. The broken one grated along heavily, making way too much noise for two in the morning, and likely damaging the thing the more I pulled. I heaved it to the front door with a grunt and rang the bell, smirking at the loud chime that probably woke everyone within half a mile. I waited about three seconds before hitting the buzzer again, and again and again, continuing this until the door swung open and a hand jerked out, slapping mine away from the bell. I simply smirked at the disgruntled look on my mother's face as she glared at me.

"Well hello to you too, Farrah." I said cheerfully. She grimaced at the ease in which her name slipped from my tongue. Yes, clearly there was bad blood between us. She stepped back, not bothering to invite me inside and headed toward the kitchen. "Thank you for inviting me in." I deadpanned and stepped inside, dragging the corpses of my luggage with me. I left them by the front door and followed my mother's direction. Glancing around the room, I let out a grunt in disgust: I had not been looking forward to coming back here. It brought back too many bad memories. Too many arguments, fights, slamming doors, oh and of course, me walking out in anger. But, all of that was behind me now. Well, mostly.

"So," I said as I took a seat at the kitchen table while the woman I once called mommy turned the kettle on. "How's the family?" I asked, feigning interest. She looked at me with blatant contempt and ignored the question, continuing in the chore she had set herself of making coffee. I rolled my eyes and took my phone out of my pocket.

I'm here. I texted Lauren. Farrah's downstairs. Help. Me. –Amy

I didn't bother waiting for a response and just watched the woman idle around the kitchen, waiting for the water to boil. She let out a sigh as I drummed my nails on the table. We didn't look at each other directly. It wasn't always like this: tension and angry looks. There was a time when I actually wanted her to be a part of my life, when I yearned for her approval and love.
Not anymore though. I thought to myself bitterly.

"Lauren, finally." Her relieved voice brought me from my wandering mind and I looked to the doorway, watching my half-asleep step-sister toddle into the room, dragging her feet. She looked at me warily and collapsed into the chair beside me.

"What, no hug?" I asked, annoyingly chipper with my arms out and a smirk on my face. She glared in response. I chuckled at her dreary disposition, loving the irony that I was the peppy one today, while everyone else was grumpy and moody. Maybe it was a little too early to have arrived.

"Coffee first. Then talk." Lauren groaned.

"Okay then, I guess I'll just go put my stuff away." I stood, not wanting to exchange awkward glances until Farrah felt conscious enough to feign politeness.

"You're in Lauren's room." I heard the drawling voice tell me as I exited and paused for a moment. I nodded in response and went to retrieve my luggage. It had been four years since I'd stepped foot in this house, and a full ten years since I'd lived here. The last time I'd left, I had sworn I would never come back. Now, I guess, I was breaking that promise. It wasn't the first time I'd told my mother I wouldn't speak to her or see her ever again, and it probably wouldn't be the last. She had this way of drawing out the worst in me.
My suitcases banged loudly on each step as I pulled them upstairs, toward the bedrooms. I looked to the open door that had once been my own and now contained gym equipment. It had taken my mother less than six months from the time I first left to live with my dad, to turn my room into her personal office. A final fuck you to me.
The room opposite was Lauren's. Unsurprisingly, not much had changed since I'd last been here either, what with Lauren living at the dorms now. I didn't blame her for getting out the second she could, hell I did.
After a quick glance at the photos displayed on her dresser, I shoved my luggage inside the wardrobe and shut the door, deciding I'd deal with it later. Besides, who knows how long I could handle staying here.

My heavy boots stamped loudly on the stairs as I headed back down and paused at the doorway to the kitchen. Farrah was sitting at the table next to Lauren, they both nursed their coffee's and seemed more awake than in the couple of minutes it took me to go upstairs. I retook my seat, pleased to see a coffee ready for me and sighted, steeling myself for the fight that would surely start now that my mother and I were in the same room again. For the time being, I sipped my drink and ignored her. We stared at each other, slowly drinking coffee and swapping glances. The tension in the room was overwhelming, choking me like a thick poisonous fog.

"So," I was surprised to hear my mother's voice break the silence. "How is…your father and his… friend these days?" She asked with barely concealed bitterness.

And there it is.

"They're both doing perfectly well. You know, we were real sorry you couldn't make it to the ceremony. It was such a lovely wedding." I patronized her with a dreamy expression on my face, taking myself back to the day. "Beach wedding of course. All the guests wore whatever they wanted as long as it wasn't formal, but dad wore this beautiful white suit… David was in a matching black one," I directed my comments to Lauren. "They just looked so cute together; and when they were announced-"

"That's enough Amy!" She interrupted me, her face red with anger. I saw Lauren nervously glance between us.

"Well you asked."

"I was merely being polite. Perhaps you would have learned to do the same if you had stayed at home, instead of running off after your good for nothing father." I sneered at her. "Good, wholesome, Godly lessons is what I would have driven into you."

"Ha!" I barked, causing both women to jump slightly. "This coming from the woman who told her fourteen year old daughter, she was dead to her!" I yelled back, heated anger now coursing through me.

"It wasn't natural! If you had only listened I could have helped, I could have fixed-"

"Fixed me?!" I threw back at her in rage. "I was fourteen! I didn't need to be fixed! I needed a mother who would talk to me, not tell me that what I was feeling was sinful, not that I was evil, ungodly or fucking crime against nature! I needed to be listened to! I didn't need 'help' from some fucking reprograming bullshit!" I breathed out the hate that had built inside me since the last time I had vented her own words back at her.

"You could have just listened-"

"No!" I said, standing up and slamming my coffee cup to the table; the contents slipped over the sides and created a nice puddle around the mug. "You listen: I. Am. Gay." I spelled out to her like the child she was. She grimaced at the word. "I'm gay! I'm a fucking lesbian! I like girls! I'm attracted to girls! I've always been attracted to girls and I always will be! And you know what?" I said, throwing my hands up in the air, done with this argument. "I am not sorry. I like being gay, it's who I am. And I refuse to feel guilty for some that, according to you, your God," I pointed at her, accentuating the words. "Created." I pushed the chair away with my foot, letting it clatter loudly like a full stop and stormed upstairs.

I paced the room like a caged tiger, the painful fury overwhelming me. I'd had this argument with her before. I always had this argument with her. And until she either accepted me as who I am or I decided to forcefully supress that part of my self, we would probably continue to argue over my sexuality until we were both blue in the face. It never mattered how it started: dad, school, girls, boys… something would set one of us off and we would be drawn back into the same fight, throwing the same punches over and over again in a never ending circle of pain and resentment. I knew I was partly to blame, I knew I could just forgive her for what she did to me, just accept her as the way she is, stop dancing this same dance, stop letting her get to me… but goddammit, she's my fucking mother. She shouldn't hate me. She shouldn't wish I'd never been born, or she at least shouldn't tell me so.

"Amy?" Lauren poked her head in, looking weary and worried. I ran my hands through my hair and tried to calm myself down as she stepped into the room, looking at me like I might lash out at her.

"I'm sorry." I told her seriously. "I didn't mean to start that fight, it's just every time she- she…" Lauren placed her hands over my flailing ones.

"I know." She told me remorsefully. And she did. She knew what my mother did to me, how she hurt me every time she spoke, how she could goad this demon out of me. She knew that I didn't really want to lash back at her, goad her into saying what she says. Lauren also knew that I knew how ironic it was that we would play this game; that part of the reason why we did so was because we were the same. No words were needed.

"You wanna go get drunk?"

"Fuck yes!" I laughed out with a sigh, glad to no longer be the housebound teenager I once was and able to get as far away as possible from my mother and her unrealistic expectations, and her goddamn bitterness.

Lauren was true to her word. We got so fucking smashed that I couldn't remember half the night, let alone how I got home. There are two things I could assume: one, that I had fun, and two, I did not get laid. Unfortunately. The getting laid part I mean. Having fun is always a good thing. I'd ascertained that I'd had fun due to the presence of one massive hangover and the taste of some sort of sweet girly drink still on my lips. I only ever drank sweet drinks when I'm seriously drunk and trying to flirt with girls. The getting laid part called for the unfortunately; I knew I hadn't since I was still wearing last night's clothes. And my underwear. I would have liked to have gotten laid though, since my last relationship had ended a long while ago. It wasn't exactly serious, at least I didn't think it was serious. Sure she was nice, and I was attracted to her and yeah, we'd been exclusive for a couple of months… I guess that probably counts as serious in some people's books, but I was never really serious with her. I mean, I told her that up front, that I liked her, but I didn't feel that chemistry with her, that special feeling I'd always craved. The spark. She said she was fine with it, but I guess after a couple of months of dating, people expect certain things from you. I know I was partially to blame for the break up, well, since I'd ended it, technically I was completely to blame, but two months of dating with no chemistry, for me, it wasn't enough. You can't have a relationship with someone based solely on friendship and attraction. At least, that's not what I wanted.

I groaned painfully, shielding my eyes from the blinding light bursting through the window like fucking flames. I hated the morning after. It was always awful. And painful.

"How much did I drink?" I moaned, assuming my sister was the body lying next to me and I hadn't murdered some innocent girl. Or my mother.

"I don't know!" Lauren complained gruffly, her shrill voice cut through my ears and felt like blades.

"Ahh!" I cried and covered them. "Not so loud!"

"You not so loud! My head hurts!" She retorted in complaint.

I opened my eyes a fraction and could only see the white blankets on Lauren's bed in front of me, a large Lauren-shaped lump next to me. I poked at it and it moved.

"Sto-op!" She groaned in annoyance and slapped my hand away.

"Ah, so it lives!" I mocked and poked again. "Hey what time is it?"

"Um," She said after moaning again and rolling over. "After two."

"PM?" I cried in astonishment. "Shit! I had stuff to do today!"

"Hey, it's not my fault you're hung over! You're the one that suggested margarita's after we'd done those vodka shots!"

"Sounds like me." I muttered and sat up, smacking my lips, tasting the horrid effect of a lot of alcohol and a nights worth of the gross aftertaste. "Do you have anything stronger than ibuprofen around here?" I looked at her as she sat up and would have laughed had it not been for the killer headache: her hair was a complete rat's nest.

"I dunno, I don't exactly stay here much." She opened a draw next to the bed as I grunted a response and got out. I hated having a hangover, it sucked and put me in an instant bad mood for the day. I needed coffee. And food. And some really strong pain killers.

While Lauren rattled around in the draw full of her old junk, I stripped last night's shirt and pants off, leaving me in my underwear as I opened Lauren's closet and grimaced at the mess of my clothes, created when, in my fury, I had thrown everything around looking for something to wear to get wasted in. Now I was left trying to find something decent to wear out of the piles strewn around. I'd have to clean it up at some point, but that was for after the hangover had finished torturing me.

"Aha!" Lauren exclaimed, holding a white bottle up to the light: our saviour. "I found some." She turned to me and, after emptying a couple of pills into her hand, threw the bottle at me. If I had not been hung over, I probably still would not have caught the bottle. It hit me square in the forehead and fell on the floor. I simply looked at her incredulously.

"Really?" I asked as she giggled slightly. I shook my head and picked up the bottle, along with some clothes. "I bags the first shower!" I said loudly, hurting my head at the same time, and bolted to the bathroom, locking the door before she even registered my movement.

"Fuck you!" She called through the door and I laughed loudly at her.

"Ow." I mumbled a second later and looked in the mirror as the reverse me put her hand to her head.

"Why do you think she's dead?" I asked the step-sister sitting at the kitchen table next to me.

After showering to the point of almost no hot water, I had dressed and considered going back to sleep in my nice, warm, comfortable bed, but Lauren needed me and I was still yet to hear the whole story behind her barrage of phone calls a few days earlier. So instead of catching some much needed shut eye, I was sitting back in the kitchen, a cup of coffee in my hands as well as a bagel slathered in cream cheese in front of me, with Lauren in one chair and the voice of my disapproving mother coming from the other room.

"It's the only explanation." She told me after heaving a worn out sigh. "She wouldn't have run off like this, I know her." I nodded, ignoring the huff of indignation that could be heard coming from the lounge.

"She hasn't done this before?"

"No." Lauren said firmly, shaking her head, a look of deep worry on her face.

"Okay. Let's start from the beginning. How long has she been missing?"

"A week. Give or take a few days."

"It's important to be exact Lauren."

"I don't know!" She whined. "The last time I saw her was at that god-awful frat party her roommate dragged us to. That was on the Friday. We don't usually text when we go to frat blow outs but she should have sent me something by the end of the next day. She was driving back to Austin to spend the week at her parents place for her brother's birthday and should have arrived Saturday afternoon but after talking to her parent's it turns out she never did!" As Lauren spoke her voice began to sound more desperate. "She's my best friend Amy; we talk to each other every day. If she was going to go off on some whim she would have told me about it I know she would!" I sighed. She was clearly troubled by this.

"Okay," I said, trying to soothe her. "I get it. You said she wasn't dating anyone at the moment?" Lauren shook her head. "Right, so what makes you think she's, you know, dead?" I cringed at the blunt word, wishing there was a way to soften this.

"I looked in her room and none of her clothes or belongings were gone. If she ran off she would've taken something. The cops haven't located her car," Lauren ticked the list of suspicious circumstances off on her fingers and with each one I became more convinced of her theory, adding to the weight of worry sitting on my chest. "Her phone is turned off- she never turns her phone off and they can't even locate her phone, her parent's haven't heard from her- Amy, she loves her family, she would never just take off without a word to her parents!" Lauren was becoming really distressed and I placed my hands on her shoulders.

"Breathe." I directed her. She did as I said, taking slow deep breaths and trying to calm herself down.

"Oh honestly, you're getting worked up over nothing." I tried to stifle the angry growl that was threatening to leave my throat as my mother strode into the kitchen, brandishing her opinions about as if they were asked for. "She's a college student, she's probably just run off with someone, or, she's lying in a ditch somewhere with a needle in her arm, it happens all the time you know." I looked up at Farrah in shock.

"She's not a fucking drug addict!" I was surprised that Lauren had beaten me to yelling at the woman. I looked at the now standing and tearing up girl before making a quick decision to diffuse this before another fight broke out.

"Uh okay, that is a really wild accusation to make from, you know, no evidence." I shot at my mother and walked in front of Lauren, shielding her from the abuse. "Why don't you take me to see your college. Maybe someone there knows something." I watched her face fall back to the sad look she had been sporting since I'd arrived as she nodded.

"Yeah, it's worth a shot." She turned and headed out the door. I threw a disgusted look to the woman who had birthed me before snatching my bagel and following the depressed girl out.

"I thought things were good between you two." I commented, having noticed the spiteful way Farrah had looked at Lauren. After a quiet car ride where she'd simply directed me to her college and stared out the window, likely trapped in her own memories and thoughts, I'd quickly located the coffee shop to satisfy my need for caffeine (having barely started the one at the house before our sudden need to escape), before seating ourselves in the large quad outside the dorms.

"They were." Lauren said with a sigh. "We used to get along great. Starting college put a bit of distance between us, but it was never like this."

"So what happened?" She sighed again.

"A lot happened." She stated with a bitter laugh. "But ever since this disappearance, it's as if she's taking it all out on me."

"What does your dad say about it?"

"Oh," Lauren waved it off, shaking her head. "He's too busy with his mistress to notice anything that happens at home anymore." She glanced at me and shook her head at the look of complete shock on my face. "Don't ask."

"I'm sorry, what? You can't just say your dad's having an affair and tell me not to ask!" I told her, my eyes wide in astonishment. "Dish!" This earned an exasperated groan from my sister.

"Ugh fine! I don't really know much though." Lauren proceeded to detail how she had returned from college one day to find an envelope containing photos of her father. According to the letter, Farrah had hired someone to find out if Bruce was cheating on her. He was. Lauren explained that she didn't know how long it had been going on, but that Farrah knew about it and had known for several months, but apart from the growing distance and obvious tension, there didn't seem to be any fallout.

"Jeez." I said, shaking my head. "I thought you were supposed to be keeping me up to date on all the gossip." I joked. She gave me a pointed look.

"Oh I'm sorry. I've been a little busy what with my best friend being dead and all!"

"Sorry." I sighed. "Okay, so I get why there's tension in the house, but why does that include you all of the sudden?"

"Well… I think it's because of you."

"Me?" I asked in surprise.

"Yeah, ever since you came out and moved in with your dad, Farrah's had this thing against gays."

"Seriously?!" I was incredulous. "Dad I get, me I can understand… a little. But all gays? Really?"

"And ever since I started hanging out with people from college, she's been acting different. It's like she's completely anti-gay."

"Wait, you're not…"

"No!" Lauren cried, sounding offended.

"Okay okay." I held my hands up in surrender.

"But my best friend is." She paused and frowned again. "Or, was."

"And you guys weren't… more than friendly?"

"Amy I'm fucking straight okay!"

"Just checking." I shook my head in disgust. "God this is so messed up, she was never homophobic before. Sure she had issues, but this…" I could hardly believe what I was hearing.

"Anyway, Farrah's got it into her head that she deserved to be… whatever happened to her. Or one of many different theories she's thrown around recently. Apparently today she's a drug addict." She said bitterly.

"I'm really sorry Lauren." I told her solemnly and placed a hand on her arm. "I never meant for any of this to come back to you."

"I know. It's not your fault. You can't help who you are. I just wish there was some way to find out what happened." She gave me a look and I suddenly realised why she had asked me to come back.

"No, no no no Lauren I'm not a licenced detective, hell I'm barely a trainee! I'm basically a glorified photographer!"

"Please Amy, I need to know! One way or another, it's killing me that people think she just abandoned her studies and everyone who loves her! The cops have done what they can but they've come up with nothing! Her parents are distraught!" Lauren gripped my arm tightly and looked at me with such pain and need, I didn't know how to turn her down.

"What makes you think I can find something the cops haven't?"

"You're smart! And people talk to you, people who wouldn't talk to the cops! And you see things others don't!" I groaned, knowing everything she said was true, but still, she was buttering me up. I suddenly hated myself.

"Lauren I… I don't want to get your hopes up." I shook my head as she continued to look at me pleadingly. I could feel her staring me down like a cat. "Okay!" I finally snapped at the tension, holding my hands up and resigning myself to my fate." Alright I'll do it."

"Thank you!" She squealed, throwing her arms around me. I could feel the relief coming off of her in waves.

"I can't promise anything though." Lauren let go and nodded feverishly while I sighed. "So much for my vacation." I muttered.

Authors Note: I'm sure you're surprised to see the next chapter so soon! Well actually, I have six chapters already written from last year, all I'm doing now is rewriting and editing them. So once we hit that, there'll probably be a bit of a wait for more. We'll see how we go.
Thank you all for your amazing feedback, I live off of it! Seriously, I don't get paid for this so comments are the only thing keeping me going! ;)
Hope you guys are enjoying it!