A/N: Hey, I'm really sorry about the delay. I had finals, and you would probably know how much those suck. makes face Those make my day (sarcastic). So yeah, they're all over, and I get to update! Thanks so much to everyone that updated! I don't know if I could have remembered to update if it weren't for you! And I guess this chapter can be dedicated to the newcomers, as they make my life! Ah, gotta go, the rents aren't that happy with me. NO FLAMERS PLEASE! If you hate it this much, just don't read. That's what I do, I just stop reading a ficcie. How hard is it to just hit the back button a few times? Okay, bye! Mom's really mad now!

It seemed a lot quieter that morning to Zack. Maybe it was the lack of sarcastic comments and jokes from Freddy, who was completely silent, just staring blankly at the door expectantly.

"What, are you watching for Mrs. Thomas?" Zack teased, trying to lighten up the mood. Freddy shot him a dark look before resuming his former position, his chin on one arm, face nearly touching the tabletop.

Freddy's mood was already bad since he had gotten told off, and as a result, stormed off to school. Now Arin wasn't showing, and that much was making him worry.

She didn't turn up for the rest of the day.

"Where's Arin?" Marta asked, glancing around the lunch table with a frown. "She told me online that she would be here."

"But it doesn't look like it." Tomika said dejectedly. "She told me that too."

Freddy bit into his sandwich thoughtfully. "I think I'm the one that she's avoiding." He told them after swallowing. Summer's eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch.

"What did you do Freddy?"

"Nothing. Never mind. Just forget it." He turned away, biting off again. Marta shot him a suspicious glance.

"I thought only girls were the moody ones every month, but apparently guys gets PMS too." She taunted, watching Katie suppress a fit of giggles as Freddy half-choked, his eyes wide.

"What?!"

"You heard me." Marta smiled gently. "I was just kidding you know."

"Yeah." He quickly finished off the last of his lunch. "I gotta get going. I got Leighton next, and that woman hates me as it is."

"Leaving so soon?" Frankie's brows wrinkled in confusion as his friend packed up.

"Uh-huh." The first hint of a smile touched his lips before he punched Frankie's shoulder gently, turned tail, and left. Everyone was busy watching him that Katie slipped away unnoticed.

Her feet pounded against the squeaky clean floor as she strove to catch up with the blonde drummer. He heard the hurried steps she took, but didn't care who it was. Freddy kept walking.

"Freddy! Wait up! Freddy!" Katie called to his retreating back. At a long last, he stopped and glanced over his shoulder.

"Yeah Katie?" An eyebrow quirked as he looked her over cautiously.

She inhaled deeply, devising a quick way to begin a conversation. "You going to practice today?"

He nodded shortly. "I'm going. Why?"

"Just checking around. Summer asked me to ask you." Katie lied, crossing two fingers behind her back. It was a lame excuse of a lie, but it appeared to be bought.

"Aight."

"Are you going to be free after that?" She fought to keep the hopeful tone out of her voice and fortunately won. Another long, fixed stare on her face before he finally shrugged with an almost inaudible sigh.

"Yeah. Why, you wanna hang out or something?" His brown eyes narrowed slightly as he awaited her reply.

"That would be cool." She grinned brightly. "What do you suggest? We really need to talk."

"Dunno, we could go to the arcade for a bit." Freddy scratched the back of his neck, reflecting that Arin had told him to go with normal ideas. He wondered where she was and why she had avoided school.

"Sounds good. Well, I gotta go, but I'll see you at practie." Katie responded lightly, nearly tripping over herself as she walked backwards away from him. Freddy shook his head and continued on his way, fingering the necklace Arin had somehow slipped him, the one she always wore.

It was cold out, the wind making it colder still. Arin hugged her arms around herself, inwardly cursing the fact that she had forgotten a coat or a sweatshirt. She had hidden her uniform in the bushes next to the door after leaving the house, so all she had on now was a red tiger shirt with a white long sleeved shirt underneath that, and jeans.

She passed down the street, heading to the hospital, ignoring the strange looks she was getting from people that wondered if she should be in school.

The hospital wasn't any less crowded than it usually was, and Arin easily snuck into Cha Cha's room. Her eyes glanced along the row of crude get well cards from her brother's kindergarten class, the sight of the neatly cut and crayon-scribbled masterpieces that were supposed to be likenesses of Charles amusing her greatly.

She approached his bedside tentatively, watching his peaceful slumber. The doctors said that he was getting better, but just by a little.

"Hey Cha Cha. I know you can't hear me all that great, but I thought I'd drop by one last time." Arin took a deep breath. "A lot's been going on these past few days, and you're not there to smile and make it all better."

She felt her throat constrict in an attempt to hold back the tears. Of course, it was futile.

"I miss you so much Charles. I hate seeing you lying there. It hurts. To think I really hated you before. You used to piss me off all the time, and I was jealous of the amount of attention mom and dad gave to you. Remember that?" She patted his closed fist gently. "There are so many times I wish I could just rewind time. Back to when mom and dad were alive, and we were really happy."

Her attention drifted to the window, the weather dismal and dreary. It was one of those days that Cha Cha would be running around singing 'Mr. Sun' at the top of his lungs and wondering why it didn't work.

A faint smile touched her lips before it was sucked away into the deep void of darkness within her. Arin didn't stay for too long after that. With a quick kiss to his forehead, she left, mumbling a Goodbye Charles, I'll miss you Cha Cha.

But she didn't hear the faint 'Arin' that came from her brother, didn't see the small hand reaching out feebly, trying to find his sister.

"Wow, definitely didn't know that. Definitely didn't care either." Zack laughed good-naturedly, hugging Summer to him. They were studying, or at least, Summer was, Zack was more interested in trying to distract her. So far he was quite successful.

"Zack, really. This is for your benefit." Summer gave up, brushing small bits of shredded paper that he had dumped over her head like confetti from her hair. "I see you got a lot done."

"Yeah, you could say that." He gazed proudly at the small army of paper airplanes and platoon of paper boats that littered the table. "They help me understand aerodynamics." To prove his point he sailed one out the open window.

"Tell me that wasn't the quiz we just took." Summer scolded, seeing the sheepish, yet mischievous grin that lit up his face.

"Oh yes it was." He stated matter-of-factly. His girlfriend eyed him sternly before she broke down laughing.

"Do you always broadcast your grades via airmail?" She asked after she had composed herself.

"Not always. Just a lot of the time."

"So anyways, why is Regan's class so hard for you?" Summer changed the topic easily. "I mean, you always complain about it."

Zack sighed melodramatically. "Her teaching manner always gets me. The information goes in one ear, out the other, loops around, and comes out wrong. I guess my brain doesn't process her very well."

"That's okay, you have me to help you with that." She smiled brightly. " Now what are neurotransmitters?"

Zack groaned. " Uh---they're stuff that transmit stuff?"

"Well obviously. They are chemical messengers that transmit an impulse to another neur---"

"How about we don't go into detailed analysis? Please, my brain can't take anymore." He gingerly massaged his temples. "Don't we have band practice today?"

Summer's hand flew to her mouth." Oh my god! I forgot about that! We're going to be late!"

"Really late." Zack shoved his papers back into his bag and waited impatiently like a squirrel with ADD for Summer to neatly arrange her stuff.

"Losing time." He said softly, seeing her look flustered, and went over to help her.

"I know, I know! I'm trying to hurry it up!" She exclaimed.

"Just trying to help." He handed her a large textbook, which she took easily.

"Okay, I'm done! Let's go!" She followed him down the stairs, and to his car.

Turns out they didn't miss much. But something was definitely up, as the other members of the band were trying to break up a fight started between Freddy and Lawrence.

"What the hell did you tell her goddamn aunt?!" Freddy demanded furiously, shoving Lawrence.

"N-n-nothing!" Lawrence said, pushing him back. "I didn't tell her anything that didn't need to be said."

"Well you told her something cause she told me, and broke it off!"

"You weren't even going out!" Lawrence defended indignantly, struggling against the slightly shorter boy. "She liked me better!"

"You wish!" His fist contacted with Lawrence's cheek. "You're nothing but a piece of piano shit."

"Drummer bastard!"

"Stop you two!" Marta pushed her way between them both, giving them both a hard glare. "We've got to practice! There's a competition!"

Katie pulled a thrashing Freddy backwards as Tomika took care of Lawrence.

"Let go of me Katie! I can take the stupid asshole!"

"What the hell is happening to this band?" Dewey stepped in behind Zack and Summer, seeing the chaos erupting in the studio, and the anger-flushed faces of the teenagers.

"A lot, that's what." Freddy snapped. "And I'm not going to be a part of it anymore if little sneaks are going to be ratting on their bandmates. Go find yourself another drummer."

"But Freddy, the compet----"

"I said go find yourself another drummer. Come on Katie." He jerked his head to the door, and stormed out. Katie shot an apologetic look around the room and followed him, worrying about his anger and wondering if she could calm it.

"Freddy! Slow down!" She grabbed his shoulder when they exited the building. He shot her a quizzical look and harrumphed, continuing to make his way down the street as Hurricane Freddy. Only when they were a few blocks away did he finally slow his crazed pace, and let Katie catch up with him.

"Sorry." He apologized. "Guess I got a bit carried away."

"A bit?" She asked skeptically, an eyebrow arching.

"Okay, so a lot."

Silence from her as she shook her head in disbelief.

"Alright, so I was a piss-faced moron back there to Piano Man, but I swear, I wouldn't have lost my temper if he hadn't been a frickin little--- "

"Ahem." Katie cut him off sweetly. "You were talking about how much you loved the band, right?"

Freddy rolled his eyes. "No use venting to you." He smirked slightly, " Come on, we can hang at my place for a few. You said you wanted to talk."

"That I did." She assured him, her face going completely serious.

Charles was going to be okay. Mrs. Tan had found that out, feeling a little relieved about that. It would take a load of stress off her shoulders. In fact, she was certain her niece was going to be pleased that her brother had insisted to see her first thing, but understood that Arin was at school.

Almost nonchalantly, she twirled the phone cord, unsure of whom to call next. She had told her husband, annoying him while he was at work, and told their neighbor, who had taken an immediate liking to the boy who was full of smiles. It was a shame Arin wasn't around all that much either. She was sure Mrs. Hawkins would have loved the girl. She was actually quite nice if you got past that heavy wall she put up.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Tan, that nice girl probably wasn't going to be so very nice to her after the last row they had been through. Speaking of Arin, Mrs. Tan guessed that she should call the school, and tell them to relay the message that Arin's brother was okay. Maybe that would patch something up in their relationship. Arin had refused to speak at all to anyone that morning except for Debbie, who basked in the attention.

"Hello?" The principal asked in her most clipped and professional voice.

"Yes, this is Mrs. Tan, I'm calling because I would like my niece Arin Kam to know that her brother has woken up, and he's doing fine." Ruby stated lightly, waiting for some sort of response. She heard a small ruffling of paper before the principal gripped the receiver again with a haste that surprised Mrs. Tan.

"Did I hear you clearly? Arin Kam?"

"Yes, you heard correctly."

"I'm sorry, but we can't relay any messages to her at this---er--- moment."

"What do you mean?" Suspicion crept into Mrs. Tan's voice. "Why can't you deliver a simple message? Arin's at school."

There was a momentary pause. "That's just it Mrs. Tan. Arin has not turned up at school at all. She was marked absent on her homeroom attendance sheet. And even if she had come in late, a teacher would have called down, and the office would have taken care of it."

"What? Are you absolutely sure?" Her voice was frenzied, and she knew it. "I saw her going out the door myself!"

"Well she's not here. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some work to do. I'm sure she'll turn up later. She might be trying to skip school or something, which is unacceptable. Good day Mrs. Tan." The phone hung up softly, the dial tone ringing in Ruby Tan's ear.

Arin wasn't at school? The thought astounded her to no end. She had seen Arin go out the door, fully clothed in uniform and---and---jeans under her kilt. Flinging open the front door, she turned sideways and caught sight of the bundled uniform behind the bush. From the front it would be completely undetectable.

Quickly picking up the disregarded clothing, Mrs. Tan hastened inside, worry etched into her face, another wrinkle was going to be in her future from that girl. She was throwing the uniform into the hamper when she caught sight of an open tool box.

Funny, her husband never left the toolbox open. Well, he was fixing the sink earlier, so that was probably the reason it was still open. Mr. Tan had left for work early too, and hadn't finished his fix-it job, much to his wife's dismay.

She was about to close it when she saw the empty case on the top of the tool pile.

"So Katie, what did you want to talk about?" Freddy asked, kicking back and stretching the length of the couch. Since he didn't offer to move or invite her to sit down, the bassist took the liberty of taking a seat adjacent to the couch.

"I don't know---stuff." She mumbled, barely audible.

"What? I didn't hear you."

"Stuff."

"Like what?" Freddy pressed, his eyebrows arching before plummeting into a momentary frown.

"Um—like why you left the band. Are you going to join it again?"

She watched him scratch his neck and stare at the ceiling. "I'm not that sure. I mean, I couldn't think straight back then. I was so mad. Now I don't even know if I want to be in the School of Rock anymore." He trailed off catching her eye.

"Come on Freddy." Katie said, folding her arms. "Well, I guess it's up to you to decide. But anyways, there was something else I wanted to talk about."

"Speak your piece then." He responded, as if it was only mere trivia, and he couldn't care less. Taken aback, she paused for only a moment to regroup in strength.

"Well, I was hoping we could talk about us." There. She'd said it. It was now out in the open for him to see. Goodness, she hoped she didn't have to spell it out for him. Some guys were so clueless like that. Katie only hoped Freddy wasn't one of those kinds of guys.

A minute ticked by that felt like an hour to the pretty girl. Finally, with a big sigh, he swept his legs off the couch unceremoniously and faced her, a look of uncertainty filling the spot of what was usually bright confidence.

"So it's finally come to this Katie, hasn't it?" He asked her, sighing. "Okay, so what about us?"

"Like, is it possible for us to get together?" She bit her lips nervously, something that didn't pass his notice.

"I don't know. I don't know what to think, about us, about the band, about school, about life in general. It's too complicated to even try to think about."

Katie's face fell, but she still appeared strong. "Come on Freddy, give me a definite answer. I'm sick of waiting around for you to make up your decision on your frickin' love life."

"Then don't wait around!" He snapped suddenly, surprising her to no end.

"What?"

"You heard me. DON'T---WAIT---AROUND." Freddy stated slowly. "If it bugs you that much, then look for someone better than me. No one's making you stay."

"Correction. You are, and I'm making myself stay too."

"Then force yourself to go if you're pissed off with me."

"That's not it Freddy! I just want to know if there could be something between us!" She unfolded her arms, gripping the sides of the chair instead. "Blame me for asking why don't you!"

He shook his head slowly, eyes narrowing slightly. "I'm not blaming you. Where'd you get that idea?"

"Well you don't seem to have a ready answer to my question." Katie retorted, really annoyed now. "Do I have to check back in 50 years? Goddamn it, just answer me!"

"Why don't you just give up on me? It'll make things less hard for you, you won't have to worry every single day if I'll glance in your direction, and you won't have to keep stalking me!"

"I don't stalk you!" She yelled back. "You know what? I'm almost glad that you quit the band. Sad thing is I don't know why I did!"

"Cause you can't stand up for yourself and make your decisions!"

"Well how the hell was I supposed to do that when you said 'Come on Katie.' What was I supposed to do hotshot? Just stand there like a moron?" She never knew he could be that rude to her of all people. Freddy had never been this strung out, ever.

"Okay, you want to know the truth? I doubt there'll be anything between us at the rate we're moving, so I suggest you go home, cry your little eyes out, and we can do this again sometime."

Katie stuck her chin up defiantly. "Have fun while you pine after a girl that doesn't seem to want you at all. You should stick with something that's right in front of you." She was too strong to cry in front of the boy she liked. Too proud to do that either. Instead she stormed out the front door, slamming the door behind her sharply.

Freddy winced at the sound, smacking his palm against his forehead. How much more idiotic could he get? Already he had crossed the lines of stupid, and dimwit, and was steadily in bastard zone. Now Katie was mad at him, she looked like she was ready to cry, Arin was avoiding him, Dewey was probably pissed off at him, and to top that all off, he wasn't in the band anymore. Out of his own choosing.

Could this day get any worse? It seemed to when the phone rang. Another problem to add to his crappy mood. First Katie and the words to make him wallow in his self-hate, and now the goddamn phone that was probably his parents.

Grabbing the receiver, he hit the talk button, preparing for a bitching fest from his mom.

"Hello?"

"Is this Freddy?'" the voice on the other end asked hurriedly.

He rubbed the back of his neck for a moment before responding. "Yeah."

"This is Mrs. Tan."

Arin's aunt, Freddy thought out of nowhere.

"Yes? What do you want?" He fought to keep the suspicion out of his voice, but a little filtered through. Mrs. Tan must have heard it because she sighed.

"I know it's strange of me to be calling, but it's about Arin. Have you seen her lately?"

"No, since you banned her from seeing me—"

Ruby sighed again. "I mean today after school. Did you see where she went?"

Her aunt didn't know? Arin must have really pulled the wool over her eyes. "Arin wasn't at school today. I thought you knew that."

"I know, she was gone all morning, but she hasn't returned home. So I wondered if you knew---"

"Arin's missing?!" Suspicion, self-loathing, and boredom evaporated in a second and was replaced with sick worry. "Are you serious?"

"Positive. And I'm afraid she may be up to no good. I figured towards the end of the day that she wasn't in school, and I was hoping she would come home---but my husband's jack knife is missing from his toolbox---"She was met by a loud curse that made her flinch, and then the dial tone.

Freddy grabbed the car keys and dashed outside, not caring that it was still chilly though it was the middle of February. All he could worry about was that Arin could be in grave trouble. He could be miserable and continue to think himself the best looking bastard on earth later. Right now he had a friend to save.

A/N: Shit, mom's really mad! But school's ending, so I should be able to update faster now. Thing's get better! I promise! And yes, I know this chapter sucked like hell, and I'm not saying that for sympathy. Crap I gotta go! RR plz!