The rain tapped against her bedroom window, cleverly disguising the gentle rap of the pebbles he tossed. His floppy hair fell into his eyes as cold water washed the gel down his neck in a constant stream. He sighed, releasing the handful of rocks in his closed fist. But it was not a sign of relent. Instead, he opted to climb the trellis on the side of the house. Once he'd reached her window, he peered through the foggy glass. She sat at her desk, oblivious to the world around her. With a smirk, he reached out and knocked on the wet window pane. Seventeen year old Lauren turned, a book in her hand. His smirk grew to a grin then, knowing she was poised to throw the hardcover textbook. When Lauren saw his blue eyes sparkling with their ever present mischief, she flipped him the bird and turned her back to him.

"Lauren fuck off! Let me in, it's pouring out here!" he shouted, his voice muffled through the glass.

"So go home Jack. I have a chemistry test tomorrow," she said.

"A test you could pass in your sleep because you're BRILLIANT," he stated. "And very pretty."

She laughed and walked over to the window. "What was that last part Jack? I didn't hear you over the wind."

"I said you were pretty. Can I please come it?" he asked, sticking out his lower lip.

"Oh knock off the pouting," she sighed, opening the window. "Get in here and dry off. I'd hate for you to catch a cold."

"Why don't we take off our clothes and use our body heat to keep me warm?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows and climbing through the window.

"Because, Jack Mercer, I have a chemistry test, NOT a biology test," she snapped, shutting the window and locking it.

"Oh well we've got plenty of that. Look."

He grabbed her face in his hands and pressed his lips to hers. She slid his jacket from his shoulders. Jack lifted her from the ground, allowing her to wrap her legs around his slender frame. They stumbled over to the door, Lauren fumbling behind her to lock it. Once he heard the reassuring click of the bolt sliding into place, he slammed her against the wall. His fingers undid the buttons of her shirt in record time and she lifted his wet shirt over his head. Jack's mouth left hers, interested in the new expanse of bare skin. Lauren closed her eyes, running her long fingers through his damp hair. The corner of her bottom lip found its home behind her teeth as she bit it once Jack's warm, soft lips found her breasts. Once his tongue flicked over her nipple, she moaned and brought his face up to hers.

"Bed," she commanded.

Jack was only happy to oblige. "Of course my dear."

She laughed as he dropped her on the bed. "I am so using that. 'Of course my dear.' Classic Jack," she giggled.

"Don't make me bite you," he warned.

"You wouldn't," she gasped, knowing full well he would.

He pointed to the faint scar on her forearm. "You already know I would. But since you've ruined the mood, I need to go have a cold shower," he stated, standing up.

"Jack you can't leave now," she whined, watching him walk to the door.

"I don't wanna hear it Laur. Why do you ALWAYS have to do that?" he asked, scratching his head.

She sat up. "Do what?"

"Everytime we're about to have sex, you start to laugh at something really dumb. Why do you always kill the mood by picking on me?"

"I do not pick on you and ruin the mood," she stated, folding her arms over her chest.

"What do you think you just did? You did it last week too. I don't understand you kid. If you don't want to have sex with me, fine. But don't pick on me as an excuse," he snapped.

"You're being a baby Jack," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "Get out of my room. I have to study."

He huffed and scooped up his shirt. "I'm being a baby? Maybe because my girlfriend is being an uptight bitch."

"Excuse me?"

"Yeah I said it. All you do is sit in your room and study. You're missing out on life," he said.

"What could I possibly be missing? Nothing happens in this stupid town except the shit you and brothers do," she scoffed, opening her textbook.

Jack stomped over to her and grabbed the textbook from her hands."You're missing out on me! You have your nose in these stupid books all the time and you don't see anything!" he shouted, throwing the book across the room.

"What the fuck Jack?" she screamed. "I am not missing out on you! I see you everyday!"

"But you don't- Jesus Christ Lauren! I love you and all you-"

She held up a hand. "What? What did you just say Jack Mercer?"

His blue eyes widened in fear. "I didn't say anything. I gotta go shower. Good luck on your test."

"Jack, I...you don't have to go," she whispered, reaching out and taking his hand in hers.

"I...I love you, Lauren Jansmen. You're the first person I've ever said that to," he confessed, looking down at the floor.

She smiled. "I can't say it back. I'm not ready."

"That's alright. I never really meant to say it now anyway," he chuckled, pulling her into his arms.

Lauren rested her cheek on his warm chest and closed her eyes. "Well I guess you won that fight."

He laughed and kissed the top of her head. "Mercer: One, Jansmen: Zero."

"Oh I think we both score points for this one."

"Well then it's not really a victory for me is it?" he teased.

Lauren sat on her front porch, chin cradled in the palm of her left hand. Her grandmother had left her the house and all the money she'd had in her posession. It was a small house, so it wasn't such a foreboding gift to her. She could handle the silence that hugged the yellowing floral wallpaper each and every time she opened the door. She could also handle the empty rooms and the abandoned furnature. What Lauren couldn't handle about the house, was the ever present essence of her deceased grandmother. The house would always belong to her, despite her being gone. It was her furnature, it was her deco, it was her home. Lauren couldn't stand being anywhere in the house outside of her room, so she sat outside on the porch, waiting for Jack. Jack had been outstanding in the past two weeks following her grandmother's death. He was always there when she needed him, never missing a beat. She smiled, seeing him approaching the house with a pizza box and a black plastic bag. 'That dick rented PORN!' she thought, staring at the black bag. When he looked up and saw her looking at him. His face was shattered by his broad grin.

"Hey Razz! Green peppers and cheese, just like you wanted!" he shouted, holding up the pizza box.

"What's in the bag?" she called out.

"Oh just movies and ice cream!" he replied.

"What movies?" she asked, standing up to greet him.

He placed a gentle kiss on her lips. "Let's just go inside and find out," he whispered.

The huskiness of his voice sent chills creeping down her spine. "If it's porn, I'll kill you."

Jack laughed and bumped the screen door open with his hip. "That's why I love ya girl. You say the silliest things."

"Well, is it porn or not?" she questioned, following him into the petite kitchen.

"No it's not porn you twit. Would I seriously rent you porn to comfort you after the death of your grandma?" he asked. "Jeez what kind of asshole do you think I am?"

"Well, you are a Mercer. And a guy, so I wouldn't put it past you," she snapped, flinging the top of the pizza box up. "Mmm peppers and cheese."

"Only the best for my Raspberry," he whispered, kissing her forehead.

She wrinkled her nose. "Why do you call me that?"

"Do you remember that day ma bought all those fresh raspberries for her raspberry pie?" he teased.

"Oh, God no," she groaned, covering her face.

"Well I seem to remember waltzing into the kitchen and finding YOU, sprawled on the floor, raspberry juice ALL over your face, and not a single raspberry left for that pie. I also remember, quite vividly in fact, you spending the entire night in the bathroom," he giggled. "Since I covered for you and bought ma six new pints of raspberries, you are my Raspberry."

"I didn't know anyone saw me," she blushed.

"Are you kidding me? You seriously thought ma just assumed the raspberries vapourized? No questions asked? I saved your ass that night Razz," he said, poking her shoulder.

"Oh THANK YOU! Jack Mercer, my savior!" she joked, raising her arms in the air.

"Hey, I could have told Bobby about it," he shrugged, grabbing a piece of pizza.

She smiled, also grabbing a slice. "Thanks for not telling."

He took her hand and kissed it, smearing pizza sauce on her skin. "Anything for you my love," he smirked.

"Hey! You got sauce on my hand!" she yelped. pulling her hand away from his marinara mouth. "What movie did you rent?"

"I rented your favourite movie ever," he said, wiping his mouth.

Her eyes lit up. "You rented The Goonies?" she squealed.

"What? No, I've never even heard of that fucking movie. Lauren, I'm talking about your favourite movie of all time," he said.

"Jack, The Goonies is my favourite movie of all time," she stated.

"Oh shit. I guessed wrong then," he said sheepishly, blushing five shades of red.

"Why? What did you pick out as my favourite?" she questioned, opening the bag. "DUDE WHERE'S MY CAR? WHAT THE HELL MADE YOU THINK THIS WAS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE?"

"I don't know! You like stupid pointless movies and it doesn't get stupider than that!" he shouted, defending his choice.

"I do not like stupid, pointless movies! God...seriously? Dude, Where's My Car?" she sighed.

Jack rubbed the back of his neck, watching her chew on her pizza. She suddenly began laughing. It started out as a small chuckle, and grew into a series of giggles. By the time she had polished off her slice of pizza, she was clutching her sides and leaning on the counter. Jack stared at her, eyes wide in bewilderment. Her laughs bounced off the rooster wallpapered walls, attacking his ears. The more she laughed, the more he wanted to run out of the house and call a priest. She said nothing and did nothing, but lean against the counter and laugh. After five straight minutes of side splitting laughter, Jack placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked into his mischievious blue eyes, her own green eyes swimming in tears. Lauren placed a hand on his cheek and kissed him. When she pulled away from him, she smiled. He searched her eyes for an answer to the laughter, but what he found sent his heart leaping into his throat.

"Lauren?" His tone voiced the questions he couldn't as tears washed into his eyes.

She nodded. "I'm there. I love you Jack Mercer. Thanks for waiting," she whispered.

"Always," he breathed, pulling her into his arms. "Always."