HOLA!!!!! did everyone miss me? i hope so because i sure missed writing. guess who's officially a senior? Not me...but i will be very soon (assuming i passed all of my tests). Things have been going fairly well. I turned 17 so i can drive. Technically I've been driving anyway but now it's legal! And i've been dating this girl for about 3 months now and i'm still veryyyy happy. And in a few weeks i will be going to Hawaii/ Australia to run cross country. I know you're jealous. I promise to bring back some kangaroos for you guys.

But you're not here to read about how wonderful my life is. You're here to read my new story. This is the sequel to "Rescue me." I WILL REFERENCE IT so it might be best if you read it over. As you now know, i took the title from the song by Hawthorne Heights. So for this story i stuck with the pattern and took the song from Switchfoot. It takes place between the last chapter and the epilogue in case you missed my authors note. Now if i didn't write the epilogue, i could've really messed with you. But alas, you all know Katie survives. However, if you want to live in suspense just pretend you didn't read the epilogue...or what i just wrote here.
Now you're probably going, "GASP! Katie was shot! She died! OH NO OH NO! Author you are very mean. Bring her back NOW!"
"I know. I am sorry my readers. I had to kill Katie. Now enjoy this story entitled 'Learning to Breathe.'" TA DA!!!!

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FLASHBACK:

Tom's hand finally squeezed the trigger. The bullet spiraled in the air, cutting through the fabric of Katie's shirt. Blood splattered onto the ground. The force of the bullet caused Katie to be pushed backwards. It was in slow motion. Katie's body went limp and started to fall.

B+W testimonial: Katie: It hurts more than i thought it would. At first, i didn't realize all that blood was mine. It didn't seem real. i kinda felt like i was watching everything happen from a distance. Like in a movie or something. I didn't really register what was happening. I mean, i thought today was gonna be simple. Wake up, go to school, hand in my final project, have lunch with Jessie, then go home. yet here i am, a bullet in my chest, wondering what made today THE day. I dont know, i feel like there should've been a sign or something. Like when you wake up and hit your head, you know the rest of the day is gonna suck. I guess it doesn't matter anymore, does it?

Jessie wrestled out of the hands that were holding her and stood up.

"KATIE!" She started to run to her, hoping to catch her fall, but didn't make it. She fell to her knees, picking up Katie's head and placing it into her lap.

"Oh God...please no. Someone go get help!" She faintly heard the sound of scuffling feet. She put her hand on Katie's chest and applied pressure. The tears fell faster as her hand became drenched in the red liquid.

With her other hand she caressed the cheek of her angel and looked at the open, glazed eyes staring back at her.

B+W testimonial: Jessie:( looking at camera with tears running down her face) I thought hero's weren't suppose to die.

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"Shots fired. I repeat, shots fired. Send the team in!" Hearing those words come through the police officer's walkie talkie caused Rick's mouth to go dry. The crowd in front of the school could only watch in horror as multiple members of the swat team ran into the building. After a few more minutes, Rick ran over to where the family stood.

"Well? Did they catch him? Is Jessie ok?" Karen looked at him through teary eyes. He took a deep breath before her spoke.

"From what i just heard the cop say, two people were shot. One was the shooter."

"What about the other?" She asked. He ran his hand through his hair.

"All they said was that it was a young girl." Karen turned to her son and broke down in Eli's arms. Grace stared at the ground shaking her head.

"That bastard!"

"Grace!" Lily scowled at her language, trying her best to hold back her tears as well. Sarah, who was standing close to the family, looked down at the phone in her hand. After reading the text message she carefully shut it and put it in her pocket, fighting back a sob.

"Jessie's in there. She could be dying. He can't get away with this and-"

"Grace?" Sarah said quietly.

"What?" Grace turned to her in a mix of anger and tears. Sarah stared blankly at the school.

"It's not Jessie." Grace's face fell.

"Oh God." She turned toward the school, standing like a statue, just like Sarah.

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"Katie? Please baby wake up. Come on Billie!" Jessie was pleading with the unconscious girl while gently rocking her back and forth in her lap. She heard another shot go off but refused to take her eyes off of her dying lover.

"In here! In here!" A young boy stood at the door, waving the uniformed officers inside where they began guiding kids out the room. The EMT's walked in, one running to Tad on the floor to assist him. Two officers grabbed onto Jessie's arms, trying to pull the small girl away.

"No! NO! I'm not leaving her! NO!" She screamed and gripped onto Katie for dear life as the officers tried to get her to leave.

"Someone get her out of here!" A large man came over and locked his arms around her waist, lifting her effortlessly off of the ground and proceeded to walk backwards toward the entrance.

"NO! Let me go! Tad help!" With all of her strength she pushed out and broke his hold on her. She started to head over to Katie again only to feel Tad grab her leg from his spot on the floor. She looked down at him.

"I'll go with her in the ambulance. I promise, i'll stay with her." She turned her gaze back to the girl on the ground. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. The man once again came over to Jessie and grabbed her. Giving up the struggle, Jessie let the man guide her out of the room, never taking her eyes off of Katie, lying on the ground.

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"Rick. Rick. Is that her? Oh God, she's covered in blood. Jessie!" Karen was frantic. She ran over to the medic station that Jessie had just been brought to, the rest of the family running after her.

Jessie sat on the back of the ambulance completely still as an EMT looked her over. Her make-up had smeared down her cheeks and her clothes were soaked in blood. She didn't react to her mother's calls.

"Jessie? Oh my God." Karen landed on her knees in front of her and wrapped her arms around her daughter but received no hug back. "All this blood..." She trailed off. The young girl continued to stare into space.

"It's not mine," she stated without any emotion. Karen pulled back to look at her daughter, realization dawning on her.

"Oh God." The rest of the family ran over to the two women. Karen turned and looked up at Rick. "It's Katie." Jessie tried her best to stay stiff but hearing that name instantly brought on another round of tears. Surprisingly Grace was the first to walk over and take Jessie into her arms, rubbing her back soothingly.

"She's gonna be ok Jess."

"Excuse me! Excuse me!" A dark-haired woman ran over with a microphone, followed closely by a man with a camera. Everyone's head looked up at her. She held the microphone up to her lips. "Can you tell me what happened?" Eli stepped in front of her.

"Listen she's been through a lot. Leave her alon-"

"Did you know any of the victims?" She ignored Eli's words and held the mic to Jessie for her to respond. His face darkened.

"Listen lady I think-"

"Did you witness the shooter kill anyone?" Jessie's head shot up at the woman. The reporter smirked, proud to have finally gotten the girl's attention. Suddenly her eyes went wide as Jessie tried to lunge at her, only to be held back by Rick and Eli. Karen moved right in front of the reporter, blocking her view of the young girl.

"Leave, or i will sue you for harassment." The woman's eyes narrowed.

"You can't." Karen took a step closer.

"Try me." Before the woman could reply, a commotion was heard from the front of the crowd. The reporter looked back and forth between Karen and the scene before jogging away with the camera crew.

The family looked past the sea of people to watch on as two EMT's carried out someone in a body bag. Jessie collapsed to the ground and started hyperventilating. Grace held her hand over her mouth and started backing away from the scene slowly. Eli bent down to assist the EMT with his sister, trying to coax the girl to breathe again. Zoe, who had gone unnoticed until now, did not move.

"Jessie, that's not Katie." Everyone turned and looked in the direction Zoe was pointing, only to see Katie being carried to an ambulance on a stretcher, Tad walking closely behind, holding his arm tightly. On shaky legs, Jessie stood up, using Eli for support and watched the EMT's load Katie into the rig. She squeezed Eli's arm.

"I need a to go with her." He nodded.

"Yeah, yeah we'll go now."

"We'll be right behind you," Rick said. Eli supported Jessie as they made their way to the car, only to be stopped by a hand on her arm. As Jessie turned around she met Sarah's face. The dark-haired girl took hold of Jessie's hand and placed a piece of paper in it.

"That's my number...if you find out anything ple-"

"Of coarse," Jessie replied quickly, already knowing what the girl meant. Sarah nodded in thanks. "You're not coming," she stated less like a question.

"No. I'm not strong enough to handle it." The blonde's eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"What do you mean?" Sarah looked directly into her eyes.

"You love her enough to watch her die. But i can't do that. I'm not strong enough." Jessie's lips started quivering.

"She's not gonna die."

"I hope you're right," Sarah said, fighting back her own tears. Seeing the effect Sarah's words had on the young girl, Eli grabbed her arm again and started moving in the direction of the car.

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In the back of the ambulance, a woman was working on the wound in Tad's arm as the rest of the EMT's tended to Katie. His gaze stayed on her face, refusing to look at her bloody chest. The woman followed his gaze.

"She your girlfriend?" He shook his head. The woman bit her lip and looked at his arm again. "The bullet didn't hit an artery. You're gonna be fine." He didn't respond so she continued. "You know, this is only my first week on the job. It's strange, kind of ironic even. I thought I wouldn't see anything like this...at least not for a few years." He still didn't respond. "So who was the blonde girl?" He slowly turned his head to look at her.

"No offense, but my friend's kinda dying. I don't feel like talking," he said with an icy tone and turned his eyes back to Katie as the woman lowered her head in shame and continued to tend to his arm, slightly taken aback.

"I...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...I was just curious I guess. I've never seen someone fight that hard just to stay." He closed his eyes for a second before looking back to the woman, shrugging his shoulders.

"I guess it's true what they say." He turned back to Katie. "Love makes you do crazy things." He finally let his gaze fall to the wound in her chest. Slowly he reached out and grabbed her hand, stroking the knuckles gently. Tad jumped slightly as he felt her hand move.

Katie let out a small groan.

"Katie? Try not to move. My name is Mike. I'm an EMT. You were shot. We're on our way to the hospital. I need you to stay awake." Tad let out a sigh of relief and squeezed her hand.

"I'm here too Katie."

"Jessie..." She trailed off, too weak to speak. Katie managed to open her eyes briefly, looking at Tad.

"She's fine. She's meeting us at the hospital," he tried to assure her, only to be cut off as a buzzing sound emitted from one of the machines. Tad felt her hand slip out of his and watched her arm fall limply to the side.

"She's crashing. Get the paddles." Tad was pushed back into his seat by an EMT to make room.

"And CLEAR!" The shock jolted Katie's body. The machine continued it's buzzing.

"Again. CLEAR!" Another shock. Tad's breathing grew heavy as he looked back and forth between the girl and the machine showing a long flat line across it.

B+W testimonial: Tad: No. Katie can't die. She can't, not like this. She's THE Katie Singer. (Looks down for a moment and lets out a laugh) You know, i remember this one time, we were probably about eight or so. We were having a race down this huge hill on our bikes. About half way down she ended up hitting a rock, falling off her bike. She was covered in scratches and her arm was broken so i told her we should just head back...but i should've known. She refused to lose the race to me. She jumped back on her bike and raced down the hill with one hand, (smiles and looks at the camera) And she won too.

Tad wiped away the tears that appeared in the corner of his eyes. In the strongest voice he could muster, he addressed Katie. "Come on Singer. Where's that stubborness?" He waited as the EMT checked her pulse again, finding none. He narrowed his eyes at her, as if he was angry. "Let's go Singer. You really gonna give up that easy?" The EMT grabbed the paddles again.

"CLEAR!" Another shock. The machine started to beep again, very slowly. "We got a pulse." Tad smiled lightly.

"That's my girl." He reached out and took her hand in his once again.

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The automatic doors slid open as Jessie jogged into the Emergency Room, going directly to the front desk, the rest of the family lagging behind.

"I need to find Katie Singer. She was just brought in." Grace finally reached the desk, slightly out of breath. The older woman looked up at the two young girls.

"Was she one of the victims?" Jessie swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat.

"Y-yes. Where is she?" The woman hesitated.

"Are you family?"

"Yes," Grace quickly answered. The woman at the desk looked up at her skeptically.

"We have a strict policy. Only family-"

"Please!" The blonde shouted.

"I'm sorry. If a family member gives you permission then-"

"Please," she asked softly. With a sympathetic sigh the woman looked at the computer screen, scanning it for Katie's name.

"It says she's in surgery." Grace turned to look at Jessie, who's face had just turned pale.

"Jess, you ok?" No response. Instead, the girl ran to the bathroom, making her way to the nearest stall and dropping to her knees. Grace came in not a second later and held the girl's silky blonde hair back as she threw up.

After a few minutes she was able to stand up on shaky legs and make her way over to the sink in order to wash up. She held her hands under the water and watched the blood go down the drain. Katie's blood. She splashed the water in her face a few times and rinsed out her mouth. When the blonde was finished, she turned off the faucet and looked up. For the first time all day she looked at herself in the mirror, unable to believe it was really her. She felt someone nudge her shoulder and turned her head to see Grace holding a paper towel out for her.

"Thanks." Grace only smiled sympathetically. With an unsteady hand she took it and dried her face, wiping away the make up smudges and dried blood. Jessie then attempted to smooth out her hair. She looked up to see her reflection again. "This doesn't seem real. Why is this happening?" Grace moved to stand beside her, looking at both of their reflections.

"All that comes to mind is bad things happen to good people. That's life i guess." Jessie didn't so much as blink. "But Jess, she's not dead...she needs you right now."

B+W testimonial: Jessie: Since the first day we met, Katie's been looking out for me. She saved me that day with Tad. She ditched school with me because she knew i needed a break. She made sure i always ate something. She made sure no one messed with me at school. She even helped me with my mom after i came out to her. And right now all i can think is that i need her. How selfish is that? She's about to die and all i can think is that i need her to comfort me. (takes a deep breath nd looks at the camera) But for the first time she needs me. I have to be strong for her.

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The waiting room smelled of heavy floor cleaner. The T.V. was tuned into a food network channel, but no one seemed to be paying attention to it. Grace watched as Jessie walked back and forth in front of her, deep in thought. Grace's head fell and she stared down at her bright blue shoes, fascinated by them, almost as if she was expecting them to look different due to the circumstance.

"You call your boyfriend yet?" Grace looked up to see Eli taking the seat next to her while throwing an expired magazine onto the little table. She shook her head. Eli raised his eyebrow at her statement.

"Don't you think he'd want to know that you're ok?"

"I didn't have to call him. There was this mass evacuation at his school. He found out why and called me. I told him I was fine and not to worry."

"So he just didn't want to come here then?" Grace leaned back and looked up at the ceiling.

"I didn't tell him i was here. I didn't want him to come." Eli leaned back next to her and copied her position.

"Why not?" She shrugged and tilted her head to look at him.

"I don't know. Him being here wouldn't help. I didn't see a point." Eli turned to meet her gaze, staying there for a second until he heard a man clearing his throat.

"Katie Singer?" Jessie immediately stopped her pacing and looked at the doctor, along with everyone else.

"Is she ok?" Rick asked.

"I'm Dr. Cohen. Are you her father?" Before Rick could answer, Jessie stepped in.

"Her father's on a submarine right now. We haven't been able to reach him." He nodded.

"And her mother-" Jessie crossed her arms.

"Is in a special care facility. I can't get in touch with her brother's either. How is she?"

"Are you family?" She let out a sigh.

"I'm her girlfriend." He looked at Rick.

"Will you let me know when a guardian shows up?" Jessie took a step forward.

"But I just told you, there isn't anyone." Rick walked over and put his hand on her shoulder before looking back to the doctor.

"I'm willing to take legal responsibility for her." The doctor's mouth fell open before quickly shutting again.

"Umm there are a few forms i will need you to fill out first."

"That's fine." Dr. Cohen nodded.

"Then please, follow me." Rick followed the doctor into an empty office down the hall, as everyone else stayed in the waiting room. A few minutes later he walked back into the room, halting Jessie's pacing once again.

"Is she ok?" She looked at her father trying to brace herself for his answer.

"Jess, maybe you should sit down." He motioned to one of the chairs.

"NO! Tell me!" She shouted, causing most people in the room to stare. Rick let out a soft sigh.

"She's in the ICU right now. The bullet went right threw her heart. The damage was...pretty extreme." He paused to look at Jessie as she absorbed this information. "Her heart stopped beating in the ambulance but they were able to restart it." He scratched his head. "He used a lot of medical lingo...but basically-"

"Will she be alright?" The blonde asked. Rick shook his head.

"They're not sure. They were able to repair the heart in surgery. From what the doctor said, it seems they're waiting for the rest of her body to acknowledge that it's working. They should know in a few hours." Jessie walked toward the window and stared out into the parking lot. Without turning around, she spoke.

"Can i see her?" He shook his head again.

"Not yet." The family watched her, waiting for the tears, but they never came. Jessie looked back at her father.

"I think I'm gonna go for a walk." All anyone could do was nod as she slowly made her way out of the room.

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Tad sat on the hospital bed trying very hard to get his jacket on. He winced in pain as he tried to lift up his wounded arm in it's sling to put the jacket over his shoulder. After many failed attempts he was ready to give up.

"Need help?" He looked towards the doorway to see Jessie leaning against it. He flashed her a small smile as she walked over, picking up the other side of his jacket and placing it over his shoulder.

"Thanks...you know the doctor said no heavy lifting for awhile, so i'm probably gonna need you to bring in those kegs for my party this weekend." A moment passed by before Jessie's laughing broke the silence. It felt foreign to her, as if she had forgotten how to laugh, or even smile for that matter. Tad smiled, happy he could relieve some of her tension.

"Only you Tad. Only you." She quieted down and waited for Tad to say what he was thinking.

"So...how is she?" He asked hesitantly.

"Not so good. She's in the ICU right now. I don't know if..." She couldn't bring herself to say those words choosing instead to bite her lip. With his good hand, Tad reached out and put his arm around her.

"Hey, she's gonna come out of this. She is Katie after all." She only nodded. "Do you mind coming with me somewhere?" She tilted her head up at him and, after a brief pause, nodded.

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"What is this?"

"A chapel," Tad said from his spot in the pew. He watched as Jessie stopped walking up and down the aisle to give him a dirty look.

"I know that. I sorta meant, why are we here?" He shrugged.

"I thought it might help you." She walked over and sat down next to him but stared straight ahead.

"It's weird. When my parents were still together, we would go to church all the time. I never understood why." Tad nodded.

"Katie never liked church. Once, when she was eight, she got bored and went to the corner by the candles. She almost burned the place down." Jessie smiled.

"Yeah, I remember her telling me that."

"Did she tell you how she thought the confessional was a bathroom when she was four?" She turned to him with mouth open in disbelief. Tad smiled.

"I guess that one's a little embarrassing. Don't tell her i told you. She'd kick my ass." They both laughed, calming down after a few minutes. "You know, everyone thought that she didn't believe in God."

"It's not true though."

"It's not. She still hates church but...she told me she thanks God everyday that she met you." He looked down at the blonde completely serious. Jessie squeezed her eyes shut, refusing to shed any tears. When she opened her eyes again she took a deep breath.

B+W testimonial: Jessie: (looks at the camera and shrugs her shoulders) I guess it's worth a shot.

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"Hey Jessie." Eli made his way over to the vending machine where his sister stood, biting her nails, concentrating on the machine. "I'm glad you're eating.

"Katie would be pissed if she knew i wasn't." He smirked and leaned closer.

"So did you have a nice walk?" She nodded.

"Where'd you go?"

"I went to the church to pray."

"Ummm...oh. Didn't expect that...Did it help?" She nodded, still focusing on the food before her. "Having trouble choosing?" She nodded once again. He looked over her shoulder at the vending machine.

"Well, they have skittles."

"I know."

"What's the problem?"

"I don't like the purple." He scrunched his eyebrows.

"So?" She paused for a moment.

"...Katie always eats the purple for me." Eli put his hand on her shoulder and grinned.

"Well why don't you save them for her?" She finally turned away from the food and looked up at Eli in confusion. "Jess, the doctor just stopped by." Her arms fell to her side and her breathing became irregular.

"And?" His smile grew.

"You wanna go see her?"

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Well? Well? are you as thrilled about this as i am? Nice and long, just the way we like it. Originally it was gonna be 2 chapters to make it easier to read and i will tell you, most chapters (if any) will NOT be this long. But i figured you'd want a treat and who could resist?

i hope so. feel free to leave me reviews. i miss them so.

And i'm gonna do (or at least attempt to do) what i wanted to with my last story which is make every chapter the name of a song it relates to, not just a number.

And FYI i do not know much about the law and stuff involving medicine. So in my story just pretend that in emergencies, Rick can TOTALLY sign some stuff and become responsible for Katie.

now i will be pretty busy for the next few weeks. my girlfriend will be coming home from africa (i know who goes to africa?) but i will be driving up to see her and spend a long weekend with her. and for 2 weeks in july i'll be in australia (crazy right?) but lucky for you i've already written a few chapters. i just have to spice them up a little and POOF! we have weekly updates again. hopefully the rest of the lovely JK writers will follow my lead.

again, i hope you all enjoyed this

Love,

ME =)