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Pen Your Pride

PART ONE

Three months. That's how long Lauren had been busting her ass at this pretentiously vintage style bar. She'd been thinking of starting of a YouTube channel, because that's how most people are discovered by producers or celebrities these days. But Lauren wasn't one to share her powerful vocals with just anyone around the world. She loved the intimate setting this place gave her, and the audience was used to her belting out either a personal ballad, or grunge cover song. They adored her, but internally Lauren wished she had a bigger stage, with brighter lights and a much larger crowd.

That day would come, she thought, placing her special mic in her bag. It had a stickers of her favourite band names all over it which she spent searching two weeks online for. She'd stare down at all the names before going on stage, as though she had sold out an entire stadium, and remember why she was doing this. She wanted to express herself through music, and even though she only had the confidence to perform in front of an intimate audience for now, Lauren knew that she was destined for a global tour.

She waved goodbye to the manager of the bar and left outside the back door. She strolled over to her car, proud of the set she did because the audience was loving the more mellow sound. She couldn't help but notice some people even taking photos of her, hopefully sending them to their friends to gain some more support for her. Even though she despised the YouTube gateway, Lauren was desperate to be discovered. People at her school are constantly on social media though and nobody is aware of her talent, so she likes to keep it intimate between her and the crowd. And because the bar is twenty five minutes away from her neighbourhood, she was sure she wouldn't be bumping into anyone from school.

Speaking of people from school, her phone was buzzing and she hastily fished it from her pocket while trying to hold her guitar and bag.

"What's up loser?" Lauren greeted the boy. Keelan was one of three people Lauren paid attention to at school. She was very much a hermit, however keen to debate in class when she felt motivated. Keelan kept her laughing, providing her with a new joke every time they met for lunch. Even though most of Lauren's lunches were either spent under the bleachers smoking, or in the library reading about women's liberation and history in general.

She had a keen mind for history and philosophy. Nobody knew this but her closest friends. She was known at school for being quite the badass, incapable of smiling for longer than two seconds and always arriving fashionably late for class. Okay, she wasn't that badass. Even though she smoked on school grounds and changed the libraries computer backgrounds to screenshots of band logos.

Those were her finer moments, she'd call them. But Lauren had aspirations and a mentality that stretched further than school walls. She felt lonely of course, sometimes. Particularly when she observed this one girl, always surrounded by a crowd of friends, boys and girls, smiling and laughing and chatting about what next cool thing they're all going to do together. Part of her disliked their dull, close minded personalities, but she couldn't help but feel envious of that attention.

"Camila's having a party tonight."

Camila. The popular girl at school. The one with the cool friends, cool clothes and cool ride. She just melted coolness. Lauren didn't dislike the girl, even though they seemingly had nothing in common, she just wasn't very interested in making anymore friends. They had crossed paths on various occasions, particularly in class when Camila would make a stupid joke and she was the only one to laugh. That's right, Camila could make Lauren laugh. Very loudly. Only one other person could do that; her dad.

"Would you like me to pick you up?" Lauren replied sighing, knowing that the boy was expecting a ride. She didn't feel like drinking anyway so she wouldn't argue.

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