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Story Title: Sinspiration

Type of story: Short/Medium story

Main Characters: Ric Dalby and Janet Carlson

BTTB rating: T/A

Genre: Drama

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: SC

Summary: Janet Carlson returns to her old hometown

Part 1

Studio apartment, and people out there actually wanting to be her.

Five books and two paperbacks with her name on aswell, and a sixth book coming up.

In the New York jungle of concrete and steel there was no room for daydreaming about the past, sunsets on the beach and cooling drinks on hot summer nights.

Maybe that was what was missing?

She had asked herself that question many times, cause no matter how good her writing was, there was always something missing.

That little detail that would draw heaps of readers, just dying to read her latest work.

"It’s just not good enough, Ms. Carlson."

Jason Edwards put out his cigar and looked up at the beautiful, yet mysterious young lady in front of him.

Her reaction was just like he had imagined it would be; just like the last time he had told her her work wasn’t good enough.

Slowly Ms, Carlson twisted her dark red lips in a innocent little smile.

"Are you sure, Mr. Edwards?" she asked, sounding like a happy cat in the sunshine.

Even after all this years, she insisted that they’d use each other’s last names.

That was just another thing with Ms. Carlson.

He knew her; dangerous and poisonous, able to get any man to give her anything she wanted.

Gracefully she let on of the straps on her expensive, pale dress slip down from her shoulder, and for a moment Mr. Edwards was close to letting go of all his promises to himself about not letting Ms. Carlson pursue him again.

"I’m sorry," he said, focusing on her pale, beautiful face," I'm a publisher, and my job is to publish good work."

She tipped her nose up a bit, insulted.

"Is there anything I can do to make it better?" she asked, suddenly taking on her sweetest smile again, "I’ll do anything...â€"

Again Mr. Edwards had to focus hard on not going down that road again.

"Take some time off, Janet," he said, "Leave New York and go somewhere you’ll get inspiration."

For a second he thought she would protest, but instead she nodded shortly.

"Okay," she said, "I’ll get my inspiration and come back to you."

Mr. Edwards smiled, relieved that her dangerous temptation was over.

"And Mr. Edwards?" she said as she got up and took her purse to leave.


"That’s Ms. Carlson to you."


Matilda Hunter fell in love when she came to Summer Bay. She fell in love with the town itself.

Maybe not immediately; at first she had hated it, but as she grew up she had learned to love this small town.

Here she wanted to grow old and watch her children grow up.

It was dreams, and nothing more, she knew that.

But those dreams would come one step closer to being reality in only two weeks.

She probably shouldn’t have gone through his stuff, but she just couldn’t wait any longer.

No matter how much she loved Ric, there was always this feeling of not knowing where this was all going.

She had made it pretty clear to him she wanted to marry him, but he somehow seemed uncomfortable talking about it.

So of course she was overwhelmed with happiness when she spotted him in a jewellery store in Yabbie Creek.

Later that evening she had found the ring, and two days later he told her he wanted to take her out to a fancy restaurant in the City.

The restaurant was so exclusive he hadn’t managed to get a table for another two weeks.

Two weeks was a long time, but when she thought about it, Matilda Hunter, soon-to-be Matilda Dalby had no problem waiting two weeks for a life with the man she loved.


Summer Bay looked exactly like it had ten years ago when she left it.

This was the town that had changed her.

From a shy, sweet girl she had turned into a fearless, manipulative woman, reaching out for the things she wanted instead if waiting for them to come along.


For almost ten years he and Mattie had been dating, but still after the ten best years of his life Ric wasn’t sure if he was doing the right thing.

A part of him wanted to marry Mattie, have kids, and live the life she was dreaming of, while a different part of him wanted to see the world.

From the moment he saw her, there was something so bewitching and spellbinding.

Whether it was the big, dark sunglasses, in the pale, expressionless face; the classy cut blond hair; the perfect make up or the long, pale legs, Ric had no idea.

He was on his way to Yabbie Creek to pick up the tux he had dropped off for dry cleaning yesterday.

Like usual the sun was hot, burning every plant brave enough to show its face above the dry, crusty ground.

She was totally misplaced.

These kinds of girls were never to be seen here, or anywhere else he had ever been for that matter.

This girl wasn’t from the City, he could tell.

The Citygirls were classy, but nothing like this. This girl looked like she was from somewhere in Europe.

London, or maybe Venice.

"You need help?" he shouted to her, slowing down.

She was sitting on her car, not making an effort to stop by passing cars.

"You know how to fix a car?" she replied.

American! Her accent was American!

"Sure, I’ll have a look," he said, and walked up to her, "Where are you from?"

"New York City," she said, sounding completely uninterested.

He couldn’t see her face, it was in the shadow from her huge hat.

"Really?" he said, "New York?"

"Yeah," she replied like she was bored, "New York."

"First time in Oz?"

Ric could have bit his tongue off. She obviously didn’t want to talk, but there was something about her that made it impossible not to ask questions.

"No," she said and lighted up a cigarette.

Ric didn’t dare to ask any more questions. She seemed somehow dangerous, and he realised he had to remind himself about Mattie and who she was whenever he looked at this mysterious woman.

The heat didn’t seem to bother her, but it bothered Ric, and when he thirty minutes later still hadn’t managed to find out what was wrong, he gave up.

"You need to get the car towed," he said, "Is it a rental?"

She nodded.

"Where are you going?"

She caught Ric completely unprepared. Most girls were usually afraid of getting into cars with strangers, but this girl’s first question was leading to a new one about getting a ride.

"Yabbie Creek and then Summer Bay," he said, still surprised, "But I can get you a cab if you’re going to the City"

"No, that’s fine," she replied, "I’ll just ride along with you. I’m going to Summer Bay too."

Ric nodded, still very confused about this strange woman.

"I’m Eric Dalby, by the way," he said and held out his hand as they got to his car. He had no idea why he introduced himself as Eric Dalby, he hadn’t done that in years.

She took his hand with a surprisingly firm grip.

"Hello," she said, not introducing herself, "I think I know who you are."

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Thanks :)

I think there will be four parts, but I'm not 100% sure yet.

Part 2

”You think you know who I am?” Ric repeated, very confused. He couldn’t remember her at all.

”We need to get on the road,” she said without answering the question, ”I wanna be in the Bay before the sun sets.”

Ric spent two seconds trying to figure out what to do, but he ended up deciding to let it go for now and drive her to the Bay. She obviously didn’t want to talk.

”So what does a hunk like you need a tux for?” she suddenly said when he got back in the car in Yabbie Creek. It was the first thing she had said since they got into the car and she had called to get her car towed.

Ric couldn’t help blushing. This beautiful and sophisticated woman he barely knew had just called him a hunk.

”Ummm,” he began, looking for the words, ”Nothing really...”

Slowly she took off her sunglasses, revealing two green eyes, both very serious.

”You need a tux for ’nothing’?” she asked, and her voice was giving away that she was thinking something like ”Thank God you’re pretty!”.

Again Ric blushed. Why didn’t he just tell the truth?

”It’s a dinner,” he said, forcing himself to tell the truth. Or at least parts of the truth, ”Just a casual dinner.”

She tipped her head back and laughed.

”You’re not fooling anyone,” she said, “You’re not some rich businessman wearing a tux for a casual dinner,” she said.

Ric didn’t really know what to say to that.

”I can see you have a well toned body,” she said, ”You don’t get that from sitting in an office in The City.”

The City. She was definitely from the Bay.

”So why don’t you tell me the truth?” she said, ”What do you need the tux for?”

”A dinner...” he repeated, ”With my... girlfriend.”

She put her sunglasses on again.

”Well,” she said, ”Sorry I called you a hunk then, I didn’t know you had a woman.”

”Oh, no, no!” Ric said quickly, ”That’s okay! I mean... Thanks...”

A satisfied little smile appeared on her face, like she just had gotten what she wanted.

”What about me?” she said, looking at him again, ”Do you think I’m pretty?”


It was with a strange mix of feelings Ric dropped her off later.

Never in his life had he met anyone like her. She said what she wanted to say, seemed like nothing could bother or scare her, and he was willing to bet anything on her never having blushed or felt embarrassed in her life.

Mattie was on the front porch, waiting for him.

”Hi,” she said, ”Where have you been all day?”

”I went to Yabbie Creek to pick up a tux,” he replied.

The truth was, he couldn’t get his mind off the woman he had met. The way he was distant and silent all night made Mattie nervous, but tonight he didn’t notice it like he used to.

”Are you okay?” she asked after almost an hour of staring at the TV. Usually he would comment the show they were watching, but tonight he didn’t even seem to notice what was on.

”Yeah, I’m fine,” he almost whispered back, and kissed her to prove it.

A horrible thought hit Mattie.

”About the dinner... You still wanna do that?” she asked nervously, afraid of the answer.

”Yeah, of course,” he replied, hoping that Mattie wouldn’t notice how strangely quickly he had replied.

She looked at him, obviously trying to figure out what was going on, for a few seconds, then she gave up.


Five years ago Ric had never imagined himself to still be living in Summer Bay today, working at a boat down at the beach.

But when he inherited the boat a few years ago he figured he could as well make some money of it by taking out passengers on weekends.

During the summer he was busy, taking passengers out almost every day, but now, during spring it was still pretty calm.

So when the phone rang, early the next morning, Ric wasn’t prepared.

He was barely awake when he accepted a customer booking the boat for the evening, and didn’t even realise that meant he had to cancel his date with Mattie the same night.

Luckily she was understanding; after all it was work, and it was just a picnic at the beach they had planned. They could do it another night.

While Ric got ready to go down to the boat Mattie decided to go talk to Cassie.

No matter how tough it got, Cassie was always there.

Mattie hadn’t been spending as much time as she should with her lately, even though she had been with Ric for almost ten years she felt like she had been falling in love with him all over again lately.

But Cassie didn’t judge, she just understood. Just like she understood when she opened the door, saw Mattie and asked ”What’s wrong?”

Mattie took a deep breath to control the tears and looked at her best friend.

”Remember when I told you Ric was gonna propose, Cass?” she said, ”I think he’s having second thoughts.”

Thankful for his amazing and understanding girlfriend, Ric went down to the boat.

The customer was already there, but he didn’t recognize her at first.

”Hello,” she said, with a sweet, dangerous smile, ”I guess it’s just you and me tonight, huh?”

Ric didn’t know what to say.

”I’m sure everything is okay,” Cassie said, and poured more tea for Mattie, ”You’re just nervous.”

Mattie dried her face with a sleeve.

”You know what the worst part is?” she said, and new tears were streaming down her face, where she just had dried off the old ones, ”On one level I wish it’s true.”

Cassie stared at her, and put her cup down.

”You’re still thinking about it, aren’t you?” she said, not looking down.

Mattie nodded.

”You need to tell him,” Cassie said, ”You can’t keep lying.”

”But what if I don’t need to?” Mattie replied, ”What if I just upset him for no reason?”

Cassie kept staring at her, and for once she didn’t understand.

Meanwhile Ric was trying to focus on everything but her. It was easy as long as he could focus on the boat, but when she asked him to stop so she could enjoy the sunset it got harder.

Her sweet perfume, her pale skin and red lips...

”So how is your girlfriend?” she asked, out of nowhere, gracefully leaning backwards so her chest stuck out.

He wanted to tell her about Mattie, for a second he really wanted. But she was too much.

”How’s who?” he asked, winking at her.

No matter how much he thought he loved her, there was no room for Mattie in his brain right now.

Surrender was taking up all the space; every fibre in his body...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you :)

Part 3

Janet Carlson slowly rolled over on the hard wood and stretched her body into a gracious curve.

For a second she had thought she had lost it, when the publisher wouldn't publish her book and asked her to go and get some inspiration.

No matter how bitter it tasted to admit it to herself he had been right, a visit back home had given her inspiration.

And the way she had gotten this wild-at-heart bloke from the town to slowly give in to her and betray his girlfriend for her had given her all self esteem back.

It was classic, probably the oldest story in the world, but still it was so sweet and wonderful.

Being under the influence of seduction and seducing was Janet's favourite feeling in the world.

"Yeah," she thought to herself, looking at the sleeping victim next to her, smiling, "I've still got it."

Cassie sat up in her bed, she had barely slept all night.

"Did you sleep well?" she asked Mattie on the mattress next to her.

Mattie shook her head, "I keep thinking about Ric," she whispered, and again her eyes were filled with tears.

"Yeah, me too," Cassie said, "Listen to me Mattie, you have to tell him!"

The tears were running down Mattie's face now.

"But it's so mean!" she said, "He doesn't deserve it, for all these years I've gone on and on about it, and suddenly I'm gonna be the one pulling away?"

Cassie bit her lip, moments like these reminded her of when they were in high school, only back then the problems were usually not as big and complicated.

"But isn't it better than pretending you're okay?" she asked.

Mattie didn't reply at first.

Cassie moved from the bed, down to the mattress and put an arm around Mattie.

"It's okay, Mattie," she said, "It's gonna be okay..."

Mattie nodded.

"I hope so," she said, "Cause I'm gonna tell Ric I don't want to marry him."

"You never told me where you know me from," Ric said, looking at her sitting there like some beautiful antique doll in the sun.

Janet slowly turned and looked at him through her sunglasses.

"I never said I know you," she said, "I said I know who you are."

Ric just stared at her for a few seconds, trying to get this to make sense.

"You're Eric Dalby," Janet suddenly said, with a weird smile on her face, "You killed your father, you're with Matilda Hunter, your foster parents were Sally Fletcher and Flynn Saunders, you're Alf Stewart's grandson."

Ric honestly didn't know whether to be scared or impressed.

"You could have just done a background check on me and found that out," he muttered, prepared to challenge her, "And I didn't kill my father."

"Sure," Janet said, "But why would I?"

They got back to Summer Bay by noon, and none of them really said goodbye to each other before walking separate ways.

Mattie was at the porch, waiting for him, like she used to when he had been gone for more than ten seconds. Only this time something was different.

She seemed nervous, uncomfortable and maybe a bit sad.

"Are you okay?" he asked, when she almost pulled away from his kiss.

"We need to talk," she simply said, and swallowed.

Ric followed her inside and they sat down.

"What do you want to talk about?" he asked, worried when she didn't say anything.

Mattie opened her mouth, and Ric's cellphone started ringing.

"I won't get that," he said, looking her in the eyes to let her know all his focus was on her.

"Oh, no," Mattie said, shaking her head, "You should get that, it's okay."

"Are you sure?"

Mattie nodded, and reluctantly Ric picked up.


"Hi, Eric," a dark woman's voice said, she sounded like dark chocolate and a purring cat, "I left my wallet on the boat, could I get it please?"

"Oh," Ric said, "It's you. I didn't see it, but I'll go look for it if you can meet me there soon?"

Again he found himself forgetting all about Mattie by the sound of her voice.

"Sure," Janet said, "See you later."

She hung up before Ric got the time to say anything else.

"Erm, I need to get down to the boat," he said, afraid of Mattie's reaction, "The woman who booked last night forgot her wallet. I'm really sorry."

"That's okay," Mattie said, "Just go."

She actually smiled, so Ric figured it had to be all right.

"Do you wanna talk for a few minutes before I go, or should we take it when I get back?" he asked.

Mattie shook her head again.

"It's okay," she said, "Never mind, it wasn't that important..."

The wallet was in a box they had used to keep her imported water bottles in, and when she finally arrived, Ric had already had time to go through her wallet, hoping to find something that could tell him more about her.

"Hello," she said softly, "You found my wallet?"

"Yeah," he said and gave it to her, "You know, I realised you never introduced yourself."

She smiled.

"Like you haven't just gone through my wallet," she said, still smiling. It was creepy how she could read him, "But of course you didn't find anything that could tell you more than the fact that my last name is Carlson."

Ric didn't reply, he didn't really know what to say.

"I'm Janet Carlson," she said, holding out her hand for him to shake, "But you can call me Jade."

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Part 4

He stared into the mirror, studying his own face, every curve of it.

It was not too late to back out, still possible to change his mind and follow his heart. Or maybe it wasn't the heart speaking? Something in his pants was definitely speaking on this issue as well.

No, he couldn't do that to Mattie, she was the love of his life. Jade was just some sort of a fling, a crush he only had gotten because he started freaking out about the commitment of marriage.

That was it, he would get over it, he would forget about Jade eventually, and he would live happily ever after with Mattie.

Eric Dalby took a deep breath and tied his tie, ready to go change his life.

Janet Carlson balanced the long, white cigarette between two fingers and grabbed the ringing cellphone on the table.

"Mr. Edwards," she said coldly, she had seen the caller-ID and wasn't keen on wasting time waiting for him to tell her something she already knew.

"Ms. Carlson," Mr. Edwards replied, "When are you coming back to the Big Apple?"

Janet laughed.

"Why is that?" she asked, "The last time we spoke you were desperate to get me out of town."


"Have you managed to write anything down under?"

"No," Janet replied and smiled to herself, "But I've found quite a lot of... inspiration..."

She thought about the night out on the boat when she had watched another man give in to all his desires.

"I'm sure I'll be able to write again as soon as I'm back in New York."

"When will that be?" Mr. Edwards kept pushing, "You've been down under for two weeks, if we wanna get that book out before Christmas we need to hurry up."

Janet sighed.

"Yeah," she said, "I know. I'll catch a flight home as soon as I can book something on first class."

Mr. Edwards muttered something, and hung up.

Janet sighed again, and turned to the cigarette she had been smoking before he called.

She didn't want to go to New York.

Mattie had been to the bathroom three times since they arrived.

Ric knew that she knew, and he knew she knew he knew she knew.

Still there was this tension between them, like they both wanted to get this over with.

It was supposed to be a good night, but somehow it seemed like they both wished they could be somewhere else.

Their night out was coming to an end, and Ric had to face the fact that there was nothing left to do but propose.

"Mattie," he started, and grabbed for the ring in his pocket, "I've been wanting to ask you a question..."

Mattie's eyes were filled with tears, it was no way back now.

"We've been together for a long time," Ric continued, "And I think -"

"No!" Mattie suddenly said, and tears were running down her fave now, "Stop it, Ric! Don't!"

So typical.

The airline had open seats, first class, destination JFK international airport, departure from Sydney tomorrow morning.

This meant she had to pack all her belongings and get on the road before sunrise if she wanted to get to check in and get back to New York.

Janet threw cashmere sweaters and silky dresses into her suitcase without folding properly.

This was unbelievable. On one level he had never felt more humiliated and hurt, but at the same time he wasn't really sure if that was what he was feeling.

Numb, that was all he could be sure he was, driving home alone.

"I'm sorry, Ric," she cried, "I though I wanted this, but it feels so wrong!"

He stared at her.

"Feels so wrong?"

"I need some time by myself, Ric," she almost stopped crying, "I think I'm gonna go away for a few weeks."

She started crying again.

"I'm really sorry, Ric..."

"It's okay." Distant and numb.

Ric sighed.

She had said she'd see him when she got back to the Bay. He had just nodded, but secretly he had been thinking he wouldn't be there when she came back.

Now the car was taking him away from Mattie, away from commitment, and away from everything.

He didn't really know why he did it, but somehow he ended up down at the boat.

He wasn't the only one there.

"What are you doing down here all dressed up?"

He hadn't seen her, and jumped up when she spoke to him.

Her pale skin showed no signs of just spending two weeks in Summer Bay.

"Nothing, just thinking," he replied, "What are you doing here?"

She shrugged.

"I just wanted to spend some time down here," she said, "I'm leaving in a few hours."

He looked at her, and the heat of a moment hit him again.

"I'm coming with you," he said.

Mr. Edwards walked out of the shower. He had a new message, he had heard the phone ringing, but let the machine pick up.

"Jason," Ms. Carlson's voice said, "It might be a few more weeks before I come back, please don't call or text message me. I'll contact you."

Ric got into the car.

"You sure you wanna do this?" Jade asked, "I'm not driving you home of you regret."

"How do we know where 'home' is?" Ric replied, playing her games now.

"Are you sure you don't want me to drive?"

Jade smiled.

"I'm sure," she said, "And you don't know where we're going anyway, do you?"

Ric raised an eyebrow.

"Well, do you?" he asked.

Jade smiled again.

"Oh, I have a pretty good idea," she said, "We're going to London, or maybe Venice?"



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