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You'll Never Be Alone

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Story Title: You'll never be alone

Type of story: long fic

Main Characters: Matilda (also Ric, Belle, Sally, Pippa and others)

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Mixture

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: (V/D) (SC) (L)

Summary: Follows Matilda Hunter and her life after University.

Hey everyone. I was bored and so decided to start my own fan fic. It isn't very good so I may or may not continue, it depends.

You'll Never Be Alone

Matilda Hunter was driving along a country lane on her way back to her home town and in her opinion it was the best place in the world. Just hours ago she had graduated from university. Everyone else had their family around them, all but her. Beth and Tony were visiting Scott, Hayley and Noah in France, Robbie and Tasha were in America with their girl Ella, Kit and Kim were up north and unable to fly due to Kit being 8 months pregnant with their second child. Lucas was training to be a top lawyer in the best university in the country. That left Matilda’s twin, Henry, who was busy in England starring in the top plays. There was also Jack and Martha but Martha had just given birth to their first child, a girl called Katie and so Matilda felt she couldn’t ask them to come. She felt all alone in the world and so hoped that going home to Summer Bay would make her feel better, it always had done in the past but this time was different. She had just graduated but didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. She had an English degree but felt confused about where she wanted to go next. Her friends all seemed to know what they wanted to do. Her university friends all had jobs lined up that they were all excited and talking about. She hadn’t really talked to Cassie since she went off with Macca. Her other Summer Bay friend, Ric, was busy setting up his own garage in the Bay. She hadn’t told him about the graduation ceremony as she knew he would be busy and she didn’t want him to turn away business for her.

Now she was driving past the Welcome to Summer Bay sign and felt at ease. She drove right though the Bay, past the diner and the surf club and was pleased, yet not surprised, to find nothing had changed since she had last been home which was nearly a year ago. She pulled up at the house and took her bags inside. It felt so quiet and empty. She noticed there was messages on the answering phone and so played them. The first was from Beth. “Hi darling, I can’t believe you’ve graduated. My little baby’s all grown up. Hope the ceremony went okay and once again sorry Tony and I couldn’t be there. We’ll be home in about a month so see you then. O and Scott, Hayley and Noah all say hi. Well I’d better go, speak to you soon.”

The second message was from Kit and Kim. “Hey sis. Guess what, we had a scan yesterday and we’ve having a girl! Can you believe it! Hope the graduation went okay, speak to you soon”. The third and final message was from Lucas. “Hey how’s my little graduated star! Once again sorry I couldn’t be there but I’ve got some really important lectures this weekend. Only another few years for me! Well I’d better go or I’ll be late, hopefully I’ll come home and see you soon if I can get a break. Bye.” Matilda felt more alone now than she had ever felt before. Everyone else had their own lives and knew what they wanted to do. Lucas had known for years that he wanted to be a lawyer and now his dream was becoming a reality. Matilda had done an English degree because it was her favourite lesson.

She decided she needed to get out of the empty house and so walked down to the beach. Sitting on the sand she looked out to sea.

“Mattie? What are you doing back here in the Bay?”

Matilda looked around and saw Ric running towards her. She stood up and embraced him in a hug. He saw how down she looked and sat down with her.

“What are you doing here?”

“Well where else am I supposed to go?”

“Don’t you have to be at Uni until graduation? When is that by the way, I’ll close up and come.”

“It was today, I came here straight after it.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want to bother you.”

“I’d do anything for you, you know that right? So who did go, I hope they took pictures!”

“No one, everyone else is too busy with their own lives and their futures.”

“Hey come on, cheer up, you’ve just graduated, you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you.”

“Yeah but I don’t know what I want to do,” she started crying “All my friends have jobs lined up, they know what they want to be, Lucas has known he wants to be a lawyer since he was practically a baby, you have wanted to be a mechanic for ages and then there’s me. I have no idea what I want to do, my own mother couldn’t tear herself away from her son to come to my graduation and now I just feel all alone.”

“Hey, you’re not alone, you’ve got me. Listen, the garage can keep going without me, I’ve got a great assistant manager and so I’m going to take some time off to hang out with my best friend who’s just come home from Uni, how does that sound?”

“But this is why I didn’t tell you about today, I don’t want you to have to take time off, what if you start losing money.”

“I’m not taking no for an answer, it’s going to be the best summer of our lives, I can feel it” Ric was always the optimistic.

Matilda started smiling and went to stand up and walk home, feeling a little better.

“Hey, wait a moment. Come here” Ric pulled Mattie close to him. “I’d do anything for you, you know that and over the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about you, What I feel for you is more than just friendship” He leaned over and kissed Matilda. She kissed him back but then pulled away suddenly, not believing what had just happened. She got up and ran down the beach back to the house, leaving Ric wondering whether he had just ruined their friendship forever....

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Chapter 2

Matilda woke the next morning happy to be back in Summer Bay and in her own bed again. Then the events of last night floated through her mind and she remembered the kiss and how she had run off leaving him sat there. She felt terrible but didn’t know what to do. She had never thought about the possibility of her and Ric as a couple. She had only had one boyfriend her whole life and that was Lucas. They had split after it had got too confusing with their parents going out and then them all living together in one house. Throughout University she had gone on the odd date but not with anyone she would consider having a relationship with. When did my life get so confusing she thought? She walked through the empty house feeling more alone than she had ever done before. She got dressed and headed to the Diner for breakfast. She walked through the door and saw Irene and Leah behind the counter listening to Colleen moan about something. Some things never change she thought.

“Mattie, I didn’t know you were back in town!” Screamed Irene when she saw who was standing in the door way.

“Hey Irene” and she gave her a hug. “Can I have one of Leah’s famous cooked breakfasts please?”

“Of course you can dahl, and it’s on the house, welcome back to the Bay.” This is what she loved about living in the small town. Everyone knew everyone and it was like one big family.

Half an hour later she had finished eating and was just about to leave when Ric came through the door. Matilda froze. She didn’t know how to act around him but didn’t get a chance to say anything as he rushed out again.

Now she was even more confused than when she came back to the bay yesterday. She had to figure out how she felt about Ric as well as what to do with the rest of her life. She was walking home when she past Jack and Martha’s house and decided to pop in to meet the new baby.

“Hey Mattie, come on in” said Jack as he opened the door and smiled when he saw who it was.

“Do you want to hold her for a minute?” says Martha as she walks into the room and spots Matilda.


“Okay Katie, meet auntie Mattie.”

“Ahh she’s so sweet and cute and she’s got your nose Martha.”

Matilda spent the next hour getting to know her niece and catching up with Martha. She tried to forget about all her worries for a while but Martha saw right through her.

“Mattie, you know you can talk to me about anything, anytime. I know we’re not technically family but close enough. I can see there’s something bothering you.”

“You don’t want to know, trust me.”

“I know, why don’t I get Jack to look after Katie tonight and I’ll come round with a bottle of wine and you can tell me all about it.”

At seven that evening Martha went round to Matilda’s with a bottle of wine as promised and ready to help Matilda sort out her problems.

“So, now we’re comfy and alone why don’t you tell me what’s up.”

“Well, basically my life is a complete mess,” said Matilda and felt tears in her eyes. “I’ve graduated but don’t know what to do now but that isn’t the worst part. I think I’ve just lost Ric as a friend and all because I’m so messed up and I don’t know how I feel about anything anymore” tears were falling down her face as she spoke and Martha pulled her into a hug.

“Okay so why don’t you tell me what happened with Ric, he is my cousin after all, and maybe I can help.”

“Well, last night we were talking on the beach and then he started telling me how much he cared about me and then he kissed me and I kissed him back at first but then I panicked and sort of ran away, leaving him there and now he hates me.”

“I’m sure he doesn’t hate you. He just told who how much he likes you, I’m sure he understands.”

“I saw him earlier in the Diner and he took one look at me and ran off”

“I bet he’s just giving you some space. So, how do you feel about him?”

“That’s the problem, I don’t know. I don’t know anything any more. I thought he was just a friend but now...”

“Well you need to figure that out, and only you can do that, I’m afraid I can’t make the decision for you.”

“I know you can’t but ... it’s just so hard. I mean what if we do start going out but then something happens? I’ll lose my best friend.”

“So are you saying you do have feelings towards him?”

“I ... I don’t know.”

They talked for another 2 hours before Martha said that she had better get back as Katie would need to be fed.

“Thanks for coming round,” said Matilda.

“No problem and if you need me then phone me.”

Matilda sat down in front of the TV and cuddled a pillow close to her. She wished that she could have her life all sorted. She didn’t want to feel like this anymore. She knew that the first thing she needed to do was to sort things out with Ric, then maybe everything else would seem better. She needed her best friend back.

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Chapter 3

When Matilda woke up the next morning she was confused as to why she was lying on the sofa with the TV still on. The previous night she had cuddled up on the sofa and cried her heart out over her confusion and feeling of aloneness. Yes she had Martha to talk to but no one her own age. Jack and Martha were 5 years older than her. She used to talk to Cassie but then came the whole Macca debacle and nothing was the same between them again.

Matilda got up and got herself breakfast before putting on a Friends DVD. Whenever she felt down she always turned to the gang to cheer her up and they never failed her. She watched the one where Monica got engaged to Chandler and afterwards she felt a bit better. She decided to go for a walk to clear her head as at the moment she had a hundred and one things going through it. Down at the beach she saw Jack and Martha, who was carrying Katie, walking towards her.

“Hey Mattie, you alright?” said Martha looking concerned.

“Yeah I’m fine now. Thanks for coming over last night, I appreciate it. Hey Katie how’s my little niece this morning?”

“She’s fine but I don’t know about us. She kept us up all night didn’t you my little princess,” said Jack. Matilda smiled as she saw Jack take her off Martha and spun her round before hugging her tightly. He really loved Katie.

“Well if you ever want someone to baby-sit, I’m here!”

“You’ll regret saying that,” joked Martha.

They walked off leaving Matilda to think. She sat on a rock and looked out to sea. She remembered all the times she had come here in the past when she wanted to escape. She would look out and imagine she was somewhere else but it would never work. She still had the same problems when she came back to reality. She thought of all the good times she had had when it was her, Cassie, Lucas and Ric. They would eat in the Diner, hang out in the Surf Club go to Yabbie Creek to the movies. She thought of the time Lucas and Ric had tried to teach her and Cassie to surf and how they had moaned when the girls were just worried about whether their hair was still perfect or not. Then there was their High School Prom where they had all got dressed up and got a limo. It was one of the last times they had hung out the four of them. Lucas and Matilda had gone as friends and Ric and Cassie were on again in their on off relationship. But then days later Macca had come back and Cassie had left with him to live in the city. Lucas had gone to Uni, then Matilda left as well leaving just Ric.

This couldn’t go on, she thought. She had to talk to him and sort things out. She couldn’t face life without him.

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Chapter 4

Matilda stood up and brushed the sand off her legs. She had made a decision and now she just needed to put it into action. She headed off to try and find Ric. She went to the garage to find that he hadn’t been in for the last couple of days and that he had got the assistant manager to deal with everything. She worked out that the last day he had been in work was the day she had got back. She decided to go to his house but got side tracked by someone calling her name. She turned around and found Belle running towards her. When Belle had first moved to the Bay her and Matilda hadn’t got on and Belle had tried to charm Lucas while he was still with Matilda. Then she broke up with Lucas anyway and he and Belle had briefly gone out with each other. Matilda had put up with Belle as she didn’t want to have to avoid hanging out with Lucas and Ric. They had put their differences behind them eventually after much effort from both Lucas and Ric.

“What are you doing back in Summer Bay? I thought you moved to LA with Amanda?” said Matilda when Belle was close enough to hear. She wouldn’t really consider Belle a friend but she was okay.

“Well I could ask the same thing to you. Well the being back question not about LA cos you never moved there.”

“So... am I going to hear why you’re back?”

“Well the movie Amanda was working on ran out of money and so that left Amanda broke. She moved in with her awful boyfriend who I couldn’t stand and so I moved back here and am back living at Irene’s. So, I guess you graduated?”

“Yep at the beginning of the week and then I came straight here afterwards, only all of my family are elsewhere in the world.”

“Do you want to go to the Diner to get some lunch?” asked Belle.

“Well, actually I was just trying to find Ric, I have something important to tell him, I was just about to head to his.”

“I’m sure that could wait. Come on, we can catch up.” This was a different Belle to what Matilda remembered. She was being awfully friendly.

“Well ... umm ... I guess Ric can wait.” And Matilda let herself be dragged away by Belle. She’d have to find Ric later.

They headed off to the Diner and sat at a booth. They both ordered milkshakes and Matilda was wondering what had changed with Belle to make her so nice.

“Look Matilda, I know in the past we haven’t got on and I know we had sort of fixed that but I want to apologise. When I went to LA I met some people who sort of reminded me of how I had treated you back when I first moved here. I felt terrible and I vowed then to change how I treated people. I’ve now been on the other side of my actions and I really didn’t like what it involved. That’s why I invited you here, I just hope that we can put our differences behind us and maybe, one day, be friends?”

“Wow, you have changed and I appreciate your apology. I’m sure that we can get to be friends, everyone deserves a second chance in my opinion.”

“Great, so do you want to do something this afternoon? We could maybe go to Yabbie Creek.”

“Umm well ...”

“Please? It’ll be my way of paying you back. We can go see a film and it’ll be my treat.”

“Well in that case how can I say no. I just have to go home first and then I’ll meet you outside the Surf Club?”

“Great. See you soon” and Belle bounced out of the Diner leaving Matilda puzzled. O well she thought, I could use some more friends.

They had a great afternoon in Yabbie Creek. They went to the movies, shopped, had ice-cream and then eventually drove back. Matilda let herself into the house, her arms laden with shopping bags. Belle seemed to have really changed. She had never got to see Ric though, never got to sort things out and it was weighing at the back of her mind throughout the whole afternoon. Oh well, she thought, I’ll go round first thing in the morning, it’s too late now. Then, after this is all over with I have to decide on a career path.

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Chapter 5

Matilda had tossed and turned all night and ended up only sleeping for a couple of hours. She got up early and decided to take a run along the beach. It was something that she had gotten used to while at University. She would always get up early and go out jogging. She ran along the edge of the sea and past many of the other Summer Bay residents running in the other direction. After running a couple of miles she went back to the house and showered. Today she knew she was going to talk to Ric and then at least that would be one thing off her mind. Although there was also fact she still didn’t know what to do with the rest of her life. She dressed in a white halter top, mini skirt and then put on flip flops. She left the house and went to his garage, not really expecting him to be there but just thought she’d check. Then she headed over to the Caravan Park which is where he lives with Sally and Pippa who is now 7. Her stomach was doing butterflies when she knocked on the door. Sally answered,

“Matilda, I heard you were back, how are you?”

“I’m ... okay thanks. Just trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life, you know.”

“Well if I can help in anyway just let me know.”

“Thanks Sally”

“Matilda!” Pippa came running into the room and headed straight her Matilda giving her a massive hug.

“Hi Pippa, you’re so big now.”

“I’m going to be 8 next week!” she said proudly. Matilda needed to speak Ric before she backed out.

“Umm Sally is Ric in?”

“Yeah he’s in his room. I’m getting a bit worried about him actually. He hasn’t really come out in days and won’t tell me what’s wrong.”

“Well, that’s sort of why I’m here.”

“Well I’ve got to take Pippa round to a Leah’s to play with VJ and then I’m going shopping so I’ll be back in a couple of hours, go on up you know where his room is.”

“Thanks Sally, bye Pippa.

“Mattie, will you come and play with me now you’re back?” asked Pippa.

“Sure. I’ve always got time for my favourite princess.”

Sally and Pippa left leaving Matilda stood in the lounge. She headed up to Ric’s room thinking that she was going to faint. She really needed to say what she had prepared and hoped that Ric didn’t hate her so much that he wouldn’t listen to her. She knocked on Ric’s door.

“Umm Ric, it’s Matilda. We need to talk...”

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Chapter 6

She heard Ric moving around inside and the door opened. There he stood looking as if he hadn’t come out in days.

“Ric, can you come for a walk on the beach with me, we need to talk.”

“Look Mattie, about what happened the other day...”

“Just come for a walk, please”

“Okay, give me time to shower first though.”

Matilda went back down to the lounge and put the TV on. She found Friends so sat and watched that while she waited. It was the one where Rachel and Ross finally got together. Then she heard footsteps coming down the stairs.

Ric followed Matilda down to the beach, dreading what she was about to say. They sat down by a rock and Matilda began to talk.

“Look Ric, you are my best friend in the whole entire world and we have been through so much together. When I first moved here I only had Henry to talk to until you came. I was so pleased to be your friend. And then Henry moved away and you were there for me. Then came Cassie and Lucas and we had such fun hanging out together. You were there for me when I fought with Cassie over Macca, when me and Lucas split up and after the fire at Jack and Martha’s wedding. When I had those awful burns you were the one by my hospital bed telling me everything was going to be okay. I don’t know how I would have got through that without you. Thinking of you was what got me through the retreat, I would think of what you would say and that would get me through the day. But then I moved to University and you stayed here. I really looked forward to talking to you and when I came home I really wanted to see you. Until now I thought it was just because we were friends but now I’m not too sure. Things in my life have been so messed up and now I’m scared of relying on someone in case they let me down. Dad died, then there was the whole mum and Rhys thing and I know Tony and my mum are good together but nothing else in my life has worked out has it? All my brothers and my sister are gone and it’s just left me. But you’ve always been there for me, given me advice and cheered me up when I’m down. What I’m trying to say is I think I do have feelings towards you. But I’m scared and you have to understand that.”

She looks so beautiful thought Ric.

“Mattie, I’d never do anything to hurt you. I know people in your life have let you down, but I won’t do that.”

“You don’t know what will happen in the future”

“No, but I know that I’ve felt this way about you for a long time. When you moved to Uni I felt lost without you and that’s when I realised just how much I care about you. I just had to wait to find the right time.”

“Ric, if we start something we have to take it real slow, okay?”

“We can take it as slow as you want to. I just want to be with you.”

Matilda gave Ric a hug and they walked back along the beach. Ric slowly slid his hand into Matilda’s and she smiled. She still felt lost about her future but for the moment she forgot about all that and enjoyed being in Ric’s company, something, she realised, she had really missed when at University.

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Chapter 7

Matilda and Ric spent the afternoon hanging out and it was the happiest she had been in a long time. Towards the end of University she was beginning to feel really lonely. She felt she wasn’t growing up as much as her friends and felt that she was being left behind. They were all talking about jobs and getting married and starting a family. She was just thinking about how good it would be to just hang out and be in Summer Bay. Ric treated Matilda to ice-cream and they ate it while walking along the edge of the sea. They talked for hours about everything, from the past to Ric’s plans for his garage business. Then mid afternoon they ran into Belle on the beach.

“Hey Mattie, I had a great time yesterday. I’m glad we can put our differences behind us,” said Belle as Ric looked confused.

“No problem.”

Belle looked at Matilda and then back at Ric and then where their hands met in-between them.

“Are you two ... are you together?”

“Umm well yeah we are,” said Ric as Matilda looked at him beaming.

“For how long?”

“Honestly, a couple of hours.”

“Is that why you wanted to go and see Ric yesterday?” asked Belle

“Yeah, actually it was.” Matilda said shyly, she could feel herself blushing.

“Well, congratulations. Listen I gotta go or I’ll be late for my shift at the Diner but maybe I could call you and we could do something sometime?”

“Umm yeah sure,” Matilda said. Belle ran off down the beach towards the Diner.

Ric was still looking confused.

“So, when did you and Belle become such good friends?” he asked.

“It’s weird isn’t it?” replied Matilda “She cornered me yesterday and said about how she was sorry about how she’s acted in the past and how she wants to make amends.”

“That is so not like Belle.”

“Tell me about it. She wanted to go shopping and I couldn’t really say no. I really think this change is genuine you know. Before, you could kind of tell when she was lying, but yesterday...”

“And what’s this about you wanting to see me yesterday,” he said smiling.

“Well, I was on my way to find you when I ran into her at the garage. I went there to talk to you cos I couldn’t stand the fact that I just walked off and left you the other night. It was killing me. But then we went to Yabbie Creek and by the time I got back it was too late to come and see you.”

Ric pulled Matilda into a massive hug and they stood embraced for ages.

They walked back to The Caravan Park ready to tell Sally about their new relationship.

“Ric! Mattie!” called out Pippa the instant she saw them in the doorway,

“Hey Pip, is mum home?” Although Sally isn’t Ric’s real mum he calls her mum when Pippa is around.

“Did I just hear my name?” Sally said as she walked into the room.

“Yeah, Mattie and I have something to tell you. This afternoon we decided to take our friendship further and now we are a couple.” Ric beamed as he said it and held onto Matilda’s hand.

“I’m so happy for you two!” said Sally who was also beaming by this point.

“I’ve been wondering if you two were ever going to see there is chemistry between you.” Sally pulled both of them into a hug. She adored Matilda and saw Ric as a son and so couldn’t be happier for them.

“Mattie are you Ric’s new boyfriend?” asked Pippa who had wondered over to see what the fuss was all about.

“Yeah I am,” smiled Matilda.

“Does this mean you won’t have time to play with me?” she asked, a worried expression on her face.

“Of course not! You know how much I love playing with you.”

Pippa smiled, happy to know this,

After spending an hour with Sally and Pippa Matilda walked home. It had been a fantastic day and was over the moon to have Ric as a boyfriend,

She noticed that there was a message on the answering machine and pressed play.

“Hey Mattie, it’s Lucas. It doesn’t look as though I will be able to come home anytime soon, sorry. My weekends are pretty busy as I found out that I can do weekend classes and then graduate earlier than planned. This means that I could be on my way to being the best lawyer in the country even sooner. Isn’t that great? Hope you’re not too lonely in Summer Bay but I’m sure you’re having a great time. Have you got a job yet? Last time we spoke, which was a while ago by the way, you weren’t too sure what you wanted to do. Well you don’t want to waste your time hanging round doing nothing, you need to start making some money and investing in your future. That what they keep telling us here anyway. Hopefully speak to you soon, we seem to keep missing each other’s calls. Well, better go, bye”

By the time the message had finished playing Matilda’s mood had changed. She was no longer happy and smiling. She was back to worrying about the future. What was she thinking when she thought she had all the time in the world. She had to figure out what she wanted to do.

What do you all think? Should I continue?

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I am going to continue for the time being as I have some ideas for what's going to happen.

Chapter 8

Over the next few days she kept herself busy by babysitting Katie while Jack and Martha went out, spending time with Ric, getting more and more friendly with Belle and doing lots of retail therapy. She tried to keep busy as if she ever stopped to think, then all of the unanswerable questions about her future would pound heavy on her mind. She woke up on one sunny Monday morning and smiled. She knew that today was going to be very busy but that was how she liked it. It was Pippa’s 8th birthday and Matilda had agreed to help Ric and Sally with the party. She had told Pippa that she would be over early in order to see her open the presents. Over the past few days Pippa had got to look at Matilda as a sister figure. Pippa had been very upset when Cassie had left and so now was so pleased that Matilda was spending so much time at the house.

“Where’s the birthday girl?” she cried out as she walked through the door carrying a bag of presents.

“I’m here!!!!” came the reply from somewhere behind a big pile of still wrapped presents. Matilda gave Ric a hug and then walked over to Pippa and gave her the presents. Things between Ric and Matilda were going good. They were taking it slow as that is what Matilda wanted.

Half an hour later the room was covered in empty wrapping paper and presents. Pippa was running round not knowing what to play with first. Hours later and the room was packed with screaming children. They had played pass the parcel, musical chairs and various other games. They had had a buffet style lunch of sausage rolls, crisps, cheese on sticks and many other things. Matilda did a great job of managing to control them all and not let them cause absolute havoc. Ric admired her for this as he didn’t know how they would have managed without her. He wasn’t used to this many children and Sally was great with kids but she dealt with older children, not 7 and 8 year olds.

Matilda stood in the kitchen getting herself an ice cold drink while Ric took a turn at entertaining them.

“Ric, what is your job?” asked one of the girls.

“Well, I’m a mechanic. I fix cars when they break.”

“When I’m older I want to be a policewomen,” the little girl replied.

“I want to be an astronaut,” said another.

“I’m going to be a nurse and help sick people like my mummy does,” said a particularly cute girl with blonde hair up in benches.

Matilda looked at them all. They all seemed do sure of themselves. Okay the one who wants to be an astronaut was a bit extravagant with their expectation but the others were so sure of their futures.

“Mattie, what’s your job?”

“Umm ... well I haven’t actually got a job at the moment,” she said.


“Umm ... well I’m just not too sure about what job I want to do.”

“But all adults have job and those that don’t have one stay home and look after their children but you don’t have children do you,” replied the girl.

“No I’m too young to have children and I don’t have a job.”

“Well that’s just silly,” said the blonde girl.

It was all getting too much for her and she ran out of the back door while Ric looked on. Sally came back into the room just as Matilda left and looked at Ric, confused.

“What’s wrong with Mattie?” she asked.

“I’m not quite sure although I have a fairly good idea. I have to go after her, check she’s okay.”

“Yeah, of course. I’ll be fine and I’ll get Leah to come and help.”

“Thanks Sal.”

Matilda ran until she finally broke down. She was half way down the beach and she collapsed onto the beach. The feeling was overwhelming. She felt someone approach her from behind and knew immediately that it was Ric.

She sat beside her and put his arm round her pulling her towards him into a hug.

“Mattie, please let me in, tell me what’s wrong.”

“It’s nothing, I’m just being stupid.”

“It’s not nothing. Please, I care about you, maybe I can help?”

Tears were falling rapidly down her cheek.

“Why is everyone else so sure about what they want to be? Those children who are 8 already have an idea of what they want to do. Some may be unrealistic but at least they have ideas. I don’t. I’m the only one who hasn’t got a clue.”

“Mattie, I thought you’d gotten over this. You seemed so happy the past few days.”

“I was trying not to think about it, block it out. But then there was the message.”

“Message? What message?”

“Lucas called last night and left a message. He asked whether I had a job yet and that I shouldn’t just hang around doing nothing, I should be earning money and creating a future for myself. Did you know that he’s going to graduate early so he can be the best and youngest successful lawyer?”

“I haven’t actually spoken to him in a while. But listen, he’s not here. He hasn’t seen you in months. Therefore he doesn’t know what’s going on with you and can’t tell you what’s best for you.”

“But I do have to decide what to do. I can’t just continue doing nothing for the rest of my life can I.”

“Well, then think of what skills you have and what you’re good at. I can help, and so can Sally. She knows a lot about this kind of stuff.”

“That’s another thing, my family should be the ones helping. They should be here. I know that I’m not their only child but doesn’t graduating mean anything?”

“I know you feel neglected but there are loads of people here that love you. I care so much about you, and Sally does as well. I know she’s like a second mum to you. Pippa thinks of you as a sister. We’re all here for you any time you need to talk.”

“Thank you Ric.” Matilda said wiping her eyes.

“Now, the party will be over by now so why don’t we go back and ask Sally about career options.”

“Sounds good,” replied Matilda. Ric got up and pulled Matilda up. She fell into him and found herself moving closer to him and kissing him. It was their first kiss since the she returned to the Bay. Everything around them seemed to disappear and the only thing they could hear was the sound of the gentle waves crashing onto the beach. He always knew what to say, thought Matilda. He had helped her through so many problems in the past. Once the kiss was over they walked back towards the Caravan Park with Ric having his arm round Matilda.

Everything’s going to be okay, she thought. She just knew it would.

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Thanks shortie_689 for all the great comments!!!!

Chapter 9

Sally was clearing away mess from the party when she saw Ric walk in with his arm around Matilda, who it was obvious, had been crying. Sally was worried as she looked at Matilda as more or less family.

“Mattie, are you alright? I was getting quite worried,” asked an anxious Sally.

“Umm yeah I’m fine now, thanks to Ric,” and she gave Ric a hug.

“Sal we were wondering if you could help. Mattie was upset as she doesn’t know what to do now she’s got her English degree. We were wondering if you could help think of possible career paths for her,” explained Ric.

“Of course, I’d be happy to. Mattie, you just have to think of what you like doing.”

“That’s just it, I don’t know. I’m just so confused.”

“It’s alright. Many people feel like this after University. And as to regards to a career, have you ever thought teaching at an elementary school? I saw the look on your face when you were supervising and entertaining the kids earlier. And I know you love being around children. It was obvious that you have a talent with little kids and I know you enjoy it.”

“I’ve never thought of that. I do love being around children. It sounds like the perfect job. As part of my English degree I had to do some teaching exercises and I really enjoyed them. What other qualifications would I need?”

“Well I don’t know for sure but I think, as you’ve already got an English degree you will have to do a teaching course which they do at the college in Yabbie Creek. I can look into it if you want?”

“Yes that would be great! Thank you so much! It all seems so obvious now, it’s the perfect job for me. I can’t thank you enough.” Matilda got up and hugged Sally, beaming.

The next day Matilda babysat for Katie while Jack and Martha went shopping in Yabbie Creek. It gave her some time to think about the future. It was the first time in months she had been able to think about it without getting scared and confused. The more she thought about teaching at an elementary school, the more she loved the idea and she couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought of it earlier, it would have saved her a lot of tears. When Martha and Jack came back she told them of her plans and they both thought it was a wonderful idea. She left their house and headed to the Diner to get something to eat. Belle was finishing her shift as she walked in.

“Hey Mattie, what are you up to,” asked Belle.

“Well, I was just going to get a muffin and a milkshake actually. Do you ... want to ... join me?” Matilda asked hesitantly. She was still getting used to the ‘new Belle’.

“That would be great. I’m not that hungry but maybe I’ll have a drink and sit with you.”

They both ordered and sat in one of the booths.

“So, how are things going with you and Ric?” asked Belle.

“Great. And Sally has helped me to realise what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m going to be an elementary teacher!”

“That sounds great. I’ve seen you at the beach with Pippa and you’re really good with her.”

An hour later Ric walked into the Diner. He had started working at his garage again and so was on a break. He was slightly surprised to see his girlfriend and Belle laughing together.

“Hey babe, how are you?” he asked walking over to their table.

“I’m great thanks,” replied Matilda standing up and kissing him. “Come and join us.”

“So, Belle ... I’m pleased to hear that you and Mattie have become friends.”

“Yeah, I’m pleased that I have been able to start making up for my past behaviour.” Belle looked at her watch and was startled to realise the time. “I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you soon.” She rushed out of the Diner leaving Matilda and Ric puzzled.

“Where could she have to go in such a hurry?” asked Ric.

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Chapter 10

“Mattie, how long is it until Christmas now?” asked Pippa. Her and Matilda were sat on the beach making sand castles. Ric was at the garage sorting out paperwork and Sally was at the school as she also had paperwork even though it was the summer holidays.

“Only 4 days now. Are you excited?”


Beth and Tony were spending an extra few weeks in France and so wouldn’t be back for Christmas. Lucas couldn’t promise he would be back and so that left Matilda. She had been invited to Sally, Ric and Pippa’s house. She was going to stay Christmas Eve night so that she wouldn’t have to wake up on Christmas day all alone in the house. Then in the evening she was planning on going over to Jack and Martha’s house to see them and Katie.

Later on that day Matilda had arranged to meet up with Belle. They were going to go into Yabbie Creek to do some Christmas shopping.

“So, are you spending the day with Irene?” asked Matilda.

“Yeah it’ll be Irene, me and Drew, who you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting. He’s a right idiot,” replied Belle. Drew is the latest teenager to be taken in by Irene as he showed up sleeping on the beach with no where else to go. His mother kicked him out and his father was in prison.

They enjoyed walking round the shops, buying gifts for people and looking at the Christmas decorations that were everywhere. A couple of hours after they arrived, Belle began to get really out of breath.

“Belle are you okay?” asked Matilda looking really worried.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Maybe we should just sit down for a few minutes.”

“Of course! Are you sure you’ll be alright?” Matilda was seriously worried and didn’t know whether to believe Belle when she said she would be okay.

Not long after Belle had recovered and was keen to carry on shopping even though Matilda thought otherwise.

“Look Belle, you’re obviously not feeling your best and so why don’t we go home and we can come back tomorrow if you want.”

“Look Matilda I’m fine. Come on, I have to get something for Irene.”

Matilda drove them both back to Summer Bay in the evening. She dropped Belle off and then went home. She still didn’t like coming home to an empty house. She played the messages on the machine.

“Hey Mattie, it’s Robbie here calling from the U S of A. Tasha says hello and so does baby Ella who has grown so much since you last saw her. We’re hoping to come over and visit sometime next year if we can save up the money. I’m calling now as we’re going away for Christmas and so might not be able to call on Christmas Day, so merry Christmas. O and I heard about you and Ric and I just wanted to let you know that if he ever hurts you then I can be on a plane in a second and can come and beat him up for you. I know you’re laughing at that thought just like Tash is. Well at least I provide some comedy for everyone. Once again merry Christmas little sis.”

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