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You'll Never Be Alone

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Hey everyone, once again sorry for the long wait! My teachers are all giving me loads of work and so I haven't had a lot of free time.

The song in this chapter is 'Black and White' and it the soundtrack for the Shamu show Believe at Sea World. It talks about saving the world and epecially the ocean so everyone can live in harmony.

Chapter 131

The following morning Matilda woke with her head on Ric’s chest and realised that he was awake and stroking her hair.

“Morning,” he said, kissing the top of her head. She sat up and kissed him properly,

“Morning to you too. Thank you for last night,” replied Matilda.

“No problem. A husband is allowed to spoil his wife once in a while.”

“You know, I never tire of being called your wife,” smiled Matilda.

“I should hope not! Cos we are together forever baby,” said Ric.

“For once we are going to be on time to meet the others,” said Matilda as she skipped along the corridor. She was pretty hyper after a great night and couldn’t stop smiling. It seemed that everything was perfect for her. They walked into the breakfast room and scanned the tables for the others but couldn’t find them.

“Are we the first?” asked Matilda.

“Impossible, Jack and Martha are always up early,” said Ric. But they couldn’t see the others.

“I guess we should sit down,” said Matilda.

They got drinks but decided to wait and get food once the others got there. Half an hour later Scott and Hayley entered the room.

“Where’s Jack and Martha?” asked Scott, knowing they were always early.

“We have no idea,” said Ric. Robbie, Tasha, Lucas and Becky came not long after.

“Finally,” said Scott as he saw Jack and Martha come in, hand in hand.

“Sorry we’re late,” said Jack.

“Disappointing guys,” said Robbie, shaking his head. “We were all beaten by Matilda and Ric.”

“Well we were taking a leaf out of their book and having a ... lie in,” smiled Martha whilst Jack went red.

“What is it with people these days?” asked Robbie. “Can’t people have a love life in private and not feel the need to broadcast it round the group?”

They all spent a relaxing day round by the pool and had a fun game which involved the girls on the shoulders of the guys and trying to knock each other off. Martha and Jack were the winners with dodgy tactics. Lucas was still moaning about Jack kicking him a few hours later.

“What about going to the cocktail bar tonight?” suggested Martha. The others all looked up from their books, I-pods or games consoles.

“Sounds good,” came the general consent.

“Hey Luc, wanna have a game on the car racing? I haven’t beaten you yet but there’s always a chance,” Ric smiled. He held up his PSP.

“Yeah ok, and I will beat you some day!” Lucas replied.

The next hour was spent with the guys all huddled round the PSP having a tournament whilst the girls read passages from celebrity magazines out loud and then would discuss them.

“Ah yes!” called out Robbie as he finished his race and was placed in first place.

“My turn!” said Ric.

The girls looked over at their partners then looked at each other.

“I’ll never understand guys,” said Tasha.

“Oh my word, look!” shouted Becky not long after. She was pointing towards the side of the boat out to sea.

“What?” replied several people. Matilda sat up and looked to where Becky was pointing.

“Dolphins,” Becky said simply and immediately the group got up and gathered round the railing. After only a few seconds waiting they saw them. A pod of around 10 dolphins all leaped out of the water side by side and at about the same time.

“Wow,” said Matilda. Ric was stood next to her and put his arm round her waist.

“It’s really something to see them out in the wild like this isn’t it,” he said.

“Yeah. I mean we swam with them in Florida and saw them at Sea World but it’s different seeing them in their natural habitat,” said Matilda.

“Makes you appreciate how amazing the ocean is,” said Lucas, who was stood the other side of Matilda. “All those species living together.”

Take it to heart

Keep it in mind.

Connect with the colors of this life.

We're playing our part.

We're makin some noise,

Joining together with one voice.

Cause when it comes to saving this amazing place,

The answer's black and white.

It's our world, its our chance.

Let's make it right.

“I’m going to get my camera,” said Matilda, going over to where her bag was lay on the sunbed. They were one of the only people up on the top deck and so had a great view. Most people on the boat hadn’t even realized there were dolphins just feet away.

Think about the earth just like the child,

beautiful and wild.

Runnin' through the waves along with the beach.

If only we could reach

Into the future.

will the cool breeze feel the same?

“It really puts it into perspective all we know. Think about all the mysteries that must lie beneath the sea. I mean the majority of the world is sea,” said Robbie, deep in thought.

Take it to heart

Keep it in mind.

Connect with the colors of this life.

We're playing our part.

We're makin some noise,

Joining together with one voice.

Cause when it comes to saving this amazing place,

The answer's black and white.

It's our world, its our chance.

Let's make it right.

“Look, they’re doing some of the things we saw them do in Florida,” pointed out Matilda as she watched the dolphins leap up out of the water and dive elegantly back down.

“Well they say that a lot of the behaviour they do in the shows is actually just what they do in the wild,” said Ric.

Don't let it pass you by.

It's way water, earth, and the sky.

Every creature great and small,

Isnt it time to take them all under our wing?

“This has been the best day of this holiday so far,” said Martha. The others all agreed. Before long the dolphins had disappeared but not before Matilda had managed to get some great shots of them.

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Chapter 132

“So have you had a good holiday so far?” Robbie asked Matilda. The two of them were sat on sofas in the cocktail bar. The others were chatting among themselves and Ric was with Scott getting the drinks.

“Yeah I’ve had the best time!” replied Matilda. “I’m so glad that you came over from America.”

“Well I’m glad we came.”

“I can’t believe that we only have a couple of days left. Then you have to go back home.”

“We were going to stay for a little longer but Ella has to get back to school. You’ll see her for a couple of days though.”

“I’m glad. How am I meant to be a good auntie when you live on the other side of the world?” asked Matilda.

“Yeah well our whole family is spread out.”

“I know,” replied Matilda. “Henry’s in England, Kit’s in Queensland and you guys in America. I don’t know how you could possibly live anywhere other than Summer Bay.”

“It certainly took some getting used to. If I’m honest I think that Tash and I will always consider Summer Bay our proper home.”

“Drinks are here!” announced Ric, setting a tray of cocktails on the table.

“You know guys, I think that we should make this holiday an annual thing,” said Jack. “It’s been great.”

“I know. Just think, back to reality soon,” said Scott.

“Yeah and I’m going back to work! Finally!” said Matilda. She hadn’t been at work since before the Cassie incident.

“It’ll be so much fun with you back. No offence to Sarah, she was okay, but she’s not you,” said Becky.

“I’m glad that I’m appreciated,” smiled Matilda.

“Guys, who wants to do shots?” suggested Martha. The general reply was yes and so Martha and Tasha went to get the drinks.

“Right lets not just drink them, lets play ‘I have never’. We take it in turns to say something and if you’ve never done it then you don’t drink. But if you have done it then you have to take a drink. We’ve got lots of drinks so shall we play?” asked Martha.

“Well, some secrets may be revealed tonight,” laughed Hayley from where she was sat with her head on Scott’s shoulder.

“Okay who wants to go first?” asked Martha.

“I will!” said Tasha as she sat down on the sofa next to Robbie. “I have never done a nude run.”

Martha took a shot and so did Jack. Most already knew about the dares they had given each other at the very start of their relationship. But to many people’s surprise Ric also took a shot. Then Robbie took a shot as well and knew why Tasha had chosen to say that particular thing.

“Ric? When did you do it?” asked Scott.

“Well ... I met this girl at the beach ... went for a skinny-dip with her ... she took my clothes and I had to run home nude,” said Ric, turning red and not looking at Matilda.

“It’s alright, you can say her name,” said Matilda. “It was Cassie, the girl,” she told the others. She already knew the story because Cassie had told her when they were friends in high school.

“Okay Robbie when was yours?” asked Martha.

“Well when Tash, Kim and I went camping in the Bush I was dared to do a nude run. This was back in high school,” said Robbie, turning red.

“Okay next!” said Martha.

“I’ll go,” said Robbie. “I have never done it on the beach.” Everyone looked around seeing if anyone would drink. Slowly, looking at each other and to some people’s surprise, Martha and Jack both took a shot.

“Oh my word, you did it on the beach!” exclaimed Tasha, this was something she didn’t know about her friend.

“We had just gotten engaged ... we took a walk along the beach and down to the coves and ... christened our engagement,” explained Martha.

The game continued with Martha getting drunker as she took more and more shots.

“I love all you guys,” she slurred about an hour later. They had stopped playing the game and were sat round talking. “Don’t you just love the way we can all hang out together?”

“It’s definitely good. I can’t imagine not having all you guys round me,” said Matilda, her head on Ric’s shoulder.

“It wasn’t like that in France,” said Hayley.

“Only in Summer Bay have I experienced such strong friendships and feeling of community,” said Lucas. “It must be something about the water or the air,” he joked.

“So, you tired?” asked Ric once they had made their way back to their cabin. Everyone was a bit drunk and Martha could hardly stand without the help of Jack. She had spent the past hour on the dance floor with Tasha and Hayley, although the other two weren’t as drunk.

“Nope,” replied Matilda, giggling as she narrowly missed the bed and nearly ended up on the floor. “Tonight has been so fun! And today was like the best day of the holiday,” she added.

She stood up again and walked over to Ric, kissing him on the lips.

“What was that for?” asked Ric.

“Everything. For being the best husband a girl could ever ask for.”

“In that case...” Ric kissed Matilda back. “That’s for being the best wife a guy could ever ask for.”

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Chapter 133

“I can’t believe the week is over already,” said Matilda, as she pulled her trolley suitcase towards the reception area to meet the others.

“I know, but Robbie isn’t leaving for another couple of days and so you’ll get to spend time with Ella. I’ll have to go to the garage for a bit tomorrow I think, catch up on everything.”

“Okay,” said Matilda.

They drove past the ‘Welcome to Summer Bay’ sign and soon they were home.

“I hate coming home from holidays,” moaned Matilda.

“I think everyone feels the same. I’ll take the suitcases upstairs.”

“We’re meeting everyone else at the Surf Club later,” Matilda reminded Ric.

“Auntie Mattie!” squealed Ella as she and her parents entered the Surf Club. Matilda was sat on the sofas with Ric, Scott, Hayley, Noah, Jack, Martha who had Katie on her lap, Lucas, Becky, Sally, Brad and Pippa.

“Hey Ella, you’ve grown so much!” said Matilda as she stood up and picked Ella up, swinging her round then kissing her on the forehead.

“I’m the tallest girl in my class!” Ella said proudly.

“Hey don’t I get a hug?” asked Scott.

“Sorry Uncle Scott,” said Ella and she hugged him too. Then she went to sit on Matilda’s lap. “Are you going to play with me tomorrow?” she asked Matilda.

“I sure am! I don’t start work til Monday so I’m all yours.”

“Good. Can we go to the beach? Pippa and Noah are both going,” said Ella, looking from her mum to her dad and then Matilda.

“Sounds like a good idea.”

“Are you okay?” asked Ric later that evening when they were back at home.

“Yeah I’m fine,” said Matilda sitting down on the sofa, but it was clear to Ric that something was on her mind.

“Mattie, please tell me,” said Ric, bringing two glasses of wine over to the sofa and handing one to Matilda before sitting down next to her and putting his arm round her.

“It’s just ... you know, when Ella was sat on my lap and hugging me I just thought ... you know, that I’ll never have a daughter of my own to sit on my lap. When I was a child I always dreamed of my life and I would be married to the man of my dreams and we’d have a big family.”

“Mattie, it’s understandable to feel like that. But I thought we’d agreed we’d try for adoption?”

“I know, I’m just being silly,” said Matilda, taking a sip of her wine.

“You’re not being silly.”

“The holiday was like a retreat from all this. I could forget everything and just have a good time. But now it’s back to reality and soon it’ll be Cassie’s trial.”

“She’s going to be locked up for what she did,” said Ric.

“Yeah but they’ll want me to tell the court what happened won’t they?” said Matilda.

“You are strong Mattie, if that’s what it takes to get justice. And I’ll be here for you, the whole time!”

“I keep thinking that I’m over it all, but then something will happen and it’ll bring it all back. I try to forget about it but it doesn’t work. And it can be the smallest of things,” said Matilda, a few tears rolling down her cheeks. Ric pulled her closer, put both their glasses on the table and put both his arms round her.

“Mattie no one expects you to be over it completely. It was a massive thing that you went through so it’ll take a long time to get over.”

“I just ... I want it to all be behind me, completely, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.”

They ordered a pizza for dinner and Ric put a ‘The OC’ DVD in the TV. Once the food arrived the two of them cuddled up on the sofa and ate.

“I don’t know what I’d do without you,” said Matilda. “I really don’t think I could have managed without you by my side.”

“Well you’ll never have to manage without me, because I’m going to be here for you til we both die of old age,” replied Ric, then he kissed her on the top of her head. She sat up a bit so that she could reach up and kiss his lips. The food was all eaten and the DVD had just finished.

“Why don’t we start looking into adoption?” asked Matilda.

“If you’re ready then I think it’s a good idea,” said Ric, not wanting to put any pressure on Matilda.

“I am ready. We can ask Sally about it when we next see her.”

“Okay sounds good,” smiled Ric. “It’ll be a long process though, you do realise.”

“I know, so the sooner we get started, the sooner we’ll have a family.”

After a while of sitting together and kissing, Matilda got up, she took Ric’s hand and started pulling him off the sofa.

“Come on, lets go upstairs,” she said. Then she started walking upstairs with Ric following close behind, turning the lights off downstairs. The plates and glasses could wait until the morning.

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Chapter 134

“Mattie! You came!” shouted Ella when she saw Matilda arriving at the beach the following day. Ric had gone to the garage to check on things and so Matilda joined Hayley, Noah, Robbie, Tasha, Ella and Pippa on the beach. It was Saturday and Sally and Brad were spending the day with Rachel whilst Hayley was more than happy to baby-sit Pippa.

“Of course I came, I promised didn’t I?” said Matilda as she took Ella’s hand and walked towards the others.

“Me and Pippa and Noah are making a huge sandcastle and daddy’s helping. Do you want to help too?”

“Sure, just let me say hello to your mum and auntie Hayley and I’ll be right there.”

Matilda took her bag over to the others.

“Hey guys, I’ve been recruited for sandcastle building,” Matilda said to Hayley and Tasha. Both were lay down on the sand sunbathing.

“Good luck, Rob’s being very particular about the sandcastle,” giggled Tasha as she looked over and saw Robbie telling the kids where to put the sand.

“I think I can handle my brother,” smiled Matilda. “Hey guys, what do you want me to do?” she called over to the kids, and Robbie.

“Hey sis, I’ve marked out the edges and so only put sand between the lines,” said Robbie, he missed living next to the beach.

For a while Matilda and Robbie along with the three children built the sandcastle. Robbie, as Tasha predicted, was very strict about where they could put the sand and the about the design of the sandcastle.

Matilda stood up to stretch her legs and looked along the beach. She saw a familiar figure coming towards them and excused herself from the group.

“Hey Drew, how are you?” she asked as she approached.

“I’m good thank you, you?” he replied.

“I’m ... I’m okay,” she replied. “Not working today?” she asked.

“No. Ric said that because I worked all this week whilst he was away I could have the weekend off.”

“Cool, so do you have any plans?”

“Not really. Irene is busy with the Diner cos she’s been looking after Ella all week, who by the way is adorable,” he said. Ella had spent the week at Irene and Drew’s.

“Yeah she is. I’m going to be so sad when they leave tomorrow.”

“I’d better let you get back to the others,” said Drew.

“It’s okay. I’ve got all day with them and besides, Robbie is being way too particular about the sand castle. Besides, I haven’t seen you in ages.”

“Okay then. Oh hey I went out with a girl while you were away,” said Drew, smiling.

“Really? That’s really good Drew. What’s she like? Are you going out again?” asked Matilda as she sat down and indicated to Drew that he should sit down too.

“Her name’s Sophie and we had a good time, at least I did. We’ve made plans to meet up at the Surf Club tonight so it must have gone okay.”

“Drew I’m so proud of you,” said Matilda, knowing that it must have been hard for him and that he was finally getting over Belle.

“She’s my age but at school still. She’s just moved to the Bay and we met in the Diner whilst I was on my lunch break. There weren’t any more spare tables so she said that I could share her table, seeing as though she didn’t know anyone. Then we just hit it off. And when we went out on the date I thought it was going to be all awkward but it wasn’t! She even likes cars!” said Drew.

“That’s really good Drew.”

“It’s the first girl I’ve been interested in since ... since Belle,” he said.

“Well I’m sure that she would be happy you’re moving on. Besides, she was probably a little too old for you, it’s good you’ve found someone your own age.”

“Thanks Mattie, I’ll have to introduce you one day, if it continues going well.”

“I’d like that. Come on, you can come and help with the sand castle building,” said Matilda and she pulled him up by the hand.

“Hey guys look who I’ve got to help us!” called Matilda to the others who all turned to look.

“Drew!” said Ella, waving him over, you can help me over here making the moat.”

“Seems she’s taken a liking to you,” smiled Matilda, seeing how happy Ella was about their new helper.

“Yeah we’ve had a great week playing and watching Barbie DVD’s,” smiled Drew.

“Ah, something Ric has experience of, you’ll have to compare notes,” laughed Matilda thinking of all the times Pippa has made Ric watch Barbie.

They finally finished sometime later.

“Mummy come and see!” called out Ella whilst Noah was already dragging Hayley over.

“Hang on, I’ll get the camera,” said Tasha. “All gather behind it, you too Drew,” she added as she saw Drew sliding away.

They all took turns taking photos so that everyone could be included and had fun making each other laugh and pulling faces.

“Ella’s really going to miss Summer Bay,” said Tasha to Matilda as she watched Ella, Pippa and Noah splash each other with water.

“Well in that case you need to visit lots,” smiled Matilda. “I love having you all close by.”

“We will, I’ll make sure of it. And I’ll send you the photos as soon as we get them loaded on the computer at home.”

“Cool. I’ve got pictures of the holiday including some good ones of the dolphins so I’ll send them to you,” replied Matilda.

“Hey sis, you alright?” asked Robbie as he sat next to Matilda looking out to sea.

“I’m going to miss you,” said Matilda. The sun was setting and the following morning Robbie, Tasha and Ella were going to the airport.

“I’m going to miss you too. But we can e-mail and phone. I promise we’ll talk all the time,” said Robbie and he put his arm round his sister.

“I know. I’m just being silly,” said Matilda, wiping some tears from her eyes.

“You always were the emotional one in the family.”

“Hey!” said Matilda, playfully hitting her brother.

“Besides you have a good life here. You’ve got Ric and a great circle of friends. Life hasn’t exactly been the easiest for you this past year but you’ve got through it. And Scott’s here.”

“I know. I just remember all the days when we were kids and mum would insist on a family day and we’d pack a picnic, come down to the beach and have fun, just the family. No one else was allowed.”

“Those were good times,” said Robbie, smiling as he remembered. “The American summer holiday is only a couple of months away. Ella will be off school, maybe we could come for a visit.”

“Can you afford it?” asked Matilda.

“I’m sure we could if we really thought about it.”

“I love you Rob,” said Matilda, hugging her brother.

“Love you too sis.”

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Chapter 135


Well we’re back safe and sound in good old America. The flight was long – got to watch like 3 movies and they weren’t that good. Ella really misses Summer Bay and the beach and to be honest so do I. I have a feeling Tasha does too. Which reminds me, attached are the photos from our last day, there’s some really good ones. I start back at work tomorrow which means the holiday is officially over! And it’s cold here! Well I suppose it is winter / spring. I’d better go, Ella is calling me to read her a book.

Love your fave brother, Robbie.

P.S. Tasha says hi.

P.P.S. Ella says hi too and wants you to tell Drew that she misses playing Barbie’s with him. I think she made a friend there!

Matilda read the e-mail and opened a new message. She had just enough time to reply before she had to be at work, the first time in months.


Good that you’re back safe and sound and hope you’re settling back into American life. Thanks for the pictures and find attached the ones from the cruise! I really miss the holiday but I’m excited about going back to work. Things are getting back to normal finally. I miss You guys so much already and say hello to the others for me. I’d better go as I don’t want to be late on my first day back, even if I am co-owner!

Love Mattie, your fave sis!

“It’s so good to have you back,” said Becky, hugging Matilda as she walked behind the bar.

“Strangely enough, it’s good to be back.”

“Yeah you’re right, that is strange,” laughed Becky. “Oh Luc told me to ask you and Ric round for dinner soon. We may not have as big a place as you guys, but we thought that the four of us should get together and it’s our turn.”

“That sounds good. I’ll check with Ric as to when he’s free.”

“So you back on Pippa duty?” asked Becky, referring to the fact that Matilda picked Pippa up after school and looked after her whilst Sally and Brad were still at work. She hadn’t been doing that either since before the Cassie incident.

“Yep, Pippa’s so excited apparently. She’s missing Ella though and Noah is. The three of them got quiet close.”

“Yeah they were so sweet together. Its pity they had to be separated.”

“So, what do you want to do until your mum comes home?” Matilda asked Pippa when they arrived at the Caravan Park.

“Umm watch TV!” replied Pippa.

“Well go get changed I’ll prepare us a snack and then we can see what’s on.”

A couple of hours later Brad walked through the door.

“Hey guys, having fun?” he asked.

“Hey Brad, where’s Sally?” asked Matilda, normally Brad and Sally walked home together.

“She’s got a meeting so she’ll be late. Oh and I saw Ric on the way home and he said to tell you he’ll be late too. Something about an important client he needs to impress which will keep him busy.”

“Yeah he’s just got this deal with a minibus company, they’ll do all their business with him. He’s currently servicing all their minibuses.”

“Sounds like business is good. Do you want to stay for dinner, it won’t be much but it’ll be better than going home to an empty house,” offered Brad.

“Thanks, sounds good.”

“In that case, you can help me with the cooking, that’s if you want something edible,” laughed Brad.

“You tricked me?” gasped Matilda pretending to be surprised. Then she started laughing too. “Sure, how can I help?”

“Last time Brad cooked, my fries were all black and hard to cut,” said Pippa, coming into the kitchen area.

“Yes Pip, there’s no need to broadcast that fact,” replied Brad.

“Well in that case, Brad why don’t you be in charge of the salad, you can’t possibly go wrong with that. Pippa do you want to help him to keep an eye on it?” asked Matilda and Pippa quickly agreed. She and Brad sat on the stools making the salad whist Matilda went about seeing what there was to cook. Once everything was in the oven she looked over and Brad and Pippa to find them throwing pieces of lettuce at each other and having fun.

“Hey hey hey, food goes in the bowl not on the floor,” laughed Matilda. Brad and Pippa looked at each other and then faced Matilda again. They both threw the lettuce in their hands at her and she quickly ducked.

“Thanks Mattie, this is really good,” said Brad once they were sat eating.

“Yeah it’s much better than Brad’s cooking,” smiled Pippa.

“Hey guys,” said Sally as she walked through the door.

“Hey Sal, Mattie stayed for dinner, do you want some?” asked Brad as he got up and kissed her.

“Did you make it?” asked Sally.

“No Mattie did,” replied Pippa.

“Then I’d love some!” said Sally who put her bag down and went to the kitchen to get some food.

“When did I get such a reputation?” asked Brad.

“Umm when you burned the burgers so much we couldn’t cut them,” said Sally.

“Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about that,” laughed Brad.

“Hey Ric,” said Matilda when she let herself into the house not long later.

“Hello, I just got in so making some dinner, want some?” asked Ric.

“No I cooked for Brad and Pippa, then Sally came back from her meeting. I would have called you but I didn’t want to interrupt your work.”

“That’s ok. I’m glad you get along so well with my family, our family,” he added.

Later that night Matilda was cuddled up to Ric on the sofa when there was a knock at the door.

“Jack? What do we owe this pleasure?” asked Ric, surprised to see his friend.

“It’s a work matter actually. I wanted to give you a heads up. Cassie’s trial has been announced and Mattie, you will be required to give evidence. I’m sorry but it’s the only way she will be sent down for a very long time. She’s already serving time for the car crash but with this, she could be put away for good. I suggest that you call Morag, she could help prep you. I wish it was different but ... I’ll leave you to it, I need to get home to Martha. See you soon.” With that Jack left. Matilda didn’t know what to do. She knew that she would have to relive what happened in front of a jury and wasn’t looking forward to it at all.

“Mattie, we’ll get through this,” said Ric, who walked over and kissed her forehead.

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Chapter 136

“Hey Matilda, come in,” Alf said. Matilda had just finished her shift at the Surf Club and had gone upstairs to Alf’s apartment.

“Thanks Mr Stewart. How are you, I haven’t seen you since we got back from the cruise.”

“Not too bad thanks. What can I do for you?” he asked his younger business partner.

“I was wondering if I could have Morag’s number. Jack came round last night, Cassie’s trial is coming up in a couple of weeks and he said that I should ask Morag for help seeing as though I will have to give evidence.”

“Sure, I’ll just go get it.”

“Thanks Mr Stewart,” said Matilda.

“Oh and I’ve actually been meaning to talk to you about having a business meeting. You know, just sitting down and seeing how things are going.”

“Sounds good,” said Matilda. “Just tell me when.”

“Well how about we wait til the trial stuff is over and then sort it out.”

After Matilda got back from looking after Pippa she phoned Morag who was more than happy to help and said that she would be in Summer Bay as soon as she could in the next few days. Matilda then went for a walk, Ric was helping Brad to do some odd jobs around the Caravan Park. She walked along the beach and then went to the Diner for a milkshake.

“Mattie, hey!” called out Drew as she entered.

“Hey Drew, Irene could I have a chocolate milkshake please,” she added before walking over to where Drew was sat.

“Want to sit?” asked Drew.

“Sure, you here alone?” asked Matilda.

“No I’m meeting Sophie, that girl I was telling you about, she should be here soon,” explained Drew.

“In that case I’d better leave you to it,” said Matilda who went to stand up.

“No, stay and meet her. Look Irene’s still making your milkshake and so you can wait a while,” said Drew.

“If you’re sure,” said Matilda, not wanting to intrude.

“I’m sure and here she is,” said Drew as he looked over at the door.

“Hey Drew,” said Sophie walking over and wondering who Matilda was.

“Sophie, this is Matilda,” explained Drew as he stood up and hugged Sophie.

“Oh, it’s nice to finally meet you. Drew has told me how you’ve helped him so much,” said Sophie, glad to finally meet her.

“Well, it’s nice to meet you too. My milkshake is ready so I’ll leave you to it, have fun. Nice to meet you Sophie,” and Matilda walked over to the counter to get her milkshake from Irene.

“Isn’t it nice to see him so happy,” said Irene as she looked over at Drew.

“It certainly is, he deserves it,” said Matilda, she looked over and saw Drew and Sophie holding hands across the table.

“Listen dahl I heard about the court hearing being in a couple of weeks. How you coping?” asked Irene.

“I’m okay, I mean I want justice to be done and so if that means I have to explain exactly what happened ... then it’ll be worth it. Morag’s going to come and help so that will be good.”

“You’ll be fine. Sorry I’d better get back to work ...” said Irene.

“I’ll see you soon, thanks for the milkshake,” and Matilda left.

Outside she ran into Lucas who was walking past.

“Hey Luc,” called out Matilda.

“Mattie, how are you?”

“Oh you know, just trying to get through the day,” smiled Matilda. “How’s Uni?”

“Hard, but good. I’m managing to keep up at least and got top marks for my latest essay.”

“Well done, that’s great Lucas!”

“Thanks, I just ... I wish dad was here you know, to be proud of me.”

“I know. But he would be so proud of you if he was here and I know he would have supported your decision to move back here.”

“Yeah, you know sometimes, when things are hard, I feel like he’s with me, looking out for me.”

“I feel that too,” said Matilda. “With everything that’s happened I could have done with mum being around but ... I’ve got the rest of my family and all you guys.”

“Jack told me about the court case,” said Lucas as they sat on a bench.

“Mmm I really don’t want to go through it all again. I’ve already had to tell the police exactly what happened and I know that talking about it again is going to be hard. And they want every little detail,” sighed Matilda.

“But it’ll be worth it though, won’t it. To see her sent down for a long time.”

“Didn’t stop her the last time though did it,” pointed out Matilda. “She always manages to make my life miserable, even in Florida!”

“This time it’ll be for good though. The police will keep more of an eye on her seeing as she’s escaped before. Does Ric know you feel like this?” asked Lucas.

“Yeah we were talking about it the other day. I just ... I want it all to be over for good.”

“It will be soon. And then we can have a big celebration,” said Lucas, trying to cheer Matilda up.

“That’ll be good.”

“Hey babe, you okay?” called out Ric as he walked through the door that evening.

“You’ve been talking to Lucas haven’t you?” said Matilda, immediately knowing that he was fishing for information about how she really was.

“I might have bumped into him on my way home and he might have mentioned your conversation earlier,” admitted Ric.

“I was just ... venting. I’m fine Ric, nothing to worry about.”

“Are you sure because you know you can tell me anything,” said Ric.

“I was just telling him how I didn’t want to go to the court and talk about it all. And how I want it all to be over.”

Hey Henry,

Sorry I haven’t e-mailed you in a while but things have been pretty busy since I got back from the cruise. Cassie’s court case is in 2 weeks which means it will finally be over with. I’m missing all you guys, after Robbie and Tasha joined us for the cruise it made me realise how much I miss you all and don’t see you nearly enough! Maybe Ric and I could visit on holiday at some point.

I’m back at work now which is good and everyone else seems to be ok.

Sorry it’s only a quick update but it’s late and I want to go to sleep.

Speak to you soon, maybe even on the phone if we don’t keep missing each other.

Love your wonderful twin.

After sending the e-mail Matilda turned the lights off and went upstairs. Ric was already in bed, waiting for her. She climbed in next to him and put her head on his chest.

“I love you Ric,” she said.

“I love you too. Always will,” he replied.

They fell asleep like that, with Ric’s arm round Matilda and her head moving gently up and down with Ric’s breathing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey I'm so sorry about not updating in ages! I've been so busy. Lot's and lots of school work seeing as though my A levels are in June and I also passed my driving test so that was good!

Here's the next chapter, much later than I had planned but please forgive me!

Chapter 137

“Mrs Hunter-Dalby, could you please tell the court what happened once Miss Turner took you into the bush?”

Matilda looked around the room. She was in court giving evidence against Cassie, the girl she used to consider her best friend. Cassie was sat looking at her, the eyes piercing. Matilda looked where the spectators sat and her eyes met Ric’s who gave her an encouraging nod and smile. It was the question she had been dreading.

“Umm, Cassie covered my mouth so I couldn’t scream ...” started Matilda and she went on to tell the whole story. “... we got to the cabin,” Matilda had tears in her eyes by this point.

“I know this must be difficult for you, but could you tell the jury how you got the injuries that put you in hospital?”

“Cassie started saying things about my husband, and when I told her they weren’t true she started kicking me. My hands were tied and so were my legs so I couldn’t move. She knocked the chair over so I was on the floor and she started kicking my stomach,” continued Matilda. She hated this. Having to relive it all in front of lots of strangers. She carried on describing what happened and was asked a few more questions.

“How did it make you feel knowing you can’t have children because of what Miss Turner did?”

Matilda looked up, trying not to cry.

“It’s always been my dream to have a family and now I have to adopt rather than have kids of my own. It’s taken me a long time to get over that and I’m still not completely over it now.”

“Thank you, there will be no further questions.”

Matilda was able to stand up and leave the room. The judge called a break so that it could be decided whether or not Cassie was guilty and her possible punishment so Matilda sat on a bench outside and waited for Ric to join her.

“You were amazing in there,” said Ric, walking up to her and pulling her into a hug.

“Thanks,” said Matilda. “It was so hard ... having to relive it all.”

“I know. I felt like that when it was me up there,” Ric had gone before Matilda and had to describe when he found Matilda.

Before long they were all called back in and Matilda sat next to Ric, their hands clasped together tightly. Cassie walked in and looked at them both before taking her place next to her lawyer. Matilda didn’t pay much notice to what was being said until a man stood up to read the verdict.

“We find Miss Turner guilty of all charges,” said the man. Matilda sighed in relief. She turned to Ric who had a smiled on his face.

“Cassie Turner, you are sentenced too ...” but Matilda wasn’t listening any more. All that mattered was that she was found guilty. Matilda started listening in time for the judge to say she would be staying in a mental institution ward of a prison that was high security.

“I can’t believe it’s all over,” said Matilda as she sat in the passenger seat of her car on her way back to Summer Bay. Ric was driving. Matilda had already called Sally who was working and told her the news.

“Now we can properly relax and put it all behind us,” said Ric.

They were passing the ‘Welcome to Summer Bay sign and both were happier than they had been in a long time. Morag had intended to come back with them for a visit but had been called away urgently for a case elsewhere.

“Why don’t we stop and have a drink in the Surf Club?” said Ric as he drive through the Bay.

As they walked inside Matilda smiled as she saw all her friends gathered round waiting for her.

“Lucas told us all the good news,” smiled Scott, Lucas had phoned when they were in the car.

“Drinks are on the house,” smiled Mr Stewart who was behind the bar. It was evening and so they could sell alcohol. They got their drinks and all went and sat on the sofas.

“So, how are you feeling?” asked Scott who sat next to his sister.

“Happy, relieved, glad it’s all over,” said Matilda.

That night Matilda lay in bed with a smile on her face. Her hand lay on her stomach where her scar was and she thought about what had happened. She would never get over what happened completely, not being able to have her own baby. But at least Cassie had been punished for it.

“So, you tired?” asked Ric as he came into the room.

“Well, not really,” smiled Matilda. Ric lay down next to her and she reached over and kissed him, first on the forehead and then on the lips.

“I love you,” said Ric.

“I love you too, always will. No one can ever come between us.”

“I won’t let them.”

“Can we start looking at adoption now?” asked Matilda. They had decided to wait until the court case was over with.

“Sure, we can look on the internet to see what we need to do to get started,” smiled Ric. Both fell asleep that night very happy that justice had been achieved.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, so as you have all noticed I haven't been able to update this story as much as I would like. For that reason, I have decided to draw it to an end. I have my A levels in the summer and so need to focus on them to get into uni. Once I have finished my exams and have an extra long summer then I may write a sequel so look out for that! In the mean time I am doing a 2 part epilogue. So here's the first part.

Epilogue Part 1

“Mummy, daddy’s chasing me!” The voice belonged to a blonde 4 year old who came running in from outside and hid behind Matilda.

“Ok Ric, stop chasing Gabi. You both need to go get changed or we’ll be late to Mr Stewart’s barbeque,” replied Matilda.

It was December, a couple of days before Christmas and about 9 months since Cassie’s trial.

“Ok mummy, can I wear my pink dress?” asked Gabi.

“It’s already out on your bed for you to wear,” smiled Matilda. Gabi, short for Gabriella, was their adopted daughter who had been part of their family for 3 months now. Her real parents had both died in a car crash when she was 1 and since then she’d been in foster care and a children’s home. She was a delightful girl who didn’t show any signs of distress at her past. Matilda smiled as she thought back to the first time she had seen Gabi.

“Are you my new mummy?” asked the little girl.

Matilda was surprised yet delighted that Gabi wanted to call them mummy and daddy straight away. They had expected the adoption process to be much longer but since Gabi was about to start school after Christmas, social services wanted her to be settled first. Now they were a proper little family. Everyone in Summer Bay had been welcoming to the girl and she was delighted at all the family members she now had. Her and Pippa had become firm friends and Pippa was looking forward to Gabi starting school so she could show her the ropes.

“Mummy will you do my hair?” Matilda smiled. She still got butterflies every time the girl called her mum. She went upstairs to find Ric coming out of the shower.

“We need to leave in the next half hour or we’ll be late,” said Matilda.

“Don’t worry I’ll be ready,” said Ric as he put his arms round Matilda and kissed her softly.

“Eww,” said Gabi from the door to her room. Matilda and Ric stopped kissing and looked at their daughter, smiling.

The three of them left the house and walked along the beach to where the barbeque was being held. Gabriella was in the middle, holding Matilda and Ric’s hands.

“Hey guys,” called out Robbie when he saw them coming. They had returned to Summer Bay a week ago when Ella broke up from school and had announced a couple of days ago that they were buying a house in the Bay and wouldn’t be returning to America.

“America’s a nice place and everything, but it isn’t Summer Bay,” Robbie had said. For the mean time they were staying with Irene and Drew, who was still going out with Sophie. Ella loved the thought of going to school with Pippa, Noah and Gabi.

“Hey Rob, where’s Tasha?” asked Matilda, hugging her brother.

“Over there talking to Martha,” said Robbie, pointing over to the other side of the group of people.

“Mummy, can I go see Mr Stewart?” asked Gabi, Alf was tending the barbeque. Although Alf was Gabi’s great granddad, she preferred to call him what Matilda did, Mr Stewart.

“Sure, we’ll be here,” said Matilda. Gabriella hugged Matilda and skipped over to Alf who was pleased to see her.

Soon Matilda and Ric were surrounded by the rest of the gang and everyone was having a great time. Mr Stewart, with the help of Gabi, Pippa, Noah and Ella, was handing out food.

“Mummy, how many days is it til Christmas now?” asked Gabi as she came to stand next to Matilda.

“Only 2 more sleeps now, you getting excited?” replied Matilda.

“Yeah! Daddy said that Father Christmas is going to come when I’m sleeping and because I’ve been a good girl he’s going to leave me presents,” said Gabi excitedly. Matilda smiled at her daughter, Gabriella had never had a proper Christmas before.

Before long, everyone in Summer Bay seemed to be on the beach and they were all singing Christmas carols.

“So, what’s the plan for Christmas day?” asked Lucas who was standing with his arms round Becky. After a year of going out they were still going strong.

“Well, us three are going to Sally and Brad’s in the morning and then we’re all going to the diner for Christmas lunch,” explained Matilda.

“Well we’ll all meet up at the diner then,” said Scott.

“You know what guys,” said Robbie. “I think this is going to be a great Christmas. I mean sure Henry is still in England and Kit is still the other side of the country, but we’re all here and now Gabriella has come into out lives,” he said, taking a sip of wine.

“You know what Rob, you’re right. This year, whilst it’s had some serious bad points, it’s also had a lot of good times, some really good times,” said Matilda as she picked Gabi up and kissed her on the forehead.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Epilogue part 2

On new years eve the gang, consisting now of Matilda, Ric, Gabi, Scott, Hayley, Noah, Martha, Jack, Katie, Lucas, Becky, Robbie, Tasha and Ella, all gathered at Matilda and Ric’s house. Sally, Brad, Pippa and Mr Stewart were also there. The kids, apart from Katie who was too young, were playing on the beach whilst the adults sat around talking and drinking whilst Ric and Alf tended to the barbeque. As a treat the children were being allowed to stay up until midnight, if they could stay awake that long.

Matilda made sure that everyone had drinks and then found a seat at the edge of the group and sat looking out to sea.

“So, how was your anniversary?” asked Lucas, who had come over.

“It was really good. Gabi went to Sally’s and Ric took me to a posh restaurant in Yabbie Creek, that one that opened a couple of weeks ago,” explained Matilda. “So, things good with you and Becky?”

“Things are ... very good. In fact, don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually thinking about proposing,” smiled Lucas.

“Really?” squealed Matilda excitedly.

“Yeah. I mean we’ve been together over a year, we live together and I can’t imagine my life without her. I wanted you to know first because if it wasn’t for you then we never would have met.”

“How are you planning on doing it?” asked Matilda, wanting to know all the details.

“Well I thought about going to a nice restaurant, then taking a stroll after along the beach or something and then just, get down on one knee,” said Lucas.

“Aw Luc I’m so happy for you,” smiled Matilda, leaning over and hugging him.

“I just wish dad would have been here, you know,” said Lucas.

“I know. But they’re still with us in our hearts. Gabi will never know her grandmother but look around, we have all the family we need.”

“What are you guys talking about?” asked Becky, coming over to see them.

“Umm ... Luc was just telling me about how pleased he is that he doesn’t have Uni for another month or so,” lied Matilda. Lucas smiled at her and mouthed the words thank you.

Later that evening, about half an hour until midnight, the children were still awake and determined to stay awake to see the new year in. The adults were all still outside talking. Matilda stood up with a glass in her hand and said she would like to say something.

“I just wanted to say how happy I am that we are all here, celebrating the new year. It’s been a ... challenging year to say the least but lots of good things have come out of it, the best being Gabi,” Matilda smiled. “When I first came back to Summer Bay after uni, I felt so alone. All my family had moved away. But because of Ric and the kindness of everyone else I began to feel like I belong again. Then I made new friends,” Matilda looked at Becky, also thinking of Belle,” and family members came back,” she looked at Scott then Robbie. “If it wasn’t for all you guys then I don’t know what I would have done. My life wouldn’t be half as good without you and I just wanted you to know that. So, thank you,” finished Matilda, holding her glass up at then sitting down.

At a few minutes to midnight Ric turned on the TV and the others gathered inside to watch the fireworks. Everyone made their way over to their partner and the kids were sat at the front in the circle.

“Now, just to warn you kids, at midnight we’re all going to kiss each other,” said Ric, remembering how Pippa and Gabi think it’s ‘gross’ when adults kiss. Both girls wrinkled their noses at the thought of all the public displays of affection.

The countdown on the TV started and Ric reached out and held Matilda’s hand. “... seven, six,” the four children on the floor sat eyes glued to the TV waiting for the fireworks, “three,” Matilda looked at everyone in the room and thought about how much she cared for them all, “ONE! Happy New Year!” shouted everyone. Ric turned to his wife.

“Happy new year baby, this is going to be the best year ever,” he said before lowering his head and gently kissing her on the lips.

“Mm well it’s off to a great start,” smiled Matilda, pulling Ric into another kiss. The next quarter of an hour was spent with everyone going round the room wishing everyone a happy new year.

“Mummy, I’m glad I get to spend this year with you,” said Gabi as Matilda came over for a hug.

“Me too, this is your home now and don’t you ever forget it,” beamed Matilda, kissing and hugging the little girl.

The children fell asleep not long after and at about 1 everyone started making their way home, most of the men carrying sleeping children. With the house now more or less empty Matilda stepped outside and sat on the sand.

“Happy New Year Belle, mum, Tony,” she whispered, looking out to sea. She felt someone come up behind her and turned to see Ric.

“How did I know to find you here?” he smiled.

“Well, you know me too well.”

“I am your husband, always will be.”

“And I’m very happy that you are,” smiled Matilda.

“You know what you said earlier, about feeling along when you came back?” said Ric.

“Yeah, and you made me feel like I belonged again,” said Matilda.

“Yeah, I just wanted you to know, now you’ve got all our friends, Gabi and me, you’ll never, ever be alone.”

Matilda smiled and kissed Ric before standing up and following him inside. She shut the door, locked it and went upstairs. Kissing the sleeping Gabi on the forehead Matilda then went into the main bedroom.

“I love you,” she said to Ric, climbing into bed next to him.

“Love you too,” he replied.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has read this story! It started as a bit of fun, just an idea I had whilst bored and I didn't think it would continue for this many chapters! I am sad at the news that

both Indiana and Mark will be leaving Home and Away

and this makes me determined to write a sequel. Matilda and Ric are my favourite couple and I love writing about them. So, thanks for all the comments.

Please look out for a sequel in the summer!


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