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You'll Never Be Alone

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Chapter 41

Early the next morning Matilda picked up Martha and Hayley while the guys prepared for a day at the beach with Noah and baby Katie. Ric was under strict instructions not to do anything strenuous and Scott was under instructions to make sure Ric obeyed.

“I haven’t been shopping in the city since I got back to Aussie!” said Hayley excitedly.

“We should definitely do it more often,” agreed Martha.

“I just hope the guys can handle Noah for the day,” laughed Hayley. “He’s very energetic at the moment.”

“After everything that’s happened with the cyclone and Ric’s arm and everything I’m just happy to have a day doing my favourite hobby, shopping!” cried out Matilda from the driving seat.

Meanwhile Scott and Noah had gone round to Ric’s and had just arrived at Jack’s.

“Hey guys, I’ll be ready in a minute,” Jack said while rushing around putting baby stuff in a massive bag.

“Sure you’ve got everything?” joked Scott when they left the house. Jack was pushing Katie in her pram, had a bag of toys and things on the back of the pram and a massive bag with everything else which was on his back.

“O haha guys, I’m just being responsible!” laughed Jack.

“Well we are too. But luckily Noah likes to carry his own things down to the beach, makes him feel older,” said Scott. Noah was walking slightly ahead of them carrying a bucket and spade and had a rucksack on with various other toys. Scott was just carrying a small bag with a cricket set and some food as well as sun cream.

“And I would help, I really would but I think Mattie would kill us both,” laughed Ric, for once glad he had his arm in a sling.

“Yeah well, we don’t want that to happen. I know what my little sister can do when she gets mad. You should have seen her when she was younger!” laughed Scott.

“Ah I bet she was very sweet when she was little,” said Ric.

The girls had just arrived in the city and were trying to decide where to go first.

“There are just too many places to choose from,” said Martha.

“Hey, there can never be too many shops!” replied Matilda.

“Too right!” agreed Hayley.

They walked over to the nearest shop and started looking. Matilda wanted to get some clothes for Florida and that included a new bikini. In the first shop she found a cute denim mini skirt.

“You should try it on,” encouraged Hayley. So they headed over to the changing rooms.

“Are you sure it’s not too short?” asked Matilda nervously looking into the mirror.

“No it’s fine. Ric will love it!” said Martha, “and trust me I know my cousin.”

Meanwhile back in Summer Bay the guys were getting set up on the beach.

“Dad I want to go in the sea!” called out Noah straight away.

“All right then I’m coming,” called out Scott getting up and pulling his t-shirt off. “You coming Jack?”

“I’ve got to look after Katie,” replied Jack, making sure the sun wasn’t shining on his daughter in her pram.

“I’ll look after her,” said Ric. “May as well be useful.”

“Thanks mate,” and Jack pulled his t-shirt off and ran down to where Noah and Scott were splashing around.

Ric turned the pram round so that he could see Katie.

“Who’s a pretty girl then,” he said softly to her. She waved her arms in the air. “Sorry but I can’t pick you up. I think if I did that then you’d have Mattie to answer to. We don’t want to make her upset do we, no we don’t,” he said to her. Looking up he saw Brad walking vaguely towards him. “Hey Brad,” he called out when he got closer.

Brad looked up to see who had spoken. “O hello Ric, how are you?”

“Bored. Everyone else is in the sea having a good time but I’m stuck here. At least I have Katie to keep me company,” he smiled. Brad came and stood next to the blankets that had been spread out.

“Who’s this adorable baby?” asked Brad.

“Katie, she’s my cousin Martha’s baby. That’s Jack her husband in the sea wearing the blue shorts. And the other guy is Scott, Mattie’s brother and his son Noah. His wife Hayley is with Martha and Mattie shopping in the city.”

“Seems like you have a close knit group.”

“Yeah, we have a laugh,” smiled Ric. “So, you seemed in another world a minute ago. Anything wrong?”

“No, it’s nothing. In fact I’d better be going, I said I’d visit my sister.”

“Ok see you,” said Ric watching him walk away.

In the city Matilda had brought the skirt, Hayley had brought a couple of halter tops and Martha had brought a pair of sandals. They were now sat in a food court eating lunch.

“So, how are things going between you and Jack?” Matilda asked Martha.

“Really well. I think the cyclone gave us a wake up call. He phoned work yesterday and cut down the amount of shifts which I am so happy about. And then there’s Katie’s christening, everything just seems to be slotting into place.”

“That’s so sweet,” said Hayley.

“And I was thinking about taking him out to a restaurant one evening,” said Martha. “Irene’s already said she’ll look after Katie.”

“That sounds perfect, so what are you going to wear?” asked Matilda.

“Well I need your help. I need to get something that says I’m not just the mother of his child, that I still have a figure,” explained Martha.

“Well you’ve come to the right girls, we can definitely help you!” said Hayley while Matilda nodded in agreement.

While the girls hit the shops again, Ric was watching Jack, Scott and Noah play a game of cricket. He was at least feeling included in that he was supposed to be umpiring. After both Jack and Scott looked and felt as though they had both run a marathon they agreed it was time for lunch so packed up the things and headed towards the Diner. Some of the windows were boarded up but other than that it had survived the cyclone. They ordered 4 burgers and sat down where Jack proceeded to give Katie her bottle.

“Look at us,” said Scott. “3 men with a 7 year old and a baby, spending our Sunday looking after the children while the girls go shopping and spend our money.”

“Yeah,” mumbled Ric. “Bet Mattie’s maxing out her credit card.”

In the city Matilda and Hayley were waiting outside a changing room while Martha put on a dress. It was knee length, black and very fitted. Martha stepped out of the dressing room and the others gasped. She looked absolutely amazing.

“Jack will be on the floor if he sees you in that, you look amazing!” said Matilda.

“You think so?”

“Yes!” said Hayley. “Definitely. You have to buy it.”

“Well ... go on then,” smiled Martha going back into the changing room coming out minutes later and walking up to the counter. They walked out of the shop, Martha beaming having found the perfect dress. Matilda still wanted to get a new bikini so they set about looking for a shop that might sell them.

The girls eventually returned home late that evening, all laden with numerous shopping bags. Ric was waiting for Matilda in the lounge and turned the TV off when she walked in.

“Hey babe, did you have a good day?” asked Ric walking over and kissing her. Then he looked at the amount of bags she had. “Is there anything left in the shops?”

“I had a fabulous day thank you. I bought loads of things for Florida, including a new bikini,” she smiled.

“Oo can I see it?”

“You’ll have to wait.”

“That’s not fair!”

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Just a short chapter as I wanted to get some up before I go away. I'm staying at a friend's house until Saturday so more will be up maybe Saturday night or on Sunday.

Chapter 42

Monday morning Sally dropped Pippa off at Matilda’s house before heading off to work.

“Hey Pip, are you pleased to not be at school?” said Ric, handing her some juice.

“Yeah! It’s so cool. But it means I can’t see Noah.”

“You and Noah seem close these days,” teased Ric.

“We’re friends,” replied Pippa simply.

“Whatever you say,” Ric smiled back.

Later that morning Ric was sat with Pippa on the sofa and they were watching a Barbie video.

“Do we have to watch this?”

“Yes Ric we do! It’s really good.”

“Fine, if I have to.”

Matilda came down the stairs putting a jacket on.

“I’m just popping next door to see Martha for a couple of minutes. Will you two be alright?”

“Yeah we’ll be fine.”

“And Pippa, make sure Ric behaves himself okay,” smiled Matilda.

“Okay Mattie. Ric, you’ve got to do what I say.”

Martha opened the door holding baby Katie.

“Hey Mattie, do you want a hold?”

“Of course!” and Matilda held her hands out.

“Now I was just wondering, could Lucas possibly stay with you and Ric while he’s here for the christening? I know things were awkward between you at Christmas and if you don’t want to then that’s fine...”

“Sure he can stay. We’ve got past the whole thing and we speak regularly on the phone so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Good, thanks Mattie, I really appreciate it.”

“No problem. When’s he coming?”

“Well he had a couple of cancelled lectures this week so he’s coming on Wednesday and going back Sunday morning.”

“Okay, sounds good. Mum and Tony are flying in Friday aren’t they?”

“Yeah and then they’re staying here.”

“So how are the rest of the preparations coming along?”

After half an hour of chatting Matilda got up and handed Katie back to Martha.

“Ric’s got a hospital appointment soon so I’d better get back to look after Pippa.”

“How’s he getting there?”

“I offered him a lift but he wouldn’t let me, he said Pippa would get bored which is true, so he’s taking the bus.”

“Well I’ll see you soon, we’re having everyone over on Wednesday to discuss Saturday so I’ll see you and Ric then. Oh and I’m taking Jack out tomorrow night so wish me luck.”

“You won’t need it. I’ll see you Wednesday if not before.”

Matilda went back home and found Ric and Pippa still watching the Barbie video.

“Having fun?” Matilda asked, looking at the expression on Ric’s face.

“Oh yeah tons of it,” Ric replied sarcastically. “Luckily I have to get going now or I’ll be late for my appointment.”

“We can watch it when you get back,” smiled Pippa.

“Umm yeah we could, but wouldn’t you rather watch it now?”

“Yeah okay.”

“Phone me when you get out and tell me how it went okay?” said Matilda.

“Okay, I’ll see you later,” and Ric kissed Matilda.

“Where’s my kiss?” asked Pippa. So Ric leaned over and kissed Pippa on the head.

Not long after Ric had left the phone rang.

“Mattie? Hi it’s Sally.”

“Sal what’s up? Is there a problem?”

“Well we have a situation at the school with Drew. He’s shut himself in a classroom and put a chair against the door. He says the only person he’ll talk to is you, because you’re the only person who understands him or something. Would it be possible for you to come?”

“Yeah sure but what about Pippa? Ric’s gone for his hospital appointment.”

“Bring her with you, she can sit in my office. I’ll see you soon.”

Matilda turned to Pippa.

“Okay, we’re going to go for a trip to see mummy at work. Why don’t you put a couple of your Barbie’s in a bag and we’ll get going.”

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Chapter 43

They headed straight for Sally’s office and found Irene talking to Brad.

“Matilda, great you’re here. Hello Pippa,” said Brad.

“Hello Brad, are you going to play with me again?” asked Pippa.

“We’ll have to see. In the mean time I need to take Matilda to see your mummy.”

Brad led them to a classroom door which Sally was stood outside. All the other students in the school were in lessons so the hallways were quiet.

“Mattie, great. He says you’re the only one he’ll speak to. I think it’s got something to do with Belle.”

“Okay, I’ll try.”

“Mummy, what am I going to do?” asked Pippa.

“Well I was thinking that you could play in my office, would you like that?”

“Can Brad come too?”

“I suppose so, yeah if he doesn’t mind. I don’t need him for anything else.” Pippa looked up at Brad sweetly.

“Of course I’ll play with you Pip, this way,” and he led her towards the office.

Matilda knocked on the classroom door.

“Drew? It’s Matilda, can I come in?” the door opened slightly and Matilda walked in. Drew shut the door quickly after her and sat back down on one of the desks. Matilda sat on a desk across from him and looked over in is direction. He was sat staring at the floor.

“Drew, what’s going on? How come you’ve shut yourself in here?”

“You’re only here because they told you to aren’t you,” he replied.

“They said I’m the only one you’d speak to. Seeing as though we’re not close or anything I’m a confused as to why exactly I’m here. But I do care about what happens to you. Are you going to tell me why I’m here?”

“I loved her,” Drew said quietly.

“I guess you’re talking about Belle,” clarified Matilda.

“Of course I am. She was the most wonderful person in the whole world and I was in love with her.”

“Did you ever tell her?”

“No, she thought I was just an annoying foster kid.”

“Is that what she said in the letter she left you? I know for a fact that she didn’t. She cared so much about you, maybe not at first but her opinion changed. How much time did the two of you spend talking while she was in the hospital?” Matilda was just praying that she wouldn’t start crying. It was hard for her, talking about Belle.

“I suppose.”

“I thought you were slowly managing your feelings about Belle. You seemed to be doing so well, what’s changed?” Drew seemed reluctant to answer. “Come on Drew, something must have happened. Did someone say something to you?”

“No, I was ... I ... I don’t have any friends here so at lunch times I go to the back of the field and read my book. I always go to the same tree and lean against it. But today someone else was there so I went to another tree... I sat down and then noticed a carving on trunk. It said ... Belle Taylor 4 Lucas Holden.” Matilda tensed up. Belle must have written that just as herself and Lucas were breaking up. “It just ... brought it all back to me, all the feelings and everything and the fact that she’s gone.”

“That’s understandable Drew.”

“It’s just not fair that these others guys got to spend time with her as her boyfriend and I didn’t. I don’t think I’ll ever feel this way about anyone.”

“Drew lots of people feel like that when they lose a loved one. Look at Scott and Hayley, you know my brother and his wife.”

“Yeah I’ve seen them around.”

“Well Hayely was married to a guy called Noah but he died years ago. She managed to fall in love even though her soul mate had died. She loves Scott, just not quite as much. They’re very happy together though.”

“I suppose. By the way, this Lucas Holden why have I heard his name before?”

“Well... he’s Jack the copper’s brother. And he’s Tony’s son and ... my ex boyfriend. He was at my engagement party and was here at Christmas.”

“Oh okay. So you went out with him before he went out with Belle.”

“Actually she’s the reason we broke up. She tried to umm ... break us up and she succeeded.”

“But, you were like the best of friends, weren’t you mad at her?”

“Yeah I was. I never really liked her, in fact at high school we were enemies.”

“Really? What happened to make you friends?”

“Well I came back from Uni with a new perspective on life. Then she came and apologised and wanted to make amends. I felt really low and had no one to talk to so I forgave her. Then, to my surprise she became my best friend. She showed me that people can change.”

“She was very smart,”

“She showed me that you have to give people a second chance. Drew, she thought very highly of you, maybe she felt the same but we will never know.”

“I know, I just ... it all just got on top of me.”

“That’s okay, but you have to learn to deal with it, you can’t shut yourself in a classroom every time,” said Matilda.

“I know, I know. I’m sorry dragging you down here. You’re the only person I felt I could talk to.”

“That’s okay. Anytime you need to talk I’m here for you, so is Irene and everyone.”

A few minutes later they emerged from the room, Drew feeling a lot better.

“Thanks Mattie, for everything,” said Drew and he hugged her.

“Drew, why don’t you go to your lesson, I think you’ve done enough talking today,” said Sally and Drew walked away.

“Sorry Irene, Sally but I can’t tell you what Drew said, he told it to me in confidence,” said Matilda, looking at the floor.

“We understand dahl. I’m glad he has someone he could talk to,” replied Irene as she hugged Matilda. Irene left to get back to the Diner. Sally and Matilda made their way back to Sally’s office and opened the door to find Pippa sat in Sally’s seat and Brad opposite with Barbie’s all over the desk and Brad had one in his hand.

“Having fun?” smiled Sally looking at Brad.

“Mummy, Brad and I have been playing,” said Pippa happily.

“Yeah, I’m really getting into the whole Barbie thing,” said Brad, smiling.

“Mattie, you can go home now and see Ric. Pippa’ll be alright here. It’s only an hour until school ends and she can continue playing with her new best friend, he has a free this afternoon don’t you Brad.”

“Yeah and I’d love to spend it playing with Princess Pippa.”

Matilda walked to the door and looked back. Sally had sat down on her seat with Pippa on her lap and Brad sat opposite them. The three of them started playing with the Barbie’s.

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Finally I have managed to update. I still have lots of coursework so don't know how long until the next update.

Chapter 44

On the Wednesday, Lucas arrived. Matilda and Ric only really saw him in the evenings and first thing in the morning as in the day he seemed to have other things to do. Pippa was going to be off school for the rest of the week so Matilda was preoccupied looking after her. Ric hadn’t got his sling now and his arm was getting stronger again thanks to the physiotherapy. He helped looked after Pippa in the days and went to work a few times to keep the paper work up to date. He was under strict instructions not to go anywhere near a car. Beth and Tony were due to fly in from France on Friday evening.

Friday morning Matilda and Ric were having breakfast when Sally dropped Pippa off. Lucas came sleepily down the stairs, moaning about the doorbell waking him up.

“Hello Lucas!” called out Pippa who was trying to steal Ric’s toast.

“Mmm what time is it?”

“Time you were awake,” joked Matilda, offering him some juice. “So Pippa, what are we going to do today?”

“Ric said yesterday that we could go and see Noah.”

“Oh he did, did he?” Matilda looked at Ric.

“Well I thought we’d give you a break. I’ll take Pippa round to Noah’s and chat with Scott who just happens to have the day off. Hayley’s gone shopping with Irene so he’s on babysitting duties.”

“Well that sounds like a plan.”

“When can we go Ric?”

“Someone’s keen! Well, I’m about ready so we can go whenever you like, and uncle Lucas can get some peace and quiet,” teased Ric.

“Come on then! Get your shoes on,” and Pippa pushed Ric in the direction of his shoes.

“Well I’ll see you later,” said Matilda as she kissed Ric softly on the lips and patted Pippa’s head. “Have fun!”

Ric and Pippa left and so Matilda was left with Lucas who was still eating breakfast sleepily. Matilda started clearing away her and Ric’s plates.

“So what are your plans for today?” she asked Lucas.

“Mm I dunno. Might see what the surf’s like.”

“So you don’t want to come with me and see if Martha needs any help?”

“Umm I might, I dunno yet. I need to get dressed anyway so I’ll go do that and then I’ll see,” and he hurried upstairs.

When he came back down Matilda was sat on the sofa waiting for him.

“Lucas, what’s going on?” she asked simply. Lucas turned and faced her.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, ever since you’ve got here you’ve been distant and the slight mention of the Christening and you go all tense.”

“No I don’t, you’re imagining things,” he said, sitting down on the other sofa.

“No I’m not, I can always tell when you’re lying Lucas Holden!”

“You know me too well,” he said, defeated.

“So, what’s going on.”

“It’s nothing really it’s just ... well ... Jack and Martha asked you and Ric and Scott and Hayley to be godparents and I don’t get a look in.”

“So you wanted to be a godparent?” asked Matilda.

“Well ... kinda.”

“Lucas, you’re already Katie’s uncle, isn’t that enough. Besides, you’re never here. You’re off at Uni for most of the year and when you finish that you’ll be working in the city. Don’t you think they should have godparents who are actually going to be around. I mean Tasha and Martha were inseparable until Tash moved away. Tasha isn’t a godparent.”

“I suppose. Why do you always have to be right?”

“Well because I’m a very wise and clever person,” giggled Matilda. “Do you want a drink?” she asked as she got up and walked towards the kitchen. Lucas got up and blocked her path. He held her arm and leaned in, about to kiss her. Matilda saw what was coming and stepped backwards quickly.

“Lucas! What do you think you’re doing?” she shouted, shocked.

“I’m ... I ... I’m sorry. I ... didn’t mean to ...”

“To what, almost kiss me! Lucas we’ve been through this and I thought you’d moved on. I’m your step sister or as good as and I’m engaged to Ric. He’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just when I see you two together and how perfect you are. You understand me Mattie, I don’t think anyone understands me as well as you.”

“That’s because of our history Luc, it doesn’t mean I have feelings for you. Those went a long time ago, when you ... you and ...” she paused, this was hard for her, “when you and Belle got together.”

“I ... I guess I still feel something for you Mattie. Me and Belle all those years ago was a mistake, it never would have worked. I thought that after what happened at Christmas I could make the feelings go away, but I guess it’s harder than I thought. And the when I found out I would be staying here I knew I had to try hard to resist. That’s why you’ve hardly seen me. But I guess today, it all got too much. I’m sorry.”

“Luc maybe you should stay somewhere else. I don’t think it would be right for you to stay here.”

“Fine, I’ll ... book into a hotel.”

“Good. And tomorrow we have to act normally around each other.”

“I’ll be gone by this afternoon.”

Matilda left the house for a walk. She needed to clear her head. Lucas still had feelings for her. This had come as a real shock for her. After Christmas she thought they had worked everything out, obviously she was wrong. She viewed Lucas as a brother, nothing else, but he didn’t see her as a sister. Could he not understand that she and Ric are engaged and want to spend the rest of their lives together and one day start a family. She didn’t know what to so. She would have to tell Ric, he would wonder why Lucas had moved out. She needed to be honest and have no secrets from him. Besides, she hadn’t done anything. She couldn’t wait to be Mrs Dalby. In 2 weeks they would be jetting off to Florida and could leave all of their troubles behind them. It would be their first holiday together.

She walked along the beach and saw Martha sat on the sand, he head in her knees. Matilda walked over and was shocked to find she was crying.

“Martha, what’s wrong, what’s happened?” Matilda sat down beside her and put her arm round the crying Martha.

“I want the day to be perfect,” sobbed Martha. “It was going to be so special. And after the fiasco at our wedding, it was something we deserved.” Matilda knew too well what had happened when Zoe crashed the wedding.

“What’s happened?”

“Beth and Tony have been snowed in, the flight can’t take off from France and now Jack is saying he doesn’t want to go ahead with it. He wants to rearrange it but I called the church and they are fully booked for months.”

Martha leant on Matilda’s shoulder’s still crying as Matilda let all the information sink in.

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Chapter 45

After comforting Martha for a while Matilda left to go and see Jack who was at home with Katie. She knocked on the door and waited for Jack to answer.

“Matilda, what are you doing here? Let me guess, you’ve spoken to Martha?” He put Katie in her crib and sat down opposite where Matilda had sat.

“Jack, you know how much Martha has been looking forward to this. How can you say you want to leave it for months.”

“Don’t you think that my dad and your mum should be here?”

“Well yeah. But I think they would support your decision if you decided to go ahead with it. Did you ask them?”

“Umm, yeah they said to go ahead with it but I don’t think it would be right, I want the grandparents to be present at the Christening. They already miss out on so much by being in France.”

Jack didn’t know that Martha had been listening outside the door. She had come up from the beach a little after Matilda and had been ease dropping. She entered the room, drying her eyes.

“I think you’re right,” she said simply.

“Martha!” Jack said, shocked.

“Jack, I heard everything you just said and I’ll support your wish to postpone the Christening if that’s what you want. I don’t want to fight any more about this.”

“Martha, I know you’ve been looking forward to this but ... it doesn’t seem right without dad.”

“Umm I’m going to leave you to it,” said Matilda quietly from where she stood and she made her way towards the door.

“Thanks Mattie, I’ll talk to you later,” called back Martha.

Matilda decided she couldn’t go home, she didn’t want to bump into Lucas. She didn’t want to go to Scott’s as he and Ric would be watching the football and Pippa and Noah would be playing. Hayley was in the City with Irene so she couldn’t talk to her. Sally was at work. Matilda didn’t know what to do. She walked without really knowing where she was going and eventually found herself at the beach. She sat on the sand and stared out to sea. ‘Where are you when I need you Belle’, she thought. It had now been 2 months since Belle had died yet to Matilda it seemed like yesterday. “I really miss you” she said outloud.

“Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness,” someone said as they walked behind her. Matilda turned to face the woman. It wasn’t someone who she recognised.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry, I’ll leave you alone,” and the stranger started to walk away.

“You don’t have to, my name’s Matilda. Are you from around here, I haven’t seen you before I don’t think.” The woman turned and sat down beside Matilda.

“I’m Jade, I’ve just moved back here, I used to live in the Caravan Park ages ago with my family but then one by one we all grew up and moved away.”

“You’re surname wouldn’t be Sutherland would it?” said Matilda, remembering that Sally had brought the Caravan Park off the Sutherland’s just before the Hunter’s moved to the Bay.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“My family moved to the Bay after you left, you sold it to Sally Fletcher.”

“You know Sally. I was sorry to hear about Flynn, he was a good man.”

“Yeah, actually Sally’s going to be my mother in law soon.”

“But ... she didn’t have any children,” said Jade, confused.

“She adopted Ric, my fiancé. She also adopted a girl my age called Cassie but she doesn’t live here anymore. Then Leah was a surrogate for Sally and Flynn’s baby, a girl called Pippa who’s 7.”

“Wow a lot’s happened while I’ve been away then,” smiled Jade. “Well I suppose it has been 10 years. Last time I was here I was 16.”

“Why did you leave? I know you left before a lot of your family.”

“Well my boyfriend Seb was paralysed in a car accident. He went up north to a special rehab clinic and I went with him. Then my twin sister left with her husband Kane, Dani moved to America to be a journalist and then my parents sold the caravan park and moved to the city.”

“So Sally and Flynn moved to the Caravan Park and my family moved from the country into her old house.”

Matilda and Jade sat sitting on the beach for a while and Matilda filled her in about what had happened in the Bay over the past 10 years.

“So, where are you staying?” Matilda asked her new friend.

“Well I’m staying at the Headland Hotel while I look for somewhere to rent.” Matilda looked at her watch and was surprised to see it was almost dinner time.

“I have to go, Ric will be back soon with Pippa and I have to get her tea sorted,” she told Jade.

“Ok, I’ll probably see you around. Thanks for filling me in on everything.”

“My pleasure. It took my mind off everything... a welcome distraction.” Matilda got up and walked towards the path at the top of the beach.

Half way home she decided that it would be a nice treat to get some fish and chips from the takeaway. Sally had a meeting with Brad so Pippa was staying until 7. When she got home Ric and Pippa were watching TV sat on the sofa.

“Mmm I smell fish and chips,” said Ric, getting up and greeting Matilda with a kiss.

“I thought it was be a nice treat, after all Pippa’s going back to school on Monday.”

“Don’t mention the s word, I don’t want to go back, it’s fun staying at home!” said Pippa, moving to sit at the table. Matilda and Ric set the table and they all sat down to eat.

“So did you have a nice time playing with Noah?” asked Matilda.

“Yeah it was good. He has a new trampoline in his back garden, wish mummy would be let have one.”

After Sally had picked up Pippa, Matilda was cuddled up to Ric on the sofa. She was getting ready to tell him about Lucas. Ric noticed she had gone quiet and fidgety.

“Is everything alright?” he asked, looking at her.

“Umm well Ric, there’s a reason Lucas has moved out and into the hotel. I kicked him out.”

“What happened?” Ric asked worriedly.

“He umm ... don’t get mad ... he tried to kiss me...”

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Chapter 46

... he tried to kiss me...” Matilda finished. Ric heard the words over and over in his head. How could this be happening? He thought that Lucas had gotten over his feelings after Christmas. Couldn’t Lucas just accept that Matilda was going to marry him instead.

“What ... what happened after that?” asked Ric, trying his best to remain calm. He didn’t want to explode with rage but he felt like he would.

“Nothing Ric. He leaned in and I moved away. I promise you Ric, nothing happened but I thought you should know.” At least they hadn’t actually kissed, that was one thing, thought Ric. But still, Lucas had no right.

Matilda stood opposite Ric, not knowing what to say. She had done the right thing, she thought. Ric needed to know what had happened, he had to know. But she was scared, scared he’d do something in rage that he would regret. It was true that he was better at managing his anger than he was when he first moved to the Bay but still, this was something big.

“Ric, please say something,” said Matilda after a couple of minutes of silence.

“Lucas is going to regret ever coming back to the Bay,” Ric said simply.

“Ric no! Please, this isn’t the answer.”

“Mattie, he needs to get the message that we are getting married.”

“I know but please don’t do anything you’ll regret. I thought you were over your management issues. Please don’t go and see him,” Matilda had moved towards the door and was blocking Ric’s path. She was pleading with him, nearly in tears. Ric stopped and looked at his fiancé. He didn’t want to do anything to hurt her. He didn’t want to scare her.

He walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her.

“Mattie, I’m sorry to scare you like that. But it’s because I care about you that I reacted the way I did. I love you and don’t want anything to come between us. You have to understand that I’m just a little possessive. I have a wonderful, beautiful, adorable fiancé and I don’t want anything to jeopardise that.”

“Ric, I did the right thing, telling you didn’t I?” asked Matilda, looking into his eyes.

“Of course, we shouldn’t keep secrets.” Matilda kissed Ric softly on the lips and Ric kissed her back. The kiss became more passionate and Matilda grabbed Ric’s shirt and led him up the stairs.

The next morning Matilda woke up and found Ric walking into the bedroom carrying a tray with breakfast things on.

“What have I done to deserve this?” asked Matilda.

“Does a man need a reason to treat the woman who will one day be his wife?”

“Well when you put it like that, come and join me.”

Later on in the morning Matilda and Ric were strolling hand in hand along the beach. Matilda was telling Ric all about Jade, the girl she had met the day before. Suddenly Ric stopped, looking ahead. Matilda followed his glance and was suddenly tense. Walking towards them was Lucas. Ric let go of Matilda’s hand and started marching over.

“Ric! Ric no!” Matilda shouted after him and she started running to keep up.

Ric grabbed Lucas’ shirt and pushed him to the ground.

“If you ever try anything with my fiancé again, I won’t be responsible for my actions. Have you got that through you’re head? The Christening’s off so why don’t you just go back to the City where you belong and leave Matilda alone. She’s not interested in you!”

Matilda was trying to pull Ric away and Lucas was standing up again.

“Ric, please just calm down!” Matilda shouted.

Eventually Ric backed off. He watched as Lucas walked towards the top of the beach and turned to Matilda.

“Babe I’m sorry. But it’s the only way he’ll understand. I didn’t mean to scare you.” Matilda looked hesitant.

“Ric I hate it when you go like that. It’s like you’re a different person.”

“Mattie, I’m sorry. I don’t want to go back to the person I was before I moved to the Bay and thanks to you I’m different now. When I first came here it was you that made me see I need to change, you were the only person who even attempted to talk to me. I promise, this was just a ... one off. It scares me that I can get like that.” Matilda edged closer to him.

“Ric, I know you didn’t mean it. You are a different person now, the person I love and want to spend the rest of my life with,” she smiled.

“So, I haven’t put you off me?”

“Of course not,” and Matilda hugged Ric and they kissed.

Not long after they were sat in the Diner eating hamburgers. Matilda looked at the door just as a woman walked in.

“Jade! Over here,” Matilda called. Jade walked over, stopping at their table. “Jade this is my fiancé and Sally’s foster son, Ric. Ric this is Jade who I met on the beach yesterday, I told you last night remember.”

“Hi Jade, do you wanna sit down?” offered Ric, happy to see Matilda make new friends. Irene came over to clear their plates and stopped, looking at Jade.

“Goodness gracious, it can’t be,” said Irene. “Jade Sutherland, how wonderful to see you again after all these years.”

“I can’t have changed much if you still recognise me,” smiled Jade.

“So, I can’t remember, did you know Matilda from before or ...?” asked Irene.

“No, I left before she came but we met yesterday.”

Irene stayed and talked for a bit before having to get back to work.

Jade started talking about her family and all the drama that had happened in the Bay whilst she had been there.

“So, why have you come back after all this time?” asked Ric.

“Umm ...” Jade looked at her watch, “o gosh look at the time, I’ve gotta get going but I’ll speak to you really soon,” and she rushed out of the Diner.

“That was weird,” commented Ric. “Wonder what she’s hiding.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for the lack of updates. In a week I'll be on my easter holidays so will have more time. In the mean time here is just a short chapter. I have lots of sociology coursework at the moment which is taking up most of my time.

Chapter 47

Two weeks later Ric was waiting at the bottom of the stairs, surrounded by suitcases. It was the day that he and Matilda along with Sally and Pippa would be flying to Florida for a 2 week once in a lifetime holiday.

“Matilda! We have to go! Are you nearly ready?” called up Ric. Matilda came down the stairs with the last suitcase that she had just finished packing. She refused to let Ric carry them as she didn’t want him to hurt his wrist which was still slightly weak. Sally was running in and out of the house packing her car and Pippa was bouncing off the walls with excitement. Finally the car was packed and they were driving out of Summer Bay. Ric was sat in the front of the car while Sally drove, leaving Matilda to sit with Pippa in the back.

“Mattie, have you ever been on a plane before?” asked Pippa.

“Yes, but only for a couple of hours and I’ve never been outside Australia.”

“Ric are you looking forward to the plane?”

“Umm yeah I suppose so,” replied Ric, not sounding at all confident.

“Ric’s just a bit scared cos he’s never flown before,” Matilda told Pippa quietly.

“I am not scared!” said Ric at once. Pippa laughed, she was excited at the prospect of flying miles up in the air.

An hour later they had arrived at the airport and were unloading the suitcases onto a trolley. Once through customs Ric’s nerves really began to show. He couldn’t sit still and kept a tight grip on Matilda’s hand.

“It’ll be okay,” whispered Matilda into Ric’s ear, giving him a kiss.

“Yeah I know,” stuttered Ric. “There’s nothing to worry about,” nervously looking at Matilda.

“Just keep telling yourself that.”

Meanwhile Sally was sat with Pippa looking out of the window that looked out onto the runway. Pippa was having fun watching the planes take off.

Before Ric knew it he was sat next to Matilda on the plane, listening to the safety announcement. Matilda had given him the option of sitting next to the window but he decided that she should sit there, he didn’t want to see how far up they were. Sally and Pippa had the seats in front of them and Pippa was looking out of the window at the last of the bags being loaded onto the plane.

Soon after, the cabin crew were making their last checks and securing the doors. Then the plane began to taxi towards the runway, while Pippa was getting more excited Ric was getting more pale. He didn’t know what to expect on the take off. Would it be like a rollercoaster? He had been on some but hadn’t especially enjoyed them.

“It’ll be alright,” whispered Matilda, entwining her fingers with hers.

“Yeah, of course it will, positive thinking,” said Ric quickly. The plane reached the end of the runway and began getting ready to take off. It moved quicker and quicker, getting more and more speed and Ric grabbed Matilda’s hand and looked into her eyes for support.

He kept hold of her hand and closed his eyes as they left the ground. While Pippa loved it, he hated it, the feeling in the stomach as they climbed higher and higher.

“Are you okay babe?” asked Matilda once they started levelling off.

“Umm yeah, I think so,” replied Ric. “I’m okay now we’ve levelled off.”

Matilda leaned over in her seat and kissed him on the lips.

“Do you feel better now?” she asked, pulling away.

“Mm not really, I think you’d better do that again,” smiled Ric.

So Matilda leaned over and kissed him more passionately.

“I feel much better,” said Ric. Pippa looked through the gap between the seats and sighed.

“You two need to get a room!” she told Matilda and Ric while Sally looked at her shocked.

“Where did you learn a phrase like that?” asked Sally.

“Someone said it on the telly,” said Pippa simply.

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Just another short chapter that joins on from the last.

Chapter 47 part b

Ric hated landing just as much as he had hated take off. He clutched Matilda’s hand, squeezing it tight and was very relieved when the plane taxied towards the airport getting ever slower.

“So, do I really need to ask whether you like flying?” smiled Matilda.

“Don’t worry, I’ll put up with it for you,” said Ric.

It took ages for them to get through customs as security was very tight. Pippa kept them all entertained by naming all the rides she wanted to go through, she had spend the flight looking through all the booklets. When they finally got through and got their bags they walked out of the airport and were hit by the humidity. It was hot in Australia but they never got this humid.

Ric drove the hired car to their hotel and finally, half an hour later, they could collapse into bed. It had been a long day and they wanted to be fresh for tomorrow.

“I can’t believe Sally’s brought us here,” said Matilda as she lay next to Ric in bed.

“Are you tired?” asked Ric.

“A bit why?”

“Too tired for a bit of fun?” asked Ric, kissed Matilda on her neck.

“Suddenly I feel wide awake,” and she kissed Ric on the lips.

The next morning they woke up with Pippa running into their room and jumping on the bed. They were staying in a condo which had a double room (for Matilda and Ric) and a twin room (for Sally and Pippa) and then had a lounge and kitchen area. Matilda and Ric got up walked into the main area. Sally was making some coffee and Pippa was now settled in a chair drinking some juice.

Matilda took the coffee offered to her by Sally and curled up with Ric on the sofa. Looking around she thought that everything was perfect. She couldn’t think of a place she would rather be. She had found the man of her dreams and had fitted in perfectly with his family. She left all her cares back in Summer Bay. For two weeks she wasn’t going to think about what her new friend Jade was hiding, she wasn’t going to think about how stupid Lucas was. She was going to concentrate on having the perfect holiday.

Less than an hour later they were arriving at their first Disney theme park, Magic Kingdom. Pippa could hardly contain her excitement. She knew which ride she wanted to go on first and made them take the long walk to the other end of the park to get to it. The ride was called ‘It’s a small world’ and Matilda could tell Ric wasn’t too pleased.

They got into little boats and started moving round a corner. Then they were surrounded by dolls from every country, doing typical things from the country. It was something that every little girl would love and even Matilda and Sally found it amusing. Ric on the other hand decided he didn’t like it.

After a long day at Magic Kingdom they returned from the park starving. Lunch seemed like hours ago. They entered the restaurant that was on their complex and their jaws dropped when they saw who else was waiting for a table, someone they hadn’t seen in years and who they weren’t on the best of terms with.

“Mattie? Ric? What are you doing here?” asked the person.

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Chapter 48

“Mattie? Ric? What are you doing here? Sal? Pippa?”

The four of them found themselves looking at a couple sat round a table, looking at their menus.

“Cassie ... Macca ... how are you?” asked Sally, in complete shock. It was the last place she thought they’d run into them, a hotel in the middle of Disney World in Florida.

“I’m great thanks. Pippa, you’ve grown. The last time I saw you, you were only 4.” Pippa had hidden behind Sally, suddenly unusually shy. “Do you remember me?”

“You’re the person who made my mummy cry, and Ric,” said Pippa in a quiet voice. Cassie looked down, hurt.

“Umm why don’t you pull some seats up and join us?” asked Cassie. “We can catch up. I’m not taking no for an answer.” Reluctantly they pulled chairs round the table and sat down. Pippa stayed close to Sally.

“So Matilda? Crashing their holiday are you?” joked Macca.

“No, actually Me and Mattie are engaged, we’re getting married at Christmas,” said Ric, clutching Matilda’s hand.

“Wow, I never pictured you two together,” commented a surprised Cassie. “How long have you been together?”

“Since I got back from Uni,” said Matilda.

“Not very long then,” said Cassie.

“Well when you know it’s meant to be...”

Conversation was forced while they ordered and waited for their food. Cassie kept looking at Matilda and Ric and where their fingers entwined with each others on the table. Matilda couldn’t believe this was happening. Of all the places. Her and Cassie hadn’t spoken since she went off with Macca and she hated the way Cassie had changed since she first met him. She wasn’t her best friend, she was a stranger. Sally was trying to fill the awkwardness by filling Cassie in on the goings on in Summer Bay.

“Irene has sort of kept in touch. She was good to me before I left. She sends me letters with the latest events but I haven’t gotten one since Christmas. That reminds me, she said something about Belle being back? What did that low life want? Has she worked out no one likes her now?”

Matilda froze. She couldn’t deal with this, she didn’t want to think about it. All she wanted was to have the perfect holiday with her soon to be husband and his family. She didn’t want to think about all the pain she had been through over the past few months, this holiday was supposed to be an escape from this. She stood up, tears forming in her eyes.

“How dare you say that! You don’t know anything. You left years ago after turning into a monster so don’t sit there are pass judgements on others. People can change, maybe not you, judging by tonight, but others can make the effort.” Matilda stormed out of the room and Pippa ran after her, wanting to get away from Cassie. Pippa didn’t like Cassie, she only remembered her as the person who caused many arguments at home and who made her mum cry. Ric stood up to, ready to follow them out and make sure they were okay.

“Are you happy now?” he asked before leaving.

He reached the room and found Matilda sat on the sofa crying and Pippa sat next to her, hugging her.

“Pippa, can you go and get changed ready for bed please? I need to talk to Mattie,” Ric said and Pippa left the room.

Ric pulled Matilda into his arms and hugged her tightly, not letting go for several minutes.

“How dare she!” cried Matilda, sobbing into Ric’s chest.

“I know babe. We all hate her, we’ll just ignore her if we see her again,” comforted Ric, stroking his fiancé’s hair.

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Chapter 49

The next morning the jet lag was catching up with everyone except Pippa. Matilda and Ric agreed to take Pippa down to the swimming pool so that Sally could get some sleep, they could relax round the pool while watching Pippa. However when they got there they found the two people they least wanted to see.

“Mattie,” said Cassie, walking over, “Sally told me about Belle dying ...” but Matilda, Ric and Pippa walked off before she could finish. They went and set up the other side of the pool. Matilda had fun in the water with Pippa splashing each other and messing around while Ric dosed off. After a while he woke and said he’d go get them some drinks. Matilda got out of the pool and dried herself off while Pippa continued showing how she could swim. Matilda lay back on her sun bed but was suddenly shaded.

“Mattie please can we talk?” said Cassie.

“Don’t call me Mattie. Only people who are actually my friends call me that,” Matilda looked over to where Pippa was in the pool. Cassie sat down on Ric’s sun bed even though it was clear she wasn’t welcome.

“Fine, Matilda. What happened between us?”

“What happened is that you turned into a slut and deserted everyone for Macca, even though he abused you,” replied Matilda, getting angry.

“Well think of it this way, if I hadn’t gone off with Macca you and Ric might not have gotten together. I’d have never thought in a million years you two would be together,” stated Cassie.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Just that you’re so ... I dunno. I would have never have guessed it.”

“Well for your information Ric is the greatest guy I’ve ever met and I’m marrying him.”

“We’ll see about that,” replied Cassie.

“What did you just say?”

“I mean it’s Ric. You’re not right for him Mattie, I mean Matilda. You’re not the kind of girl he goes for. He’s into more, outgoing girls ... like ... well like me.”

“How on earth do you know that? You haven’t spoken to him in years and while you were with him it was hardly smooth sailing was it. He loves me! People change Cassie, they want different things to what they did in the past. You can’t just expect everything to be the same, Ric’s grown up and so have I. We are meant to be together and I don’t care whether you think that or not!” By this time Pippa had gotten out of the water and was standing next to Matilda who by this point was standing up getting ready to leave.

“Why don’t you just leave Mattie and Ric alone,” said Pippa. “You’re making them sad and this holiday is supposed to be happy.”

Matilda grabbed her bag and took Pippa’s hand. They walked over to where Ric was still waiting in line and told him they were going. He followed and looked over to where they had been sat. Cassie was there watching them and smiling. This can’t be good he thought.

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