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You'll Never Be Alone

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Chapter 80

“Happy birthday baby!” said Matilda when she woke up and found Ric watching her. She leaned over and gave him a kiss.

“Is that all I get? A quick kiss? It’s my birthday,” teased Ric.

“Fine, Happy birthday” and she kissed him more passionately.

“So, do I get my present now?” asked Ric.

“No, you’ll have to wait,” replied Matilda.

Ric and Matilda walked downstairs to find Sally making a full English breakfast.

“Hey birthday boy!” she called put when they entered.

“Mmm something smells good,” said Ric.

“Well, it’s nearly done. Brad is just having a quick shower and Pippa is just getting dressed, then you can open your presents.”

Matilda and Ric were already dressed so went and sat on the sofa to wait for the others. Not long later, Sally was serving breakfast which they ate before the presents were opened.

“Okay, so this present is from me,” said Sally and she handed a long present to him.

“Sal, it’s brilliant!” he said once he’d opened it and pulled out a new surfboard. I’ve wanted a new one for ages!”

“Well that’s what I thought. The guy in the shop in Yabbie Creek said it was a good make, I hope it’s alright,” she said.

“It’s amazing, thank you so much!” and he leaned over and gave her a massive hug,

The next present was from Brad.

“Cool, the new grand prix play station game!” he exclaimed. “Thanks Brad!”

“Boys and the play station,” mumbled Sally to Matilda, shaking her head in amazement.

Pippa handed her present over to Ric. He opened it and found a book all about cars and past races.

“Pip, thanks. I saw this the other week and thought it looked good.”

“There’s something else, look under the book,” laughed Pippa. Ric lifted up the book and found another present wrapped in pink wrapping. He opened it and laughed. It was a badge saying ‘I love Barbie’.

“Well ... thanks Pip.”

“I thought you’d like it,” laughed Pippa. The others were also laughing.

“So, now do I get your present?” Ric asked Matilda.

“Sorry, you’ll have to wait.” She looked at the clock. “You will find out soon.”

At 5 minutes to 9 there was a knock on the door. Sally and Brad were messing around doing the dishes and Matilda was doing Pippa’s hair in a plait so Ric was closest. He opened it to see Drew and Irene.

“Umm hi guys,” said Ric, who didn’t know what was going on.

“Hi Ric, happy birthday!” said Irene.

“Yeah, happy birthday,” said Drew. Matilda came over.

“Hey guys, come on in. Ric, Drew all will be explained soon.”

Ric looked over at Drew.

“So, you don’t know why you’re here?”

“No, but here, I got you a present,” and he handed over a present.

“Thanks, you didn’t have to.”

“Well, I am working with you now, it’s not much, I didn’t really know what to get,” said Drew quietly. Ric opened the present and found a watch.

“Thanks Drew!”

“Well, I know at the garage you’re always saying you don’t know the time so...”

“It’s just what I need.”

Not long after, there was another knock on the door.

“Okay, come on guys, everyone ready?” said Matilda.

“Ready for what?” asked Ric looking confused, Drew was looking equally confused. Matilda, Sally, Brad, Pippa, Ric, Drew and Irene all went out to the drive to find a white limo waiting for them.

“Wow, what’s this for?” asked Ric.

“I’ve never been in a limo, I’ve always wanted to!” said Drew.

“Come on guys, or we’ll never get there!” called Matilda and they all got into the limo. Matilda sat with Ric on one side of her and Drew on the other.

“Irene, did you bring the camera?” asked Matilda.

“Sure did dahl!”

“Where are we going?” asked Ric for about the hundredth time.

“It’s a surprise!” cried Matilda, also for the hundredth time.

The limo driver said they were almost here and so Matilda got out blindfold’s for Ric and Drew. The limo came to a stop and everyone got out. Ric and Drew got out with difficulty seeing as though they couldn’t see anything. Matilda guided Ric and Irene guided Drew into the building.

“Hello, I’m guessing one of you is Matilda Hunter,” said a man who approached them.

“Yes, hello. I’m Matilda, nice to meet you,” said Matilda and she shook his hand.

“So, one of the blindfolded men must be Ric and the other Drew,” continued the man. “Come on out this way and we’ll get you sorted.”

“Sorted for what?” asked Ric. “Where are we?” Matilda followed the man along with everyone else and guided Ric.

Finally they stopped walking once they got outside.

“Okay, Drew. We’ll start with you. Take off your blindfold,” instructed Matilda. Drew complied and gasped when he realised where they were.

“Oh my gosh! Mattie!” he cried.

“Okay is it my turn yet?” asked Ric impatiently. Matilda reached up and undid the blindfold. She dropped it and looked at Ric’s face.

“Look familiar?” she asked.

“Mattie. This ... this is ... I don’t know what to say!” he said.

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Sorry haven't updated in a while. I've just started back at school after my AS levels.

Chapter 81

Ric stood speechless. He was looking out onto a race track, the same race track that they had brought Flynn to as part of his last wish list.

“I know you always said you wanted to have a go. You said that Flynn had a brilliant time. I called them up and they don’t usually do this but I explained and they said they would. Then, I was talking to Drew and thought it would be a good idea if he came as well. This man is going to take you both to get ready in all the gear.”

“Mattie, I can’t believe you’ve done this for me!” said Ric and he picked her up and swung her round.

“Ric! Put me down!” she cried out. He put her down and gave her a passionate kiss.

“Umm Mattie, it’s Ric’s birthday, I don’t want to impose on his treat,” said Drew.

“Man what are you talking about. I’d love to share it with you. I need someone to race don’t I!” said Ric patting Drew on the back. “Let’s go get ready.”

Matilda, Sally, Brad, Pippa and Irene waited next to the track for them to get changed.

“Did you see their faces!” said Brad.

“They were a picture. It was a great idea Mattie.”

“Really? I didn’t know how you’d feel about coming back here,” Matilda said to Sally.

“When we came here last time, we had a great day. It was one of the best days of Flynn’s life. Being here brings back happy memories, so don’t worry,” and Sally pulled Matilda into a hug. Pippa was stood a little way away so hadn’t heard them talk about her dad.

“Matilda, thanks for including Drew in this,” said Irene.

“Don’t mention it. Him and Ric have become friends and Drew’s been through so much I thought it would be a nice treat for him.”

The boys came back fully geared and went towards the cars. There were two waiting for them and two men who would be showing them what to do and go round with them. Irene got out her camera and started taking picture after picture. Matilda also got her camera out and told Ric to stand in front of the car. Once everyone had taken lots of pictures, Ric and Drew were told about the cars.

Matilda, Sally, Pippa, Brad and Irene went to the viewing platform to watch. Ric went round first with the instructor and then had a little break while Drew went round. After a while they were going round together and racing.

Once they had finished, the boys went to change. Pippa was stood looking out onto the track while the others looked at the various pictures of famous racers. Matilda went over to talk to her.

“Hey Pip, you okay?” Matilda asked.

“In a photo I have of my dad he was in a race car in a place just like this.”

“Well, that’s because this is the same place.”

“Was it his birthday?” Pippa asked. At this point Sally came over.

“What are you two talking about?” Sally asked.

“Mummy, when did daddy come here?” asked Pippa.

“I’ll ... leave you to have some privacy,” said Matilda.

“No Mattie, it’s okay. Stay,” said Sally. They walked over to a bench and Pippa sat on Matilda’s lap.

“Well, you know your daddy died from a bad illness. Well, before he died, he made a list of all the things he wanted to do. This was one of the things he wanted to do so I arranged it. We came here and he spent the day just like Ric has just done. You were a baby,” explained Sally.

“Oh, did he have fun?”

“Yeah, it was one of the best days of his life,” smiled Sally.

Pippa stood up and hugged her mum. Then she ran off to see what Brad was doing.

“I’m sorry, it’s my fault bringing it all up,” said Matilda.

“Mattie, stop it. It’s been a great day and it was a really good idea. Yeah it’s brought back memories but ... I have to deal with these memories.”

They both stood up and walked back over to the others. Brad pulled Sally into a hug.

Ric and Drew joined them, both smiling. Ric went over to Matilda and picked her up, kissing her.

“Thank you so much! It was such a nice present,” he said.

“Well, you have a very persuasive girl there,” said the man who had come over to say goodbye. “Normally we wouldn’t have done this.”

“You don’t have to tell me about how special she is,” said Ric. “I’ve found that out for myself.”

“Your limo is here to take you home,” said the man.

“Thank you for such a great day!” said Drew. No one had ever seen him this happy.

The limo ride was spent with Ric and Drew talking about how great it was.

“I so beat you on the last lap!” said Drew.

“What are you talking about, I beat you by a tenth of a second,” replied Ric.

“In your dreams!”

The limo dropped them off at the Caravan Park and Irene and Drew left.

“How about we change and we go to the Surf Club for a couple of drinks,” said Matilda.

“Okay, I need a shower first though,” said Ric and went upstairs so no one else could have it before him.”

Matilda went to the computer and connected her camera. She strolled through the photos she had taken and found the one with Ric in front of the car. She put photo paper in the printer and waited for it to print. Then she went upstairs.

“You haven’t even begun to get ready?” joked Ric when he entered the room from his shower.

“Well, I’ve been putting the finishing touches to your other present.”

She handed him a flat present. He tore it open and found a picture frame. It was split into two. On the left side it showed Flynn stood in front of a race car from all those years ago. On the right side it showed Ric in the same position.

“Mattie, it’s ...”

“Is it okay?” she asked.

“It’s brilliant. Thank you so much, and thank you for today.”

“We’d better get ready,” said Matilda.

“How about we stay here and celebrate my birthday?” suggested Ric.

“But what about the others? Besides I told Mr Stewart we’d meet him for a few drinks.”

“Okay then, but when we get back.”

“Now, what shall I wear?” wondered Matilda.

“How about the short blue dress?” suggested Ric.

“Mmm okay, seeing as you like that one, and it is your birthday.”

The five of them walked to the Surf Club. Sally, Brad and Pippa walked a little ahead. Pippa was in the middle holding both Sally’s and Brad’s hands. They had already entered the Surf Club when Ric and Matilda approached.

They walked through the door.


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Chapter 82

“SURPRISE!” yelled everyone in the Surf Club. The room was filled with people.

“Mattie? Is this your doing?” smiled Ric.

“Well actually we all arranged it. Me, Sally, Brad and Mr Stewart.”

“So that’s what you were talking about,” said Ric.

“Yeah,” replied Matilda.

“Thank you very much,” and he kissed her before hugging Sally and patting Brad on the back. Alf came over and hugged Ric.

“So, did you like your present from young Mattie?” asked Alf.

“It was amazing granddad.”

“I would have come, but I had to arrange this.”

Out of the crowd came Lucas.

“You came!” said Matilda, hugging Lucas.

“Yeah well, I couldn’t miss a Summer Bay party could I. Happy birthday man,” Lucas said turning to Ric.

“Thanks for coming all this way,” replied Ric.

“No problem. I didn’t really know what to get you for a present so I got you vouchers for the surf shack in Yabbie Creek,” Lucas said, handing Ric an envelope.

“Thanks! That’s brilliant. I got a new surf board from Sally.”

“Really? Want to hit the waves tomorrow morning?” asked Lucas.

“Sure, how long are you here for?” asked Ric.

“The Uni has the day off on Monday and I don’t have any lectures on Tuesday. I thought I’d drive back Monday night to do some work Tuesday.”

“That’s cool. We should hang out while you’re here.”

“Totally. Anyway, I’d better go find Jack, see you later,” and Lucas left to find his brother.

“Mattie!” cried out Becky over the music.

“Hey, how are you?”

“I’m great thanks. How are you? Did you get things sorted out with Drew yesterday?”

“Yeah, thanks for the information.”

“No problem, so how did today go?”

“Perfect, he loved it. Ric! Over here,” she called him over. He came and kissed her.

“This is my friend and work colleague Becky,” Matilda said, introducing them. “Becky this is Ric, my fiancé.”

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” said Becky.

“All good I hope,” joked Ric.

“Definitely, she’s crazy about you,” smiled Becky as Matilda blushed. “I’d better get back to work.”

“Okay, come see us later,” said Matilda and she hugged Becky.

After an hour of speaking to almost everyone in the room, Brad called for everyone to be quiet.

“Now, we all know why we’re here today. Ric is now the ripe old age of 25!” said Brad.

“Thanks for shouting that out for everyone!” called back Ric, smiling.

“Now, there are a few people who would like to say a few words.”

“Well, I for one feel as though it was only yesterday that Ric first came to the Bay. Flynn and I took him in and cared for him. We always wondered whether our parenting skills were up to the job, especially when girls came into the equation,” said Sally and many people laughed. “Having taught teenagers, I thought I would adjust easily, but being a teacher is different from a parent. When Flynn died, I wondered how I would cope on my own with Pippa, Ric and Cassie. But I needn’t have worried. Ric was always there to help and sometimes it felt like it was him who looked after me instead of the other way around. He has grown into a marvellous, successful young man and I couldn’t be prouder. I know that if Flynn was alive he would say the same. And now, there is someone else in Ric’s life. Matilda has made all the difference and since she came back from Uni, he has never been happier. So, Ric, happy birthday and may this year be all you could wish for,” Sally finished. Ric moved over to her and hugged her and kissed her on the cheek.

“Okay, if someone could turn out the lights it’s time for the cake!” called out Alf. The lights went out and Becky brought out a massive cake on a trolley. There were 25 candles on it and a picture of a race car on it.

“There are way too many candles on that cake,” joked Ric.

“Just blow them out!” replied Alf.

“Don’t forget to make a wish,” said Matilda. Ric blew out the candles in one blow and then the lights came back on. Becky began to cut the cake and offer it to everyone.

“Mm Leah you’ve outdone yourself, it’s delicious!” said Matilda after taking a bite, Ric nodded in agreement with his mouth full of cake.

“Thanks guys,” replied Leah, going to get some for herself.

“Becky, once you’ve done that, you can go for the evening, or stay here and enjoy the party,” said Alf.

“Thanks Mr Stewart, I’ll stay and find Matilda.”

Matilda, Ric, Martha, Jack, Hayley, Scott and Lucas were all sat in a corner of the surf club, each with a glass of wine. Ric was telling the other guys about his day and they were all sat in jealousy. The girls were talking about going on a shopping trip to the city to see Jade.

“She’s really busy at work though and always travelling apparently,” explained Matilda. “That’s why she’s not here tonight, she’s up the coast.”

“Mmm well we need to start looking at wedding dresses,” said Hayley excitedly.

“I know! And we have to get your bridesmaids dresses!”

Becky came over and hugged Mattie. “Mr Stewart has very kindly given me the rest of the night off,” she explained.

“Great, grab a glass of wine and I’ll introduce you,” said Matilda and she introduced Becky to everyone.

“So, where are you from Becky?” asked Lucas, making room for her to sit down next to him.

“The city, my parents still live there.”

“Cool, I go to Uni there. What made you move here?”

“Well, I love the sea and hate the hustle and bustle of city life. I’ve always loved the beach. You know, when I got here a year ago, I promised myself I’d learn how to surf, but I never got round to it.”

“Really, well if you want you can come out and I’ll teach you the basics tomorrow. I’m going with Ric in the morning but the waves are always bigger then, maybe in the afternoon?”

“Really? That would be fantastic! I’m working in the morning so that’s perfect. Thanks Lucas,” said Becky.

Later in the evening, everyone was busy talking and Matilda made her way outside for a little bit of air.

“Lucas? What are you doing out here?” she asked, seeing him looking out to sea.

“I’ll be back in a minute,” he called. Matilda made her way over to him.

“Want to talk?” she asked.

“I’m fine,” he replied.

“Lucas, I’ve known you for about 6 years and have dated you, I know when something is wrong.”

“It’s not so much that something is wrong, it’s just ... this place ... makes me feel closer to dad. It’s nice. In the city everything is impersonal and after living here, it’s hard.”

“What happened to not wanting to live in a small town?” asked Matilda, thinking of what he said at Christmas.

“Well, I was in a bad place then. Struggling at Uni, newly single. Things are different now. I love the Bay.”

“Well, maybe you could visit more,” suggested Matilda.

“Maybe, and I get two months off in the summer.”

“That’s great.”

“Yeah the middle of November til mid January.”

“Right on time for the wedding then!” smiled Matilda.

“I really am happy for you and Ric,” said Lucas.

“Thanks Luc,” and she gave him a hug. “I’ll see you back inside.”

“I’ll just be a minute.”

She went back into the Surf Club and saw Drew looking bored. He was sat listening to Colleen go on about something.

“Hey Drew, can I talk to you for a moment?” asked Matilda.

“Sure, excuse me Mrs Smart,” and Drew followed Matilda to the other side of the room where Ric and the others were sat.

“I thought you looked like you needed saving,” smiled Matilda.

“Thanks Mattie! I owe you big!” replied Drew.

“Come and sit with us.” They joined the others.

“Hey where’s my brother?” asked Jack, noticing he wasn’t there.

“He’s just outside, he needed some air,” explained Matilda.

“Come sit here Mattie,” said Ric and he pulled her onto his lap. Drew stood near them before Becky offered him her seat, she said she was going to the toilet.

“Are you having a good time?” asked Matilda.

“The best, thanks for this baby,” replied Ric.

An hour later, it was just Matilda, Ric, Hayley, Scott, Jack, Martha, Becky, Lucas and Drew. Sally and Brad were just about to leave with a sleeping Pippa. Irene had let Drew stay as long as he didn’t drink.

“So, I’ll meet you bright and early tomorrow for surfing,” Lucas said to Ric.

“Mmm I’ll set the alarm,” said Ric.

“And I can meet you in the afternoon?” said Becky to Lucas.

“Sure, I’ll come here around lunch time and wait til you get off work.”

The door opened and a woman walked in. Sally and Brad were next to it and Pippa was asleep in Brad’s arms.

“What are you doing back here?” said Sally to the blonde woman and everyone looked to see who it was.

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Chapter 83

“What are you doing here?” asked Sally as everyone turned to see who it was.

“Mm is this a private party or can anyone join in?” asked the woman who was obviously drunk and couldn’t walk in a straight line. Matilda got off Ric’s lap and walked closer to the door.

“Amanda! What are you doing here?” cried out Matilda and the others, apart from Becky and Drew, all gasped and stood up.

“Who’s Amanda?” whispered Drew in Matilda’s ear.

“Amanda is Belle’s mother. The mother who didn’t care about her!” cried out Matilda. Drew’s expression changed, it turned to anger.

“You! You’re the one who made her life hell. You ditched her for a drugged up man and didn’t care that she was suffering and in pain!” yelled Drew as Ric grabbed hold of him to stop him getting closer.

“Who the hell are you?” asked Amanda.

“I am the person who cared about your daughter, I was at the hospital everyday when she was sick, I saw what she went through and how much she hated you!” cried out Drew, tears welling up in his eyes.

“Yeah that doesn’t answer the question does it?” replied Amanda.

“Do you even care that your daughter is dead?” asked Sally, who was stood in disbelief. Brad had taken Pippa outside away from the shouting.

“That brat? Why should I care? She’d rather come here and live with the old bat Irene. I wasn’t good enough for her apparently.”

“Don’t call Irene that!” shouted Matilda. “She was the best thing that happened to Belle, and Drew.”

“Drew? Who the hell is Drew?” asked Amanda.

“I am. And from the sounds of it, Belle was better off here. You kicked her out in favour of your druggie boyfriend.”

“Well she didn’t have to come back here did she?”

“Where else was she supposed to go? She wanted to be around people who cared about her,” said Matilda who had Ric’s arms wrapped round her for support.

“I don’t care about all this, I only came to get what’s mine,” said Amanda.

“What do you mean?” asked Sally.

“Well, her money, the car. It would have all been left to me wouldn’t it,” said Amanda as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Amanda she didn’t leave you anything,” explained Matilda.

“What! Of course she did. I’m her mother!” shouted Amanda.

“Yeah but you made her life in LA hell. She left her things to me, Drew and Irene, the people who actually care about her,” said Matilda.

“You stole what’s rightfully mine?” asked Amanda.

“What? We didn’t steal anything. She left it to us in her will,” said Drew.

“The money from her dad, it’s mine!” shouted Amanda.

“No, the money in her account was left to us in her will.”

“Well she must have left me something,” said Amanda.

“Umm she ... when she returned from LA and started to get really ill, she wrote you out of her will,” explained Matilda.

“You’re lying! Why won’t you give me my money!” shouted Amanda.

“Go to Yabbie Creek on Monday, go to the solicitors, they’ll tell you the same thing,” said Matilda.

“I’ll contest it! The court will see that the money is mine,” said Amanda.

“Really?” asked Drew. “The mother who waited 6 months after the death of her daughter to come to the place she died, the mother who made her life miserable, you really think the court will favour you over the people who really cared about her.”

“Amanda, do you not care that you’ve lost a daughter. Your child is dead. She died 6 months ago after being in hospital for a month. What kind of mother are you that you don’t even care,” said Sally.

“I see that you lot aren’t going to be much help. Thanks for nothing!” shouted Amanda and she stormed out of the Surf Club swaying from side to side.

Everyone stood in silence for a minute before Becky moved towards Matilda.

“I’m just ... I’m going to go,” she said quietly.

“I’m sorry about all that,” replied Matilda and she hugged Becky.

Hayley, Scott, Jack and Martha all left as well as it was really nothing to do with them. They all said happy birthday to Ric again on the way out. That left Matilda, Ric, Drew, Lucas and Sally.

“What an end to my birthday,” said Ric and they all turned to look at him.

“I’m sorry, I wanted everything to be perfect,” sobbed Matilda.

“Hey it’s okay,” said Ric, comforting Matilda. “It was, until that witch came in. I agree with everything you said, you lot have nothing to be sorry about.”

“Umm Drew, shall we leave ... I’ll make sure you get back alright,” suggested Lucas.

“Thanks, umm ... happy birthday Ric, see you soon Mattie, thanks for today.”

“Bye Drew,” they muttered.

“Come on, lets go home,” said Ric and he put his arm round Matilda and led her out and found Sally waiting. They locked up the Surf Club and the three of them walked home.

“Why is she back here?” asked Matilda.

“If you ask me, she’s either looking for more money to buy drugs, or she’s in debt and looking for money,” said Ric.

“I agree,” replied Sally.

They got home and found Brad coming down the stairs.

“I’ve put Pippa to bed,” he said and came and hugged Sally.

Matilda and Ric said goodnight and went upstairs.

“This isn’t how the night was supposed to end,” said Matilda.

“Mattie, it’s fine. We can have fun anytime.”

They got into bed and Matilda cuddled up to Ric.

“I hate her. What she did to Belle ...” whispered Matilda.

“I know, I know ...” said Ric.

Eventually they both fell asleep. Matilda’s dreams full of images of Belle.

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Chapter 84

The following morning it was Sunday and Ric had planned to meet Lucas to go surfing. Matilda woke up to find the space next to empty apart from a note.

Mattie, gone surfing with Luc, meet us at beach whenever you’re ready.

Love Ric xxx

She got herself breakfast and had just finished when Sally and Brad came downstairs.

“Morning Sal, Brad,” she said.

“Morning Mattie, has Ric left to go surfing?”

“Yeah I’m meeting them at the beach later. It looks like the weathers warming up which is good.”

Matilda got dressed in three quarter length trousers and a halter top. She put a bikini on underneath just in case. Then she made her way down to the beach. It was 10 before she got there and she found Lucas and Ric sitting on the sand half way down the beach.

“Hey guys!” she called out once she got near them.

“Hey Mattie,” said Lucas as she came over and gave Ric a kiss.

“So, how’s the new surf board?” asked Matilda.

“It’s amazing.”

“Cool. So ... anyone seen Amanda this morning?” asked Matilda, wanting to know if she was still in the bay.

“Haven’t seen her but Jack was here earlier and said he heard she was staying in a motel in Yabbie Creek,” said Lucas.

“I just hope she doesn’t come back here. Actually I might go and see Drew if that’s okay with you two,” Matilda said.

“That’s fine. Luc said he’d meet Becky at the Surf Club at half 12 and then we’re going to go to the Diner for lunch.”

“Okay, I’ll meet you at the Surf Club,” and Matilda kissed Ric again before leaving.

She made her way to the beach house and knocked on the door. Irene answered and smiled when she saw Matilda.

“Hey, Drew’s been filling me in about Amanda,” she said.

“Mmm well I just hope she doesn’t come back.”

“Hey Mattie!” called out Drew from the kitchen. “Want a coffee?”

“Yeah okay, thanks Drew,” Matilda called back and she followed Irene into the room and sat on the sofa.

“So she was after Belle’s money?” asked Irene.

“Yeah. Belle was left a lot of money by her biological father and also her adopted family gave her some when she turned 18. Of course it was split between us three and a charity researching into cancer,” explained Matilda.

“Amanda honestly thought she had been left money?” wondered Irene. “After everything she’s done.”

“Well, we think she’s run out of drugs our having money problems,” said Matilda.

They talked for a while longer before Matilda left to meet the others at the Surf Club. She went in and saw Lucas sat at the bar talking to Becky who was just about to finish.

“Hey guys, where’s Ric?” Matilda said.

“He’s gone to see if the others want to join us for a surf, he’ll be back in a minute,” explained Lucas. Matilda sat down next to him.

“So, what made you want to be a lawyer?” asked Becky, Lucas had just been telling her about his Uni course.

“I don’t know what started it. I think I was watching TV once and saw a court case. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to be,” explained Lucas. Ric entered the surf club and came over, he kissed Matilda and sat down.

“Jack, Martha and Katie are out but I’ve left a note telling them to join us later if they want. Scott’s on the boat but Hayley said they’d some and join us later once he’s back,” said Ric. “So it’s the four of us.”

“Okay, well my shift is now officially over so we can go,” smiled Becky, happy to be making new friends. She had lived in Summer Bay for almost a year but hadn’t made many friends. They walked round to the Diner and ordered. Both the girls had jacket potatoes and the guys had burgers.

“So, Mattie, are we going to get you surfing today?” asked Lucas, remembering when they had last tried. It had been the last summer of high school and before the falling out with Cassie. The guys had tried to teach them but they were more concerned with their hair.

“Mm do I have to?” replied Matilda. “I have no balance!”

“Come on Mattie, I’ve never surfed before so we’ll be in the same boat. It’ll be fun!” said Becky.

“And besides, before you had Lucas teaching you, this time you’ll have me!” said Ric.

“Yeah well Luc just kept moaning at me!”

“When did all this happen?” asked Becky.

“Last summer of high school,” said Lucas. “And don’t worry Becky, I won’t moan at you. You can’t be worse than Mattie anyway.”

“Hey!” said Matilda.

They finished eating and then made their way down to the beach. The waves were a lot calmer compared to what they were earlier which was good for the girls. The boys spent about an hour teaching the girls. Whilst Becky got the hang of it quickly, Matilda still couldn’t balance on the board.

“Okay, maybe I should just sit on the beach, surfing just isn’t my thing!” Matilda said.

“I’ll come with you, keep you company,” said Ric.

“You don’t have to, stay and surf,” said Matilda.

They made their way to their bags and sat on towels. Ric put his arm round Matilda and pulled her into a hug. They watched Lucas teaching Becky to surf. Ric leaned over and kissed Matilda.

“Dude, that’s my sister. Could we dial down the public displays of affection,” joked Scott as he, Hayley and Noah came towards them.

“Sorry, but I love my fiancé,” replied Ric. The three came sat with Matilda and Ric and looked out to sea.

“Is Lucas with that Becky girl?” asked Scott.

“Yeah, he’s teaching her to surf. Ric tried to teach me but I’m just not a surfer,” said Matilda.

“Oh Jack and Martha were just arriving back when we walked past their house. They said that they’d be down soon,” said Hayley.

“Cool, for August it’s actually quite warm today,” commented Matilda.

A little later, Becky and Lucas came and sat down and not long after that Martha and Jack, who was carrying Katie, came as well.

“So, anyone heard from Jade recently?” asked Hayley.

“I spoke to her a couple of days ago and she said although she’s based in the City, she’s hardly ever there and also, she might get the chance to go live in Amercia and work for the branch their. I think after all she’s been through she just wants to start a fresh in a completely new place,” explained Matilda.

They all sat chatting on the beach for a while, getting to know Becky, and chatting about the wedding. Jack and Martha were the first to leave as they wanted to feed Katie and put her to bed. Then Hayley, Scott and Noah as Noah was moaning he was hungry. Lucas then said he’d walk Becky home. That left Matilda and Ric who slowly made their way back to the Caravan Park.

“No sign of Amanda today,” commented Matilda.

“No, hopefully she’s moved on,” replied Ric.

“I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.”

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Chapter 85

A month later Matilda got up early and changed into running clothes. She left Ric in bed and crept out of the house. She got to the beach and started running. She ran as fast as she could down the beach along the edge of the sea. It was the end of September and so the weather was starting to warm up. The sun was just rising and looked beautiful reflected in the ocean. But Matilda didn’t stop and look at the reflection, she continued running. She wanted to escape, escape from her problems. In particular she wanted to escape from Amanda. For the past month Amanda had been approaching her at every available opportunity. Taunting her about how she had taken what was rightfully Amanda’s. Matilda couldn’t take it anymore. Amanda hadn’t shown a hint of sadness that her daughter had died. Slowly Amanda had started to accept the money wasn’t hers, this was made more so after a visit to the solicitors. But then she kept going on about how Belle shouldn’t have come back here and how everyone was so judgemental. Matilda knew that there was some underlying reason that Amanda hadn’t gone away yet and if the situation had been different Matilda would have taken the time to help. But it was Amanda, the woman who chucked her daughter out of the house because of her new drugged up boyfriend, the woman who hadn’t batted an eyelid when told her daughter had skin cancer, the woman who read the letter from Belle after her death and threw it in the bin. Why should I help her, thought Matilda, she doesn’t deserve help.

After her run Matilda felt better. She returned to the Caravan Park to find everyone else eating breakfast. She smiled at them all and went upstairs. Ric followed her up and shut their bedroom door behind them.

“Did the run help?” he asked.

“Sort of. It helped clear my head,” replied Matilda. She went to have a shower and when she returned to the bedroom she found Ric holding some toast for her.

“Thought you might be hungry,” he said.

“Thanks,” and she leaned over and kissed him. She started getting dressed. “Why won’t she leave the bay?” asked Matilda.

“I have no idea, but she will ... eventually,” said Ric. Matilda sat down and started doing her hair and make up.

“At least she’s given up on the money, finally,” said Matilda. “I hate her being here though, this was Belle’s place, her final escape from Amanda.”

When they went back downstairs the others had left. Matilda walked with Ric to the garage and then went on to the Surf Club. She made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t think about Amanda while at work.

“Hey Becky,” she said as she walked in and found Becky on her phone texting someone. “Lucas again I suppose?” Lucas had gone back to Uni in the city the Monday evening after Ric’s birthday party a month ago. Becky and Lucas had met at the party and then spent the Sunday afternoon surfing and the Monday on the beach together. Since then they had been texting each other a lot and phoning. At the moment both said that they were just friends although Matilda doubted it would remain like this. The only problem was the distance.

“Yeah, but don’t worry, I won’t be texting him the entire time because he’s got a lecture,” smiled Becky.

“So, what’s going on with you two?” asked Matilda.

“Nothing,” Becky replied. Matilda raised an eyebrow. “We’ve only spent like a day and a half together and yeah we text but that’s because he’s really easy to talk to.”

At the end of the shift Matilda said goodbye to Becky and went down to the beach. She still had a while before she had to pick up Pippa. She sat down and looked down the beach. She liked sitting and watching the world go by. She watched as people ran along the sea edge, as surfers made the most of the high waves, as families set up and played in the sand.

“Matilda!” called out a woman’s voice. Matilda look around and sighed, Amanda was coming towards her. She got up and tried to walk away. “Please Matilda I need to talk to you!” Amanda called out. Matilda turned around and faced her.

“What do you want Amanda? So far all you’ve done is made my life miserable. Do you know how long it took me to get over Belle’s death? And now you’ve come here and stirred up all the emotions again. I would have felt sorry for you if you had cared about her. But all you’re interested in is money. Your daughter was my best friend and I was lost without her. She came to Summer Bay all those years ago to find a caring mother. She found the mother, but you’re not caring. The only thing you care about is yourself!” shouted Matilda and tears started to flow down her face.

“I talked to Rachel, the psychiatrist doctor, I’m getting help!” Amanda replied, her voice raised. “I’m getting better!”

“Well good for you, to bad it’s a year too late,” said Matilda.

“I was in a bad place in LA. I got taken advantage of.”

“I find it hard to believe you got taken advantage of,” replied Matilda, wiping tears from her eyes.

“He was only with me because of how I look. He thought that he could offer me in exchange for drugs. I turned to drink to get through it. But Rachel from the hospital is helping me. I’m getting better,” said Amanda. Matilda felt slightly sorry for Amanda, she could tell the woman was being honest.

“Why didn’t you just get away then, if it was so bad?”

“I was in debt. I needed the money. Eventually I got up the courage to run and came here.”

“And instead of caring about Belle and asking about her, you’re more bothered about money.”

“The money would mean this guy is off my back.”

“What about Belle!” shouted Matilda.

“She didn’t care about me and I didn’t care about her, the feeling was mutual. She’d rather have come back and live with Irene.”

“Then ask yourself this. Why did she go to LA in the first place? She did love you! She moved to the other side of the world with you and then you abandoned her. I can never forgive you for that! Never!” shouted Matilda. “She needed you and you turned your back on her!”

“What do you expect me to do about it know?” asked Amanda.

“Maybe show some remorse. Show that you regret it, that you miss your daughter.”

“It’s not my fault I never had a strong bond with her. I didn’t know she existed for 16 years.”

“You could have made it up to her. Why don’t you just leave this place. Leave and never come back. Go somewhere else, sort your life out and think about what you’ve done. You can’t stay here, I couldn’t stand it if you stayed here. You’ve made my life hell for the past month and Drew’s. He was meant to be starting over, a new life. But the first month of his new job has been tainted. Your daughter was the love of his life and you being here is destroying him. He knows what it’s like to have a mother abandon you.”

“That 16 year old? He doesn’t know the meaning of the word love,” laughed Amanda.

“Yes he does. He may be young but he’s wise. He’s been through enough and finally when his life is changing, you come. He still isn’t over Belle’s death and you’re making it harder. Why can’t you just leave us all alone!” yelled Matilda and she walked away. She broke down after ten feet and fell to the sand. Tears flowing fast she knelt on the sand and could feel Amanda looking at her.

“Fine,” said Amanda so that Matilda could only just hear. She turned round and Amanda looked at her tear stained face and how much of a mess she looked. “I’ll go. I can’t get what I came for so I’ll go. I’ll leave you all to mourn the loss of my daughter the brat. Maybe I’ll find money in London.”

“You mean it?” asked Matilda, still sobbing.

“Well I’m obviously not going to get any here am I. There’s nothing for me in this stupid little town.” At that Amanda walked away up the beach. Matilda could see that Amanda was serious. Hopefully Summer Bay had seen the last of her.

Matilda sat on the sand with her arms round her knees crying. She cried for the loss of a friend, cried for Drew’s pain and cried at how Belle must have felt to have a mother who hated her. She didn’t stop until she felt a hand on her back and someone sat down beside her. Looking up it was Scott.

“I saw Amanda coming off the beach,” he said. “She got in her car and sped off. Looks like we’ve seen the last of her by the way she was acting.” Matilda buried her head in her brother’s arms. They stayed like that for a while and Scott stoked his sister’s hair comfortingly.

“Hang on, I’ll get Hayley to pick up Pippa,” he said and he moved a little away from Matilda to phone. He also phoned Ric as he thought her fiancé should know. Then he went back to Matilda.

“You have to forget about that witch,” he said.

“She doesn’t care ... that Belle’s ... that she dead.”

Scott continued to comfort her until a shadow was cast upon them. Looking up Matilda saw Ric.

“Scott, called me,” explained Ric.

“I’ll leave you two alone, call me later Mattie,” said Scott and he walked away. Matilda explained to Ric what had happened and then they walked back to the Caravan Park, Ric’s arms wrapped protectively around Matilda.

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Chapter 86

Matilda sat cuddled up to Ric on the sofa watching Friends. Sally and Brad came home with Pippa and the little girl went upstairs to change.

“Sally, sorry I couldn’t pick her up,” said Matilda.

“That’s totally okay. Scott told me what had happened when I picked her up. How are you?” Sally asked.

“I’m ... better, especially now she’s gone.”

The next day Matilda was checking her e-mail before setting off to work.

Heya Mattie

Ric filled me in last night about what happened, just thought I’d e-mail and see if you were okay. I’m here if you need to talk. I thought I might come down this weekend, I don’t have any lectures on Friday so I could come then, get to Summer Bay early afternoon Friday and then go back Sunday. We’ll have to all do something. Anyway, in the mean time keep smiling, you’re a strong person Mattie, you can take on the world. Look forward to seeing you all at the weekend.

From Lucas xxx

“Hey Ric! Luc’s coming down on Friday!” called Matilda, it was only them two in the house and Ric was getting dressed for work.

“Cool how long for?”

“He’s arriving Friday morning and going back Sunday. We’ll have to arrange a get together with everyone, maybe go to Yabbie Creek to a restaurant.”

“Good idea, why not ask everyone,” said Ric as he came down the stairs, “I’ve got to go, see you later,” and he kissed her before leaving.

Matilda got on the phone to speak to Martha about going out for a meal.

“How about Friday evening?” asked Matilda.

“Sounds perfect, I’ll get a babysitter,” replied Martha.

Then Matilda phoned Lucas on the off chance he’d be in.


“Luc! You’re actually in for a change, usually we keep missing each other,” said Matilda.

“Yeah, makes a change. Did you get my e-mail?”

“Yeah I did. That’s why I’m calling. I’m organising a meal at a restaurant in Yabbie Creek on Friday evening, does that suit you?”

“Sounds good. So ... are you ... going to invite ... umm Becky?” asked Lucas hesitantly.

“Why? Do you want me to invite her?” asked Matilda, trying not to laugh.

“Well ... you could, I don’t mind. I think it would be ... nice to include her.”

“I’ll invite her,” smiled Matilda. “In fact I’ll see her in a few minutes, I’ve got work. Do you want me to tell her you said hi?”

“Ummm well you ... you could.”

“Okay. See you Friday.”

“Bye Mattie.”

“And what time do you call this?” joked Becky when Matilda arrived at the Surf Club.

“Sorry, I was on the phone to Luc. He told me to say hi. He’s coming for a visit Friday to Sunday,” explained Matilda, watching Becky react to the news with a smile.

“Really, cool,” Becky replied.

“So, I’m organising a meal for Friday night, wannna come?”

“Really?” said a surprised Becky.

“Yeah of course. It’s going to be Hayley, Scott, Martha, Jack, Ric, me, Luc and you.”

“And you’re okay with me coming?”

“Totally. You’re my friend and Luc wanted you to come.”

“Really? He did?” said Becky with a huge smile on her face.

“Okay so what is going on between you two?” asked Matilda.

“Nothing! We’re just ... friends. Anyway how are you after yesterday?”

“Changing the subject are we? I’m okay. I was a mess yesterday, I suppose Ric called you?”

“No, Hayley came into the Diner whilst I was there and she told me about it. She’s nice, and Martha. Everyone’s nice.”

“Good, cos they all like you.”

Matilda finished work and said goodbye to Becky who needed to go supermarket shopping. Matilda strolled to the beach and sat down. Yesterday this was where she had her shouting match with Amanda. It was quiet today, the only sounds were the waves crashing onto the shore.

“Mind if we sit, or do you want some privacy?” asked Martha who was approaching with Katie in her arms.

“Come, sit,” replied Matilda. “How’s my favourite niece?”

“She’s finally sleeping through the nights!” smiled Martha. “We just saw Becky, she’s really happy about being invited on Friday.”

“Yeah, she doesn’t really have many other friends. She’s shy,” explained Matilda.

“Well she’s cool. She made a real fuss of Katie.”

They continued to chat while Matilda cuddled Katie for a while until Matilda had to go and pick up Pippa. She arrived at the school gates and immediately found Hayley.

“Hey!” called out Hayley.

“Hi, have you heard about Luc?” asked Matilda.

“Yeah I saw Jack earlier. So, meal out on Friday sounds good.”

“Yeah, I’ve invited Becky too.”

“Cool, she seems nice. And I think Luc has a crush on her,” smiled Hayley.

“I think the feeling’s mutual,” smiled Matilda. Pippa came out of school and they said goodbye to Hayley and Noah.

Matilda and Pippa got home and Pippa started watching TV. Matilda sat down at the computer and noticed she had an e-mail.

Hey sis,

So, what’s going on in good old Oz? I haven’t talked to you in a while (time difference is horrible!) so thought I’d drop you an e-mail. I’m attaching some photos for you to look at and pass on to Scotty. Tash has asked me to ask about the wedding, how are the plans going? She feels bad she can’t be there to help. But we’ve booked our tickets, we’re arriving a few days before Christmas and going back in the New Year. Well, Tasha is saying we have to go shopping now so I’d better go. Speak to you soon sis!

Love Robbie (and Tasha and Ella)


Matilda wrote a long reply and told Robbie all about Amanda. She also asked for Tasha’s dress size so that of they saw a bridesmaid dress they could buy one for her.

“Hello everyone,” called Ric as he walked through the door.

“Hey, how was work?” replied Matilda. Ric walked over and kissed her on the forehead.

“More importantly, how are you? Are you feeling better after yesterday?” asked Ric.

“I’m ... better.”

Later that night Pippa was in bed and Matilda was cuddled up to Ric on the sofa and on the other sofa Sally was cuddled up to Brad.

“So, I saw an amazing house for sale today,” said Ric.

“Really? Where?” asked Matilda.

“You know you can stay for as long as you want, there’s no rush,” said Sally.

“We know. It might be a bit expensive anyway. It’s like right on the beach, the back garden opens onto the beach.”

“Oh my gosh, really. That would be amazing. Should we make an appointment and go look at it?” wondered Matilda.

“I think we should. There’s no harm in taking a look. I’ll phone tomorrow,” said Ric.

Hayley, Scott and Noah had moved into the Hunter house a week ago and were loving their new house. It had put the idea in Matilda and Ric’s head that they should start looking. They wanted to be settled in a new home before the wedding if possible.

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Chapter 87

On Friday Matilda arrived at the Surf Club to find a very happy Becky.

“Someone’s in a good mood!” commented Matilda. “It couldn’t have anything to do with a blonde Uni guy who’s visiting for the weekend could it? Goes by the name of Lucas.”

“Mattie I don’t know what you are talking about. I’m just happy because I have the weekend off work. Actually I’m working Sunday afternoon, but I have tomorrow off.”

“Whatever you say!” laughed Matilda.

“So, what time am I meeting you guys tonight?”

“Well me and Ric can give you a lift, we’ll pick you up at about 6 is that okay?”

“Perfect. What restaurant are we going to?”

“That sea food one by the harbour,” said Matilda as she served a customer.

“Ooo I love seafood!”

“Do you mind if I leave now? Ric and I have an appointment to look at a house,” said Matilda about 5 to 2.

“No problem, it’s really quiet in here anyway. I’ll see you tonight.”

Matilda walked round to the house they were looking at and found Ric and the estate agent waiting outside.

“Sorry, I had work,” said Matilda.

“No problem, we were both a little early anyway,” smiled the estate agent. They went into the house and Matilda’s mouth dropped. It was open plan so the lounge, dining area and kitchen were all open. On the one wall there were floor to ceiling windows looking out to sea. The kitchen was modern and had a breakfast bar. They went upstairs to find 1 large bedroom with views of the sea, a smaller bedroom also with a view and another bedroom on the front of the house. The estate agent said that she would wait outside for them to look around on their own.

“Ric this place is magnificent. Have you seen the views!” cried out Matilda.

“It’s kind of hard to miss the views. So, you like it then?” he asked, knowing the answer.

“I love it! But can we afford it? It’s a three bed and right literally on the beach.”

“Well, I’ll chat to the estate agent and see. I think it’s perfect for us though, I love the open plan downstairs. It’s not too big and not too small.”

“Imagine lying in bed looking at that view!” said Matilda.

Matilda had to leave to pick up Pippa and Ric stayed and talked to the estate agent. They all arrived home at the same time.

“So, is it too expensive?” asked Matilda.

“It’s a little over our budget, but not much,” explained Ric.

“What does that mean?” asked Matilda.

“It means that as we were talking about it in the Diner granddad came in and heard what we were discussing, he insisted that he pay the extra.”

“What! Really? That’s so nice, but he doesn’t have to do that,” said Matilda.

“I told him that but he insisted. He said that he never got us a proper engagement present and that you’ve been working hard and he wants to treat us,” smiled Ric. Matilda erupted into a massive smile.

“So, we can buy it!” she cried out.

“I hope you don’t mind but I put an offer in on it and they’re going to get back to us.”

“Mind? Why would I mind? It’s our dream house. Our first house as a couple!” Matilda ran over and hugged Ric before kissing him passionately.

“Ugh child in the room!” cried out Pippa.

“Sorry Pip,” said Matilda. “So, we just have to wait for them to call.”

“Yeah. I have to go back to work for a couple of hours, I’ll see you later,” and Ric left.

“Pip, how would you like to go and see Uncle Lucas?” asked Matilda.


The two of them walked round to Jack and Martha’s house where Lucas was staying.

“Mattie!” called out Lucas when he opened the door. “Hey Pippa, how are you?”


“Hey Luc, thought you might want to get a milkshake at the Diner?” asked Matilda.

“Sounds like a perfect idea. Jack’s at work and Martha’s gone shopping with Katie.”

The three of the walked over to the Diner and ordered.

“So Pip, still trying to prevent public displays of affection?” joked Lucas.

“Sure am! It’s disgusting,” giggled Pippa.

“So, is there any reason for this visit?” wondered Matilda.

“I just ... missed the Bay.”

“So, you’re looking forward to the summer then. Only a month and a half left.”

“Then I can come home for two glorious months!” sighed Lucas. “So, how are you after last week?”

“My feelings of hatred are still there but I’m working through it. It’s just at night. I keep dreaming about Belle and Mum and Tony. So much has happened over the past year.”

“Yeah it has. No one can blame you for feeling like that. It’s one of the reasons why I love Summer Bay. It was where we were happiest with my dad. Also, the surf is awesome.”

“Coming to the Bay was the best thing both our families ever did!” smiled Matilda.

Once they had finished their milkshakes they walked home to get ready for the meal. Matilda and Pippa entered the Caravan Park to find Ric on the phone.

“The estate agent,” he whispered. Pippa went to play upstairs and Matilda put her head next to Ric’s to try and listen. He pulled the phone away smiling. Eventually he said goodbye and put the phone down.

“So? Did we get it?” asked Matilda, not wanting to get her hopes up too much.

“Well ...”

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Chapter 88

“Well ... WE GOT THE HOUSE! “ yelled out Ric and Matilda ran towards him and leaped into Ric’s arms.

“Are you serious?” she said as she hugged him.

“Yes. The couple apparently are moving to the States with work and so need to move quickly. They accepted our offer and it will be ours within the month.”

“We have a house, our very own house that we brought as a couple,” said Matilda.

“And it’s right on the beach! It’s perfect!”

Sally and Brad came home and were told the news.

“That’s great! It’s going to be strange you not living here but it sounds perfect,” cried out Sally.

“Congratulations, your first house together,” said Brad as he hugged Matilda and patted Ric on the back.

An hour later Ric was waiting for Matilda to finish getting ready.

“Mattie! Remember we have to pick up Becky on the way. We’ll be really late unless we go now,” said Ric.

“I just have to finish my hair!”

Finally she was ready and she came downstairs in a black dress with her hair in curls.

“You look gorgeous,” said Ric and he kissed her.

They picked up Becky who also looked beautiful in a dark blue dress that came to just above the knee. They arrived at the restaurant to find that they were in fact the first ones there. Hayley and Scott arrived not long after, followed by Jack, Martha and Lucas.

“Sorry we’re late, Martha was slow getting ready, something about her hair or something,” said Jack.

“See! I’m not the only one!” smiled Matilda at Ric.

“Yeah, yeah let’s get seated,” said Ric. They were sat at a big round table with views of the harbour. Matilda and Ric sat next to each other and then Lucas skilfully moved round the table and sat next to Becky who was sat next to Matilda.

“Hey Becky,” he said quietly. “You look lovely.”

“Thanks, you don’t look so bad yourself,” replied Becky shyly.

“This was a great idea Mattie,” said Hayley from where she was sat in between Scott and Martha.

“Thanks, I just thought that as Lucas was going to be here, and it’s something different from just going round to someone’s house.”

“Actually, Mattie and I have another reason to celebrate,” said Ric.

“You’re not pregnant are you?” asked Scott.

“No, nothing like that!” said Matilda and she reached over Ric and hit him on the arm.

“We have brought a house,” announced Ric.



“It’s right on the beach. It’s open plan and has fantastic views over the sea. It’s on Beach Front road, number 14, the road that runs all along the coast,” said Matilda.

“That’s great! When are you moving in?” asked Lucas.

“Well the couple want to move fast as they’re moving with work. So, within the month.”

“Well we expect to be invited to the housewarming!” said Jack.

“Definitely,” replied Ric.

“I’m so happy for you guys!” said Becky.

Everyone decided to have the lobster as the restaurant was famous for it.

“So Lucas, how long have you got left at Uni before the summer?” asked Becky while everyone was eating.

“Umm well I finish half way through November so about another month and a half” replied Lucas.

“Are you planning on coming to Summer Bay for them?”

“Definitely. It’s my favourite place in the world,” smiled Lucas.

“Cool,” said Becky happily.

“Besides, I couldn’t miss the wedding of the year!”

“That reminds me, Jade called and said she’s in America, for good. She won’t be back for the wedding cos she’s got to work over Christmas,” explained Matilda.

“That’s a shame. I’m happy she’s getting on with her life though,” said Hayley.

“Yeah and besides, I think I had too many bridesmaids anyway. I have Pippa as a flower girl, then Hayley, Martha and Tasha. Oh and Becky if she agrees to it,” said Matilda and looked at Becky.

“Really? You want me?” said a shocked Becky.

“Yeah, you’ve been a really good friend, even though we haven’t known each other very long. So, is that a yes?”

“Of course! I’d love to!” said Becky and she hugged Matilda.

“That reminds me, Matilda’s got Scott giving her away, I’ve got Jack as a best man. Lucas, how would you also like to be a best man?”


“Yeah. If Mattie can have all those bridesmaids I can have best men in the plural!”

“I’d love to man!”

“So that means everyone at the table is in the wedding party,” observed Martha.

“Well, you all mean a lot to us,” said Matilda.

Once they had all eaten their Lobster and had dessert, they walked round the Yabbie Creek Harbour. Matilda and Ric held hands, Jack had his arms round Martha’s waist and Scott was holding Hayleys’ hand. Lucas looked at Becky and quickly looked away again when Becky looked at him.

“So, what is everyone doing tomorrow?” asked Lucas.

“Umm actually it’s the first weekend I haven’t had a charter boat in ages. So we’re not doing anything,” said Scott.

“We haven’t got any plans have we?” said Jack, looking at Martha.

“Nope,” she replied.

“And we are completely free,” said Matilda.

“Becky, you doing anything tomorrow?” asked Lucas.

“Actually no. I’m not working.”

“Great, does everyone want to go to that theme park about an hour away, Luna Park or whatever it’s called,” suggested Lucas.

“Sounds like a great idea, we can all do with some fun and laughter after what’s been happening,” said Ric.

Everyone agreed that is was a great idea.

“What about Katie?” asked Martha.

“And Noah?” added Hayley.

“They can come, they’ll have a great time.”

“I’m not too keen on fast rides so I can look after them while you go on them,” suggested Becky.

“So there will be 10 of us,” said Ric. “I know, this guy I do work for runs a minibus firm, he always said if I need a favour ... what about getting a minibus for the drive?”

“That’s great. Then we can start the fun early!”

Ric went off to ring the guy, even though it was late at night. He came back saying he could pick up the minibus first thing in the morning.

“Right so how about we all meet in the car park outside the Surf Club at half 8? We need to make the most of the day,” said Ric.

Everyone agreed and started discussing the rides that were there. Becky was a bit quiet walked a little behind the others. Lucas hung back to walk with her.

“Anything wrong?” he asked.

“No, I’m just thinking,” she said.

“About anything in particular?” asked Lucas.

“Just ... how much my life has changed in the last few months. Since meeting Mattie. Before, I had like no friends but now I have a whole group of them, and I’m going to be a bridesmaid.”

“Well you fit in perfectly with us all.”

“Thanks Lucas.”

Later that night Matilda and Ric dropped Becky home and then entered the Caravan Park. They quietly went upstairs and changed for bed.

“Looking forward to tomorrow?” asked Ric.

“Yeah, totally. It’s going to be a great day out.”

“I agree. It’s just what we need, after the whole Amanda debacle.”

“So, did you notice the chemistry between Luc and Becky?” smiled Matilda.

“Actually I did. And I don’t usually notice things like that!”

“Well we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings,” sighed Matilda as she got into bed.

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Chapter 89

“Mattie I’m leaving to pick up the minibus I’ll be back in about 15 minutes. You have to be ready if we’re going to be on time to pick up everyone else.”

“Okay, okay. I only have my make up left to do. Don’t worry,” replied Matilda.

Ric arrived back 15 minutes later to find Matilda not ready. Sally, Brad and Pippa were all eating breakfast.

“She’s trying to find her camera,” explained Sally.

“Found it!” shouted Matilda from upstairs.

“Come on Mattie!” called Ric.

“Coming,” and Matilda entered the room putting her camera in her rucksack. “I’m ready, lets go.”

They arrived in the Surf Club car park to find everyone waiting.

“Sorry guys, Mattie was running late,” explained Ric.

“I had to find my camera!”

Ric helped Jack to fix in Katie’s car seat while everyone else sorted out who was sitting where. Ric was going to be driving and Scott volunteered to sit at the front to read the directions. The second row was taken up with Katie in the middle and Jack and Martha either side. The next row was Noah, Hayley and Matilda. Becky and Lucas sat on the back row.

“Is everyone ready to go?” called Ric from the front. They all replied with a yes and Ric started to drive.

“Oo I brought some pictures of our new house to show you!” said Matilda to Hayley who she was sat next to. Matilda handed over the pictures.

“It’s amazing,” replied Hayley and she past them back to Lucas and Becky.

“Wow,” said Becky.

“Look how far you have to walk to go for a surf!” said Lucas.

“Let’s see,” called Martha and the pictures were past towards the front.

“Are we nearly there yet?” asked Noah an hour later.

“Ric! Are we nearly there?” called Matilda.

“I think so,” replied Ric.

Minutes later they were parking and all getting out.

“Look how busy it is already,” commented Martha who was putting Katie in her pushchair.

“I want to go on the log flume!” said Noah.

“Okay well give us chance to get into the place Noah,” replied Scott.

“But I’m not sitting at the back, or the front. You get wet, I want to be in the middle.”

“Well how about we put your daddy and uncle Lucas at the front and back and me and you will sit in the middle,” suggested Jack.

“Hey!” called out Scott and Lucas.

“Good idea!” said Noah and he and Jack high fived.

They got into the park and as per prior arrangement, Scott and Lucas went at the front and back while Jack and Noah went in the middle. They all got wet but Lucas got absolutely soaked.

“Who’s idea was it to go on the log flume first?” asked Lucas as they got to the girls.

“That would be my son’s,” replied Scott.

“Well I don’t suppose I can be too mad at him, he’s too cute.”

“I am not cute! Cute is for girls!” cried out Noah.

“What shall we go on next?” asked Jack.

“There’s a nice gentle boat ride thing round the corner that we can all go on, including Katie. And it’ll give Luc a chance to dry off a bit,” suggested Martha.

“Lead the way,” said Lucas.

After they got off, Lucas was a bit drier and the boys were itching to go on a roller coaster. They chose one and headed towards it.

“I’ll give it a miss, I don’t like roller coasters. I’ll look after Katie and Noah,” said Becky, Noah was too young for the ride.

“Thanks, she’s asleep so she won’t be any bother,” said Martha.

“Come on then, lets go find a place to watch them on the ride,” Becky said to Noah and they wandered to a bench with a great view of the ride.

“Did you have fun?” Becky asked when everyone came back.

“Yeah it was great. Jack was screaming like a baby though,” joked Lucas.

“Hey I was not!” replied Jack.

“Oh yes you were mate,” replied Scott.

“Why don’t we go get something to eat?” suggested Hayley.

They couldn’t all fit round one table so they took up a couple. Lucas and Becky were sat together.

“I feel bad that you haven’t been having much fun,” said Lucas.

“Don’t worry about me. I like watching the rides and seeing everyone on them,” replied Becky.

“Are you sure?”


After lunch they wondered round trying to decide what to go on next.

“How about we go on the sky ride thing. The one that gives you a tour of the park from up high,” said Martha, pointing up at it. It was like a monorail where everyone sat in two people carriages and they got an aerial view of the whole theme park.

“Sounds good,” said several people.

“Becky, will you be coming on this one?” asked Lucas.

“Sure, heights I can deal with, it’s just fast rides I don’t like.”

They set off towards the ride entrance deciding who would go with whom.

“I’ll go with you if you want?” Lucas asked Becky tentatively.

“Right okay so it’s Matilda and Ric, Lucas and Becky, Martha and Katie, Hayley and Noah and Scott and me,” said Jack.

They all got on the ride and it worked out so that Scott and Jack were at the front, followed by the carriage carrying Martha and Katie, who was sat on Martha’s lap. Then Noah and Hayley, Matilda and Ric and Lucas and Becky were at the back.

“The views are amazing,” commented Becky.

“Yeah, they are,” agreed Lucas. “So, when I come back to Summer Bay for the summer we can continue your surf lessons.”

“Yeah, that would be great. You don’t have to if you don’t want to though,” said Becky.

“I want to. I love spending time with you. It’s like we just click, you know?” said Lucas.

“I know.”

“This is going to be a long month and a half,” said Lucas.


“Yeah, I just want to move back to Summer Bay.”

“Any reason?”

“Lots. I love the sea, I feel close to my dad there, my friends. But ... the main reason ...” said Lucas hesitantly, “is you.”

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