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Damage Control

Guest Luc

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Title: Damage Control

Type of story: Short/Medium fic

Main Characters: Geoff, Aden, Matilda, Cassie, a bit of Belle

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama/Romance

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: V L possible SC

Summary: Geoff Campbell is just an ordianry kid, with ordinary friends, ordinary parents & ordinary hobbies, but when on his way to a football match, he sees a girl being attacked, what will happen when he tries to stop this?


Chapter One

Geoff looked down at his watch as the store clerk passed it back to him, watching as the second hand moved around the edge of the face,

“So it’ll work properly now?” Geoff asked the attendant, he nodded,

“Yep, everything’s right, but this time, try not to drop it in water,” The clerk said, Geoff felt a warm glow flush his cheeks,

“I’ll keep that in mind,” He said, looking back down at the clock face, twiddling the knob on the side, setting it to the correct time, “Thanks,” he said to the attendant as he started walking out of the store. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and slid the top half of it up, then punching in a familiar number and putting it to his ear, putting his wallet into his backpack.

“Hi mum,” He said as his mother answered her phone, “Yes, it’s fixed, okay, okay; I’ll be more careful next time,” He said to her, he slid his hand into his pocket and rummaged around for his keys as his mother told him that she and his father wouldn’t be home for a while and that he should meet them at the footy pitch before his game, “Okay, bye,” Geoff said, hanging up and placing the phone back into his pocket as he walked outside, the cool air hit his face, he jumped slightly as his phone began vibrating, he pulled it out of his pocket and stopped in his tracks outside the entrance to Yabbie Creek shopping centre, he pulled the phone out of his pocket and pressed the receive button, pulling the phone towards his ear, and listened as Aden rambled on about him getting to the footy march on time, he pulled the phone away from his ear as Aden was almost shouting,

“Yes, I’ll be there Aden,” He groaned as Aden questioned him about their football game that was taking place in half-an-hour, “Calm down, dad would kill me if I missed this game, it’s our chance to get into the finals,” He said, listening to his best friend sigh in relief, “Yes, I'm in Yabbie Creek, even dad told me to get the watch fixed, it belonged to my pop once, it’s valuable, so they told me to get it fixed, okay, bye,” Geoff said, he looked up and saw he was nearing his car, before he reached it he heard a shrill scream as a woman called out,

“Someone call Triple 0!” Geoff bypassed his car and continued walking towards the scream, pulling his phone out just in case he needed it,

“What’s going on?” He questioned a pale teenager, he turned to see what she was staring at, and the blood drained from his face, he moved closer just to be sure he was seeing things correctly, he had dropped his phone where he was originally standing due to the shock, he lifted the hand his phone was in to call emergency services, but saw he didn’t have it,

“Call Triple 0, he said to the terrified girl who had drawn his attention to this, without thinking he rushed towards the scene the incident was taking place. In front of him he saw a young girl being assaulted, he thought that she couldn’t be much older than himself as he saw her face for a brief moment.

She was wearing a demin mini-skirt, her tanned legs scraping up against the ground as she was thrown around in her struggle against the large man who was pinning her down; she started screaming for someone to help her as her attacker through her on her back, her head hitting the ground with a sickening and dull thud.

“Somebody, please help me,” She screamed again as he got on his knees and pulled her mini-skirt up to her stomach, “Please!” she screeched, her cries rising in intensity as he sat on her legs to prevent her from kicking him,

“Please!” She screamed again as the attackers hands moved slowly down to her lower regions, he laughed mockingly as she began to cry and struggle as he stroked her lower region through her underwear,

“Please stop,” this time it wasn’t a scream, it was a sob as the man began to pull down her underwear, the girl tried to hold them up with her free hand, but her attacker laughed again, “Come on sweetie,” he said as he overpowered her and pulled the garment down to her knees. The girl screamed and flung her arm at his face, trying her best to hurt him, the man yelled in anger, and slammed his hands down onto her shoulders, making her cry out in pain once again,

“That wasn’t funny sweetie,” he yelled in her face as she cried harder, kicking her free legs about, trying her best to hit him, the man moved one hand from one of her shoulders and wrapped it around her neck, her cries for help were cut as she struggled for breath, tears blinding her as they spilled out. After what seemed like hours, the man removed his hand from her neck and forced it back down on to her shoulder roughly, she let out a groan of pain,

“Help me,” the girl said breathlessly as she cried in fear.

Every noise she made seemed to make Geoff’s heart stop; he watched as she was beaten, he cringed every time he heard the distinct sound of his hand making contact with her face,

“Please help me!” She screamed out in a bid for help, her voice seemed to constrict around his heart, Geoff looked around and saw that a small crowd had gathered, looking shocked at the horror that was going on before their eyes.

“Did anyone call Triple 0?!” he yelled to the group, this seemed to draw peoples attention way from the brutal attack, he looked around and saw about a dozen people nod, and them as if on cue, he heard the sound of distant sirens, he listened as the girl cried in agony, and he turned his head slowly, preparing for what he could be about to see, he saw as the girl was brutally raped, he felt anger boil in his veins, his anger soon got the better of him,

“We have to help!” He called to the crowd, his heart fell as people backed away in groups, he turned his head and saw the attacker thrusting in and out of her roughly, the girl beneath him moaning in pain, Geoff listened to the man grunt and groan with every thrust,

“Weak as water,” he said to the crowd, he began to walk towards the attack,

“Let the police do their jobs!” Someone in the crowd called out, but he ignored them, he rushed towards the people on the ground as adrenaline kicked in, the girl turned her head and caught a glimpse of him, she called out for help and held out a hand. As their eyes met Geoff recognised her instantly, she went to his school. He had seen her just before he left to get his watch fixed, as she was in his first and last period classes.

The two hadn’t talked, never said anything more than a simple ‘hi’ to each other to be polite. He examined her face, wet and bruised, her hair sticking to it as she cried, and thought of how she normally looked.

She was an attractive girl, somewhat quiet and friends with the smart kids at school who, for some reason unknown to him, seemed to hate Aden.

“Please help me, Geoff,” she yelled out to him, her deep brown eyes seemed to plead with him as she struggled to keep her head in his direction.

She knew his name, but he couldn’t recall hers, he knew it ended with ‘da’, something like Esmeralda or Matilda, but that was all he knew. He also knew that she was of European origin,

“Geoff!” She called out again. He rushed towards them, and stopped about a foot away, not knowing how he was going to help her, all he knew was that he had to do something – and fast. Another rush of adrenaline was sent through his bloodstream, and he heard her gasp as his foot made contact with the attackers head, knocking him down, the girl rushed away and hid behind a nearby car, keeping her eye on what was happening.

The attacker stood up and regained balance, he went to hit Geoff with his fist, but Geoff dodged, his fist then making contact with the attacker’s nose, crimson liquid pouring out of it. Geoff kicked the attacker in the chest, shuddering as he felt ribs crack when his foot met the target.

“Son of a ---” the man yelled as he reached into his pocket, Geoff was hit across the head with the tip of a gun; he heard the cocking of a trigger. Geoff went to kick the man again, but this time, he grabbed his foot, the man tightened his grip as Geoff started working the ankle free, he knew he couldn’t stop fighting, and didn’t know how many people were watching now, but he could here the sirens draw nearer, the man released Geoff’s foot and laughed as he toppled over, he saw the man go to pick up the gun which had been knocked out of his hand, this gave him more time to get to his feet, as he turned to face the man he saw a flash of metal, he went to punch the man, but heard the gun go off, although he didn’t feel anything immediately.

Geoff heard a few screams and thought of the amount of people scattering away from the brawl now, he heard the gun go off two more times, this time feeling as each bullet pierced his skin. He heard the girl he had saved scream, he then felt his chest contract, and he looked down as he struggled to breath. He saw a large red stain appear across his chest and watched for a moment as it spread, brining his hand up to the wound. He felt a pain in his shoulder and realised he had been shot there to, feeling light headed and extremely hot, he felt his knees give way, but couldn’t do anything to stop himself from falling as his legs folded and he dropped to the ground.

He fell to his hands and knees, and saw another red patch appear on his thigh, withdrawing as he coughed up blood. As he got more light headed, he realised he couldn’t hold himself up anymore and collapsed to the ground, he heard the sirens arrive at last.

I hope you enjoyed that, if the majority of you enjoyed it, I'll post more chaters, if the majority don't, I'll make it a one-shot with a cliffhanger ending. Please comment.

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Here's chapter two, it's not as good as chapter one, but it sets the story, the next chapter will hoefully be better.

Chapter Two

As Geoff lay motionless on the ground he heard many feet shuffling around him and his world began to spin, he heard more shooting as his mind began to loose concentration; his only thoughts were of his parents. His dad was expecting him; the game was about to start soon after all. Hacking insistently, he tasted the warm, metallic taste of blood as it rose from inside him, oozing out of his mouth. He felt someone collapse onto their knees next to him, their hands on his arms and face as they begged him to stay awake.

He knew they were right, he did need to stay awake, but it just felt too hard. He felt the person next to him brush the hair out of his eyes, he began to shiver and started feeling sick. His eyes met with the other persons and he instantly recognised her as the girl from school, the one he had saved.

“Please don’t close your eyes,” She begged as his eyelids flutters open and shut every two or so seconds, he felt her lift his head and place it between her arms, slowly cradling it, he groaned in pain from the sudden movement, “I'm sorry,” she whispered to him, moving her hands back to his forehead.

“No, come on Geoff,” she urged as his eyes began to flutter shut once more, “Come on, stay awake,” she said, her voice washing over him like a smooth wave, his eyes meeting with hers, gripping each other tightly.

“Don’t close your eyes,” She whispered as she brushed her thumb over his cheek as he struggled to breath. He felt his body beginning to fit, the girl cried out, but he couldn’t control it anymore, he let the darkness devour him, despite her many protests, a few seconds later, the paramedics arrived. The girl was still cradling Geoff when the paramedics tried to treat him,

“Ms... Please,” A paramedic said to her as they moved Geoff onto a stretcher, the girl having released her grip, he was no longer fitting, but instead shaking violently, she watched as he continued to struggle for breath, taking in sharp gasps of air at a time, he seemed to be choking on air,

“We need to get this kid to an OR soon,” She heard someone say as someone tried to pull her to her feet, she flinched as they attempted, but it was no use, it was as if she had lost function of her legs, she knew people were trying to talk to her, but she wasn’t listening, her attention was solely focused on Geoff, she began to sob silently as she watched them rip off his clothes – a sure sign things were going downhill, they usually waited till the patient was in hospital before removing their clothes to evaluate them, she wanted to continue watching, but he was soon loaded into the back of an ambulance with two paramedic officers and they sped off. She felt someone lift her to her feet and she immediately cried out, for the first time acknowledging the pain she was in.

Letting her legs collapse beneath her, she became lost to this world when the reality hit home and she realised what had truly happened.

“We need a stretcher over here!” She heard one paramedic call out, a medical officer unloaded one from the ambulance and set it up, two paramedics lifted her onto it, and she felt as she was strapped onto it.

“I've found a wallet!” One paramedic called out before climbing into the back of the ambulance with another paramedic and the girl on the stretcher. The girl stared blankly at the roof of the ambulance as an oxygen mask was placed on her and white gauze pads were affixed to the injuries on her knees. She felt every single bump in the road as they headed towards the hospital, fear inundating through her body as they got closer.

The ambulance stopped moving and the doors swung open quickly as her stretcher was pushed out and away from the vehicle.

“What happened?” Rachel Armstrong asked as they grabbed the side rail of the stretcher whilst racing her towards the ED,

“Matilda Hunter, 17, assaulted in front of Yabbie Creek shopping centre,” One paramedic yelled to the doctors as they burst through the doors of the Emergency Department,

“Was she with Geoff Campbell?” Rachel asked with a tight grimace,

“He’s the one that stopped the attack,” A male medic said as he was shoved back a little to make room for another doctor, “How’s he doing?” they shared a long glance and in that moment Matilda became aware of the conversation, replaying it in her head during the silence,

“He went straight to OR,” Rachel said, Matilda’s heart dropped as she listened on, suddenly afraid she would be the downfall of Summer Bay High

“What are the chances?” The paramedic asked Rachel, she inhaled deeply before answering,

“Slim,” Matilda’s heart plummeted even lower as she heard this, they took a sharp turn and ended up in a small room, Matilda clenched her teeth as she was transferred from the gurney onto an examination table, the backboard still strapped to her,

“Will somebody get me a rape kit?” Rachel asked, a few minutes later a doctor walked into the room with one and handed it over, Rachel unstrapped her from the board so that she was able to move freely, she lay still on the table as a nurse cut off the tattered remains of her clothes, leaving her in just her intimate apparel, she sobbed quietly as her underwear was slowly removed, leaving her cold and nude in front of people she didn’t know, she let out a cry as someone uncrossed her legs, and as the rape examination took place, she felt more violated than ever. Matilda pulled on a hospital gown and sat in the wheelchair Rachel had indicated, another doctor pulled the door open and Matilda was wheeled out into a corridor on her way to have a general examination, as they passed a larger room she saw a few of her fellow students from Summer Bay High, she knew that they must be here for Geoff, she looked up and saw Mr. Campbell pacing the hall. She shielded her face from them with her hands. She was wheeled into a standard hospital room and was given a standard hospital gown,

“You can put that on after the check-up,” Rachel told her. Rachel performed the check-up and informed her that she was all right except for the bruises which would go down eventually.

As the nurse was about to leave, Matilda’s mind darted back to Geoff,

“Your mother will be here shortly,” The nurse said, turning to exit the room,

“Wait!” She said, the nurse turned around, “Do you know anything about the boy who was brought in earlier, the one who was shot?” She asked, adding the last bit quietly, the nurse smiled at her sadly,

“I'm sorry honey, I don’t know anything,” She said, turning her back on depressed Matilda, “Press the call button if you need anything,” She said, before walking out of the room.

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This is where Aden is introduced to the story, it's a bit more interesting than the last chapter, I hope you enjoy.

Chapter Three – How Aden Found Out

“Aden!” Turning around, Aden Jeffreys grinned cheerily at Coach Campbell. “Where’s Geoff?” The coach asked as he surveyed the field for his son. Not seeing the familiar dirty-blond hair, he turned to his son’s best friend,

Aden shrugged, placing his hands on his hips, “He told me you sent his to Goldlis to get his watch fixed,” Aden said, glancing warily at his coach.

George nodded and turned towards the entire football team, “Alright guys go start warming up!” He yelled to the team, watching as none of them moved an inch, “Guys, I said move!” he yelled again at the unmoving team.

“What about Geoff?” Someone called out from the back of the small group, Coach Campbell looked at each of the boys for a moment, looking for an answer, when he didn’t get one he gave Aden a questioning look, Aden shrugged,

“I’ll deal with Geoff; you guys just go and warm up,” He said to the team, who finally walked past him and onto the field, Aden, who was at the back of the group stopped right in front of the Coach apprehensively, George studied his expression before rolling his eyes. “What Aden?” he asked, tucking a clipboard under his arms,

“I spoke to Geoff half-an-hour ago, he was just getting out of the store, it only takes 5 minutes to get here from Yabbie Creek,” Aden watched as Coach Campbell’s eyebrows puckered together, a small ball of worry formed in the pit of his stomach,

“I’ll call him and see what’s going on,” George said to Aden, “Now, I want you to go out there and give it all you got, okay?” He said, giving him a nudge, Aden walked out on to the field and started warming-up with the rest of the team, George watched as his wife walked over to him,

“Where’s Geoff?” Miranda Campbell questioned her husband as her eyes scanned the white and blue side of the field.

George sighed before meeting his wife’s eyes. “I'm not sure,” he stuck his hand in his pocket and rummaged through it, searching for his phone, “I'm sure he’s fine,” he said, wrapping his free arm around his wife, he managed to find his phone and pulled it out, he flipped it up and dialled his sons phone number,

Hi, this is Geoff. I can’t be at the phone now, so leave a message and I’ll get back to you ASAP,” Geoff’s familiar voice said through the speaker, leaving George with a frown,

“Hi Geoff, it’s dad, you’re missing warm-up and the game’s about to begin, so, well, call me,” George hung up, he walked over to his team, gathering the players together for their usual pre-game pep-talk, “Alright guys,” he began, his eyes immediately found Aden’s, who was standing in between Peter O’Laughlin and Jake Lucas,

“Where’s Geoff?” Someone yelled out before he had a chance to elaborate.

Sighing, George folded his arms against his chest as he explained his situation, “I'm not sure where he is at the moment, but, with him not being here shouldn’t affect your performance out there,” Coach Campbell said to the team, and watched as their faces fell,

“But we need Geoff,” Another voice said, and murmurs of agreement soon followed,

“Come on guys, pull yourselves together, we’ve played without Geoff before, we can do it again, and anyway, I bet he’s on his way here now,” Coach Campbell told the team in a moment of desperation, he couldn’t let the team lose their confidence just because Geoff wasn’t here, “Come on guys, I’ll let you know where he is as soon as I find out, so get out there and kick some ass!” George said encouragingly, the team dawdled back on to the field, the game soon started; he caught a questioning glance from Miranda , to which he replied with a shrug, turning his attention back to the game,

“Nice one, Aden!” He said as Aden scored a goal, “Pass it! Pass it! He called out to Peter, who obeyed, allowing Aden to score another goal; they went great until halfway through, when everyone seemed to lose concentration, Aden had managed to score another goal when he saw a sorrowed looking policeman, Jack Holden, to be exact, walk onto the sideline, glancing around, he glanced towards George, and began walking towards him, passing the ball to anyone wearing a blue jersey, he looked back at the coach, and the butterflies in his stomach turned to bile as it rose to his throat as he watched Jack lower his hat.

George’s face paled and he turned towards the sideline, motioning for his wife to come with them, before they walked across to a police car parked out on the road.

Aden and his team ran to the sidelines as a time-out was called, they met up with the assistant coach,

“Alright guys,” Coach Holden began, although he had the whole field’s attention, only the team could hear him, “Coach Campbell has just received news about Geoff, I'm not sure on the details, so don’t ask me,” he spoke low, his eyes meeting each of the players,

“What happened to him?” Someone called out, and Coach Holden saw a look of fear flash across Aden’s face,

“Like I said, I don’t know the details; Coach Campbell just said keep playing and he’ll update us later,” Coach Holden, told them, the referee blew the whistle, “Now get out there and make Coach Campbell proud!” The boys dredged onto the field, wanting the game to be over, “Well done Aden!” He called out as Aden scored a goal for the team; the game carried on, for hours, Aden thought, finally it ended, “Okay guys, let’s wrap it up!” He called out, Aden looked over and saw Coach Holden looking at his phone, most likely having received a text, and he was pale, which made Aden feel worried. He rushed over to the coach, not caring whether they had won or lost, the rest of the team followed,

“Did you get any news about Geoff?” Aden asked anxiously, Coach Holden nodded,

“Geoff is in hospital, I don’t know what happened, but Geoff was involved in an incident and is in a very serious condition,” Coach Holden told them, he watched as panic began to fill Aden’s veins, he rushed into the locker-room and pulled out his bag, he rummaged through it, looking for his phone, he found it at the bottom and punched in his dad’s phone number,

“Hi dad, it’s me, something’s happened to Geoff, he’s in hospital right now, I'm going to go see what’s up,” He told his dad, hanging up, he pulled his keys out of his pocket and unlocked his car, his mind filled with all kinds of thoughts, he started the car and put it in drive, flying out of the parking lot outside the field, he started making his way to the hospital, Aden placed his foot down on the breaks as a newsflash was broadcast over the airwaves, “And only a few hours ago at our very own Yabbie Creek Shopping Centre, a vicious assault took place,” The newsreader’s voice spoke low as she explained the situation, “Witnesses say a young girl was being brutally assaulted when another teen interfered and tired to pry the man off of the girl… a gun was then drawn and the boy was shot multiple times. Witness say the girl seemed to know the boy and called out his name as he attempted to help her.” Aden couldn’t explain it, but he just knew that his best friend was the guy that had saved the girl.

Grabbing the first park he saw in the parking-lot, he climbed out of the car and rushed inside, he made his way up to the reception desk,

“Which room is Geoff Campbell’s?” He asked politely, the registrar just pointed to the ICU sign, he rushed up stairs and saw his best friend’s father, his worst fears were confirmed when he saw the horrified look on the older Campbell’s face,

“Geoff was shot, wasn’t he?” Aden asked as he sat down next to his Coach, nodding, George turned towards his son’s best friend,

“Yes,” he said quietly, it was that word that sent Aden reeling.

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I'm glad you're enjoying it :D

Chapter Four

“During the vicious assault seventeen year old Geoff Campbell was shot multiple times in an attempt to help the young woman. Her name has not been released, but witnesses have informed us that they seemed to know each other, possibly classmates at Campbell’s high school, Summer Bay High…At this time, no information on Geoff Campbell’s condition is being released.” Matilda sighed as someone shut the TV off from behind her.

“Mattie,” Beth Hunter sat down next to her daughter, who was curled up in a soft chair in the living room, Matilda turned towards her mother and the tears began flowing, Beth sat down next to her daughter and pulled the distraught teen into a tight embrace, trying her best to sooth her,

“I can’t...stop...thinking...about...it,” She hiccupped as she spoke, tears streaming down her face as her mind flashed back to the night of the assault, she had been doing that a lot lately, he was on the news every night, and his small profile picture seemed to taunt her as she watched, “He...might...die and it’s...all...my...fault,” She scrunched her eyes shut as she began crying again, Beth pulled away from her daughter and clasped her shoulders,

“Matilda, it’s not your fault,” She said firmly, watching as her daughter cried, it was hell for Beth to see her daughter to go through this, Matilda laughed bitterly at what her mother had said,

“It’s all my fault,” She said, wiping her eyes, her vision blurring, “He was trying to help me,’ her voice bitter and guilty, Beth shook her head and squeezed Matilda’s shoulders,

“He knew what he was doing Matilda,” She said, her voice was softer and comforting as she spoke, “He did. He chose to get in the way, he wanted to help you,” Her voice was comforting as she spoke, calming Matilda down a little,

“I know, but...it’s...all I can...think about,” Matilda said, her eyes full of tears, talking through hiccups, Beth just nodded, pulling her daughter into a tight embrace,

“Everything will be alright sweets,” she stroked her daughter’s mangled hair as she spoke, trying her best to calm her down, Matilda didn’t say anything, she just worked on evening out her breathing.

“Um,” Matilda pulled away from her mother and wiped her eyes on her sleeve, “I'm going to go to the hospital and see if I can find out about his condition,” She reached for the tissue box that was resting on the coffee table in front of them,

“They might not tell you anything. I'm sure lots of people have been asking about him sweetie,” Beth said, tucking Matilda’s hair behind her ear,

“I know, but since I was the one he was helping, the Campbell’s might be more merciful,” Matilda said, Beth nodded before pulling her daughter into a hug, trying to think of a way to ease her daughter’s pain.

Guilt is a nasty emotion.

Smiling a thin smile, Matilda gave her mother one more hug before rushing to her bedroom, locking the door behind her she glared at her reflection in the mirror. She had dark circles under her eyes, and her hair was untidy. Her usual tan skin seemed pale, even under the bright lights of her room. Stripping out of her clothes, she turned the hot tap on as far as it was go before climbing into the tiled shower, closing her eyes, she pictured a warm beach somewhere on the coast of Australia, before her head filled with pictures of Geoff, she opened her eyes rapidly, she moved her hands up to the top of her head and massaged shampoo into the roots, standing under the blasting water, she let the suds run off her hair and down her body, finally closing her eyes again, she leaned back against one of the walls and let the water consume her. Unaware of how long she had been standing under the water, she decided to climb out as the hot water scalded her body, turning the tap off, she grabbed a towel and wrapped it tightly around herself. Entering her room, she headed straight for her wardrobe and pulled out a pair of loose carpenter jeans, she pulled them up her legs, trying her hardest to ignore the scrapes that adorned her kneecaps, the only evidence of her ordeal. Shuffling through the wardrobe, she found a tight fitting tee-shirt; she struggled to put on the sea-blue tee. The same colour as Geoff’s eyes. Flinching at the thought, Matilda turned back to the mirror and searched through her drawers for a hair-tie, smiling as she found one, she pulled her long brown hair back and tied it up, not fancy, but it would have to do,

“I'm going now,” Matilda said, emerging from her room, Beth stood up from the chair she was on and pulled her daughter into a hug,

“Don’t get your hopes up,” She whispered, Matilda nodded. Pulling her keys out of her pocket she started her car and put it in reverse, “Call me when you leave!” Beth called out; Matilda nodded, pulling out of the driveway. Now she was on her way to see Geoff, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go anymore. So many questions were rushing around in her head as she made her way through the street to the hospital, including a scary thought of how his parents would react to her. Especially George Campbell, she had him for PE twice a week and that thought had never once crossed her mind. As she approached the hospital, butterflies erupted in her stomach as she realised, no matter what, she would eventually have to face the Campbell’s. Taking the first car park she could find, she rushed into the hospital and practically ran up the stairwell, emerging in the ICU. Not knowing where Geoff’s room was, she had to go by instinct, as asking a nurse, she knew, would get her no where. After wandering around for a few minutes, she spotted Aden Jeffrey’s, Geoff’s best friend. Tucking into an occupied room, she poked her head into the corridor and watched as he approached; sadness evident on his face.

Glancing in her direction, Aden walked over,

“Can I help you?” He asked her, Matilda glanced around the room and saw the name tag above the door, CAMPBELL, Geoff.

“Uh...what?” Matilda asked, her mouth going dry, Aden studied her, before crossing his arms across his chest,

“I asked if you needed something,” His voice was quiet, but Matilda could hear the tightness in it. Shaking her head lethargically, she just shrugged.

“Um... I was just wondering how Geoff is doing,” She crossed her own arms, her guard faltering, she watched as Aden’s face fell, taking a seat out in the corridor, Matilda sat down next to him,

“Got some time?” He asked, Matilda realised it wouldn’t be good news. “He’s in a chemically induced coma because of the placements of the bullets,” He glanced at the girl next to him, “One bullet punctured a lung and nicked his heart, and another ricocheted of his femur and lodged itself somewhere in his thigh,” He studied his hands as a perplexed look crossed his face, “Why do you care anyway, aren’t you friends with Cassie Turner, don’t you hate us?” Aden asked, Matilda took a deep breath,

“They hate you,” She said, trying to lighten the mood, “And I'm the one he saved,” Matilda turned to face Aden, who put his arm around her shoulder. She felt the pain of what was to come as he did this.

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This chapter is pretty crap, but it sets it up for chapter six.

Chapter Five

“You don’t hate me?” Matilda asked Aden, he shook his head,

“Why would I hate you, it’s not your fault he’s in here,” Aden said softly, “If you don’t mind me asking, what happened?” Matilda inhaled sharply,

“I was at the shopping centre in Yabbie Creek with Cassie and Martha, they had to leave, so we split up, I started walking to my car when...when I was pushed onto the ground, I didn’t know what was happening, I had never seen this guy before, well, I started screaming for help, and then Geoff came along, I was being beaten and Geoff was the only one who came to help, there was a group of people surrounding us by then, no one moved, all were scared, by that time, the guy had stripped me, and had started...he started raping me, Geoff then attacked the guy, after a few kicks were thrown, and punches, the guy pulled out a gun...and the he...and then, Geoff was shot,” Matilda told Aden, tears escaping her eyes, Aden pulled her into a hug,

“Its fine now, you’re all right,” He said soothingly, pulling her into a hug, he heard Matilda sob quietly,

“I know I am, but Geoff isn’t,” Matilda sobbed harder, tears began to form in Aden’s eyes too, he patted her on the back,

“He will be,” Aden said, in his own mind, he was beginning to doubt this.


Matilda studied herself in the mirror, making sure everything was perfect. It was her first day back at school and she didn’t want to give away any sort of hint to the school that she was the reason for Summer Bay High’s downfall.

“Mattie, you’re going to be late,” Beth called out, Matilda smelt bacon as she opened her bedroom door, her stomach grumbled as she walked into the kitchen, grabbing a few strips, she glanced sown at her watch, 7:42,

“I'm going to be late,” She said, picking up her bag and rushing to the door,

“But class doesn’t start for another 45 minutes,” Beth said confused, Matilda chose to ignore her and rushed out the door and down to the beach. Matilda cast her mind back to when she told Chad, she had expected him to hate her, but she supposed some of Geoff’s kindness had to have rubbed off on his best friend. He had even called her last night to arrange a meeting with her to discuss Geoff’s condition,

“Sorry I'm late,” Aden said as he walked up to her, she gave him a sweet smile, “I was at the hospital with the Campbell’s all night. Anyway, I wanted to speak to you in person to tell you this, Geoff’s doctors are getting ready to bring him out of his coma, he’s been healing very well,” Aden’s voice radiated as he spoke about Geoff, “Anyway, they think he’ll be out of school for a few months while he recuperates, so he’ll need a tutor,” he told her, she nodded, an idea instantly springing into her head, “Do you want a ride to school?” Matilda snapped back into reality,

“Pardon?” She asked, flushing red, Aden studied her face for a moment,

“You okay?” He asked, she nodded, “I asked if you wanted a ride to school?”

“Yeah, okay,” Matilda said, they headed over to his car, “Um, Aden, can you keep it quiet that I was the one Geoff was helping, I don’t think I can handle all the questions,” She asked him, he nodded, putting the car into drive they headed to the high school.

“Matilda!” She heard her best friend call out as she reached her locker, “Where were you?”

“Oh, I've been sick,” She told Cassie. Opening her locker she pulled out her history books, Cassie looked at her suspiciously,

“Why didn’t you answer your phone when I called you?” Cassie asked her, Matilda opened her mouth when Aden walked past,

“Hunter, see you at break,” He called out, Cassie opened her mouth in shock, Matilda nodded,

“Why were you talking to him?” Cassie asked Matilda as they walked to home room, Matilda shrugged,

“Why do you hate him?” Matilda retorted, Cassie thought for a moment,

“Because I do, and you should to, our groups are polar opposites; we are smart and sophisticated, whilst they’re all lip and let’s have a look at your knockers,” Cassie said, walking into home room, Matilda lost track of what Cassie was saying as she walked past Geoff’s empty seat, she felt a jolting pain erupt from her heart before it disappeared almost as quickly as it had come. Taking her spot at the back, she tried to focus on what Ms. Fletcher was saying at the front, but her words just seemed like useless syllables.

At last the bell went for break and she walked over to her locker and put her books away,

“Matilda!” Turning around, Matilda saw non other than Aden making his way towards her,

“Matilda!” She heard a sharp voice call out, she turned to her left and saw Cassie pushing through the crowd to get to her. Both reached her at the same time,

“Turner,” Aden said in a greeting manner,

“Jeffreys, I’d say it was a pleasure to see you, but I don’t lie,” She said harshly, Aden laughed it off,

“Be nice,” Matilda said strictly to her two friends, “Cassie, can I catch up with you later, Aden and I have to talk about something very important,” Matilda and Aden walked to the front courtyard and took a seat away from prying eyes,

“Are you going to see Geoff when he wakes up?” Aden asked her quietly, knowing Mattie’s fear of people finding out her secret.

“No one but family is allowed in, but once he woke up I was planning on stopping by,” She glanced at Aden and smiled at his confused expression,

“I'm not family and I'm allowed in,” He stated, whilst bouncing his football against the ground, a habit he had picked up at an early age, Matilda rolled her eyes,

“You’re his best friend. As much as the Campbell’s would hate to admit it, you’re practically another son to them,” Matilda turned to him and laughed as he thought it over before shrugging,

“True,” was the simple statement she received in response.

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here's the next chapter, its shorter than the rest, but it is generally a filler where I introduce Belle into the mix, twll me what you think.

Chapter Six

Trudging her way through the afternoon, Matilda smiled as she was let out of her last class, one thought crossed her mind. She had to find Mr. Campbell.

George Campbell had returned to work two days earlier in an attempt to get back to his normal routine. Matilda hoped to catch him before he left the schools gym, conveniently located at the other end of the school. Matilda rushed to her locker and pulled it open and shoved her books in,

“Hunter!” She heard a shrill voice say from behind her, turning around slowly, she saw Belle Taylors fake smile beaming her in the face,

“Too close,” She said softly, pushing Belle back a bit, “Can this wait? I have to see someone,” Matilda said, Belle shook her head,

“Where have you been? I mean, we had our presentation the other day and you left me all alone, and what the hell did I know about Pythagorean Triad-shape thingies? Nothing, so we failed,” Belle fumed at her, Matilda sighed,

“I'm very sorry Belle, but I've been, um, sick,” Matilda said, she spotted Mr. Campbell walk through the corridor, “Um, so if that’s it...” Matilda began but Belle cut her off,

“Well, no, I just though, since we haven’t seen each other in a while, we should go to the Diner for a catch up,” Belle said, Matilda nodded her head,

“For the most popular girl in school, why do you want to hang out with a geek like me?”” Matilda asked, her mind flashing back to Mr. Campbell, “I’ll see you tomorrow!” She said to Belle before rushing out of the corridor, she spotted Mr. Campbell speaking to Ms. Fletcher, she walked up to them casually,

“Matilda!” She heard Ms. Fletcher call out, she made her way over to the two teachers, Sally looked at her compassionately,

“You know, don’t you?” Matilda asked her gravely, Sally nodded, Matilda exhaled deeply,

“Your mother called, she let me know the events, now, if you need anything, someone to talk to, extensions on work, just come and talk to me, okay,” Sally said cheerily, Matilda nodded, “I’ll talk to you later George,” She said before walking towards her car,

“Mr. Campbell, can I talk to you?” Matilda asked timidly, all the while playing through what she was going to say in her head,

“Sure,” He said, looking at her expectantly, Matilda took a deep breath,

“Privately,” She said, noticing the people piling out of corridors from all directions, he noted the anxiety in her voice and nodded, motioning his head towards the schools gym. Matilda followed him as he walked to the gym, the kept in complete silence, he walked into his office, and Matilda followed him,

“What can I do for you Miss Hunter?” He asked her, she could hear the dryness in his voice, she felt awkward, like the first time they had met outside school, at the hospital when she told him that she was the one Geoff had saved,

“It’s about Geoff,” She said, he nodded, motioning towards a seat by his desk, she sat down hesitantly, feeling extremely uncomfortable as a framed picture of Geoff stared back at her from Mr. Campbell’s desk.

Tearing her eyes away from the picture she steadied her gaze on the older Campbell seated in front of her. As she studied him, she could see the resemblance between father and son staring back at her.

“I spoke to Aden this morning, and while we were talking he mentioned Geoff needing a tutor...” She trailed off; sure that George was aware of her academic standings in the school. “I wouldn’t mind helping him, on the side,” her voice becoming more confident, the thought that she could help raising her spirits.

George seemed to ponder her offer before answering. “Well, the school is appointing a home tutor because he’ll be homebound for a few months, but I'm sure Geoff would love for you to come over and help him out... you know, someone his own age,” George smiled, a smile much like his son’s.

Nodding, Matilda smiled. “We’ll give you a call when Geoff is lucent enough to comprehend anything.” George smiled, holding out a hand to the vibrant teen in front of him.

Matilda leaned forward and grasped George’s hand, her smile brightening. “I'm sure Aden will call me before then,” She smiled as George rolled his eyes at the mention of his son’s closest friend. Standing up, Matilda gathered all her stuff before turning to the door. A bright smile lit her face as she waved at Mr. Campbell before exiting his office, her hopes now soaring a little higher.

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Thanks for the great comments, here's the next chapter - I hope you like it and I promise there will be more Belle and Cassie soon

Chapter Seven – A Few Days Later

“Matilda!” Turning at the sound of her name, Matilda smiled as Aden ran to catch up to her. Last period had just ended and Matilda was trying to push her way through the crowd of rushing teens, keeping to herself as much as she could.

As a large year 12 student knocked into her, Matilda began to feel herself start to panic before Aden arrived in front of her. He studied her, his face falling slightly. “Are you okay?” he laid his hand on her arm, giving her a strange look as she flinched at his touch.

“I'm fine. I'm just... I don’t know,” She confessed as her heart beat slowed down. Aden nodded in understanding and stood beside her.

“Well,” He began as they walked out of the school, dropping his voice, “I've got something to cheer you up.” Matilda turned to him with a sceptical expression. “They woke Geoff up this morning,” Aden’s smile seemed to glow, which caused Matilda to smile as well.

“I mean, he was only awake for a little bit, but he still opened his eyes. And he’s off life support. He asked where I was, apparently,” Aden chatted on as the two headed down to the beach.

Matilda smiled but felt a tug on her heart as she thought of Geoff being awake started to scare her. Turning to Aden, she placed her hand on his elbow, stopping him from moving. “Aden,” she started, her voice low. “I don’t know if I can talk to him,” She admitted as blush formed on her cheeks. Aden’s expression turned from happy to angry in the matter of a few seconds. “What are you talking about Matilda?” He asked her, his voice dangerously low. Stepping away from him, Matilda wrapped her arms around herself as she attempted to explain.

“I just...I don’t think I can face him Aden,” Her voice trailed off as anger coursed through his face. Taking a threatening step towards her, Aden stared at her disdainfully. Shaking his head, rebuked her statement,

“Oh, so that whole speech about tutoring him was just some way of making us all feel better. To make yourself look better” he spat it in her face, making her own face turn red with anger. “Your sure a good actor little miss- I’m –so-sorry-I’ll-do-anything-to-help” Aden’s face was contorted as he spoke,. Matilda knew he was protecting his best friend, but it still hurt, non the less.

Jabbing a finger in his chest, Matilda took a step forward so their faces were mere centimetres apart. “Don’t mock me Aden. Don’t you dare.” The unfairness of it all spilled over in her words as her anger turned to tears.

“You don’t know what I went through Aden, you have no idea,” She could feel herself breaking albeit her best intents to stay strong in front of the intimidating boy standing in front of her. “You have no idea what it feels like to know that someone almost died because they were trying to help you.” Her eyes blurred as tears started to edge over, suspended over the edge. “No idea” she swiped at her eyes, not even bothering to keep her tears inside. Raising her voice slightly.

Aden stared at the usually mild tempered girl, completely taken aback by her reaction. He had known she was hurting, but his loyalty to his best friend made his uneasy at her words.

“I just... listen, I didn’t mean to offend you but when it comes to Geoff, I don’t know, something changes.” He crossed his arms and his shoulders slumped, a sure sign that he was uncomfortable. “Geoff’s a good kid Mattie, he doesn’t deserve that” his voice had dropped a few octaves as his emotions took over.

Matilda nodded, not really sure how to respond to that. Thinking over her words carefully as to not offend Aden, Matilda finally spoke up. “It’s not that I don’t want to see Geoff, Aden” her eyes stared into his intently, dark blue meeting dark blue. “It’s just…you don’t know how it feels to have to confront the person who helped you while you were being raped…you don’t know how humiliating that is.” She hoped the way she worded her feelings wouldn’t have offended him, and smiled inwardly as he nodded his head.

“I mean, it was really bad Aden, you had to be there to understand” she wrapped her arms around her body once more in a possessive manner. “There was a crowd and he was the only person who would help. And then he was shot.” Aden saw pain flash through her eyes as an image of the incident was clearly brought up in her mind.

Aden nodded, not really aware of the details of the incident but he certainly wasn’t about to tell her that. “I know Matilda, I’m just…watching out for Geoff.” He shrugged, giving her half smile. “I mean he’s my best friend” Matilda nodded, knowing that Aden must have been crushed when he found out that his best friend was shot multiple times for no reason.

“And I also know you’ll make the right decision…” he cocked an eyebrow at her and gave her a knowing smile before turning and walking away. Matilda sighed and wiped a few strangling tears away as she turned towards the Diner,

“I’ll see you later.” She said, leaving him on the beach.

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As promised the next chapter - I was going to end it here, but so much has gone unexlained, so I may continue. Give me your opinion.

Chapter Eight

As she walked home her thoughts kept running back to Aden’s words, playing over and over. “He’s a good kid...he doesn’t deserve that,” It was all true, she knew it was.

That’s what made Geoff so untouchable. Besides his good looks, he had a good heart. He was very authentic and gracious – and not just the typical playboy who rules the school. Sure he had almost the whole school at his feet, but he always came across as pretty grounded.

And you’ll make the right decision,” She kept hearing his parting words playing over and over again in her mind. Releasing a deep breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding, she looked up and saw she was at her house, pulling her keys out of her pocket, she opened her car door, shoving her bag down in the back she started the car up and put it into reverse, pulling out of the driveway her mind went to Aden, if she was lucky she would catch up to him.

Spotting his car up ahead of her in James Rd. Matilda pressed her foot down on the accelerator harder until she was right behind him. Aden glanced up and spotted her from his rear-view mirror, shooting her a questioning look. Matilda smiled and mouthed Geoff’s name as best as she could, smiling when she saw Aden’s eyes crinkle, a sign that he was smiling.

Holding up her mobile, Matilda hoped he would get the message and pull over. Aden nodded, his hair flying everywhere as he turned his indicator on and pulled to the side of the road. Getting out of his own car he made his way over to Matilda’s and bent down so that he was at eye-level with her.

“Are you going to the hospital?” She asked as she brought her hand up to shield her eyes from the glaring sun. Aden nodded,

“Yeah, I was... you want to come with?” He questioned. Matilda was sure she could see a small smile forming on his lips. Nodding, Matilda made up her mind then and there.

“Definitely,” She breathed out as Aden gave her a beaming smile, and this time it definitely reached his eyes.

“Follow me,” he told her before running back to his own car, opening the driver’s door he glanced back at her with a smile before sliding into his car. Turning her indicator on Matilda merged back into the little traffic, as did Aden, following the car in front of her. Turning her right indicator on as Aden did in front of her; Matilda watched him closely and was surprised to learn he actually wasn’t a bad driver.

The ride to the hospital seemed to go by a lot faster than she had hoped it would. Aden looked up at her through his mirror and smiled, giving her a thumbs up. Matilda just nodded and returned the gesture with a shaky smile as well as thumbs up.

Turning into the car park Matilda followed Aden as he looked for a park. Watching as Aden pulled into a parking spot, Matilda continued to drive for a few minutes before spotting a small parking space.

Knowing it would be a tight fit; Matilda slowed down and inched her way into the spot, making sure there was enough space on both sides for the doors to open somewhat. Aden walked up to her with his arms crossed across his chest and a smirk playing on his lips. “Nice park job, Hunter,” he grinned before taking off. Matilda caught up to him, grasping her purse tightly. Watching all the different people walk in and out of the hospital, she tuned out Aden’s chatter as he droned on and on about something she was had to do with football.

Hearing Geoff’s name, she snapped to attention to find that they had stopped moving and were waiting in front of an elevator. Turning to Aden, Matilda shrugged and crossed her arms across her chest,

“No turning back now,” Aden grinned as the elevator doors opened and they shuffled on with a few other people. Matilda watched as Aden pressed the small, round button with the number three on it.

Glancing around the elevator, Matilda spotted a plaque above the buttons that had a brief description of each floor. Jumping to the third floor, Matilda felt a shudder run through her body at the words; Intensive/Critical Care Unit. In smaller writing underneath, she read the words; Burn/Trauma Unit and felt her heart drop.

She knew it was serious, but seeing it in writing made it much more surreal. Someone had been shot for her. She had been raped, and now someone else was now paying the consequences. And that person was Geoff Campbell, one of the most known people in NSW’s bay region. Even people from Reefton Lakes High knew who Geoff Campbell was.

And she had almost gotten him killed. “It’s not your fault, you know,” Matilda turned to Aden as his voice ran through her ears as they continued to rise towards the third floor. “He knew what he was doing, Hunter. Don’t blame yourself,” Aden’s voice was soft and his facial expression matched. Matilda just nodded and tried her best to put on a strong front, but there was no denying she was nervous. “This is our stop,” Aden held his hands out towards the elevator doors which were now opening to a bright-window filled room.

Following Aden into the open space, she watched as he interacted with a few people before moving on. “He’s all the way in the back,” He told her, pointing out a room decorated with what Matilda could already tell were footballs and the colours white and blue.

“I know, I was here once,” She said quietly as they descended towards the room. Neither teen spoke as they became too involved in their own thoughts. Matilda felt her heartbeat pick up and her breathing rate became faster as they neared the room.

Seeing Geoff when he was asleep was one thing, but seeing him when he could react to her was another. Taking a deep breath as they came to the door, Matilda glanced at Aden, who was smiling at her encouragingly. There was light coming from under the door and she was sure she could hear a TV on in the background

“Like sands through the hourglass so are the Days of Our Lives”

Matilda couldn’t help but laugh as the thought of Geoff watching a tacky soap invaded her mind.

“Come on,” Aden nodded towards the door and stood in front of it, pushing it open slightly. Knocking on the door to alert their presence, a bright smile lit Aden’s face as his best mate greeted him.

“Hey,” Aden said to someone outside of Matilda’s view. Matilda knew who it was though she couldn’t see him. “How are you?” She heard Aden’s voice, she heard a sigh. “Well, you’ve got a visitor.” Aden grinned and nodded at Matilda, pushing the door open wider.

Stepping up to Aden, Matilda smiled at him as he whispered in her ear; “Relax Matilda, Geoff’s cool,” nodding, Matilda turned to face Geoff with a small smile and watched as his eyes widened and his face turned from confusion to recognition.

“Um... I don’t think we’ve ever really met,” Matilda spoke shakily and neared his bed, her arm outstretched. Geoff nodded, knowing her face but still not being able to recall her name. “I'm Matilda,” her smile was soft and she was patient as Geoff slowly lifted his good arm across his body to grab hers.

“I know who you are,” she smiled as he opened his mouth to speak. Geoff nodded, realising their hands were still clasped. Matilda seemed to have noticed as well since she let his hand fall from hers.

“Matilda’s offered to come over and help tutor you after Lucas leaves,” George Campbell spoke up from beside his son’s bed, one of his hands tangled in Geoff’s blonde hair. Geoff turned to his father, his head falling heavily against his pillow.

“Dad, can Matilda and I have some time alone,” his voice was quiet and Matilda could tell that just the simple sentence was tiring the teen out. George nodded and stood from the seat, his wife at his side.

Leaning over Geoff, both parents took their turns kissing Geoff’s forehead before walking towards the door. Aden came to the vacated side of the bed and leaned over Geoff, ready to repeat the Campbell’s actions.

“No!” Geoff barked, inching his head away from his friends face. Aden mocked hurt before lightly punching Geoff’s good shoulder.

“I’ll be back,” he grinned before heading for the door. As Matilda watched the others leave the room, she felt a sense of anxiety rise in her throat. Waiting until the door closed, Geoff began to squirm in his bed, turning to her slightly as he tried to get himself comfortable.

He looked up at her, his blue eyes full of concern. “So,” his voice was gruff and his eyes kept closing, but she could see that he was fighting against it. “How are you?” he asked her softly. Matilda bit back a small gasp as he studied her, his blue eyes half covered by sleepy lids.

Matilda shook her head and leaned in towards his bed. Smiling, she watched as his eyes widened at her response. “I’m fine Geoff…I think it’s you we should be concerned about,” her voice was still soft but no longer shaky.

Geoff just smiled lazily as the drugs running through his system made him feel lethargic and unmindful. “I’ve been better.” he admitted, letting his eyes close for a few seconds before they started to flutter.

Matilda could tell he wanted to go to sleep but was trying his hardest to stay awake. “I can leave if you want to sleep Geoff,” she offered quietly as she let her eyes trail what she could see of his body.

Geoff shook his head and reached his arm out to her once more. Grabbing her hand, Geoff clasped his fingers around hers, a soft smile settling on his face. “No, you can stay.” His eyes remained closed as he spoke, his heart monitor slowing down.

Matilda just nodded, more to herself than the boy in the bed. “If you don’t mind staying with me though,” he added, his eyes fluttering open and squinting against the light. Matilda gave his hand a soft squeeze which provoked a small smile from him.

As Geoff closed his eyes once more, Matilda took her chance to look him over. He had a Nasal Cannula sticking into his nostrils, but aside from that, his face was fine. His left shoulder was heavily wrapped in bright white gauze which was sticking out from a contrasting blue sling that held his arm to his chest.

His chest was also wrapped in gauze and it travelled as far as Matilda could see. His hospital gown was covering a good amount of his chest, but Matilda was sure that it was wrapped tightly around his torso. One of his legs was sticking out from under the blanket, his thigh also matching his shoulder with bright white gauze securing the wound. The rest of his leg was covered in the blanket, but Matilda was sure that he wasn’t going to be on that leg so much anymore.

Looking up as the heart monitor slowed, Matilda couldn’t help but smile as she realised he had fallen asleep. The continuous beep of the steady monitor made Matilda really appreciate who was watching over them on that fretful day.

Matilda felt Geoff’s fingers pulse against hers softly and brought her other hand to rest on his arm. She didn’t know what came over her, but she just had a gut feeling that he wouldn’t mind if she rubbed her fingers up and down his arm, her fingertips gently brushing across his scratched knuckles.

Matilda smiled to herself as his fingers stopped pulsing and he let out a small breath as she continued to run her fingers up and down his arm, dancing around his IV’s and a few other health related equipment attached to his skin.

Laying her head on her free arm, Matilda studied his face, peaceful with sleep and drugs. She didn’t know what was to come of this experience, but for some reason, she just knew everything was going to work out fine.

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Here's the next chapter - It's shorter than the others, but hopefully I'll have more time when I write the next one, so it'll be longer... (WARNING: BELLE IS EVEN MORE OF A B!TCH IN THIS CHAPTER)

Chapter Eight

Matilda sat in her seat at the back of the room as she watched people rushing to their seats as the final bell rang. Watching as Belle Taylor walking in with her group of friends in tow, Matilda instantly thought of Geoff.

Belle would always follow Geoff, seemingly obsessed with the blue-eyed football player. Then again, Geoff had been on her mind a lot over the past few weeks – but that didn’t mean anything, right? Shortly after Belle walked in Matilda spotted Aden and a few of his fellow footballers.

Peter O’Laughlin walked back to his seat beside Matilda, giving her a dull wave. She smiled, trying not to let the confusion show on her face. Aden turned around and shot her a small smile before spinning back around to grab his footy as Jake Lucas pushed it off his desk.

Matilda laughed as Aden threw the ball at the other boy, but Jake blocked the pass and the ball bounced along the floor and ended up at Mr. Bartlett’s feet, picking it up, he closed the door,

“Come back at the end of the year Mr. Jeffreys and you can get it back,” Matilda smiled as the members of the football team groaned.

Sitting quietly through the rest of the class, Matilda kept her focus on the board and tried her best to take in what the tedious science teacher was saying. Finally as the bell signalled the end of the period, Matilda gathered her stuff and headed towards the door.

“Hey” Aden came up on her side as she headed towards her locker, gearing up for the period she had left of the school day. Leaning against the locker beside Matilda’s, Aden watched as she shuffled through what seemed like two years worth of books.

“Wow, did you sign up for every single class you could?” he questioned as she pulled out some sort of math book. Matilda just rolled her eyes and shoved the book in her bag before shutting her locker.

“No, only about ¾’s of them – I wanted to get as much credit as I could,” she shrugged with an embarrassed smile.

“You going to see Geoff today?” Aden asked as a rather tall kid from the football team came up behind him and grabbed his hand in a shake. Matilda nodded, holding her breath.

“Good…cause he was asking why you didn’t come back,” Aden raised an eyebrow and Matilda knew that the abrasive Aden could pop up any minute. Holding up her hands in defence, Matilda explained herself.

“Aden, it’s only been three days since he woke up and I’ve been busy. Today is Friday, I promise I’ll go see him,” she looked around her as the bell rang, meaning they should be in class by now. “Hold back the claws” she joked with a small smile as Aden just rolled his eyes before giving her a small wave and walking away.

Slipping into her class, Matilda made her way to her seat in the back, next to none other than Belle Taylor. Placing her stuff on the floor, Matilda pulled out her notebook and began to copy the writing on the board, completely oblivious of the once over the brunette beside her was giving her.

“Matilda,” Belle’s voice was sickly sweet and Matilda was sure that the smile was fake. Forcing her own smile, Matilda turned to the girl curiously. “So, I’ve noticed that you’ve been hanging around Jeffreys a lot,” her sparkly purple pen reflected the light that was shining through the open window, causing a small glare from the jewels.

Matilda just nodded, not quite sure where the other girl was going with the statement. “Why…do you know something about Geoff,” she questioned, leaning in towards Matilda intently. She studied the brunette and just as Matilda opened her mouth to answer, Belle gasped.

“Oh my God!” her hand flew to her mouth in shock as her brown eyes widened. “Are you the girl that he saved?” Belle hissed, her voice louder than Matilda would have liked. Matilda shook her head frantically as her cheeks started to burn, her heart clenching in her chest.

“No, no Belle…I,” she was cut off as Belle whipped out her phone, her fingers running over the buttons hurriedly. Reaching over, Matilda grabbed Belle’s phone, earning a gasp from the girl.

“Matilda,” Belle hissed at Matilda tried to grab for her phone. Matilda held it out of reach and could practically see the steam blowing out of Belle’s ears. Trying her best to calm the brunette, Matilda leaned in towards Belle, her heart beating wildly out of her chest.

“Belle, calm down,” Matilda snapped, her patience wearing thin. Belle pursed her lips together, one eyebrow rising in sass as she folded her arms across her chest.

“What,” her voice was brittle and Matilda felt like it was glass cutting through her skin. Matilda clutched the phone tightly in her hand, finding herself in a jam.

“Belle, please don’t tell anyone,” Matilda felt tears begin to prick her eyelids as Belle’s face remained stony. Staring Matilda down, Belle finally rolled her eyes and reached across the desk to snatch her phone back.

“Fine,” she huffed, her eyebrows puckering until an evil grin crossed her face. “For a price.” her smirking half smile made Matilda feel nauseous as she could see the wheels turning in Belle’s mind

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Here's the next chapter, it's a bit short, but I didn't have enough time to write a long chapter.

Chapter Nine

“What do you want?” Matilda asked softly as not to draw attention to them,

“I want you to get me in,” Belle leaned in towards Matilda, signalling her closer with her finger. Matilda looked at Belle, confusion written across her face.

“Get you in where?” she questioned with a quick glance at their teacher to make sure they weren’t going to get in trouble. Belle rolled her eyes in exasperation at the brunette beside her.

“With Geoff,” a ‘duh’ look crossed her face at her simple logic. “I want you to get me into to see Geoff,” Belle’s eyes held a bright gleam at the thought of one upping Matilda.

Matilda sighed, not seeing any other way out of it. She would have to talk to Geoff to let Belle see him. He seemed to genially care for Matilda, a friendship growing quickly. Did she really want to ruin that friendship?

She didn’t have a choice. Geoff would understand her situation. After all, he was there… “Fine,” Matilda held her breath, unable to believe that she’d just sealed her deal with the devils wife. Belle grinned, her eyebrows puckering into pointy v’s.

“Great,” she grabbed Matilda’s phone from her purse and typed in her number before adding Matilda’s number to her own phone. “We’ll talk later,” Belle smiled, turning her attention back to the front of the room.

Matilda just nodded, her heart almost stopping. How was she supposed to explain this to Geoff? Or even Aden for that matter. It was clear that Aden and Belle weren’t exactly friends. Or even acquaintances for that matter. Yep, they pretty much hated each other.

The rest of the period seemed to drag on, and every now and then Belle would look over at Matilda with a knowing smirk. By the end of the period, Matilda just had an urge to slap the girl if she looked at her one more time.

The bell finally rang, allowing Matilda to escape from the prison that was currently making her feel suffocated. Practically running from the room, Matilda fled to her locker and shoved her books in.

Pushing her way through the crowd of lively students, Matilda felt her eyes start to glaze over as the reality of the situation became dauntingly clear. Her life was over.

Belle Taylor loved the spot light and was known to do anything to get it. How could she possibly react in a calm manner to the fact that Geoff had saved Matilda while she was being raped, and then was shot because of it? And just to top it off, Geoff wanted Matilda to hang around him, despite the tragic way they met.

No, Belle Taylor would never let her live it down. Fleeing to the safety of her car, Matilda sped out of the car park as fast as she could before allowing the warm tears to trail down her cheeks. It just wasn’t fair. Like she hadn’t suffered enough with being raped, and then the guilt of Geoff being shot, but now she had to deal with this too?

Fate was definitely not on her side. Wiping the tears on the back of her hand, Matilda tried to keep her vision clear enough for her to get to the hospital in one piece. Digging through her dashboard for a tissue, Matilda sighed when she finally found one buried in the back.

Dabbing her eyes, Matilda flicked her indicator on for the hospital’s exit, merging into the oncoming traffic. Coming to stop at red light, she used the small break to flip the tiny visor mirror down and examine her appearance.

Her eyes were turning red as well as her nose, and her cheeks were splotchy and slightly puffy from the release of her tears. Letting out a watery sigh, Matilda followed the curve of the roads that led her to the hospital.

After finding a spot, Matilda locked her car and hurried towards the elevators. Waiting impatiently for the elevators to arrive, Matilda jumped slightly as her phone started to beep.

Glancing at the screen, Matilda sighed in despair at the name that was scrolled across the screen. “Not now Belle.” she muttered and shoved her phone back in her purse as the elevator arrived.

Pushing herself against the back corner of the small elevator, Matilda smiled shyly at and elderly lady who gave her a sad smile. If only she knew.

Stepping into the lobby area of the third floor, Matilda headed towards the wing that Geoff’s room was located, suddenly aware of the fact that his parents were probably by his side. Stopping into the bathroom to try and tidy herself up, Matilda wet a piece of paper towel to blot her eyes with.

Satisfied that the redness had gone done a bit, Matilda tossed the paper towel into the bin and headed back out. Stopping outside of Geoff’s room, she listened for voices and found that the room was quiet.

Pushing the door open slightly, she wrapped her knuckles against the solid frame alerting Geoff of her presence. Geoff turned his face towards her, a bright smile illuminating his features. Motioning her in with his free hand, Geoff sat up slightly and his smile immediately dropped when he saw her face.

Matilda closed the door and walked over to Geoff, her steady resolve falling apart with one look at his face. “What’s wrong?” he questioned, worry framing his strong features.

Matilda took a deep breath as the tears began to fall once more, suddenly feeling as if she was about to be sick. “Matilda, what’s wrong?” Geoff asked again, concern shining through in his voice.

Matilda took a moment to gather herself before speaking. “Belle knows.” actually speaking the words for the first time since that morning, Matilda felt her heart plummet to her toes.

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