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You'll Aways Have Us By Your Side

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Title: You'll always have us by your side

Type: Long fic

Main Characters: Matilda and Ric along with many others

BTTB Rating: T suitable for teenagers

Genre: Love, Romance, Family, Friendship

Spoilers: Not intentionally

Summary: Sequel to You'll Never be Alone, continues following the life of Matilda Hunter as she deals with all the drama that comes from living in Summer Bay. Focuses on her relationship with friends as well as husband Ric and adopted daughter.

Finally, my exams are over and my long summer has started! So it's time for a sequel. Hope you guys like it.

Chapter 1

Matilda Hunter ran along the beach, hair blowing in the wind and water lapping up round her feet, splashing up behind her. When she reached the rocks at the end of the beach she stopped and looked back to where she had come from. She wasn’t the only person on the beach, teenagers were walking in groups, adults were working out and toddlers were with their parents building sandcastles. She stretched her legs as her breathing slowed down back to a normal pace. Taking a drink of water from the bottle in her hand she poured some onto her face and then started back. She enjoyed the run back, she always did. This was because she was running towards her favourite place in the whole world, Summer Bay. As she got nearer to the Surf Club she spotted Mr Stewart fishing in the morning light as well as Leah on the way to work. Finally she arrived back at her house, entered through the back door and called out.

“Hello?” she said, going straight to the fridge and getting a cold bottle of water.

“Hey sweetheart, good run?” asked Ric, coming down the stairs.

“Yes thanks, where’s Gabi?”

“Mummy I’m here!” came a little girl’s voice from upstairs. With that a blonde girl came running down the stairs and into Matilda’s arms. Gabriella, Gabi for short, was Matilda and Ric’s four year old adopted child who had been with them for four months nearly.

“Have you decided what you want to wear today?” asked Matilda.

“I wanna wear my dress, the pink one,” said Gabi.

“Okay, well how about I go get a shower, so I don’t stink, and dad can help you get dressed,” suggested Matilda.

“Okay, but can you do my hair? Last time dad did it, it was a mess,” asked Gabi.

Matilda laughed.

“Hey, it was not that bad!” exclaimed Ric.

An hour later Matilda and Ric were walking along the beach with Gabi in between them holding both their hands. It wasn’t long before Gabi let go and ran over to a big group of people.

“Finally, you’re the last ones here!” exclaimed Robbie as he helped Ric set out more towels. The group of people included all of their friends, minus Sally, Brad and Pippa who were visiting the other Pippa before school started again.

“Well, Matilda couldn’t decide what to wear,” replied Ric.

“Why is it that whenever we all get together you guys always moan at me?” asked Matilda.

“Because you’re my annoying little sister,” smiled Robbie sweetly.

“Hey, Gabs, I think uncle Robbie wants a nice bucket of cold water chucked over him, think you can do that for me?” asked Matilda.

“Yay!” cheered all the kids as they grabbed their buckets, ran to the sea to fill them up and then chased Robbie round the beach.

“I love how Noah, Ella and Gabriella are all different ages but are still best friends,” commented Hayley.

“Bit like us really,” replied Martha who had a sleeping Katie in her arms.

“So Matilda, is Gabriella looking forward to school?” asked Tasha as she lay back and enjoyed the summer sun. Gabriella would be starting school for the first time in little over a week.

“I think so. Especially as she knows she can see Ella, Noah and Pippa at break times. I think she’s going to be fine though. She’s a bit shy to start with but then a little bundle of energy.”

“And you’ll be starting back at the Surf Club then?” asked Becky, who was now Lucas’ fiancé. She worked at the Surf Club, which was jointly owned by Matilda and Alf Stewart.

“Yeah, I am. I’ve missed it. I felt really guilty not working but I wanted to be at home with Gabi. But now I’m going back to my old hours meaning I can take and fetch her from school. I’m still going to look after Pippa for a few hours as well as they get on so well.”

“Mummy, can I have an ice-cream?” asked Gabi once they had eaten lunch, a picnic on the beach.

“I want one too!” shouted Noah.

“And me,” added Ella.

“Well if its alright with your mums how about I take you to the Surf Club and we’ll get ice-cream,” suggested Matilda. Hayley and Tasha both nodded in agreement and tried to hand over money to Matilda.

“My treat,” she smiled. “Anyone else?” Everyone started shouting out their order and so Robbie suggested that he go with Matilda.

“So, are you still glad you came back from America?” asked Matilda.

“Definitely. I see Ella running round and think how could we ever have moved away. This is home and it always will be,” replied Robbie.

“That’s exactly how I feel,” smiled Matilda. “What about work?”

“Well, we’re in the most beautiful place on Earth, there’s always a need for a photographer,” joked Robbie. “I’m doing fine, lots of weddings, family portraits, scenery shots that kind of thing. And Tasha is going to work at the Diner once Ella starts school again.”

Once they arrived at the Surf Club the children all ordered their ice-cream from Alf and then Robbie ordered all the ones for the adults. Matilda spotted Drew sat in the corner looking at his mocktail and looking sad.

“Hey, why the long face?” asked Matilda as she sat opposite him.

“Oh, hi Mattie,” replied Drew, looking up and seeing who it was.

“What’s up?”

“Nothing,” replied Drew.

“How’s Sophie?”

“We’re … we’re taking a break.”

“How come?”

“She said I’ve got my mind on other things and until I sort it out then we can’t be together,” explained Drew.

“Mummy, come on!” shouted Gabriella from across the room. She was already eating her ice-cream and Robbie was holding a bag of various ice-creams still in wrappers.

“I’m going to stay here for a little while, you go back with uncle Robbie,” replied Matilda. Gabriella, Robbie, Ella and Noah all left to return to the others and Matilda turned back to Drew.

“So, what’s on your mind?” asked Matilda.


“Look me in the eye and say that.”

“Fine, it’s … I’m just being stupid.”

“Drew …” said Matilda.

“It’s Belle,” said Drew finally. “It’s two years on Monday since she died and I can’t stop thinking about her. So I guess I kind of acted weird towards Sophie leading to her declaring us on a break.”

“It’s understandable that you’re thinking about her. Have you explained to Sophie about her? I’m sure that if she understood then she be fine with it and give you some space for a couple of days without calling it off,” suggested Matilda.

“She doesn’t know. I was going to tell her but I couldn’t find the right words,” said Drew.

“Want me to talk to her?” asked Matilda.

“I couldn’t ask you to do that,” replied Drew.

“You’re not asking. Look Drew, I can see that you really like Sophie and Sophie really likes you. If she knows why you aren’t yourself at the moment then things might be good again. If you want me to explain about Belle then I will.”

“Thank you Mattie.”

“Don’t mention it,” smiled Matilda, happy to help.

“You keep saving me. You got me the job at the mechanics, you helped me deal with Belle’s death, I owe you so much.”

“Like I said, don’t mention it. We’re all hanging out at the beach if you want to join us,” suggested Matilda. “I’m sure the kids will all be happy to see you, they love you. Especially Ella.”

“Well, I suppose I don’t have anything else to do.”

“Great, want an ice-cream, I’m getting one,” said Matilda.

“I’ll get it, what do you want?” asked Drew.

“A magnum classic thank you,” replied Matilda.

The two of them walked down to the beach eating their ice-cream and joined the group.

“Rob you’re such a pig,” laughed Matilda as she approached and saw Robbie had ice-cream all round his mouth and Tasha was wiping it off.

“Drew! Come and make sandcastles with us!” shouted Ella from a little way away.

“Let me just finish my ice-cream,” replied Drew.

“Come on Scott, lets show these kids what a real sandcastle looks like!” said Robbie, marking out a space next to the children.

“Sounds like a challenge,” laughed Drew.

“Well, how about we make this interesting?” suggested Jack. “Girls versus boys.”

“How about it girls?” asked Martha.

“Bring it on,” smiled Hayley. Martha put Katie in her travel cot and pulled the sun protector down.

“Ella, Gabi over here,” called Matilda.

“Noah, over here,” called Scott. The two teams marked out equal spaces and then got to work on their sandcastles.

“Ella, Gabi why don’t you go and search for some pretty shells for decoration,” suggested Becky and the two girls skipped off with their buckets.

After an hour, both groups stopped and looked at their impressive sandcastles. The girls had taken the appearance of a palace with shells for decoration. The boys looked more like a medieval castle.

“I think ours is way better,” said Robbie, looking over at the competition.

“Totally,” agreed Jack.

“How are we meant to decide who won?” asked Hayley.

“Well, how about we get other people to judge them? Like Mr Stewart,” suggested Matilda as she saw Alf coming along the beach.

“Hey Grandad,” called out Ric. “Which sandcastle do you think is better?” Alf came over and studied each one carefully.

“Well, they are both good, but I’d have to say this one because its more detailed, why?” he asked. The one he pointed at was the girls and so they all started cheering. Looking bewildered, Alf continued along the beach.

“We won!” cheered the girls.

“Yeah well, next time, we’ll get you,” said Lucas.

Not long after, things were being put in bags, towels rolled up and buckets and spades collected. Saying goodbye to everyone else, Matilda, Ric and Gabriella made their way towards home. After dinner Matilda helped wash Gabriella’s hair and then dried it before reading a bed time story and tucking her in.

“I love you mummy,” said Gabriella quietly as she snuggled down for the night.

“Love you too sweetie,” replied Matilda as she turned the light off and left the room.

“You ok?” asked Ric as he came up the stairs.

“Yes. Everything is perfect,” smiled Matilda.

Please Review!

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A sequel! I'm so happy now! "You'll never be alone" was my favourite fic here, and it was so sad when you decided to end it, but now you're back with that sequel, so you actually made my dag :P

Nice first chapter :) I'm happy they are finally happy :)

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Thanks everyone! Here's the next chapter, mostly just a filler.

Chapter 2

Matilda approached a townhouse and knocked on the door. It was the day after the beach picnic and Matilda was at Sophie’s house to explain why Drew was acting weird at the moment. Seconds after knocking on the door it was answered by Sophie whose long blonde hair was tied up in a messy knot.

“It’s Matilda, isn’t it?” asked Sophie, looking slightly confused.

“Yes, that’s right. I’m a friend of Drew’s,” explained Matilda.

“Look, if your here to tell me how great Drew is and everything then you’re wasting your time. I know he’s great but things aren’t right between us.”

“Wait, I’m here to tell you why he’s been acting weird. He wanted to tell you himself but he hasn’t found the right time and it’s a difficult subject.”

“You’d better come in then,” said Sophie, leading Matilda through to the living room.

“I know it must be weird, me turning up here, but he’s my friend and I want him to be happy.”

“You said you knew why he’s been acting weird, so what’s the reason?” asked Sophie.

“Well, I don’t know whether he’s ever mentioned a person called Belle?” asked Matilda. Sophie shook her head and so Matilda continued. “Well 2 years ago she lived with Drew and Irene. She was here when Drew first moved in with Irene and he developed a bit of a crush on her. They became friends and she meant a lot to him. However she was diagnosed with untreatable skin cancer and died. She was in hospital for over a month at the end and every day Drew would be at her side, keeping her company. He, along with me, Ric and Irene were with her when she finally lost her fight and passed away. Drew really struggled to get over her death and it affected him for a long time. They had become close and he was devastated. The reason that Drew’s been acting weird is that it’s the 2 year anniversary of her death tomorrow. It’s natural that he’s going to think about her a lot. He didn’t know how to tell you, it’s not something that you can just lightly bring into the situation.”

“I can understand that,” replied Sophie. “So, this Belle, she was your friend too? How old was she?”

“Yes she was my friend and she was 22 when she died,” replied Matilda.

“Don’t you think it’s weird that Drew’s friends are all a lot older. I mean there’s you, all your friends and now this Belle,” said Sophie.

“When he came to the Bay he found it hard to fit in, he’s shy. But age doesn’t matter,” said Matilda.

“Thanks for telling me about Belle,” Sophie said as she stood up. Matilda took this as her cue to leave and so made her way to the door.

“Drew really likes you, Sophie. Give him a chance.”

“I have some stuff to think about,” replied Sophie and Matilda left the house.

Walking back along the beach Matilda saw Pippa running towards her.

“Mattie!” she shouted and Matilda opened her arms to greet Pippa by picking her up and swinging her round.

“Where’s your mum?” asked Matilda. Pippa pointed vaguely in the direction where she had come from and Matilda saw Sally and Brad walking towards her, trying to keep up with Pippa. “So, how are you?”

“I’m good, can I come and play with Gabi later?”

“Sure, if its okay with your mum that is,” replied Matilda.

“Hey Mattie,” greeted Sally as they finally caught up.

“How’s other Pippa?” asked Matilda, referring to Sally’s adoptive mother.

“She’s fine, says hello to everyone.”

“So you had a good trip?”

“It was good, apart from the flight, Brad isn’t too keen on planes,” explained Sally.

“Neither’s Ric,” smiled Matilda. “You should come round later, it would be great to catch up and Gabi would be really happy to see Pippa.”

“Sounds good. Well we’d better get going, see you at about 3?” asked Sally.

“Perfect,” smiled Matilda.

That afternoon Matilda was sat on the beach outside their house watching Pippa and Gabriella play in the sand. Ric was with Brad and they were discussing the latest sport goings on. Sally came outside with two glasses of lemonade and handed one to Matilda.

“I’m being a bad host,” said Matilda, thinking she should have offered more drinks.

“Don’t worry about it, we’re family. Besides I know your mind is on other things, Ric reminded us about the anniversary of Belle’s death. How are you feeling?”

“Honestly, I don’t know how I’m feeling. It’s weird that up until the end Belle and I weren’t friends but then we became best friends.”

That evening, once Brad, Sally and Pippa had left to have dinner with Rachel, Brad’s sister, Matilda volunteered to go to the Diner and pick up some food as she wasn’t in the mood to cook. There she found Irene shouting at Colleen who had just dropped a tray of food onto the floor.

“I’m really sorry,” said Colleen, looking nervous. Before Irene could reply, Leah stepped in and guided Colleen into the kitchen, away from the other customers and Irene saw Matilda.

“Hello dahl, what can I get you?” she asked.

“Two hamburgers and a hot dog to go please,” replied Matilda, searching in her bag for money. Matilda paid and then stood waiting for the food.

“So, what are the plans for tomorrow?” she asked Irene.

“Well, Drew and I are heading down to the beach at 10 with flowers and to say something. I’ve been meaning to invite you, I was going to call you later.”

“I’ll be there,” nodded Matilda.

“I just hope that after tomorrow Drew will cheer up a bit.”

After eating, Matilda sat at the computer and e-mailed Henry.

Dear bro,

You haven’t written in ages and I haven’t talked to you since Christmas! I know your busy with the panto and everything but is it so hard to find a little time for your twin sister? I miss you. Any chance that a visit is possible soon? You haven’t met Gabi yet and webcam doesn’t count.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Belle’s death so I’m feeling weird at the moment. I want to be happy, everything in my life is going perfectly, I have a husband, daughter and a great set of family and friends. I just want to get the day over and done with so I can continue with my life.

Give me a call when you have the chance or at least reply to my e-mail! Hopefully you’ll come over soon and we’ll get Kit here for a family reunion. We haven’t all been together in so long.

Your loving sis, Mattie.

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Chapter 3

The following morning Robbie came to collect Gabriella as she would be spending the day with him, along with Tasha and Ella.

“What time are we going to the beach?” asked Ric.

“We’re meeting the others at 10,” replied Matilda as she straightened her hair. She wanted to look nice for Belle.

As Matilda left the house and walked along the beach to the Surf Club, she clutched onto Ric’s hand. He had always been her rock through all of this and he was the one who had kept her going.

“Hey guys,” said Irene as Matilda and Ric approached.

“Where’s Drew?” asked Matilda.

“He’s just coming, wanted to get some flowers on his way,” explained Irene, she was already holding some, as was Matilda. Soon after, with Matilda leaning her head on Ric’s shoulder, Drew came into view. Matilda was happy to see that he was not alone, a small smile appeared on her face as she saw him approaching with Sophie and they were holding hands.

“Morning,” he said quietly as he reached earshot. The others all mumbled their greeting.

“I suppose we should get on with it,” suggested Irene and she started walking towards the water. “Does everyone want to say something?” she asked and received nods from all apart from Sophie, who had never known Belle. “How about I start,” said Irene as she looked out to sea and took a deep breath. “Dahl, everyone knows that you gave me a lot of grief whilst we lived together, but whatever you did, I always loved you as a daughter. We laughed, cried, argued and joked together. When you left, there was a big hole in my life and that was filled only when you returned. I try to believe that everything happens for a reason, but I’m still struggling to find the reason behind this. Maybe its that Drew has become a stronger person, or Matilda and Ric became a stronger couple. Whatever the reason, I still wish you were here with us. Love you dahl, miss you,” finished Irene and she bent down and released the flowers into the water. She watched as the waves took them out to sea.

Matilda, who was stood next to Irene stepped forward and met go of Ric’s hand. “Belle, not a day goes by where I don’t think of you. You were my age and had your whole life ahead of you, it isn’t fair that you died. So much has happened since, like me and Ric getting married and adopting Gabi, but there will always be a place for you in my heart. You quickly became my best friend and I love you for being there when I felt alone in the world,” she wiped tears from her eyes and split the bunch of flowers into two. Handing half to Ric, she let her half land in the sea and float away. She stood back up and put her arms round Ric. He comforted her whilst she cried into his chest. After a while she pulled away and Ric stepped forward for his turn.

“I always though you were a loud, obnoxious trouble maker, until I got to know you. I just wish that we had had more time together. I loved the way that even from your hospital bed towards the end you were trying to help me and Mattie, making sure we were okay. During that time you were great for advice and I thank you for that. We all miss you Belle and will never forget you.”

Finally it was Drew’s turn. He had been stood in between Matilda and Sophie but now stepped forward. He let go of Sophie’s hand and closed his eyes.

“Belle, you knew how I felt about you and I think part of me will always feel something for you. With the help of the people close to me though I’m doing well and have a new girlfriend. You will always be with me, always. You helped me fit into Summer Bay, even though it was reluctantly at first. Thanks for being a friend Belle, I miss you always,” he leant down and placed a rose in the water.

As Matilda stood looking out to sea, her arms wrapped round Ric, Drew approached and thanked her for going to see Sophie.

“You’re welcome, I’m glad that she understood,” replied Matilda.

“She came round yesterday afternoon and we talked for ages. Then she offered to come today, for support. We’re going to head off now, Irene has to get to work and I said I’d spend the day with Sophie, see you soon.” Matilda broke away from Ric and hugged Drew, saying goodbye. As the three walked away, Matilda sat on the sand and Ric sat next to her.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” said Matilda. “You’d think by now I’d be used to it. My year is littered with death anniversaries. Belle, mum, dad…”

“But you’ve learnt to cope,” replied Ric.

“Yeah I suppose, only with you here though,” said Matilda, leaning her head on Ric’s shoulder.

“We should be getting back,” said Ric, looking at his watch.

“Okay, are you up to something?” asked Matilda, looking at Ric suspiciously.

“No, what makes you think that?”

“You have that look in your eye,” replied Matilda. Ric stood up and offered his hand to Matilda who took it and pulled herself up.

Walking along the sand, Matilda thought back to her time spent with Belle, both in and out of the hospital. She only noticed that they had arrived home when Ric steered her towards the patio door.

Getting out his keys Ric opened the door and held it open for Matilda who stepped in and then her mouth fell open.

“Oh my God! You’re actually here!” she cried out, seeing who was sat on the sofa.

“Calm down sis, anyone would think we haven’t seen each other in a year,” came the reply.

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