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The Coastal Junior

Guest Luc

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Thanks Taniya, Symphony and Laura (sorry I've been calling you Lauren :wink:)

-Chapter Forty-One-


“A lizard, you say?” Jazz Curtis, Sally Fletcher’s secretary asked in amazement. Angelo nodded. He was walking around the filling cabinets wearing a khaki shirt and shorts. In his hand was a large net.

“A lizard, yes,” Angelo replied, looking underneath a table.

“Escaped from the science department?” She asked him. Angelo dropped to his knees and began crawling over to the filling cabinets.

“It’s an experimental lizard,” He informed the secretary seriously. Jazz nodded.

“Perhaps it will find its way outside and be safe there,” She said, sounding hopeful. Angelo shook his head. A grim expression crossed his face.

“It’s not its natural habitat, Ms. Curtis,” Angelo said, getting up off the floor.

“Perhaps it will get adopted by a rabbit,” She smiled. Angelo rolled his eyes. When would this woman give over!

“We can’t allow that to happen,” Angelo shot at her. “You see, this lizard, is radioactive,” He watched as Jazz’s jaw dropped.

“Radioactive!” She said in horror, “Good grief,” She muttered under her breath,

“Exactly,” Angelo said, moving closer to the back of the room, “Who knows what size it may be by now,” Jazz shook her head.

“I wish Kirsty Phillips was here,” She muttered to herself. Angelo grinned as he noticed the filling cabinet with all the year seven school records.

“I’m glad it’s you, Ms. Curtis,” Angelo told the woman, “I don’t think Mrs. Phillips would have believed me so quickly,” He smiled, leaning closer to the filling cabinet. He pressed his ear against it.

“You know, you could be right!” Jazz grinned. Angelo returned it with a small smile.

“I need to get in here,” He said, pointing to the drawer. Jazz nodded again.

“I’ll get the key,” She told him. The door to the office burst open and Martin Bartlett entered.

“Ms. Curtis is Mrs. Phillips...” He began to say,

“Angelo thinks,” She interrupted him, pointing over to the boy holding the net, “There might be a radioactive lizard in that filling cabinet,” Angelo let the net fall slowly out of him hands.

“Again?” Martin joked. Angelo smiled weakly. Moments later, Martin had reprimanded Angelo and was leaving the room.

“Sir, will you listen to me!” Angelo moaned as he followed the deputy principal out into the corridor. Martin ignored him, instead writing down something on a small piece of paper.

“Write this out five hundred times, for tomorrow,” He told the boy. Angelo rolled his eyes.

“Look, I know how it seems, but it’s not what you think!” He informed the teacher. “I've got a problem sir,” Mr. Bartlett handed over to piece of paper.

“Yes, Angelo,” He said in agreement. Angelo sighed.

“Can I talk to you seriously for a moment?” He begged Bartlett. He scoffed.

“I doubt it,” He said in anger.

“But it’s important!”

“Goodbye Angelo!”

“Why will nobody take me seriously?” Angelo called after his teacher. Bartlett turned around.

“Don’t forget your lizard net,” He told the boy before walking into the staff room.


Angelo pushed the newsroom’s double doors open forcefully, the lizard net still in his hands. Belle ran over to him.

“Angelo, I want the books,” She demanded, following him as he walked over to his office. “And I don’t want to hear how they’ve been eaten by your cat, or how they were stolen by a roving band of deranged accountants!” She yelled at him, “Or how the recent stock market collapse in Papua New Guinea has rendered the figures meaningless in a very real sense,” Angelo slammed the doors to his office in Belle’s face, “I want the books now!” She shouted. Moments later, Angelo opened the doors again and handed the red financial journals over to the editor.

“Here you go,” He said, Belle’s eyes widened in shock.

“You’re giving me the books?” She asked him timidly. Angelo didn’t respond. He walked back into his office and slammed the doors shut again. In frustration, he threw the lizard net across the room. It impaled the poster of Belle he used for target practice. Angelo sighed before slumping back into his chair. He placed his head in his hands.

“Don’t think you’ve fooled me for a minute!” Belle screamed at the boy as she pushed the doors open. She stormed in and slammed the books down on his desk. “I want the real books,” She added, walking over to Angelo’s filling cabinet and pulling the draws open forcefully.


Angelo stood outside Jessie Hastie’s classroom, his arms folded across his chest.

“Jessie,” He said softly as she walked out of the room. Upon seeing him, Jessie upped up her pace until she was running. Angelo followed her until he reached a stairwell. Jessie had sat down and was looking out the window. “Jessie!” He called again. Looking up, he noticed the girl had already stopped. “I just want to talk,” He told her. “Wanna do lunch? Have lunch? Eat lunch!”


Half an hour later, Angelo and Jessie were sitting down on the stairs in silence. Jessie looked over at Angelo, he was desperate to speak.

“Can I go now?” Jessie asked him innocently. Angelo turned to look at her.

“Jessie,” He began, “I don’t know what to say to you,” Angelo said softly. Jessie smiled.

“Tell me about the pink rabbit suit,” She pleaded. Angelo wondered how she found out about this, as only Belle, Geoff, Annie and Aden knew. “The time you went to a funeral dressed as a pink rabbit,” Angelo shook his head.

“Jessie, I know something’s happening to you,” Angelo began, a concerned tone in his voice. “Something bad, something terrible, and I know it’s to do with your father.” Another silence. Jessie looked up from her hands.

“The way I heard it, you just forgot you had it on, your friends had to tell you,” She laughed. Angelo looked at her again.

“And I’m sure I know what it is he’s doing to you,” He whispered loudly. Jessie ignored him.

“But you’d got yourself stuck in the rabbit suit so you had to go with it still on, but you didn’t know that the guy you were supposed to be meeting had just died,” Jessie sounded as if she was going to cry. Angelo looked at her in concern, not daring to touch her. “And you ran into the middle of his funeral shouting, ‘hi everyone! I’m a bunny-gram!’” Angelo nodded, and looked deeply into Jessie’s pail blue eyes. “He never hits me,” She told Angelo again.

“I know he doesn’t,” He muttered, “But he does other things to you, things you think he shouldn’t be doing,” Angelo waited for the girl to reply. She looked as if she was going to cry.

“Have you still got the rabbit suit?” She asked him after a moment of silence.

“I have to know for sure Jessie, you’ve got to tell me,” He said seriously,

“Bring in your rabbit suit,” Jessie pleaded, “I want to see it,”

“I need to know for sure,” He demanded. Jessie turned away from Angelo again. After another moment of awkward silence she rose from the stair and began walking towards the next level.

“Jessie!” Angelo called out again. She stopped in her tracks, but didn’t turn around, “I think you’re asking for my help. I think you’re wanting for me to help you,” Tears began welling in Jessie’s eyes,

“I’m not!” She shot back at him,

“Good,” Angelo replied harshly, “Because I’m the wrong guy! You’ve got to go see someone else. I’m no use. You know what I am, Jessie?” He asked her, “I’m a pink rabbit at a funeral! I’m a radioactive lizard in a filling cabinet. I’m the one who tried to marked inflatable foams to the poolside executives. My own mother doesn’t believe a word I say unless she has three independent witnesses, and a death threat. I’m a jerk, Jessie,” He admitted. Jessie turned to face the boy.

“I think you’re great,” She told him softly, “The stuff you do. I think it’s great,” Angelo looked back up at the girl with a small smile on his lips. “Bring in your rabbit suit,” She said to him before starting to walk back up the stairs. Angelo smiled before falling back down onto the stairs and placing his head in his hands.

“Hi,” He heard Belle say nervously. Angelo looked up and saw Belle was walking up the stairs. She had stopped when she had seen him, “I was just going up these stairs,” She pointed up at the next set of stairs, “No particular reason,” She added.

“Yeah, sure,” He said, sounding uninterested.

“So, hi,” Belle repeated nervously, Angelo looked at her with a look of anger.

“Hi,” He replied.

“I was just going up these stairs,”


“No particular reason,”

“You said,” Belle nodded nervously,

“I think I’ll just go up them then,” She said, walking past Angelo. She stopped at the top of the stairs.

“I was just going up these stairs,” She heard Aden say. Shocked, she turned around and saw his standing at the foot, near Angelo. “No particular reason,” He added. Angelo rolled his eyes.

“Me neither,” Belle said softly. Aden smiled.

“Is that right?” Belle looked down at Angelo nervously again.

“What a coincidence,” She laughed. Aden lanced across at Angelo.

“It’s just amazing!” He added. Angelo stood up angrily.

“Look, do you mind!” He shouted at them. Both Belle and Aden’s jaws dropped. “You’re both really cute and everything, and if you’re selling the film rights to this romance, then I’m in, but I don’t want to listen to it at the moment!” He shouted before walking off. Belle and Aden glanced at each other in shock.


Angelo opened his eyes; he had fallen asleep watching television again. Jessie was standing in front of him.

“Jessie?” He asked groggily. “What are you doing here? Jessie?” Angelo reached his arm out and brushed it against her arm; she jumped. “Sorry, I forgot,” He apologised. “Is your mum home?” He asked the girl. Jessie shook her head sadly. “Your dad?” He asked her. Jessie nodded her head. “Why are you here?” Angelo asked again.

“I've got to go!” Jessie shouted at him, walking towards the door. Angelo stood up.

“Jessie! No, wait!” He begged her. Jessie turned around. She looked as if she might burst into tears at any given moment. “You can stay here,” He offered.

“Why?” The girl asked him coldly. “What for? What will you do?” She asked him. Angelo felt his heart drop.

“Jessie?” Angelo asked timidly,

“How could you help me Angelo?” She asked him in anger, “How could somebody like you ever help anybody? Who’d ever believe a word you’d say? Who’d ever take you seriously? You know what you are? You’re useless. Completely useless.”


Angelo’s eyes snapped open. It had only been a dream. Well, not a dream, a nightmare. He looked around and heard the doorbell ring.

“Useless,” He muttered to himself in agreement.

“Angelo!” He heard his mother call out. She pushed to door to the living room open. “There’s a girl here for you,” Angelo jumped up eagerly,

“A girl?” He asked her, “Jessie,” He muttered. Angelo jumped up and rushed to the door.

“Belle!” He exclaimed in confusion. Belle turned to face him and smiled.

“Hi,” She said coolly.


Also, I've decided that Todd will most likely be mentioned next chapter, and Belle will say it :wink:

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Thanks Laura, Taniya, Symphony and Jody :). This chapter isn't the best I've written, but it is my longest (just under 3000 words) and my favourite so far. Once I started writing it I couldn't stop :P. Hope you like it!

-Chapter Forty-Two-

You Are Not My Latest Blond!

“The books you gave me were real,” Belle informed her financial manager as he paced his bedroom. She herself was sitting on his bed. “I thought they were fakes, but they were real,” Belle smiled apologetically. “I checked,” She added,

“Belle,” Angelo muttered. Belle ignored him.

“Over the last few days you haven’t tried to hustle once in the newsroom, short of you being tied up and gagged, I can’t think of anything that would normally stop you,” Angelo got the feeling this was going to be one of those conversations that you nodded in agreement, because Belle wouldn’t let you respond. “And today you blew up at Spike and me. And I've never seen you do that,”

“Of all the people I thought would notice,” Angelo told her. Belle smiled,

“I’m the last?” She asked him. Angelo nodded,

“Of all the people I thought would care,” He added. Belle rolled her eyes.

“I’m not sure I do care,” Angelo let his head drop. “I don’t know what your problem is yet,” She added. Angelo avoided looking at the editor. “But I do know it’s serious,”

“And how do you know that?” Angelo asked her, cautiously moving closer to the girl.

“Because you live for what you do,” Belle told him. Angelo raised an eyebrow. “You live to hustle, right?”

“Yeah, so?” He asked her.

“Well, it’s like you live for your work,” Belle explained to him, Like there’s nothing outside of that. No social life, nothing. Just what you do,” Angelo nodded in agreement. “And of course, there’s your appalling dress sense.”

“Hey!” Angelo shot at her, “What’s appalling dress sense got to do with anything?”

“I’m just trying to think of everything we’ve got in common,” She told him. Angelo raised his other eyebrow, “The point I’m making is this: I know how an obsessive behaves, because I am one. And I know how much it takes to knock an obsessive off the tracks, because I've been there,” Angelo nodded before sitting down next to Belle, “If you remember ending up editor a few months ago, you’ll know what I’m talking about,” Angelo nodded again. How could he forget almost sending the newspaper broke?

“Right,” He said sadly.

“So whatever it is you’re going through, it must be pretty bad, yeah?” Belle asked Angelo. He nodded,

“Yeah,” He agreed.

“And I think I’m the only person who’s likely to know that,” She told him sincerely, “Which kind of places me under an obligation, doesn’t it?” Angelo turned to face her again, still slightly confused. “I mean, us obsessers have got to stick together, right?”

“You really want to hear this?” Angelo asked the girl. Belle shrugged.

“No,” She said simply, “But I think you should talk to someone, and I think I’m it.” She waited for an answer. She could see Angelo was considering it. “Want to walk?” She asked him, standing up, “I find this kind of talk a lot easier walking,”

“Me too,” Angelo agreed, standing up. He walked over to Belle, whom was standing over by his bedroom door. “I really can’t believe we’re having this conversation, I can’t believe you’re taking this sort of interest in me!” He exclaimed. Belle smiled.

“If it helps, think of it this way: you haven’t sold one piece of advertising this week, and our budget’s looking shaky. I’m just trying to get your head together before you mess up my pay packet,” She opened the door and walked out into the hall.

“Actually, that does help,” He replied as he followed her into the hall and out of the house. “Okay Belle, bedtime story,” He told her as they began walking up the street.


Belle pushed the double doors of the newsroom open and she and Angelo walked in. Belle flicked the light’s on.

“Well,” Belle said in shock, resting against the bookshelfs near the back of the room. The office phone rand and Belle walked over to her desk and answered it.

“Hello, the Coastal Junior,” She said into the receiver. “Oh, hi Spike. How did you know I was here? Yeah, I suppose it was a pretty safe bet.” Belle glanced across at Angelo; he looked slightly frustrated, “Can I call you back? Well, I’m busy at the moment. What? Of course you’re not! You’re not Spike! Spike, you are not my latest blond! I never knew you could be so paranoid! Yes, I've had other boyfriends too! One, really, in grade one, his name was Todd. He dumped me, so I hit him over the head with a cricket bat. Geoff’s just exaggerating! He was only in that coma for two days!” Aden said something, and Belle let out a shrill laugh and Angelo sighed. He walked over to the graphics room, “You are disgusting! Look, I've got to go, no, really, I've got to go, and you’re not my latest blond! I've had several since you!” She placed the phone back down. “Sorry,” She added, looking over at Angelo. He was sitting on a desk outside the graphics room.

“That’s okay,” He said, “Nice to see something normal,” Belle looked over at her staff member in concern.

“This really has got to you, hasn’t it?” She asked him as she began walking towards the room.

“Yeah,” Angelo replied timidly.

“So how sure are you?” Belle asked him as she sat down next to him on the desk.

“Sure?” Angelo asked her, slightly confused.

“That Jessie is being sexually abused by her father?”

“You make it sound so...”

“Angelo!” Belle demanded, “Are you sure?”

“It’s like a gut certainty, you know?” Angelo replied. Belle nodded. “Like when you’re selling, and you hit the right price, you just know” Belle nodded again and waited for Angelo to continue, “But I’m not selling, and I can’t really be sure. I mean, I can’t go pointing fingers, can I? I can’t go accusing her dad of anything! What if I was wrong? Think of the damage I’d do,”

“If there is something going on, she’s going to have to bet the one to say,” Belle agreed.

“Yeah, but she’s never going to tell anyone! Not for years! Maybe never!” Angelo explained.

“But we can’t just let this go on!” Belle shot at the boy.

“I know,” Angelo responded coyly,

“So somehow you’ve got to persuade her!” Belle informed him. Angelo rolled his eyes again.

“How Belle?” Angelo asked in irritation, “I’m a salesman, not a councillor,”

“Then sell her an idea!” She grinned. Maybe he’ll get it this time, Belle though to herself.

“Don’t patronise me,” Angelo shot back in defence.

“Sell her the idea that if something’s happening she should tell someone!”

“You’re patronising me,”

“I’m not!” Belle shouted. Angelo smiled. This was the Belle he knew. “Angelo, I’m serious about this! You’re right, you’re a salesman! You’re a very good salesman! The best salesman I know. So sell!” She demanded. Angelo closed his eyes in anger.

“Right Belle, sure!” He yelled at her, “I’ll have a few posters printed up, shall I? How about a couple of tasteful little adverts,” Belle’s eyes narrowed in anger, “How about I book the community centre and we hold an exhibition? How about that?” Angelo asked before storming towards the double doors.

“You’re not thinking Angelo!” Belle called out after him,

“I’m not thinking?” He scoffed and pointed to himself, “Sorry Belle, I've had enough of his!” He shouted before storming out of the room. Belle folded her arms across her chest. “A newspaper,” He said, walking back into the newsroom. Belle uncrossed her arms and flashed him a smile.

“Exactly,” She said calmly.


“Belle, I know child abuse is important!” Geoff said to the editor the next day. She had called the entire news team in to work on a special edition of the paper, “I accept child abuse is important, but why is it suddenly more important than anything else at the moment?” Belle rolled her eyes and Ruby walked up to her.

“Belle, we’ve got the guy from NAPCAN coming in at seven. Who do you want interviewing him?” She asked the editor.

“You,” Belle said and Ruby smiled, “Get as much info from him as you can, but specifically we want to know what happens to the child once they’ve told somebody what’s going on,” Ruby nodded and wrote down everything Belle had told her on a notepad. “We have to cover that angle,” Belle stated. Ruby nodded again.

“Right,” She said before walking back over to her desk. Belle turned back to Geoff.

“I just suddenly thought it was time we dealt with this issue,” She explained. Geoff sighed,

“And do you mean suddenly!” Geoff exclaimed in frustration, “Totally clearing an issue takes time you know! Do you want to know what time I went to bed last night?”

“Tell me,” Belle shot at him angrily,

“Not yet,”

“Me neither,” She replied with a smug smile. “Give this lot to Charlotte,” Belle threw over a notepad, “Tell her I want about two hundred words,”

“Any particular angle?” Geoff asked her. Belle shook her head,

“Just tell her I want it good.” Geoff sighed in defeat.

“Yes boss,” He replied, standing up from his chair and walking over to a girl who looked freakishly like Annie. Belle stood up from the desk and walked over to Angelo, whom had overtaken Annie’s desk. He was reading over an article Belle had given to him.

“What do you think?” She asked.

“Why did we have to go for the next edition?” Angelo moaned, :Another week couldn’t have hurt that much!” Belle grinned,

“This lot work best under pressure,” She told him, “And besides, I get a kick out of it,” She added. Angelo smiled and looked back down at the article. “What do you think of it?”

“Is it Ruby’s?”

“The lead article is always Ruby’s,” Angelo looked down at the paper and shook his head,

“It’s just not right,” He complained, “It’s not selling,” He added as he rose to his feet. “Ruby!” He called out. Ruby turned away from her typewriter and looked at him,


“I've been reading your article,. Do you mind if I make a few comments?” Ruby felt her jaw drop. She had never seen Angelo take this much interest in anything but hustling.

“What?” She asked him,

“Well, do you mind?” Ruby pursed her lips as she thought it over,

“Um... well,”

“You don’t,” Belle answered for her. Angelo turned and nodded in appreciation at the editor,

“It’s just this,” He began, walking into the middle of the room, “What’s the article for? What’s it supposed to do?” Belle looked at her financial manager curiously. “What’s your market?”

“Market?” Ruby asked in confusion.

“Look, you’ve got to look at it like this,” He began, attracting the attention of other members of the news team, “Somewhere out there is going to be a kid reading this who is actually being assaulted, who’s actually being abused. What are you going to say to them?” Rub thought over the question for a moment, “Look, we’ve all got to get it into our heads. All that stuff about what happens afterwards. What happens once they’ve come out and said something? That’s important, that’s good. And we’ve got to show them that everything’s going to be okay. We’ve got to prove that life doesn’t end after you’ve told somebody,” Belle nodded in agreement, amazed by his passion.”But most important of all, we’ve got to get them to tell someone. That’s the sale guys. That’s the clincher. Now, the thing is this; the kids don’t like what’s happening to them, they want it stopped, right? So why haven’t they told somebody about it already? What’s the problem? This is what we call in my business, consumer resistance. If you want to make a ail, that’s the thing you have to beat,”

“Consumer resistance?” Ruby repeated. Angelo nodded.

“Exactly. Like this,” He turned to face Belle and Geoff. “Geoff, you’re a child who’s being abused. Why haven’t you told someone?” Geoff turned to Belle.

“Do I do this, boss?” He asked. Belle nodded. “Well, I’m ashamed. I don’t want anybody to know about it. I guess it’s dirty,” Angelo nodded.

“It’s not you that should be ashamed. It’s not your fault. It’s the fault of the person doing it to you, and you’re not the only one it’s ever been done to and no one is going to hate you because of it. You’re not alone, you’re not dirty and it’s not your fault.” Angelo turned away from the shocked reporters and towards Ruby, “Make that point,” He told her,

“Right, sure,” Ruby nodded,

“Well note it down!” He shouted at her. Ruby jumped and pulled her notebook out from her drawer. Angelo turned back to the group.

“What else is stopping you?” He called out.

“I’m scared,” Belle responded, “I’m worried what my dad will do if I tell,”

“Once you’ve come and asked for help, we promise you will be looked after. There are people who are trained to help you – it’s their job,” Angelo explained. He turned to face Ruby again, “Have you got that Ruby?” He asked.

“I’m just noting it down,” She informed him.

“Who do I tell?” Annie called out from across,

“Um...” Angelo hesitated, “Someone you trust, like a teacher, and if they don’t help you, you keep telling people until you find the person who’s going to hep you,” He turned back around, “That’s important Ruby,”

“I know,” She shot at him.

“I’m worried about my dad,” Aden called out as he pulled his sunglasses off.

“What?” Angelo asked him in confusion,

“Maybe I still love him. I mean, he is my dad. What’s going to happen to him?” Aden asked. Angelo nodded, he understood now.

“If your dad loves you, he knows he shouldn’t be doing this,” He replied. Ruby wrote this down, “He knows he’s harming you, and if he can’t stop it on his own, he needs somebody to stop him.”

“Got it,” Ruby muttered. Angelo nodded again.

“Now go on guys, sell! Sell! Sell!” He encouraged them.

“Yes boss,” Geoff responded before turning to Belle, “Sorry boss,” He apologised.

“He’s actually very intelligent, isn’t he?” Ruby asked her boss. Belle rolled her eyes.

“It’s just a phase he’s going through,” She replied before walking over to Angelo, “I just wanted to say you’re an immoral, dishonest, tasteless little hustler, but you’re all right,” Angelo smiled at her, “Which doesn’t mean I don’t want the financial report, on time and accurate at the Thursday meeting,”

“Doesn’t mean you’re gonna get it either,” He joked in response. “And at times, you’re kind of okay yourself,”

“But I don’t make a habit of it,” Belle shot back with a smile.


“I know what you’re trying to do!” Jessie yelled at Angelo, holding up a copy of the Coastal Junior’s child abuse special. They were standing in the main corridor of the school. “And I hate you!” She finished before storming off. Angelo looked down at the paper she had dropped in hurt. In frustration he walked into his next class. Not able to concentrate, he pushed his chair back and stormed out of the room. In concern, Belle followed him.

“It’s alright sir,” She added as she pushed the door open and followed him to the front office.

“Mrs. Phillips, can you tell me what class Jessie Hastie’s in?” He asked the young woman sitting behind a desk, typing something up on her automatic typewriter.

“Ah yes, the lizard man,” Kirsty said in disapproval, “Can you please explain to me why Ms. Curtis is insisting on bringing a net to work?”

“Please Mrs. Phillips, can you tell me what class Jessie Hastie’s in!” Angelo was almost houting now. Belle looked at him in concern.

“She’s not in her class,” Sally Fletcher said from the door. Angelo and Belle turned around in shock. “Can I see you both outside, please?” Angelo and Belle followed the principal out into the corridor. “Jessie asked to be excused from her class this morning, she’s with Ms. Anwar at the moment,”

“The welfare councillor!” Belle exclaimed in delight.

“Yes, I just thought you should know,” Sally replied before turning to walk away from the pair, “I was very impressed with your child abuse special. I thought it was very effective,” Sally turned away from them again and walked back into her office.

“She must of... just after she talked to me. She must of...” Angelo stuttered in happiness.

“Don’t tell anyone I ever did this,” Belle smiled, pulling Angelo into a tight hug.

“They wouldn’t believe me anyway,” He replied, wrapping his arms tightly around her waist.

NEXT CHAPTER: The event that could tear Aden and Belle apart forever. It’s the beginning of the end for the Coastal Junior as we know it.

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Thanks Jody, Laura and Taniya :)

-Chapter Forty-Three-

Melody's Furious; Belle's, well, also Furious

“Hello,” A woman asked, a tone of fright present in her soft voice, “Hello? Can anybody hear me?” He voice was clear, yet slightly muffled. “Please, can anybody hear me?” She cried out.


Lucas pushed the double doors of the newsroom open, his camera hanging around his shoulder. Geoff jumped up and walked over to him.

“Did you get anything?” He asked. Lucas made his way over to the newsroom’s small dark room.

“Shot of the police sending me away,” He replied,

“Well you could have dodged ‘round!” Geoff shot at him. Lucas turned around to face the deputy editor. “Come on Lucas!” He pleaded.

“The whole streets closed off. Nobody’s getting in,” Geoff titled his head in acknowledgment.

“What did you see?” He asked curiously.

“Mostly police and smoke,” Lucas answered before pushing the dark room door open and walking in.

“Lucas!” Geoff said in exasperation. Lucas stuck his head back out.

“Have we got a map?” He asked.


“Phone around,” Belle commanded one of her head reporters, Rebecca, “I want video of news reports on all channels,” Rebecca nodded, “And don’t we have a black and white portable somewhere?”

“Yep,” Rebecca replied,

“Set that up in here too,” She told the girl. Rebecca nodded.

“What about radio?” She asked. Belle pursed her lips as she thought.

“The same,” She replied after a moment, “I don’t want to miss anything,” Rebecca nodded and turned towards the break room.

“Belle!” Melody called out from the graphics room. Belle looked up and saw she was jogging towards her. “How much of the edition do I clear for this?”

“All of it,” Belle replied, “And do me a front page rough, ‘Disaster Special’,” Melody nodded and wrote down the title. Belle shook her head, “No, make that ‘Stewart Road Disaster’,” Melody nodded again as she crossed out the first title and wrote the second one down.

“Coming up,” She responded, “Have you got any photos?” Belle turned around to Lucas and Geoff, whom were pouring over a large map of Summer Bay,

“Lucas, what have you got?” She asked the photographer. He looked up from the map.

“An idea,” He replied,

“Just give us a minute Belle,” Geoff added. The pair turned back to the map.

“What about a drawing?” Melody asked the editor, “Cassie could get something together,” Belle thought for a moment,

“Belle!” Ruby called out, interrupting the girl’s chain of thoughts, “Do you want somebody down in archives. Similar incidents and that sort of thing?”

“Yeah,” Belle agreed, “But I can’t spare you,”

“Isabel?” Ruby suggested. Belle shook her head,

“Adam,” She replied. Ruby nodded and pushed past the editor and Melody,

“How much is going to be hard news, and how much parallel features?” The head of graphics asked her boss. Belle pushed past her and began walking over to Geoff.

“I don’t know yet,” Belle answered. Melody rolled her eyes in anger,

“Belle!” She moaned before walking back into the graphics room. Belle looked over Geoff and Lucas’s shoulder and saw that they had circled what appeared to be a building on the large map.

“What’s the idea in ten words or less?” She asked her staff.

“I can’t get anywhere near Stewart Road,” He informed the already frustrated girl, “But there’s a block of flats overlooking it,” He pointed to the area that had been circled on the map,

“So if he can get up onto the top,” Geoff added, noticing Belle had a confused look on her face.

“Brilliant!” She exclaimed. She turned back towards the staff. “Ruby, who did that piece for you last week?”

“Could you be a tiny bit more specific?” She asked her friend. Belle scoffed.

“The piece I liked,”

“Kate,” Ruby replied with a smile. Belle looked around the newsroom for Kate, she was talking to Melody.

“Kate, go with Lucas!” She called out. Kate nodded at something Melody had said and walked over to her boss, “Give me some mood stuff. What it’s like to be in Stewart at the moment.”

“I’ll get my notebook,” She replied, somewhat uninterested. Kate turned around and walked back into the graphics room.

“She’s not actually going to be in there, is she?” Geoff asked, pulling out his own notebook,

“She’s a writer,” Belle shot back, “She can make it up,” She added before walking away.

“Silly me,” Geoff muttered to himself.


“Right,” Rebecca said into the telephone. Belle leaned across her desk, “Great, thanks, got to go,” She placed the telephone back down.

“All five channels set up and Cassie’s setting up the graphics room television,” Belle smiled,

“Don’t forget the radio,”

“It’s coming,” Belle picked up the red telephone and held it above her head,

“From now on we keep this for incoming calls only!” She called out to the news team,

“What do we do if we want to phone out then?” Geoff asked, looking up from his notebook.

“Get five spare bodies and make a queue at the phone box over the road,” Belle informed him, “We’re going to need constant access,”

“And a lot of silver,” Geoff shot at her. Belle grinned and leant across the boy. She grasped her swear box and placed it down in front of him.

“Didn’t anybody ever tell you Geoff that ‘money is a dirty word’?” She asked him.

“Yeah right,” He said in defeat, “What happens if someone joins the queue?”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re going to stick Drew on the end,” She shot at him. Geoff scoffed.

“Why do I ever doubt you boss?” He asked her. Belle shrugged.

“Belle, we’ve got the police band on the radio!” Ruby called out from Angelo’s office.

“Yeah?” Belle asked as she made her way over, “Good thinking,”

“Well, Angelo’s thinking,” Ruby corrected her. Belle sighed; it didn’t surprise her that Angelo knew how to hack into state law systems.

“It’s an office block, five stories,” Angelo told his boss as soon as she walked in. Belle sighed. Stewarts Road had been home to the first multi-story office complex in Summer Bay. “There was some kind of explosion. They think a gas leak,”

“What’s happening now?” Belle asked in concern. Angelo shrugged.

“They’re giving orders are far as I can tell,” He replied.

“How many people hurt?” Ruby asked. Angelo shrugged.

“Don’t know,” He responded, “The offices were mostly empty, but the shops below...” He trailed off.

“Oh no,” Ruby exclaimed in shock.

“Address?” Belle asked him,

“23-27,” He told the girl, “They said something about Sounds Record Shop,” He added,

“I know it,” Belle told him before turning to face Ruby, “Let’s check on the map and see if we can pin point it,” She turned back towards Angelo, “Good thinking, Angelo,”

“I always listen to this program,” He shot back with a smile, “Dot you?”

“Maybe I should,” Belle replied, folding her arms across her chest, “It might help me keep track of Spike,” She laughed before leaving the little office. She looked across at Aden’s desk, he wasn’t there. “Actually, where is Spike?” She asked Ruby. She shrugged.

“I don’t know,” Ruby replied, “On his way in, I guess,” Belle looked over at her boyfriend’s desk again,

“Yeah, right,” She said meekly, “Let’s get that map,” She told her friend, “This could be our chance to prove ourselves. Some hard news, not just the ‘kiddie’ stuff.”


“Hello!” The woman called out lethargically, “Is someone there?” She asked, listening to the sound of moving rubble, “I can hear you moving! Can you hear me?” She waited for an answer, “Please, I can’t move,” She cried. “Can you hear me?”


Drew opened the door of a phone box and lifted the phone off of the receiver. He placed it to his ear and waited for a dial tone,

“This one’s out too!” He exclaimed, slamming the phone back down in anger.

“And there’s a guy in that one with a stupid grin and a pile of silver,” Another reporter – Anthony – informed him,

“Great,” Drew said, rolling his eyes. “Love and money!”


“I still don’t know what I’m doing here Belle,” Melody said to her boss calmly, a notepad gripped in her hands. Belle stood up from her chair and began walking towards the news team,

“Ruby, get someone to the photo archives, pictures of Stewart, just standard shots,” She called out to the reporter. Melody folded her arms across her chest in frustration,

“Belle?” She called out through clenched teeth,

“Stop asking and just do it!” Belle yelled as she turned around, “And make it good, give it some zap!” She added. Melody’s jaw dropped in anger,

“Some ‘zap’?” She called out in disbelief, “Am I getting this right, you want me to liven up an explosion!”

“I want you to give me the best work you’ve done Mel, and make it stick!” Belle retorted in anger. The newsroom went quiet, “This is our big chance to show what we can do!”

“Well that’s a new angle,” Melody replied, still furious, “Gas leak, bomb or career opportunity,”

“What?” Belle asked her in confusion,

“Belle, there are people in that building!” Melody shot back,

“I know!”

“Do you?” She asked, “We’re talking about the dead and dying here, Belle, and I’m supposed to put in some ‘zap’?” Belle looked at the girl in shock, “How about I just do the obits in colour?” Melody shot at the editor before walking back to the graphics room.

“Okay everyone,” Geoff called out to the silent newsroom, “Shuffle some papers, murmur in the background. Its looking like your working time now, okay?” He asked, getting up from out of his chair he walked over to Belle, “Belle, I could hear you frowning from the other side of the newsroom,” He joked.

“Where’s Spike?” She asked her friend in concern.


“Can’t you take no for an answer?” Aden laughed as he walked over to a friend, who had just been turned down by an attractive woman,

“That remains to be seen,” He answered with a grin. Aden smiled and wiped some dust off of his arm, unsure of how it got there.

“Can you smell gas in here?” He asked his friend. The boy sniffed and then shook his head, “Must be time to change your underwear,” He joked.


Lucas and Kate ran up to the entrance of an apartment complex that faced Stewart Road. Lucas rapped sharply on the door.

“They’ve got an entry system,” Kate said, pointing to a key pad on the wall,

“So either we’re nice to the caretaker, or we pick a number,” Lucas moaned, “Which in looks friendly?”

“Kate?” Lucas and Kate jumped as they heard a woman call out. They turned around and saw a woman sitting in a car, her hands on the steering wheel,

“Hi Mrs. Benjamin,” Kate called out before walking over to the car,

“Your mother’s looking for you,” Mrs. Benjamin told the reporter,

“Why? I told her I’d be late,” Mrs. Benjamin avoided looking the girl in the eyes, “Is something wrong?”


“He’s all but performing indecent assault on that phone!” Anthony groaned, pointing to the man in the telephone box, “Just watch the windows steam!” Drew looked over at the four reporters with a grin and stepped towards the telephone box. He pulled the door open,

“Excuse me,” He said to the man politely,

“Just a minute,” The man said into the phone. He turned to face Drew, “Yes?” He asked,

“Would you mind cooling it down a bit please?” Drew asked back. The man looked at him in confusion,


“It’s just, we’re picking up that phone call on all the radios in this street,” Drew replied. The man’s face fell, “It’s a bit embarrassing for some people, I’m sure you understand,” The man looked around at the houses surrounding the phone box, “So if you don’t mind, there are children listening,”


“Yeah, and old people,” He replied with a grin, “Oh, and could you say hi to all the guys from the Coastal Junior?” The man placed the phone back up to his ear.

“I’ll call you back babe,” He said rapidly, “I’ll explain later, see you later darling,” He looked around at the houses again, “And everybody,” he said into the receiver before hanging up.

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Thanks Symphony, Taniya and Laura :)

-Chapter Forty-Four-

Laugh, and the World Throws Record Shops at You

Lucas ran over to a payphone that was at the end of the road. He watched as Mrs. Benjamin drove Kate home. He placed some coins in the phone and dialled the newsroom phone number. He sighed in frustration as he got the ‘engaged’ tone.


“No outgoing calls,” Belle said to Rebecca, whom had the red phone pressed up against her ear, “Use the phone box,” She commanded.

“Is it Sounds record shop?” Rebecca asked, ignoring Belle’s demand,


“My boyfriend works there,” She replied, dialling a number.

“Oh, sorry,” Belle said awkwardly. Geoff turned around,

“Belle,” He said. Belle ignored him and walked back over to Aden’s empty chair. “Belle!” Geoff said again, this time walking over to her.

“He phoned you an hour ago, which meant he’d already left for here, right?” She asked Geoff.

“Which doesn’t prove anything,” Geoff shot back.

“Which means he left ten minutes before the explosion,” Belle retorted. Geoff sighed,

“It still doesn’t prove anything, He said again. Belle groaned in anger.

“It doesn’t take an hour to walk here from Spike’s,” Belle snapped as she began walking towards Angelo’s office again,

“Aden doesn’t walk a straight line anywhere,” Geoff called out after her. He sighed and began to follow her. “You should know that,” He added.

“I also know he likes hanging around record shops!” Belle yelled at her friend, “He was talking about records he wanted to buy last night!”

“Belle, it doesn’t mean a thing,” Geoff replied as she pulled the door open and walked into the small room.



“Hello!” The woman called out eagerly, having heard what sounding like a moan, “I can hear you, can you hear me?” She called out, waiting for a response, “Please, can you hear me!” She called out, desperate to attract somebody’s attention.


“What?” Ruby asked into the phone. She had it pressed up against her left ear, “Yeah, she’s here, I’ll get her.” Ruby turned towards Belle, who was sitting next to Geoff, the black and white portable television in front of them. “Belle!” She called out, “It’s Lucas, urgent,” She added. Belel rose from the desk and grabbed the phone out of Ruby’s hand.

“Yep,” Belle said sharply,

“Belle, Kate’s had to go home,” He said in a rush, “Her brother was in Stewart when it went up,”

“Tom, no!” Belle replied in disbelief,

“It’s okay, he’s not bad,” Lucas reassured her, “He was just in the street and got caught in the blast,” Belle turned her head towards Aden’s desk. It was still vacant.

“How’s Kate?” She asked him,

“I don’t know,” Lucas replied instantly, “She was whipped off in a car. She’s home,” Belle looked around and saw Geoff and Ruby were looking at her anxiously, “Are you sending someone else out?”

“I’ll see who I've got,” Belle replied,

“Me!” Ruby called out. Belle looked down at her star reporter, “I want to do this. Everything’s under control here and I want to do this,” Belle nodded.

“Ruby’s on her way,” Belle told Lucas.

“Thanks,” Ruby mouthed, pulling a notebook out of her desk drawer.

“Belle, I don’t know how easy it’s going to be to get into this building,” Lucas informed the editor,

“Phone me if you can’t, right now I've got to clear this line,” She placed the phone back down on the receiver,

“In case Aden phones,” Geoff added. Belle turned to face her friend

“Rebecca’s boyfriend, Kate’s brother,” She listed, “It’s like it’s getting closer every time!”

“Belle...” Geoff began. The newsroom doors crashed open and Belle turned her head eagerly. Her heart dropped as Annie walked in, a backpack over her shoulders.

“Is something happening in town?” She asked, walking over to Aden’s desk, “I keep hearing fire engines,” She pulled the desk drawer open,

“What a journalist,” Geoff muttered. Belle ignored him; she was too interested in what Annie was doing,

“What are you doing?” She asked the young reporter,

“Aden’s meant to be getting me a tape,” She replied, pulling open another drawer, “He mangled on of mine in his walkman,” She added,

“Where was he buying it from?” Belle asked curiously,

“The usual place, I guess,” Annie shrugged, pulling open the last drawer.

“Sounds?” Belle asked. Annie turned around,

“Yeah,” She replied. Belle felt her heart pounding against her chest, a worried expression crossing her face.


“Is that guy over there dancing?” Aden asked his friend, pointing towards another patron, “Or should I direct him to the bathroom,” They both laughed. “Speaking of which,” He added, walking away from the boy.

“Hello?” He called a female voice call out. He stopped walking and looked around, “Please, can anybody hear me?” She asked eagerly. Aden looked around again, he still couldn’t see anybody, “I’m stuck, I can’t move, please?” She pleaded.


Geoff held Belle up against the corridor wall. She was worried.

“Come on Belle, what do we know?” He asked her. Belle avoided making eye contact with her friend.

“Enough to tell them he might be in there,” Belle shot at him,

“Might be,” Geoff repeated, “Look, we’ll tell whoever we have to tell, but all we’re talking about is possibility,” He told the girl. Belle shook her head,

“He’s in there, I know he is,” She said coldly.


Aden looked around, still trying to find the source of the voice,

“It’s dark in here, I can’t see anything,” She explained. Aden looked around; surely she had to be close, why else could he hear her so clearly? “I can’t move, please help me!” She pleaded n a strained voice. He looked around again. He could here ambulances and police cars now. “Please, anyone!” Aden looked around again before looking down. His leather jacket was covered in dust. He began wiping it off, more appeared and he looked around. “Can anybody hear me?” She screamed. Aden opened his eyes in shock. He looked around. He was lying on top of a pile of dust and debris. He raised his hands to his head and wiped off the dust covering his face. He looked around again; his right leg was trapped under a long wooden beam.

“Ah!” he moaned as he shifted slightly. Rubble bounced down the wall and fell close by him.

“Now that’s what I call a party!” He called out in a croaky voice.

“Hello,” The woman’s voice called out again. Aden looked around, “I heard you speak. Did somebody speak?” She asked eagerly. Aden raised his eyebrows. There was nobody in the area with him. “Can you hear me?” She asked.


Belle raised her hands to her head and ran her fingers through her hair,

“I’m not going to let you go to pieces when there is nothing to go to pieces about,” Geoff explained to her.

“So what are you saying? I should go in there and edit a newspaper?” She shot at him angrily.

“Put it this way, what would Spike want you to do?”

“The usual, wear tighter clothes and show more cleavage,”

“Are you going to give into that kind of rubbish?” Geoff asked her, smiling. Belle returned the smile,

“If you weren’t such a perfect friend I could like you better,” She shot back at him. Geoff laughed. “And by the way, I don’t mean that,” She added,

“I’ll get over it,” He replied, “I know you’re only calling me perfect because you’re mad at me.” Belle smiled again before looking over at the front doors of the newsroom, hoping Aden would walk in any second.


Aden lifted the wooden beam that was encasing his leg and threw it aside. More rubble fell and he looked around in fright. He sighed and pressed his arms against the wall, attempting to stand up. He groaned as he placed his right foot down. He stumbled and fell. More debris fell.

“Hello?” Asked the female voice again. Aden looked around. She sounded closer than before. “Are you there?”

“I thought I imagined you,” Aden called out in reply,

“You can hear me?” The woman asked in glee.

“I took a crack on the head, I wasn’t sure,” He replied in a similar, strained voice, “All these pink bunnies, they wouldn’t shut up,” He joked as he surveyed the area. It was almost unidentifiable; he did however notice the remains of tapes were hanging above him. “Where are you?” He called out.

“I don’t know!” She called out. Aden could hear she was close to tears,

“That’s a funny thing,” Aden explained, “That’s the same place I am,”

“I can’t move,” He heard the woman call out, “I can’t feel my legs,” Aden’s breathing increased in worry,

“Hey, listen, relax!” He called out desperately, “So you can’t feel you legs, I wake up like that all the time,” He joked as he attempted to stand up again. He grasped onto some solid debris above his head as he made his way over to where the voice was clearest,

“I can’t feel them!” She cried out again.

“Hey, is feeling your legs such a great experience, and if it is, can I feel them too?” He asked, waiting for a response, “That was a joke, not a come on,” He added when he didn’t get an answer, “No, actually, it was a come on, women are pretty scarce in this rubble,” He pointed out as he began moving pieces of concrete off of a pile he was sure the woman was under. He heard her laugh, “That’s good, you laughed,” He said, pulling a big piece away from the pile, “Laughing good. Laughing is the secret of life. Laugh, and the world,” He looked around again, “Throws record shops at you,” He finished.

“I was in a record shop,” The woman replied, sounding clear, but muffled,



“Well it’s gone downhill since then,” He joked, looking around at the rubble that must have been part of the record shop he was in. “You must be close to the surface,” he explained to the girl, “I can hear you really well, it’s kind of hollow, but really clear,”

“You’re clear too!” The woman called back,

“Flattering,” Aden joked as he pulled at a metal pipe that was on the pile of rubble, “If I could just move some of this stuff...” He began.

“Don’t touch it!” She snapped. Aden let go of the pipe. “Please don’t touch it. It’ll cave in on me!” She begged.

“No way,” Aden replied hesitantly, “There can’t be that much on top of you anyway. Just relax in there, okay.” Aden attempted to get up again, but fell back, just as before. He groaned and clasped his right leg in his arm.

“Are you okay?” The voice called out in concern. Aden grimaced as he straightened his legs out.

“Yeah, well, the good news is, my left foot is terrific.” He replied, his voice full of pain, “My left is cool, smooth and sexy, and I can feel it down their throwing smug glances at my right,”

“How is your right?”

“Let’s talk some more about my left,” He replied

“You should get your shoe off and see what the damage is,” She suggested. Aden shrugged.

“I've tried that,” He called out, “I just hate working with laces when I can hear my foot squelch, you know?” He waited for the girl to reply again, but she didn’t. “Listen, we’re both okay for the time being, and I think maybe you’re right, I think I might bring that lot down on top of you if try to move it, so I think the best thing for us to do is sit here, get relaxed and wait for the experts,”

“You make it sound like fun,” The girl shot at him softly. Aden laughed,

“I wouldn’t have come to this explosion if I hadn’t heard good things about it,” He joked.

“Well, the company’s okay,”

“The company’s great,” Aden corrected her, “So what have we got? Great company, a little bit of peace, and all the rubble we can eat,” He joked, looking around at the dirt and debris surrounding the pair. “Where could we go wrong?” He waited for an answer, but all he got was silence. “Are you okay in there?” He called out, slightly worried,

“No,” She called out. Aden could barely hear her. “I’m hurt. I can hardly breath, and my head’s spinning,” Aden’s face dropped as reality hit him. She was being crushed by all the debris on top of her.

“She, it is a party!” He called out to her. He heard her laugh again and he grimaced as reality over took him and he realised that they may never get out – alive at least.


I've also got to say, enjoy Melody while you can, because I'm having trouble fitting her into the sequel :(.

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Thanks Laura and Taniya. This chaoter isn't as funny as the others, but I intentionally made it that way...

-Chapter Forty-Five-

The Rest of My Life

Belle pushed the newsrooms double doors open forcefully and stalked in.

“Simon, I read you piece, too sentimental, toughen it up,” She called out to a reporter as she continued to walk towards her desk. “Colin, have you got those pictures yet, graphics are going to need them,” She called out to another reporter. Belle jerked her head towards Melody, whom was standing next to Ruby. She had a new pieces of paper clasped in her hands.

“There’s someone in the archives now,” Colin responded. Belle rolled her eyes,

“Well go and see what’s happened to them,” She yelled as she sat down at her desk. Colin raised his hands in defence and left the room.

“Some toughs for you,” Belle heard Melody say acidly. A few sheets of paper fell down in front of her. Belle picked them up and looked over them. “Give us a quick reaction, we need to move,”

“This one’s okay,” Belle pointed to the first one on the pile, her voice was less violent and energetic than normal.

“You know, I was thinking,” Melody waited for Belle to interject, but she didn’t, “We could give a free copy of this edition to every household with someone injured at Stewart. Maybe a years free subscription if there’s a stiff in the family,” She was desperate for Belle to show some emotion over what had happened.

“Yes on the top two, no on the last,” Belle said, throwing aside the rough drafts. Melody rolled her eyes and picked them up off of the desk.

“Think about it, won’t you,” Melody shot back. A look of anger crossed Geoff’s face.

“Me and you, in there now!” He shouted at her, gripping her shoulders and pushing her into the empty break room.

“What, Geoff?” She asked him in frustration.

“There is a strong possibility that Aden was in the vicinity of the explosion,” He shot back acidly. Melody’s face dropped and she gulped. Back at her desk, Belle was re-writing an article on of the news team had submitted.

“Belle,” She heard Melody say softly, Belle looked up from the notepad, confused. “Listen, I was just going to say, well, there’s a corner in my graphics room where you can sit with your back to everyone,” She shifted uncomfortably. “Sort of my own personal cry space, if you want to – not that I've used it myself!” She added hastily.

“I shouldn’t think I will either,” Belle replied hoarsely. Melody smiled.

“I’ll probably see you there sometime,” She replied. Belle smiled also,

“Probably,” She turned back to the notepad and continued writing,

“I’ll have some more roughs for you in twenty minutes,”

“Ten!” Belle shot back,


“They better be good,” Melody smiled before walking back to her graphics room.


“My guess is, it was a gas leak,” Aden said to the girl, I was saying to this guy just before I could smell gas, but he couldn’t. So I said it must be time for him to change his underwear,” The girl mustered a laugh. “See, you find that funny! He didn’t get it. I had to spend an hour explaining it to him, still got the diagram somewhere,” He added. He smiled as the girl continued to laugh. Suddenly, all went quiet. “Are you alright in there?”

“I’m fine,” She called back softly, “Keep talking!” She begged,

“Well anyway, the next thing, I’m at the counter, buying a tape for a friend. The shop keeper, the old guy with the moustache, he’s just ringing up the till, and I’m just realising I don’t have any money on me, then, the shop blows up! I remember thinking, what a lucky break!” He joked.

“At least you’re keeping your sense of humour,” The woman replied.

“It’s the last thing to go,” Aden grinned, “I’m told I joke when I’m nervous,”

“Who told you that?” She called out in curiosity,

“Someone,” Aden replied, “Okay, a girl,” He corrected himself, “Okay, a girl I go out with, do you have to ask so many questions?”

“Tell me about her, keep talking!”

“Well, she’s kind of, um, what can I say?” He asked himself, he found that he was close to tears now, “Well, she’s got a temper as short as a skirt, but great legs though, I’m not always sure where her heads at, but then again, I’m not always sure where my heads at. We’re great together though, we just don’t have heads!” Aden scoffed,

“Sounds interesting,” The girl called back out, almost inaudible.

“We’ve got this kind of thing together, you know?” Aden asked her, “I’m not sure what kind of thing it is, it’s just a thing thing, and it’s all still a secret anyway.” Aden looked over at the pile of rubble encasing the young girl, “I’m swearing you to secrecy, you know that?”

“What’s her name?”

“Uh... you going to have to speak up, you’re fading,” He shouted.

“What’s her name?”

“Okay, I’ll tell you,” He replied, “But this is secret information, okay? Her name’s Belle. Belle Taylor.”

“You must be Aden Jeffreys!” The girl cried out. Aden raised his eyebrows in confusion, “I’m Celeste Bryan. I’m in year eleven at Summer Bay High,”

“Celeste Bryan?” Aden asked in disbelief, “The blond with the walk?”

“Well, I’m blond!” She laughed in response.

“I don’t believe this!” Aden exclaimed, “Celeste Bryan! Do either of your hips know what affect they’re having on people? I mean, I just keep going to the wrong class just following them!” He grinned, “Celeste Bryan, this is just amazing! I wish we’d met under better circumstances, instead of under an office block.” Aden paused for a moment. He could hear something form above, it sounding like a jackhammer or something. He waited for Celeste to respond, “Celeste, you’re coming and going on me! What’s wrong?” He called out to the blond girl.

“Aden,” She called out softly,


“I don’t think I’m okay,” Aden felt his heart plummet as tears threatened to escape from him.


Up on the roof of a nearby building, Lucas and Ruby were standing. Lucas had his camera pressed up against the wire protection barrier. Ruby was leaning against it, a look of horror on her face.

“It’s funny, isn’t it,” She said to Lucas, not turning away from the smouldering building, “Actually, it isn’t funny at all,” She corrected her self, “We’re standing up here, hardly any distance from people who are dead and dying,” Lucas turned to face the upset girl, a look of compassion on his face, “And we’re perfectly safe. We’re snapping pictures and writing words, and tonight we’ll go home an tell our parents all about it,” If Lucas didn’t know any better, he’d assume Ruby was disgusted at Belle for making them do this, “How exciting it was. It’s just something happening to those little people down there. I ought to care more. I can’t write it,” She said, throwing her notepad down onto the floor. “I don’t know how to write it,”

“Just write about what you’re feeling,” Lucas reassured her. “She wanted a mood piece,” He added.


Aden threw a large rock from the pile aside and grabbed another,

“Do you feel anything?” He called out to Celeste in desperation, “Just let me know when you feel anything!”

“Aden,” Celeste’s voice sounding clear yet hollow, like always, “Will you stop?” He pulled a few more rocks away. “I can’t feel anything. I don’t think you’re even close,”

“I must be!” Aden called out, pulling a few more rock away, “I can hear you really...” His face fell. In front of him was a large, hollow, ceramic tube plunging down to where Celeste most likely was. “Celeste, say something!” He called down the pipe,

“Say what, Aden?” She asked, her voice coming from the pipe. Aden felt a few tears fall down his cheeks.

“You know, I think you could be right,” He said sadly, “I think you could be a lot deeper than you sound, maybe it’d be better...” He broke off, unsure of what to say, “How’re you feeling in there?” he called out in his distinct American accent,

“I don’t hurt so much,” Celeste replied softly,

“Well, that’s good,” Aden called back down to her, “That’s good,” He gulped back a few tears,

“Talk to me, Aden” Celeste pleaded, “It gets very lonely when you’re quiet.” Aden could hear that she was also crying. Aden inhaled sharply, struggling to hold back the tears that had been threatening to escape him,

“A lot of people say that to me,” He joked in a shaky voice, “They say, ‘you’ve gotta talk more! You’ve got to consider others!’” he picked up a rock and began throwing it up in the air and catching it, “Are you sure you’re okay in there?” He asked her,

“I’m okay, so long as you’re talking,” Celeste responded, she was no longer crying now, which made Aden feel slightly better, “How long can you keep talking?” Aden gulped again,

“Hey, you’re talking to an expert talker!” He joked, a single tear falling down his already tear-streaked face. “The question is, how long can you keep listening?”

“For the rest of my life.”


“Belle, quickly!” Geoff called out as he emerged from Angelo’s office,

“What?” Belle asked as she rose from her desk and sprinted over to him,

“Good news,” The deputy editor replied, “Question, who can you drop a building on and it wouldn’t stop them talking?” The pair entered Angelo’s office,

“They’re working their way down, they can hear a guy talking non-stop in an American accent,” Drew told the editor. He was sitting next to Angelo.

“They can even hear him moving, it’s gotta be Spike,” Angelo added. Belle’s face lit up,

“He’s in there?” Belle asked, “He’s really in there?”

“Yeah, and he’s going to be okay!” Geoff said eagerly,

“But he could be hurt!”

“He’s alive, and he’s talking,”

“And he’s moving around,” Angelo said, desperate to enter the conversation, “That’s a good sign, trust me,”

“They’ve got to get him out!” Belle said, almost hysterically,


“They’ve got to get him out of there!” She screamed,

“It’s alright Belle,” Geoff said, placing his hand on her shoulder, “They’re nearly through, he’s going to be okay,” Geoff reassured her. Belle turned to the radio and listened to what was being said.

“They’re nearly through to him,” A masculine voice called out, “One more layer they say, they can hear him moving about but he’s stopped talking,”


“It’s a pity you’re late guys,” Aden said softly to the rescue team, tears were falling down his cheeks, “You missed one hell of a nice girl.”



“Spike!” Belle called out as she ran up to him. He was walking on the grass near Northern Districts Hospital, his right leg was in a small cast and a cane was in his right hand.

“Hi boss!” Aden said, turning to face her,

“Are you supposed to be out here?”

“The first thing she says to me, ‘keep off the grass!’”

“I didn’t mean that!”

“I know,” He replied apologetically. “I just can’t stand rooms with roofs on them,” He announced after a moment of silence, “Or in ‘em,” He added,

“You know I've been trying to get into see you all week,” Belle said soothingly, “I made quite a fuss,”

“Yeah, I know, I could hear you from two floors up!” Belle grinned.

“How’s the foot?” She asked,

“One of a pair,” He shot back with a smile,

“Same ol’ Spike,” Belle grinned again. Aden’s face fell.

“No,” He said, shaking his head. Belle looked at him in concern. “They got her out in the end. You know?” Aden asked his girlfriend after a moment of awkward silence. “It was too late. Bled to death while I was talking to her.” Silence followed and Aden looked down, “How can that happen?” He asked, looking back up at her, “How can that be right?”

“For what it’s worth, the ‘L’ word,” Belle smiled. Aden also smiled weakly,

“I ‘L’ you too,” He replied. Belle grinned again. “We’ve gotta get better at saying that Belle,”

“How about anagrams?”

“I ‘vole’ you?”

“Me too!” Belle shot back and both of them smiled. Aden’s face dropped again.

“I’d never actually spoken to her at school,” He told his girlfriend, “I’d seen her, I knew who she was, but I never actually spoke to her,” Belle watched her boyfriend in interest, in the entire four years Belle had known him, well, the entire four years he had been in Australia, Belle had never seen him this torn up over something, “We’d never even really met, but I feel like I’d known her...” He broke off as tears threatened to fall again.

“Forever, right?” Belle suggested. Aden shook his head, “For years?”

“For the rest of my life.”


EDIT: I've finished all the names on the list!

Jessica - 9/1

Rebecca - 26/1

Todd - 24/1

Luke - 16/1

Lincoln - 18/1

Charlotte - 24/1

Rhys - 23/1

Bobby - 23/1

Celeste - 28/1

Sharni - 15/1

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Glad to know that you aren't getting bored of this fic! Here's the next update, it's quite jumpy, full of witty banter and is here for no apparent reason :P. Also, as you don't seem to be bored just yet, I was thinking of doing little fics to expand on things that have been mentioned, like the pink rabbit suit, and the half ping-pong balls. What do you think?

-Chapter Forty-Six-

Yesterday’s News; Part One

“Hello!” Belle said, picking up the telephone that was on the desk near her bed. She didn’t get an answer, “Hello!” She said, slightly sharper, she still didn’t get an answer, “Geoff, this isn’t you phoning with your mouth full, is it?” She snapped into the telephone with a grin, “Chew on your own time!” She waited fro Geoff to respond to that, “Geoff?” She asked in curiosity when nobody answered. Moments later she heard the dial tone again. She raised an eyebrow before placing the phone back down. The phone began to ring again, but Belle was already halfway down the stairs.


Geoff picked up the Coastal Junior’s red phone and placed it to his ear,

“Oh, hi Mel!” He exclaimed, “How’s Melbourne?” He smiled, “What?” He asked, looking over at Belle, “”Well, she’s wearing like a green top thing and a blue skirt with white dot things all over it,” Belle looked up from the filing cabinet she was going through and gave Geoff a dirty look. Geoff pulled the phone away from his ear as Melody burst into a fit of laughter. “Anytime Mel,” He said back into the phone before hanging up. “Melody says hi,” Geoff said nervously to the editor, she rolled her eyes and stalked off.


Aden pushed the double doors of the newsroom open and walked in; he still had a slight limp. He was wearing a brown trench coat, a black bowler hat and was carrying an Ashwood cane.

“It was one of those days when you wake up in the morning and gotta go right back to sleep from the effort,” He called out to the entire news team. A few people grinned at him, and others laughed, “It was one of those days when you turn up at the newsroom after a week and a half of being in a hospital, and hope people will notice you’re wearing a silly hat,”

“Hey, he’s wearing a silly hat,” Annie called out as she walked in from the corridor,

“I got lucky!” Aden replied, patting the girl gently on the back, “The newsroom was pretty much like I remembered it,” He began, walking through some desks, “A bunch of mean eyed guys who looked like they knew how to use a typewriter, and a bunch of cool looking broads who looked like they knew how to use a guy,” A few more people laughed as Aden sat down on the edge of Ruby’s desk, “And everywhere, the feint smell of a dirty raincoat,” He added, Ruby grinned, “I can’t figure out why, but that smell is everywhere I go,” He shrugged. Ruby laughed before standing up from her desk. She walked over to the graphics room. “The chicks were looking good, the blonds! The brunettes! Although, the brunettes, they could have been redheads, they didn’t make this kind of movie in colour!” He paused for a few people to laugh again, “It was a hard day, I had been following this guy all over town, but I lost him when he heard me talking to myself. You know, anymore days this bad and I’m going to have to go back to doing voiceovers for detective movies!”

“They let you out?” Belle called out, she was standing next to Ruby out the front of the graphics room. Aden walked over to her,

“She was a cool broad,” He shrugged, “She had a warmer side, unfortunately, this was it,” Belle could swear she could hear Melody laughing all the way from Melbourne,

“I can’t imagine any hospital as regarding this as finished work,” She shot back at him,

“Are you kidding? I got a fan letter from my surgeon!” He announced, grinning broadly, “There were people lining up at the operating room for my kidneys!”

“So,” Belle said, looking around the newsroom awkwardly, “Your back?”

“Yeah, I’m back,”

“I would have baked a cake, but I didn’t,”

“Yeah, I figured that was the reason,”

“Well,” Belle muttered,

“Ah, yeah,” Aden replied, looking at his girlfriend,


“Yeah, me too,”


“Absolutely!” Belle and Aden turned to face the news team; they were all looking at the pair in eagerness and amusement,

“Okay everyone, the cabaret’s over, back to work!” She shouted at them before walking back into the graphics room.

“Hi Drew!” Aden said, hobbling over to his friend, he was standing with Kenny and Danny, “Kenny, Danny,” He said in acknowledgement,

“We’d like a word, Spike,” Drew said, Aden looked around and saw more and more members of the news team crowd around him,

“Just one?” He asked them nervously, “But guys, I have so many!”

“About Belle,” Danny informed the American, “And about what’s been happening since you’ve been away,”

“And what we’re going to do about it now you’re back,” Kenny added,

“Look, can we all please remember that Belle is still the boss around here, and a personal friend of mine,” Geoff interjected from his desk. He stood up and walked over to the group.

“Are you guys hearing the man?” Aden asked, pointing to the deputy editor,

“So let’s take him outside where she can’t hear us!” Aden watched as he was lifted off his feet and was carried to the corridor near the entrance.



“What are you thinking about?” Belle asked her slightly distracted boyfriend as they walked down the street to her house,

“I was wondering why you don’t reorganise the work rosters back,” Aden told her as they continued walking, “So the guys doing on street reporting have fixed working hours instead of open ended shifts. It’s unfair in comparison to the fixed working hours of the writing team,”

“Well, at least it wasn’t another woman!”

“What do you think?” Aden suggested, Belle’s eyes widened in mock shock,

“You’re bringing me in on this?” She asked the American, Aden nodded. “Well, I think it’s an amazing idea...”


“...that you would suddenly take such interest in office organisation.” Belle stopped walking and turned around so that she was facing Aden. She threw her arms over his shoulders,

“Well, it’s kind of a new found maturity,” He admitted with a smile, “You’re so good for me, Belle,”

“Have I got this right, Spike,” Belle began,

“So far it’s good!” He exclaimed, moving in to kiss her. Belle pulled her head away from his,

“Some of the guys at the office pull you out into the corridor,” She continued before moving in and kissing him gently on the nose, “Then they tell you that since you’ve been away I've changed all the work schedules, and they want you to use your, how shall I put it?” Belle paused to think of an appropriate word, “Influence, with me to shift it all back. Is that about right, Spike, darling?”

“I don’t know,” Aden admitted, easing Belle’s tightening grip around his neck with his elbows, “I got confused after you kissed my nose,

“Come with me!” Belle demanded, grabbing Aden’s hand tightly and pulling him up to her front door,

“Where are we going?” Aden asked the editor,

“This way,” She explained, pulling out her keys,

“Is this going to be fun?”

“Lots of fun!”

“Fun where I have to take off my jacket?” Belle pushed the door open and walked in. Aden pressed his shoulder up against the door frame,


“And my shoes?”

“Stand right there,” Belle pointed to an area of the door frame, Aden shrugged and walked to the area,

“Here?” He asked,

“That’s exactly right,” She answered.

“It’s not fun so far,”


“Yeah,” A look of anger crossed Belle’s face as she slammed the door in Aden’s face with all her might.


“You’re overreacting!” Aden moaned through a payphone.

“Don’t you ever do that again!” Belle shouted at him angrily,

“Do what? Take my face away before you can put a door in it?”

“I’m editor of the Coastal Junior; I’m also your girlfriend. Those are two separate facts,” Aden nodded,

“I know, I counted,” He replied dryly.

“You are not the easy route to me for every clown in the newsroom with a stupid gripe!”

“Those ‘clowns’ have a fair point, Belle,”

“Then why can’t they find a fair way to make it?” She asked him, slamming to phone down angrily.



“What fair point?” Belle asked Aden through the telephone,

“That it’s just as though going out and finding the stories as it is to write them,” He informed the girl, “So be as fair with the working hours,”

“I know its hard finding stories!” Belle snapped angrily,

“Do you?”

“Of course I do!” Her voice was full of anger, and Aden could sense it.



“How do you know Belle?” Aden snapped back, desperate to reason with the girl, “You never actually do it. I mean, you fly a mean desk boss, but how often have you gone out and investigated a story yourself?” Belle listened intently to what Aden was saying, “How often have you done all the legwork? You know, smiled politely on all the doorsteps. Actually tracked down the story by yourself? How often have you done that Belle, huh?” Aden rolled his eyes as he heard the dial tone – Belle had hung up on him again. Disappointed, he placed the phone down on the receiver.



“I’ll get it dad!” Aden called out, flicking the light on as he bounded down the stairs, “Don’t wake up or anything, it’s probably just an emergency or something,” He reached across and picked up the ringing telephone, “Hello, hi!” He shouted lively,

“Seven times,” He heard Belle say, Aden raised an eyebrow in confusion,


“I've tracked down seven stories on my own; I did two with Geoff where I clinched the final story break and one with Ruby where I did five more interviews than her.” Belle shot at him proudly,

“Belle, you’re the most insanely competitive person I've ever met!” Aden snapped back, “And knowing you, you’re probably trying to be,” He added as he rubbed his eyes with his fists.

“No I’m not!” Belle replied,

“You are,”

“Am not,”

“You are!”

“Am not!”

“Belle, do you feel as though you have to win this conversation?” Aden grinned as he waited for the girl to respond,

“No,” She replied almost instantly, “But I could,” Aden laughed. He heard the dial tone again. This was the third time she had hung up on him today – possibly a new record.

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Thanks :). Here's the next chapter, with subtle jabs at what will happen in the final few chapters...

-Chapter Forty-Seven-

Yesterday’s News; Part Two

“Right!” Belle shouted to herself as she stormed into the newsroom angrily. She stalked up the corridor and pushed the double doors open. A few people looked over at her, but looked away again in disinterest. She continued walking until she reached Geoff’s desk. She pulled his notepad out from his desk drawer and picked up a pen from his desk. Belle jumped as she heard Melody’s laugh again and looked around, hoping to see the blond girl so she could brutally wound her. To her disappointment, she saw Geoff standing with the telephone held almost a foot from his ear.

“Mel says hi,” He whimpered as he hung the phone up.

“Belle!” Belle looked up from her desk; Aden had just walked into the newsroom, “I think maybe you and I should...”

“Could everyone just listen please?” She called out to her news team, ignoring Aden,

“Actually, could you all hang on one minute,” Aden yelled, “Belle and I have to talk,”

“Spike and I do not have to talk, so will you please listen?” She shot back, Aden rolled his eyes,

“Sorry guys, this is just kind of a personal thing,” He apologised to the amused staff members,

“This isn’t a personal thing,”

“It is personal,”

“Spike may be being personal, but I am not being personal,”

“She is, you know,” Belle scoffed and turned to face him, a look of anger on her face,

“Do we have to include the entire newsroom in any little fight we have?” She asked. Ruby and Geoff grinned at each other,

“Let’s take a vote,” They said in unison. Belle shot them a dirty look, and both their smiles fell.

“Okay everyone, I have an announcement!” She called out, “Now, a number of people have been complaining that I don’t appreciate the problems of street reporting,” She shot a glance over at Aden, who shrugged in agreement, “In fact, it has been implied that I’m not capable to do the odd spot of street reporting myself, and like any good leader, I don’t believe in asking anyone to do what I am not prepared to do, so, Geoff, you’re in charge until I say you’re not. Ruby, you take over as assistant editor until further notice, Rebecca, you help Ruby with features. I, for the moment, am going on street reporting,” She turned away from her shock staff and towards her desk,

“Belle, I really don’t think this is a good idea,” Geoff admitted. Belle turned to face him and shot him an angry look,

“If I say you’re in charge, you’re in charge!” Belle shouted at him,

“Yes boss,” Geoff replied drearily.

“So come on Geoff, take over! Sit at my desk!” She pointed her finger viciously at her chair. Geoff rolled his eyes and obeyed. He walked cautiously towards her and pulled the chair out. He looked up at Belle, slightly scared before sitting down. Belle smiled at him before turning to Ruby,

“Ruby,” She shot, pointing at the now-vacant deputy editor’s desk. Ruby looked up at Rebecca before sitting at Geoff’s desk. “Right, run the newsroom,” Belle said, pleased. Geoff and Ruby looked up at the girl,

“What d’you mean ‘run it’?” Geoff asked,

“Belle, this is getting really dumb,” Aden told her. Belle ignored this,

“I mean, assign me to a story!” She answered, “I’m available, give me work,”

“All the stories are assigned, you know that,” Ruby told the brunette. Belle nodded,

“Yeah, but I also know we’re not getting anywhere on the school meals thing,”


“Remind me, it’s a good little number that. Don’t we have a tip that the outside caterers are deliberately using food past its used-by date just to save money? Nice little scandal if we can get it. So, who is responsible for dragging their feet on our juiciest lead?”

“Aden,” Geoff called out. Belle grinned and walked over to her boyfriend. She looked him in the eyes and gave him a menacing look,

“Geoff, put me on the school meals story,” Belle called out,

“Spike’s already on it,” He told her again,

“Put me on it as well. Let’s see who breaks it first,”

“Belle, I do need to talk to you,” He whispered. Belle shrugged and turned her back on him.

“Sorry Spike, I’m busy right now,” She shot at him before walking away.


Belle leant across her desk and picked up the telephone, she placed it to her ear.

“Hello,” No response, “Hello? Who is this?” Belle pulled the phone away from her ear and looked at it in confusion – it had been yet another hang-up.


Aden looked down at the phone in his hand, debating whether or not to call his girlfriend. He sighed before placing it down again.


“Hi guys!” Aden shouted out as he pushed the doors to the newsroom open, “I’m here and looking lethal, and you know that I know it, so, throw your underwear, blow kisses,” He looked up at the sound of maniacal laughter. Geoff had a laugh bag positioned in front of the red telephone; Belle was standing next to him, her arms folded across her chest in satisfaction, a smug grin on her face.

“Belle says bye,” He told Melody before placing the phone back down on the receiver.

“Hey, don’t tell me, it was somebody you beat at Scrabble when you were seven?” Aden asked her. Geoff broke into laughter, and Belle punched his shoulder.

“Sorry boss,” He said, walking away. He pressed the laugh bag again, and maniacal laughter filled the room – Belle couldn’t tell who it was, the machine, or Geoff.

“It was Mel,” Belle told the American. Aden shrugged,

“Right,” He laughed. Belle pulled her jacket open.

“Spike, look at this skirt. It goes with the top, doesn’t it?” She asked. Aden studied it for a moment.

“Who’s top?” He asked, a look of disappointment crossed the teenaged girls face, “Boss, remind me, we’re competing, but are we still fighting?”

“Well, I’m doing brilliantly,” Belle announced, pulling a notepad out of her pocket, ignoring Aden’s question, “I've got a major lead. How are you doing?”


“Well, at least you’re honest,”

“Well, what’s life when you can’t look at yourself in the eye and say ‘hey! I used to have two of those!’”

“I’m really going to show you this time!” Belle gloated, hugging the notepad, “I've got the story break right here!”

“You reckon?”

“Definitely, this is the clincher,” Aden smirked and dug his hand into his pocket. He pulled out a notepad.

“All I've got is the name of some woman who used to work on the kitchen staff, got fired, seems she started the rumour in the first place,” The smile faded from Belle’s face as she closed the notepad. “Not much to go on, I admit. What have you got?”



“Nothing?” Aden smirked as he pulled the notepad out of the brunette’s hands.

“Beth Hunter, 33 Saxon Avenue,” Aden smirked at the look on Belle’s face. “That’s an amazing coincidence!”

“I happen to think that’s a very important piece of information!” She snapped, snatching the notepad out of her boyfriend’s hands.

“You’re such a civilian, boss,” He smirked before walking towards Angelo’s office.

“Well, I would have thought it was good if you found it out!” She called after him,

“I did find it out!” He called back,

“Well, it’s very good then!” Aden smirked as he entered the office. Angelo and Lucas were sitting in front of a computer, typing up a new advertisement,

“Angelo, have you got those street maps? I have to find 33 Saxon Avenue,”


Belle flopped down at Aden’s desk and threw her notepad down in anger. She turned around and looked at Angelo’s office door – and then it hit her.


“Can I use your backdoor?” The boy asked Angelo. He nodded,

“I’ll put it in the book, just pay me when you can,” Aden scoffed.

“Well, don’t do anything against your religion, Angelo!”

“We’re mates, right?” Aden rolled his eyes and pushed the door open using the switch Angelo had installed – it looked like a ceramic model of the Empire State Building.

“How’s your love life?” Lucas called out to Aden with a grin.

“This is it,” He said, pointing to the backdoor.

“Oh, I didn’t know Belle took it up the...”


Aden smirked as he walked around to the front of the building – a taxi was parked in front of it,

“Wait up!” He shouted. He pulled the door open. “33 Saxon...”

“Avenue,” Belle finished. Aden’s jaw dropped in shock, before he smirked and climbed in. They were silent for most of the journey. In fact, Aden stared at her most of the way. She looked at him, struggling not to laugh,

“You’re going to laugh!” He exclaimed,

“No I’m not!”

“Look at me when you say that,”

“No!”’Your shoulders are shaking,”

“No they’re not,”

‘Driver, could you check your mirror please, I think my girlfriend’s gonna laugh,” Belle turned to face him,

“Why would I be laughing?” She asked. “You haven’t even tried to kiss me yet,”

“That’s true, I haven’t,” He acknowledged. He turned to the driver, “Driver, could you keep your eyes on the road?” Belle grinned as Aden leant across her and placed his lips on hers.


“Oy!” The driver shouted as he pulled into the driveway of 33 Saxon Avenue.

“Oh, yeah, sorry right!” Aden said, pulling away from Belle,

“Sorry, we were just, um...” Belle began,

“Yeah, that’s right,” Aden agreed,

“Yeah, that’s what we were doing,” Belle said before coughing, “So, how much do I owe you?”

“Leave it just now, I’ll invoice you later,” Aden laughed. Belle hit him over the head with her notepad.


“I think you dislocated my jaw!” Aden said, pressing the doorbell of Beth Hunter’s house,

“Don’t exaggerate,” Belle demanded.

“Do you have any of my teeth in your mouth?” The door opened and Belle and Aden stood upright. A plump lady had answered the door – she was in her mid-forties, and was wearing a costume that looked like it had come right out of a Mother Goose fairy take,

“Hi,” Aden said,

“Hello, we’re from the Coastal Junior,” Belle added, “Could we talk to you for a minute?” Beth nodded and moved out of the way, letting the teenagers enter.


Belle and Aden looked around cautiously – the whole house was crawling with children, the moved into the living room and sat down,

“Would you like some Atomic Bomb Cakes?” Beth asked them, the teenagers looked up and saw what looked to be ice-cream, wafters and caramel all heaped together in the shape of a rocket. “They’re for Noah’s party,” She added. Belle and Aden nodded and took a cake each.

“Great thanks!” Aden said enthusiastically,

“You’re too kind,” Belle added, looking down at the horrendous cake. Half an hour later, the three were in deep conversation.

“So you’re certain the food you were supplied with was past its sell-by date?” Belle asked the woman,

“Yes, well I happened to notice something, every time the food was past its used-by date,” Belle’s face lightened up as she wrote down the information she was being told, “There was the same signature on the blue form, ‘JP Aquila’,”

“So you think this Aquila guy has something to do with this all. Aden turned his head and saw a young kid blow into a blow-tickler,

“Not now, Noah!” Beth demanded.

“Have you met Aquila, Mrs. Hunter?” Belle asked,

“I haven’t, no, and the strange this is, I phoned in to speak to him once, to speak about all of this, and no one at his firm had met him either,” Belle and Aden glanced at each other,

“Yeah, but surely her works there!” Aden said,

“Apparently he works for one of the food suppliers, and they don’t even know if it’s a he, it could be a woman,” Beth explained.

“So he or she is just a signature on a form,” Aden said,

“And it’s always Aquila’s signature on the form when the food’s past its sell-by date?” Belle asked, Beth nodded,

“That’s it exactly,” She agreed,

“Mrs. Hunter, one last question, do you feel you were sacked because of this discovery you made?” Belle asked her,

“No dear, it was because I kept mixing custard in with the potatoes,” Belle and Aden glanced across at each other nervously.

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Thanks Taniy and Laura :). It doesn't matter if you missed the clue, you'll find out what it was in this chapter...

-Chapter Forty-Eight-

Yesterday’s News; Part Three

“So, what do you think?” Aden asked Belle as they sat in a booth at the diner, “Should we call it a draw?”

“Not while I’m still breathing,” Belle joked. Aden rolled his eyes.

“Well, this story’s dead,” He muttered, “I wouldn’t trust Beth Hunter as far as I could throw her little friend, Noah,” Belle giggled,

“The competition was the first one to break the story,” Belle reminded him, Aden scoffed.

“Well it just broke, in half,” He added, Belle smirked, Aden leaned in towards his girlfriend, “Anyway, there’s something else I wanna talk about,”

“What?” Belle asked him curiously. Aden looked away from her, “What is it, Spike?”

“I think I've got something I need to say to you,” He told her seriously,

“What? Is something wrong?”



“First, I think we need more coffee,” Aden stood up from the chair and walked over to the counter,

“I don’t!” Belle shouted after him,

“I do,” He replied. Belle scoffed and turned away from him,

“Spike,” She said after a moment, she stood up and turned around, Aden was nowhere to be seen. She noticed that the door to the staff exit was moving slightly. Belle walked over to it,

“Sorry, love, you can’t go that way,” The red-headed owner told her,

“But my friend just did!” Belle shot at her, the red-head turned to the other woman behind the counter, she looked to be of Greek origin,

“I don’t think so, love,” She replied with a laugh. Belle rolled her eyes,

“You know what he’s doing, don’t you?” She asked the older woman,


“He’s working on the story! He’s slipped out of here and he’s working on the story!” Belle turned away and ran out the front entrance, “Right!” She shouted to herself.


Aden sat in front of the telephone, debating whether or not he should call Belle – it was after two o’clock in the morning after all. Slowly, he picked up the phone and placed it to his ear. He pressed in Belle’s phone number. Before it had a chance to ring, he hung up. Slowly, he rose from the floor where he had been sitting and picked up a manila folder with the words “School Meals” written across it. He pulled out one of the invoices and looked at the signature – ‘JP Aquila’.


Belle pushed the door to Rockwell’s Catering Service open and walked up to the receptionist,

“Hello, I’d like to see your managing director,” She told the blond woman, “I’m JP Aquila.” The woman nodded and pointed to a door at the end of a corridor. Belle nodded and walked up to it, she pushed it open, “I’m JP Aquila,” She announced. The managing director was around fifty and was balding.

“Do you realise your firm is putting ours in a very awkward position, Ms. Aquila?” He asked her, Belle nodded,

“You’re referring to the food we supplied that was past it’s sell-by date?” She asked him,

“Of course I am!” He shot back angrily. Belle nodded, That contract was very important to our company, Ms. Aquila, and could you imaging what would happen if the newspapers got hold of this story?” Belle grinned,

“I have been imagining that, actually,” She said,

“It’s be an absolute disaster!”

“Well, just be careful who you talk to,” Belle told him. The director nodded. “Now, Mr. Rockwell, to what extent were you aware that this food was past it’s sell-by date?” She asked him after a moment of silence,

“That’s a very strange question!” Mr. Rockwell told the woman,

“I’m just trying to get things straight,” Belle informed him, “Now, tell me, did you actually...” There was a knock on the office’s door,

“Yes!” Mr. Rockwell called out. The blond secretary pushed the door open,

“There’s someone for you, Mr. Rockwell,” She told him,

“Tell them to wait for a minute!” He shouted at her,

“But it’s JP Aquila!”

“Roderick, it’s nice to meet you at last!” Aden said, walking into the room, Belle’s jaw dropped, as did the directors, “I’m JP Aquila,”

“So am I!” Belle exclaimed, standing up from her seat,

“That’s right, so is she!” Aden nodded,

“What?” Roderick Rockwell asked the pair in confusion,

“We’re both JP Aquila!” Aden told him,

“Aquilas,” Belle corrected him, Aden nodded,

“Oh, yeah, right,” Aden agreed.

“We both just happen to work for the same firm, in the same job, and have the same name!” Belle told the confused man,

“It’s quite a coincidence, really,” Aden said,

“Yeas, it is, actually,” Belle agreed,

“I thought so,” Aden added,

“Something rather odd is going on here!” Mr. Roderick shouted over the top of them,

“There is?” Aden asked, “Is there anything we can help you with?”

“You’re both JP Aquila?” He asked,

“Aquilas,” Aden corrected him,

“JP Aquila being someone I've been trying to arrange to appear here at this office for months now, always unsuccessfully, and now I have two of you?” He asked,

“Well, I hope that makes up for the time you’ve been waiting,” Belle told him cheerfully. Roderick shook his head,

“Yes, and I now recall I spoke to JP Aquila once on the telephone, and his voice didn’t sound like either of yours!” Aden and Belle glanced at each other,

“Well, actually...” Aden began, looking across at his girlfriend nervously, “I think there might be another JP Aquila at our firm,”

“What?” Belle asked in shock,

“Someone else called JP Aquila?” Roderick asked him,

“I think so,” Aden agreed.

“Who?” Mr. Rockwell demanded. Aden looked across at Belle again,

“Well, JP Aquila,” He told the frustrated man,

“Mr. Rockwell, I’m absolutely sure that there are only two JP Aquilas at our firm, so you must be mistaken, now, could we please get back down to business?” There was another knock at the door and the blond secretary walked in,

“There’s another one outside!” She exclaimed,

“What?” He asked,

“Another JP Aquila!” She shouted. Aden and Belle glanced at each other in shock,

“Rod, I don’t believe it!” Angelo said, pushing into the office, “The food I supplied you with was out of date,” Roderick looked from Angelo to Belle to Aden, “Who can you trust now days? I mean I was assured...” Angelo looked over at Aden and Belle, “Both these people have a record of severe mental illness, please don’t listen to a word they might have said,”

“Angelo, are you JP Aquila?” Belle asked her financial manager,

“And have you been supplying food past its sell-by date to these caterers?” Aden added,

“Well, a bit,” The Italian replied,

“What exactly is going on here?” Roderick asked the three. They ignored him,

“You mean a member of my staff is responsible for the story we’re investigating?” Belle asked him angrily,

“Kind of a plus that, really,” Angelo said nervously,

“Story?” Roderick shot in again. Belle turned back towards the older man,

“Mr. Rockwell, you’re in luck, I think this is one scandal we can’t afford to uncover,” She shot at him. She glared back over at Angelo intently.


Belle picked up her phone and placed it against her ear,

“Hello?” She asked as she threw away her notepad – she wouldn’t be needing it now. There was no answer. “Who is this?” She asked, there was still no answer, “Hello! Who is this?” She asked again.

“Hi,” She heard Aden say,

“Oh, hi Spike, listen, I've had a look through this file, I don’t think we can salvage much from this, and what do you think I should do with Angelo? I was thinking of leaving his body to science starting from tomorrow.” She told him.

“Belle, I need to talk to you,” He informed her, sounding serious, “Urgently,” he added,


“Meet me at the newsroom,” He hung up. Belle looked at the phone in her hand before placing it back down on the receiver again, a look of concern present on her face.


Aden sat on his desk, waiting for Belle to come in. He was planning what he was going to say to her. He heard the sound of the double doors creak open, and he turned to face the brunette.

“Spike?” She asked calmly. He didn’t respond. Slowly, she walked over to him. “Spike, what’s wrong?” She asked him timidly,

“Nothing maybe, everything probably,” He told her, a tear rolling down the side of his face,

“What?” Belle asked him in concern,

“You know, it’s been a whole two weeks since a local office building dropped in on me at my favourite record store,” Aden explain, “I could have died Belle, I nearly died. And I sat there, and I talked to somebody who did die. And you know, not once have you asked me about it. Not once,”

“Spike, I didn’t know this was going on in you. Why didn’t you say?” Belle asked him.

“I shouldn’t have to,” He told her, another tear rolling down his cheek.

“But you’ve been your normal self!” Belle said, a tear rolling down her own cheek, “Laughing, joking...”

“Drowning,” Aden added. Belle was taken aback by that statement. “Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk to you about,” He told the girl, “Look, I’m trying to get through this quick, because I’m about to make the biggest damn fool of myself ever, so don’t say anything, just listen, okay?”


“Just... you’ll get your turn,” He shot at her, “Give me mine. You know, when you’re figuring that you might die, and talking to someone who’s doing just that, certain things become a lot clearer to you, you know. Like, what you’re going to miss when you’re gone,” He looked over at Belle. “What you really care about. Look, what it comes down to is this: I love you Belle, I mean, I really love you. You know, it’s the whole deal, the works, forever, everything, right? And that kind of brings me around to an obvious question, and because I’m trying to get through this quickly, could you give me a speedy reply?”

“I care about you,” Belle told him, “ A lot,”

“I love you Belle,” Aden repeated. Belle looked at him, taken aback,

“You’re very, very important to me,” She said timidly,

“I love you!” He waited for Belle to reply. Tears were beginning to fall down her cheeks,

“I’m sorry,” She apologised, shaking her head. Aden looked away from her, heartbroken.

“Yeah, so I figured!” He said angrily as he stood up from his desk. Belle blinked back a few tears. Aden pulled his tape reorder out of his pocket and flung it down onto the desk, followed by his Coastal Junior badge. Belle watched as he walked over to the double doors of the newsroom. “Well, what do you know boss, we’re yesterday’s news!” He pushed the doors open and walked out. Belle couldn’t help it as tears began falling down her face. Slowly, she fell to the floor, her sobs getting louder.

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Thanks Jody, Laura and Taniya :). This chapter is very Geoff heavy, but I think you'll like it...

-Chapter Forty-Nine-

Belle Taylor’s Newsroom

Geoff walked up to the entrance of the newsroom and stared at the sign on the door – Trespassers Will Be Exterminated. He grinned before walking in, ready for the onslaught of unhappy workers.


“So I gave her the article yesterday, right,” A female member of the news team said, she was in tears, “And she says it’s fine, she says it’s really good. And then do you know what she does? She goes and gives it to Michelle, my best friend right, and tells her to re-write it. And then do you know what happens?” Geoff shook his head as the girl pulled another tissue out of the box, “My boyfriend phones me up and dumps me,” She began sobbing louder and Geoff passed her over another tissue.

“Geoff!” He heard a male member of the news team call out.


“Look guys, what are we talking about?” He asked two members of the news team. In their hands was a typewriter. “A typewriter.”

“Today’s my turn to use it. I've got two stories to do!” The smaller of the two moaned,

“Not on my machine, you don’t!” The other one shot back,

“Look, can I give you both a tip?” Geoff asked them, “Typewriters, don’t get involved with them. They’ll just use you til you’re dry, and then they’ll just throw you aside. They don’t care, not typewriters. Not your portables, not your electrics, not your standard desktop manuals, not none of them!” He exclaimed, “Have you ever seen a typewriter cry? No, and why not? Because they’re hard guys, they’re hard all the way through. It’s a fact that ten major world conflicts have been caused by typewriters alone!”

“Geoff!” He heard Annie call out from her desk.


“Of course the Junior page isn’t undervalued,” Geoff told the upset girl, “The Junior page ups our sales! We’ve got the figures to prove it,”

“Then why does Ruby get every decent story for pre-teens?” Annie asked, looking over at the brunette angrily,

“That isn’t true,” Geoff told her. Annie rolled her eyes.

“It is, features get everything Geoff!” She moaned.

“Just to let you know Geoff, I’m quitting,” Melody told the overworked deputy editor. Geoff moaned and got up to follow her.

“Mel, hang on!” He called out after her.

“Geoff, you’re supposed to be talking to me!” Annie cried.

“Geoff!” Geoff looked around and saw Ruby was holding the red phone in her hands. “It’s for you.”


“Hi,” Belle said to her friend through the telephone. Geoff sat down at his desk,

“Boss, aren’t you supposed to be coming in today?” He asked her. He heard the female reporter burst into tears as she walked past him, he passed another box of tissues back to her. “Boss?” He asked when Belle didn’t reply. “Belle, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” She said before hanging up. Geoff shrugged and hung up also.

“Geoff,” Annie said as soon as he had placed the phone down.

“In a moment,” He told the young girl as he walked over to the graphics room.


“There’s no need for this, Mel,” Geoff snapped at the blond angrily. She had a box of her personal belonging in front of her.

“I've had enough!” She snapped back, placing a large brown teddy bear into the already overfilled cardboard box,

“She’s not even here!” Geoff retorted. Melody rolled her eyes.

“She left notes all over my work!” She complained, “Bitchy little notes,”

“It’s just her sense of humour!” Geoff laughed. Melody slammed a pen down on her desk in anger.

“Sense of humour?” She asked, picking up a note that was attached to a pile of layouts, she showed it to Geoff, “’This stinks. Do it again or DIE!’” She read. Geoff laughed nervously.

“She means that in a funny way,” Geoff told the angry blond.

“Geoff, do you think you could phone my boyfriend for me?” The crying reporter asked him from the door of the graphics room,

“Geoff, you’re supposed to be talking to me!” Annie shot at him. He heard the phone ring in the background.

“Geoff, it’s the phone for you!” Ruby shouted out.


“Hi,” Aden said to Geoff through the telephone,

“Hi,” Geoff replied, “Not coming in today?”

“Don’t tell her it’s me, but is Belle there?”

“No, actually, she’s just off the phone,”

“What did she say?”


“Nothing? I don’t believe that girl! Nothing!”

“Yeah. Spike, what is it?” Geoff asked the American,

“Oh, nothing,” He told his friend before hanging up. Geoff rolled his eyes and placed the phone back down. He watched as the smaller reporter ran away from the larger one. He had the typewriter in his hands.

“Ow!” They both moaned as they ran into the closed door of Angelo’s office.

“Guys!” Geoff shouted at them. After a few moments, he walked over to them. “First week, second week?” He asked the pair, “Uppercase, lowercase?”

“I’m off now, Geoff,” Mel called out, walking towards the front door.

“Mel, wait!” Geoff called after her.

“If you don’t phone my boyfriend, I’m not doing the town hall interview,” The crying reporter told him,

“Cathy!” Geoff moaned. He turned to Melody, “Mel, just wait one moment,” He told the girl, “Cathy, how can I phone your boyfriend, be reasonable!”


“Greg, I just know you kids should get back together,” Geoff said into the phone. Cathy, Annie and Melody were standing around him impatiently. “I mean it’s right. Do you know what I mean? Well, she’s sorry about that. And that. You’re kidding me! She did that!” Geoff looked across at the crying girl, “Well, she’s very, very sorry about it,” He added hastily,

“Geoff, I’m still waiting,” Annie shot at him, Geoff rolled his eyes.

“Annie, in a minute!”


Geoff and Melody walked into the graphics room, her personal belongings in their hands,

“An extra night off a week?” She asked him again.

“Yeah, you’ve got it,” Geoff smiled.

“Final say on the centrespread layout?”

“I think I could swing that,”

“How about Belle Taylor strung up by her ankles?”

“No problem! I believe that is how she sleeps!” Melody and Geoff laughed.

“Geoff!” Annie shouted to him as she walked into the graphics room.

“Coming,” He told her.


“...and then there was the thing about the primary school getting a new building, that was naturally Junior page, and who got it? Features!” Annie shouted to Geoff. “And then there was the story about the twelve year old kid who was maths genius. And who interviewed her? Features!” Annie looked up and saw that Geoff was resting his chin on his shoulder, his eyes were closed. “Geoff!” She shouted. Geoff jerked his eyes open.

“Sorry Belle,” He apologised before looking over at Annie, “Annie,” He corrected himself.

“You know what your trouble is, Geoff?” Annie asked him angrily, “You just don’t care!”


Geoff pushed his bedroom door open and closed, and made a beeline to his bed. He picked up an acoustic guitar that was leaning against it and began strumming,

“I wanna go, I wanna be there, where kindness is king, and an arm goes out to anyone who goes down...” Geoff sang.

“Achoo!” He heard. He stopped playing and looked around. There was nobody in his bedroom apart from him. He shrugged and began strumming the guitar again.

“I wanna go. I wanna be there...” He stopped strumming again after hearing movement in his wardrobe. He placed his guitar down cautiously and walked over to the small wooden piece of furniture. He pulled the door open and saw Angelo.

“Your wardrobe was open, so I just got in,” He said to the confused boy.

“Angelo?” Geoff asked in shock,

“How are you Geoff? You’re looking well.” Angelo said, still in the wardrobe.

“I’m fine,”

“Good, splendid, not so bad myself, as a matter of fact.”


“So, uh, mind if I come in?” Angelo asked Geoff, who was still staring at him in shock.

“No,” He replied. Angelo smiled and walked out of the wardrobe.

“Thanks,” He said, “Well, that’s all I came to say really, catch you later, let’s do lunch,” Angelo turned to walk out of the room.

“Angelo!” Geoff shouted sternly.

“Yes Geoff?”

“What were you doing in my wardrobe?”

“Well, your mum said I could wait in your room,”

“I don’t think she meant in my wardrobe!”

“Well, would it have killed her to be a little more specific?” Angelo asked the blond.

“What were you doing in there?” Geoff demanded. Angelo shrugged.

“Hiding,” he said,

“Hiding?” Geoff repeated,

“Yeah, for your surprise birthday party!” Geoff scoffed.

“It isn’t my birthday for another ten months, Angelo,” He shouted.

“Oh, so am I the first to arrive?”

“Look, Angelo,” Geoff said, his voice rising. He looked over to his bed and his guitar. “Were you listening to me singing?” He asked,

“Were you singing?” Angelo asked him, his voice falsely surprised. “I didn’t notice! There’s so much of interest in your wardrobe!”

“I am warning you Angelo,” Geoff began, his voice rising again, “That is the one thing in my life that doesn’t get dragged through Belle Taylor’s newsroom, and it is staying that way!”

“Well Geoff, I’m shocked!” Geoff exclaimed, “As if I, your old mate Angelo, would even contemplate invading your privacy like that!” Geoff rolled his eyes again, “No, I’m sorry, there’s nothing you can say, the damage is done, I would rather simply leave and reflect a little bitterly on the nature of friendship in this modern age. Goodnight!” Angelo slammed the door to the wardrobe shut, and the other one popped open. Geoff’s jaw dropped as he saw Drew standing in it, with a whole bunch of recording equipment.

“Hi, Geoff!” Drew said, sounding slightly nervous, “Uh, nice shirts,” He added,

“Look Geoff! Drew is in your wardrobe! He must have been trying to tape you!” Angelo exclaimed. He turned to the teenager, “Drew! How could you?”


“Look!” Geoff shouted, “What is going on here? What are you two up to?”

“Uh, just a wardrobe check,” Drew said quickly, “Yes, you seem to have one,” He climbed out of the object,

“Get out!” Geoff shouted at the pair and pointed to the door, “Just get out of my house right now!”

“You heard him Drew, we don’t want your kind round here!” Angelo told his partner in crime,

“Both of you get out of here now!” Geoff shouted again,

“Geoff, let me deal with this,” Angelo told him, “Come on Drew, out we go,” He opened the bedroom door.

“Angelo, just let me give you some tips for the next time we do this,” Drew said before they left the room, “Firstly, you go in the cupboard, secondly, you hold the microphone...”

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Thanks Laura, Jody and Taniya. Here;s the next chapter, it's shorter, but oh well!

-Chapter Fifty-


“I wanna go, I wanna be there....”

“Well?” Angelo asked Drew, whom was sitting next to him. They were listening the recording they made of Geoff singing.

“It’s good,” Drew agreed, nodding, “Very good,” Angelo smiled and clicked the record player off.



Belle stood in front of the mirror in her room, fixing her hair. Stuck on the side of it was a picture of her and Aden smiling and playing around. Belle rolled her eyes and pulled it into her hands violently. In one swift movement, she tore the photo in half and threw it in the wastepaper basket by her desk.

“Mum, I’m going out!” She called down to her mother, Amanda.

“Where?” Amanda shouted back up, “It’s Saturday!”

“I've got a meeting at the newsroom!” She picked up a briefcase, before placing it back down and opening a drawer in her desk. She pulled out a letter Aden had written her and scrunched it up. She threw it down angrily in the waste paper basket.


The newsrooms double doors banged open and Belle looked up. She was shocked to see Aden walk in,

“Hey! Am I cute today or what?” He called over to her. Belle tried not to nod. “I smiled in a mirror; it tried to follow me to work!” A small smile appeared on Belle’s face. She blinked, and the newsroom doors banged open yet again.

“Girls, please, tongues in!” Aden called out. Belle giggled. She blinked again, and the doors to the newsroom banged open.

“Hey, I don’t want to get vulgar,” Aden called out as he walked in. Belle smiled as he began to make his way over to her. “But have you noticed how terrific my rear view is?” He asked the brunette, “I walk past and chairs beg!” Belle laughed loudly and blinked again. She looked over hopefully at the doors – they didn’t open. It was all her imagination. Belle shook her head and pulled out a folder full of articles from her desk drawer. She flipped it open.

“Do you know when I first knew it was serious with you?” Aden asked. Belle looked up in shock to see Aden sitting at Annie’s desk, his feet resting carefully on the ancient typewriter. “We were just about to go out with each other. We were both combing our hair at the same time, and then it hit me: I was looking in the mirror at somebody else!” Belle scoffed and Aden pulled off his sunglasses. “I love you,” He told her. The smile on Belle’s face fell.

“Don’t say that!” She commanded. She blinked, and when she opened her eyes, Aden was gone. A look of confusion cross her face. It had been yet another day dream.

“Right,” She told herself, looking back down at the pile of articles. Tears were forming in the corners of her eyes.


“Geoff!” Rebecca called out from her desk. She had her arm wrapped around Cathy, the crying reporter. She jerked her head towards the corridor and Geoff nodded. He followed them out and they began explaining.

“This is the worst she’s been!” Rebecca shouted,

“The absolute worst!” Cathy agreed as she cried. Geoff nodded and passed her a tissue.

“She’s being a total bitch, Geoff,” Rebecca told him.

“I've never seen her this bad!” Cathy added, still crying. Geoff heard the front door open and he turned his head. Angelo, Emma and Rebekah walked in.

“Geoff!” Rebecca shot at him,

“Sorry,” He told the girls as he turned back to them. “I know,” He added.

“Look at that guy, will you!” Angelo shouted. The three turned to look at him in confusion, “Just look at him! Out in the corridor with two women!” Rebecca and Cathy rolled their eyes.

“What?” Geoff asked in shock. Angelo laughed.

“You just don’t stop, do you, stud?”


“By the way kid, go easy,” Angelo, Rebekah and Emma walked past him,

“Go easy?” Geoff asked in uncertainty,

“You know what I mean!” Angelo told him with a grin. He turned to the younger girls, “He knows what I’m saying,” As the three walked into the newsroom, Melody pushed her way out.

“I quit!” She announced. Geoff rolled his eyes.

“Just give me a minute, Mel,” He said before following Angelo. “Angelo, I want to talk to you about my wardrobe!” He whispered loudly.

“Did you hear that everybody?” Angelo shouted out to the newsroom, “Geoff wants to talk to me about his wardrobe! Is he a wacky and off-the-wall guy or what?”

“Angelo!” Geoff shouted sternly. Angelo shrugged and pushed his office door open,

“I’m sorry Geoff, you’re just too strange for me,” Angelo told him with a laugh, “I mean, how’s a guy supposed to keep up? Total wackiness city!” Angelo walked into his office and Rebekah and Emma followed him,

“What is going on here?” He asked himself angrily,

“Geoff, I quit!” Ruby shouted at him. Geoff was still looking over at Angelo’s office in confusion.

“Wait with Mel. Five minutes,” He told her before walking over to the little office Angelo called his own. He changed his mind and began walking over to Belle instead.

“Boss...” He began. Belle didn’t look up from the article she was attacking in red marker.

“Geoff, could you go and shout at Graham for me, I’m busy?” Belle asked her friend. Geoff rolled his eyes.

“Any particular reason?” He asked the girl. Belle looked up, confusion visible on her face,

“Yeah,” She replied, her brows burrowing in thought, “But I forget, so you better keep it pretty general,”

“Belle, I think we should talk...” Geoff began again. Desperate to avoid listening to Geoff, Belle looked up at her blue curtains. She raised her right eyebrow.

“And the curtains,” She said, ignoring his suggestion, “When did they turn blue? I want my red ones back,” she snapped at him.

“Blue’s a nice soothing colour,” Geoff began to explain. Belle turned back to him, a look of anger on her face.

“I don’t want to be soothing,” She told the deputy editor sharply.

“It’s the wrong image, all that red around you,” Geoff muttered. Belle scowled.

“I like that image!” She shouted at the blond. Geoff scoffed and Belle looked back down at the article. Geoff debated whether or not to go. He decided against sane judgement sat on the edge of her desk.

“Belle, remember when you, me and Spike decided that you needed to tone it down a bit?” Belle blinked back a tear at the mention of her ex-boyfriends name. “Where is Spike?” He asked her, realising that the American had not been in for the last few days.

“He quit!” Belle shouted at him bitterly as she crossed out a sentence of the article and scrawled the word ‘DIE’ across the bottom of it. Drew placed an article down on the edge of the angry girls desk.

“He quit?” Geoff repeated.

“He sure did!” Drew replied. Belle looked up at him,

“Drew, have you seen him?” She asked the boy curiously. Drew didn’t answer as he placed another article down. “Drew!” Belle shouted at him madly.

“You know, the only thing that makes me feel better is that I warned him about you,” He spat at the girl. Belle glared at him angrily before turning down at the articles he had given her. She ran her red marker across the work and wrote an expletive across the bottom of it.

“Do you want to talk to me about it?” Geoff asked her, pulling the piece of paper away from her. Belle snarled at him before loosening her grip.

“Tell Ruby that the lead article is completely lousy, and if she doesn’t have it up to scratch by seven o’clock tonight I’ll burn her house down!” Geoff looked over at Ruby and Melody, who had both just quit.

“Belle, is there something you want to tell me about?” Geoff asked her in concern. Belle didn’t look up. The newsroom doors banged open and both Geoff and Belle looked across eagerly. A woman in her mid-twenties walked in. She had deep brown curls that hung down to her shoulders, baby blue eyes and a light tan. She was also wearing a figure hugging black dress. Geoff’s jaw dropped open. Belle rolled her eyes and placed her hand under his chin and pushed it back up before turning back to a pile of articles. Geoff rose from the desk as the woman made her way towards him, her stilettos hitting the wooden floor loudly.

“Geoff?” She asked in a husky voice. Geoff gulped twice and coughed.

“Uh...” He looked over at Melody and Ruby, both were looking at him in confusion, although they did have smiles on their faces. “Yeah,” He finished, desperate to sound slightly seductive. The tanned woman raised her hand and slapped Geoff’s face. He fell back against Belle’s filling cabinets as the woman stalked out of the newsroom. Melody and Ruby exchanged a look of concern. Belle looked up from her desk, noticing the newsroom had gone dead quiet.

“Okay everyone, back to work!” She demanded. She looked up at Geoff, who was still staring in awe after the woman who had just left the room. “Geoff?” She asked.

“Normally beautiful women just ignore me,” He told his best friend dreamily, “I see I’m entering a new phase,” Belle shrugged and turned back to her desk.

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