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Love In Motion

Guest Red Ranger 1

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Thought I'd better get this one started, hope people like it.

Story Title: Love in Motion

Type of story: Long fic

Main Characters: Geoff, Nicole, Tam, Aden, Belle, Annie, Ruby, Melody, Rachel and a few others

BTTB rating: T/A

Genre: Drama, Romance

Does story include spoilers: Possibly for non-Australian viewers

Any warnings: Violence:None.Sexual content:Mild to moderate.Language:None.

Summary: When Tamsyn Armstrong returns to the Bay and takes an interest in Geoff, it sets off a chain reaction that causes some major upheaval among the town's couples


Rachel was surprised and pleased when she opened the door to her sister and was greeted with a warm hug; they hadn’t had much of a chance to build a relationship when she’d last been in Summer Bay.“Welcome back,”she told her.

Tam stood in the doorway of the house Rachel shared with Tony, her bags on the floor beside her.She looked around with a smile on her face.“Thanks,”she replied,“I’ve kind of missed the place.”She glanced at Tony, standing just apart from the reunion.“Hey there, Mr.Holden.Or do I call you Tony now, seeing as how you’re practically my brother-in-law?”

“Let’s work our way up to that one,”Tony replied.He nodded towards the kitchen.“How about I put the kettle on and leave you girls to catch up?”

“Thanks, Tony,”Rachel agreed as he left, before leading Tam over to the sofa,“I’ve got to say I was surprised to get your call.I thought you were happy in Tasmania.”

“I was but…it got kinda lonely at times.Brad was always busy with work for school and Mum was always at the hospital.I ended up being left on my own a lot.”

“But you made friends?”

“A few but…I guess I got out of practise with making friends, what with having to look after Mum all those years.I think the only place I’ve ever really made friends was here.”

“You know that I’m going to be working at the hospital quite a bit too?And Tony’s got the gym and, well, quite a few people have moved on since you were last here.”

“There must be a few old faces still around.”

“Well, Geoff and Annie are still here.And Belle Taylor.”

“And Aden?”There was a nervous hint to Tam’s voice as she asked the question.

“Yes.”Rachel had noticed Tam’s reaction every time she’d mentioned Aden in their phone conversations. She could understand it, given that they hadn’t parted on the best of terms.Her sister had never really had a sense of closure over what had happened between them.“Look, Tam, he’s done a lot to build bridges with people since you were last here.”

“You’re sticking up for him after what he did to you?”

“There were reasons why he acted the way he did and he knows he was wrong.Anyway, he’s not in school anymore so you probably won’t see him that much.”

Tam smiled, moving on to happier memories.“Didn’t think I’d ever be looking forward to putting that uniform on again.It’ll be good to see a few people.”

Tony stuck his head round the partition from the kitchen.“Have you had enough private time or do I need to boil the kettle up again?”

“Come and join us, Mr.Holden,”Tam told him,“You can tell me about this nephew or niece I’m going to be having.”

Geoff was standing in Nicole’s front room, drumming his fingers, checking his watch and generally getting impatient.“Come on, Nicole!”he called up the stairs,“We’re going to be late!”

“We didn’t have an early morning meeting with Mr.Bartlett or something?”she called back.

“No but we do only have twenty minutes before school starts.”

“Getting ready takes time!You should try being a girl!”

Geoff didn’t really have an answer to that one.“We still need to be there on time,”he tried at last.

“Fine!”Nicole’s voice seemed to have taken on a slightly petulant tone.“Go without me!”

“But, Nic…”

“Geoff, I will catch you up.”There was a pause before she added,“You’re going to be late…”

Geoff sighed.“Okay, I’ll see you there then.”

Geoff had been quickening his pace more and more every time he looked at his watch until by the time he reached the school gates he was practically running.He charged in through the front gates and only had a vague glimpse of a blonde girl in uniform standing right in front of him before he realised they were about to collide.He pulled up short, his legs slipping away from under him, his satchel clattering to the ground and disgorging its contents everywhere as he stammered an apology.

The girl stood over him.“Well, I was just going to say hello, Geoff.I didn’t realise I was going to have that much of an effect on you.”

Geoff looked up abruptly as he recognised the voice, staring at her in astonishment.“Tam?”

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A big thank you to everyone who's commenting on this, whether it's a long rambling review or just one sentence.I'm pretty sure I've never had this many responses to a first chapter and I hope you all continue to enjoy it.


Tam helped Geoff to his feet as he began gathering his books up.“So, ah, when did you get back?”he asked, “I mean, it’s good to see you but…bit of a surprise.”

“A couple of days ago,”Tam replied,“I’ve just been settling in at Rachel and Mr.Tony’s place.”

“So are you back for good now?”


“No, no.Slightly scared maybe…”

“Don’t worry, Geoff, my troublemaking days are well and truly behind me.I’m a model citizen now.”She linked arms with him.“So, are you seeing anyone at the moment?”

“Erm, yeah, I’ve got a girlfriend.Nicole.Her dad’s Roman, the guy that owns part of the Diner?”

Tam nodded.“Oh yeah.I think I remember.So I’ve missed the boat with you then?”

Geoff continued to look bemused.“Um, I guess so.”

“That’s a shame because you’re still looking hot.”She paused for a moment before adding,“You’re allowed to say something back.”

Geoff looked her up and down, not really sure what he was allowed to say.“Um, yeah, you look nice,”he offered at last.

“So what’s it feel like to be back?”Annie asked as the three friends stood beside their lockers.

Melody smiled.“Good, yeah.It was nice having a chance to get to know Mum again but the two of us living together has never quite worked out.”

“But nothing bad happened?”Ruby asked.

“No, we’ve agreed to stay in touch and I’ve said I’ll go over and visit during the holidays.”

“I still can’t believe Mr.Copeland managed to convince Bartlett to let you come back here.”

“I think the letter from my counsellor helped.I’ve made considerable progress apparently.Which doesn’t stop most of the Year 12s looking as though they want to take me out and shoot me.”

Ruby smiled sympathetically.“I guess if you were going to lock people in a burning building…”

“Soon-to-be burning building,”corrected Annie.

“…soon-to-be burning building it was probably a bad idea to choose the seniors.”Ruby glanced over at the door.“And who is that with Geoff?”

Annie and Melody both looked round, following her gaze.“It’s Tam,”Annie realised,“She’s Doctor Armstrong’s sister.”

Melody nodded in agreement.“I think she left just after I moved here.”

Ruby glanced further down the corridor where Jai and Xavier were staring at Tam, mouths open.“Well, she seems to have made an impression.”

“Should our boyfriends be looking at her like that?”Annie asked.

“It’s okay so long as they don’t touch.”

“Do you think Nicole will think like that?”Melody asked.

“Well, look on the bright side.At least it’ll distract her from you being back.”

“God, that must have been the most boring day ever,”Nicole complained as they left school at the end of day,“Double maths, double science and to top it all off a lunchtime meeting with Bartlett.”

“Well, a few interesting things happened,”Geoff remarked.

“Oh yeah?Such as?”

“Well, it was before you came in…”

“Hi, Geoff!”Tam interrupted as she came running up to them.She and Nicole stopped, looking at each other.“So, I’m guessing you’re the famous Nicole.”

“That’s right,”Nicole agreed,“Sorry but I don’t think you’re famous.”She glanced round at Geoff.“Is this the interesting thing that happened?”

Geoff suddenly found himself feeling slightly uncomfortable.“Um, Nicole, this is Tam.Tam, Nicole.”

Nicole looked back at the newcomer.“The Tam?”

“Guess I am famous after all,”Tam commented.

“So what are you doing back here?”

“Same as you, got family here, thought I’d give living with them a go.Plus there’s lots of nice things to look at round here.”She shot a sideways glance at Geoff, smiling slightly.

Nicole took a step closer.“You keep your eyes to yourself, you hear?”

“Er, girls,”Geoff attempted, only to be ignored by both of them.

“Hey, if you can’t stand the competition,”Tam observed.

“Competition?”Nicole repeated,“I don’t see any competition from a two-bit skank.”

“Nicole!”Geoff protested.

“You’re the one that lives with Aden, right?”Tam asked,“Guess his manners must have worn off on you. It’d explain why you’re such a cow.”

“Tam!”Geoff protested.

Nicole seemed to get even closer to Tam for a second.“You just watch your step because you do not want to make an enemy of me.”She turned and stormed off.

Geoff hovered, uncomfortable, not sure what he was supposed to do.“Look, Tam,”he began…before Nicole stormed back just long enough to grab his arm and drag him after her.

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Thanks again for all the comments.


Annie and Ruby had been left to wait downstairs while Melody got changed.“So was Geoff going out with this girl or not?”Ruby asked.

Annie shrugged.“I think they liked each other but then she left so nothing happened.But he’s with Nicole now anyway.”

“I dunno, sounds a bit like unfinished business to me.”

Melody came back down.“All right, ready.”

Ruby looked her up and down.“Is that a new top?I don’t remember seeing it before.”

“Yeah, I got it for my birthday.”

“It’s a shame we missed it,”Annie sighed.

“Yeah but I got to spend it with Mum which was nice.She even let me choose this myself.And at least I’m back in time for yours.”

Ruby noticed Annie grimace.“What’s up?”

“Jai’s talking about organising this big party.Which is nice of him but I don’t know enough people to have a big party.I think it’s because I did that party for him last year.”

“Or else it’s because he loves you so much it’s sickening.”

Aden was just heading home from work when he noticed a girl in school uniform standing at the end of the wharf, as though she was waiting for him.For a moment he thought it was Nicole but as he got closer he realised his mistake.“Tam?”

She met his gaze with a slightly steely air.“Hi, Aden.How have you been?”

Aden found himself revisiting memories he’d rather forget:their disastrous date, the incident at the formal. He tried to make his answer as non-commital as possible.“What have you heard?”

“Well, I heard about what you did to my sister.And I heard about why you did it.Is that anything to do with why you went out with a fifteen-year-old?”

Aden didn’t feel like getting into a detailed explanation of his motives back then.“Well, I’d have looked a bit of a loser if I’d turned up at the formal without a date, wouldn’t I?I guess I thought you’d be all right to practice on.”

As soon as the words left his lips, Aden realised he could have phrased things better.Tam’s glare got even deeper if that was possible.“You know, I don’t know why everyone in this town’s suddenly friends with you, Aden, because as far as I can see you’re still a lowlife.”

Aden watched her turn and stalk away.He looked round as he heard movement in the other direction and saw that Belle had arrived during the conversation.She hadn’t been close enough to hear but she’d obviously seen what had happened.“What was that all about?”she asked.

Belle was already aware of everything that had happened between Aden and Tam back then and he didn’t want to rake over old ground.He put his arm round her and drew her into a half-hug.“Nothing.Just ancient history.”

Geoff had sat down on the sofa as soon as he got home but Nicole was obviously still too wound up to just sit.She was pacing up and down behind him, fuming.“What’s she doing back here anyway?”

“Well, Rachel still lives here,”Geoff pointed out,“It’s kind of understandable.”

“And what right has she got to talk to me like that?A cow with no manners, I mean, where does she get that from?”

“You did call her a two-bit skank…”

Nicole stopped her pacing and glared at him, gesturing to herself pointedly.“Geoff.Girlfriend.You’re meant to be on my side.”

“Well, I am on your side…kind of.I just don’t think you helped things by getting into a fight with her like that.”

Nicole turned and resumed her pacing.“She’s obviously after you.”

“Oh, I don’t think so,”Geoff replied, even though he’d got that impression himself.

“Well if she thinks she can just rock up in my town and steal my boyfriend…”

“Do you think I’d cheat on you?”

Nicole seemed to be trying to think of an answer.“No,”she admitted eventually.

“There’s no problem then, is there?”

Nicole tried to find a way to continue her rant but Geoff seemed to have diffused it successfully.“Well, I still don’t like her.”

Rachel heard Tam come in through the door and plonk herself down on the couch.She made the short journey from the kitchen to the living area cautiously.“How was your first day back?”

“Got into a fight with Aden, got into a fight with Geoff’s new girlfriend, English was good.”

“When you say fight, you mean…”

“Don’t worry, no hair pulling involved.We just made our views pretty clear.”

“Right.”Rachel sat down next to her.“How did you get into a fight with Aden anyway?What was he doing at the school?”

“I went down to the wharf to see him.Figured I’d get a look at this new and improved Aden you keep telling me about.Seemed a lot like the old one.”

“Well, he can at times, he’s still a bit of an angry young man but underneath it all he’s actually turned into a pretty decent person.”

“Take your word for it.”

“And what about Nicole?”

Tam shook her head.“Princess decided to try warning me off her boyfriend.”

“Did she have a reason for doing that?”

“I guess I was flirting for a bit but come on, it’s hard not to flirt with him.”She noticed the way Rachel was looking at her.“What?”

“It’s just that you’re not going to make that many friends if you carry on picking fights with people.”

“Like I’d want to be friends with Miss Psycho Chick.”Tam hefted up her bag and headed towards her room.

Tony came through the door just in time to catch her exit.“What was that all about?”he asked.

“First day at school and she managed to get into arguments with two people.”

Tony raised an eyebrow as he sat down in the place recently vacated by Tam.“Well, having her around’s certainly going to be interesting.”

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Anyway, here's the next chapter.


Annie was on her way home from school the next day when she heard the running footsteps and the voice behind her.“Annie!Hey, Annie, wait up!”

Annie stopped, adopting a polite smile as she turned round.“Hi, Tam.”

Tam actually seemed disappointed by her reaction.“What’s up, Annie?I thought we were friends.”

“We were, I mean, we are but…Why are you back here, Tam?”

“Well, I thought I still had a few friends here for a start.”

“You do but…Is that all?”

“What else would it be?”

“Ruby thought you had some unfinished business with Geoff.”

Tam looked confused for a moment.“Who’s Ruby?”

“My friend.She moved here last year.”

Tam seemed to be trying to remember what she’d seen since she’d been back.“The one that’s shorter than you?”she asked at last.

Annie nodded.“It’s just Geoff’s really happy with Nicole now and if you’re going to cause trouble between them…”

Tam made a cross sign over her heart.“Annie, promise, my troublemaking days are far behind me.”

Annie smiled, accepting the promise.“Okay.”

“Okay.”Tam linked arms with her and they carried on walking.“So what’s the deal with Aden?I hear he’s dating Belle these days?How’d that happen?”

“I’m not sure.I mean, I wasn’t sure about it at first but he makes her happy so that’s all right.”

“I just don’t get why she’d want to go out with him.”

“I know what he did to you was wrong but he’s changed since then.I guess I even like him a bit.”

Tam looked at her in amusement.“How did it get to the point where I’m the one that doesn’t like Aden and you’re the one that’s defending him?”

Annie shrugged.“It’s been an interesting year.”

Aden had been hoping for a quiet relaxing end to his day but unfortunately Nicole had made it home before him and was grateful for an audience for her latest rant.“I mean, she’s just there all the time.Whenever I go looking for Geoff, ooh, there she is, talking to him.It’s like I can’t get away from her.”

“Yeah,”Aden replied sarcastically,“You’d almost think she went to school there.”

Nicole glared at him.“And what’s the story with you two anyway?She said that I got my lack of manners from you.”

If he hadn’t wanted to discuss things with Belle, Aden was doubly certain he didn’t want to discuss them with Nicole.Unfortunately, stonewalling her didn’t seem to be an option.“We kind of went out once,”he admitted at last.

From her expression, Nicole’s interest was definitely piqued.“Wow.Wasn’t expecting that one.So what happened?”She noticed his reluctance.“You know if you don’t tell me I’m just going to go and ask Geoff.”

Aden sighed.“Nothing much.We had a drink at the surf club and then I took her down the beach and we…”

Nicole held up a hand.“Yeah, okay, getting the picture.Well, that doesn’t sound too bad.What did you do, not call her in the morning?”She noticed his embarrassed look.“Oh my god, you didn’t call her in the morning, did you?”

“More…told her I’d had fun but she wasn’t worth a second date.”

“Well I can see you were a real charmer in those days.”

“Yeah, okay, not my best moment.Anyway, it’s not like you made the best impression on her either.”

“She didn’t make the best impression on me!”

“You still need to get on with her.”

“And you don’t?”

“I’m not going out with her new best friend.”

Nicole sighed and sat on the sofa next to him.“Fine.I’ll try and be nice to her.I can’t do anything about it tonight anyway.”

Aden looked across at her curiously.“What’s happening tonight?”

“You’re joking, right?Dad’s got the contract for that council dinner?He’s persuaded us both to go along as cheap labour?”

“That’s tonight?”Aden groaned.“And I was hoping for a quiet one.”

“Don’t worry, with two of us it’ll be half the work.”

“When one of us is you, more like twice the work.”

Geoff had been trying to get home quickly but he’d been accosted by Jai, who’d wanted to grill him for advice on the party he was planning.Which is how he’d arrived back to find Annie and Tam comfortably ensconced on the sofa, obviously deep in conversation.“What are you two up to?”he asked.

“Just catching up on the goss,”Tam replied.She checked her watch.“Better be getting back actually. Rachel’s cooking dinner.I’ll catch up with you later, Ann.”

“Yeah, that’ll be good,”Annie agreed as they got up.

Tam looked at Geoff.“So what are you up to tonight?Hot date with Nicole?”

“No, actually, she’s doing something for her dad.”

“Oh, maybe I could borrow you for the night then.”

Geoff looked confused.“What do you mean?”

“Well, I was thinking of going out and I could do with the company.You up for a trip to the cinema?”

Geoff thought about this.“Yeah, okay, I can pick you up around seven.”

“Cool.Try and keep out of trouble until then.”

“See you.”Geoff showed Tam out of the door then turned round…to see Annie giving him a horrified look.He looked at her in confusion.“What?”

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The last two chapters felt more like filler chapters. Nothing much happened plot wise.

Yeah.Sorry.I think I write quite a few chapters like that.I just think sometimes the characters and the reader need a chance to just breathe and take stock.And there's usually some business material in there somewhere.

Anyway, hope you all like this one.


Belle could hear raised voices from the front room as she came home and recognised the voices of Geoff and Annie.As she made her way in through the back door, she caught sight of them, Geoff dressed up as if going out, Annie seemingly in the middle of remonstrating with him about something.She looked round as she heard Belle enter, as if glad of an ally.“You tell him, Belle.”

Belle looked from one to the other, wondering what she’d walked in on.“Tell him what?”

“He’s going on a date with Tam.”

“It’s not a date!”Geoff protested, sounding as though he’d been saying it a lot.

“So what is it?”Belle asked him.

“We’re just going to the cinema together, maybe getting some food along the way.”

“He hasn’t told Nicole,”Annie put in.

“Okay.”Belle tried to explain it as carefully as she could.“Geoff, when you go out with a girl, in the evening, dressed up like that, when she’s been flirting with you, we call that a date.Especially if you don’t tell your girlfriend.”

Geoff stared at her for a moment.“It’s not a date!”he said at last.

“Then why haven’t you told Nicole?”

“Because…because I haven’t seen her and because…”Geoff looked at his watch.“I’m going to be late. Talk about it later.”

The two girls watched him as he hurried out of the door.“Nicole isn’t going to be happy when she finds out,”Annie opined after a moment.

Belle could only nod.

“Nicole!”Rachel exclaimed in surprise as she opened the door,“Um, did you want something?”

“I was wondering if Tam was in.”

“No, I’m afraid she’s not.I’m sorry, I thought you two had had a falling out?”

Nicole smiled thinly.“Well, I thought I should probably make an effort, get to know her.You know, with her being back in town and all.”She sounded as though she was having to force herself to say the words.

“Well, I’m afraid she’s gone to the cinema.You’re welcome to come in and wait…”

“Do you know when she’ll be back?”

“I’m not sure but Geoff picked her up at seven…”

Nicole looked as though she’d only just contained the urge to explode.“Geoff’s with her?”

“Er, well, yes, they went together.Were you planning on going with them?”

“I’ve been helping my dad this evening, we finished early.You’re saying Geoff and Tam went to the cinema together?”

“That’s right…”

“You know, I don’t think I will wait.Tell Tam I came round.”She turned to go then stopped for a moment. “Actually…don’t tell her anything.”

Geoff and Tam were walking home along the path behind the Diner.Tam kept shooting Geoff amused looks.He still hadn’t erased the shell shocked expression from his face.“What did you think of the film?” she asked.

“Um…yeah, it was interesting,”he decided,“Quite a few words in there that I’d never heard before.And a few that I hadn’t heard that often.What’s a..?”

Tam held up a hand to forestall the question.“Maybe you should look it up when you get home.If you can find the right sort of dictionary.”

“Um, yeah, that’s probably a good idea.”

“Know what else would be a good idea?”


“If we get this out of the way.”She drew him to a halt and then kissed him.

Geoff was so taken aback that he didn’t make any attempt to push her away, he just let her kiss him.It wasn’t until she’d released him and he’d had a chance to draw breath that he looked over at the door to the Diner and saw that Melody and Ruby had exited during the kiss and were staring at him.He looked at Tam and then back at them, as though only just realising what they’d seen.“Oh, wait, hang on,”he began but they were already heading in the opposite direction.

“So, you going to walk me home?”Tam asked, as he took a step to follow them.

Geoff stared at her for a minute, a million thoughts racing through his head, not one of which he was able to convert into words or actions.Walking her home seemed like the simplest option available to him so he silently gestured for her to lead the way.

What he didn’t realise was that someone else was standing on the path, some way behind them.Watching every move they made.

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sorry if this comes across rude - but when do you think the next chapter will be up?

How about now?


Annie’s head was full of concerns about Geoff when she and Jai headed to the Diner the next morning.She and Belle had both tried to talk to him when he’d arrived home from his not-date with Tam but he’d just given a couple of grunts and then disappeared into his room.He’d seemed to be waiting for everyone else to leave before re-emerging so in the end she’d left him to it.

The sight of Ruby and Melody sat at one of the tables would have been a comfort.Would have been if they hadn’t suddenly stopped talking when they caught sight of her, looking embarrassed.She went over to them, Jai following her.“What’s up?”

“Nothing,”Melody replied quickly.

“What were you talking about?”Jai asked.

Ruby looked as though she was trying to think of an answer quickly.“Don’t ask us that,”she settled on at last,“It’s Ann’s birthday coming up, remember?”

Annie spotted Melody giving the other girl a grateful look before turning to face her.“How’s Geoff?”

“He wasn’t up when we left,”Annie told her,“But I’m sure he’s all right.”

“Probably still recovering from his date with Tam,”Jai noted.

Melody and Ruby both looked relieved.“Oh, so you know then,”Melody commented.

Annie wasn’t sure what she was referring to.“Know what?”

“About Geoff going out with Tam,”Ruby replied.

“And about them kissing,”Melody added.

“Kissing?”Annie repeated in horror,“Geoff and Tam were kissing?”

“Well, yes,”Melody confirmed,“We saw them just outside.”She glanced at Ruby, who nodded in confirmation.

“Geoff kissed Tam?”Jai asked incredulously,“What is it about him?”Annie shot him an annoyed look and he instantly looked apologetic.“I’m not saying I want to kiss her…”

“So you didn’t know about that bit?”Ruby asked.

Annie couldn’t quite grasp what they were telling her.She knew her brother, she knew how he behaved. “You must have got it wrong,”she told them.

“Well, it looked like he was kissing her,”Melody offered.

“Geoff wouldn’t cheat on Nicole.”Annie looked at the faces of the three of them.They didn’t contradict her.But none of them seemed to be rushing to agree with her.“He wouldn’t.”

Geoff kept looking at the phone.He felt as though he should be calling someone but the problem was he couldn’t work out who.Tam or Nicole?He’d barely said a word to Tam after she’d kissed him, leaving her at her house with a simple “Good night.”He kept remembering Belle and Annie’s words from the previous evening.Had Tam considered their evening out a date?What would Nicole say if he told her?

The decision of who to talk to was taken out of his hands when Nicole came in through the back door. “Nic, hey,”he greeted her nervously,“How was last night?”

There was something about Nicole that made him uncomfortable and not just because of what he was hiding.An edge to her.“It went okay.Finished early actually.”

“Oh, that’s good.”

“So I had a bit of time to myself and thought I’d go and see Tamsyn, try and find out why you’ve been spending so much time together.”

She paused, as though challenging him to say something.“Oh yeah?” was all he could manage.

“Rachel told me she wasn’t there.Which I guess you already knew, seeing as how you were out on a date with her.”

“Just as friends,”Geoff assured her,“I’d have told you about it if I’d seen you.”At least, he thought that’s what he would have done.

Nicole nodded slowly before asking,“So why did you kiss her?”

“What?Who told you that?”

“Does it matter?”

Geoff felt he needed to clarify the situation.“I didn’t kiss her, she kissed me.”

“And what did you do?Push her away?Beg her to stop kissing you?Say ‘Oh, no, Tam, don’t do that, I’ve got a girlfriend and I’d never do anything to hurt her’?”

“Well, no, I…I was surprised so I just sort of…let her do it.”

“And you hated every minute of it, I suppose?”

Geoff wasn’t sure how to answer that.He hadn’t exactly wanted Tam to kiss him but he hadn’t exactly hated it either.Unfortunately, his silence seemed to be all the answer Nicole needed.

“I don’t believe this.I have done everything I can to make this relationship work, I’ve bowed to all your crazy demands and the first time some other girl shows an interest in you, you go out with her and let her kiss you.Nice to know how much I mean to you.”

“I didn’t…I mean…”

“I’ve had enough of this, Geoff, we are through.”

For the second time in twenty-four hours, Geoff found himself unable to work out what to do or say next. It didn’t really matter.Nicole didn’t hang around to find out.

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Hope you like this one, people.


Geoff had found himself getting more and more het up as he left the house.He’d gone over the events of the previous evening and his conversation with Nicole in his mind and the explanation seemed obvious.The opportunity to test his idea soon presented itself:as he was approaching the Diner, he saw Melody coming in the opposite direction.“Why did you do it?”he demanded.

Melody stopped, looking at him with what seemed to be genuine surprise.“Geoff, what are you talking about?”

“You know I like Nicole.”

“Well, you’ve told me often enough.”

“So why did you tell her about the kiss?What did you think was going to happen?”

Melody’s tone was patient but irritated.“Geoff, I didn’t tell Nicole you kissed Tam.I mean, we are talking about Tam, you haven’t been kissing anybody else?”

“I…Yes, we’re talking about Tam.”Geoff looked at Melody.He’d been sure she’d been responsible but she didn’t seem to be lying.“It must have been you.”

“Why’s that?Ruby was there as well, Jai and Annie know, it could even have been Tam.”

“Or it could have been me,”interrupted another voice.They turned to see Aden standing there, an amused look on his face.

“You told Nicole?”Geoff asked, bewildered,“Well, how did you know?”

“If you’re gonna kiss a girl behind your girlfriend’s back, Geoff, best not to do it in a public place where anyone can see you.”

Melody looked from one to the other, finding herself ignored for the moment.“You know where I am if you want to apologise,”she told Geoff before pushing past him.

Geoff was torn for a moment between going after her and trying to defend himself.In the end, he turned back to Aden.“I didn’t kiss her in public,”he protested,“She kissed me.”

Aden shrugged.“Didn’t look like you were putting up much of a fight from where I was standing.”

“What was I supposed to do, chuck her in the water?”

“Look, if you’re going to go taking girls out behind Nicole’s back, you gotta expect them to kiss you and you gotta expect people to notice.”

“And spread the word?Why did you have to tell Nicole, Aden?This had nothing to do with you.”

“And if you saw me kissing another girl, you’d keep it to yourself, I suppose?You wouldn’t go and tell Belle all about it?”

Geoff found himself unable to answer that.He knew Aden was right.Just as he knew his next comment was right.

“Face it, Geoff, if you and Nicole are in trouble, you’ve got no-one to blame but yourself.”

“Just where do you get off?”Nicole demanded as she pushed her way into the house.

Tam turned to face her, amused once again by Nicole’s short fuse.Every time she saw the older girl, she appeared to be in the middle of some rant about something or other.She wondered how Geoff had put up with it for so long.“I take it you’re going to skip the part where I invite you in?”

“Geoff was my boyfriend,”Nicole insisted.

“Hey, if you can’t keep a guy happy…”

“What’s the matter, can’t you get a guy of your own?”

“You know, Nicole, I’m getting pretty fed up of you constantly blowing up at me because you can’t handle another girl spending time with your boyfriend.”

“Spending time with him, maybe.Not kissing him.”

Tam was once more impressed by how fast news spread in Summer Bay.But she didn’t feel like issuing an apology.“Well, can you blame me?Poor boy was obviously starving for someone who knew what they were doing.”

Nicole took a step towards her.“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Hey, hey, hey!”Rachel had come through from the bedroom and stepped in between the two squabbling teenagers.“What’s all this?”

Nicole calmed slightly but continued to look daggers at Tam.“You can have him.See if you can work out what to do with him.”

Tam had a smile on her face as she watched Nicole go.She hadn’t expected the kiss to have such a positive effect so quickly.Then she saw the way Rachel was looking at her and suddenly felt a lot less proud.

Aden held up his hands in apology as he arrived at the house.“Sorry, sorry.Major crisis at home.”

Belle had been expecting there to be problems.She’d heard all about the day’s dramas.“Nicole?”

“Heartbroken Nicole, not a pretty sight.Likely to involve damage to people and property.”

“And you’ve been comforting her?”

“Roman’s been comforting her.I made the tea.God, why couldn’t Geoff just stayed away from Tam?”

“Yeah, Annie and I both tried to talk him out of it.”

If it had been anyone that hadn’t known him as well as her, they wouldn’t have noticed it.But she saw it, the slight shift in his demeanour.“Hang on, you knew about this?”

“I knew he went out with her, yes.”

“And you didn’t tell me?”

Belle couldn’t quite understand his reaction.“I’ve barely seen you since then, Aden.Why’s it so important anyway?”

“Because it affected both our households and it would have been helpful to have had a heads up.God, Belle, what happened to honesty?”

“So I didn’t tell you Geoff had a date.Do you fill me in on every aspect of Nicole’s life?Why are we even arguing about this?”

“Because if you had any proper respect for me, you’d have told me.So why didn’t you?”

Belle had no answer for him.None that he would have listened to.If he didn’t believe she respected him, after everything, what could she possibly say to change his mind?So they stood there in silence.Impasse.

“You should have told me,”Aden said at last.There was nothing else to say.

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After living with him for a year, Roman had become used to reading Aden’s moods.So when he came home to find him sitting on the sofa, head resting on his hands, he knew the question he needed to ask was “What’s up?”

Aden glanced round for a moment.“I had a fight with Belle.You’re allowed to say ‘again’.”

“Mate, I wasn’t going to say anything.”

Aden sighed deeply.“Do you remember when Belle and I got back together and Charlie wasn’t happy about it?”

Roman gave a rueful smile.“I seem to remember something about it, yeah.”

“Is that why you two split up?”

It was Roman’s turn to sigh.He sat down on the chair arm, at the opposite end of the sofa to Aden.“I guess it didn’t help but I think it would have happened anyway.The important thing about a relationship is that you enjoy being with each other.If you spend most of your time arguing and then apologising for it, then in the end what you’re really apologising for is being yourself.And your partner’s the one person you should be able to be yourself with.”He noticed Aden nodding thoughtfully.“Do you think that you can’t be yourself with Belle?”

“Actually,”Aden replied,“Belle’s the one person I’ve always been able to be myself with.I’m just not sure it’s ever been the same for her.I always expect her to be this perfect girlfriend who’ll take whatever I throw at her.And she always does.I upset her today.Over something that wasn’t even important, that wasn’t even really about us.And I know that if I go round there and apologise, she’ll forgive me.”

“Has it occurred to you that maybe that’s because she loves you and she wants to be with you?”

“Maybe.It can’t be much fun for her though, can it?”

Roman watched Aden closely, sensing his young charge was coming to a decision.“So what are you going to do?”

Aden looked at him.“I don’t think I’m going to apologise this time.”

Tam sank deeper into her chair, feeling uncomfortable under Rachel’s gaze.Her sister hadn’t repeated her question.She just sat there, waiting for an explanation, looking as though she’d be quite happy to sit there for the rest of the day if need be.

“I kissed Geoff, all right?”she said at last.

Rachel didn’t look any less disapproving.“Even though he’s seeing Nicole?”

“Well, why not?He’s hot and she doesn’t deserve him!”

“Do you even know her?”

“I know her type.Spoilt princesses who think they can have what they want.”

“She might think that about you.”

“Well, she’d be wrong, wouldn’t she?Life with Mum was hardly a bed of roses, moving around all the time, having to put up with her gambling.”

“Well, maybe Nicole’s life hasn’t been that good either.”

If she was honest with herself, Tam hadn’t given much thought to what Nicole’s life was or wasn’t like. All she’d seen was an apparently superficial person who kept giving her a hard time.Of course, that wasn’t the real reason they hadn’t got on.“I like him, okay, Rach?I like Geoff.”

Rachel’s expression softened slightly.“I know you do, Tam.But you can’t go out and take him if he’s with someone else.”

“I saw him first.We’d probably have been together already if I hadn’t moved away.”

“But now that you’ve caused trouble between him and Nicole, how do you think he’s going to feel about you?”

Tam didn’t answer.Because she didn’t like what she’d have to say if she did.

It had been two days since Belle’s argument with Aden and they hadn’t spoken in that time.She’d seen him of course, living in Summer Bay it was inevitable.He’d been at the Diner, on the beach, walking around town, but he’d made no attempt to speak to her.Normally, she’d have tried to speak to him, to tell him that she loved him and they shouldn’t throw away what they had.But this time she didn’t.Because she suspected it wouldn’t make a difference.

The break-up was weighing on her mind and she wasn’t at all happy to find Geoff working at the table when she got home.The fact that he’d played a big part in what had happened wasn’t lost on her.“Geoff, I need the table for work.”

He looked up flustered.“Yeah, sorry, Belle, I’ll just be ten more minutes.”

“Not ten more minutes, now.”

“No, really, I’ve nearly finished.”

“For god’s sake, Geoff!”She threw her bag down on the table in anger, which was more than enough to get his attention.“Don’t you ever think of anyone else?”

Geoff sat there staring at her.“Belle, is something the matter?”

“Is something the..?”She couldn’t quite believe it.“Geoff, in case you’ve forgotten, I broke up with Aden as a result of your little date with Tam.”

“It wasn’t a…”Geoff managed to stop himself in time, which was fortunate for him because she wasn’t sure what she would have said.“I didn’t know he’d react like that.I didn’t mean for you to get hurt.”

“No, Geoff, you didn’t mean for me to get hurt, you didn’t mean for Nicole to get hurt, but it happened anyway.You want to be a minister?Maybe you need to understand people first.Then you wouldn’t make such a mess of their lives.”Her anger was in danger of being replaced by tears, which was the last thing she wanted, not in front of him.

Geoff packed his things up quickly, too uncomfortable to even look at her.“I’ll finish this in my room.”

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Sorry it's been a while between updates, people, hope you like this one.



Rude as she knew it was, Annie was tempted to ignore the call.But in the end, her natural politeness took over.She turned to face the girl running to catch her up but she wasn’t willing to stretch to offering her a smile.“What is it, Tam?”

To her surprise, Tam actually looked hurt by the coolness of her response.“Annie, what’s up?I thought we were friends.”

“We were but…then you kissed Geoff.”

“Annie, I like your brother.”

“If you liked him, you wouldn’t have upset him.He’s upset, Belle’s upset, they’re not talking and all because you kissed him.I thought you said you weren’t going to make trouble.”

“I didn’t mean to.And, Annie, I didn’t mean for us to stop being friends.You and Geoff were among the few people that really made me feel welcome at school last time.Which was kind of you given that I basically landed you in hospital that time.”

Annie remembered the incident:Tam had convinced her that Lucas was attracted to her and a combination of the humiliation and a fever, on top of the upheaval her life had been going through at the time, had virtually led to her having a breakdown.“That wasn’t just down to you.”She sighed.She wanted to be angry with Tam, it was easy to blame her for what had happened.But if she was genuinely sorry, then that meant she couldn’t do that.“Do you really wish you hadn’t kissed Geoff?”

“Well…I liked it but I know I shouldn’t have done it.He was with Nicole and even though I don’t like her I should have accepted his choice.”

“I think he likes you too,”Annie said at last,“He’s upset about Nicole but I don’t think he’s angry with you exactly.”

Tam smiled.“You going to put in a good word for me?”

Annie shook her head.“I think you need to sort this out yourself.”

If Nicole had been looking for a monopoly on misery in the household, she’d have been disappointed.Aden had been walking around looking as if his world had just come crashing down as well.She didn’t mind having the limelight taken off her.Much.She’d seen him and Belle together enough times to know how much they meant to each other and she knew he had every right to be upset that they’d fallen out.

She nodded at the TV set, which they’d turned on more for something to do than because they were actually interested in what was on.She wasn’t entirely sure what the programme was anyway.“Are you watching this?”Aden shook his head and she used the remote to turn it off.She glanced at the phone.“You can call her if you want to.”

Aden shrugged.He seemed to be in one of his sullen moods.“You can call Geoff.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

“Because you’re still hot for him.”

Nicole had to accept there was a certain amount of truth to Aden’s words.She did still find Geoff attractive and, much as she hated to admit it, she did miss having him around.But still…“It wouldn’t work.”

“And that’s why I’m not calling Belle.”

“Oh, come on.Geoff and I were completely different people and the longer we were together the more obvious that was.You and Belle…fit.”

Aden gave her an almost furtive look, as though trying to work out whether to say something or not.She knew how much he hated opening up to people, herself included, but with Belle out of the way she knew she was probably his best option and she had a feeling he did as well.“Belle was always there for me when I needed her,”he said at last,“I’d liked to think she could say the same about me.But we never really agreed on that much.”

Nicole couldn’t help laughing.“Oh boy, are we really at that stage?”

“What stage?”

“You know, when you’ve broken up with someone and you’re telling yourself that the relationship wasn’t that good so you don’t have to deal with the fact you miss them?”She noticed his bewildered look and sighed.“You really are new to all this, aren’t you?”

Aden seemed to be silent for a long time before answering.“I miss her.”

Nicole nodded.“And I miss Geoff.We’re a pair of screw-ups, aren’t we?”

“Guess it’s a good job we’ve still got each other to talk to.”

Geoff sat on the edge of the wharf, staring out to sea.He heard the footsteps behind him and wished that whoever it was would leave him alone.Then he heard Tam’s voice.“Do you mind if I sit down?”

Geoff silently gestured to the place next to him.Tam sat down on the edge of the wharf, her eyes on him. He looked away, unable to deal with this right now.“Do you hate me?”she asked.

Geoff glanced at her for a second before looking away.“No,”he replied.

“About what I did…”

“Tam, Nicole hates me, Belle hates me…I don’t really have the energy to be angry with you as well.”

“I think I need to say sorry.I didn’t mean to cause you any trouble.I think I was…well, I think I was not thinking.I just saw you there looking cute and I wanted to kiss you so I did.”

“I think anyone else would have noticed that was what you wanted to do.I’m not really good at this.”

“I think that’s why I like you.”She was looking at him beseechingly, forcing him to face her again.“I do like you, Geoff.I wouldn’t be doing all this if I didn’t.Do you like me?”

“I like you, Tam.”

“You’re not with Nicole now.”


“So is it all right if I kiss you again?”

She took his silence as an agreement, leaning forward and kissing him.He didn’t push her away.Instead he started to respond.He liked it.He liked her.And for the moment, that was enough.

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Thanks for the comments.


Jai was still pushing ahead with his plans for a party for Annie, despite her own ambivalence towards the idea.He’d managed to convince her to come round to his place for a meeting with his de facto organising committee and gathered them all around the table in the kitchen:Ruby, Melody and, by default, Xavier. “Okay, I’ve contacted a place in Yabbee Creek about invitations,”he told them,“Irene’s agreed to do some food for us, Mr.Stewart’s going to be chaperone, from a discreet distance, Xav, you’re going to sort out some music for us…”

“Why do we need invititations?”Annie asked,“Everyone that’s coming is here.”

“I’m sure you can think of someone else you want to come if you try hard.”

“Well, Geoff, I suppose…”

“Where is Geoff anyway?”Melody asked,“I thought he was supposed to be helping.”

“He and Tam are going to be along in a bit.”

“That’s good,”Jai decided,“We could use someone who can drive.”

“Is anyone else finding it really strange talking about Geoff and Tam as a couple?”Ruby asked,“I mean, it’s a pretty weird situation.”

“Let me see if I’ve got it right,”Xavier put in,“Tam was here before and she and Geoff liked each other but never got together.Then she left and Nicole came and she got together with Geoff.Then Tam came back and she still liked Geoff, so she kissed him and Nicole found out and broke up with Geoff so now he’s going out with Tam.”

“Yeah, that’s about right,”Jai agreed.

“Except in between all that, he went out with Mel,”Annie added.

“Which doesn’t really have anything to do with it,”Melody told her.

“Hi, guys,”interrupted Geoff, as he and Tam walked in, hand in hand.

“Ah, Geoff.”Jai began rummaging through the papers scattered in front of him.“I’ve got some jobs for you.”

“Um, can I just have a word with Mel first?”Geoff looked at Melody.“Outside?”

“Okay,”Melody agreed, clambering down off her stool and following him out.

Tam went to join the others at the table.“So, what’s up?”She looked at each of them and realised none of them seemed entirely comfortable with her being there.“What, have I got my top on back to front?”

“Nicole’s not exactly a friend but she’s not an enemy either,”Ruby told her,“You shouldn’t have done what you did.”

Tam glared at her.“Fine.I know where I’m not wanted.”

She turned to go but Annie caught her arm before turning back to the others.“Wait a minute.Tam’s my friend and Geoff’s girlfriend so if she’s not welcome here neither am I.”

“You’re welcome here,”Jai told her before looking pointedly at Ruby.

Ruby sighed.“And so’s Tam.”

Geoff had led Melody out onto the porch.“Well?”she asked.

“About that apology you mentioned.”She stood there, arms folded, looking at him expectantly.“I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted,”she told him formally.And then, to his relief, she smiled.“Geoff, I didn’t come back here to cause trouble.I came because it’s my home and because I thought I had some friends here.”

“You do,”he insisted,“And I’m sorry it took me so long to apologise.I’ve just been distracted a bit…”

“Things going okay with Tam?”

“Yeah.Great.Couldn’t be better.”Melody didn’t say anything but Geoff could tell from her expression that she hadn’t been entirely convinced by his declaration.“I like Tam.Really.She’s great, she’s fun, she keeps me on my toes, we have a good time together.It’s just…I don’t feel the same way about her that I did about Nicole.Or you,”he added hastily.

“Thanks, Geoff, but this isn’t about us, it’s about you and Tam.Although, if you think about it, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight between us, was it?Or between you and Nicole.”

“No but…when I was going out with you, it was.”

“Maybe you should give it a chance.See if those feelings do come along.Sometimes they can surprise you.”

Geoff nodded.It was surprisingly good advice.“Yeah, I’ll give it a go.”

“You still look worried.”

“It’s just…there’s someone else I need to apologise to and I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as this.”He waved away her questioning look.“Come on, let’s see what Jai’s roped us into doing.”

When Geoff came home, Belle’s first instinct was to leave the room.Since their argument over her break-up with Aden, their interaction had largely been confined to grunts and glares.But the fact remained they both needed to live in the house and she knew they had to resolve things somehow.And from the way he was looking, it seemed he was ready.

“I’m sorry,”he told her.

She remained silent as he took a chair near her.To her surprise, she realised she’d missed him.Not having Aden around had just reminded her how few friends she had left in the Bay.Geoff was on a fairly short list of people she actually spoke to regularly.“I’m sorry too,”she replied,“I shouldn’t have blamed you for everything that happened between me and Aden.”

“Yeah but Aden was right.Everything that’s happened is basically my fault.”

“Can be hard.Cheating.Take it from someone who’s got experience.”

Geoff nodded.“I didn’t even realise it was cheating at the time.But thinking back, you and Annie were right.If going out with Tam really had been above board, I’d have told Nicole about it.”

“Have you spoken to her lately?”

Geoff looked confused.“Tam or Nicole?”

Belle couldn’t help smiling.No matter how much trouble his naivety could get them all into, there were times when she found it refreshing.“Either.”

“I’ve seen Nicole at school a few times but she tends to avoid me.Tam…”-he glanced at his watch-“…I’m meant to be meeting at the Diner.If we’re all right?”

“We’re all right, Geoff.”

“Did it go okay?”Tam asked as Geoff sat down opposite her.

“Well, we’re talking again, so that’s good.”

“And I think your friends are starting to accept me.”

“Looks like people are starting to approve.”

Tam glanced over at the counter where Aden was just paying for his coffee.“Some of them anyway.”

Aden noticed them when he turned round and purposefully chose a path to the exit that brought him past their table.“Still sticking to the good old Christian values, eh, Geoff?”he asked sarcastically,“Keep it up.”

Geoff ignored the comment, letting Aden leave.He’d had plenty of experience of ignoring Aden.Tam, though, looked after him indignantly.“Okay, I’ll take it from your friends, I’ll even take it from Nicole, but he’s got no right judging us like that.”

“Just leave it, Tam,”Geoff told her.But he might as well have saved his breath, because she was already on her feet and storming out the door.

“Aden!Aden!”Tam struggled to catch up with him, annoyed that he seemed to be ignoring her.Finally, he stopped and turned round, looking at her with an aggravating lack of interest.“Just who do you think you are?”

“Well, I’m a friend of Nicole for a start.And your new boyfriend’s just a hypocrite.Preaches about all his high flung morals when he’s just as bad as the rest of us.”

“And who appointed you the moral guardian of Summer Bay while I was away?You’re telling me you’d never go after a girl who was with someone else?That’s not what I’ve heard.”

“I don’t have to justify myself to you.”

“And I don’t have to justify myself to you!You know I liked Geoff before, we’d probably have got together when I was last here if it hadn’t been for that thing between us.”

“Well, yeah, why do you think I…”Aden stopped suddenly, as though realising he’d said too much.

Tam looked at him with new understanding.“That’s why you took me out?Because you knew Geoff liked me?”

Aden didn’t seem to want to answer but it came eventually.“He got me thrown off the team, remember? And then the new girl appoints herself his personal cheerleader.I wasn’t going to let him get what he wanted again.”

“And you’re still trying to claim the moral high ground here?This isn’t about Nicole, you don’t care what happens to her, you’re just after causing trouble for us.You don’t care about anyone but yourself.”

She saw it, just for a second, a glimpse behind the mask.There was a flash of hurt in his eyes and she realised that, deep down, it actually bothered him that some people still thought the worst of him.Then the shutters were back up.“Nicole’s a pain but she’s a mate.And that’s the only reason I got involved.”He shook his head before turning away.“And I am through listening to anything you might have to say.”

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