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Second Love

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I swear I came up with this idea round about March time.Then it looked like the show was going to nix it.Fortunately, from the point of view of this fiction, they messed it up, so I get to show how it should have been done.(I was also slightly aghast when a fiction with a similar title appeared.Sorry but I liked it too much to change it.I was equally aghast when one of my ideas for later in the story popped up in another fiction but more on that later...)

Story Title: Second Love

Type of story: Long fic

Main Characters: Aden and Nicole with Annie, Miles, Ruby and a few others

BTTB rating: T/A

Genre: Drama/Romance

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Sexual content:Moderate.Violence:Mild.Language:None.

Summary: It's been a few years and several people have moved on from the Bay but Aden and Nicole are still there.Which is when they suddenly start looking at each other in a different light.


It didn’t take a genius to work out who was making the noise in the kitchen.After all, aside from Aden there was only one person that lived there.He’d been hoping for a lazy start to the day, since he didn’t have any lessons until later on, but when Nicole had started banging about at half past six, he’d soon realised that staying in bed wasn’t an option.

“Oh, you decided to surface, did you?”she greeted him as he came down the stairs.

Aden gave her a look that would have sixteen-year-olds scurrying for cover.Unfortunately, it seemed to have little effect on her.“Didn’t your dad teach you how to make breakfast quietly?”

“Sure he did.But if I did that, you’d still be in bed.”

“I’ve got a free period first thing, Nicole.I’m supposed to still be in bed.”

“Free periods are for preparation.Isn’t that what you tell your students?”

Aden shook his head wearily, realising it was an argument he wasn’t going to win.Of course, that didn’t mean winding her up was still out of the question.“You know what?I always wondered what it would be like to have a mum.Living with you I’ve found out.”

He was rewarded with a cold glare.“Ha ha.Very funny.Is that your way of saying you want me to make breakfast for you?”

“Actually, I think I’ll grab something from the Diner.”

“Okay.Make sure you don’t forget your lunch!”

Aden collected his packed meal from the kitchen surface.“Yes, Mum.”

The impact of the gag was obviously lost because Nicole just smiled.“And make sure you’re not late back from school!I’m getting dinner ready!”

“Yes, Mum.”

Aden tried to hide the smile on his face as he exited the house.For all his banter, he was grateful that Nicole was still around.She certainly made life a lot less dull.

Aden was sure that if he’d thought hard about it he could’ve remembered a time when Irene Roberts wasn’t running things at the Diner.But he was so used to seeing her there, it would have seemed strange if it had been someone else sealing up his takeaway coffee with a “There you are, darl.”

“Thanks, Irene,”he responded, accepting it from her,“You coming to the game later?”

Irene nodded.“Livvy would kill me if I missed it.”

Olivia Richards had been a member of the Year 8 Girls’ Hockey team almost as long as she’d been living with Irene and she was always one of the first names on Aden’s team sheet.Girls’ hockey hadn’t been exactly what Aden had had in mind when he’d taken the PE teacher’s job at Summer Bay High but he’d ended up enjoying it more than he cared to admit.

Kirsty Copeland, the Diner’s other owner, came through from the kitchen, her attention focused on the postcard she was reading.“Irene, do you want me to pin this up on..?”She stopped, noticing their customer, seeming suddenly embarrassed and trying to thrust the postcard out of sight.“Oh, hi, Aden.”

Aden had a feeling he knew the answer but he asked the question anyway.“What have you got there?”

Kirsty threw a desperate glance in Irene’s direction, leaving her to supply the answer.“It’s, ah, it’s from Belle, love.”

Aden forced a smile onto his face.“What, she’s sending you a postcard from Perth?”

“Actually, she’s on a photography assignment in Dubai at the moment.”

Aden nodded, keeping the smile in place for his own benefit as much as theirs.“That’s good.Thanks for the coffee but I’d really better get on.”

As Aden made his exit from the Diner, he hated the way he was feeling.Belle was gone.She’d been gone nearly two years now.Their lives had gone in different directions and they’d both agreed they needed a clean break.No waiting around for the other person when they might never see each other again.Aden had tried to keep his word.He hadn’t exactly been waiting but every time he went into the Diner or the beach house, he half-expected to see her there.

Sometimes, when he felt like this, he wondered if he’d ever be able to move on.

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Thank you for all your comments.Just to let you know in advance, I'm going to be away for the weekend so I can't see myself getting another chapter done before Tuesday at the earliest.Hope you like this one.


“Nic!Nic, wait up!”

Nicole halted her progress across the college courtyard and turned to see Annie hurrying towards her, a well-thumbed copy of the introductory booklet in her hand.She stopped as she reached her, looking slightly embarrassed.“You’re not going anywhere near R3, are you?”

Nicole sighed.“Annie, you’ve been here six months.It’s not as though you don’t have the chance to look around.”Unlike Nicole, who’d chosen to commute from the Bay, Annie had moved to the city to be close to college.Nicole noticed the younger girl’s crestfallen expression and shook her head in resignation.“All right, you can walk with me.I’ll point it out to you.”

“Thanks,”Annie replied gratefully as she fell into step beside her,“Geoff always used to say I had no sense of direction.”She broke off, the mood between them changed.

“How is he?”Nicole asked quietly.

“He’s fine,”Annie confirmed awkwardly,“He and Claudia seem to be happy in Adelaide.”

“Good.That’s good.”

“I’m sorry if I…”

Nicole waved a hand, dismissing the apology.“Don’t worry about it, Annie.Long time ago.We can’t all be like you and Jai.”

Annie suddenly seemed to find her feet extremely interesting, avoiding Nicole’s gaze.Nicole smiled at the reaction.She could still remember being in the Diner when Annie was making her fumbling attempt to tell Irene that she and Jai had decided to get a flat together.She’d never seen anyone turn quite that shade of red before.

“So how’s it going?You got tired of him leaving socks everywhere or leaving the toilet seat up yet?”

Annie smiled slightly, relaxing a bit.“I’ve kind of got him trained.”

“Good for you.”Nicole linked arms with her.“Now all we need is for me to train you.”

Aden had hoped he’d managed to avoid the conversation.He’d kept up the pretence all through dinner and the clearing up and left Nicole in the kitchen to finish…whatever it was girls insisted on doing for about half an hour after a meal.But as soon as she’d finished, she came through, sat at the opposite end of the sofa and gave him that look.“Spill.”

“What?”he asked, trying to avoid her gaze.

“Whatever it is that’s been having you in that brooding mood all evening.”

He sighed.“I was in the Diner earlier and they’d just got a postcard from Belle.”

Nicole nodded in understanding.“Ah, residual sexual tension.”

“It just reminded me, once again, that I haven’t really done anything since she’s been gone.”

“You’ve got your job and the students obviously love you.”

“Yeah but…I’d be doing all that even if she was still here.I haven’t really moved on from…us.”

“I know what you mean,”Nicole admitted,“I was talking to Annie earlier and she mentioned Geoff and instantly I started thinking ‘What if?’I mean, it’s three years since we broke up and I still find myself wishing things had turned out different sometimes.”She groaned.“Oh god, is this really our lives?”


“Look at us, two hot, intelligent twenty-somethings with great career prospects and we’re both spending our times angsting about our one serious relationship.Are we doomed to do this for the next eighty years?”

Aden couldn’t help grinning at the tirade.“Probably.Guess we’re destined to be permanent singletons.”

“Okay, tell you what, if we’re both still single when we’re forty, we’ll marry each other.”

“Why wait till then?”Aden asked jokingly,“We’re obviously doomed.”

“Okay,”Nicole agreed,“I’ll book the registry office in the morning.Saturday suit you?”



They both sat there, laughing at the thought.And then they stopped laughing.Aden found himself looking at her, at that expression in her eyes, and had a feeling that they were both thinking the same thing.And she did have very beautiful eyes…

He tore his gaze away from her.“So, anyway, it’s been a long day, I’d better turn in.”

He headed up the stairs, not looking back.Because if he had seen her again at that point, he wasn’t entirely sure what he would have done.

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Thanks for all your comments, everyone, hope you like this.


Aden had stayed in bed as long as possible, hoping that Nicole had an early lecture or something and would need to be out of the house before him.It was a vain hope, of course.She was there at her usual place in the kitchen when he came down, halfway through making something for herself.

“Cereal’s on the table, coffee’s in the pot and did we have a moment last night?”

The question was thrown out there so casually that it took Aden a moment to notice it.“Er, what?”

“A moment.You know, one of those moments when you’re imagining the other person with their clothes off and imagining that you’re there at the time…”She noticed his glare but she’d got so used to them over the years she just shrugged it off. “Well, come on, it’s not like we haven’t had those sort of thoughts before.”She held up a hand to forestall any argument as she saw his glare deepen.“Okay, I know, we agreed never to mention it again.”

“I think I actually made it a condition of my moving back in,”Aden reminded her.

Nicole sighed.“Right, so, what?We’re just going to pretend it didn’t happen?”

Aden wanted very much to pretend exactly that.But looking at her then, he knew that pretending he didn’t have those sort of thoughts would be pointless.“It happened,”he admitted at last.

Nicole brightened at that, favouring him with a smile that just made her look even more attractive.“So?”

Aden shrugged, avoiding her gaze.“So nothing.There’s an attraction between us, we know that.Doesn’t mean we should do anything about it.We tried once before and it was a disaster.”

“Yeah but…things are different now.We’re in a different place.”

“We’re still the same people, Nic.You really think we’d work together?”

She was avoiding his gaze as well now and he had the uncomfortable feeling that he’d upset her.“Well, if you’re so dead against it, no, I guess not.”

“Look, come on, Nic, you know I’m right.”He took a step towards her, hand outstretched.He wasn’t entirely sure what he intended to do with it, pat her on the arm or shoulder, put his arm round her, some sort of physical gesture of comfort.But he felt a sudden thrill of both fear and excitement, as his body anticipated any sort of contact with her.He stepped back again, his hand remaining where it was, reaching out to her without touching.“I’ll see you this evening,”he said at last, making a rapid escape from her presence for the second time in twelve hours.

Aden stood on the touchline, watching the Year 8 girls battering a ball and each other with big sticks, encouraging the former and trying to keep the latter to a minimum.“Come on, girls, keep the game moving. Defend your goals.Good pass, Olivia.”

Olivia glanced over at him with a grin.“Thanks, Ad…um, Mr.Jefferies.”Looking slightly embarrassed, she turned her attention back to the game.

“Learning the perils of knowing pupils out of school?”asked an amused voice behind him.

Aden hadn’t realised Miles Copeland had followed him out to the playing field but he was glad to see him all the same.He could remember a time when they hadn’t been close but over the last few years, he’d got used to talking to him.Even if the fact he was now deputy principal technically made him Aden’s boss. “Something like that,”he replied.

Miles cocked his head on one side as though sensing Aden’s mood.“There something bothering you?”

Aden thought about how best to phrase it.“Say I’ve got a friend…”

Miles’s expression indicated he’d seen through the pretense straightaway.“You’ve got a friend?”

Say I’ve got a friend.”

“Oh, right, so not only are we pretending the friend isn’t you, we’re pretending the friend doesn’t even exist.”Aden found himself practising his glare once again, prompting Miles to wave a hand airily.“Okay, carry on.”

“And say this friend has got another friend, who’s a girl.And she’s a really good friend but that’s all she is.But recently he’s found himself looking at her as more than a friend.What should he do?”

Miles seemed to consider this for a moment.“I think you should tell Nicole how you feel.”

Aden sighed.“I didn’t mention Nicole.”

“Well, it’s not as though you’ve got any other female friends.Actually, have you got any other friends?”

“What are you, an imaginary giant bunny?”

“Good point.”Miles patted him on the shoulder companionably.“Advice still stands though.”

“She kind of already knows how I feel, that’s part of the problem.She’s probably the best friend I’ve got, maybe even the best friend I’ve ever had, and I really don’t want to ruin that.”He sighed.“Why did she have to look so hot?”

“Genetics.”From his expression, Aden could tell Miles knew quite well that wasn’t the real question, he was just being Miles.“Okay.Maybe you should forget about the friends part.Just think of her as a girl you know that you’d quite like to know better.What would you do then?”Aden gave him a confused look.Miles rolled his eyes slightly.“Just…use your imagination.And by the way”-he pointed towards the game Aden was supposed to be keeping his eye on-“goal.”

As Miles disappeared in the direction of the school, Aden hastily turned to his class, blowing his whistle. “Good play, girls.Right, restart.”

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Thank you so much, everyone, for your comments, it's always nice to get some encouragement.

(and it's you I know she's not coming back...or not at least until you've made Aden completely fall for Nicole and not be interested that Belle's back)

I did consider bringing Belle or Geoff back and forcing Aden or Nicole to make a choice...then I decided that was too obvious and scrapped it.


“We keeping you up?”Nicole asked as Kirsty served her a yawn along with her coffee.

“Someone is,”Kirsty sighed.She noticed Nicole’s suggestive look and hastily clarified the point.“Ben.He’s teething.”

“Ah.Told you you’d regret having another one.”

“I don’t regret it,”Kirsty replied,“I’d never regret him or Ollie.Anything worth having’s going to require a bit of effort.And sleeplessness.”Perhaps she noticed the comment had struck a chord with Nicole, perhaps not.Either way, it wasn’t enough to stop her glancing back into the kitchen and the growing pile of orders. “Sorry, I need to get on.”

“Oh, yeah, of course.”Nicole turned away from the counter, looking for someone else with an ear available for bending, and smiled as she picked out a familiar uniformed figure and made her way over to the table.“This seat taken, Constable Buckton?”

Ruby rolled her eyes slightly as she gestured for Nicole to sit.“You have no idea how strange it feels to be called that.Every time someone calls out my name at the station I start looking around for Charlie.If she hadn’t got that transfer to the city, it’d be really confusing.”

“Never thought I’d see you in the family business,”Nicole agreed.

“Well, someone had to show them how to do it.”

Nicole nodded, trying to work out how to broach the subject.“So, any gossip?Any guys on the horizon?”

“With the hours I work?Hardly.”

“Is that because of Xav?”

Ruby seemed surprised by the comment.“Haven’t heard that name in a long time.”She shrugged.“Sure, when his family moved away, I was upset, I didn’t want him to go.But I’m not sitting around weeping and saying he was the love of my life.”

“So if you met someone else you liked, you’d go for it?”


“What if it was Jai?”

Ruby stared at her hard.“Then Annie would kill me.Or at least give me a severe glare.”

“Okay, not Jai, what if it was another friend, someone from the station, and you liked him, you really, really liked him and you wanted to be more than friends but you’d been there before and it had been a disaster and you’d nearly lost him because of it and you so, so didn’t want that to happen again because he’s such a big part of your life and…what?”Nicole interrupted herself as she saw the look Ruby was giving her.

“Nothing,”Ruby replied innocently,“It’s just I think we left hypothetical behind a long time ago.”

Nicole sighed.“Okay.Fine.I’ve been having naughty thoughts about Aden again.”

“And you’ve spoken to him about it?”

“I tried to but…he doesn’t think it’d work.”

“So what do you think?”

“I think it’d be worth a try.But if it doesn’t work out, I could end up losing him as a friend and that really is the last thing I want.”

“Well, knowing you two I think your friendship’s strong enough to survive anything.Maybe it’s a risk worth taking.”

Nicole waited at home that evening until she heard the sound of the front door, signalling his return, then barrelled her way into the front room.“Aden, we need to talk.”

“Yeah,”he agreed, dropping his kit bag to the floor.There was an awkward pause before he added,“Do you wanna go first?”

“Please.”Nicole took a deep breath.“I like you.I like you as a friend and I like you as something else.As someone I could be with.Properly.As a couple.”

“Nicole,”he tried to say but she held up a hand to stop him.

“Still talking.Where was I?”She thought for a moment.“Oh yeah.We could be a couple.You said yourself this morning that we’re attracted to each other.And maybe if we act on that attraction, we’ll risk ruining this friendship.But maybe we’ll turn this friendship into something more.Something better.”

“Nicole,”he tried again before she cut him down.

“Aden, I’ve been practising this speech and I’m going to finish it!”She was relieved when he backed off, suitably chastened.“If it doesn’t work, we’ll still have the friendship.I think we’ve proved that that’s going to survive anything.But if we don’t try this, if we don’t take this risk, then I think we could end up regretting it.And I think I’d rather do something and regret it than not do something and regret it.”

Aden waited a moment before asking,“My turn?”She nodded, exhausted at the effort.“What are you doing tomorrow night?”

It wasn’t the answer she’d expected.“I don’t know, nothing special.Why?”

“I was wondering if you wanted to go out for dinner.”

It took Nicole a moment to realise exactly what he was saying.Then it hit her and the grin spread across her face.“As in a date?Are-are you asking me out on a date?”

His grin matched her own.“Yes, Nicole, I’m asking you out on a date.Not pressing you for an answer but…”

“Yes.I mean, my answer’s yes.I do want to go out on a date with you, Aden.”

“Right.”He stood there for a moment as though unsure how to proceed.“Normally I’d arrange a time to pick you up but I’m gonna be here anyway.”

“Maybe we should decide when we leave?”

“Right.Seven o’clock all right for you?”


He waited a moment longer before adding,“At the risk of spoiling the mood, what’s for tea?”

Smiling, Nicole crossed the space between them and whispered in his ear.“Make it and find out.”

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Thank you once again for all your comments, hope this doesn't disappoint.


Aden smoothed the creases out of his shirt for what felt like the umpteenth time, remembering Miles’ words.Forget it was Nicole, forget they were friends.Just treat it like any other first date.He glanced at his watch irritably.She only had to come downstairs and she was still late.“Nic, food’ll be cold by the time we get there!”he called up.

“Yeah, I don’t think they cook it until you actually order,”she fired back, just before she appeared at the top of the stairs,“You want me to look my best, don’t you?”

She certainly did that.She was a wearing a long, low cut, black dress that seemed to emphasise her figure in all the right places.It was all Aden could do to stop his jaw drapping at the sight.“Wow.”

She smiled, doing a little twirl at the bottom of the stairs to show off the full effect.“You like?”

“You should dress like that more often.”

“Yeah because it’s really suitable for doing the washing up in.Anyone would think you’d never seen me all dressed up before.”

“Guess I never really looked that close.”

“Hmm.”She walked over to him and straightened his collar slightly.“Guess you scrub up pretty well yourself.”She placed a hand on his arm, inviting him to take the lead.“So, Aden, you think you can show a girl a good time?”

“Well, I guess I could give it a try.”

Nicole glanced across the table at Aden.The food was good and she was enjoying being with him but there was still an unfortunate awkwardness there, that feeling of being in an unfamiliar situation with someone all too familiar.“Bit hard to know what to do on a first date,”she commented at last.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, first dates are meant to be all ‘getting to know you’ and we already know each other.We know each other’s deepest secrets and worst habits, we’ve already met each other’s parents, we live together for goodness sake.”

“Guess we could chew over past relationships,”Aden suggested wickedly.

“Fine.”Nicole shot him a challenging look.“You first.”

Aden shrugged, embarrassed.“Well…there was Belle and…there was you.”

Nicole was sceptical.“You’re seriously telling me that for the first eighteen years of your life you never went near a girl?”

“I tried it a few times but it tended to end with one of us running away screaming.Usually them.”He gestured to her.“Your turn.”

Nicole sighed.“I dunno.I guess if a guy showed an interest I figured it was better than being on my own. Then when it came down to it I realised we didn’t really have anything in common.Trent, Trey, Eddie…I think Elliot would count as the worst on the grounds he tried to kill me.”

“And Geoff?”Aden prompted.

“And Geoff,”Nicole agreed,“A really nice guy but very different from me.”

“And do you think we’ve got a lot in common?”

Nicole cast her eye over him.“Let me see.Really hot, smarter than you look...and care more about people than you like to let on.”

She could see that Aden was pleased by the remark…but he obviously wasn’t going to let on.“And you think that’s you as well?”

“Why, how would you describe me?”

Aden thought about it.“I guess you’ve grown up a lot since we first met.”He grinned mischievously.“In more ways than one.”

Nicole suddenly found the contents of her plate very interesting.

“I’d invite you in for a coffee,”she told him as they arrived home,“but you live here.”

Aden shrugged.“You could make the coffees anyway.”

“Guess I walked into that one.”Nicole led the way into the kitchen, grabbing hold of the kettle.“So, as dates go, how do you think that went?”

“Pretty well, I guess.”

“Well enough to risk a second one?”

“Well enough to not want it to end just yet.”He turned her towards him and gently kissed her.

They stopped and looked at each other and then they were kissing again, softly but intensely.He began leading her towards the stairs and for a moment she was following him but then realisation kicked in and she pulled away slightly.“Wait a minute, what are we doing?”

Aden raised an eyebrow.“Okay, I know for a fact you’re familiar with the idea.”

“Aden, do you want this to work?”

She was relieved to see the sincerity in his eyes as he nodded.“Yeah.Yeah, I do.”

“Good.Because we could sleep together now and we both know it would be great.But that’s not a relationship.I want us to do this properly and that means we need to work up to it.And we’re not there yet.”

Aden seemed to accept it.“So, what do you think we should do?”

“I think we should go to bed.Separately,”she added pointedly.

“And tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow…Well, we can work that out later.”

He sighed.“You know, you were a lot more fun before you got all responsible.”

“Well, one of us has to be or this place would be a pig sty and…”She stopped.“I’m sounding like your mum again, aren’t I?”

He grinned.“Either that or a nagging wife.”

“I’m not sure which is more disturbing.”

He kissed her again, just long enough for her to lose herself in it, before giving her one last smile.“See you in the morning, princess.”

Nicole was unable to keep the smile from her face as she watched him disappear up the stairs.She’d never realised that she could turn down the offer of a night of passion and still be left feeling like she’d had the best time of her life.

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Thank you once again for all your comments.Hope you enjoy this one.

He's still calling her princess then :lol:

Didn't even realise I'd done that.And to think I agonised about whether to do it in this chapter.Guess some things will never change...


It was Nicole who was the last to rise the next morning, making her way downstairs to the sight and sound of Aden in the kitchen.She paused for a moment, watching him, unsure how to act.The previous night had been amazing but now…now everything was just normal.“Morning,”she said cautiously.

He glanced round, in the same way he would have done a few weeks ago before anything had happened between them.“Morning, Nic.You want anything?”

He was acting as if nothing had happened.The date, the kiss…the kisses.Maybe he just wanted to forget all about it, never mention it again.“No, nothing,”she replied as she joined him in the kitchen.

“You sure?”he asked as he turned to face her,“You don’t want me to get you any toast or cereal?Or maybe one of these?”

He took hold of her wrist and pulled her towards him, his lips meeting hers, caressing them softly.The kiss ended and he took hold of her hands, holding them gently.She smiled at him.“I didn’t dream it then.”

“Not unless we have the same dreams.And no offence, princess, but that’s a really scary thought.”

“I guess I was just worried that you’d wake up this morning and ask yourself what on earth you were doing last night.”

“I knew what I was doing.And I don’t regret it.”

“And you don’t mind that we didn’t..?”

Aden shrugged.“It’s got to be right for both of us.Although for a moment there, I did wonder if I was dating Bible Boy.”

“Yeah, I always wondered about you two.”

He tried to give her a glare but she was pleased to see he couldn’t keep the smile off his face for long.“I want to do this properly.And if that means slowly, then I’m fine with that.”

“Question’s still there though, isn’t it?”Nicole pointed out,“Tomorrow’s here and, aside from a few hugs and kisses, which I appreciate by the way, we’re not sure what to do with it.”

“I guess we could arrange a second date.”

“Like what, popcorn in front of a DVD?We do that most nights anyway.”

“Yeah but…we’d probably see less of the DVD now.”

Nicole couldn’t help but smile even though her question went unanswered.“I just think that now we’re a couple things should be different.”She paused, uncertain.“Is it okay to call us that?”

He gently pulled her back towards him, his lips moving towards hers.“Give me a moment to think about it…”

“Is it okay to sit here?”

It took Nicole a few seconds to register that Annie’s question was directed at her.She’d managed to grab a table by herself for lunch but the college canteen had obviously filled up.She gestured to one of the empty chairs.“Help yourself.Jai not with you?”

“No, he had to study.”

She’d hoped that would be it, that she could get back to losing herself in her own thoughts.But instead Annie sat there, looking at her expectantly.She looked at her in mild irritation.“What?”

“What was it like?The date with Aden?”

Nicole had had plenty of experience of the Summer Bay grapevine but she hadn’t realised it spread this far.Then it all clicked into place in her mind.“Ruby told you.”

“Um…actually, I think she told everyone.”

“Great.Well…it was good.”Annie was still giving her that expectant look.“You want all the details?”

Annie thought for a moment.“Depends on what the details are.”

“We kissed.”

Annie’s smile seemed to be equal measures pleased for her and relieved that that was all.“What was it like?”

Nicole hadn’t really analysed it before but now that she did, it pleased her.“I’ve kissed Aden before but… most of the time we were just grabbing hold of the nearest person.This time it…it felt like he was kissing me, you know?”

“Um…maybe.”For someone who had no problem asking questions about someone else’s love life, Annie could be remarkably coy about her own.

Nicole sighed.“But now…”She broke off, uncertain whether to go on.


“I’m wondering where the romance is.”

Annie seemed surprised at that.“I think Aden can be romantic when he wants.”

“Yeah but…it’s like, how do we stop ourselves falling back into the same routine?We’re such a big part of each other’s lives already, it feels like there’s nowhere else to go.Well, maybe there’s one place to go but we both agreed not to rush into that.”

“Well, if you’re worried everything’s the same, maybe you should do something different?”

Nicole was about to bark out a retort that that was pretty obvious when she stopped, thinking about it. “Actually, that does kind of make sense.”

Annie shrugged modestly.“I do sometimes.”

Waiting for Aden to get home seemed to have become a habit for Nicole.She sat in the living room, checking her watch every now and then, and was relieved when he finally came through the front door.“We need to do something different,”she blurted out.

Aden looked quietly amused.“What?”

“It’s the only way we’re going to find out how we work as a couple.We need to do something different.” She stopped, considering what she’d just said.“At least…that’s what Annie thinks.”

“Well, Annie can be a smart girl sometimes.Because on this occasion, she happens to agree with me.”He reached into his bag and took out a couple of sheets of paper.From what little Nicole could see of them, they seemed to have been printed off the Internet.“Guess we’re lucky half term’s coming up.”

Nicole took the sheets from his grasp.“Aden…this is a booking confirmation.For a…health farm?”

“Health farm slash sports village,”Aden corrected as he sat down next to her,“Spas, saunas and massages for those that like pampering, indoor sports, cycling and hiking for those who like to stay active.And maybe we could even try a few of those things together.”

Nicole checked the details again.“Two rooms?”

“I didn’t want you to think that…well, that that was the reason I did it.You’re right, Nic, if we stay here, we’d probably just carry on doing everything we normally do.If we go somewhere new, maybe we can figure out what the two of us together is actually like.”

Nicole smiled.“Annie was right about something else too.”

“Oh, what’s that?”

She pecked him gently on the lips.“She said you could be romantic.”

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Thank you for all your comments, everyone, and hope you like this.


Nicole had hoped the thumping was in her head but no, someone was banging on the door.She blearily opened her eyes to check she was where she thought she was.Yes, she was on holiday.Which meant she should be enjoying the luxury of a bed she hadn’t had to make herself and lying in until mid-afternoon with nowhere else to go.It didn’t mean that someone should be banging on her door at nine o’clock in the morning and waking her up.

As the thumping continued unabated, she wearily clambered out of bed and pulled the door open to reveal Aden, fully dressed and looking sickingly awake and alert.He almost seemed to do a double take at the sight of her, looking her up and down and checking his watch.“You’re not dressed yet?”

“Yeah, I was actually about to go down to breakfast looking like this,”she fired back.

He shrugged.“Wouldn’t be the first time.”

She had to concede getting dressed for breakfast had never been one of her priorities.She’d even made it to the Diner without getting dressed once.“Was there something you wanted, Aden?”

“We had a deal, remember?Spending the day together?”

Memories of the previous evening were beginning to surface in Nicole’s mind and she realised exactly what it was she’d agreed to.“A hike in the woods.”He nodded in confirmation.“And we have to start now?”

He checked his watch again.“Half an hour to get dressed and get something to eat.”

It didn’t seem like much of a concession.“You’re sure you wouldn’t rather spend the day in the spa?”

“We tossed a coin, Nic, and you lost.And can you seriously see me in a spa?”

“I know a lot of people who’d pay good money to see it.”She could see she wasn’t going to win the argument.“Okay, fine, half an hour.”She went back to the bed and lay back down.

“Yeah, that was half an hour till you’re ready downstairs not half an hour till you get out of bed.”Aden went over to her wardrobe, pulled the door open and began getting out a few items of clothing that seemed vaguely suitable for hiking.He glanced at the bottom of the wardrobe.“You brought five pairs of shoes with you?”

“What, you expect me to wear the same ones every day?”

“And none of them suitable for hiking.”

Nicole looked at him hopefully.“So does that mean it’s off?”

“No, it means you have to hire some from reception.”He glanced at his watch.“In…twenty-eight minutes now.”

Nicole sat up wearily and looked at him.“Aden?”


“Are you actually going to stay here while I get dressed?”

There was a slight perverse satisfaction in seeing the way he suddenly looked uncomfortable.“Twenty-seven minutes and thirty seconds,”he told her before quickly making his exit.

“This is what you do for fun?”Nicole complained two hours later, once they were in the middle of the woods.She glanced down at her feet.It was hard to tell through the heavy hiking boots Aden had hired for her but she was certain they were swelling up.

“Well, you turned down indoor badminton and I didn’t manage to interest anyone in a unisex footie tournament so…this is it.”

“That’s because you sold it to me as ‘a walk’.”

“We’ve been walking.”

“We’ve been walking all morning.”

“Except for the seven times you wanted to stop for a rest.”

Nicole sighed.“Fine.But I’m expecting you to stick to your word and join me in the more relaxing activities tomorrow.”

“Like a spa?”

“I was actually thinking more of a massage session.To get rid of the aches and pains I know I’m going to have tomorrow.”

Aden shrugged.“Okay, if you want me to spend the day having my body rubbed by some gorgeous Swedish girl…”

Nicole stopped in front of him, jabbing him in the chest.“You dare…”

“Oh, what?This from the girl who’s been having Latino types work all over her for the past two days?”

She smiled slyly.“You noticed that?”

“Bit hard to miss.”

“Wouldn’t be at all jealous, would you?”

“Me?”His face was the picture of innocence.

“Yeah, what was I thinking?”Pleased at his reaction, she turned to continue her journey…failing to remember the river running right next to them.Her foot landed right on the edge of the bank, her weight causing it to give way, and, with a yelp of shock, she slid feet first into the water.

Concerned, Aden hurried to the spot where she’d fallen to be greeted by the sight of Nicole submerged up to her waist, the parts of her that were out of the water not much drier than the parts that were in it, her face a picture of indignation.“You all right there, Nic?”he asked, trying hard to keep a straight face.

“Aden, get me out of here now!”she snapped back.

Aden reached out a hand to her then stopped.“Hang on, is this the bit where I go to help and you pull me in with you?”

“Aden!”came the indignant reply.

“Okay, fine.”Aden took a firm hold on Nicole’s wrist and pulled.She managed to get a foothold on the river bank and pushed herself upwards.She landed heavily against Aden, transferring a sizeable portion of the river to him in the process.He sighed.“Well, I guess I got wet anyway.”

She nodded towards the backpack he’d brought with him.“Don’t suppose you brought a blanket with you?”

“As a matter of fact…”He unzipped the bag and pulled a blanket out.“I was going to use it to sit on but I guess keeping a drowned rat warm is as good a use as any.”

As he draped the blanket around her shoulders, Nicole peered into the bag, noticing the picnic food in there, and felt slightly humbled by his thoughtfulness.She glanced over her shoulder at him.“Sorry about all the complaining.”

He smiled gently and put his arm round her.“Well, I guess we’re going to have to go back now anyway. Can’t have you catching pneumonia on me.”

Aden sat on the edge of Nicole’s bed, his damp shirt next to him.That was all he’d felt comfortable removing.Nicole came through from the bathroom, stripped down to her underwear, a towel having replaced the blanket in barely covering the rest of her body.She had another towel in her hand which she threw to him.“Here.”

“Thanks,”he responded as he wiping his torso dry.He grinned ruefully.“Not quite how I planned it.”

“Really?”Nicole sat down next to him, as she continued to dry herself.“The two of us in my room, looking like this?Probably most guys’ dream.”

Aden clicked his fingers.“Darn, you saw through my ruse.”

“Well, you didn’t have to drop me in a river to get past first base.”

“It was pretty fun though.”

“Oh, seeing me looking like a drowned rat is fun, is it?”

“Well, you make a pretty cute drowned rat.”

“You say all the sweetest things.”

She leaned across and kissed him, slowly at first but then growing in intensity, the embrace becoming more and more passionate.He slid the towel from her shoulders, lowering her scantily clad form onto the bed.Her hand grasped at the clasp on his belt, unfastening it, easing his trousers slowly down his body…

They both stopped at the same moment.He gently took the hand that had been undressing him in his his, stroking her hair with his other hand, still lying there, on top of her.“Guess we forgot for a moment, huh?”

“Mmm.”She looked at him with mixed emotions.“Funny that.”

He sat up, doing his belt up again and picking up his discarded shirt.“I’d better go and get changed out of these wet clothes.Meet you for dinner.”

“Yeah.I’ll…see you then.”She waited until he’d left the room before sitting up.She didn’t think she’d ever wanted to sleep with someone as much as she had then.And while part of her was glad they’d waited, that they were doing things properly, the other half…She caught sight of her reflection in a mirror and glared at herself.“You know, you really were a lot more fun before you became responsible.”

Aden sat down heavily on the bed in his own room and let out a deep sigh.Then the smile slowly crept onto his face.He was happy doing things this way, making sure that everything was right for both of them before they took that step.All the same, he wouldn’t have traded those few seconds for anything…

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Thanks for your comments.This chapter's a bit shorter but I hope you like.


“Aren’t we meant to be setting an example for the students?”Aden complained as Miles steered him into the bar.

Miles shrugged.“Oh, most of them are drinking anyway.”He nodded to Tony Holden, who was serving. “Rack ’em up, Tony.”

In truth, it wasn’t the drinking that Aden minded.He had no problem getting involved with that.But since he and Nicole had got back to the Bay, he’d been trying to avoid any probing questions about what their holiday had involved exactly.Much as he’d enjoyed their time away, there were some things he preferred to keep private.

“I was just trying to persuade Aden to enlighten us on how his time with Nicole went,”Miles remarked to Tony, confirming his fears.

“Good luck,”Tony responded with camaraderie,“He’s not giving anything away to me.”

Aden looked at them both in frustration.“You two sure you can’t find anything better to talk about?”

“You’re looking at two old married codgers here,”Miles told him,“We’re just interested to know what the younger generation is doing.”

“You know that you two old married codgers do actually get more attention than some of us younger generation?”

“Well, last week mostly involved baby sick for me.”Miles glanced at Tony for his recollections.

“Reading someone their favourite story.Twenty-eight times.”

“Well, my week had mud,”Aden told them,“And separate rooms.”

Tony looked at him in surprise.“You actually stuck to that?”


Tony looked back at Miles, eyebrow raised.“Whatever did we teach them?”

“That wasn’t what it was about,”Aden argued,“It was meant to be about us getting to know each other properly.As people.”He saw their amused looks and sighed.“Did I really just say something that mushy?”

Miles smirked at Tony in mock disapproval.“Young love.Kinda makes you sick, doesn’t it?”

“There aren’t any details,”Nicole insisted as Jai and Annie trailed her into the Diner.

“That’s lucky,”Jai remarked, slipping an arm round Annie’s shoulder,“She was worried you were going to sleep with him.”

Nicole glanced at Annie as they took their seats.The younger girl looked mortified.“I didn’t say that!”

“You said you hoped they weren’t tempted to rush things.”

“Um…okay, I guess I did say that.”

Nicole touched Annie’s hand to show she didn’t really mind.“It’s okay, Annie.You’ll be glad to know we’re taking things slowly.I guess it makes it more special.”

She could see Annie going misty-eyed at the comment.At times the girl could be a bit too much of a romantic for her own good.“It so does.”

“And you were right about Aden being romantic when he tries.”

Annie smiled before shooting a glare at Jai.“I’m glad someone is.”

“I cooked you dinner the other night,”Jai protested.

“Only because if you hadn’t you wouldn’t have got any yourself.”

Jai glanced back at Nicole, obviously trying to change the subject.“So you’re saying you weren’t tempted at all?”

Nicole led a slight smile creep across her face as the memory came back to her:Aden topless, lying on the bed with him as he gently caressed her…“Well, maybe once.”She noticed their expressions, Jai smirking, Annie quietly disapproving, and coughed quietly.“Say, when are they going to take our orders?”

“Maybe one of us should go to the counter,”Annie suggested.

“I’ll go,”Nicole decided quickly.Anything to get away from the probing questions.She got to her feet… and the room seemed to spin for a moment.She had to clutch hold of the table to stop herself from falling.

Annie noticed, looking instantly concerned.“Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I just felt faint for a moment.”

“Maybe you should sit down,”Jai suggested,“I could order for us.”

“No, no, I’m fine.”Nicole turned herself round and headed towards the counter.The room started spinning again as waves of dizziness hit her.She could see Irene and Kirsty standing at the counter, both having noticed her behaviour with concern.She wanted to tell them it was okay, she’d be with them in a moment, it was just that suddenly she seemed to be walking through treacle.Then her legs buckled under her and she found herself falling.

The last thing she heard was Annie’s alarmed cry of “Nic!” before everything went black.

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Thanks for your comments, hope you don't think this is a cop-out...


Aden rushed in through the front door, stopping only to take in the empty front room before bolting up the stairs, taking two at a time.He bounded across the landing to Nicole’s room, shoving the door open and skidding to a halt, his concern only slightly alleviated by the sight of Nicole sitting up in bed, looking less than pleased to be there, while Rachel sat next to her, packing up her medical bag.

“Rachel, what’s going on?When I saw your car outside, I thought…”

“I’m fine,”Nicole insisted before Rachel could answer, then turned her attention to the doctor,“I don’t know why Irene and Annie insisted on calling you.”

“They wanted to call an ambulance,”Rachel reminded her.

“Well they shouldn’t have done!So I felt a bit faint.No need for panic.”

“Nicole, you passed out,”Rachel reminded her,“Even when you came to, you were so weak you couldn’t even walk home by yourself.”

“Well, I’m fine now.Look!”Nicole made to get out of bed but before she could even get her feet on the floor her strength seemed to fail.She sank backwards, only just managing to stay conscious.

Aden sat down on the bed next to her, clasping her hand in his and noticing how hot and clammy her skin felt.“Nic, you should do as Rachel says.Maybe we should get you to a hospital.”

“I don’t need a hospital!”Nicole protested.

“Actually, I’m inclined to agree with you,”Rachel replied,“You’ve got a high fever and other symptoms but so long as you keep your temperature down and get plenty of bed rest you should be all right.”

“Do you know what’s caused it?”Aden asked.

“Well, there has been a bit of a flu bug going around recently…”

“It’s just she fell into a river while we were away.I got her warm and dry as soon as I could but could that have something to do with it?”

“It might have made her more susceptible,”Rachel admitted,“But seriously, there’s nothing to worry about so long as you look after yourself.”

“She will,”Aden said firmly,“I’ll make sure of it.”

Nicole settled back under the covers, looking disgruntled.“Typical.Any excuse to keep me in bed…”

Nicole woke up coughing, her body convulsing in a sudden, uncontrollable fit.She felt Aden’s comforting hand on her shoulder, as she had so many times over the last two days, offering her the strength of his presence until the coughs subsided.“Thanks,”she whispered.

Aden took a damp cloth and gently wiped her face free of sweat and any other fluid that had seeped out of her nose and mouth while she slept.“No problem, princess.”

She sighed.“Guess you weren’t bargaining on this, hey?We’ve only been dating a few weeks and suddenly you’re having to play Florence Nightingale.”

He went quiet suddenly, thoughtful.“What do you think would have happened a couple of months back?If you’d got ill like this before we were together?”

Nicole looked hard at him, realising what he thought the answer was.“Are you saying you’d have done this anyway?Even if you weren’t getting any…fringe benefits?”

“I think you were already important to me.Just in a different way.”

She smiled at that.“Still, it’s pretty much put paid to any attempts to look sultry and alluring.Not when you’ve seen me coughing up snot everywhere.”

He gently stroked her sweat-soaked hair.“Hey, you still look beautiful.Even with puffy eyes and covered in snot.”He noticed her reaction.“What?”

“It’s just…I don’t think anyone’s called me beautiful before.”

He seemed surprised at that.“Really?”

“Hot, yes, beautiful, no.Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being considered hot, it’s just I kinda like being beautiful once in a while.”She grinned.“Anyone ever call you handsome?”

Aden thought for a moment.“Annie.”

Nicole felt as if she was about to start coughing again.“Annie?!”

“The night of the school formal?I think she meant it in a sisterly sense.”

“She’d better.I wouldn’t want to have to fight her for you.”

“Way you are at the moment, I’d probably put my money on her.Anyway, it’s no contest as far as I’m concerned.”

He kissed her gently and she started to respond but then she had to pull away as another fit of coughs pushed its way up her throat.She took a deep breath and looked at him apologetically.“Sorry.”

He pulled the bed covers up over her and laid a hand over hers.“Don’t worry about it, princess.I’m not going anywhere.”

Nicole blearily opened her eyes to see Aden’s shoulder only a few inches away from her nose.The sunlight streaming into the room told her it was morning.Weakly, she pushed herself up, resting on her elbow, to take in the scene.Aden was lying alongside her, on top of the covers with his back to her and, she was disappointed to see, fully clothed.

She could only remember waking up with him once before, the time they’d gone camping together, just after she’d first found out about his past.Given all that they’d done together, it was somewhat ironic that the only times they’d actually slept alongside each other, absolutely nothing had happened.

She shook his shoulder gently.“Aden?Time to wake up.”

He didn’t respond.She placed a hand on his forehead.It was hard to tell given the mess her own body was in but she was sure his skin felt hot and feverish.With a weary sigh, she grabbed hold of her mobile and dialled Rachel’s number.

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Its not so much of a cop out but more of a 'What the hell?' I have no idea what that chapter was supposed to be about and what really is wrong with Nicole but I am intrigued to find out.

whats going on cant wait for more

Cant wait to find out whats going on!

So my first thought was Aden had dreamed everything then Nicole woke him up but then I read everyone elses comments now I don't know.

Anyway, can't wait to see whats going on

Okay...so no-one understood that chapter.My bad.Hopefully this one will be a bit more comprehensible.


“There’s nothing wrong with me!”Aden insisted.He had managed to sit up on the bed alongside Nicole but, for all his claims, he hadn’t wanted to risk going anywhere else.

Rachel looked at the pair in exasperation.“Have you been practising this double act?”

“I’m fine!”

“Aden, you and Nicole are both suffering from a bad dose of flu,”Rachel told him firmly,“Your bodies should be able to fight it off by themselves but only if you manage to get plenty of bed rest and make sure you’re looked after.”

Aden looked at Nicole for support but she just shrugged.He looked at Rachel in resignation.“Fine.Can you give me a hand getting to my own room?”

Rachel considered the difference in size between herself and Aden for a moment before doing a mental calculation.“Um…maybe it would be better if I gave Tony a ring and got him to help you to your room.”

Aden seemed to have come to the same conclusion.“Er, yeah.Might be best.”

Nicole held up her hand.“Question.If we’re both laid up in bed, what are we supposed to do?Just lie here on our own for the next few days until we’re feeling better?”

“Well, I can pop by to check you over,”Rachel offered,“You shouldn’t need anyone with you permanently but you could do with someone coming round to give you food.You’ll still need to keep your strength up.”

Nicole glanced at Aden.“I could give Rube a call, see if she minds playing nursemaid?”

Aden nodded.“Yeah, good idea.”

Rachel took out her pad.“I’ll write you out a list of over the counter medicines that should alleviate some of your symptoms.Maybe she could collect those as well.”

Miles and Ruby let themselves into the house with the spare key, as per Nicole’s instructions.Ruby hefted the food tray she was carrying.“Right, you go and check on them while I heat this up.”

She made for the kitchen but Miles caught her arm.“Wait, wait, wait.You’re not making me go up there on my own, are you?”

Ruby looked at him, bemused.“What’s the problem?”

“Don’t you remember when you were their age?”

“I am their age.”

“Right.Well, when I was that age, if I’d been left alone in the house all day with my girlfriend and told to stay in bed, I wouldn’t have stayed in my own room.”

Ruby glanced upstairs.“You think they might be..?”

“Let’s just say, I’m not going up there without back-up.”

Ruby sighed.“Fine.I’ll hold your hand.”

They quietly made their way up to the landing, heading to opposite rooms.“Right, together,”Miles told her, knocking on the door and then flinging it open.He looked around the room and breathed a sigh of relief.“And I’ve got myself an Aden.”He glanced over his shoulder to Ruby.“You?”

“Nicole’s in here,”she confirmed.

Aden, half sat up in his bed, looked at Miles in confusion.“No offence but you can be really strange sometimes.”

“It has been said.”

Ruby returned to Nicole’s room a few minutes later, carrying a tray.“Here you go.Chicken soup.”

“Chicken soup?”Nicole repeated in disgust.

“Irene made it specially.Apparently it’s the best thing for flu.”

Nicole sighed as she accepted the dish.“I guess there’s the advantage that I can’t taste anything at the moment anyway.”

Ruby nodded towards the other side of the corridor.“So, any progress on the Aden front?”

“We’re still taking things slowly.”

“Seriously?I mean, it’s not like he can go anywhere at the moment.If you wanted to make a move…”

Nicole rolled her eyes.“Rube, have you turned into a slut in your old age?”Ruby shrugged.“I told you, I don’t want this to be a casual thing.”

“Nic, the guy barely left your side for two days while you were coughing goodness only knows what over him.He caught this flu off you and he’s acting as though he thinks it was worth it.I’d say you passed casual a long time ago.”

Nicole thought about this.She wanted to agree with Ruby, she wanted to think they were ready to take that step.But all the same…“But what if it changes things?What if he runs a mile again?”

“Well…I could lend you my handcuffs if you think it’d help.”

Miles and Ruby had said their goodbyes two hours previous, leaving Aden alone in his room.Since no-one else was in the house, he wasn’t expecting the door to suddenly be thrust open.Nor was he expecting to see Nicole there, leaning against the door frame as though it was the only thing keeping her upright.“Nic, what are you doing?”

“You know, I think that stuff Rachel gave us really works,”she commented,“I only fell over twice on my way across the landing.”

“You look like you’re going to make it number three.”

“Well, budge up so I’ve got somewhere to fall.”

Aden moved over slightly in the bed and Nicole practically collapsed onto it, before clambering under the sheets.“Nic, is there a reason for this visit?”

“Well, I just thought you might fancy some company.”She started kissing him and he responded to it.Even with them both as weak and clumsy as they were, it still felt right.She rolled over on top of him and it was only when she started peeling his top away from his sweat-soaked body that he realised what was happening.

“Nic, what are you doing?”

“Well…”She tried to look innocent.“I heard somewhere that the best way to break a fever is to sweat it out so I was just thinking, maybe, you know, just for medical reasons…”

Aden let out a groan of despair.“You want to do this now?The way we’re feeling at the moment, we’re barely aware of what’s going on.”

Nicole smiled wickedly.“Well, you feel pretty aware to me…”

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