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Empty Road

Guest MizzyBee123

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Story Title: Empty Road

Type of story: Short/Medium Fic

Main Characters: Geoff, Nicole and Others

BTTB rating: A

Genre: General.

Does story include spoilers: Some UK Spoilers regarding ‘Adelle’

Any warnings: Warnings will be outlined before the specific chapter

Summary: “You were a best friend, I loved you well, don’t forget the good life that we once had. Maybe it’s time for me to tell you, cause you never thought to ask, I’ve finally figured out you’re not coming back, so I’ll move on but I’ll sure miss what we had” – Natalie Walker, Empty Road.

Chapter 1

She was absolutely mesmerising. He hadn’t met anyone like her before. Sexy and confident, she was a dream and he needed to be nearer to her. As she strutted down the corridor in her short skirt, low cut school shirt and loose school tie, he couldn’t help but fixate his eyes on her. His mind was filled with thoughts, the kind of thoughts every 17 year old boy has of the girl of his dreams. If he tried to speak right now, the only word he could muster up was “Wow”. She flashed him a seductively cheeky smile as she brushed past him on purpose, lightly brushing the palm of her hand against the buttons of his school shirt. His expression showed it all. Shock, delight and nerves all in one. She was hot and Geoff knew it.

That was four years ago now, and a distant memory for both Geoff and Nicole. Since leaving school, Geoff decided to go to a University in Sydney to pursue his footy dream, and Nicole had gone to another in Newcastle to study fashion design. They’d dated in high school, but as they reached the end of the last year, they realised that their relationship wouldn’t be strong enough to survive the distance, and decided to split. Nicole was the first to leave, saying a sad and teary farewell to her handsome ex boyfriend, before getting into a taxi and leaving for good. Geoff packed up his things not long after and left behind a red, puffy eyed Annie and a very proud Irene. He was finally standing on his own two feet, becoming the man that both his parents and grandpa would have been proud of. He was the first out of his family to study at University, as far as he knew. The history of his family had always been vague, his pop not wanting to divulge too much of the past to him and Annie. So they’d both left their lives behind in Summer bay, and began their new adventures alone!

The sun shone through the thin material of the curtains in the small sized box room. Geoff lay on his bed sleeping, one leg hanging off the bed, his head facing the opposite way as he slept, still in last night’s clothes. Empty pizza boxes, drinks cartons and last week’s breakfast bowls up turned on the floor near the posts of the bed. Clothes were scattered from corner to corner, demonstrating a ‘floordrobe’.

“Geoff! Get up! You’re late for practice! Coach Franks is not going to be happy, dude!” a voice boomed as a loud thud hammered the bedroom door.

“Alright, give me a minute” Geoff responded, still half asleep but leaping to his feet the best he could. He grabbed his kit from off the floor, threw it into his kit bag, scrambled across the room for his deodorant and sprayed it vigorously as he whipped his clothes off and changed. He ran his fingers through his hair to give it that natural messy look then ran out of the door. Seconds later, he returned, picked up his boots and ran back out.

As he rushed through the lounge area, he heard a voice call out after him.

“By the way there’s a letter here for you, don’t really know the post mark!” Frankie shouted. Frankie was his flat mate. They’d known each other since the first day of Uni. There was Geoff, Frankie and Jake that lived together. Jake and Frankie were dating and would often try and match-make Geoff with random girls they got to know during their stay in Sydney. Although, Geoff had been on a few dates, it was nothing serious and would often find excuses not to get to know the girls he’d meet up with. He wasn’t interested in a long term relationship; he’d rather focus on the footy for now.

”I’ll get it later, I’m late apparently! You’re boyfriend said so!” Geoff replied quickly snatching a bottle of juice from the fridge and then disappearing out of the door.

Over in Newcastle, a completely different scene was unfolding.

“I’m sick of this, I’m sick of you! You’re always nagging at me! Why are you so jealous all the time?! I was TALKING to him Tom, talking, y’know when you open your mouth and words come out. It’s called being sociable, it’s called being nice. And if you weren’t so far up your own ass all the time you’d do it too, instead of walking around thinking you’re something that you’re not!” Nicole exploded, her anger being directly pointed at her idiot of a boyfriend.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Tom challenged her, throwing his arms up in the air, then allowing them to fall and slap against the side of his legs.

“It means you have to stop acting like a jerk all the time and let me do what I want, once in a while. I feel like we’re married and I can’t do anything without your say so! I’m fed up” Nicole scolded, her face turning a much darker shade of red by the minute.

“Nicole, I have a reputation, I’m the captain of the Soccer team, I can’t have my girlfriend going up to random guys and flirting behind my back!” He explained, hoping to gain a little more understanding from Nicole.

“For the millionth flaming’ time, I wasn’t flirting! And you’re reputation? It’s obviously more important to you than this relationship...isn’t it?!” Nicole sneered as she raised her eyebrows in wait of a response. Tom opened his mouth before hesitating then closing it again, unsuccessfully finding an answer. This was confirmation to Nicole as she grabbed her coat from the back of the sofa and rapidly walked over to the door, where she swung it open.

“Y’know what, forget it, it’s over. We’re done!” she angrily spat as she swiftly turned around and walked out of the door, slamming it in the process. Tom stood there and in an outburst of anger, kicked the back of the sofa, whilst shaking his head. Nicole and Tom had been dating for two years; they’d met one night in a club, and then discovered they were on the same campus. As they got to know each other, their friendship blossomed into more, but there was no trust from day one and so it was doomed from the start.

Nicole got back to her flat just as Jess was leaving.

“Hey, you okay?” Jess asked realising Nicole had a face like thunder and her eyes were blood shot with tears.

“We broke up. And that’s it for good! It’s finished!” She sneered as she burst into tears but then quickly gained her composure, wiping away the stray tears that escaped from her eyes.

“No, no I’m not going to get upset, he’s a worthless, selfish pig and I don’t want to waste any more of my time or tears on him!” Nicole snorted as she walked further into the flat, dumping her bag on the floor next to the kitchen bar stool.

“That’s my girl” Jess said softly as she walked up to Nicole and wrapped her arms around her. “You deserve much better” Jess continued. Nicole met Jess on her first day in Newcastle, they’d both entered the fashion course together, and knew absolutely no one. When she heard Nicole moan about one of the lecturers being sleazy, Jess had heard and laughed along with her and they soon became good friends. They had nothing really in common, Jess was your typical ‘individual’. She didn’t conform to the majority. She had her own style and her own mind. Nicole made her laugh, and she saw through the expensive clothes and the jewellery, and knew that Nicole had a good heart underneath it all.

“You want a coffee?” Jess asked as she pulled away from Nicole and walked over near to the kettle. Nicole sat on the stool and placed her elbows on the top of the breakfast bench.

“But I thought you were going out?” Nicole asked a little surprised.

“Aw it’s nothing that can’t wait. I have a friend in need and she’s more important” Jess smiled.

“Oh yeah, who?” Nicole questioned sarcastically, and then giggled. Jess shook her head and laughed.

“Ha. Funny. Oh, while I remember, a letter came for you; it’s over there by my text books. I tried to steam it open but it didn’t work. You know, they make it look so much easier on the TV.” Jess muttered and then turned and pointed into the lounge.

“I wonder if it’s from dad” Nicole said as she leapt up from the seat and moved over to where the letter was placed.

“No, it’s not from the prison. I already checked.” Jess informed Nicole, gathering spoonfuls of coffee onto a spoon.

“Jess, am I allowed any privacy in this flat?” Nicole asked with a grin as she looked up from the letter.

“Erm, let me think about that...hmm no!” Jess chuckled as she poured the water into the two mugs on the bench.

Nicole ripped open the back of the envelope and pulled out a shiny silver card. It read:

Miss Nicole Franklin

You are invited to the

Summer Bay High School

Class of 09’

Reunion and Presentation Evening

Held on July 9th

At Summer Bay High School

Looking forward to seeing you

“Oh, it’s an invitation to a reunion and presentation evening back home” Nicole told Jess as Jess passed her a cup of coffee.

“Oh, well what good timing that is. You’ve just broken up with Tom. Maybe that Geoff guy will be there to mend your broken heart!” Jess dramatically acted, then giggled to herself as she sat down on the sofa.

“Will you shut up? Geoff and I finished ages and ages ago. It’s ancient history. Dead and buried. He probably won’t even be there. And anyway, I’m not ready to look at another guy. For now I’m finished with the lot of them” Nicole declared, sitting beside Jess on the same sofa.

“Whatever. Is that why you still have the picture of you two at your formal pinned to the back of your diary?!” Jess sniggered.

“What? Jess, how on earth...please tell me you haven’t been reading my diary?!” Nicole gasped in shock.

“No, no, no I swear it was innocent, I was looking for my top, that you often steal, in your room and the diary kind of just fell out of the top draw of the side table...onto the page with the photo on it..” Jess explained.

“Well, what a coincidence...” Nicole smirked, not believing one word of Jess’ explanation as Jess simply nodded in agreement, struggling to keep her laugh in. “I just keep that as a reminder of the good times, nothing else.” Nicole protested, taking a sip of her drink.

“Of course” Jess nodded, smirking to herself and glancing at Nicole, who was looking over the invitation once more, and then she picked up the TV remote and turned it on.

Geoff and Jake had finished practise around 12 and headed back to their flat for food.

“I’m absolutely starving!” Geoff declared walking into the kitchen and opening the fridge. He stared into it for a couple of minutes before closing it again and moving over to the cupboard above the microwave. Jake had gone straight to the bathroom to get showered.

“There’s never anything to eat. Its either week old pizza or last night’s Chinese!” Geoff mumbled to himself before turning and seeing his letter on the bench. He grabbed it and opened it with his thumb.

“A reunion huh?” he said to himself with surprise. “Looks like I’m going home!” he finished with a smile. He always looked forward to going back to Summer bay. He adored seeing Irene and Annie again, and some old familiar faces too, like Mrs Smart and Mr Stewart. This reunion would hopefully mean he’d see Ruby, Aden, Xavier, Jai and everyone too. But there was one person he was apprehensive about seeing and that was Nicole. Though they kept in touch at first, they lost contact after the first few months of starting Uni and so he wasn’t sure how he’d react if he saw her again. He imagined it would be a bit awkward...

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Chapter 2

# Flashback #

“So you’ll go to Sydney, and I’ll go to....” Nicole mumbled, before Geoff cut in and finished her sentence.

“Newcastle...yeah” he sighed, both of the becoming aware of the reality of the situation. He squeezed her hands in his.

“Do you think we could make it? I mean, could we survive the distance?” Nicole quizzed him, not sure of the answer herself.

“I really don’t know, Nic... but I do know I want us to be happy whatever we do, and I don’t want us to crack under pressure and start hating each other” Geoff explained, his eyebrows raised in a frown.

“Are you saying we should just be friends?” Nicole asked nervously, though she knew it was the best option for both of them, she didn’t want it confirmed, not really. It hurt too much to even think of not being with him anymore.

“I think it’s probably best. I love you, you know that, and I always will but I guess we just have to go our separate ways for now...who knows what’ll happen in the future” he said softly and sincerely as he lifted her hand up to his lips and gently kissed it before keeping a tight hold on it.

“I love you too, Geoff. And I’ll miss you heaps” she pulled him in closer to her and wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders. He clutched her close as the taxi beeped, pulling up against the side of the pavement. They both closed their eyes, a remembrance of the embrace and stood for a couple of seconds before the broke apart and stood awkwardly away from each other.

“So, I guess this is it” she said, as she bent down to retrieve her suitcase.

“I guess it is, call me or text when you get there, I want to know you’re okay” Geoff told her with concern.

“I will, and I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me. You’ve got your time in the City to look forward to” she smiled as she leaned forward and placed a tender, lingering kiss on his cheek. Geoff closed his eyes and took a deep breath as she did this then he slowly opened them and said his final goodbye to her. Within seconds she was in the taxi, waving goodbye out of the back window. As it drove further and further away, Geoff grew smaller and a single tear fell down the flesh of her cheek as she turned back around, facing the correct way in the seat and tried her hardest to be strong.

# End of Flashback #

“OMG, Irene, look who it is!” Annie exclaimed as she ran towards the door way of the house, and jumped on her brother. Irene immediately popped her head out of the kitchen and gasped with surprise.

“Geoff, darl, how are ya? What are you doing here? You never told us you were coming back! I’d have picked you up” Irene told him as she too hurried over to him to give him a big hug.

“No, it’s fine, I wanted to surprise you guys. I got an invitation for a school reunion or something, and so I thought I’d come home a little earlier.”

“You certainly surprised us. I’m so glad your back to visit” Annie squeezed him a little tighter as Geoff flinched.

“Annie, could you loosen the grip just a little, my air flows kind of restricted” he laughed as Annie broke away from her grip.

“Sorry, I’m just so excited to see you. You haven’t visited in ages” Annie squealed.

“I know but my footy trials and practises were pretty full on before so I couldn’t, but now I’ve got time off to go to the reunion so I just said the date was few days earlier than it actually is!” Geoff revealed as Irene rolled her eyes.

“Well, you’re just in time for dinner, darl, go put your stuff in your room and I’ll dish it up”

“Oh, great I haven’t eaten since breakfast” Geoff confessed as he made his way to his old room and threw his bag on the bed. Annie had just laid the table before Geoff arrived so everything was ready for them to sit and eat. Irene brought the food and drink in and they sat down together.

“So, have you seen anyone on your way here, any of the old faces?” Irene asked, trying to gather all of her lasagne on her fork in a delicate manner.

“Erm, not really, I think I saw Mr Stewart telling Mrs Smart off as he followed her into the Diner but other than that no one, I guess I’ll see more faces tomorrow. It’s going to be late by the time I get my stuff sorted tonight.” He informed them both as they continued to eat. Irene rolled her eyes again; sure that Geoff would be right about Alf and Colleen. “So, how has everything been here? You guys been okay? I mean, just the two of you?”

“Yeah, it’s great, we get peace and quiet!” Irene responded laughing into her glass as she lifted the juice to her lips.

“Theres not a day we don’t miss you though, you or Belle, the place isn’t the same!” Irene smiled, as she looked at Geoff then Annie then over to a photograph of Belle sitting on the wooden shelf over from the table.

“Yeah, I miss Belle too.” Geoff said looking over at her smiling face in the picture. “Hows Aden? He still living around here?”

“Yeah, he’s running the boat for me; well, you know I never really had a clue about them! And he offered so I let him take over. Since Belle’s been gone, he’s been here for us and we’ve been here for him. All three of us against the world hey?!, well, four including you but you know what I mean!” she said looking at annie then at Geoff, with a smile.

“Yeah, I’m glad he’s doing okay, I know how hurt and angry he was. I’m glad you’re all doing okay. I just wish I hadn’t had to leave so soon after well... you know, Belle”

“Darl, Belle would have been so proud of you for pursuing your football, and we’re all proud too. It was just bad timing that’s all.” Irene said comfortingly, placing her hand on top of Geoff’s for a second before reaching back for her knife.

“I know, you’re right” Geoff smiled awkwardly then continued to eat his meal.

It was a couple of days later and Miles was in the kitchen cooking when he heard a faint knock on the door. He immediately put the knife in his hand down and shuffled over to the doorway.

“Nicole!” he exclaimed, before rushing over to her to give her a huge hug.

“Hey!” she screeched as she too hugged him back, a wide smile spread across both their faces.

“How are you?! I haven’t seen you in ages, what brings you back? Do you want a drink” He asked, signalling for her to come further into the house, and taking her bags and dumping them near to the stairs.

“Err sure, erm I’m back for the reunion, and I’m good thanks how are you?” She answered laughing, not entirely sure which of his question’s he wanted a response to first.

“Good, good. Yeah, I’m great. Rattling around the house with it just being me and Jai though. Kirsty and I broke up about six months ago and she moved out, so we’ve just been waiting for you to come back and livin’ up the place miss!” he beamed still excited at seeing her on his doorstep.

“Aw I’m sorry to hear that, well, yeah I’m here for about a week, I think. Do you not mind me staying here?” she asked politely. She saw Miles as her second dad, and deep down knew he’d always be there for her just like Roman, the only difference being Miles was accessible and Roman wasn’t, given he was still in prison.

“Of course not, we love having you around the house!” he said with a big smile as he walked back into the kitchen to put the kettle on.

“So how are your studies going?” he asked enthusiastically.

“Oh they’re okay, I’ve got a bit of time off now though so I thought I’d come back for the reunion at school” she explained, sitting down at one of the kitchen chairs.

“Oh right, yeah, Bartlett said something about that. I’m sure I should have been listening” he smirked before, sitting on the chair opposite her.

“Well, Jai’s just at the movies with Ruby. They shouldn’t be long. I’m sure he said that he and the others were going to go to the reunion too. It’s for the class of ’09, ’10, ’11 and ’12. It’s a new idea Bartlett had about combining them, so it should be fun” he informed Nicole sarcastically and rolling his eyes. Nicole just laughed in response, nodding her head.

Jai and Ruby suddenly appeared chatting amongst themselves as they reached the door. To Nicole’s surprise they were walking hand in hand.

“Nic!” they both said in unison.

“Hey!” Nicole beamed as she stood up to give them both a huge hug.

“Are you back for the reunion and presentation?” Ruby asked, grinning from ear to ear.

“Yeah, back here for a week or so” she explained, sitting back down in her chair.

“We’re going too, well to the presentation bit, the ‘reunion’ is just for your year or something, um, I don’t really get it but should be a fun night!” Ruby continued looking at Nicole then at Jai.

“Yeah, it will” Nicole agreed. Jai excused himself to run upstairs as Ruby sat down next to Nicole. Miles stood up and went into the kitchen to finish making coffee.

“So I see things have changed around here a fair bit. I would never have put you two together.” Nicole smiled wanting to know more. Ruby giggled coyly.

“Yeah, well it’s still fairly new but we’re giving it a go”

“And Annie’s okay with that?” Nicole asked with surprise.

“Yeah, well, she says she is.” Ruby nodded. Ruby further explained to Nicole how Xavier had had to leave a year ago to move away with his family, and so they’d decided to break up. Annie and Jai had broken up too as they thought they worked better as friends. Ruby was doing a hair and beauty course at the local college, and Annie was now working in a clothes shop in Yabbie Creek to earn money before going to University. She still wasn’t sure of what she wanted to do so decided to do that in the mean time. Jai had decided he’d do a brick laying course at the same college as Ruby. And so they’d all grown up, left school and moved on. One thing was for sure, Summer bay had certainly changed since the days that Nicole lived there.

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Chapter 3

Today was Friday. Geoff awoke to find Annie standing at his bedroom door with a tray full of breakfast goodies. She was stood in her pyjamas, and for a second she looked just the same way as she’d always looked, until she moved into the light and Geoff noticed how grown up she had become in the couple of years he’d lived away. Yeah sure she was older now, and had left school, but to him she’d always been little Annie, his baby sister and he was shocked at just how much she had changed.

“C’mon Geoff, it’s almost ten. You’ve always been a lazy bones, now get up!” she teased throwing a spare pillow at him so that he’d get out of bed. “Irene told me to bring you this. She’s at work today so I said we’d probably go down there later to see her”, Annie told a sleepy Geoff as he forced himself to sit up. He just simply nodded and reached out for the tray.

“Shouldn’t you be going to work?” he questioned, gulping the juice Annie had brought in for him.

“No, I have Mondays, Fridays and Sundays off!” Annie beamed a smile at her brother as she turned and walked out of his room. “Geoff, get dressed. We’re going to the beach!” Annie informed Geoff shouting back into the room before closing the door. He didn’t know when it had happened, ’it’ being when his little sister started to tell ‘him’ what to do. Nevertheless, he obeyed and began to get changed into his board shorts and found a vest top that was squashed at the side of his bag. He threw it over his head, messed up his hair with a bit of gel and headed out of his room.

There was a sudden knock on the wooden panels of Nicole’s bedroom door.

“Nic, we’re thinking of going to the beach in a bit, do you want to come?” Jai boomed through the door. A weary Nicole turned over in her bed to shout back at the closed door.

“Yeah, but I’ll need about half an hour!” She replied groggily. She leaned over to the alarm clock that was next to the bed. It read 10:15, and as she shuffled her body to lie back, flat on her back, she took a minute to stare at the ceiling. The room hadn’t changed much. Maybe Miles had kept it that way so that if she ever needed it again, it would feel familiar and comfortable. She began to think of her dad and what he might be up to today. She often thought of him and since she’d gone to university, hadn’t visited him much. It was his choice. With her based in Newcastle for her studies, he didn’t see the point in her travelling all the way back to see him in ‘this damn place’ as he called it. He wanted her to have as normal a life as possible. And so now she was back home, maybe she should take the opportunity to surprise her dad with a visit, it was a thought anyway. But could she really see him in there again? It teared her to pieces to see him locked in a ‘hell hole’ where he had no life but that behind a load of steel bars. If she wanted to see him though, she’d have to accept it.

After a couple more minutes, she slowly sat up and swung her legs round to the side of the bed. She got up onto her feet and walked over to her dressing table. From there, she dug out some clothes and make up from her bag and headed into the bathroom.

It was a scorching hot day, and the ocean was idyllically transparent with blue crystals glistening in the sun’s beam. Surprisingly though, the beach wasn’t too crowded. Most were getting on with the daily lives, going to school, or going to work, and so leisure time wasn’t too high on the agenda. As they got to the top of the beach, Geoff looked around, left to right, up and down and smiled to himself. It was exactly the same, the view, the smell, the noises of the ocean. This was why he loved being back home.

“Jai and Ruby said they’d be here soon, they said they were going to bring someone with them but I don’t know who it is, probably one of their mates from college” Annie said sarcastically turning to Geoff and squinting, the sun too intense for her eyes as they walked further onto the sand, nearer to the ocean.

“Oh right, I haven’t seen them in ages” Geoff said simply, oblivious to the annoyance that was written all over Annie’s face.

“We might as well just sit here for a bit and wait”, Geoff suggested, throwing his towel and flip flops on the patch of sand and sitting down once he’d straightened the towel out. Annie did the same, and they sat for a bit just looking out onto the ocean, catching up on recent news, and chatting about University life. Annie brought Geoff up to date on how she and Jai had ended their relationship and how he was now with Ruby. He could sense a tinge of hurt in her words as she told him, but he didn’t make a big deal out of it. He just simply raised his hand up to her shoulder and squeezed it gently.

“So, have you had much contact with Nicole since you guys moved away?”Annie brought up the subject with caution.

“At first I did, but then, I dunno, we kind of just left it. I haven’t seen or heard from her in three years. But that’s ok, we’ve moved on. We have completely different lives now”, Geoff didn’t look directly at Annie when answering which told her that he was acting like he wasn’t bothered but deep down she knew he was.

“And there’s no one new?” Annie continued.

“Not really, I’ve been focussing on my footy training and trials so I’ve kind of avoided the whole relationship side of things, there have been girls but...err, I think I should stop talking to my sister about this...” he laughed, and gently nudged her playfully.

“Yeah, no details please. I don’t want to know what you get up to!” Annie said dramatically, looking away to the top of the beach.

“Oh, here they are now, they’ve got a girl with them” Annie informed Geoff who turned his head so that he could see the others coming too.

“She must be one of Ruby’s friends...” Annie began until she started to make out the face of the mystery girl walking towards them, “Or maybe not...oh my God!” Annie said in utter shock. She turned to face Geoff, her mouth almost hitting the sand, “Is it me or is that...” She asked before being cut off by an also very shocked Geoff.

“...Nicole” he finished. He always knew there was a chance he’d see her back here; after all he’d assumed she’d had an invite to the reunion too, and there was a small part of him that was so excited about coming home for only that reason. The feeling in his heart began to tighten as his pulse raced just that little more than usual. She looked good, very good, and she still had that sexy, chic image about her, complete with waved golden hair, sparkling blue eyes, and just as slim a figure as in her teens. Annie instantly stood up, so excited to see Nicole and ran over to her. Nicole had a huge smile on her face as she embraced an eager Annie, looking over her shoulder. There he was, looking just as good as the last time she’d seen him. Though, he’d kind of lost that boyish look about him, he had a more manly shape to him now and he was slightly unshaven rather than the clean cut bible boy she knew in high school. She felt the butterflies begin to stir inside, as she wondered what it was she should do next. Should she hug him? Smile at him? Say hello? What do girls do when they see their ridiculously good looking ex boyfriend for the first time in so many years? And as if she hadn’t give it a second thought, she broke away from Annie’s grip then slowly walked up to a nervous Geoff and paused.

“Hey, how are you?” she asked politely with a smile.

“Hey, I’m good thanks” Geoff responded immediately, then instinctively leaned forward to give Nicole a quick, awkward hug. As they broke away, Geoff blushed slightly, not sure of what he was meant to do. He looked over at Annie and the others, not wanting to get into a conversation just yet.

“You guys fancy a swim then? The water looks awesome!” Jai interrupted sensing the slight whiff of awkwardness in the air. Each of them looked at each other, nodding into agreement. Nicole, Ruby and Jai threw their things in a pile next to Annie and Geoff’s.

“Last one in buy’s the first round of drinks at Noah’s tonight!” Jai shouted, beginning to run towards the edge of the ocean. Ruby quickly followed, running and jumping onto his back as Geoff, Nicole and Annie raced into the water at almost the same time. All five began splashing each other, running and fooling around in the water. The girls were screaming as Jai picked Ruby up and threw her playfully into the clear warm water. As they all laughed, still splashing and pulling each other backwards and forwards, Geoff stopped for a moment, wiping the water away from his eyes. As he focussed his eyesight, he caught a glimpse of Nicole jokingly splashing Annie in the face with her fingertips. She was hysterically laughing, the ocean water washing over the curves of her slender body, as the tide dipped. She was just as beautiful as he remembered, and more.

# Flashback #

Geoff lay on top of the water, spreading his weight evenly across the ocean top. He was oblivious to Nicole silently swimming towards him and placing a gentle, passionate kiss on his lips. A smile kicked up onto his face as he pulled her in towards him. He could feel her silky, smooth skin, as he held onto her hips. She wrapped her arms around his neck, holding onto his strong body for stability. Nicole gazed into his eyes, a slight smirk covering her face. He returned her expression and they both leaned in for a soft gentle touch of lips, before he moved his lips across to her cheek then to her neck. He then held her closer than before, enjoying the intimacy with the girl he loved more than anything in the world. They stayed in a tight embrace for a few minutes until Nicole broke the silence.

“Hey, close your eyes. I’ve got a surprise for you” she whispered pulling herself away from him. As soon as he closed his eyes, she bent down and threw a hand full of water up and over an unsuspecting Geoff.

“Oh, you are so gone, Nicole Franklin!” he shouted, laughing as he chased her. Nicole began to scream as he caught up with her and pulled her down into the water. He grabbed her hand gently and pulled her towards him once again.

“This has been the best day ever, and I don’t ever want it to end”, Nicole spluttered wiping the water from her face.

“It’s been perfect. You’re perfect” Geoff replied with a sincere smile before leaning into her and kissing her softly on the lips.

# End of Flashback #

After a few seconds, he came back to reality, smiling to himself. Annie turned and threw another handful, directly into Geoff. His immediate reaction was to lunge forward, and so he did so, soaking both Annie and Nicole in the process. The girls screamed as Geoff laughed out loud.

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Chapter 4

Each of them sat round one table in Noah’s. Geoff was sat on the edge of the comfy couch, next to a quiet Nicole. Annie was sat at the other end, almost oblivious to the awkwardness felt between the two.

“So who’s getting the drinks?” Annie asked innocently.

“I do believe it’s you’re round, Annie” Ruby retaliated quickly, raising her eyebrows.

“How come? Geoff was the last one in the water” she protested.

“Or yeah right...I was way ahead of you” he scoffed jokingly. They all looked at each other then at Nicole.

“Hey, don’t look at me!” Nicole grinned as she looked up at Ruby and Jai.

“Fine I’ll get them!” Jai announced swiftly standing up and moving to the bar.

“I’m going to the little girls’ room!” Ruby informed the others with a smile, standing up and slowly walking towards the exit.

“I am too” Annie followed quickly behind, wanting to leave Geoff and Nicole alone for a few minutes. Although, she’d never liked Nicole at first, she’d warmed to her over the years and supported their relationship. She was gutted that they finished because of moving away, and deep down she hoped they’d rekindle their romance but at the minute, that looked highly unlikely, given that the tension between them could be cut with a knife. As Annie and Ruby disappeared, and Jai slouched on the bar, waiting for the queue to die down, Geoff awkwardly looked around the room. Nicole stared down at her fingertips, before fidgeting with the tassle on her shorts. Complete silence. After a couple of minutes, Nicole finally spoke.

“So, how’s Uni going? You made it to player of the year yet?" She asked smiling sarcastically.

“Ha, well I don’t know about that, but it’s going good thanks. How about you?”

“Yeah, it’s brilliant. I love my course, and surprisingly I’ve made a few good friends there too. One in particular, her name’s Jess. The total opposite of me, a total individual but she’s the bestest mate I could ask for!” she laughed looking up at Geoff. He laughed too, knowing how hard Nicole seemed to find it to make friends. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to make friends, but she always had a way of unintentionally pushing people away.

“Well they do say that opposites attract, I mean look at u-” Geoff said jokingly before stopping, realising what he’d just said. Nicole gave out a soft, nervous laugh as they both looked away, the awkwardness forming in the air again.

“Why did I have to say that?” Geoff muttered under his breath to himself as he shuffled himself in his seat. Nicole smiled as the others returned, not really sure what to do.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Ruby asked in general as she sat back down in her chair.

“Nothing” Nicole and Geoff immediately answered in unison, though it was blatantly obvious that something uncomfortable had happened.

As they all sat down with their drinks, a tall, dark, slim figure walked into the bar.

“Josh!” Annie immediately shouted before standing and hurrying up to him, capturing him in an embrace. All four looked at each other wondering who on earth this mysterious person was, Geoff especially, seeing as his little sister had never mentioned a ‘Josh’ before. Although he understood she was all grown up now, he couldn’t help playing the over protective brother still. After a few seconds, they broke away and Annie turned back around to introduce him.

“Guys, this is Josh. He’s my...boyfriend. He lives in Yabbie Creek.”, Annie smiled whilst looking at Josh then back at her friends. Josh raised his hand up and signalled a ‘hello’ without speaking. He seemed shy and overwhelmed to see all of them. All four were gobsmacked. Annie had never mentioned a boyfriend before, not even to Ruby who was her best friend. Jai’s jaw was literally hitting the floor as he rethought the term ‘boyfriend’. He’d assumed Annie hadn’t moved on since their relationship, and selfishly he was glad she hadn’t. To him this was the biggest shock of all. He knew he was with Ruby now, but he still deeply cared about Annie and he did feel a hint of jealousy as he saw Josh’s arms wrapped around the bottom of her back, holding her close. Josh wasn’t exactly what you would call Annie’s type. He had a shaved head with a Celtic tattoo that stuck out of the top of his T-shirt, spreading up his neck. He also had tattoos on both arms, with black wristbands on both arms. He was wearing a black T-shirt saying ‘God loves me’ in small white lettering, with a St Christopher hanging around his neck, and dark denim jeans. Nicole looked at Ruby then at Geoff, not being able to hold in a smirk as she looked Josh up and down. As Annie moved over to the bar with Josh, the others began to talk amongst themselves.

“Well, I wasn’t expecting that, I think he takes the whole ‘Bible boy’ thing to the next level though don’t you think?!” Nicole stated before quietly laughing, Ruby and Jai joining in too. Geoff looked at Nicole at first, a smile forming on his face. This Josh wasn’t your typical Christian, but he sure made sure everyone knew about his faith. Geoff couldn’t help but be suspicious of his sister’s new boyfriend as he sat staring at the two, trying to work him out.

Later on, they’d all gone back to Ruby’s house, Josh included, for pizza. After hours of talking, catching up and eating and drinking, it was getting late.

“Right, I’m off!” Jai suddenly announced stumbling towards the door.

“Wow, the room is actually spinning, dude” he said as Geoff helped hold him up.

“I think someone can’t handle their drink mate!” Geoff laughed grabbing his arm.

“I can totally handle my drink, it just can’t handle me!” Jai protested in a slur, his eye lids fluttering. Geoff looked at him and laughed out loud, completely confused by Jai’s nonsense comment.

“Right, yes I’m going now. Goodnight, god bless and I love you all, even you Joshua!” he declared as Geoff pushed him further through the doorway, enabling him to lose his footing and tumble straight to the floor. The whole house burst into fits of laughter as a very dazed Jai tried to get back onto his feet.

“I think you’re best just staying here” Ruby said, still laughing and moving over to help Geoff get her boyfriend back onto his feet.

“But what about Nicole, she can’t walk home herself?!” Annie asked in concern.

“Oh, I’ll be fine, he wouldn’t be much help in that state anyway!” she smiled walking towards the door.

“Well, I’ll walk you home if you like? Josh can take Annie home” Geoff said immediately. He didn’t even think about saying it, it just fell out of his mouth. Nicole was quite surprised, given the lack of conversation between them so far.

“Okay, if you’re sure you don’t mind” Nicole nodded. Geoff shook his head as he took a deep breath and lifted his arm in courtesy to let her leave first. She did so and the others shouted goodbye as they left.

The night was still, but cold. As they walked along the pathway across the top of the beach, Nicole shivered. Her shorts and vest top weren’t exactly the best form of clothing to be wearing in temperatures like this.

“Are you cold?" Geoff asked a little concerned.

“A little but I’m okay” Nicole admitted coyly, not wanting to make a fuss.

“Here” Geoff began to take off his jacket and gestured it to Nicole. She hesitated before eventually accepting it, throwing it over her shoulders to shield her from the icy cold breeze.

“Thanks” she sheepishly answered.

“I’m sorry for what I said earlier in Noah’s. I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable” Geoff apologised, turning his head to look at Nicole.

“No, no you didn’t. It was...it was just strange talking about us. There hasn’t been an us in a very long time, it just caught me by surprise, that’s all.” She replied, smiling softly at him, dampening down the awkwardness between them

“Yeah, I know” he agreed, nodding his head and looking forward.

“So, how have you been finding living away?” Nicole asked in wonder

“It’s great, I love it. The independence is good; the only downside is the food. I can’t really cook” Geoff smirked whilst turning to glance at Nicole. Nicole responded with a cheeky grin and a nod of her head.

“Yeah, I remember. Beans on toast still your speciality?” she asked jokingly

“Hey, you used to love my beans on toast and don’t even try and deny it! My flat mates aren’t much help, they can’t cook either!” he protested, the laughter between them as sign that they were getting past the tension that had been present since the first time that saw each other again.

“And what are they like?” Nicole asked seriously, curious as to what friends he’d made.

“Well, their names are Jake and Frankie. Jake’s on my footy team, and err Frankie, she’s doing an art course.” He explained.

“She?” Nicole questioned, wanting to know more about this mysterious Frankie.

“Yeah. There are two of us guys and a girl in one flat. But they drive me mad sometimes.” Geoff further described the situation.

“Why’s that?” she enquired.

“I can’t walk into the flat without them all over each other. I dunno, sometimes I feel like a third wheel or something” Geoff shrugged.

“Oh right”, Nicole was slightly relieved to hear that Frankie had a boyfriend, and by the sounds of it, it wasn’t Geoff.

“Anyway, tell me more about the famous Jess then...” Geoff changed the subject as they continued to walk side by side into the night, Nicole rhyming off some stories about University life to a well interested Geoff.

As Nicole walked into her bedroom, she closed the door behind her quietly. She turned around and leaned against the wood of the door, closing her eyes and sighing heavily. She didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t know how she felt anymore. She was sure she was over Geoff, she had to be. She hadn’t seen him in so long, or even spoken to him. But tonight, getting to know him again a little, it was, well, nice. As she slowly walked over to her bag, she grabbed her diary from the zipped pocket at the very back. She sat on her bed, as she opened it flicking through the pages, few by few until she reached the very back. She stared at the picture of them at the formal. Her in her elegant emerald dress that her dad had bought for her days before the big night, and Geoff in his tuxedo, looking as handsome as always. He looked so young compared to how he did now. They’d looked so happy, so in love.


[Music playing background]

And I'd give up forever to touch you,

Cause I know that you feel me somehow.

You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be,

And I don't want to go home right now.

And all I can taste is this moment,

And all I can breathe is your life,

And sooner or later it's over,

I just don't want to miss you tonight.

And I don't want the world to see me,

Cause I don't think that they'd understand.

When everything's made to be broken,

I just want you to know who I am.

“What’s wrong?” Nicole asked apprehensively. Geoff was looking at her intensely.

“Nothing. I was just thinking” he told her plain and simply.

“Oh yeah, about what?” Nicole questioned, slightly intrigued.

“About you and how incredible you look” he smiled

“Well, aren’t you just charming, Mr Campbell. You don’t look too bad yourself” Nicole said animatedly before giggling, her arms draped around his neck, his hands placed on her hips.

“Seriously, you look amazing” he told her as he gazed into her piercing eyes.

“I know” Nicole said cheekily as Geoff smiled, shaking his head and leaning forward to kiss her gently on the forehead. She placed the side of her head against his chest and closed her eyes as they continued to slow dance.

#End of Flashback#

Nicole smiled to herself as she shuffled further onto the bed. An envelope floated from the diary onto the wooden floor. As she crouched down, she picked up the creased, dog-eared envelope and momentarily gazed at the front of it. She knew what it was, but she hadn’t read it in a very long time. It used to hurt her too much to read the words he’d written so long ago. Eventually, she decided to slide the letter from its casing and unfolded it in order to read it.

Dear Nic,

I’ve been sitting here in my room for about an hour now, and I still don’t really know how to put into words what I want to say to you. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and whenever I think of you, and of us, I get a flash of your smile and I find it almost impossible to think of anything else. I think back to all of the amazing times we had and all the times we fought, and I honestly wouldn’t change any of it, ever. I know that what we had was real and that no matter what I do in the future, no matter who I meet or where I go, I’ll never stop loving you, not for a second. You are my first love, my best friend and I’m glad of the time we got to spend together, but we’ve been forced apart and we have to accept that. I want you to be happy, and when we see each other again, I want to see that smile, the smile that melts my heart and makes me smile too. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me Nicole Franklin, and don’t you ever forget that. We never know what life’s going to throw at us, but for now, I think we both know that it’s over. I’ll miss you, Nic.

Love always, Geoff x

She used to read the entire letter over and over again before crying herself to sleep some nights. It took her a long time to get over Geoff, and coming back had thrown all of her emotions back up into the air. She wasn’t even sure if she ever wanted to go back there again. So much had happened since she was last in the Bay, and she didn’t even know if Geoff still had feelings for her. No, it was best it was all left in the past. She’d enjoy the next week or so with her friends and then she’d go back to her normal life and forget all of this nonsense. She’d put it behind her. She folded the letter back into the envelope and placed it at the back of her diary next to the photograph. She gently closed the diary before placing it down on the table beside her bed.

[Music in flashback was Iris by Goo Goo Dolls]

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Chapter 5

The surf was awesome the next morning. Geoff had woken early and headed down to the beach for a swim before Irene and Annie had got up. After catching some of the best waves of the day, he grabbed hold of his board and floated it back towards the shore. He could feel the grains of sand between his toes as his feet touched the floor and the water drained away from his body as he got further back onto the beach. As he strolled up to where he’d laid his towel and extra clothes, he could feel the heat of the sun reflecting against his upper body and legs. The moisture of the ocean was rapidly drying up as he rubbed the towel against his skin and then over his hair. he sat down on the soft sand, looking out around the beach and onto the ocean top. His head was bombarded with thoughts, thoughts of everything. Thoughts about University, about being back in Summer bay, about the last night and the fun he’d had with all of his old friends again, thoughts of how nice it was to see Nicole again, and especially about Annie’s new boyfriend. As nice as Joshua was, there was something not right about it all. Annie had never mentioned him before, not to anyone at all. And so this played on Geoff’s mind for a bit until his stomach began to rumble. In a flash, he got back onto his feet, picked up his belongings and headed to the Diner.

There weren’t many customers in when he first got there. He ordered a juice then sat on the couch next to the counter. As he reached forward to grab a random magazine that had been left on the table in front, he looked up to see a familiar face enter through the door.

“Nicole!” he shouted over with a smile. She hadn’t thought he’d be here this early. After last night, she was hoping to see him again but not this soon. A smile rose across her face as she walked directly over to where he was sitting.

“Hey” she said, standing in front of him, leaning on the side of the counter slightly.

“What are you doing here at this time? It’s pretty early for you isn’t it?” he joked. Nicole had never been a morning person for as long as he’d known her. She loved her sleep and her bed too much.

“True, but I’m thinking about going to see my dad, so I thought I’d get breakfast here then head to the...well you know... to see him” she said lowering the volume of her voice and looking away in slight embarrassment. She found it hard to say the word ‘prison’ or ‘jail’. Although she was proud of Roman for being honest and admitting to what he had done back in Afghanistan, she couldn’t help but resent him for leaving her, and she couldn’t get over the stupidity of some of the things he did before being convicted. She loved her dad and thinking of him sitting in a place like prison day after day, broke her heart every time she thought about it

“Alone?” Geoff asked curiously.

“Yeah, Miles has school and Aden’s at work so...” Nicole said with a shrug, looking back at Geoff.

“I could come if you want. I haven’t seen him in ages and it’d be nice to see him again. That’s if you want me too, don’t think I’m just inviting myself along or anything ‘cos I was just saying...” he blurted the words out so fast, it seemed he’d never stop until Nicole suddenly cut in with a meaningful smile.

“Geoff that would be great, I could do with the company” she said softly with an air of relief too. Going to see her dad was an ordeal in itself, never mind going there alone.

As they got to the gates of the prison, Nicole hesitated. She hadn’t visited in such a long time. She wondered if Roman had changed much, if he’d aged in the last couple of years.


Geoff’s phone rang and Nicole’s name flashed upon the screen. He leisurely picked it up and held it to his ear, a smile spread across his face.

“Hey Nic, I was just about to ring you...” Geoff answered cheerily speaking to his ex girlfriend.

“He’s gone...Geoff...they’ve taken him...” Nicole stated, almost as if she was dazed. She sounded numb and alone.

“Who? Who’s gone? What do you mean?” Geoff asked surprised, anxious and confused.

“Dad...he’s gone. The cops have taken him...he’s just....gone. I’ve got no one.” Nicole continued.

“Where are you?” Geoff asked in shock.

“The police station” Nicole answered, still no real emotion.

“Okay, I’m coming now” he rushed off the phone and ran out of the door.

#End of Flashback#

“Are you okay?” Geoff asked gently with concern. He raised his hand up to the back of her shoulder and smiled.

“Yeah, let’s just go in” she said back to him a little hesitant at first, and then she forced a smile, slowly walking towards the entrance door, Geoff beside her.

As they walked into the room, they saw six tables, three chairs around each. The decor of the room was very plain and simple. The walls were white, and the floor tiles a grey colour. As Geoff and Nicole both took a seat at one of the tables, Nicole looked around her. she could see other glum faces positioned in front of a few of the tables, waiting for their loved ones to appear from behind the iron bars. Geoff was just as nervous as Nicole, though he didn’t show it. He knew she was apprehensive, and was glad he’d offered to come with her. if he had to come here by himself, he’d feel exactly the same way.

Suddenly, a loud buzzer went off, lasting for around ten seconds before the iron gateway pulled back and in wandered a variety of men, all dressed in the same dowdy clothes. Most of them that came through the door had skinheads, and tattoos. The stereotype really did fit with these people. Then lastly, a familiar face appeared. As Roman paced through the door way, his eyes lit up, overjoyed to see his little girl, that wasn’t so little anymore. A grin appeared across his face as he walked right of to the table where Nicole and Geoff had both stood up.

“Dad!” Nicole exclaimed, a wide smile spreading across her face as she embraced him with such a joy that it brought a tear to both hers and Roman’s eyes. They hadn’t seen each other in such a long time, and immediately, Nicole felt a sense of security and safety as she hugged her Dad for what seemed forever. Over Nicole’s shoulder, Roman could see a guard suggestively glaring at him and so he immediately broke away from his daughter, still smiling, and then turned and shook Geoff’s hand.

“Geoff.” Roman said his tone as soft as it always had been. Geoff nodded in response, half smiling. First impressions showed that Prison hadn’t changed him, that he was still the same guy that they’d always known, though his appearance was slightly different. He didn’t look older but there was something about him that had changed. He was unshaven; a bit more scuffed up, than he used to be which was understandable really. There weren’t any signs of any bruising or injuries so that was definitely a positive considering the situation. Roman looked Nicole up and down, realising just how much his daughter had changed. Her hair was a little longer than he remembered and her face showed that little more maturity than it used to. There was an awkward silence between the three of them at first, as both Nicole and Roman, took a look at each other, looking at the changes in each other.

“So, how are you both?” Roman asked, trying to muster up some kind of conversation.

“Good” they both answered together, Geoff looking nervously at the other two.

“I’m going to go and get us a drink” Geoff announced as he rose from his seat and walked to the other side of the room.

“It’s really good to see you, you look so grown up. How have your studies been going?” he asked, a little awkwardness still lingering in the air.

“Yeah it’s good to see you too. They’re going well” Nicole nodded, looking away to anything that caught her eye in the room.

“Good, good. That’s very good.” Roman answered, not quite sure of what to say next. He’d spoken to her on the phone so many times, but somehow the reality of seeing her face to face again made it all seem very tense and uncomfortable. He felt ashamed that his daughter had to see him like this. That there were only set times she could have access to her father. After a paused silence, Nicole looked back at Roman, her face saddened.

“I miss you, dad” Nicole said, a tear forming in her eyes, “I’m sorry I haven’t been to visit for a while”.

“No, Nic, I understand all of that, and you know what we talked about the last time you were here. I want you to carry on with your life, and not let me drag you down. I miss you too, more than you know, but there’s nothing either of us can do” he explained in a soft tone, “I’m just sorry you have to see me in here. It’s not right that a daughter should see her father in a place like this.”

“Dad, don’t apologise. I can handle it, and Geoff...well he’s here...so it’s okay” Nicole replied.

“And how is that going...I mean being ‘friends’...” Roman started, tackling the question with caution.

“It’s okay. It’s a bit strange. I mean we hadn’t seen each other in years and now we’re both back in the Bay, it was awkward at first but now it just feels like it always did before...well before we dated... it’s good. I’m glad we’re back in touch with each other”, they both looked over at Geoff as he waited in line to use the coffee machine. He was stood looking nervously around at the people he was stood behind. Both Roman and Nicole smirked before turning back to speak again.

After conversations about anything and everything between the three of them, the loud buzzer sounded again, making both Nicole and Geoff jump a little. Roman was used to it and he didn’t flinch at all. Nicole knew her time was up with her dad and she fought hard to reduce any tears that attempted to form in her eyes.

“Well, looks like our time’s up” Roman said, a little sadness included in his speech as he stood up out of his chair. Both Nicole and Geoff stood up too, Nicole automatically throwing her arms around her dad.

“I love you, dad” Nicole whispered as she lightly closed her eyes, wanting to remember the feeling and moment as much as possible.

“I love you too, keep in touch okay? Both of you” Roman replied, a little choked as he too tried to keep his emotions intact. As they pulled away from each other, Roman nodded at Geoff then began to walk away, back through the door way.

Nicole sank back into her chair. She remembered this feeling all too well. The feeling of emptiness as she watched her dad walk away, again and again. She’d felt it the first time he was arrested, and now it had to occur every time she saw him. She didn’t feel like talking, she just wanted to sit there. Geoff understood, and simply sat back down beside her, in silence. Without any utterances or sounds, he gently lifted his hand and placed it on top of hers. No eye contact, no words, just a simple friendly gesture of comfort from one friend to another.

Thank you sooo much for your comments...good or bad they mean a lot so thanks! =] Will update as often as I can!

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Thank you for all of the comments people have been giving. I really appreciate it and glad you are all enjoying this fic =]

WARNING: Some mild sexual content in this chapter

Chapter 6

“Hey, where’ve you been all day?” Annie asked curiously as Geoff wandered through the open back door, then through the kitchen.

“Oh, me and Nic went to see Roman, and then we went out for lunch afterwards” Geoff explained, throwing himself down on the couch and turning on the TV.

“How was he?” Annie asked, turning around on her chair to face him.

“He was surprisingly okay, same old Roman really, handling it really well. Suppose he’s learnt to by now” Geoff answered, still looking at the TV.

“Yeah I suppose, and how was Nicole?”

“She was upset obviously, I mean, I can’t imagine what it would be like if you or Irene were stuck in there and I couldn’t see you every day. It’s amazing how well she copes with it.” He added, this time turning to look at Annie. Annie nodded in agreement, contemplating what Geoff had said, as Geoff resumed to watching the television again. She knew she would be in bits if that was her and she admired Nicole’s strength. Times and situations like this is when you appreciate your family and she was so glad to have her brother back, even if it was just for a short while.

“Anyway, have you sorted out times and stuff for the presentation tomorrow? Are Ruby and Jai coming over here or are we meeting them there?” Geoff asked.

“Err they’re coming over here first, Nicole too I think” Annie explained.

“And Josh, is he coming too? He is your ‘date’ isn’t he?” Geoff enquired sarcastically.

“I’m not sure. I haven’t decided yet”“I thought you liked him? Geoff wondered a little puzzled, but in an overprotective brother way, a little relieved. He was still very suspicious of him but couldn’t quite put his finger on why.

“I do but I don’t...I don’t really think it’s going anywhere. Sometimes he freaks me out” Annie confessed.

“How’d you mean?” Geoff asked a little concerned, “He hasn’t hurt you has he? Cos if he has I’ll...” Geoff was getting angry as the thought crossed his mind.

“Woah! Geoff calm down...no he hasn’t hurt me at all...he just says some weird stuff sometimes, stuff that doesn’t make sense. I think he has problems!” Annie declared raising her arms in gesture.

“Well Jai had problems when you first met him, look how that panned out” Geoff said truthfully.

“Yeah, but Jai is way different” Annie emphasised.

“Annie, are you really okay with Ruby and Jai being...together?” Geoff asked, presuming his sister would tell him to get lost and butt out. Surprisingly though, she didn’t. She just simply shrugged with a slight look of sadness on her face before standing up and walking into the kitchen, putting the kettle on in the process. Geoff paused for a bit then sat back. Wondering what the answer she’d just given him really meant.

The next day came around pretty fast. It was quite a dull day, though there was no rain, it made the entire atmosphere seem dreary and damp. And tonight was the night of the Reunion and Presentation evening. Nicole wasn’t sure what to wear. She brought heaps of dresses back with her, but she couldn’t decide on one at all. After endless decisions and tantrums, she eventually randomly picked a strapless little black number. She’d already decided to curl her hair and so she plugged in her curlers and began to apply her makeup. She started to think to herself, about tonight and what it would be like being back at school. After applying her eyeliner, she took out her mascara and began to tackle her eyelashes. As she pulled back from the mirror, her bed caught her eye as she thought back to a time she’d never ever forget.


'When the rain is blowing in your face

And the whole world is on your case,

I could offer you a warm embrace

To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear

And there’s no one there to dry your tears

I could hold you for a million years

To make you feel my love

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet

But I would never do you wrong

I’ve known it from the moment that we met

No doubt in my mind where you belong'

The music played quietly in the background as he held her in his arms, both of them laid next to each other staring at the ceiling. They both had the same thoughts. Lifting his head, he slowly began to kiss her, the intensity eventually increasing and the passion rising until he gently broke away. He was laid slightly on top of her, with one arm under her head and the other across her torso, his hand caressing her face.

“Are you sure you want to do this? I mean we don’t have to, we could just...”

“Geoff, I want to, I really do but do you? I know you don’t live by the ‘no sex’ rule anymore, Claudia saw to that” Nicole said sarcastically as Geoff just looked at her a little embarrassed. “But it’s okay if you’re not ready to go there again...”

“I do, of course I do but what if it’s not as special as it was, you know, on the Island.”

“It will be special”

“How do you know?” Geoff questioned curiously.

“Because I know”

“Nicole” Geoff stated, lowering his tone, trying to get a straight answer out of her.

“Because... I’m absolutely positively certain that I’m in love with you...that’s how I know.” She replied sincerely, looking deep into his eyes. Geoff looked back, certain that his feelings for her were just as strong. After breaking eye contact, he moved his lips to her neck and kissed it softly. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on edge as she closed her eyes. This feeling she had for him, it was amazing. He was amazing and even though they’d had so many problems in the past, she knew he was the one for her. No one would ever compare. This felt right, he felt right and now she was about to make love to him. He raised his head slightly and let his lips touch hers, his hands wandering. He undid the buttons on her top, as she struggled to lift the material of his T-shirt. Eventually she won the battle, and Geoff lifted his arms in order to take the T-shirt off, throwing it onto the floor. Again, he smiled at her as he resumed his position before she pushed him and he rolled over. She lay on top of him, gaining control. She giggled as she pushed herself up from his body and removed her top. She too threw it onto the floor, a collection soon to gather.

“Just so you know...I’m absolutely positively certain that I’m in love with you too” he repeated before grinning, and swiftly pulled her back down towards him.

“Geoff!” Nicole screeched, as they both laughed and continued to kiss, pulling and pushing each other in different directions across the bed.

#End of Flashback#

She’d never forget that night. It was too special. The music, the privacy, the warmth all added to the magic that was their first time. Well, second first time. No one had ever made her feel like that before, and since then she hadn’t felt it again. Even with Tom it hadn’t been as special, no amount of candles or fragrance could measure up to it, ever. But now it was just a memory, an extremely happy but extremely painful one because it made her realise what she’d lost, and she’d probably never ever get it back again. As she turned back around to retouch her eyelashes, she heard a call from Miles.

“Fifteen minutes, Nicole! Then I’m dropping you off at Irene’s”

“Okay thanks!” she shouted. Time really was passing fast, and she still wasn’t dressed.

“Annie would you hurry up, the others will be here any minute. It starts at 7!” Geoff shouted up the stairs, one foot on the last step.

“Geoff, a girl needs to take her time” a faint voice could be heard from downstairs.

“If you take any longer, it’ll be over before we get there!” he snapped back, wandering over to the kitchen table where he grabbed his wallet and phone.

“Alright, alright, I’m ready! Happy now?” Annie exclaimed as she quickly ran back down the stairs, trying to put her earring in.

“Ecstatic” Geoff replied before turning around to see his sister stood behind him. “Nice dress” he commented before smiling.

“Thanks, though it would probably look a whole lot better if I didn’t have to rush getting it on in the first place” she said glaring at him jokingly.

“Annie, it’s not my fault you take so long to get ready” he laughed

“Geoff I’m a girl, we’re meant to take that long!” Annie announced sarcastically.

Irene wandered in from the kitchen, clutching a cloth in her hands. She folded her arms together and grinned.

“Well, don’t you two look picture perfect” attempting to straighten Geoff’s collar and tie.

“Are you sure it’s meant to be formal?” Geoff asked, trying to twist his neck in order to see Annie.

“Yes, positive, why?” she quizzed.

“Just I hate these things” he moaned nodding down to where Irene had just finished adjusting the material of tie.

“Oh, stop the complaining love; it’s just for one night!” Irene laughed, Geoff’s face still twisted in disappointment.

Suddenly there was a knock at the front door, and in walked Jai and Ruby, arms linked, a great big smile on Ruby’s face. As Geoff spun around to see them at the door, his breath was taken away in an instant. Blurred into slow motion was the image of a very beautiful and delicate Nicole entering, her hair in perfect curls, and her dress fitted like glove to the curves of her body. Her smile beamed as she took one look at the others. She looked amazing, or so Geoff thought anyway.

“Will I do?” she laughed. Ruby, Annie and Jai looked around spying the reaction of a very quiet Geoff. He was totally lost for words.

“Tell her she looks great you goof” Irene whispered playfully hitting Geoff on the arm. He was still startled but eventually able to spit out the words “Definitely...you look...err... wow” followed by a nervous laugh and then a “Shall we go?” to the others. Nicole laughed too as she went out of the door first.

“Have a great night!” Irene shouted after them, shaking her head as she chuckled to herself. Geoff couldn’t have made it more obvious that he still had feelings for Nicole, even if it were just childish school boy lust.

[Music featured in flashback is Make you feel my love by Adele]

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Chapter 7

And so within seconds they were transported back in time, back to their high school days as they entered in the main school hall. As Geoff and Nicole slowly walked in behind the crowd of people already there, they both looked around, noticing the slightly dated decor that hadn’t changed since they’d left. The stage was exactly the same, the wall panels were too, and that smell – the smell that said end of year exams and finals- that was still present too, and boy had they not missed it. Geoff grinned from ear to ear as he looked over at Nicole. Nicole could sense he thought it was awesome to be back and giggled, shaking her head as she jokingly pushed him further into the room. They’d both shared so many memories of high school, some good times and some bad times, but they were still some of the best days of their lives.

“I would like to welcome everyone back. I know that some of you have only been gone a year but some have also been gone for as long as four years and I’m glad that I have had the opportunity to reunite you all. Tonight will consist of both presentations and awards. We will begin these in approximately twenty minutes. In the mean time I would like to offer you all refreshments that are located at the back of the main hall to your right. Thank you and I hope you all enjoy your night!” Bartlett announced throughout a surge of whispers that filled the hall. He strutted off the stage and back down onto the wooden floor, greeting a sea of familiar faces from the past.

The gang all turned back around from facing forwards to carry on their conversations.

“Well I certainly haven’t missed Bartlett’s boring as hell speeches!” Nicole said sarcastically, looking around the room at some of the people she hadn’t seen since leaving. She gave random smiles and gentle waves to the odd person here and there. The others agreed and slowly made their way over to the refreshments table.

“Hey, shouldn’t Aden be here?” Ruby suddenly asked Nicole as the boys pushed their way forward to get them all a drink.

“Oh he’s away for a couple of days, he’s gone to visit a mate in the City.” Nicole told her and Annie.

“What while you and Geoff are back? Couldn’t he visit them another time, you’re only here a short while”

“Yeah, well he asked me first and I said it was okay. He’ll be back soon enough before we leave” Nicole explained. Ruby nodded in response.

“Isn’t that Josh?” Nicole asked, slightly confused. Geoff had mentioned that he wasn’t Annie’s date on the way their but it hadn’t been made into an issue. Annie spun around on her heels looking towards the double doors.

“Yeah, but I didn’t invite him. What’s he doing here” Annie wondered aloud.

“Maybe he’s come to surprise you” Ruby suggested only gaining an uncomfortable look from Annie, “...or maybe not” she finished taking sip of the drink Jai had just placed into her hand. He handed Annie a drink too and Geoff handed Nicole hers.

“Who’s going to surprise who?” Geoff asked curiously, only catching the end of the conversation.

“Josh is here” Nicole informed him quietly.

“Oh, err Annie do you want me to go speak to him”

“No, Geoff, its fine. Just leave it. Let’s go find our seats.” Annie snapped leading the way in front as the others reluctantly followed. Jai and Ruby were not sure why Annie didn’t want to see her boyfriend. Jai’s facial expression showed he was secretly relieved Annie hadn’t brought a date, and especially Josh.

After finding their reserved seats, all five of them had to endure a lengthy and monotone speech from a very excited Bartlett. The only thing that made it bearable were the odd wisecracks coming from a highly amused Miles Copeland situated at the end of the stage. He was the person handing out the certificates and awards one after another to a long line of achievers, and boy, was he having fun. Ruby Annie and Jai all went up for theirs together, whilst Geoff and Nicole had to wait until the second half to receive theirs.

“Thank you everyone, the presentation of awards will resume in one hour”.

“Oh great this is turning out to be one long evening” Ruby commented with a lack of enthusiasm. Suddenly the lights went out and music blared from speakers at the back of the room. It was almost impossible to imagine how Bartlett had managed to fit so many people into one hall and still have room for a disco. However, he did manage it somehow.

“Ruby, you wanna dance?” Jai asked, holding his hand out to her. Annie looked on, a little put out.

“Why thank you kind sir” she joked in response and he grabbed her hand and led her to where others were dancing. Geoff, Nicole and Annie all looked at each other awkwardly.

“It’s alright you two go, I’ll go get another drink and go and talk to some people. I think I saw Lucy Tavistock somewhere. Go!” she sighed, moving her hands in a forward motion so that they’d follow its influence.

“Are you sure?” Nicole asked kindly.

“Positive, now go! this is a great song!” Annie exclaimed trying to speak over the top of the loud music projecting from the speakers. Geoff smiled and looked to Nicole. Nicole shrugged as she walked in front of him to where Ruby and Jai were dancing.

After numerous dance anthems and embarrassing eighties and nineties classics, the next song to take hold was a slow but familiar one.

And I'd give up forever to touch you,

Cause I know that you feel me somehow.

You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be,

And I don't want to go home right now.

And all I can taste is this moment,

And all I can breathe is your life,

And sooner or later it's over,

I just don't want to miss you tonight.

And I don't want the world to see me,

Cause I don't think that they'd understand.

When everything's made to be broken,

I just want you to know who I am.

As the introduction to the song began, they both knew what it was and a slightly embarrassed smile painted across both their faces. It was the song they’d danced to at their own formal. And the memory of that dance stuck in both their minds, wedged in there for a long time to come. All other couples came together to slow dance to the song, as both Nicole and Geoff stood awkwardly near to each other, neither not sure what they should do. This was a not a good situation for either of them to be in right now. It was as if Bartlett had planned it all along, or even Miles, who seemed to spend a lot of time near to the decks. As they both looked at each other, nervously smiling, Nicole held out her hand.

“C’mon, we might as well. Everyone else is!” she laughed and with that Geoff took her hand twirled her around and pulled her nearer to him. He placed one hand on her back and held her hand at an angle with the other. Nicole placed her other hand on his shoulder. Both of them smiled at each other and smiled as they listened to the song and moved in slow rhythm. Nicole turned her head to see Jai and Ruby holding each other in a similar position, Ruby with a huge smile on her face. Jai looked the total opposite. He seemed to have the whole world on his shoulders, a frown moulding his entire face. Nicole glanced back up at Geoff and then continued to look over his shoulder at others that filled the hall. Both tried to avoid eye contact as much as possible, feeling uncomfortable but comfortable in the situation. Sure, it was normal for two friends to dance together; I mean where is the harm in that? But is it normal for two friends with a past like theirs to dance together? That was the problem. The feelings they’d had for each other a long time ago, could they surface again? Where they still there...deep, deep down?

“I’m having slight de ja vu I think” Geoff confessed, cracking a smile at the same time, he boldly looked at her for a few seconds before breaking the connection.

Yeah, me too. Though I’m sure I looked a lot better then” Nicole admitted.

“What? No way, you look amazing tonight” he protested defensively. Nicole looked up at him, wanting to connect with his eyes, but he continued to look forward over her shoulder

“Thanks, you do too” she said softly.

“It’s funny isn’t it? Being back here I mean. It’s like we never left. I can still see you strutting down that corridor, your first day here.” He laughed to himself, looking around at the faces beside him then peering down to Nicole

“Yeah, ‘excuse me b*tch coming through’” Nicole imitated sarcastically.

“You weren’t a b*tch, you were just a little highly strung that’s all. That was only until you settled in” Geoff said, trying to soften the harshness of what she’d stated.

“No that was only until I met you.” She argued joyfully.

“And then you became boring... I know I get it...Bible boy and so on” he sighed playfully.

“No, no you weren’t boring, you were just caring and considerate...mature even. Much more mature than me that’s for sure. You straightened me out” she laughed a little then continued with sincerity.

“...but still a bit boring?” Geoff asked cheekily.

“No, would you shut up. I never ever thought you were boring, even if I said it in the heat of the moment sometimes, I never meant it” she declared, a little annoyed that he ever thought that of her.

“Okay, sorry” he replied sheepishly.

“Look at us, we’ve only been back a few days and we’re already bickering” she chuckled.

“Because you’re a princess!” he grinned

“And you’re a pain in the ass!” she retaliated, a smirk forming across her face. She shook her head then rested it on his chest as the continued to dance. She closed her eyes and Geoff look down onto the back of her head, smiling to himself.

“Hey, Nic” Geoff whispered. Nicole slowly raised her head and peered back up at him. “I’m glad we’re here, I’m glad you’re here with me” he said softly. Nicole met his gaze as the surroundings seemed to stop. The people, the music, the chatter, everything paused for a few seconds as Nicole slowly leaned further into Geoff, her lips aching to touch his. Geoff could feel his heart pound a thousand times faster than usual and he gently pressed his hand harder against her back, inevitably pushing her in nearer to him. He could feel her chest pressed against his as he raised his hand up to her face, cupping the side of it. He lowered his head down towards hers as their gaze lingered. Nicole could feel the gentle breeze of his breath on her cheek; her eyelids flickered before closing her eyes and pressing her lips against his. They were just as soft as she remembered, so gentle and beautiful. That feeling was definitely back, mixed with the flutter of butterflies in her stomach. It was the same for Geoff too. He could taste the sweetness of her kiss, and it was as if they’d never been apart. It felt amazing to be back in her arms again.

And all I can taste is this moment,

And all I can breathe is your life,

And sooner or later it's over,

I just don't want to miss you tonight.

And I don't want the world to see me,

Cause I don't think that they'd understand.

When everything's made to be broken,

I just want you to know who I am.

After seconds of what seemed like regained paradise, both pulled away slowly and gently, looking into each other’s eyes once again, coyly smiling at each other, as if neither believed what had just happened.

“Nicole?” an angered voice bellowed in surprise from behind a joyful Geoff. As Nicole peered over his shoulder, her grin began to simmer to a look of disbelief. To her dismay, she saw the face of her totally confused, seemingly ex boyfriend, Tom.

“Tom!” she gasped. He was stood with a face like thunder, his arms folded in fury. Geoff too turned to see him stood there, even more puzzled that Tom.

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Thank you for all the very kind comments. I appreciate each and every one of them =]


Chapter 8

Nicole immediately broke away from Geoff’s embrace and pushed behind him towards Tom.

“What on earth are you doing here?” she asked angrily. Geoff looked at Tom then at Nicole still very much in the dark.

“Who’s he?” Tom asked abruptly the anger mounting as he stared at Geoff.

“Never mind who he is, why are you here? You need to leave” Nicole repeated raising her voice, feeling a mix of anger and embarrassment .Ruby and Jai peered over, noticing the sudden commotion between the three of them.

“Where do you get off mate, kissing other guys’ girlfriends?” Tom angrily spat shoving Geoff in the process. Geoff was astonished as he heard the word ‘girlfriend’. He immediately looked over at Nicole, who was grappling away at the shirt of her seemed to be boyfriend, pushing him back away from Geoff.

“I’m not your girlfriend anymore, I told you we’re over. So go! Geoff has nothing to do with this” Nicole pleaded.

“Geoff? Your ex boyfriend Geoff? This is him is it?” Tom continued, the realisation hitting him.”Well, she’s not yours anymore mate, so back off” he finished grabbing hold of Geoff collar. At this time, Geoff was getting pretty worked up himself. He hated how she hadn’t told him about Tom, not even mentioned his name whether they were together or not. She’d obviously mentioned Geoff and Tom obviously knew about their history. Why hadn’t she confided in him about Tom?

“I think you’re the one who needs to back off, and I’m not your mate” Geoff replied, his teeth gritted. Nicole felt helpless as the boys squared up to each other, both glaring at one another.

“Geoff, stop, please. I just need to talk to Tom” she said, slightly upset. She couldn’t believe this was happening. One minute she was on cloud nine and the next, she felt like she’d just been hit by a freight train.

“Err gents is there a problem here? Geoffrey?” Miles asked quite simply, walking over to where everyone was staring.

“No, I think Tom was just leaving” Geoff said emotionless. Tom released his grip and pushed Geoff back slightly in doing so. Nicole grabbed hold of Tom’s arm and began to pull him out of the hall, through the crowds. Geoff looked on as they left, feeling slightly shattered. He wondered if he should have really gone there again with her, or if he should have left things how they were one hour ago.

As she walked out of the main door to the school, words can’t describe the way she felt. The look on Geoff’s face played over and over in her mind. She could see he felt hurt and confused. Why did he have to turn up and ruin everything?

“I can’t believe you just did that...you embarrassed me in front of my old friends” Nicole snorted upset and embarrassed at the scene he’d just caused.

“You’re embarrassed? you were kissing your old boyfriend for Christ sake!” he spat back.

“And exactly how is that your business?” Nicole questioned, her face screwed up.

“I still love you Nicole” he said softly, the sincerity was plain to see.

“Well, I don’t love you, I’m sorry. We would never work...what we had..it’s gone, Tom” she softened as she explained.

“Please don’t say that, I really do love you” he pleaded, reaching out for her hand.

“But that’s not enough Tom, trust me, I know” Nicole pulled her hand away from him as she walked a distance away.

“And Geoff? He is enough?” Tom questioned calmly. Nicole stopped in her tracks, not sure of how she should answer because she didn’t really know what was actually going on with her and Geoff. They’d kissed, whether it meant something more she wasn’t sure.

“Yes...no...I don’t know. I’m so confused right now, but when I said we were over, I meant it. You shouldn’t have come here.” Nicole replied, raising her hands up to her head, palms pushed against it.

“Is there nothing I can say to make you change your mind?” he wondered, in hope that she’d say yes but Nicole couldn’t look at him as she slowly shook her head, a tear falling from her left eye.

“I’m sorry” she whispered. Tom was crushed, the look on his face proved it. He couldn’t fight for her anymore if she didn’t want to be fought for.

“Okay...I guess I’ll go then” he said sadly hesitating before walking up to her and gently placing a kiss on top of her head.

“I really hope he deserves the second chance” he whispered before manoeuvring past and disappearing into the darkness. Nicole didn’t say a word, she couldn’t. She felt awful. This was all her fault, she was the reason Tom turned up in the first place. Now she needed to talk to Geoff, and somehow she thought it wasn’t going to be easy. Still, that look on his face was in her mind. Taking a minute to get back her composure, wiping her eyes and touching her makeup she walked back into the school.

As she entered back into the hall, the music was still playing and many were still dancing. She scanned across the room hoping to find him as soon as possible. After a couple more seconds of searching, she finally spotted him. He had his back to her, talking to Annie. As she pushed her way through the crowd of people, she inevitably reached him. A light tap on the shoulder, signalled for him to turn around. He sighed as he turned to around. He couldn’t look directly at her, as far as he was concerned, she’d lied to him and he wasn’t feeling so forgiving right now.

“Can we talk...please?” Nicole begged, trying to gain eye contact but Geoff wasn’t so willing. He gave a light nod before walking ahead towards the door. Annie looked on in silence, as Nicole followed him.

As they reached the main doors, the air was crisp, sharply hitting Nicole’s bare arms. She shivered as Geoff walked outside first, reluctantly turned around so that he could face Nicole. Nicole walked up to him so that she was standing with only a few steps between them. After a little time, Geoff directly looked at her, their eyes connecting.

“I’m sorry Geoff but it’s not what you...” Nicole began, attempting to explain the mess she’d caused.

“Why didn’t you tell me you had a boyfriend?” Geoff cut her off sharp, wanting answers.

“He’s not my boyfriend” she protested loudly.

“Well he seemed to think he was” Geoff responded, trying to understand it all.

“Well he’s not anymore. We broke up, he just couldn’t accept it” she explained.

“But why did you not even mention him, you’ve had...God knows... how many days to tell me, but you didn’t” he asked inquisitively.

“I know but it just didn’t seem important, I don’t even love him, I don’t think I ever did...not really. He knows that now. He left. And anyway you haven’t told me about any girls you’ve been with in the past couple of years either” she retaliated.

“Because there’s nothing to say. Nobody has ever come close to...” Geoff raised his voice before cutting himself off before finishing his sentence. Nicole knew how it was going to finish and she felt guilty. She felt guilty that she had tried to move on and it was a complete disaster, and now she was hurting the one person that has ever mattered the most in her life. He’d always been there for her, understanding situations she’d managed to get herself into without a second thought. He always managed to see the good side to her and right now she felt as though she was throwing it all back into his face. She could see the hurt in his eyes. He had hopes that there might have been something between them again and she’d shot them right down in seconds.

“I’m sorry”, her voice broke as she fought away the tears that were coming. The guilt was taking over and she felt terrible.

“I know” Geoff said, looking away, no emotion in his voice at all. He was hurt that she never felt she could speak to him about it. He’d been a friend to her these past few days, and she’d failed to mention her boyfriend, or ex boyfriend, whatever he was. In a way she’d brought him back into the situation under false pretences. If he’d known about Tom, he probably would have fought his feelings for her, maybe kept his distance a little. Instead she’d reeled him in hook, line and sinker, making the old feelings between them stir back up into frenzy. This was how he saw it anyway; maybe it wasn’t so black and white in reality.

Suddenly, Geoff’s phone rang. He looked at Nicole as he struggled to get it from his trouser pocket.

“Excuse me” he said, pulling the phone out, placing it on his ear and walking further into the open air. Nicole looked on disheartened. She wanted to fix it but she didn’t know how. Maybe time would help, but she would be going back to Newcastle soon. She didn’t have time, well not enough of it anyway. She dragged her feet back inside, leaving Geoff to speak on the phone. She wondered whether she should turn back around, walk up to him and tell him exactly how she felt. Now though, she wasn’t sure he even wanted to be her friend, never mind anything more.

Within minutes she found Annie again, she was stood by herself with a drink in her hand. Jai and Ruby had gone out for some fresh air, and left Annie in the process.

“Hey” Annie greeted her with a smile, discarding anything Geoff had previously said to her ten minutes ago. It was their business not hers.

“Hey” Nicole replied, forcing a smile then sighing, “Why am I such an idiot Annie? Your brother hates me now, and I totally deserve it!” she moaned, looking down to her feet then glancing up and around her.

“He doesn’t hate you, Nicole, he could never hate you. He’s just upset. Give him a little while and it’ll be fine.” Annie reassured her giving her a one armed hug.

“Back home’s good thanks. It great to see my sister and Irene again and the surf’s awesome! Tell Jake he’s missing out big time” he gushed as he held the phone to his ear.

“So, how’s the reunion going? Any old flames reigniting?” Frankie asked jokingly, ignorant to the situation that had just been created.

“Hmmm, not tonight, no. I’m pretty sure it’s burned out now.” Geoff replied flatly, as he looked down at the grass, the words spoken by Tom echoing in his mind.

“Oh that sounds intriguing, do tell”

“There’s nothing to tell, we had something once and now it’s...” Before Geoff could finish his sentence, an ocean of screams came from inside of the school. He immediately spun around on his heels, hesitating before spluttering the words “I’ll call you back” into the phone then running back into the main doors. He wasn't sure what was going on but it didn't sound good.

Time seemed to stop as her palms became sweaty and hot. Her heart was racing, but this time not in a good way, far from it actually. Her eyes were widened; her muscles tensed as she almost forgot to breathe. She’d been in many sticky situations before but this one had to be a step up from the usual. As she glanced over to Annie, she could see the fear in her eyes too. In one motion, she grabbed her hand and pulled her swiftly into her, gripping her arm as Annie did the same to her. She’d heard the phrase life flashed before my eyes but never had she experienced it for real. One face was embedded into her mind as she stared down the barrel of a gun.

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Chapter 9

As Geoff rushed down the corridor, he noticed there was no one in sight, no one in the corridor and everywhere was silent. There was no music flowing through the air at all now. Everywhere was still. What was going on? As he got nearer to the hall he saw a small crowd of people nervously peering into the hall through the glass panels of the main doors. The doors were shut and the people were in complete hush. He ran right up to the door and gently pushed past the silent faces and peered in. To his horror, it was worse than he initially thought. His thoughts were disturbed by the light sobbing of the girl stood just next to him. He looked over to her and at the other faces. They were all in complete shock, terrified too.

“Look, I need you to go outside and call the police” he handed his phone to the horrified girl. He coaxed the others to leave too, which they did after a slight hesitation. He figured it would be best if there was the least amount of people in the building as possible. He looked back through the glass wondering what he should do.

“Hey, kid, I don’t know what’s wrong but how about you put that thing down, yeah?” Miles asked calmly, standing as still as possible. The room wasn’t half as full as it was before, and everyone dispersed to different corners of the room, terrified for their lives. There wasn’t much noise apart from the faint sobs from numerous amount of ex pupils. Bartlett was stood behind Miles shocked but trying to remain calm too. The gun was pointed directly at Nicole. She and Annie were stood very still; people around them crouched as far down as they could. Nicole couldn’t speak; scared didn’t even cover it. Annie started shaking, unsure of what was to happen.

“Josh” she began, her voice shaking as much as her body.”Why are you doing this?”

“Because they’re all sinners, every one of them...and especially her...You and me, Annie, we live by our morals but her, she’s worse than the devil. Sleeping around...she’s done it for years and even tonight she played two guys off against each other, I saw her in here with Geoff and then outside with the other guy. It’s wrong! She can’t get away with it. God doesn’t forgive people like that. They have to be punished. Nicole has to be punished” he announced

“God does forgive Josh, you know that...” Annie protested, squeezing Nicole’s arm.

“Not this time though, I know what she’s like, I’ve seen her...the way she is with guys. It’s disgusting” he spat, looking at Nicole as if she were vermin. Nicole couldn’t believe what she was hearing; her promiscuity from the past had finally caught up with her. Yes she’d admit she was like that a couple of years back, well longer than that, before Geoff, but she’d stopped all of that now. She wanted relationships not one night stands. She wanted one particular relationship in fact but that all looked very bleak at the moment.

“She’s not like that anymore. She’s changed. Tonight was just a misunderstanding. You don’t need to do this” Annie pleaded, adrenaline taking over her emotions.

“Yes, I do. God sent me to do it”, he said as plain as day.

Geoff tried to slowly pull down the handle on the door. As he did so he realised it had been locked. Slowly pulling the handle back up, he let go, still peering into the hall. He could see all of the glum and horrified faces around the room, and he had a clear view of the gun being directly pointed at Nicole and Annie, Miles and Bartlett stood behind Josh, helpless to do anything.

“Geoff” a voice called from the down the corridor. Geoff turned around, placing his finger to his lips in signal to be silent. Ruby and Jai were wandering down the hall towards him.

“People outside are frantic, what’s going on?” Jai wondered curiously.

“Josh has...a gun... and he’s pointing it at Annie and Nicole” he explained slowly.

“What? Why? Is he crazy?” Jai asked immediately

“Well it’s not exactly normal behaviour now is it?” Ruby said sarcastically, beginning to get worried.

“Shhh” Geoff whispered, before looking around the hall once again, trying to think of a way he could help. No one dared to move in there, and seeing as the police weren’t there yet, he needed to do something. As he scanned the hall he remembered the stage door at the very back of the main stage. Footsteps were heard down the hallway and a uniformed Charlie appeared. She crept up to where Geoff, Ruby and Jai were stood.

“Guys, you have to get out of here now, back up are on their way and we’ll take it from here”

“But Charlie, He’s pointing that thing at Annie and Nicole, we can’t just leave them there. We have to do something now.” Jai protested

“And we will once the team get here. All three of you get outside now!” she whispered directly. Geoff looked at her unwilling to leave.

“No, we need to get them out now” Geoff said rushing away from them, down the corridor. Jai followed as Charlie attempted to hold them back, but they forced themselves away from her clutch.

“Guys!” she whispered loudly shaking her head in frustration before radioing back to the station. She turned back to a bewildered Ruby.

“You out now, I’ve got enough to deal with without having to worry about you. Geoff and Jai haven’t made this any easier” she said quietly, trying to not attract any attention from inside the hall. She pushed Ruby further down the hallway and ushered her outside.

As they quietly ran around the outside of the main hall, they finally reached the door to the room behind the stage. Geoff silently pulled down the handle and entered into the room, Jai close behind. He still wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He hadn’t really thought about it. He was just desperate to make his sister safe and Nicole too, despite their fall out. As they crept towards the door that entered onto the stage, they could hear voices on the other side. They could hear Miles speaking calmly and then Josh ranting back. As far as Geoff could make out, Josh was adamant Nicole and everyone in the room had to be punished but he couldn’t make out why. What had they done to him? Nobody even knew him apart from their little group so why did he have such hatred for everyone? Whilst Geoff was wondering about this, he very slowly and silently opened the stage door a little so that he could peer into the hall. From where he was he could see a lot faces, fearful and anxious. His eyes widened as he placed his finger up to his lips, and the faces looked away in obedience. He turned back around and nodded to Jai, as he gently moved his right foot onto the stage, he heard the wooden surface creek. Fortunately, Josh was so wrapped up in his thoughts and holding the gun to Nicole and Annie’s heads that he didn’t notice the sudden noise. Geoff hesitated before moving again, this time quickly but silently running from the door over to the curtain. He knelt down behind it peering through a gap in it. He was closer, but not close enough to get anywhere near to the girl’s in order to get them away from the gun. Though, even if he was closer, how was he meant to shield them from a bullet? That question echoed in his mind as he desperately tried to think of a solution.

“Josh, please, put the gun down” Annie pleaded once again, tears falling in sequence from each of her eyes. She continued to squeeze Nicole’s arm as the tension mounted higher. Nicole still wouldn’t speak. It was as if her voice had evaporated into the air, words impossible to speak.

“I can’t Annie, don’t you see, I’ve started this now and I must finish it.” Josh protested, trying heavily to convince Annie of the just in his actions.

“But you don’t have to hurt anyone, please just put the gun down” Annie sobbed, wiping a tear from her eye.

“I can’t too much has happened, and Nicole, she deserves it doesn’t she?” he asked, this time sounding as though he was trying to convince himself of his actions.

“No, she doesn’t! If she were such a bad person do you think I’d be her friend? Do you think Geoff would have had anything to do with her all these years?” Annie continued.

“Geoff? He’s just as bad. What you told me about him and Nicole, then him and Claudia, its sick. It’s wrong. He’s just as immoral as her, you’re all just as immoral as her” he spat, wavering the gun around the rest of the room. Miles stepped back slightly, aware of how dangerous the situation really was, and just how much more of a risk it was now that Josh was waving the gun about. Loud cries and screams could be heard as Josh moved the gun. All of a sudden Geoff came out from behind the curtain and jumped down from the stage leaning against it as he tried to relax a little.

“Then you can’t blame all of this on Nicole then can you Josh? We’re all just as bad as each other. So you might as well point that gun at me as well” he said calmly, looking at Josh and then at the girls. Josh immediately spun around and pointed the gun at him, confused as to where he’d come from.

“Geoff, don’t do anything stupid, mate” Miles said softly, anxious that Geoff was putting himself forward. Annie and Nicole looked at Geoff and then back to Josh, nervous as to how Josh would react. Both felt relief when they first saw Geoff, but it soon turned back to fear, fear that he’d get hurt too.

“Where did you come from?” Josh asked, stammering in the process.

“I’ve been here the whole time” Geoff lied, keeping his cool and edging himself forward ever so slightly towards josh and the girls.”Look, Josh, just put the gun down, you’ve made your point but you don’t need to do this. If you’re right about these people, about me and Nicole, then I’m sure God will punish us in his own way, in his own time” Geoff explained, hoping he’d get through to him.

“But he sent me...he sent me to do it?” Josh exclaimed

“To do what? To kill us? Is that it? Because the last time I checked, the Bible frowned upon murder, and that’s what you’re planning to do isn’t it...murder us?” Geoff asked, his eyebrows raised. A gasp could be heard throughout the hall as it came to light just how very serious Josh was. The simple uttering of the word murder brought the reality crashing down on each and every person in the room.

“But it’s...the right...thing to do” Josh said slowly, turning around and moving closer to Nicole and Annie. Nicole was sure her heart had stopped as she stared at the gun, it growing in size as he paced closer to them. From nowhere she found herself pleading for her life.

“Please...no” she blubbered, her eyes clouded with salted tears. Geoff could see the emotions as clear as day in her eyes and his heart ached as he watched her plead.

“Josh, don’t!” he shouted, “If you want to punish someone, punish me”. Josh stopped in his tracks as the sound of sirens filled the air, Josh looked around, startled at the noise.

“The police...they’re here” he stated, a little anxious

“Yes, now stop this before it gets out of hand” Miles chipped in nervously.

“No, no, I can’t. Not now” Josh replied, nervously rubbing his forehead.

“Then let everybody go and take me. I know a way you can get out of here away from the police.” Geoff explained calmly, as if he often put himself in this type of danger every day.

“Geoff, no!” Nicole cried, realising what he was trying to do. He cared so much about both of them; he was willing to risk his life for them. Josh thought about what Geoff said for a second, and then he nodded in agreement.

“Go!” he shouted, his voice echoing in the hall. Miles and Bartlett looked at each other.

“Wait, Geoff I can’t leave you here” Miles announced.

“It’s ok, just go, all of you” Geoff said loudly, looking at Miles, then Nicole, then Annie. People ran towards the main doors, rushing through the exit as fast as possible. Nicole and Annie slowly backed away near to the exit as did Miles and Bartlett, who found they had no option but to obey. they didn't know this kid at all, so they had to trust Geoff that he knew what he was doing. Jai suddenly appeared from the edge of the stage curtain and lowered himself from the stage onto the floor.

“Now, where do we go?” Josh asked impatiently, waving his gun at Geoff

Jai quickly ran over to where Annie was and pushed her closer to the exit, Nicole following slightly behind. Nicole was as equally distraught as Annie that Geoff was endangering himself to save everyone else. As she reached the doorway, she turned around just in time to see Josh shove Geoff through the stage doorway, the gun pressed against Geoff’s back. Her head was telling her to run, but her heart was urging her to do something completely different.

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Chapter 10


As the burning debris crashed to the floor, ash floated across the air, inevitably falling to the ground. It was getting hotter and hotter, harder for anyone to breathe. Screams could be heard, so many faces in a panic. On the outside she was coping terrifically, keeping the students in order but on the inside it was a totally different story. She was falling apart, scared that they weren’t going to get out. As she looked around, the commotion around her slowed in her vision. She could see Belle lying on the ground, crippled in pain and a frantic Aden shouting for someone to help his beloved girlfriend. Geoff was nowhere to be seen. He’d gone into the wreckage of the kitchen to delve in and find his sister, and to help get everyone else out too. That was the sort of guy he was, selfless when it came to the welfare of others.

Outside, many were spluttering, coughing their guts up to gain a drop of oxygen. Faces covered in ash, clothes ripped and burnt. As she stared at the exit of the building, smoke and flames bellowing, police officers and fire fighters rushing in and around it but there was still no sign of him. He was still inside doing his ‘Christian duty’. Sometimes she selfishly cursed his good nature. She wanted him with her all the time, wrapped in cotton wool so that he could be hers forever. Damn you, Lord. She waited on tenterhooks until at last she saw him, carrying an unconscious body out in his arms and gently passing them over to those who knew what they were doing. He immediately wavered until he collapsed on the ground, dropping to his knees before gasping for air. Nicole ran over to him screaming his name. He could hear a screech but at first he was too dazed to notice her running towards him. He was concentrating getting his breathing back in order. She threw her arms around him as he coughed and spluttered, his eyes squinting. She pulled his head back gently and directed his face so that he was looking straight at her.

“Thank God, Geoff, Geoff, it’s me. Are you alright?” she said hysterically, kissing him on the forehead, then on the cheek. Geoff gasped for air again before sinking his head into her arms, resting his temple on her chest. He was grateful that she was okay too. Knowing she was safe was a load off his mind. She cradled him, the relief was immense. She hadn’t lost him, he was still here. Once he caught his breath, he lifted his head to look at her again.

“You weren’t going to get rid of me that easily... I thought you were still in there” He smiled, coughing a little after he said it.

“For a minute there, I thought you weren’t coming out, I thought...I’d never see you again, never hold you again” she admitted then leaned in and kissed him softly on the lips.

“I couldn’t see you and the smoke was so thick. I prayed you were okay. I’ll always be around for you, Nic; I’ll always protect you as best I can.” He said truthfully, and she knew he meant it. There was so much emotion and love in that one sentence; she could see herself falling in love with him all over again. He was her hero, and as far as she was concerned, he always would be. She pulled him into her embrace, and the commotion that surrounded them, the injured bodies and the sirens all melted into the background as they held each other.

#End of Flashback#

As they stood in the room behind the stage, the gun pointed at the back of his head, Geoff remained calm although he didn’t have a clue what he was going to do next.

“Now where do we go?” Josh questioned with little patience, raising his eyebrows at Geoff as he walked around Geoff and stood in front of him, the gun now pointed at his forehead.

“Out of that door there...” Geoff told him “then down the corridor and turn left”.

“You first, c’mon I haven’t much time. You’re going to show me” Josh exclaimed, getting anxious at the knowledge of the police being outside. He pushed Geoff forward, urging him to open the door and go out into the corridor first. As they left the room, Geoff was running out of ideas as to how he would escape himself. He’d managed to get him away from his sister and Nicole and that was all that mattered but now he didn’t have the faintest of ideas on how to get himself away from him. A random plan suddenly came to him. He’d lead him down to the fire exit at the very back of the school, urge him to leave first. Once Josh was outside, he’d close the door and hopefully he’d hopefully the police would be waiting for him. It was risky but he’d have to try it, he had no other options.

“Annie, are you sure you’re okay?” Jai asked, very concerned for his ex girlfriend.

“This is my fault, Jai, if I hadn’t met him, he wouldn’t be in there now with Geoff” Annie admitted tearfully, blaming herself entirely for the unfortunate position her brother was in right now.

“You didn’t know what he was like, not really. It’ll be okay, Geoff’s not stupid, he’ll be fine” Jai tried to comfort her with his words but she was so sure she was to blame.

“You can’t guarantee that Jai, no one can” Annie sobbed. Jai pulled her into him, hugging her close, wishing he could do something, somehow help. Maybe he could.

Nicole had disappeared. One minute she was following Jai and Annie out of the hall and the next she was gone. The police had details of every person who was missing, and they knew now that Geoff and Nicole were nowhere to be found. Charlie consulted with her colleagues as Ruby, Miles, Bartlett, Annie and Jai looked on, waiting for their faces to appear but there was still no sign of the pair. Annie couldn’t help but fear the worst. Times like this, it would be Geoff she’d turned to for a shoulder to lean on and keep her calm. But he was missing and so was Nicole. If anything happened to either of them, she’d never forgive herself. She lost herself in her thoughts as she played out all the different scenarios that could occur.

“Where’s Jai?” Miles asked suddenly. Ruby and the others turned, surprised by his absence, bewildered as to where he’d gone.

“Stop!” Charlie shouted running at the entrance of the school after a speeding figure before stopping about a metre away from the doors, the figure disappearing into the building. Charlie gave a great sigh as she radioed in the event. Her boss would have a field day if he knew she’d let three teenagers run loose in a school with a potential killer, one of them having entered twice now.

“Jai!” Miles shouted angrily after him, concerned and worried for his adopted son. If Josh didn’t, Miles would kill him the next time he saw him for plain stupidity of running back into the school!

“It’s just this door here. It leads onto the footy field. If you run straight across it, there’s woodland just behind. The cops won’t find you easily in there.” Geoff explained, trying to sound as convincing as possible. Josh looked at him curiously before nodding then walking nearer to the exit. He still had the gun pointed at Geoff as he moved his ear closer to the door. As Josh was looking away, Geoff thought this may be a better chance to run back. He could still remember the ins and outs of the school. If he was quick enough, he’d be able to run into one of the classrooms, or cleaner cupboards without Josh being able to find him. When he thought about it, it sounded like a ridiculous idea, unrealistic even, but he had to try it. He was desperate. Pressing his ear towards the wood of the door, Josh could hear whispers on the other side. Realising it must be the police, his anger returned.

“I thought you said...hey!” Josh yelled loudly, noticing Geoff dashing along the corridor and about to turn the corner. Josh followed pointing the gun in front of him. Geoff could hear his breathes getting shorter as he ran past classroom after classroom, and climbed up numerous flights of stairs. Taking a quick left then a quick right, he dived into one of the rooms, closing the door behind him as fast as possible but quietly. As he slumped to the floor, he tried to catch his breath back. The adrenaline ran through him like a surge of electricity. He could hear footsteps outside and pushed himself as close to the door as possible so that it were almost impossible to spy him through the glass panel in the door. He placed his hand over his mouth so that his breathing became silent, hoping that he wouldn’t be detected by the monster that lay in wait outside. After a few seconds he heard the footsteps pass. Waiting a few more moments, he stayed in the same position, not moving a muscle at all. How he wished the police would just turn up and get him out of there. As he slowly began to get to his feet he heard more movement outside. Suddenly, he heard a faint whisper from the other side of the door.

“Geoff, Geoff” the voice spoke so soft and gentle. At first, he thought it was Annie but then he realised it was Nicole’s voice he could hear. He rose to his feet and opened the door as silently as possible, his heart almost bursting in relief as he pulled her in to him, holding her tightly, and closing the door behind them in the process.

“I couldn’t leave you in here with him, not after everything. I couldn’t let him hurt you. Geoff, I love you” she sobbed as she gripped his shirt tightly. He closed his eyes as he began to relax in her arms. He was so pleased to see her, so pleased she was safe. He felt the same way, surely she knew that, that was why he was so hurt by her earlier. He gradually broke their embrace, lifting his hand to her face and smiling. Before he had the chance to say anything though, they heard footsteps and a loud voice boom out in the corridor.

“Geoff, I’m tired of this now, come out and stop playing games. We both know I’ll find you anyway” Josh shouted, still holding his gun in his hand as he paced forward. Nicole and Geoff immediately stood still, neither of them making a sound. Geoff pushed down Nicole’s shoulders as they both sank to the floor, silently moving back next to the door, curled up together, and trying not to make any noise at all. They could both feel their heart beats gaining speed as they held hands tightly, praying that Josh would continue on his way and not turn back. Nicole closed her eyes, hoping that when she’d open them they’d be back home safe and sound, but deep down she knew that wasn’t likely. Eventually, there was complete silence, no more footsteps. Geoff looked at Nicole as she stared back. They were both thinking the same thing, and prayed that their thoughts were true. He’d gone. After a few more minutes of waiting, they rose to their feet, breathing a sigh of relief. That was until a face suddenly appeared at the glass. Instantly shocked, they backed away from he door until they realised it was Jai. He pleaded for them to let him in and as they opened the door to let him enter they heard heavy footsteps at the other end of the corridor.

“Quick, close the door it’s Josh!” Jai bellowed, grappling at the door in order to close it. Geoff grabbed one of the tables and pushed it up against the door. He and Jai placed their weight onto it and forced it against the door, maintaining their grip. Nicole helped too, tears forming in her eyes. There was a hammering against the door, then a single gunshot. Fear curdled all three of them as they fought to keep the table against the door. There was no way out, they were too high up to try the windows. There was nowhere to go. Almost instantly, silence fell upon the room as the sounds of their shallow breaths heightened in volume. All three looked at each other as they wondered where he’d gone. That was until they unexpected heard a gunshot through the glass int he door, to which all three sank to their knees releasing the force on the table. Josh pushed the door open in one swift movement as he entered into the room. Nicole screamed, terrified that she was face to face with him again. Geoff got to his feet again, pacing back towards Nicole, holding his hands up. Jai had fallen back on himself and was sat on the floor pushed up against the wall. He was helpless to do anything as he watched Josh stumble in and point the gun again at Geoff.

“Look, who we have here. My two favourite people” he sneered sarcastically. He hadn’t realised a quiet Jai hunched in the corner. Slowly, he began to place his finger on the trigger.

“You shouldn’t haven’t done this, Geoff” Josh snapped, Geoff swallowing hard as he stared down the barrel of the gun. This was it, he had no way out. Nicole watched from behind Geoff’s right shoulder, she realised there was no way out too. As Josh went to pull the trigger, Jai leapt up from the floor and pushed Josh to the side, trying to knock the gun out of his hand. Without a second thought, Nicole threw herself in front of Geoff, the random bullet piercing her torso as she fell back onto her former boyfriend. In a flash, the gunshot sounded the atmosphere, the echo lingering in the air for a second or two, and then silence again.

When Josh fell to the ground, he hit his head on the edge of one of the tables and his body slumped unconsciously against the wooden floor. Jai looked on helplessly as Geoff took in what had just happened. He immediately cradled Nicole in his arms as he fought to keep her conscious.

“It’s okay, Nic. You’ll be fine. Just stay with me, just stay with me...listen...I love you...I do...I love you” he whispered softly, Nicole’s eyes dazed as she looked at him. The pain was excruciating but she still managed to get lost in his eyes. She became numb as the pain soared through her upper body, Geoff’s face becoming blurred as the colours all blended in together.

“Nic, please stay with me, don’t close your eyes, you have to stay awake. Nicole. Nicole!” Geoff raised his voice, as he felt tears hit the flesh of his cheeks. The blood had seeped through her dress, covering Geoff’s leg and hands.

“She needs to go to hospital” he said frantically, scooping her up in his arms, and quickly stepping over the obstructions in his path. Jai stopped to look at Josh then moved out of the room too, following a distraught Geoff.

Standing there by a broken tree

Her hands are all twisted, she was pointing at me

I was damned by the light, coming out of her eyes

She spoke with a voice that disrupted the sky

She said walk on over here to the bitter shade

I will wrap you in my arms and you'll know that you're saved

Let me sign

Let me sign

They were all waiting as Geoff emerged from the main doors of the building, a solemn Jai close behind. The way he appeared at the doors was like it was all held in slow motion. He could see the faces staring as he revealed Nicole’s body in his arms. Gasps and sobs could be heard as he slowly walked out of the school, a tight grip as to not drop her or hurt her. He promised he’d always protect her, and here she was unconscious in his arms. He’d failed. Armed officers followed his movements with their guns until they were clear he was unarmed. One of them gradually walked over to him and took Nicole from his arms. He hesitated at first, not wanting to let her go. He couldn’t lose her, not again. As he helplessly watched her being loaded into the ambulance, his tears clouded his vision, an officer frisking his body as to determine any weapons. He watched the ambulance door close as his heart began to ache that little more.

The verse used was the lyrics to 'Let Me Sign', which any Twilight fans will know as a song by Robert Pattinson. When i wrote this chapter I imagined that song playing as Geoff carried Nicole out. Hopefully others can imagine it too! =]

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