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If We Never Came To Summer Bay

Guest Georgia

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Type of story: short/medium fic

Rating: T (DR)

Main Characters: Aden, Belle, Nicole, Geoff, Annie, Jai, Ruby and Xavier

Genre: A mixture

Warnings: Will inform at the start of each chapter

Is Story being proof read: No

Summary: What would their lives have been like if they hadn't ever lived in Summer Bay?

Note: In this story, they are all 18

Chapter One


It felt good to be a famous actor, actually it felt great. Aden Jeffries woke up every morning with a smile on his face and a different girl in his bed. He was rich, he was famous, and he got everything he wanted, except for one thing. He had a nagging feeling down in his chest, which was telling him that he wanted something more serious, more stable. He may have been able to walk into a bar and have girls throw themselves at him, but Aden knew there was more to life. He wanted a girlfriend, as much as it pained him to say it, he knew it was true. Imagine waking up with the same beautiful, smart, funny, feisty woman every morning. Imagine her saying that she loved you, pressing a gentle kiss against your cheek before rushing out the door on the way to work. Imagine having a diner cooked, and candles waiting, because she wanted the night to be special. Aden Jeffries appeared to have everything he wanted, but on the inside all he wanted was stability, and a woman to call his own.


She had known him for 6 years, dated him for 3, and lived with him for 1. In the last six months though, something had changed. The smile on his face didn’t reach his eyes. The look in his eyes didn’t match the one on his face. The alcohol had changed him, and then he had started taking drugs as well. Not prescription drugs, but actual illegal substances, so illegal that if he was caught, he would go to jail for the rest of his life. Then he had started to hit her. The first time was an accident; he swore that it would never happen again. The second time was her fault; she had provoked him into a fight. The third time he was just drunk and tired. The fourth time he was stoned. After that, Belle had run out of excuses. She wanted to leave but she couldn’t. She had tried but he wouldn’t let her. She had to wear long sweaters even in summer, to cover up the bruises that trailed up and down her arms. All Belle Taylor wanted was someone to look at her with love in their eyes, instead of hatred and loathing.


Her mother was a *****. Natalie only ever used her to get what she wanted, and Nicole was sick to death of it. She wanted to get out, but she had no-where to go. She didn’t know where her Dad was, so instead, she partied. She would go out at 9 every night, hitching a ride with one of her many friends. She would hit a club, and flirt with every man who would buy her a drink. She usually ended up going home with one of them, as long as they were charming, handsome and constantly plied her with alcohol. Every morning she would stumble in at around seven am, and her mum didn’t even bat an eyelid. As long as Natalie got what she wanted, she couldn’t care less. The less her mother cared, the more Nicole rebelled, going out earlier and staying out later. She was on a downward spiral but she didn’t know how to get herself back out.


His sermon was boring but he never noticed that the audience was fidgeting uncomfortably in their seats. The day was extremely hot, yet he still rambled on about God and his forgiveness. Every Sunday, Geoff led the service at the church. He was a minister, a good one at that. Today he was just tired. He had been up praying late last night, hoping for a miracle so that they could fix the church roof. He rushed through his sermon, anxious to pass around the donation hat, hoping that they could raise enough money to fix the roof.


She hated her brother. He was everything she wasn’t. He was a minister in a church; she never went to church anymore. He prayed for miracles, she prayed that she wouldn’t end up in hospital having her stomach pumped. Every single night, without fail, Annie would go out with Nicole, her very best friend in the entire world. They would get drunk, and dance with a lot of older guys, but Annie had gotten over her shock. Nicole had pulled her into a world she had known little about, but the more she got into it, the more she liked it. One thing was certain; Annie Campbell was the complete opposite of her brother.


He had been deserted. Miles had always promised to come back for him but he never did. At eighteen, Jai had been kicked out of the home. They were looking after younger kids now, and he was taking up too much room. He didn’t blame it on them, it was a fair point. They would have had to get rid of him at some age. It still didn’t stop it from hurting. It was the only home he had known. When he had been let out, he had gone crazy, almost killing a man. It was one of those accidental pub brawls, where you punch a person and they fall to the pavement. The other guy was lucky to have survived, and Jai was taken to jail. He was in there for 15 years, 10 for good behaviour. Sometimes at night, when every other inmate was asleep, he wondered what would have happened if Miles had come to collect him.


Her father had no memory; her sister had no clue what to do with herself anymore. For Ruby Buckton, life was a constant struggle. She would get up in the morning and make breakfast for the family, because her dad forgot whether or not he had eaten and Charlie didn’t have much of an idea about what was going on. Then she would grab her bag and run to school, late every single day, because she simply could not get up any earlier. She would concentrate in school, and work hard, trying to make up for the disadvantage that she had. Then, when the siren went for home time, she would sprint to her house, hoping her dad hadn’t wandered too far away from the carer. In between cooking dinner, and tidying the house, Ruby would do her homework. Ruby Buckton’s entire life was her family and school. She had no time for socialising.


As soon as Xavier turned eighteen, he had left home. No money, no food and no clothes didn’t deter him. Living with his mum and two brothers had been too hard for him, so he had turned to the streets. It was kind of thrilling actually. He had to rely on himself for food and shelter. Every night he slept in a different place, begged in a different corner. His own mother wouldn’t have recognised him anymore. He hadn’t kept in contact with his family, had no clue what any of them were doing but he liked it that way. That was life on the streets.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Two: Geoff

His life was perfect. He could ask for nothing more. He had the job he had always wanted, the life he had always dreamed off. His Grandfather had inspired him to become a man of the church, and that was what he had done.

He only cared about himself now. His Grandfather had died, and Geoff had sealed himself off from the world, not wanting to get hurt ever again. The only family member he had left was Annie, the little girl who had grown up so much. There had been a time when he and Annie had been close, more like friends than siblings. She had worshipped him, and the church, but then, life had turned upside down. She no longer believed in God, because bad things still happened in the world. She went out every single night, and they went for months without talking. Geoff didn’t even know who her friends were.

“And that is the end of today’s service. If there are any questions, please see me. It will be my pleasure to help you.”

The service had run over, again. It did every single Sunday, but Geoff never bothered to adjust it. He was talking about the Lord, and in his opinion, everyone should just clear time for it.

Today, however, was different. He was actually hoping that no one would ask any questions. He wanted to rush off and see Annie. They hadn’t talked for three months, so they were having lunch instead. As soon as he was satisfied that no one else wanted to talk to him, he left.

“Annie”, he called, as soon as he walked into the busy coffee shop, where they had agreed to meet.

A little scuffle alerted him of her presence. She was sitting in the back corner and was nearly unrecognisable. She had been a young, beautiful, vibrant girl, with the world at her feet. Now she was huddled over in the corner, retreating into herself. It had taken her years to get out from the Grandfather’s shadow, and right after, he had died. The girl she had been was long gone. The rings under her eyes were dark, almost black, and there was dried mascara on her cheeks, as if she had been crying for a long time. Her dress was obviously from the night before, it was hanging off her tiny frame, and it had a rip in one shoulder.

Geoff sighed, before putting on his angry face. They had to do something about this.

“Annie, what happened to you?”

“I went out and partied. So what? I’m a big girl, I can do what I want”, she snapped back. Geoff could see that this tactic wasn’t going to work, so he dropped it.

“Annie, I miss you”, he whispered. “You used to have everything. You fought so hard to escape Grandfather, and you’ve thrown it away.”

“Geoff, I’m trapped. I managed to get away from life with you and Grandfather, but I chose wrong. I ran away Geoff, but I ran to the wrong place. I went to that little town about twenty kilometres away. What would have happened if I ran the other way? I could have run to Summer Bay, that beautiful little town, with the gorgeous beaches and the friendly people, but I didn’t. I went the other way, and I’m trapped. My only friend parties every night, and I can’t escape anymore. I’m tired.”

Tears built up in his eyes. “Annie, it’s never too late. Get out now, while you still have the chance. You can still go to Summer Bay, Annie, don’t ever give up on your dreams.”

“I already have Geoff. You’re successful and I admire you, but I can’t claw myself back up anymore. I’m done.”

“This isn’t what you used to be like Annie.”

“That Annie’s gone”, she whispered, before running out of the coffee shop.

“Yes she is,” he sighed, before following her out of the door.

How could he have let her get this bad? He had been so busy wrapped up in his own life, that he hadn’t noticed his own sister falling apart. When he finally noticed, he was unable to pick up the pieces. He was pathetic, useless, and his perfect life didn’t seem so perfect anymore.

He kept walking, not noticing where his feet were taking him, until he was back at the church. He walked in and sat down on a pew, right at the back. Before long, his friend Luke, the other minister, sat down beside him.

“What’s wrong Geoff?”

Geoff didn’t even bother denying he had problems. “My little sisters life has fallen apart and I was so wrapped up in my own world, I didn’t see. The pieces are scattered, and I can’t help put her back together. And now, all I can think about is how many other people must be suffering because there is no one there to help them. They could be struggling to escape, fighting drugs and alcohol and I want to make a difference, help them like I couldn’t help Annie”

Luke was silent for a while, as if contemplating what he was going to say.

“I have a friend who works in a rehab centre”, he began, “and a few days ago, he asked me if I knew anyone who would be good enough to work there. They are looking for a new counsellor. I think this might be the answer you are looking for. They only take in teenagers, so maybe you could help some of them get back on track, fix them before they become like your sister. If you want, I can call now.”

Geoff nodded his head. “Thank you Luke”, he whispered

3 months later:

Geoff had resigned from the church, and was now working at the rehab centre. Sure, it was challenging and it didn’t pay much at all, but he got satisfaction from helping the teenagers re-establish themselves.

He strolled into work early that day. The manager had called him last night, and informed him that they were getting a new teenager in tomorrow, and Geoff was going to be her counsellor.

This girl was in deep trouble. She had started off with just partying, and then drinking, and then drinking the hard liquors, and then taking all sorts of drugs.

He walked over to the front desk, and asked the nurse where the new girl was. The nurse pointed and Geoff walked over there.

Slouched against the wall, was a beautiful blonde. Her hair hung perfectly straight, and her makeup was applied well. Her clothes were obviously designer. Her arms were folded across her chest, as if she was trying to hold herself together. Geoff sighed. This case would probably take a lot of work but it would be worth it.

He extended his hand. “I’m Geoff Campbell and I’m going to be your counsellor as long as you are here.”

The girl nodded and shook his hand. “Nicole Franklin”, she said briskly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Three: Nicole’s perspective.


“Straight tequila please” I shouted as the bartender finally turned his attention to me.

Tequila was my poison of choice. It had a kind of sexy sound to it and it made me feel alive. Tonight was just another night in my opinion. Annie hadn’t been able to make it, something about a meeting with her brother getting her down. I didn’t mind though. I had been involved in the club scene since I was fifteen. A partner wasn’t exactly necessary. It never took long for a nice, attractive man to come up and ask me to dance.

It was quicker than I expected, but then again, I was wearing my hottest emerald green dress. My hair hung perfectly straight. I looked good tonight and I knew it.

The man wasn’t the best looking man in the world but I wasn’t picky. As long as I had someone to go home with every night, I didn’t really care about looks. As long as the guy payed some interest to me, I was happy. My mother never payed attention to me, so it made me feel special.

“I’m Lucy”, I said. I had learnt to never give out my proper name. I didn’t want guys to get too attached, or stalker like.

“John”, he told me.

I smiled a little bit. John was a common name, but it had a nice ring to it. It reminded me of Brad Pitt, in the beginning of Mr and Mrs Smith. That was a good thing, because I love Brad Pitt.

“So Lucy, do you come here often?”

I laughed inside my head. That pick up line was so well used and I felt a bit sorry for him.

“I’ve been here a few times. I have a couple of clubs that I like to hit, but my friend Annie told me about this one.”

“Well, seeming as I haven’t seen you here before, I’m taking it upon myself to be your guide, and escort for the night”

I giggled, before pulling him onto the dance floor.

“Let’s save the tour until later John. I love this song. Let’s dance!”

The tequila was making me feel free and alive. I was already glad I had chosen to come to this club. It took me a while but I noticed that John wasn’t into the whole dancing scene.

“Lucy, do you mind if we just go outside? I’m not feeling too great and I could really use some air”

I nodded, slightly disappointed. I hadn’t lied; I really did like this song, but if my “escort” wanted to go outside, I had to as well. The air was cold, and it whipped my dress up. I quickly pushed it back down. I didn’t want to show my underwear to the whole club.

“Hey Lucy, have you ever tried this?”

I looked round curiously. I had been concentrating on keeping my dress down, and John had interrupted my day dream.

“What is it John?”

“It’s just speed. It brings you up on a high, and you look like a girl that likes to have fun. Most of the people here tonight are using a drug of some sort. You’re the odd one out here tonight Lucy”

That’s what got me most. I hated being different. I had tried for over three years to fit in with the people who hung out in clubs, and I had thought I had perfected my act.

“But isn’t it bad to take drugs John?” I asked

“God Lucy! You’re so naive. It isn’t bad if you only take a little. It’s fun”

I didn’t take much convincing. I had been looking for something new, something different to perk me up and this seemed like the perfect answer.


I started off only taking a little bit of speed. John was right. It was a whole new high. Alcohol no longer affected me, and it felt great to have that feeling coursing through my veins again. But like any good thing; it doesn’t stay that way for long.


What started off as innocent bit of fun soon spiralled out of control. I had started with just a pinch of speed, but then I started taking more and more, and daily too. It helped to clear my head, to help me think straight. But then the bills started piling up. I had no job, and John was demanding payment. I had no qualifications and no way to earn any money, so I turned to burglary. All my neighbours had quite a bit of money and I just took all the cash they had laying around. I thought it would be my answer to everything, but soon the small amount of money I had accumulated evaporated. I was buying more and more drugs, and John was getting more and more demanding. I went round to his house one night, trying to buy some more time on the payments, and he went completely crazy, and threw me up against the wall. I ended up in hospital, with twelve stitches in the back of my head. It should have served as a wake-up call, but I couldn’t climb up from the rut I had got myself into.

I turned back onto the alcohol in a heavy way. Even though it had stopped numbing me, I still found that if I drank enough, I could collapse and forget about everything, even if it was only for a little while. Tequila, scotch, whiskey, vodka and rum all blended into each other, each serving a purpose in my messed up little life.

Then John came around again, still asking for money.

“I don’t have any money!” I screamed at him, countless times

He never responded, just got more and more violent with me. One time it was just a punch in the face, the next time I was in hospital for three days with concussion.

When I got out of hospital, John was waiting for me.

“If you can pay me, you’re going to have to do something else”, he whispered venomously

He made me work in the drug trafficking business. It was my job to hang around high schools, and try and sell cocaine, speed, marijuana and anything else John could get his hands on. I was 18 years old when the police busted me, old enough to be tried as an adult.


Luckily, there was a judge who took pity on me. He sentenced me to three months in rehab, and encouraged me to get myself clean.


I was slouched against the wall. My arms were folded across my chest, trying to keep me together. I saw a guy who looked about 18 years old walk towards me. I sighed with relief. At least I wasn’t the only one with problems.

He extended his hand. “I’m Geoff Campbell and I’m going to be your counsellor as long as you are here.”

Surprise flashed across my face. This guy could be no more than twenty, and he was a counsellor. He had done something with his life, and for that, I respected him.

I shook his hand politely, introducing myself.

“Nicole Franklin”, I said somewhat briskly.

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Chapter Four: Geoff’s perspective

“So, Nicole, are you ready for your first counselling session?” I asked, trying to ignore the sparks that were shooting up my arm. She didn’t seem to hear my question, and I was about to ask again, when she nodded her head slightly.

I walked towards the room I normally worked in, and was glad to hear her footsteps trailing behind me. At least she was cooperating. It would make this process a lot easier. By the time Nicole had made it into the room, I was already settled in my favourite armchair. Nicole chose to sit on the couch, and crossed her legs underneath her.

“So Nicole, do you want to start by telling me your story?” I asked, expecting her to clam up and say nothing. Instead, she shifted a little bit and started talking.

“Well, I started the club scene when I was 15. Me and my best friend Annie use to hit the clubs and get drunk every night. Tequila was my poison. I guess I did it because my mum basically ignored me and when I was drinking, I felt alive and guys noticed me. I started going home with a different guy every night. One time, Annie couldn’t make it because she was still upset about a meeting she had had with her brother earlier that day. This guy offered me some drugs and I took them. And then I suppose it’s the typical story. Everything kind of spiralled out of control and then I got arrested and sentenced to three months here”

I nodded my head. It was a typical kind of story, young girls trying to feel special. The only reason I had accepted this job was because I would be able to help people. I was the same age as Nicole, so I could be seen as a role model.

“I have a sister about your age Nicole. She got caught up in the bad stuff too. I guess I’m trying to help you guys so that maybe one day I can help her” I explained, before realising that Nicole was the first patient I had ever mentioned that too.

“I want to fix myself so I can help fix Annie. It’s my fault she got involved in this stuff and I want to help her clean herself up. She deserves so much better than the life she’s got. She could have had it all. Her brother works in a church, you know. Annie could have done something like that”

“Tell me about Annie. Maybe if she gets admitted to this place, I can help her too”

“Well, like I said, she’s my best friend. Her brother works in a church. She’s eighteen years old, just like me. She’s got a lot of issues right now. We haven’t spoken in about a week; she’s kind of fallen off the radar recently. Her full name is Annie Lucy Campbell...” Nicole trailed off, not sure what else I wanted to know.

“She’s my sister”, I whispered quietly

“What?” Nicole asked, barely hearing what I was saying.

“Annie Campbell, she’s my sister. I was the one she had a meeting with, that night she didn’t go clubbing. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t.” I confessed, before sneaking a glance at Nicole. Her mouth was hanging open and she looked completely shocked.

“Sorry Nicole. We’re supposed to be concentrating on you.”

Before I knew what was happening, Nicole was perched on the corner of the armchair, with her arms around me.

“I’m sorry Geoff” she whispered, again and again, until it turned into a chant.

Eventually, I regained enough composure to stand up, and walk towards the door.

“Thank you Nicole. We’ll have another session in a couple of days ...” I said, before shutting the door behind me.

A month later:

I had promised Nicole that we would have a counselling session in a few days, and that was a month ago. I still hadn’t seen her. I had actually asked another counsellor to take over her case, partly because I was embarrassed to see her again, and partly because I had a crush on her, which was strictly forbidden. Every time my skin came into contact with hers, my skin started tingling and sparks flew all over my body. Every time I saw her, my breath stopped in my throat. My heart started beating harder. And for that reason I decided I couldn’t see Nicole Franklin until she had finished her rehabilitation program. It was best for both of us. I wasn’t allowed to date patients and she didn’t need any more problems.

Two months later:

I was still successfully avoiding Nicole. Apparently, her program was going well and her counsellor was certain she would never touch drugs again. I was extremely proud of her. She must have a secret motivation hidden somewhere, something that made her want to become clean again. I wish Annie was like that as well but I hadn’t seen her for over two months. I walked around a corner, trying to walk to my office but not looking where I was going, and walked straight into Nicole.

“Oh sorry Nic. I wasn’t watching where I was going”

“I could see that”, she giggled

My heart filled with pleasure. Her giggle was infectious. A smile lit up my face.

“Oh Geoff, did you hear? My counsellor is letting me out early. I get out in three days!” she announced enthusiastically.

“That’s great Nicole. I’m really proud of you. I knew you could do it”

The smile evaporated off of Nicole’s face and her eyes suddenly turned sad.

“What’s wrong Nic?” I asked, concern filling my voice.

“You are what is wrong with me. You say that you are proud of me, that you knew I could do it, yet you don’t want to counsel me yourself. What the hell did I do wrong Geoff?” Nicole’s face was flushed red with anger, and I felt shame flood through my body, but Nicole wasn’t finished talking. “I managed to get myself through this program in the quickest possible time and all you can say is that I’m proud of you?? I did this for you Geoff, because I had known you for all of twenty minutes and sparks were flying through my body and I had to restrain myself, so that I didn’t throw myself at you and kiss you”.

I was completely and utterly speechless.

“Nic, I had to do that, it was for your own good. I shook your hand and all I could feel was sparks. I felt connected to you and I knew that you had to concentrate on your recovery. I changed your counsellor so that I wouldn’t get in your way, but for the last two months, all I have been thinking of is you. I was hoping that when you had finished the program, you and I could go out.”

The red slowly faded from Nicole’s face and she stepped closer to me.

“Nic, I felt stupid, alright? No one shakes another person’s hand and thinks that they belong together.”

“I’ve never been a girl that goes for ordinary”, she whispered, and shuffled slightly closer

I leaned forwards and slowly placed my lips on top of hers. It was a perfect kiss, like the connecting of two souls. I had never experienced anything like it before. Before I went crazy and deepened the kiss, I forced myself to pull back.

“Three days”, I said to Nicole, “three days and I’m taking you out on a date”, I finished, before walking off.

It would be the longest three days of my life.

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Chapter Five: Nicole’s perspective

It had been a long time since I had been on a first date, like a really long time. I think my last first date was when I was thirteen, with a guy who had tried to kiss me as soon as the movie started, and refused to buy the popcorn. Since then, the extent of my relationships had been one night stands. So, since it was my first date in five years, I went all out. I managed to buy a new dress that made me look sophisticated and elegant, instead of my usual slutty outfit. I had had quite a turnaround in the last few months, and I was really proud of myself, but I wanted Geoff to be proud of me, to like me for me, instead of my body. I wanted him to know me, to understand me and to cherish me. I wanted someone to finally take care of me.

I spent hours getting ready. I straightened my hair perfectly, so that I hung straight down my shoulders. I applied my make-up with ease. It was light and natural, instead of the heavy make-up I normally used to cover my flaws. As soon as I was ready, I stood up and slid on my dress, before looking into a mirror. I was pleasantly surprised. I had never realised that the simple things could look so good. I smiled at myself, before grabbing my handbag and walking out the door, before sliding into the awaiting taxi.

The driver smiled leeringly at me in the rear view mirror. “Hey pretty, you heading out for a night on the town with your girlfriends?”

“Actually I’m not. I’m going out for a date with my boyfriend”, I said, relishing the sound of the word boyfriend.

The driver’s smile faded slightly, and he concentrated on the road. The rest of the drive was silent, until he pulled up to the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

I had assumed when Geoff had told me to meet him at this address, the location would be a restaurant, but for the second time this evening, I was surprised.

There was no restaurant. Instead, it was an empty lot, just grass, which should’ve been disappointing but it wasn’t. There was a beautiful view of the ocean, which told me that we were probably quite high up. Candles were placed strategically around the area, forming the shape of a heart. In the middle of the heart was Geoff, sitting on a picnic rug, with an open picnic basket next to him. My heart soared. No one had ever made such an effort for me, not my mother, any of the guys I had met or even the few guys I had dated at the beginning of my teenage life.

“Geoff”, I cried, “this is beautiful!”

“Well, I had to make an extra special effort for my first date with an extra special woman”

“So, I’m not supposed to expect this every time we go out?”

“Nicole, as long as we are together, everything will be extra special”

I smiled and walked towards him and the picnic blanket, carefully sidestepping the candles, so that wax wouldn’t drip onto my shoes.

“I think I’m a bit overdressed”, I whispered as I sat down next to Geoff on the rug

“I disagree”, he whispered back, before kissing me lightly on the cheek, “I think you are absolutely perfect”

I could feel the blush rising up into my cheeks, and I was thankful that it was dark. I didn’t want Geoff to see it.

“So Nic,” he said, the nickname rolling casually off his tongue, “this picnic took me hours to put together. Shall we dig in?”

“I’ll even give you the chance to show off your culinary work. Why don’t you show me what you’ve made?”

He chuckled lightly and pulled tons of food out of the basket.

“Well I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I packed almost everything.”

I giggled and leaned forward to help him pull the rest of the food out of the basket

“We’ve got french baguettes, olives, peanuts, gourmet sausage rolls, salad, coleslaw, pears, apples, grapes, strawberries and sugar, whipped cream, pizza rolls, chicken wings, mini quiches..” the list went on and on and I just watched him, my face actually sore from grinning so hard.

“And Nic, I’m sorry but I only brought apple juice. You’re not supposed to be drinking until you’re completely under control and I didn’t want to put you in a situation where you might be tempted”

I was literally speechless

“Oh God, sorry Nic. I didn’t mean for it to come out that way. Of course I think you’re strong enough to deal with the temptation-“he rambled but I leaned forward and cut him off, with a gentle kiss on his lips.

“I’m not mad Geoff. I’m speechless. No one has ever cared about me that much. My Mum has never really liked me and the guys I was with haven’t really treated me well, and it’s so different. You went out of your way to look after me and I think that it’s amazing... you are amazing!” I explained.

Geoff smiled and put his arms around me.

“Nicole, you deserve to be taken care of and looked after. You are strong, and brave, and courageous, and funny and selfless and insanely beautiful.”

I had never known that a first date could be so perfect. Instead of replying, I picked up a strawberry and guided it towards his mouth, snatching it away just before he could eat it.

“Hey Nic!” he exclaimed, “That’s not nice!”

“What are you going to do about it?” I teased, before putting another strawberry in my mouth

Geoff didn’t answer me. He reached over and grabbed an olive, and putting it towards his mouth. I sighed with relief, grateful that he hadn’t retaliated. I went to grab some more food, but before I could, an olive hit me on the shoulder. I turned around and glared at him.

“Sorry Nic,” he muttered, “I just got carried away I guess”

I continued glaring, while fumbling around in the basket, searching for the can of whipped cream. As Geoff was still apologising, I leaned forwards and shot whipped cream all over his black shirt.

“Oh, if that’s how you want to play it, fine! It’s on Nicole!”

I squealed as Geoff threw everything he could at me. I was bombarded by mini-quiches, sausage rolls and delicate little cupcakes as I tried to run for cover, before realising that there was no shelter.

“Please Geoff. Truce! I surrender!” I cried, as tears of joy rolled down my face.

“Ok Nic,” he replied, before dropping all the food he was holding

“Haha!” I cried, “How did you fall for that?” I asked, before pelting him with all the food I was still holding.

“Right, well seeming as our food is littered everywhere, I think we should go home. I have my car just around the corner, so I can take you home” he announced, once the fight was finished.

“Alright then. Lead the way”

The drive home was quiet, but not awkwardly. It was somehow comfortable, if that makes any kind of sense.

It wasn’t long before I was back at my apartment, the one my mum had bought for me as a good riddance present.

“Nicole, do you mind if I walk you to your door?”

I nodded and slid out the car, a sad smile on my face. I had thought that Geoff was different, that he wanted me for me, not just for a pointless one night stand. He had gone to such a great effort tonight, and it was now apparent he only did it so that he would get invited into my apartment.

“So Geoff, do you want to come in for a coffee?”

“Actually Nicole, I have an early morning tomorrow. I just wanted to walk you to the door to say thank you for the most perfect first date ever. Do you want to go out tomorrow for lunch?”

My sad smile turned happy straight away.

“Of course I do. Tonight was wonderful and I can’t wait to see you again”, I declared, before leaning forward and kissing him lightly on the lips, and then

turning and walking into my apartment.

As soon as the door was shut, I did a little dance, thrilled that my first proper date in five years had gone so perfectly well.

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Chapter Six: Jai’s perspective

The movies about prison paled in comparison to the real thing. It was made out to be a place where fights occurred every now and then when you accidently upset anyone, and where your cell mate might want to get it on with you. Prison was actually a lot worse. The guards were constantly trying to break up the fights that seemed to break out every five minutes. Jai had luckily been put in the “loony bin” and was therefore in a separate room.

“Jai, it’s time for your medication. Open up”, the nurse called as she pushed the trolley through the ward.

Jai rolled his eyes. “I don’t really need my pills today Nurse, I’m feeling quite calm actually.”

“Don’t start that again. If I have to, I’ll get the guards in here and make sure you take them”

Jai knew better than to argue his point further. No one ever paid any attention. He just opened his mouth and pretended to swallow the pills, secretly hiding them at the back of his mouth. The nurse nodded in satisfaction, before moving on to the next cell.

As soon as she was gone, Jai spat the pills out, and hid them under his mattress, adding to the growing hoard.

The noises from the other rooms grew louder and louder. No prisoner ever wanted to take the pills and the racket was always the loudest at medication time.

He stood up and walked away from the bed, grabbing a pen and going back to the wall and continuing the engraving.

The whole wall was covered with the words: what if... what if?

It was the story of Jai’s life.

What if his parents hadn’t died in that tsunami? What if he had gone to a different foster home? What if Miles had come for him, just like he promised?

There was a lot of what if’s in Jai’s life.

Soon enough, it was time for the exercise. It involved Jai walking around the restricted area of the garden, on the other side of the fence from the murderers and the other criminals.

Ten years was a lot of time to spend in a place as awful with this, and that was only if parole was granted. He had only been in jail for about six months and time was ticking by so slowly. Jai would give anything to be outside jail, to be free, to feel the wind in his hair.

The only thing that was keeping Jai going was the fact that he was receiving 19 cents an hour for helping to paint the new rooms being built in the jail. He was working six hours a day, seven days a week, for the last five months. He had managed to save $159.60, enough for a huge pile of prescription pills he had managed to score from a charismatic murderer.

It wasn’t long before the exercise was finished and PI (prison industries) was just about to start. Jai decided to stay inside his cell today. He had managed to build up two day vacation, and today was the one day he wanted off.

As soon as everyone had gone, Jai pulled the pills out from under his mattress and threw them all onto the pillow.

He sat on the bed and slipped a pill into his mouth, before swallowing nervously. He repeated the process again and again, working his way through the pile of pills he had accumulated.

Ten years was a long time to spend in jail, and Jai couldn’t deal with it, especially when there was no one waiting for him. So instead, he took the cowards way out, and ended his life.

It took seven hours for the guard to come around and check on Jai, thinking he was still working.

Jai was lying spread eagled on the bed, after downing eighty-two sleeping pills, in an attempt to escape all of the pain in his life.

It was a sight that the unfortunate guard would never get out of his mind. One of his prisoners had killed himself on his watch. He was responsible for Jai's death.

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Chapter Seven: Xavier’s perspective

The traffic was piling up. It was a typical Monday morning and all of the business men and women were on their way to work, the same thing Xavier should have been doing. Instead, he was scavenging through a dumpster, trying to get to the food that had been thrown out of the Chinese restaurant late last night. If his mother could see him now, she would be extremely disappointed.

“Excuse me” a gentle voice interrupted the hunting. “Are you ok?”

Xavier lifted his head out of the bin and turned to face the owner of the voice, a pretty teenage girl. No one had bothered to address him for ages, so it was a major shock to have someone actually care, or at least make an effort.

“I’m Ruby”, the girl said, trying to keep the conversation going. “I was on my way to grab some food for breakfast and I heard some noises coming from down here, so I came to see what was happening. Are you alright?”

Xavier cleared his throat and walked towards Ruby, trying not to scare her.

“I’m ok, thank you for asking. I was just looking for something I accidently chucked into the dumpster last night”, for some reason, Xavier found himself lying to the girl

“Well, I can help you look if you want. I have some time before I have to be home and it can be my good deed for the day”.

Now he was screwed. He hadn’t thrown anything into the dumpster.

“Umm... thanks but no thanks. I can find it myself”

A frown settled onto Ruby’s face

“Look, I don’t even know your name but I want to help you. Normally I just look after my Dad and sister and I want a break Ok? So can you just do me a favour and let me help?”

Xavier nodded his head, but cast his eyes to the ground

“Ruby, it’s not that I don’t want you to help, it’s just that I haven’t really lost anything in here”

“Then what are you doing?”

“I’m looking for some food, alright! Are you happy now that I’ve embarrassed myself?”

Ruby didn’t say anything but moved towards the dumpster, and hoisted herself in.

“Ok, I’ve got a half eaten chocolate bar, some chips, a few spring rolls and a half eaten bag of prawn crackers. What do you want me to grab?”

“The spring rolls and the prawn crackers please Ruby”

Xavier could hear some scuffling but then Ruby’s head emerged triumphantly. Xavier ran forward and helped her swing herself out of the dumpster, and lifted her to the ground.

“Thanks. No one has helped me in a long time”

“That’s ok. Everyone needs help sometimes, some more than others”

“Look Ruby, I’m going to go. Thank you for all your help, but I don’t want to keep you from your family.”

“I know this might be weird, seeming as we’ve only just met, but this is my address,” she said, as she scribbled her address on a scrap of paper. “If you are ever hungry, come here and I can fix you some food”, she finished, before handing the paper to Xavier and walking off, leaving him standing there, speechless.

Sorry that it's such a short chapter, it's just a filler really. Thanks to Red Ranger 1, Elainea and lino for your reviews. Hope you liked this chapter as well :D

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Chapter Eight: Ruby’s perspective

The guy I met on my street comes to my house every single day without fail. I always have food ready for him. For some reason, I feel a connection to him and I want to get to know him

“Hey Ruby”, as he called as he walked towards my house

“Hey, I didn’t expect to see you for a while,” I called back. Even after all these visits I still don’t know his name

“Xavier”, he said, as he came closer to me. I nodded and tucked it deeper into my memory, to savour the ring of it later

“Thanks for finally telling me”

“You’re welcome. I figured you deserved it after everything you’ve done for me”

I blushed and continued talking so that I would distract him from my face.

“Today I made you chicken noodle soup, but none of that packet stuff. This is home made all the way”

“Ruby, are you sunburnt?” he asked, interrupting the middle of my rant

I shook my head and tried to carry on with my explanation of the soup.

“Well, how come your face is red?” he asked, interrupting again

“Because I’m blushing, Ok?” I yelled


“Because I’ve only known you for a little while and I already feel like I’ve known you my entire life. Because I’ve never kissed a guy and whenever I see you, I have to restrain myself from kissing you. Because I’ve never liked a guy anywhere near this much” I blurted out, and then hated myself for saying so much.

“Look Rubes, I’m flattered, I really am, but I’m no good for you. You’re smart and beautiful and funny and caring and you deserve better than some guy that lives on the streets.”

“But you’re not the typical guy that lives on the streets”

“No, I’m worse, because I have a home and a family I could go back to but I don’t, because I’m selfish and inconsiderate and that’s not what you deserve.”

“Why can’t you let me make my own decisions?”

“I just explained myself and if you can’t respect that then you obviously aren’t mature enough for a relationship anyway”

That was the final straw.

“How dare you say that Xavier? All I’ve done for ages is take care of my family and make sure they are ok. And then I’ve been taking care of you, giving you food so you don’t starve to death. So just leave now Xavier, because now you’re insulting me and I won’t have that” I hissed, and watched with satisfaction as he walked away.

Maybe I should just concentrate on my family for now. There’s plenty of time for love later.

Authors Note: Just thought I would let you guys know that I’m sorry that the last two chapters were so short. That’ll be the end of Ruby and Xavier until the epilogue because I’ve only just noticed how hard it is to write about them. Plus, I think everyone is basically reading this for Aden, Belle, Annie, Nicole and Geoff. Oh and by the way... Annie will be next, followed by Aden and Belle (I saved my favourites for last) and then the epilogue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is just an extremely quick update, because I feel so bad for not updating for so long. A huge thanks to Red Ranger 1, Elainea, lino and matticus01, for the reviews


Chapter Nine: Annie’s perspective

I lay on the street, in a pile of rubbish, unable to move, unable to speak. I couldn’t open my mouth to make a little sound, anything to draw attention to myself. I had been lying this way for hours. I had fallen on my way back home, and something was seriously wrong with me. The pain was radiating intensely through my back, and I felt nauseous.

If only I had listened to Geoff. He had tried to help me, but I hadn’t listened. And now, as my punishment, I was lying in the street, unable to move, unable to call for help.

“Oh god, someone help me, there’s a woman down here”, I could hear a voice call

Finally someone was coming to help me, to get me out of the mess I had unwillingly created

“Call an ambulance! I don’t want to move her, she looks seriously hurt! I need someone with medical experience”, the voice called again

Why wasn’t someone helping the man who was trying to help me? What has happened to common courtesy?

Thankfully, I could soon hear the sirens wailing in the background, and the man breathe a sigh of relief. I wanted to thank him, but I still couldn’t open my mouth

“Down here,” the voice basically screamed, trying to attract attention to himself and me, the poor pitiful girl lying beside him

More footsteps came rushing down the alleyway, and the sound of wheels indicating that they were rolling a stretcher between them. The paramedics were finally here.

“What are the symptoms?” I could hear them question my saviour

“I don’t know. I was walking down the alley, and I saw her. She hasn’t spoken, or moved, and I didn’t want to move her in case I caused more damage. Will she be ok?” For the first time, I could hear concern, fear and panic mingling in my saviour’s voice. Before, all the emotions had been restrained, but now they were all pouring out.

“We aren’t sure. We’ll have to take her to the hospital for further tests”

I finally found my voice. “You can’t move me. I can’t move me.”

“Don’t worry, you’ll be ok. Can you tell us your name?”

“It’s Annie, but please, don’t move me.”

“We have to Annie, to get you to the hospital”, they informed me, as they lifted me up. Pain surged through my body, and everything went black.

Well, let me know what you think. The next chapter should be up soon... I mean it this time


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Thank you to Elainea, Red Ranger 1, matticus01 and lino for the reviews.

Chapter Ten: Annie’s Perspective

The beeping of the machines gave me something to fixate on. I could hear myself breathing, and the sound of another couple of people, short, anxious breaths.

I was awake, but I didn’t want to open my eyes. The door open and slammed shut, the sound reverberating round my head, causing it to thump harder than it was previously.

“I take it you are Mr. Campbell, Annie’s brother, and you must be his girlfriend”

That was interesting. Geoff was here. Geoff was here with his girlfriend. That must be a new addition. The last time I had spoken to Geoff, he hadn’t mentioned anything about a girlfriend.

“This is Nicole”, I could hear Geoff introduce his girlfriend to the man I had identified as the doctor.

I used to have a best friend called Nicole, I thought idly to myself. I hadn’t thought about her for a while. It was funny that she suddenly popped up into my mind at this time.

“So is Annie going to be ok?” Nicole asked, and suddenly, it clicked. Geoff’s new girlfriend was my Nicole.

“That’s actually what I’m here to talk to you about.”

And I no longer care about the dramas in Geoff’s love life, or how Nicole even met Geoff in the first place. My ears are straining to hear every word the doctor mutters. At this second, he is the centre of my universe.

“Your sister took a pretty hard fall but she would have been ok...”

“Oh thank god”, Nicole jumped in, and I felt a surge of relief rush through me. I’m going to be ok

“I’m not finished yet. She would have been ok, but the paramedics didn’t check her properly in the field. They picked her up without securing her and that’s what caused the damage”

“What damage?” I could hear Geoff say, panic seeping into his voice.

“I’m afraid your sister is going to be paralysed for the rest of his life”

There was a sharp intake of breath, and I could hear Nicole choke back a sob. I couldn’t be paralysed. It was impossible.

“Can we sue the paramedics?” Geoff asked, desperately clutching at straws now

“I’m afraid not. It was a life or death situation and the paramedics were afraid that she would die on the street if they didn’t move her”

“Don’t worry about me Geoff,” I announced, finding my voice, “maybe this is a sign that I was living the wrong life”

“Annie, how can you be so calm about this? You’ve just lost the use of your legs?” Nicole asked

“Maybe it’s a sign from God. When he gets mad, he sends down a punishment, like Noah and the flood. Maybe this is my punishment”

“Annie, that isn’t the end of the bad news I’m afraid. Because of your condition, it will be highly unlikely, verging on impossible, that you will ever be able

to have children”

The news brought on another sob from Nicole, and Geoff buried his hands in his face. The doctor took this as a cue to leave the room silently. I lay

quietly in the bed, unable to move, but more peaceful that I had ever felt before.

Despite what Geoff thought, I realised this was a sign.

I had to change.

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