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Tear Up The Sky

Guest Jen

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Story Title: Tear Up The Sky

Type of story: One-shot

Main Characters: Aden & Annie

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Romance/Angst

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Sexual references

Summary: Geoff is getting married and for some reason Aden is in attendance.

A/N: I don’t know what my brain does sometimes. This is what happens when H&A goes on hiatus for the summer and I’m left without any canon. Stuff happens.

Tear Up The Sky

Aden doesn’t like weddings.

He’s made a point of avoiding them for so long, that he is still debating instructing the taxi driver to turn around and take him back to the airport just so he can hold onto this record. But for some reason, Aden thinks he may have been drunk at the time, when the invitation turned up, printed on cream coloured paper with embellished flowers decorating the corners announcing that Geoff Campbell was to be married he sent back the RSVP, informing whoever it concerned that he would be in attendance.

He’s definitely regretting this decision now.

The roads are becoming slightly more familiar, the traffic diminishing as the distance increases, the smog lifting and being replaced by salty breezes and sea gulls.

The driver slows as the taxi rounds the bend and enters the driveway. Aden is still reluctant as he gets out of the car, the driver already dumping his single duffel bag on the pavement. With a polite nod and a fistful of cash in the driver’s hand, Aden is left alone.

A great expanse of a foyer engulfs him as soon as he steps over the threshold, the door being held open for him. It all seems a bit pretentious really. Especially when all Aden is used to is his one bedroom apartment, with a leaky tap in the bathroom and a termite problem under the wooden floorboards. Not that he spends much time there anyway. So to suddenly be forcing a smile at a perky, young receptionist as she hands over his room key is slightly awkward.

“You here for the Campbell wedding?” she asks after she has taken his details.

“It appears so,” Aden replies.

“Have fun,” she says as slides the keycard across the marble countertop and Aden takes it in his hand.

He can’t help but feel like a bit of a fraud as he takes the pale carpeted, gold handled elevator up to his room. The light turns green as he swipes his keycard, before he opens the door. Already feeling out of his depth, Aden dumps his bag on the double bed before inspecting the room. A glass-topped coffee table sits in front of the widescreen television, his own kitchenette with bar fridge and en suite off to the right. Pulling back the heavy, floral curtains reveals a private balcony, with a view that is breathtaking. Stepping out, Aden is swept up in the cool afternoon breeze as it rolls in over the ocean.

For a moment Aden just stands and stares, taking in his surroundings. It should be familiar, recognisable somehow, but for some reason Aden feels as though this is his first time in Summer Bay. He knows it’s the same stretch of water, the same waves he surfed when he was 17. He can see the boat shed where he worked for over a year, the pier jutting out from the beach and white-roofed diner where he spent so much time. And although he can name the places, attach them to vague memories, he still feels detached from the place. Not like it was ever home.

He’s 24 now, working for a fish market on the Gold Coast. It’s not a glamorous job, but someone’s got to do it. At least, that is Aden’s attitude. It pays the rent, and the guys he works with are tolerable. He wouldn’t go so far as to call them friends, rather colleagues, who he sometimes gets drunk with on the weekend. That’s all.

The wedding isn’t until tomorrow, and since it is clear Geoff didn’t spare any expense in shacking up all the guests, Aden figures he’s entitled to visit the pool. Picking up a towel it doesn’t take long before he’s changed into his board shorts ready to attack the over-chlorinated swimming pool on the roof of the hotel.

When he steps out of his room however, all hopes of chilling by the pool seem to escape him. Almost simultaneously, the door to the room next to his opens and out walks a young woman. She tucks a piece of her long brown hair behind her ear as she closes her door. Aden can’t help but stare. She’s wearing a plain white singlet, denim shorts with tattered edges and golden sandals on her feet. But what gets to Aden the most is her figure. She seems to have legs that go on forever, a slender figure, but still curvy enough that he simply wants to reach out and put his arm around her waist. Except that would be creepy.

He realises now that she is also staring back, a hint of a glimmer in her blue eyes as she takes note of the fact that Aden seems to have frozen on the spot.

“Hi,” Aden says feebily, forcing himself to take a breath and actually blink.

“Hey,” she replies slowly, placing one hand on her hip, her lips turning up into a slight smirk.

Aden didn’t realise he was this out of practice. He knows he’s been through a bit of a dry patch with the ladies, but back home he could still turn on the charm. At least, that was the illusion he was under. Here he is, in a fancy hotel, with an attractive girl in front of him, and he’s only just managed one syllable this whole time.

Fortunately for Aden the awkward silence is ended when the girl speaks. “You really don’t recognise me, do you?”

“Uh,” is all Aden can manage. He’s wracking his brain, searching her face for something vaguely familiar.

She just laughs at him. “It’s me, Annie.” He continues to stare at her blankly. “Annie Campbell? Geoff’s kid sister? Any of this, ring any bells?”

Now Aden has an excuse to stare. His brain is whirling at a million miles an hour trying to process this information. Standing before him is Annie Campbell, Geoff’s younger sister, and he has nothing to say. He remembers all right. Except all Aden seems to remember is her at age 14 in a Summer Bay High School uniform, complete with knee socks and Mary Janes.

“Yeah, Annie,” Aden finally stutters, “Of course I remember.” How could he forget? The last time he saw her she was leaving for an exchange program in Japan for six months. Not long after, he also left the Bay, and he never thought to keep in contact. And frankly, at the time, he hadn’t really wanted to.

“Glad to hear it, Aden” she replies, flashing him a smile. “So, how’ve you been?”

“How did you know it was me?” he asks, ignoring her question.

She just gives him a one shoulder shrug. “You haven’t changed that much.” Aden wishes he had a mirror, and possibly a photo of him from a few years back just to make the comparison for himself. But I guess compared to the change in Annie, nothing should surprise him.

“But it’s been like --”

“-- 5 years,” Annie finishes with a nod.

“Right.” Aden stares down at his feet, suddenly wishing he had packed something more than just his suit for the wedding and the clothes from the flight. But it’s not like he’s trying to impress her or anything. Because she is still Geoff’s little sister, the girl who he found passed out on the beach when she was a teenager, and definitely not the hot young woman standing before him now. And Aden realises he has to stop thinking about her as hot, no matter how true it might be.

“I guess, I’ll see you at the wedding,” is all Annie says before turning and walking down the hallway, leaving Aden alone once more.


Aden still doesn’t like weddings.

Despite the champagne and beer and food and occasional hilarious story told by an overexcited relative. Despite these things weddings aren’t fun. He’s required to wear a suit, with a tie, and make small talk to a bunch of people he doesn’t know. There are long speeches and way too many cameras, so Aden is forced to back himself into a corner with his drink and be the wallflower of the party.

He established early on that apart from Geoff and Annie, he didn’t know anyone. The wedding itself was held in the local church, not really a surprise to Aden, but then the reception was back in the ballroom of the hotel. Geoff was currently in the middle of the dance floor with his new bride. He nuzzles his mouth to her ear, whispering sweet words, wrapping his hand around her pure, white dress, completely oblivious to everyone in the room.

A waiter walks past with a tray of flutes filled with champagne and offers one to Aden. He gratefully takes one. Even though this isn’t his first, he still feels as though he is way too aware of his surroundings and solidarity. He busies himself with his mobile, just so he doesn’t look as awkward as he feels. It is only when there is a scraping of metal across plastic that Aden looks up. Annie has pulled up a chair and is now sitting beside him, and again Aden is struck at how beautiful she looks. Her long brown hair falls in loose curls around her face. Her natural make-up further extenuates her dazzling blue eyes, all complimented by her little black dress and high heels.

“Having fun?” she asks with a grin.

“Sure,” Aden replies dryly. For some reason he doesn’t really feel like pretending anymore. “I don’t even know why I was invited,” Aden confesses.

Looking out to the dance floor Annie watches her brother for a moment before she replies. “I guess Geoff just wanted one of his older friends here.”

“I didn’t realise we were --”

“What? Friends? You worked together on the trawler, went to school together, played football on the same team. Regardless of what you thought, Geoff certainly thought you were.”

Aden finds himself nodding. “Yeah, I guess.”

“Plus,” Annie adds, “Maybe it was my idea.”

Aden cocks an eyebrow at Annie, waiting for her to continue. Her cheeks have flushed a light shade of pink, and she’s biting back a small smile.

“I don’t know,” she admits, shrugging slightly. “I just wanted to see how you were going.” She pauses. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay,” Aden replies, allowing himself to relax slightly. He takes another sip of his champagne. “But now that I’m here, I’m more interested in what’s become of little Annie Campbell.”

“Hey, go easy on the little,” she jokes, nudging him playfully in the side. “I’m finishing up my last year of uni. Primary school teaching.”

Aden stares at her once more, in awe of how grown up she is. It doesn’t seem that long ago when he was giving her advice on how to deal with her brother, or watching as she tried, and failed, at flirting with Romeo. “You’ll be a great teacher.”

“We’ll see,” she replies with a sigh. Then she’s on her feet, holding out her hand towards him. “Dance with me, Aden,” she says.

The Annie Aden thought he knew would have never made such a move. But it had been proven on more than one occasion already, that this was not the Annie he grew up with. Obligingly, Aden slipped his hand into hers as she led him to the dance floor.

He places one hand on her bare shoulder, the other locking with her fingers as they sway from side to side. He can feel her gentle touch on his back, as she smiles up at him. A genuine smile; all Annie, and he’s transported back to when she was barely 15 and he was 19, thinking he was already grown up.

He continues to move in time to the music, from one foot on the other, very cautious not to step on her toes. There’s this feeling in his stomach, a slight giddiness in his head when she steps forward and presses their bodies closer together and wraps her arms around his neck. Carefully he slips his hands around her hips, extra cautiously so as not to freak her out. He’s still having trouble getting the school girl image out of his head. But she sighs, and he can hear her humming along with the music as they slowly move around the dance floor.

The song ends and they part to applaud the band. They then begin to play a faster number, and while Geoff happily twirls his wife along, Aden suddenly feels awkward once more.

“Did you want to get some air?” Aden asks. As soon as it slips out, he wishes it hadn’t. It sounds cheesy and like a definite come on, but Annie smiles up at him and nods. As they make their way through the crowd, Aden finds himself interlacing their fingers once more. Just so he doesn’t lose her in the crowd, is all.


They are standing on the beach, a full moon illuminating the sand and rolling waves. Annie has slipped off her heels and is walking beside him. They haven’t spoken, but it doesn’t go unnoticed that they are still holding hands.

If this was a movie this would be the part with the swell in the music, and he was say something incredibly charming and witty and maybe they would kiss. But this isn’t a movie. This is Aden, with Annie, and all he can think of is how embarrassing it is that his palms are sweating like this. It takes Aden by surprise that this is actually how he wants things to turn out. That he actually wants to kiss her.

She glances up at him, her blue eyes framed by thick black eyelashes, lips still lightly pink from her lip gloss. And Aden doesn’t think he has seen anything more beautiful.

“Don’t you think Geoff will be wondering where you are?” Aden finally says, a grin still playing on his lips.

This should be weird. This should be wrong. But when she smiles, all coy and sheepish, blushing slightly, he finds himself smiling back, and he’s completely okay with that.

“I think my brother has other things on his mind, don’t you?” she replies with a small smirk.

Aden lets out a low chuckle, shaking his head slightly. He’s in a bit of a daze, the bubbles of champagne clouding his mind, and he can’t believe that he’s really doing this, is actually here.

“He looked really happy,” Aden says, wistful.

“Yeah,” Annie replies, slightly breathless. And there is something else in her voice. Aden thinks it might be hope.

“You never know, that might be you one day,” Aden jokes, nudging her slightly in the side. His elbow brushing against the silky material of her dress. She just nods, not really replying.

Aden looks down, Annie’s face has fallen, smile dissipated.

“Hey,” Aden says. He stops walking, using their joined hands to pull Annie up beside him. “That will be you,” he assures her. She gives him a half shrug, avoiding his line of sight. Using his free hand, he reaches down and touches her cheek, angling her chin so she is looking at him. “I’m serious.”

She’s looking at him, and he’s staring down at her. Seeing not only the shadow of the girl he grew up with, but also a beautiful young woman who he can’t believe he went so long without her in his life. That although he spent three years living in the same small town, he doubts whether he could guess her favourite movie, what her favourite type of food is. He doesn’t even know if she has a middle name.

He’s cupping her cheek gently, and slowly leans down, parting his lips. He pauses, searching her eyes for any sign that she doesn’t want this. But she parts her lips, and lets him press them together.

It’s like copping a football to the stomach. He’s completely winded, pulling away slightly and swallowing, trying to ignore the light-headedness and breathlessness. Aden never realised what Annie’s kiss would do. He certainly never dreamed of kissing her before this weekend, and now he is wondering how he went so long without it.

Leaning back in, he kisses her again, this time using his tongue to edge open her lips. She tastes of champagne and something sweet, a hint a strawberry on her lips. He wraps a hand around her waist, his other one getting tangling in her curls. This is what he wanted when he saw her, before he even knew who she was. And now he realises this is what he wants to do forever.

She pulls back, stepping away slightly, letting go of the handful of his shirt she has in her small fist.

“Annie,” he says. Reaching out and taking her hand again. Her lips are red and wet, and he just wants to keep kissing her.

“We’ve got the whole weekend,” she says earnestly, staring down at their joined hands.

“True,” Aden muses. “And a hotel room.”

Now it’s Annie’s term to stare up at him. “Aden,” she says, a little bit wary.

Even though he wants to, like, really really wants to, he also doesn’t want to mess things up. Be with her this weekend and then never see her again.

“We have cable and room service,” is all Aden suggests, but she smiles up at him and leans in and presses her lips to his cheek. His cheeks are flushing pink but he’s too happy to be embarrassed. Annie tugs at him slightly and begins leading him back towards the hotel, the moonlight bathing them in silver light.

Aden loves weddings.



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