Jump to content

Out Of My Mind

Guest Red Ranger 1

Recommended Posts

For anyone who's following, I said at the end of my last fiction that I had a few ideas planned for this year, depending on where the show ends up heading.This isn't one of them.It's just an idea that I came up with a few weeks ago.Let me know what you think.

Story Title: Out of my Mind

Type of story: Short/Medium

Main Characters: Annie with Ruby, Xavier, Romeo and a few others

BTTB rating: G/T

Genre: Romance/Drama

Does story include spoilers: Slightly

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

Summary: When Annie has an unexpected experience, she has no idea how weird things are about to get.(If you haven't noticed by now...my plot synopses give nothing away.)


Annie turned over and checked her bedside clock.She’d been lying on top of the bed in her night dress, trying desperately not to fall asleep, staring at the wood-panelled walls and ceiling in a futile attempt to find something to focus her attention on.He said he’d be here before now.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a gentle tapping on the window.She bounded towards it with a grin, pulling it open and then stepping back to let him clamber inside.He stood just inside her room, breathing heavily, but grinning as much as she was.He pushed a strand of light brown hair away from those worryingly cute features.“Sorry, I was waiting until everyone downstairs went to bed.”

Annie nodded, accepting his excuse.Someone walking in on them now was definitely not part of the plan. “I guess the important thing is you made it.”

Leo gestured back to the window through which he’d just made his entrance.“Lucky no-one’s thought to prune that tree.”

“They have been talking about it,”she admitted.

Leo looked worried for a moment then he shrugged.“Guess it’s a good job we made the most of it while it was here then.”

“Guess so.”Annie found it slightly hard to meet his gaze, feeling nervous.She really hadn’t expected any of this to happen, not so quickly.

Leo spread his hands, seeming as nervous as her.“So..?”

Annie waited for him to go on but he seemed lost for words.“So,”she echoed.

“So…here we are.”

“Yeah.”She paused for a moment, unsure whether to take the next step.Then she ran over to him, throwing her arms round his neck, and kissed him passionately, feeling him returning the kiss, holding her in his arms.

The kiss broke but they stayed just as close, their arms around each other.He stroked her face and her hair gently.“I don’t do this very often.”

“Me neither,”Annie whispered.

“In fact…I’ve never done this before.”

She nodded.“Me neither.”

He started to kiss her again, slowly at first but then growing in passion.She felt her heart beating faster with excitement and anticipation as he lowered her onto the bed…


Annie opened her eyes at the insistent voice, blinking her way into consciousness.It took her a few seconds to recognise Ruby standing over her.She looked around in some confusion, wondering where she was, why she wasn’t in her own room.Then she realised that this was her own room, white plaster walls and ceiling, not like…like where she’d just been.

“What time is it?”she asked at last.

Ruby checked her watch.“Just after eight.”


“Gone already, so no chance of a lift.God, Annie, it’s not like you to sleep in.Considering how early you went to bed last night…”

“I just wanted to get a bit more sleep than usual,”Annie claimed.It wasn’t exactly a lie.

“Well, hurry up and get dressed or we’re going to be late.”

“Yeah, sure,”Annie replied scrambling out of bed, half-expecting to find herself wearing a night dress rather than her usual vest and pyjama bottoms.

“What were you dreaming about anyway?”

Annie stopped at the question.“Um, what?”

“Dreaming.You had a smile on your face that I’ve got to say I have never seen before.What was it all about?”

Annie swallowed hard.“I, ah, don’t remember.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for all your comments, it's good to know there's a few people reading this one.

And yes, I have noticed that your plot summaries give nothing away, yet I still read them :D

Yes, I'm completely spoilerphobic about my fictions.I keep coming up with summaries and then going "No, I don't want anyone to know that"-I really didn't want people to know Annie was dreaming at the start until they got to that point.Hope you all enjoy this.(The chapters seem to be coming out a bit short, sorry!)


Annie had been aware of Ruby’s eyes boring into her all the way to school.They were just turning into the street that served as their destination when Ruby finally spoke.“Okay, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t have to.”

Annie did her best to play dumb.“Tell you what?”

“Who he is.”

Annie was still not giving anything away.“Who what is?”

“The guy in that dream you were having.I know what sort of dream causes a girl to smile like that and it usually involves a guy.”

“It’s no-one,”Annie insisted.But she didn’t like lying and the tug of her conscience caused her to add, “No-one you know, anyway.”

The comment caused Ruby to pause and look at her in confusion and interest.“You mean, it’s someone you used to know?”

“No, it’s…it’s no-one I know either.It’s just a boy.His name’s Leo.”Annie sighed.“And I’ve been dreaming about him every night for the last week.”

Ruby grinned.“Dream boy, eh?Well, I guess if you’re going to have that sort of dream…”

“It’s not…that sort of dream,”Annie told her,“At least…not until last night, that went a bit further than it has done before…We’ve just been going on dates and hanging out and”-she looked away slightly, embarrassed-“kissing and stuff.”

Ruby smiled and took her friend’s arm as they resumed the walk to school.“Okay, you realise that you need to tell me everything?”

“It’s really weird,”Annie admitted,“It’s like I’m a different person, I mean, I live in a different house, a different town.”

Ruby nodded.“Fantasy life.”

Annie shot her a curious look.“What do you mean?”

“It’s what your subconscious does when it’s not being stimulated enough by real life.It creates this whole other life for you where you can be someone else and do stuff you wouldn’t normally do and you don’t need to feel guilty about it.”She saw Annie’s sceptical look.“Hey, trust me, I’ve studied dreams.I know what I’m talking about.”

As she waited by Ruby’s locker for her friend to finish putting her stuff away, Annie had to admit she had a point.Her life hadn’t been very…stimulating recently.Dexter had left town, Jai had left the country and Romeo…well, that had fizzled out before it really started when they’d realised they were better off as friends.She’d thought she was fine, that she didn’t need a boyfriend, but apparently her subconscious didn’t agree.

Annie was so busy with her thoughts that she almost didn’t hear Summer Bay High’s principal, Gina Austin, calling her name as she pushed her way towards them through the crowd of students.“Annie, Ruby.”

Ruby closed her locker door before turning her attention to Gina.“What’s up, Miss Austin?”

“We have a new student in Year 11.I thought you two could keep an eye on him and show him the ropes.”

Annie hadn’t really been paying attention to the boy with Gina.She glanced over at him…and almost stopped breathing.He gave her a nervous smile as he pushed a lock of light brown hair away from that strangely familiar face, causing butterflies to appear in her stomach.“Hi, I’m Leo.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all your comments, hope you enjoy this one.


Annie had a hard time finding her voice.The Leo in front of her not only looked like her Leo, he acted like him, the same smile, the same habit of playing with his hair when he was nervous…He was looking at her without a hint of recognition, no indication that he remembered what she did.She knew he was expecting her to respond to his introduction but she had no idea what to say.

She was relieved when Ruby spoke up.“Hey, I’m Ruby.The quiet one’s Annie.”

“Pleased to meet you,”Leo replied.He glanced at Annie.“You all right?”

The concern in his voice only made her tremble even more but she managed to get it back under control. “Um, yes.Yes.Perfectly fine.”

“So, Mrs.Austin wanted us to give you a tour of the school?”Ruby asked,“Well, hold onto your hats ’cos it’s going to be really exciting.”She glanced around the corridor, gesturing to each of the doors.“That’s a classroom, that’s a classroom and, you’ll never believe it, that’s also a classroom.Wanna see more?”

Leo seemed slightly befuddled by her response.“Guess so.”He glanced across at Annie.“Are you coming too?”

The innocent remark spent Annie’s head even further into a spin.Did he actually want to spend time with her or was it just her imagination?“Um, yes.”

Leo smiled at her but he didn’t have much of an opportunity to say anything else before Ruby had embarked on another of her babbling speeches, leading Leo down the corridor with Annie forced to walk behind.“So, you’re new in Summer Bay?”

Leo nodded.“Yeah, my, um, my family just moved here from WA.They enrolled me here a couple of days ago.”

“Well, I’ve a feeling you’re going to love it here…”

“Leo seems a nice enough boy,”Ruby remarked, once the impromptu tour was over and she and Annie were on their way to class.

“Yes, he does,”Annie agreed.

“And how freaky was it that he had the same name as your dream boy?”

“Mmm.”Annie made a non-commital sound.

Ruby stopped walking and looked at her.“Annie Campbell, what aren’t you telling me?”

Annie took a deep breath.“Leo is my dream boy.That’s what he looked like.”

Ruby grinned.“Well, I can see why you kept wanting to go to bed early…”

Annie shook her head.“Ruby…I was dreaming about him before I met him.How could that happen?”

Ruby shrugged.“You probably did meet him and don’t remember it.I mean, he said he was here a couple of days ago…”

“I was dreaming about him before that…”

“Okay, more than a couple of days ago.You probably just saw him around town and your subconscious liked the look of him.”

Annie considered this.It sounded plausible.All the same…“But how would I know his name?”

“Well, I don’t know but you obviously found it out somehow.Important thing is the guy’s here, he’s real and he obviously likes you.”

Annie wasn’t entirely sure where the conversation was going but she had a feeling she wasn’t going to like it.All the same…“You think so?”

“Well, why wouldn’t he?Your subconscious is obviously pointing you towards him, who are we to argue?”

Leo was in their last lesson of the day.Annie couldn’t help glancing towards him all the way through class, noticing all the little details that were exactly the same as in her dreams.If she had just seen him about town, she must have remembered an awful lot.The really awkward thing was the way he kept looking back at her and smiling, which always caused her to become a lot more interested in what the teacher was saying.

As the bell went for the end of class, Annie was quick to keep her head down and concentrate on putting her books away.Typically though, someone else had other ideas:Ruby hurried over and grabbed her arm. “Quick, before he goes.”

“What?Ruby!”Annie cried in protest, suddenly very worried about where they were going.

Ruby pulled her back out into the corridor and called after the retreating figure,“Leo!”

He stopped and looked round.“Oh, hi, Ruby and Annie.”Again, it seemed to Annie that he looked at her a bit too much, given that Ruby was the one speaking.She shook her head.She must be imagining it…

“We were wondering if you wanted to meet up later,”Ruby explained,“You know the Diner?”

“That place down by the pier?”Leo asked.

“Yeah, that’s the one.See you there about six?”

Leo glanced at Annie.“You’ll both be there?”

Annie swallowed slightly.“Um, yeah, definitely.”

“I’ll see you there then.”

Ruby waited until he was out of earshot before turning to Annie.“Right, we’ve got about two hours to make you look beautiful.”

Annie was far from convinced this was a good idea.“But…what am I going to say to him?”

Ruby shrugged.“You’ll think of something.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if Leo is having the same dreams.

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.It will be explained whether or not Leo knows about the dreams at some point but that's a fair few chapters away.


Annie had managed to talk Ruby out of giving her too heavy a make-up job but had consented to borrowing one of her more colourful outfits.She was still uncertain about her friend’s plan, especially when she’d invited Xavier and Romeo along as well.She checked her watch, noting it was still a few minutes before six.The two girls had gone to the counter to order drinks and Annie was casting anxious looks both at the door and at their table.

“Did you really have to invite them along?”she asked at last.

“It makes it look less like a set-up,”Ruby explained,“Safety in numbers.”

“My ex and your ex?That’s not going to make him feel comfortable.”

“Well, they were all I could find at short notice!”Ruby took up the tray that the server had provided them with and led Annie back to the table, their arrival coinciding with the appearance of their guest in the doorway.“Leo, over here!”

Leo gave a grateful smile at the holler, making his way over to them.“Thanks for inviting me out here.”

“No problem,”Ruby replied, taking charge again,“Um, these are our friends, Xavier and Romeo.”

Leo shook hands with Xavier.“I’ve seen you around school, haven’t I?”

“Yeah, probably.I’ll be near the crowd of girls.”

“The ones he’s hiding from,”Romeo clarified before offering his own hand to Leo.

“Have I seen you?”Leo asked uncertainly.

“No, me and school don’t really get along.”

“He’s kind of between educations at the moment,”Xavier added.

“Ah, take a seat, Leo,”Ruby suggested.

Annie realised at the same time as Leo did that, probably as a result of Ruby’s careful directions, the only free seat was next to her.He slid into it and shot her a smile.“You look nice.”

Annie smiled back.“Thank you.”

“You want to order?”Romeo asked, handing Leo the menu.

Leo looked suddenly nervous.“I didn’t realise this was meant to be a meal, I told my parents I’d be home for dinner.”

“A drink then?”Ruby suggested.

“Um, yeah, okay, I’ll have a soda,”Leo agreed.

With Ruby heading over to the counter, Annie suddenly found the burden of conversation falling on her. “How are you liking Summer Bay?”she asked.

“It’s a nice place,”Leo agreed.

“You used to somewhere bigger?”Xavier asked.

“I have been to bigger places,”Leo confirmed,“We travel around a lot.But when I was young, we used to live in a small town, smaller even than this.I miss that.That’s why I like it here.”

“I grew up on a farm,”Annie told him,“I miss that sometimes as well but…I like being here, being around people.They’re all really nice here…well, most of them.”

Leo smiled at her.“Well, I know some of the people I’ve met are really nice.”

Across the table from them, Xavier and Romeo exchanged a knowing look.Neither Annie nor Leo noticed.Their attention was elsewhere.

Annie was glad that Ruby had persuaded her to spend time with Leo.In many ways, she felt she knew him well, in others, he was a stranger.She was trying to put the memories of all those nights of dreams aside but he was just as sweet and considerate in real life.The others seemed to accept after a while that they’d slipped into a private conversation and had been talking among themselves.

Annie noticed Leo glance at his watch.She was surprised by the timepiece, it seemed to be an old wind-up wrist watch.“How long have you had that?”she asked.

Leo seemed suddenly self-conscious.“It’s an old family heirloom.”

“My pop had one of those,”Annie remarked,“He never trusted anything modern unless he had to.”

Leo nodded but he was slightly distracted.“I’ve, um, got to get going.”

Annie felt disappointed.He’d only been there half an hour.“Already?You haven’t even finished your drink.”

“Yeah, sorry, I…I’ve got to get home.I guess I’ll see you at school.”He paused and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her.Then he shook her hand before climbing to his feet and glancing around the table.“It was nice meeting you all.”

Annie watched him leave with a strong feeling of regret.Then Ruby dragged her to her feet, taking her aside.“Go after him.”

Annie looked confused.“And do what?”

“Ask him to walk you home.”

“But he wants to get back to his place…”

“It’s not going to be too far out of his way, is it?The town’s not that big!”

“But what if he doesn’t want to…”

“Annie, the boy’s a gentleman and you don’t get many of them.Go after him.”

Annie nodded in agreement, hurrying for the door.Her protests aside, spending a bit longer in Leo’s company greatly appealed to her.Her mind was already full of words, trying to work out the best thing to say to him, but as she stepped outside she realised it was all for nothing.Leo was nowhere in sight.

Annie looked around in confusion.He wasn’t down on the pier and when she looked both ways up the path, he was nowhere in sight, even though it was a clear road in either direction and there was nowhere for him to have gone.It was as though he had disappeared into thin air.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the comments, hope you like this.


Annie sensed him before she saw him.She lay on her front in the long grass, listening to the gentle footsteps as he approached.Then Leo lay down next to her.“I enjoyed last night,”he said quietly.

Annie smiled at him.“Me too.”

“I don’t know what it is but…I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”

“I’ve never felt this way about anyone before,”Annie admitted.

“Me neither.”

She looked deep into those perfect brown eyes, that face whose every part was etched onto her memory. She’d known it from the first moment she saw him, even though she hadn’t wanted to admit, even to herself.“I love you,”she whispered.

“I love you too,”he whispered back.

He kissed her, his soft lips pressing against hers and she melted into his arms, feeling like she could be there forever…

…and then she woke up.

Annie swallowed hard, looking straight up at the ceiling.“Stop it,”she said to no-one in particular.

“You’re still getting the dreams?”Ruby asked once Annie had filled her in on the way to school.

“Yes,”Annie admitted,“And they’re getting worse than ever.”

“More…intense, you mean?”There was an amused smile on Ruby’s face.

“No…I mean, yes…I…”Annie sighed.“I mean I know him.It’s not just a fantasy anymore, it’s a boy, a boy that I’m seeing in real life when I’m not dreaming and I’m having to remember that we haven’t actually…done any of that stuff.”

“Well, there’s one solution to that,”Ruby pointed out.

“What’s that?”Annie asked doubtfully.

“Do it in real life.”

It was not the answer she’d been hoping for.“I can’t just go up to him and kiss him.”She caught her friend’s expression.“Ruby, I can’t.”

“Okay, okay,”Ruby accepted,“I guess we’re just going to have to start small.Ask him out.”

“You mean, suggest we all go down the Diner again?”

“Yeah, fun though our little menage a…cinq was, I think we’re going to need to move things on a step. Pick a more exclusive group.Like just you and him.”

“I don’t know if I’m ready for that…”

“Annie, you’re dreaming about him in surround sound.You’re past ready.”Ruby glanced around the school corridor and caught sight of Leo a few feet away from them.She steered Annie gently in his direction.“Now’s your chance.”

Annie took a few reluctant steps towards Leo, glancing over at her shoulder towards Ruby who was motioning for her to keep walking.Eventually she got near him.“I had a good time last night,”she blurted out.

Leo looked round and smiled.“Yeah, me too.I mean, your friends are nice.And so are you,”he added hastily.

“Thanks.”Annie struggled for words.“You disappeared pretty quickly.”

“I told you, I had to get home for dinner…”

“No, no, I mean…I went outside just after you and there was no sign of you.”

“Oh, right.Um, my parents picked me up.Yeah, they were waiting just outside in the car.”

Annie thought about this.There had been a few cars about and there might have been time for Leo to get into one of them before she went outside…“I was thinking maybe we should do it again,”she suggested.

“You mean go out with you and your friends?”

“Um…yeah, we could do that…”Annie steeled herself.“But I also thought maybe we could go out, just the two of us?”

The pause that followed seemed to drag on for an endless time, until she thought Leo hadn’t heard her. “You mean a date?”he asked at last.

“Yes,”she admitted.

He nodded.“I think I’d like that.”

She felt her heart soar.“Really?”

“Yeah.Um, when?”

Annie wasn’t sure whether to push her luck or not.“Tonight?”

He smiled.“I’ll pick you up about half five.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for all your comments and, ah, let me know what you think of this one...


“Are you sure you want to wear that?”Ruby asked for the umpteenth time.

Annie had sat down on the couch to wait for Leo after getting changed.She glanced down at the outfit she’d picked out:a dark sparkly top with a matching skirt.“What’s wrong with it?”she asked.

“Nothing, it’s just you didn’t seem to take that long to pick it.”

Annie shrugged.“I don’t have that many outfits to choose from.”

“You could always borrow one of mine.”

“I am not going to meet Leo dressed as you!”Annie paused, realising what she’d just said.“What I mean is…”

“No problem,”Ruby assured her,“And…the look does kind of suit you.”

Annie smiled.She didn’t get the opportunity to dress up very often but she had kind of enjoyed it.She heard the knock at the door and scrambled to her feet.“I’ll get it!”

She pulled it open to reveal Leo standing there, a bunch of flowers in his hand.He stopped and stared at her.“Um, you look nice.”

She smiled shyly.“Thank you.Um, you look nice too.”

It took Leo a second to remember the flowers.He held them out to her.“These are for you.”

Annie took the bunch and sniffed them slightly.“They’re gorgeous.”

Ruby unobstrusively removed the bunch from her grasp.“I’ll put them in some water.Have fun!”She headed through to the kitchen, leaving them alone.

Leo shifted slightly.“I, um, heard that there’s a cinema doing an old picture season in…Yabbee Creek? Thought maybe we could go along to it.”

Annie nodded.“It sounds like it could be fun.”

“Well, we’d better hurry or we’ll miss our bus.”Leo offered his arm to her and Annie took it with a smile, letting the door swing shut behind them.

Ruby had introduced Annie to the concept of a DVD marathon some months previous.She’d enjoyed their sessions but she’d always had difficultyrelating to the characters, to the lives that always seemed so distant and far away from hers.

But for some reason, sitting in the cinema with Leo, it felt different.She could imagine herself as the lovelorn heroine, feeling that life had passed her by until a handsome stranger entered her life, bringing with him excitement and the promise of a happy ending.

She felt something brush against her shoulder and realised Leo was trying to put his arm around her.He looked nervous, unsure if he was doing the right thing or not.Annie leaned in closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder.More confident now, he held her tightly.They sat there in silence, watching the rest of the film, Annie feeling a warm glow inside her.

They’d walked hand in hand out of the cinema to the bus stop, taking the short ride back to Summer Bay. Leo walked her up the path to the house, as Annie felt a slight disappointment that their night was coming to an end.

She paused at the door and turned to him.“I had a really good time tonight.”

“Me too,”he agreed.He waited a moment before adding,“You’re a great girl, Annie.”

Those butterflies were making one of their all too common appearances in her stomach.“I’ve really liked getting to know you,”she told him,“I’d…kinda like us to do it again if you don’t mind.”

“I’d like that too,”he agreed.

She cast a reluctant glance back at the house.“I’d better go in.”

“Yeah.Um…do you mind if I..?”He trailed off.

“What?”Annie asked.

Leo hesitated for a moment and then slowly, tentatively, he leaned forward and kissed her.She felt the warm sensation of his lips against hers.It felt just as good as it had done in her dreams.Maybe better.

Leo noticed Annie’s hand moving to her side.“What are you doing?”

“Pinching myself,”Annie admitted.

“It’s not a dream,”he promised her.

“No, it’s not,”she agreed.She kissed him back, letting it linger even longer this time, before reluctantly pulling away.“I’d better…see you in the morning.”

She stepped backwards into the house, pulling the door closed between them.

Leo stood looking at the door for a few seconds.And then…

To anyone watching, it would have seemed as if his body started to dissolve, becoming more and more insubstantial, turning into a white mist that lingered in the air, in the vague shape of a person.Then the mist too vanished, completely, as if it and Leo had never been there…

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, I thought that ending might confuse people a bit.Have to stay patient a few more chapters, I'm afraid...


Annie picked out the familiar figure in the schoolyard, sat next to one of the trees.She quickly made her way over to him and sat down with a smile, peering over his shoulder at his textbook.“Biology?”

Leo nodded.“I thought I knew everything but I keep coming across all these gaps.”

“You’ll do fine,”Annie assured him.

Leo smiled.“You’re biased.”

“Probably,”she admitted.

Leo slipped the textbook back into his bag, then took her hand.“I’m really glad I came to this school.”

“So am I,”she replied simply.

“I’ve met a lot of girls over the years but you…you really stand out.”

Annie shrugged shyly.“I’m nothing special.”

“Yes, you are,”he insisted.Gently he kissed her.

Normally Annie wasn’t keen on the idea of kissing in public…but this time she found she didn’t mind a bit.

Ruby caught sight of the pair from the other side of the yard, feeling pleased about how well things had worked out.She noticed Xavier coming over to her, also shooting a glance in the couple’s direction. “Annie’s getting on well with the new boy then?”he asked.

“Looks that way,”Ruby agreed but she noticed the uncertain expression on Xavier’s face,“What?”

“Just…how well do we know this guy?He’s been at school, what, a week?”

“Nearer two,”Ruby argued.

“I just think Annie should get to know him a bit better, that’s all.”

“What, are you campaigning for the role of her new big brother?I thought you liked Leo.”

“I do,”Xavier agreed,“I just…think she should be careful.Can’t hurt.”

As he moved off, Ruby bit her lip thoughtfully, looking across at Annie and Leo and suddenly feeling a bit less pleased.

“So, things are going well between you and Leo?”Ruby asked when she caught up with Annie during recess.

“They’re going okay,”Annie replied cautiously.Ruby stayed silent, just looking at her expectantly.Annie sighed and gave a reluctant smile.“Okay, a bit more than okay.”

Ruby tried smiling back but that apprehensive feeling wouldn’t go away.“Annie, what do you know about him?”

Annie thought for a bit.“He used to live in WA, he lives with his parents, he moved here a few weeks ago…”

“You’ve been on, what, four dates with him and that’s all you’ve learned?”

“Well, he probably doesn’t know much about me either,”Annie protested.

“Have you been to his house?Met his parents?”

Annie paused, thinking about this.“No.I mean, I’ve suggested it a couple of times but he says his parents are busy, it’s not the right time.”

“Don’t you think that’s odd?”

“Well, I’ll ask him again if it’s so important!”Annie snapped, feeling annoyed that her mood was being spoiled.

“Maybe we should find out for ourselves,”Ruby suggested.

Annie looked at her.She didn’t want to go behind Leo’s back but she was willing to hear Ruby out.“What do you mean?”

“Well, I had an idea…”

“This is not a good idea,”Annie insisted as she hovered outside the school office.

Ruby pushed the door open quietly, checking to make sure it was deserted.“It’s fine, okay?I’ll be in and out.You just keep an eye on things.”

Annie looked up and down the corridor and was shocked when she saw Gina heading for the office almost straightaway.She stepped out in front of her.“Mrs.Austin!”

Gina was surprised at the approach.“Oh, hello, Annie, was there something I can do for you?”

“Er, yes, I wanted to talk to you about…netball!”It wasn’t the most convincing of excuses but it was the first thing that popped into Annie’s head.

“Netball?”Gina asked curiously.

“Yes, I was thinking of joining the school team.”

“Well, you’d have to speak to Miss Monroe about that.”

“Yes, but…do you think I have a good chance?”

“I can’t say without knowing how well you play, Annie,”Gina pointed out gently,“but I’m sure she’ll give you a trial if you ask her.”

“Yes.Okay.”Annie saw Gina turning towards the office again and struggled for something else to say. “Last week’s science class.I was wondering if you’d explain about genes again.”

Gina looked at Annie, failing to notice Ruby slipping out of the office behind her.“Well, what exactly was it you didn’t understand?”

“It’s okay, it’s probably in the textbook.Thanks for listening!”Annie hurried down the corridor, catching up with Ruby.“Did you find it?”

“Leo’s file?Yeah, I took a look,”Ruby confirmed.

“Well, I think I’m going to have to join the netball team so I hope it was worth it.”

“Kind of.”There was a puzzled look on Ruby’s face.“It was practically empty.Everything in there was to do with here, there wasn’t anything about his last school.”

“Well…I hadn’t been to another school for a while before I came here,”Annie pointed out.

“Yeah, maybe,”Ruby accepted,“I got his address though.15 Jennings Road.”

“15?”It was Annie’s turn to look puzzled.“I thought that was the one…”She shook her head.“Guess it must be another one.”

“Isn’t this a bit like stalking?”Romeo asked as he and Xavier waited by his car outside the school gates.

“No, stalking would be following him around,”Xavier replied.

“Okay.So it’s kidnapping then.”

“It’s not kidnapping.We’re just…getting to know him.”Xavier caught his friend’s sceptical look.“We’re just making sure the guy’s right for Annie.You want that, don’t you?”

Romeo held his hands up in surrender.“Okay, okay.I trust you know what you’re doing.Kind of.”

“There he is,”Xavier interrupted, catching sight of their quarry coming out of school,“Hey, Leo!”

Leo came over to them.“Hi there.Um, what’s the problem?”

“No problem,”Xavier replied,“Just thought you might want to hang out with us.”

“There’s a basketball club in Yabbee Creek,”Romeo explained,“We head down there sometimes.”

Leo looked uncertain but then nodded.“Okay.”

The three of them clambered into the car, Romeo and Xavier at the front with Leo in the back.“I didn’t know you drove,”Leo commented.

“P plates,”Romeo told him as he pulled out, heading towards the coastal road.

Xavier hesitated for a second before starting the questioning.“So…you and Annie seem to be getting on okay?”

“She’s a great girl,”Leo confirmed.

“Yes, she is,”Romeo agreed,“And we wouldn’t want anything to happen to her.”

Leo considered the comment for a moment before asking,“Are you asking me about my intentions?”

Romeo and Xavier exchanged an embarrassed glance.“Kind of,”Xavier admitted.

“I’m not planning on hurting her.”

“We’re glad,”Romeo told him, glancing over his shoulder,“She’s a good friend and…”

“Romeo, watch out!”Xavier shouted suddenly.

A wombat had darted out of the foliage to their right, apparently intent on crossing the road on its way into the bush and not paying much attention to the oncoming vehicle.Romeo slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel hard to the right.The car skidded, slipping off the road into the steep foliage slope before losing all contact with the ground altogether, travelling through the air, first out and then down, all three boys bracing themselves for impact as the car plummeted into the water below…

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If someone had to be worried for Annie, I would have thought it'd be Ruby or Romeo. Not Xavier! But I like it! :)

Yeah, that was one of those random ideas that came to me late in the day.I just thought Xavier would be more likely to be suspicious of a newcomer, the other two are more open.

Anyway...next chapter.Enjoy, everyone.


Romeo thumped uselessly on the car door.The vehicle had landed on its side, the driver’s side facing downwards, which meant the door was lodged against the sea bed with no hope of it opening.He glanced to his left, hoping Xavier was having better luck on his side, but his friend was out cold, having apparently hit his head at some point during the fall.The car had long since filled with water and, while Romeo had managed to get a good lungful of air before going under, if they didn’t get out soon they were clearly going to drown.

Romeo saw the passenger door wrenched open and Leo floating there, having clearly managed to get out through the back door.He undid Xavier’s seat belt and lifted him out of the car before offering his hand to Romeo.Romeo grasped it gratefully, allowing the younger boy to pull him clear, feeling too weak from lack of oxygen to offer him much assistance.

He felt himself being propelled towards the surface as Leo began swimming upwards, keeping a firm grip on both of them.For a moment, Romeo was surprised by his strength then he remember that in the water they were practically weightless.It was his last conscious thought before the effort of breathing became too much for him and he drifted into unconsciousness.

Leo dragged himself onto the beach as several sunbathers reacted in astonishment to his sudden appearance, accompanied by the unconscious Romeo and Xavier.“Help!”he called out.

Two of the beach lifesavers saw the commotion and hurried over.Romeo was already beginning to stir, forcing himself up onto a semblance of all fours and coughing and spluttering as he sucked in lungfuls of air.He glanced across at Xavier, who was lying motionless on his back as the two lifesavers knelt by him. “How is he?”

One of the lifesavers checked him over.“There’s a pulse but he’s not breathing.”He took a deep breath and started to resuscitate the boy, breathing air into his half-drowned lungs.

The other lifesaver turned to Leo, who was standing nearby, still dripping wet from the water.“Are you okay, boy?”he asked, placing a worried hand on his shoulder.

Leo took a step back.“Yeah, yeah, I’m okay.”

The man seemed to accept his claim, just giving a curt nod.“Run to the surf club and get them to phone for an ambulance.Quickly now.”

Seeming somehow relieved to get away from the scene, Leo began the long run up the beach.

Annie and Ruby both burst into the hospital.They caught sight of Nurse Julie at the reception desk and skidded to a halt in front of her.“Our friends were brought in here,”Ruby explained, breathless,“Are they all right?”

Julie glanced at the board.“Doctor Armstrong’s with them now.They’re…”

Ruby didn’t listen, instead reading the room number on the board and dashing in that direction, Annie just a step behind her.“Xav?Romeo?”she asked anxiously as she entered the room.

Xavier was sat up in bed with his shirt off as Rachel listened to his chest.Romeo was stood beside the bed, a blanket draped over his wet clothes.“I’m fine,”Xavier assured her before breaking off into a cough.

“Well, thank you, Doctor Austin,”Rachel commented lightly before removing her stethoscope from her ears,“But you’re right.I’d like to keep you in a few hours for observation but I’m not hearing any damage. You’re lucky the lifesavers got to you when they did.”

“We were really worried about you,”Annie claimed, as Rachel left the four teens alone,“We heard you’d been in a car crash or something.”

“Car’s pretty much a write-off,”Romeo admitted,“Unless someone plans to fish it out of the sea.And we’d probably be down there with it if it wasn’t for Leo.”

Annie was shocked at the comment.“Leo was there?”

“He was in the car with us,”Xavier explained,“He was the one that pulled us out.”

“Little guy’s quite a hero,”Romeo commented.

Xavier nodded in agreement.“I know I had my doubts about him but…we’d probably be dead if it wasn’t for him.”

Annie’s worries hadn’t disappeared with the explanation.“But…but what happened to him?”

Romeo shrugged.“He phoned an ambulance for us then disappeared.We didn’t even get a chance to thank him.”

Annie hurried out into the corridor, Ruby just behind her, taking hold of her friend’s shoulder.“Ann, what’s up?”

Annie looked round tearfully.“You heard what they said.Leo was in the car.”

“Yeah but…he’s all right.”

“Then where is he?”Annie asked,“He could be collapsed somewhere or…something.We’ve got to find him.”

“But where do we start looking?”

Annie thought for a moment.“You said you found his address.”

“15 Jennings Road,”Ruby confirmed,“But didn’t you think something…”

Annie shook her head.“It doesn’t matter.We need to go there, now.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all your comments.And...let me know what you think of this one.


With the frequency of buses from the hospital to Summer Bay, it hadn’t taken them long to get back.Annie had taken the lead towards Jennings Road, Ruby just behind her.“Slow down, Ann,”she protested, as they turned into the road, trying to keep up with the slightly taller and infinitely more determined girl’s stride.

Annie was checking off the house numbers as she walked.“9, 11, 13…”She came to a halt.“15.”

Ruby stopped next to her, examining the house in front of them.She could see the number 15 clearly emblazoned near the door.The garden was overgrown and unloved, the grass around two feet high with a rough edge to it.There was a tattered For Sale sign next to the path.“Guess that’s an old one,”she suggested.

“It’s been there as long as I’ve known,”Annie agreed.

Ruby continued to regard the state of the garden.“So…Leo’s parents aren’t exactly big on the weeding?”

Annie seemed to take a deep breath before starting across the jungle.“Come on.”

Ruby followed, surprised when Annie didn’t make for the front door but for the large window alongside it.She put her face to the glass, staring inside.“Annie, what are you doing?”Ruby asked.

Annie beckoned for Ruby to join her.“Have a look.”

Ruby looked through the window.The house was empty.Completely empty.No furniture, not even a carpet.Just bare walls and floor.She turned to Annie, remembering her strange reaction when she heard the address and her lack of surprise at its condition.“Annie, what is this place?”

Annie sighed and rested her back against the wall.“I remember Belle telling me and Geoff about it.An old lady lived here but she died three years ago.Her family wanted to sell it but when the surveyors took a look they found out there was something wrong with the wiring.It would take a lot of money to put it right.The family didn’t want to spend it and no-one wanted to buy it as it was so it’s stayed empty.”

“So how did Belle know all this?”

Annie smiled slightly.“Apparently Mrs.Smart was telling everyone about it.”

“Ah.”That Ruby did understand.“So…what do we do now?”

With barely a pause, Annie pushed at the front door.It swung open, unlocked, and Annie stepped into the house.Startled, Ruby followed her in.

Inside, Annie was darting from room to room throughout the small bungalow, as though desperately searching for something.Ruby watched her friend’s panic with bemusement and more than a trace of worry. “Annie, what are you doing?”

Annie paused in the hallway.“I thought that he’d have some stuff here, a sleeping bag or something.”She noticed a room she hadn’t tried and pushed the door open, Ruby behind her…only to find that it was as empty as all the other ones.

“Annie, there’s nothing here,”Ruby reminded her quietly.

“Leo’s here,”Annie insisted,“You saw the address.”

“Well, it’s obviously wrong,”Ruby protested.

“You said that I’d never met his parents, never been to his house.This must be why!He’s sleeping here!” She bit her lip with concern.“He must be homeless.”

“Annie, you don’t know that,”Ruby told her,“I mean…okay, maybe there is something strange going on but…he could have just given this address because he knew it was empty, it doesn’t mean he’s sleeping rough.”

Annie shook her head.“He’s going to come back here, I know he is.We have to wait.”

“Annie, a few minutes ago you were desperate to go looking for him.Maybe we should search places where he might be hanging out or…or I could call Charlie, say that we’re worried about him.”

“Okay, maybe you should keep a look out for him,”Annie agreed,“but…I’m going to stay here.”She sat down against one of the walls, arms folded.

Ruby sighed.“All right, I’ll call you if I find out anything.”

Annie wasn’t aware that she’d fallen asleep until she was jerked awake by a sudden noise.For a second, she didn’t know where she was.Night had fallen, the room was dark, lit only by the moonlight coming through the window.She must have been there for hours and a quick check of her mobile showed that she had missed several calls from Irene.

She was picking herself up, wondering if she should perhaps head home and get some sort of adult involvement, where she heard the noise again.Someone was moving about in one of the other rooms.She pushed open the door to the hallway, catching a glimpse of movement through one of the other doorways, the light colours of his shirt standing out in the dark.“Leo?”she whispered cautiously.

A torch beam shone in her face for a second then Leo moved the light away and she could see him clearly, see the surprise and fear on his face.“Annie?What are you doing here?”

“I…I heard that you lived here.Do you live here?”

Leo shook his head.“You shouldn’t have come here, Annie.”

“I heard what you did for Romeo and Xavier.You saved them.”

“I saved them.”There was a slightly bitter tang to Leo’s reply.

“Why did you run off?Why didn’t you let them check you over?”

“Because I’m all right,”Leo insisted.

“Leo…you’re not all right, are you?”Annie’s concern for him was increasing more and more by the second.She could tell that he was hiding something from her, something big.

“What do you know about it?”Leo snapped,“You don’t know anything about me.”

“Leo, I’m your girlfriend.”

“Yeah, well…that was a mistake.”He turned his back on her.“I should never have got involved.”

“Don’t push me away,”Annie insisted,“I want to help you.If you’re living here, then something’s wrong.I want to help, I can talk to Irene, we…we can talk to your parents.”

There was a long pause.Annie stared at Leo’s back, wondering if he was ever going to say anything, if he was just going to pretend she wasn’t there.When he did face her, the hostility had vanished.Some of his old nervousness seemed to have returned.“You can’t talk to my parents,”he said quietly.

“Why not?”

He looked undecided for a moment, unsure whether to tell her.“Because they’ve been dead fifty years.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, this might answer a few questions...


Annie thought that she’d misheard.Leo couldn’t possibly be telling her that…“You don’t look fifty,”she said at last.

“No,”Leo agreed,“I’m sixteen.I’ll always be sixteen.”

The comment almost passed Annie by.Her mind could only focus on one impossible thing at a time. “Then…how can your parents have died fifty years ago?”

“It happened when I was ten,”Leo explained,“I told you we lived in a small town.I was staying over at a friend’s house one night when…we got a telephone call saying my house was on fire.”

Annie looked at him, aghast.“What happened?”

“We never knew for sure.We had a coal fire, the firemen said they thought it hadn’t been put out properly and a burning piece had fallen onto the rug, started the fire.They found my parents upstairs.They think they never woke up.”

Annie could see the upset in his eyes but she didn’t know whether to comfort him or not.If everything he was saying was true, this had all happened so long ago.“What happened to you?”

“I went to live with my aunt and uncle in Albany.They were good people, they took care of me, but I didn’t make friends easily.I didn’t want to be hurt again if something happened to them.I spent most of my time on my own.And that’s how it happened.”

Annie had an inkling what was coming next but she pushed the thought to the back of her mind.It was so ridiculous.“What happened?”

“It was after I’d been living there a few years.I was out one night, walking on my own, down by the harbour, when I slipped.I fell into the water.It was so cold, so deep, I cried out for help, I tried so hard but…but I never got out.”

Annie waited for him to go on, to speak the words that she knew were impossible, but he’d lapsed back into silence again.“You drowned?”she ventured.

He nodded.“In 1964.”

“But…today, you saved Xavier and Romeo from drowning.”

“I’ve had forty years to practise my swimming,”Leo replied,“Plus it helps when you don’t need to breathe.”

“Leo…you’re talking as if…You can’t be, you know that.”

Leo looked at her…and she gave a gasp as she saw his body turn into mist, fading away.She looked around and saw the mist reappear, a few feet away from where Leo had been standing, in a Leo-shaped form before coalescing into her boyfriend again.

“What did you just do?”she asked.

“It’s just a way of getting about easily,”Leo explained,“I can’t go more than a couple of miles.”

She stared at him, giving voice to the impossible again.“You’re a ghost?”

“I guess so.”

“But how?”Her tone was incredulous.

“I don’t know,”Leo protested,“I don’t know why it’s happened, maybe there’s lots of people like me, it’s not as though you can tell.I drowned and then I was in a funeral home.Looking at my own body.And I knew I couldn’t go back to my aunt and uncle, I’d just freak them out, so I went somewhere else, pretended I was a new boy in town.And that’s when I realised that I was never going to get any older.So I have to move on, every few years, before anyone notices.”

Annie shook her head.“This isn’t supposed to happen.You’re not supposed to be here like this when you die, you’re supposed to go…somewhere else!”

“You know more about being dead than me?”Leo asked, angrily,“I didn’t ask for this.I pretend I’m a person because I don’t know anything else.”He saw Annie turn away and gripped her arm.“Where are you going?”

Annie looked at him in fear.“Let go of me!”

“What?”He let go of her arm in shock.“Annie, I’m not going to hurt you, you know that.”

She shook her head sadly as she headed towards the door.“I don’t know anything.”

Annie pushed the back door open silently, hoping to enter the house without any fuss.It was no use:Irene was standing there, arms folded.“And where have you been, missie?Dinner was hours ago.You weren’t answering your phone, I was starting to worry.”

“I’m sorry, Irene,”Annie said quietly,“I fell asleep on the beach.”

“Mmm.”Irene didn’t look convinced.“Well, there’s some leftovers in the oven but I can’t guarantee they haven’t turned to charcoal by now.”She headed back into the front room.

Ruby came scampering through and spoke to Annie in hushed tones.“Where have you been?I had a look around for Leo, I even asked Romeo to help but we didn’t find anything.”

“It’s okay,”Annie said,“He was the one that woke me up.”

“So he was at the house?”

“No, I…I left the house, went down to the beach.That’s where I saw him.”Annie considered saying that Leo had taken her round his place and she’d met his parents but that would be one lie too many and she wasn’t sure how convincing she could make it.She didn’t know why she was covering for Leo, keeping his secret, but somehow she knew she should.

“I guess you were wrong about him sleeping at the house then,”Ruby pointed out.

“Yeah, I was wrong,”Annie agreed,“I was wrong about a lot of things.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.