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Follow What You Feel Inside

Guest Jen

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Story Title: Follow What You Feel Inside

Type of story: One shot

Main Characters: Lucas, Mattie

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Romance

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Sexual content

Summary: She kisses him on the cheek and as she heads for the door says something that jogs an idea. “Maybe you need to re-discover your inspiration.”

A/N: So maybe I use Disney Channel stars as original characters, so what? This was my entry in the Quick Fanfic Contest #17. I wrote this for my own selfish reasons of wanting Mattie and Lucas to hook-up in an airport. Title taken from ‘Naturally’ by Selena Gomez & The Scene.


Follow What You Feel Inside

The wind howled as the rain battered the windows, causing them to shake and rattle. The storm was getting worse. Dark clouds hovered dangerously in the sky as the trees swayed angrily. Mitch shivered and closed his eyes wondering when this was going to end and how they were going to come out of it alive.

“Bit depressing, isn’t it?” Selena asks, peering over Lucas’ shoulder at the screen. Lucas sighs in response.

“It’s the only decent thing I’ve written tonight.”

She quirks her eyebrow but doesn’t take her eyes off the words. “What about that other thing you were working on? The one with the boy with magical powers and crazy family members?”

“The one you said reminded you of a poor-mans Harry Potter?” Lucas retorts. He sees the corner of Selena’s lips turn upwards at the comment. “Yeah, this is all that’s left of it.”

Selena lets out a low whistle.

“Well, maybe your story needs something else,” Selena begins slowly. Even though Lucas knows where this is going he lets her continue. “Like, an awesome southern girl who’s a wizard and –”

“- and lives in New York City with her family and runs a sandwich shop?” Lucas finishes.

“You’re no fun when you’re blocked,” she replies stepping away from the laptop. Lucas hears a jingling noise and looks up. For the first time he notices that she’s dressed up; a short black dress over purple leggings and little heeled boots, a series of chains clinking together around her neck. A style only she can pull off.

“Going somewhere?” he asks, appraising her outfit. She’s got some sort of shiny gloss on her lips and he doesn’t even have the energy to even want to tackle her into the lounge and kiss it off.

“Dem’s having a party. I told you about it,” she replies placing a hand on her hip in a kind of tired way. Her brunette locks fall just past her shoulder, curling at the ends framing her brown eyes.

“Right. Of course,” Lucas says, because he totally remembers now. Demi had been planning it for weeks, a sort of last ditch effort to get everyone together before they went home for the holidays. Or in Lucas’ case, before he went to Selena’s hometown for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He wasn’t going home.

Selena grew up in Dallas, Texas and even though she’s shown him photos of her house and her school and the buildings, Lucas still has trouble imagining it as anything other than a couple of wooden shacks in the middle of the desert with the occasional tumbleweed.

Lucas met Selena in his first extra credit class for Creative Writing. As part of his scholarship the writing majors were grouped with the art majors to work on a project. Selena thinks it was fate that they were put in the same group, Lucas reckons it has more to do with the fact that her surname started with G and his was H.

He remembers the first time he kissed her. On the balcony out the front of Demi’s house when she had her first freshman party. Lucas only got invited to this thing because Demi was Selena’s best friend and she wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was a little drunk at the time, having skulled his first beer as soon as he arrived because he was so nervous, but he still remembers it. The way her brown eyes were sparkling in the moonlight, how her cheeks were flushed pink from the alcohol and the wolf-whistle Joe gave them when he came out and found them there.

“You can always come,” Selena offers picking up her keys and mobile phone from the coffee table.

“Nah,” Lucas says with a shake of his head. He’s tired and irritable and wouldn’t be any fun. He can feel a headache coming on and just wants to get something, anything written that is half way original.

Selena just shrugs. They work well like that. Selena is an artist and when she’s on a roll with her painting Lucas knows to steer clear. He’s slept on the couch when she’s holed herself up in their bedroom while she’s scrambling to get her ideas in order. He’s had to step around canvases on a regular basis and often comes home to see her lying on her stomach in the middle of the living room frantically drawing in a sketch pad.

She kisses him on the cheek and as she heads for the door says something that jogs an idea. “Maybe you need to re-discover your inspiration.”


That’s what makes Lucas send the first text message.

He hears the door click shut and then he’s making his way to the bedroom. He heads straight for the wardrobe, kneeling down and pulling out a cardboard box marked ‘Old stuff’. Lucas didn’t even think about why he brought this box in particular when he packed and moved to the States to go to Northwestern. He just did it because he didn’t want to leave it behind at his dad’s house at the risk of someone finding it and throwing it out, or worse, reading it.

Lucas knows he’s his own worst critic, but the thought of someone, anyone, reading through his old stories and journal entries sends shivers up his spine. Some of it is terrible, poorly written with virtually no structure. Others are just loose pages of bullet point ideas based on stories he’s heard or he had experienced first-hand. Living in Summer Bay there was no absence of inspiration. With the amount of stalkers and natural disasters and instances of unrequited love, if Lucas had the time, he was sure he could write a hundred separate novels. But all he needed was one. One good idea.

He pulls out one of his old journals at random, opens it somewhere toward the middle and scans his hand writing.

She looked so beautiful today. Her hair was just flowing down her back, being tossed about by the breeze. I wanted to kiss her. I really did, but there were people everywhere and I don’t know how she feels. I need to know if she likes me too.

Even though he didn’t write her name Lucas knows who he wrote about, who he constantly wrote about. She was the inspiration for many, many short stories about first love and first heartache and how friendship was the most important thing. He wrote her poems about all the things he loved about her, about how she made him feel, what she meant to him, although he never showed her a single one.

Lucas feels this unsettling, familiar feeling in his stomach, a small knot forming and he swallows hard, tossing the journal carelessly back into the box, shoving it back into the wardrobe and closing the door.

Sitting on the edge of his bed he fishes his phone out of his pocket and types up the short message. He scrolls through his contacts wondering whether she even still has the name number. It wouldn’t surprise him if she changed it and never told him. They hadn’t exactly been in close contact since he left the Bay. He doesn’t even know where she is.

But he gets to M and finds her name, hitting send before he can change his mind.

To: Matilda

R u home?


Lucas wakes up with stiffness in his neck and his entire leg poking out from under the blanket. It takes him a moment to realise he must have fallen asleep on the couch in between attempting to write at his laptop and texting Mattie. He still doesn’t have much written but he does have an inbox full of reminiscing. He doesn’t know why he’s suddenly worried, but he sits up frantically and searches for his phone, finding it sitting innocently on the coffee table.

“You’re awake!” a chirpy Selena exclaims.

She’s got a towel draped around her body, hair still dripping from the shower and she smiles brightly at him as Lucas rubs the palms of his hands into his eyes trying to bring her into focus.

“I tried to wake you but you were out of it when I got home,” she continues as though she hasn’t noticed anything is different. Which it isn’t, really.

She’s busying herself in the kitchen and Lucas sits himself on the edge of the lounge and stretches. She’s still talking through the wall and Lucas has to concentrate to keep up with her voice.

“—and Taylor was there as well so it was all kinds of awkward, but I did not want to get involved in their drama, y’know?” Selena reappears with a plate of toast and perches beside him. “So how was your night? Did you get much done?”

Lucas stifles a yawn. “Uh, yeah, fine. Tried to write a bit, but y’know. Nothing ground-breaking yet.”

Selena leans forward placing her plate on the coffee table. She lets her towel drop a little, revealing an inch more skin. She looks across and smiles wickedly at him, and Lucas knows exactly what she is trying to do. Normally Lucas would fulfil both their desires right there, but he’s still kind of sore from his night of the couch and just wants to have a shower and forget the whole thing. He places a hand on her upper thigh, giving it a squeeze before standing and padding into the bathroom.

When he returns, Selena is still sitting on the lounge, but now she’s dressed in jeans and band t-shirt. Her hair is beginning to frizz as it dries and usually Lucas finds this type of Selena his favourite. The one who curls up with him on the lounge and watches movies. The one who doesn’t need any kind of makeup to look beautiful. But she looks across at him as he sits beside her silently and her expression is hard to read, guarded in a way that Lucas has never seen before.

“Who’s Matilda?” she asks directly. Her tone isn’t accusatory or showing the tiniest bit of anger, just kind of sad. Lucas notices that she’s holding his phone in her palm.

“She’s a friend. Yeah, so maybe we dated for a while when I was a teenager. But I was like, fourteen, and living in a small town so it was inevitable. But it ended and I haven’t even spoken to her since I’ve been out here. Until last night when I texted her because you told to me find my inspiration and she texted back, but that’s all. She’s not even in this country, so you don’t have anything to worry about.” It all comes out in one rush, but Selena never interrupts. She just listens, but he sees her worrying her lip between her teeth when he finally finishes.

“I think given your reaction to my question, maybe there is something to worry about,” Selena replies simply. “If not for my security, but for your own.”

“I was only doing what you said, Sel!” Lucas says frantically.

“I know,” Selena says with a wry smile. “And if it makes you write, then it’s worth it. But you need to figure out what it is about this girl that gets you so uptight. Whether it’s just stuff that happened when you were fourteen, or –” Lucas shakes his head, but Selena persists. “Or something more.”

Selena stands and makes her way to the door.

“But what about us?” Lucas splutters because he can see her walking away and he’s not doing anything to stop her and he’s not really sure why.

“I’m still going home for the holidays. I’m leaving at 2 on Sunday, so if you’re back we can go together. If not,” she stops, like for the first time she’s actually considering the enormity of what she’s suggesting. “If not, then I guess we’ll talk when we get back.”


Lucas makes it as far as Los Angeles before things come to a grinding halt. He knows the seasons are reversed or whatever, and it’s been getting kind of cold lately but he never expected the storm to hit so suddenly. It’s as if the universe is trying to tell him something.

He’s stranded in the middle of LAX with a torrential downpour hammering against the glass windows. All flights have been grounded until further notice, while all the roads have become grid-locked, since people from California have no idea how to deal with wet weather. Which basically means he is all packed up with nowhere to go.

Maybe it’s a good thing, Lucas concedes. This will give him time to think. Everything happened so suddenly after Selena left that his brain hasn’t really had a chance to catch up. He still isn’t even sure why he’s actually doing this.

It’s about inspiration, he decides. When he first moved to Summer Bay and met Mattie he was never without an idea. He could lock the door on his bedroom and write for hours, even if he ended up throwing it out afterwards. Then he got accepted to university and left and watched her wave at him through the windows of the bus, gradually getting smaller as the distance increased. He thought about her for a while afterwards, but then he met Selena and she was just so funny and sarcastic and the complete opposite that he didn’t think to look back. But if Lucas thinks about it, he didn’t really get closure. He needs to deal with the past before he can look to the future.

“Lucas?” One syllable and his ears prick up. It’s familiar and frightening at the same time. He stands, body rigid, and just stares.


She breaks out into a grin and rushes forward, engulfing him in a hug. He breathes in the scent of her hair, and even though it’s been years, he’s certain he can still smell the salty remains of days at the beach in every breath. The knot in his stomach seems to tighten, and he’s beginning to think he actually is still fourteen when she pulls apart and looks him up and down.

“And I was worried that I wouldn’t recognise you,” she says with a laugh.

“Haven’t I changed at all?” Lucas asks.

“Only on the outside,” she replies, and Lucas wonders what she means.

“But, what are you doing here?” he finally thinks to ask.

Mattie shrugs, almost coyly, suddenly gone shy, her blonde locks hiding her eyes momentarily. “I guess after your messages, I got thinking, and decided that sitting at home thinking about you wasn’t good enough. I’d just have to come and visit. But then the storm hit and I got stuck here.”

“That’s – that’s –” As a writer, Lucas rarely struggles for words, but right now he’s not doing too good. “That’s insane.” Mattie looks at him quizzically. “Because I was on my way to see you.” He gestures to the small carry-on bag at his feet. Mattie just shakes her head, but she’s smiling so she’s clearly dealing with the shock much better that he is.

They get coffee and sit by one of the large glass windows, not talking much, just watching as the whole town seems to have been frozen in time. The airport is bustling with people trying to make other arrangements and find their luggage and loved ones, but outside the rain has flooded the roads, the wind taken down power lines and brought the city to a standstill.

When Lucas tears his eyes away from the window and glances back at Mattie he finds her staring at him.

“What?” he asks.

“It’s just, even though I was on a plane on my way to see you, I never actually thought I would see you again. Does that even make sense?”

Lucas nods, because it does. It’s almost scary, how after all this time, he can still see each of them as fourteen year olds, drinking milkshakes in the Diner, when theoretically, all this should be unrecognisable.

Mattie takes a sip from her cup and continues. “You left, and then I left, and then everything kind of became too hard.” Lucas reaches out and takes her hand, and to his surprise it is warm and she interlaces their fingers across the table.

They continue to sit like that, the last sip of coffee going cold in their cups.

“I figured I wouldn’t be out of here for a while so I have a hotel room, if you’re interested?” Mattie says quietly. Lucas looks into her familiar blue eyes and nods.


Lucas notices that they are still holding hands when they reach the room. He looks down at Mattie and sees that she has this little drop of water caught on one of her eyelashes. Using his thumb he slowly reaches up intending to just wipe it carefully away, but then Matilda is leaning in and pressing her lips to his and everything is frozen. Like traffic in the storm outside, Lucas is unable to move, he just lets her reach her hand around his neck and pull him closer.

He finally pulls away and leads her to the bed. He pulls off his coat while she does the same, kicking of his shoes and tugging off his shirt. He’s lying beside her, kissing her lips, pressing his mouth to her skin, while his hand travels up and down her body. His hand seems too small and she has all these new curves and he has no idea what he’s supposed to do. He should want this, to be this close to her again, but suddenly they aren’t fourteen, or sixteen, or even eighteen. They have their own lives, and Lucas realises that too much has changed for them to go back to the way they were.

He pulls away and Mattie’s eyes flutter open.

“I’m sorry,” Lucas says, voice no more than a whisper. “We can’t be fourteen anymore.”

Mattie pulls her hand away from his chest and lies flat on her back. She’s right there next to him, he could still reach out and touch her, but she feels so far away.

“You’re right,” she says into the darkness. “I just – I was stupid to think –”

“You’re not stupid, Mattie.” He looks over at her and she turns her whole body to face him. “I thought this is what I wanted too. But we’ve both grown up, grown apart, and that’s not a bad thing.” Mattie nods, and he thinks he can see tears beginning to pool in her eyes.

Lucas watches as Mattie gathers her clothes, pulling her blonde hair back into a pony tail, he puts on his own shirt and waits.

“I’m just going to go,” she says.

“What about the room?” Lucas asks, even though it’s probably the least important thing going on right now.

“It’s yours. I’m going to try and find a way home. It’s paid for until Monday, might as well use it,” Mattie replies with a shrug.

Mattie is standing awkwardly at the door, coat draped over her arm, as Lucas rises from the bed. He pulls her into a tight hug. Silently, she nuzzles her nose into his neck before stepping back.

“I loved you, Lucas,” she says quietly.

“Me too,” Lucas replies, and means it. He loved her for a big part of his life, but now he has someone else he loves, for this next chapter of his life. Maybe for the rest of the chapters, he doesn’t know yet.

Mattie presses a kiss to his cheek before she disappears out the door.

The storm appears to have stopped but the streets are still flooded. It’s eerily quiet without the hum of traffic or howling of the wind.

He pulls out his mobile and sends a text to Selena telling her that he’s stranded in LA and won’t make it back in time, but that he can’t wait to see her when she gets back.

Then Lucas takes out his laptop and begins to write.



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