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A Voice in My Ear

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I think this is an idea I dismissed a long time ago then it suddenly popped back into my head when I couldn't think of anything else.Let me know what you think of it.

Story Title: A Voice in My Ear

Type of story: Short/Medium

Main Characters: Miles and Rabbit with Alf, Nicole, Romeo, Xavier and others

BTTB rating: G/T

Genre: Drama

Does story include spoilers: Don't think so

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

Summary: Miles starts seeing an old friend again and tries to work out what she's there for.


“Has he got a girlfriend?”

Miles opened his eyes from where he’d been relaxing on the lounger after their attempt at a family barbeque and glanced across the caravan park at Romeo.“No.He did have one but then he cheated on her.”

“Oh.That explains why he looks sad.What about her?”

Miles glanced in Nicole’s direction.“No.But she is pregnant.It’s kind of a long story.”

“Mr.Stewart looks grumpy.”

Miles regarded Alf for a moment.“It’s hard to tell.”He waited before looking at her for the first time.“You do know you shouldn’t be here?”

Rabbit pulled a sulky face at him.“That’s not a nice thing to say.I thought you’d be pleased to see me.”

“I am.”He sighed.“Am I going crazy again?”

She gave a cheeky smile.“No more than usual.”

“Well, that’s good to know.”

“So what’s with the beard?”

Miles scowled at her, rubbing a self-conscious hand across his recently grown facial hair.“I like it.”

Rabbit sighed.“I guess I’ll get used to it.It makes you look really old though.”


“Where do you keep your razor?”

Miles looked at warily.“Not telling.”

She gave an innocent shrug.“I’ll find it.”

Miles rolled his eyes.“Apart from providing the usual sarcastic commentary and cuteness, is there any reason why you’re here?”

“To help.”

“You think I need help?”

She gave an enigmatic smile.“I didn’t say I was here to help you.”

Miles paused at the doorway to the Diner.“Keep out of sight,”he said quietly.

Rabbit shot him an amused look.“I don’t think that will be a problem.”

“Right,”he agreed before shooting her an exasperated look,“What did I do to deserve a wacky ghost sidekick?”

“Just lucky, I guess.”

He scanned the occupants of the Diner.Leah was serving at the counter, with Liam and Bianca nearby, a few other customers were sat at tables.“So, is there anyone here that you need to help?”

Rabbit was a picture of innocence again.“Maybe…”

Miles rolled his eyes.“You know you can be a bit too mysterious.”

“Hi, Miles,”greeted Leah as he approached the counter,“What’s new?”

“Nothing’s new,”Miles replied quickly,“Everything is exactly the same as it was yesterday.”

It was Rabbit’s turn to roll her eyes.“Smooth.Really smooth.”


“That’s okay,”Leah replied bemused,“What can I get you?”

“Coffee.To take away.”He waited until she’d started pouring before adding,“And a chocolate muffin!”He turned to Liam and Bianca.“What do you think of the beard?”

Liam regarded him for a second.“That, my friend, is one fine beard.”

“You don’t think it makes me look old?”

“You mean you’re not?”

“You’re really taking fashion advice from the wannabe rock star?”asked Rabbit.

“Not wannabe,”Miles corrected.

Liam looked at him in confusion.“Never said it was.”

“Miles, are you feeling all right?”asked Bianca.

“Yep.Never better.”Miles accepted the coffee and muffin from Leah.“Thank you kindly.”He made a hasty exit.

“And your first exercise in acting normally?”Rabbit mused,“A big fat fail.”

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Thank you for the comments, everyone, I was a bit worried no-one would be interested in this.Hope you like this one.


“Flaming accounts!”Alf complained.

Miles and Rabbit were sat at the table having breakfast.Or at least, Miles was having breakfast.Rabbit was mainly watching.“Told you he was grumpy,”Rabbit pointed out.

Alf was in the kitchen, scanning a large ledger, with Nicole by his side.“Maybe we’ve made a mistake somewhere,”Nicole suggested.

“No, love, there’s no mistake in the books,”Alf replied,“Only the business.”

“Things not doing too well?”Miles asked.

“Losing money all over the place.Got stock sitting on the shelves that nobody wants, only getting a couple of customers a day.”

“Aww, that’s too bad, Mr.Stewart,”Rabbit observed consolingly.

“Aww, that’s too bad, Alf,”Miles echoed.

“Guess I’m going to have to accept people just aren’t interested in fishing,”Alf sighed.

“Blood sports do seem to be out of fashion these days,”Rabbit commented,“Maybe you could branch out into bull fighting?”

“Maybe you could branch out into rabbit catching,”Miles retorted, glaring hard at her.

“Strewth, that takes me back,”Alf reflected,“I remember my old man setting up snares when I was a nipper.Bit of rabbit stew at the end of the week, we always used to hurry home from school on Friday.”

Rabbit looked stricken.

“Can’t see it catching on again now though,”Nicole inserted hastily.

“No, love, you’re right,”Alf agreed,“And maybe it’s time I accepted that the fine art of the rod and line is a dying breed as well.”

“But there must be other bait shops around here,”Miles pointed out,“Are they doing badly as well?”

“Well, there’s a guy from Reefton Lakes owns most of them,”Alf replied,“Brighton.James Brighton.He’s made me an offer on my place a few times but I’ve turned him down.Maybe it’s about time I got in touch with him, accepted that this sort of thing needs a business brain, not some old fisherman.”

“You’re not old, Mr.Stewart,”Nicole told him, placing a consoling hand on his arm.

He patted it gently.“That’s nice of you to say so, love.”

“How about I give you a hand this morning?Bit of unpaid slave labour never hurt any business.”

He put his arm round her and let her lead him towards the door.“That, love, is the best offer I’ve had in a long time.”

Miles stared hard at Rabbit once they were alone.Her face was the picture of innocence again.“What?”

“Do you know something that I don’t?”he asked.

“Such as?”

“Such as something to do with Alf’s business.Is that what you’re here for?”

“You think I came all the way back here just to help a bunch of old men stick hooks in poor little fishes?”

“Yes.Did you?”

Rabbit patted him on the shoulder.“Miles, much as I’d like it to be that simple, I think it’s going to be a lot more complicated than that.”

“Reassuring.”He noticed her getting up from the table.“Where are you going?”

“Just having a look around.Seeing who’s around town and what they’re up to.Don’t worry, I won’t be far away!”She skipped gleefully out into the caravan park.

“Missing you already!”Miles called after her.

Romeo was sitting in the caravan park when Xavier approached him, surfboard under his arm.“You fancy heading down the beach, catching some waves?”he asked.

“Yeah, sure,”Romeo agreed,“I’ll just get my board.”

Xavier followed him towards the shed where his board was propped up.“So, what exactly would you have done if I hadn’t come by?Just sat here by yourself all morning?”

“No, I had a bit of studying to do for school, I’d have got down to that once I’d geared myself up to it… Actually, yeah, that’s pretty much what I would have done.”

“Me too,”Xavier admitted.

“Do you remember when we had girlfriends to hang out with?”

“It rings a bell.”

“I mean, no offence, dude, but you’re not really my type.”

“Glad to hear it.I was starting to wonder.”

Romeo shot him a look.“What?”

“Well, it’s what everyone else has been wondering.”

Romeo sighed.“Great.That’s all I need.”He thought for a moment.“Okay, I know why Indi broke up with me but April breaking up with you, that was always a bit harsh.”

“You’re telling me.”

“You want her back?”

“Guess so…”

“Good.Because if it stops me being your gay best friend, then I’m right behind you.”

As the two boys headed towards the beach, Rabbit emerged from behind a nearby bush and looked after them.“Right behind you too, Blondie,”she commented,“If anyone needs help around here, it’s you two.”

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Thank you for all your comments, as always I am astonished how many people are reading and commenting on this.Hope you like this one.


Nicole had helped Alf out for a bit but the smell of the fish bait had left her feeling nauseous and, in the end, Alf had noticed her discomfort and told her to go for some fresh air.

She sat on the beach.Out at sea, Romeo and Xavier were enjoying the surf.She watched them in silence, noticing how carefree they seemed.At least they had a chance to forget about their troubles for a bit.In her present condition, there was very little opportunity either for forgetting or for doing anything carefree.

“You all right?”a male voice asked suddenly.

She turned to face the boy who’d come out of the surf and was standing near her.She estimated he was a couple of years older than her, with close-cropped blonde hair on top of his head.He looked pleasant enough but she didn’t really feel like getting into a conversation.“Why do you ask?”she retorted, hoping the abrupt tone would put him off.

“You look a bit down.”

“Don’t you mean I look a bit pregnant?”

“Is that why you’re down?”

She hesitated, not sure why she was still talking but feeling the need to go on.“Let’s just say the situation’s complicated.”

He smiled kindly.“Well, last time I was here a friend of mine had a pregnancy that was really complicated.But she’s happy enough now.”

Nicole was surprised by the comment.“You’ve been here before?”

He nodded.“Yeah, I used to live here.Haven’t been able to face coming back for a while but when I saw my dad recently I thought I’d better face up to it.Hasn’t been as bad as I expected.”

Memories suddenly flashed through her mind, photographs she’d seen, things Miles had told her about the house’s old occupants, things she’d heard from Geoff and Belle and Aden…“Are you Lucas?”

He looked at her in surprise.“Yeah, that’s right.”

She smiled.“I think you knew my dad, Roman.I’m Nicole.”She held out her hand to him.

“Um, hi,”he replied, accepting it,“Dad and Rachel told me what happened, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I mean, it’s not like he’s dead or anything.Although the shock of finding out he was going to be a grandfather nearly killed him off.You mind helping me up?”

He took a firmer grip on her wrist and hauled her up.“You sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine, seriously.”To her surprise, she realised their conversation had buoyed her spirits a bit.“Do you fancy walking back to the house with me?”

Rabbit’s hand hovered over the chessboard before closing on one of her bishops and moving it diagonally to the right.She sat back and looked at Miles.“Your move.”

He looked at her suspiciously.“Just wondering what your next move is going to be.”She motioned zipping her mouth closed.“Oh, thanks for that.”

“That’s the idea,”she pointed out,“You get all the pieces into the places where you want them on the board, so no-one notices, then you reveal what you’re going to do with them.”

“Are you still talking about the chess?”he asked warily.

Rabbit gave him a look of innocent indignation.“What else would we be talking about?”

“Well, the way you’re talking I’m wondering if you think of me as your king.”

Rabbit mulled the suggestion over.“More of a queen.”

“Oh, well that does wonders for my self-image.”

“It’s the most useful piece on the board…”

“Miles, you home?”Nicole called from just outside.Miles hastily moved so he was standing in front of the chessboard.Playing chess with an invisible opponent was likely to attract questions.

“Yeah, I’m here!”he called back as Nicole and Lucas appeared in the doorway.

“Ah, this is Lucas, Tony’s son,”Nicole explained,“We just ran into each other on the beach.”

“Now, do we believe that one?”Rabbit mused,“Jury records an open verdict.”

“Yeah, I think we bumped into each other a couple of times when I first got here,”Miles recalled,“I’m Miles.”

“Sally’s brother, right?”Lucas asked as they shook hands.

“That’s the one.So how’s your dad and Rachel fitting in in the States?”

“They’re good.Rachel’s doing well at the clinic.Dad’s found himself a job as a games teacher but he’s having a bit of trouble remembering the rules of baseball and American football.”

“It’s a bit like rugby,”Rabbit offered,“Except with helmets and shoulder pads.”

“Well, good to see you,”Miles continued,“You stopping for long?”

“Actually, I was hoping to rent a caravan off you.”

“Yeah, sure.”Miles headed over to the key rack.“Van 8’s free at the moment.”

“Woah, you play chess?”Lucas asked as he noticed the board.

“Ah, yes,”Miles conceeded,“You?”

“Yeah, I play a bit.”

“Well, I’m in the middle of a difficult game at the moment but maybe you could drop by some time when I need a challenge.”

“Yeah, sure.”Lucas accepted the key from him.“Maybe I’ll see you around some time.”

“Yeah, probably,”she agreed.She waited until Lucas had gone.Miles and Rabbit both looked at her.“I’ll, er, just lie down upstairs,”she announced, blushing slightly.

Miles turned to Rabbit and stared at her hard.“Why do I get the feeling you’re going to accuse me of something?”she asked.

“What, I’m supposed to believe it’s just a coincidence that you turn up and he makes his first visit to town in three years?”

“Yes, that’s right, it’s all down to me.I’ve been standing by his bed while he’s asleep moaning ‘You will go-o-o-o-o to Summer Bay!You will go-o-o-o-o to Summer Bay!’”

The cheesy ghost voice and actions meant Miles couldn’t help but smiling.“Okay, maybe not.”

Rabbit gave one of her enigmatic smiles.“Still, it’s nice Nicole’s got someone to talk to, isn’t it?”

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Thank you for all the comments.Lucas popping up was one of those random thoughts I had that stuck, there'll be more of him later on.Hope you like this chapter in the meantime.


Miles hovered by the doorway to the Diner and looked down at Rabbit.“This is going to look silly.”

“If you’re worried about looking silly, you shouldn’t have grown the beard.”

“I like the beard.”Miles gave Rabbit a plaintive look.“Seriously, what is all this about?”

“Just think of it as a test.To see if we really can do this.”She pointed to Liam, who was standing over by the counter.“See?There he is.”She gave Miles a gentle shove.“Go on.”

With a resigned look, Miles headed over to the counter.“Liam, hey,”he greeted him.

Liam glanced round briefly.“Hey, mate.”

Miles hovered awkwardly.“We need more than that,”Rabbit told him,“Come on.Score one for the team.”

“You and Bianca managing okay out in that shack?”Miles asked.

“Yeah, we’ve got all mod-cons,”Liam agreed,“And it’s miles away from the nearest students and groupies.”

“Guess it gets a bit dark out there sometimes though?”Miles suggested.

Liam considered for a moment.“Guess so.”

“You’ve got a clear target, take a shot,”Rabbit urged Miles.

“Guess you could use one of these then.”Miles produced a torch from his pocket.“It’s a spare.Don’t really need it, thought you might as well have it.”He noticed Liam giving him a funny look.“It’s got batteries in it, you don’t need to go out and buy some or anything.Don’t you just hate it when someone buys you a gift and you have to go out and buy batteries in order to use it?”

“I hate that,”Rabbit agreed.

“I thought you might.”

Liam tentatively took the torch from him.“Well, thanks for…saving me the cost of a couple of batteries.”

“No problem.”Miles turned to go but Rabbit blocked his path, giving him a pointed look.“Do I have to?” he complained.

Liam looked at him in increased bewilderment.“Do you have to what?”

Miles reached into his pocket, took out a small box and handed it to Liam.“You’d better have this too.”

“A light bulb?”Liam asked.

“You can never have too many light bulbs!”Miles replied as he beat a hasty retreat.

“And that’s a goal for Team You,”Rabbit congratulated him.

Liam sat outside the shack, strumming his guitar, a faint light inside letting him know where Bianca was. He was reminded of Miles’ comment about the dark.Aside from that distant glow, it was almost pitch black.

Then the light went out, accompanied by a frustrated scream from Bianca.

Liam waited a few seconds for her to cool off slightly before asking,“Anything the matter?”

Bianca stuck her head in between the sheets that served as a wall.“The bulb’s gone,”she said in a tone of voice that suggested it was taking every effort to stay calm,“On the only decent lamp in this place.I’ve got a pile of marking to do and no light to see by.So I’ve no idea whether I’m looking at a masterpiece of bilinguality or something that contains no genuine French words at all.”

“Haven’t you got a spare?”

“No.Because whenever I ask someone to get one from the shops, he always forgets.”

Liam was patting his pockets, wondering if there was anything there that could solve Bianca’s current crisis, when he suddenly remembered exactly what he’d been given earlier that day.He took the torch out and switched it on.“This any help?”he asked as he headed over to her.

Bianca didn’t seem particularly mollified.“Perfect,”she replied sarcastically,“What, are you going to hold it over my shoulder so I can see what I’m doing for the next hour?”

“No but it might give us enough light to fit this.”He produced the light bulb and held it out in front of her face.

Bianca stared at it in astonishment.“How long have you been carrying that around for?”

A puzzled look crossed Liam’s face.“Not long, actually.”

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Big thank you for all your comments, hope you like this one.


“Seriously, he just came up to me and handed me a torch and a light bulb,”Liam insisted when he and Bianca related the tale to Leah at the Diner the next morning.

“But how could he possibly know that your bulb was going to blow?”Leah asked.

“Exactly,”Bianca retorted,“It’s just some sort of coincidence.”

“How many times have you bought a light bulb for someone?”Liam asked her.

“Well you don’t even buy them for yourself,”she fired back.

Colleen came bustling through from the kitchen with two cups of coffee.“Well, it sounds to me like Miles is seeing his little friend again.”

Bianca looked at her in confusion.“His what?”

“That little girl, um, Bunny.”

“Rabbit,”Leah corrected.She turned to Bianca.“Last year Miles started seeing this little girl that no-one else could see.He said she was a ghost.”

Bianca gave her a sceptical look.“Isn’t it a bit of a leap from buying a light bulb to seeing dead people?”

“I know, we all thought it was crazy as well but he warned Elijah and me about this gas leak and if he hadn’t been there we’d have died probably.”

“Yeah, I remember that,”Liam recalled,“He started seeing her at school, nearly lost his job over it.”

“Right,”Leah agreed,“So we’d better not spread any rumours until we’re sure.”She looked pointedly at Colleen.

“Oh, well, you know me,”Colleen replied,“I’m not one to go spreading rumours about.”

“What rumours?”Miles asked as he suddenly loomed up next to them.

“Oh, ah, nothing, just something silly,”Colleen spluttered,“Sorry, can’t chat, people waiting for their coffee.”She hurried away.

“Stay calm,”Rabbit told Miles,“But I think they’re onto us.”

“That light bulb came in handy,”Liam remarked,“Whatever made you think of that.”

“Well, you know,”Miles answered hastily,“living out in the country like that, you soon realise that night’s kind of…dark.”

“Act natural,”Rabbit advised him.

“This is natural,”Miles retorted.

“Well, yeah, I guess it is,”Liam accepted.

“So you didn’t hear a little voice telling you to give us a light bulb?”Bianca asked with a smile.

“Yep, they’re onto us,”Rabbit confirmed.

Miles gave an ironic laugh.“Nope.Not hearing any voices.Apart from you lot, of course.Ah, coffee to take away?”

“Better make it two,”Rabbit sighed.

“Better make it two,”Miles repeated.He caught Leah’s confused look and Rabbit’s horrified one.“Just joking,”he added hurriedly.

Nicole sat quietly on the beach, watching Lucas out in the water.Finally he seemed to grow tired of his surf and came to join her.“You should have a go out there,”he advised her.

Nicole raised an eyebrow.“Yeah, I’m sure everyone would love seeing a giant whale thrashing about in the water.”

“You don’t look like a whale,”he protested as he sat down next to her,“Being pregnant suits you.”

Nicole was surprised to find herself blushing.It didn’t help that he was giving her that sweet, boyish smile. She tried not to look him in the eye.“Well, it’s nice of you to say so…”

She suddenly felt his lips pressing against hers.For a moment she was startled, then she responded to the kiss, softly caressing his lips with her own.It lasted for a few seconds before they gently pulled away from each other.

Nicole swallowed hard.“Um, what was that for?”

Lucas blinked, surprised at the response.“I just though it’d be nice.”

“Well, yeah, it was certainly nice,”Nicole agreed, giving him a shy smile.Her manner became serious.“I hardly know you.”

Lucas looked away for a moment, as though uncertain how to proceed.“I don’t normally get to know girls by kissing them,”he began at last.

“But you thought you’d make an exception in my case?”Nicole asked.A worrying thought occurred to her and she gestured to her baby bump.“Is it because of..?”

“No, no,”he replied hastily,“I…I wanted to.”

She looked hard at him.He was sweet, she realised.She’d never been very good with sweet.Then again, sweet didn’t make her heart do backflips very often either.

She pushed herself to her feet.“Come on,”she said at last.

Lucas scrambled up.“Where to?”

“You can walk me home.”

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Nicole and Lucas? My favourite girl and my favourite boy? Bang! My head exploded :lol:

Nic and Lucas? Match made in heaven?

Nicole & Lucas is just wow.

Loving Nicole & Lucas too. That was a great idea! He'd suit her too if he'd stuck around long enough.

Nicole/Lucas. Why do I now want to ship that? This is not good.

Lucas and Nicole? I had never thought of that. Then again, Lucas had already left the Bay when she arrived so it’s probably normal I had never thought of it! :P But I like it!

So that's a thumb up for Luc and Nic then?Glad you like it, I needed someone for Nicole, none of the current cast seemed to fit and I didn't want to be obvious and bring back Geoff or Aden so I thought who else I could bring back.Lucas seemed like the only candidate.

Massive thanks for all the comments, hope you like this one.


“And here, you see, you’ve got your fish hooks,”Alf explained, gesturing around the shop,“Bait’s kept in the freezer down there.And you’ve had a look at the accounts.”

“Indeed I have, Mr.Stewart.”James Brighton’s tone suggested the tour had left him feeling rather bored.

Alf tried not to be disheartened by the response.He was aware that his sales pitch wasn’t wholly inviting. But Brighton had shown interest in the shop before and clearly still had enough interest to come down and take a look.That had to be promising.“Prime location,”he persisted,“Regular clientele.Heck, it’s the only place like this in town so if any of those old fisherhands don’t want to go traipsing up to Yabbie Creek, they’ve got to come here.”

“But they don’t, do they, Mr.Stewart?”

Alf again had to fight to keep the smile on his face.“Well, times are hard for everyone.I’m sure they’ll pick up soon.Especially with a business brain like yours to come up with new strategies and what-have-you, eh?So, how about it?”

Brighton seemed to consider for a long time.“I’ll give you fifty thousand,”he said at last.

At that point, Alf stopped hiding his true feelings.“What?”

“Fifty thousand,”Brighton repeated calmly.

“It’s worth at least four times that!The premises alone, plus you’ve got the stock, the goodwill…”

“The stock is antiquated or perishable, the client base is practically non-existent.You forget, Mr.Stewart, I’ve seen the books.I’m offering you a fair price.”

It was all Alf could do to stop himself throwing his visitor down the front steps.“You’re offering me a flaming insult!I’d see this shop run itself into the ground before I give it away to some sly smug snake in a suit who’s trying to pull a fast one on me.So take your fair price and stick it!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Mr.Stewart…”

“Go on, get out of here!”

If Brighton was affected by Alf’s anger, he didn’t show it.“Feel free to get in touch with me again in a few months, Mr.Stewart.When you have even less business left than you have now.But you might not find me so generous at that time…”

“So, any luck in finding someone more girl-like than me to spend time with?”Romeo asked as he and Xavier towelled themselves down after their surf.

“Well, it’s a tough call,”Xavier replied with a teasing edge to his voice,“You are pretty girly.”

“Oh yeah?”Romeo flicked him with his towel.Xavier responded and the brief battle soon devolved into a wrestling match, with Romeo managing to grab Xavier in a headlock and ruffle his hair.

“Glad to see you two are having fun,”a female voice observed.

The two boys quickly stood up straight, unthinkingly stepping a foot away from each other.April looked at them both with an amused air.

“April, hi,”Xavier gabbled.He gestured to Romeo in as casual a manner as he could manage.“We were just messing about.”

“Well, don’t let me stop you.”

“How have you been?”

The question seemed to wrong foot April slightly, her smile losing some of its teasing edge, becoming slightly more forced.“Yeah, fine,”she said at last,“Um, you?”

“Yeah, yeah, fine,”Xavier confirmed,“I haven’t seen you around much.”

“I’ve been busy.”April made a show of checking her watch.“I’m meant to be meeting Dex at the library so I’d better get on.See you at school.”

Romeo waited until April was out of earshot before looking at his friend.“Well, that was a bit awkward.”

“She couldn’t wait to get away,”Xavier agreed.

“Although to be fair, she had just stumbled across us wrestling.”

Xavier rolled his eyes.“Great, so now she thinks she’s turned me gay.”

“Maybe you should just ask her out.”

“Yeah, I’ve thought of that.But I need to think of somewhere to take her first.It’s got to be really special, prove that I know all about her, that we’re on the same wavelength.”

“So, the burger bar’s out then?”

“If I don’t want her to accuse me of destroying the planet by using styrofoam, yeah.”

Romeo patted him on the shoulder.“Then, my young friend, we need to come up with a concerted plan of action.”

“And not touch each other in public so much.”

Romeo hastily withdrew the hand.“Yeah.”

“So, not that I’m not enjoying having you around, but are you going to let me in on what this is all about?” Miles asked as he and Rabbit approached the house.

“I don’t know everything yet,”Rabbit admitted,“Just think of it as chess.Getting all the pieces in place to protect the king.”

“Right…who’s the king?”

“That’s one of those things I don’t know.”Rabbit led the way through the open door into the house.She and Miles both paused as they saw Lucas and Nicole kissing on the couch.

“Well, those pieces seem to be in place,”Rabbit noted.She waited for a few seconds before shooting Miles a worried look.“Shouldn’t you cough or something?”

Miles seemed to consider for a moment before heading for the fridge instead.“Anyone want juice?”he asked loudly.

Lucas and Nicole hastily sprang apart, smoothing themselves down.“Ah, no, actually I have to get going,” Lucas decided.He looked at Nicole.“See you later.”He pecked her on the lips before hurrying out.

Nicole hesitated for a moment, Miles and Rabbit looking at her.“I’m going to go upstairs,”she said at last before scrambling in the opposition direction.

Rabbit looked at Miles.“Okay, that worked as well.”

“Maybe now we’ll avoid any interruptions.”

“Flaming drongo!”declared Alf as he stormed into the house, throwing his hat down on the table.

“Or not,”Miles concluded,“Something the matter, Alf?”

“That smarmy mongrel Brighton.He offered me a pittance for the bait shop, a pittance.Guy probably hasn’t cast a line in his life and he thinks he can insult me like that.I’ve been selling bait in this town for nearly thirty years and he wants to take it all away just like that.”

“Aww, that’s too bad, Mr.Stewart,”Rabbit offered soothingly.

“Aww, that’s too bad, Alf,”Miles repeated.

Alf sighed.“And you know the worst thing about it?He’s probably right.I am probably going to have to end up selling that shop and it’ll probably be for a lot less than he offered.”

Rabbit gave a knowing smile.“Don’t worry, Mr.Stewart.I’ve a feeling it won’t be as bad as you think.”

Miles shot her a suspicious look before turning to Alf.“It might not be as bad as you think.”

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Thank you for all the comments, just a quick chapter here for you.


“You’re sure no-one else is home?”Xavier asked, looking around doubtfully.

Romeo nodded.“Mr.Stewart’s at work, Miles is staying back to do some marking and Nicole’s out with that Lucas.”

“I’m here!”Rabbit called from the kitchen,“But don’t worry, I’ll stay out of your way.”

Not surprisingly, neither of the boys responded.Instead, Xavier caught something in Romeo’s last comment.“Something wrong?”

“I dunno, I guess I’m just worried about Nicole.She’s been messed around enough recently, I don’t want Lucas doing the same.”

“Lucas is all right,”Xavier reassured him.

“How do you know?”

Xavier gave him a funny look.“He’s my cousin.”

Romeo blinked in surprise.“He is?”

“Well, yeah, he’s Uncle Tony’s son, remember?”

Rabbit rolled her eyes.“Seriously, who’d forget something like that?”

Romeo still looked uncertain.“So how come he’s staying here rather than with you guys?”

“I think he was just planning to make a flying visit at first,”Xavier explained,“Just pop by for a few days and lay a few ghosts to rest.But Mum had him over for dinner the other night and he says since he’s met Nicole he’s planning to stay for longer.So you can cut out the overprotective brother thing and get on with helping your poor, beleaguered, girlfriend-less friend, okay?”

“Okay, okay.”Romeo gestured towards the couch.Rabbit came skipping through from the kitchen and leaned against the back of it, in between the two boys.

“So, come on, My Name Is Romeo, ideas,”Xavier invited.

“Okay, you need some sort of meal,”Romeo decided,“Something private, where you haven’t got too much background noise.”

“Although a bit of background noise helps set the mood,”Rabbit pointed out.

“So, what, I invite her round my house?”Xavier asked.

“Yeah, that’s good,”Romeo agreed.

“Unless she says no,”Rabbit added.

“Do I have to cook something myself?”Xavier wondered.

Romeo shook his head.“The important thing is the atmosphere, not the food.Just order some takeout.”

“Yeah,”Rabbit agreed sarcastically,“Girls are always impressed by a guy who knows how to pick up a telephone.”

“Trust me, I did this with Annie and she loved it.”

“She moved to Japan,”Xavier pointed out.

“Now you’re talking sense,”Rabbit told him.

“She still loved it,”Romeo persisted.

Rabbit shot Xavier a worried look.“You’re not actually going to listen to this, are you?”

Xavier was nodding thoughtfully.“Yeah, I think that might work.”

Rabbit threw up her hands in despair and walked away.“I give up.I might as well be talking to myself.”

Miles was surprised to find Rabbit loitering in the school corridor when he arrived for work the next morning.“Did you want something?”he asked.

Rabbit shot him an annoyed look.“Don’t talk to me.”

“Well, if I don’t, no-one will.”

“That’s the point.I’m an undercover rabbit.”She noticed his puzzled look and made frustrated ‘shooing’ motions.“Look, just go and do something eccentric.I’ll let you know when I need some help.”

“Note to self,”Miles muttered under his breath as he left her alone,“you know you’ve got troubles when your imaginary friend doesn’t want to hang out with you.”

Rabbit kept an eye on a particular locker until she saw the people she was hoping for:April and Dexter, arriving at school.

“How awkward?”Dexter was asking.

“Just awkward,”April replied.

“On a scale of one to ten.”

April considered.“Seven and a half?”

“Well, if Xavier makes you awkward, you must still like him.”

“No, I mustn’t.”

“You still like him, you still like him!”Dexter insisted, playfully jabbing her with a finger.

“That’s what I think too,”Rabbit agreed as she sidled over to them.

“Okay, even if I do,”April conceeded,“it’s not like we’ve really got a lot in common.”

“Oh, you want a boyfriend who agrees with you?”Dexter asked,“Come on, you want someone who keeps you on your toes.It’s the only explanation for your hanging out with the only boy in school who still has all his Power Rangers Ninja Storm toys.For collector’s purposes, of course.”

“I just think we’re better off making a clean break.”

“Okay, Miss Clean Break, you’re seriously telling me there’s nothing he could do to change your mind? Like proving he knows you better than anyone, which frankly he probably does, because you’re even a mystery to me sometimes.”

Rabbit looked at him.“Wow, you babble more than I do.”

“Maybe, if he did prove that,”April admitted,“If he made a real, personal effort…But it’s not going to happen so let’s just stop talking about it, okay?”

“Okay,”Dexter sighed.

Rabbit smiled.“You might just be in for a surprise.”

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Huge apologies for the long wait between updates, it's been a very hectic week and it may well be another hectic week before I get time to write another chapter.Hope you like this one!


Miles glanced nervously at Rabbit.“Just keep watch, okay?”

Rabbit rolled her eyes.“You’re not cracking a safe.”

Miles hesitated in front of Xavier’s locker, the note in his hand.“You know there’s probably something in the job’s professional ethics about helping the principal’s son seduce girls.”

“I think you’re a bit late for that one.”Rabbit put on her best pleading face.“Come on, Dumber and Dumbest need all the help they can get.He’ll thank you for it.Or he would do if he knew it was you, which he won’t.So go on!”

Miles sighed and slipped the note through the gap in Xavier’s locker.He looked at Rabbit.“If I get fired for this, I’m blaming you.”

It was about an hour later that Xavier and Romeo arrived at their lockers.“You get that assignment finished?”Romeo asked.

“Yeah, it’s right here,”Xavier confirmed as he opened his locker…and an envelope slid out, only his quick reflexes stopping it dropping onto the floor.

He looked at the blank envelope for a moment then slid it open and read the typed contents:

Things to remember if you want to impress a girl:

If you’re going to surprise her, surprise her.Don’t arrange a time and date first.

Girls like the personal touch.Don’t order takeout, make something yourself.Important:Choose something you can actually make.It’s the thought that counts, not how much mess you leave in the kitchen.

Think of some things that she likes and find a way to sprinkle them throughout the evening.It shows that you know her.

He looked at Romeo.“Did you do this?”

Romeo peered over his shoulder and scanned the letter.“No, not me.You should promise listen to it though, it sounds like good advice.”

“Yeah but who did it?Whose idea is it?”

Romeo clapped him on the shoulder.“Guess you must have a guardian angel.”

Nicole realised she should probably head back to the house but for some reason her feet had taken her in the direction of Lucas’ caravan.She found him sat in a deckchair outside, a hat resting on his face.“Have you been there all day?”she demanded.

He pushed the hat back, letting her see the exaggerated contriteness of his expression.“Most of it.”He gestured to the chair next to him.“Have a seat.”

“Thanks, I will,”she replied sarcastically, settling into it.

“You been at uni?”

“Yeah.Talking of which, haven’t you got a uni to get back to?”

“I’m…between courses.Actually, I was thinking of signing up here.”

“Here?”She tried to keep her town casual.“Well, yeah, I guess you’ve still got family here…”

“And you.”

She met his gaze for a moment, feeling a sudden nervousness which she was sure she could see in his eyes as well.She looked away, embarrassed, and then something struck her.“Were you expecting company?”

He blinked in confusion.“What do you mean?”

“You’ve got a second chair out.”

He swallowed hard.“I was hoping you’d drop by.”

She looked at him in surprise.“Why?”

“I like you.”

The comment hung in the air for a moment.“I like you too,”she said quietly.She leaned forward invitingly. He took the signal and kissed her, warm feelings flowing through her at the contact.The kiss broke.“Do you want to go into your van?”she asked.

He looked at her carefully, not quite sure if she was suggesting what he thought she was suggesting.“Are you sure?”

“No,”she replied nervously,“But I want to.I think.”He kissed her again, that same electric spark passing between them.“Okay, now I’m a bit more sure.”

He took her hand and led her inside.

“Irene?”April called out as she got home.

She was pulled up short by the sight of Xavier standing by the table, looking as though he was dressed up for a date.Then she noticed the table was set for a meal for two.

“Irene isn’t here,”Xavier explained.

April stood looking at him, processing the information.“No,”she said at last.

“I asked her if I could use the house.To surprise you.”He took in her expression.It wasn’t exactly screaming Joy at him.“I should go,”he decided.

“No, no, stay,”she replied hastily,“I mean, you’ve gone to all this trouble…”She noticed the TV set he’d placed in the background and the film playing on it.“Is that..?”

“Baiser voles,”Xavier confirmed.

“Baiser volès,”she corrected,“Stolen kisses.Do you know what it’s about?”

“The guy at the rental shop just said it was a romantic comedy and it was in French.”

“It’s about a guy who’s a bit of a loser so his girlfriend dumps him, then she sees him with other girls and realises she likes him after all.So she gets back with him.”

Xavier floundered.“I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“I know.”

He pulled out the chair for her and she sat down with a grateful smile.He went over to the stereo and turned some music on, keeping the volume down so as not to spoil the mood.“Vampire Weekend?”she asked amused.

He shrugged.“You always seemed to like the weird stuff.”He headed into the kitchen, coming back with a covered plate, and removed the lid.

“Pasta?”she asked.

He gave an awkward smile.“It was simple to do.”

Rabbit, sitting perched on the edge of the couch, grinned at him.“Good move.”

April smiled as she replaced her knife and fork in the middle of the plate.“That was good,”she proclaimed.

Xavier returned the smile.“I’m glad you like it.”

“Did you make the sauce yourself?”

Xavier hesitated.“I opened the bottle myself.”

Rabbit rolled her eyes.“Okay, sometimes you can be too honest…”

“And poured it into a saucepan and heated it?”April asked.

Xavier’s smile returned.“Yeah.”

Rabbit raised an eyebrow.“Then again, you seem to have pulled it off…”

Xavier swallowed hard before taking the plunge.“I’ve missed this.”

April averted her eyes slightly.But the smile didn’t leave her face.“Me too.”

Xavier coughed.“I’d better get these plates washed or Irene will never let me come again.You sit and watch the rest of the movie.”

“No, no, I’ll help you,”April insisted, getting out of her seat.

“No, I’ll do it…”

“No, I’ll help you!”

“Okay,”Xavier acquiesced.He made a reach for their plates.

“Um, Xav,”April interrupted,“We don’t have to do it right now, do we?”

Xavier looked at her, confused.“What do you mean?”

“I mean we could do something else first.”

Xavier continued to look perplexed.“Like what?”

Rabbit sighed.“Just kiss the girl, Dumbo!”

April moved so she was standing in front of Xavier.Taking the hint, he gently pressed his lips against hers and they started kissing, tentatively at first but slowly becoming more and more passionate.He pushed her against the bench and undid the top button of her blouse.

Rabbit grinned.“I love it when a plan comes together.”Then she realised exactly what Xavier and April were doing.“I don’t need to see this,”she decided, hastily jumping out of her seat as the pair headed for the bedroom.

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I've heard Baisers volés is a good movie but I can't say I've watched it. It sounds romantic and perfect for the evening Xavier had planned!

Can't say I've seen it either, just did a quick internet search.Hopefully my research was accurate...

Thank you for all your comments, hope you like this one!


Romeo paused at the open doorway to Xavier’s house, looking around at the empty living room.He considered for a moment before stepping into the house and checking out the nearest corridor.Which was where he found Xavier, standing outside his room, kissing April.They continued obliviously for what felt like a long time before they seemed to sense his presence and disentangle themselves enough to turn and look at him, slightly embarrassed smiles on their faces.

“I should go out again and knock, shouldn’t I?”he asked.

“Don’t worry,”April told him,“I was just going anyway.”She gave Xavier another kiss.“I will see…you… later.”She pushed past Romeo, favouring Xavier with a flirtatious smile as she did so.

“So, I take it the surprise meal went all right then?”Romeo asked.

Xavier coughed slightly.“You could say that, yeah.”

“So does this mean you don’t want us to see each other anymore?”

Xavier clapped him on the arm as he went towards the main part of the house.“Sorry, mate, but what can I say?She’s better looking than you.”

“Are you sure?’Cos I’m pretty hot.”Romeo followed Xavier through into the kitchen.“So does that mean this weekend’s off?”

Xavier looked at him in surprise.“The camping trip?Why would it be?”

“Well, you know, you’ve got someone better looking than me to hang out with and cosy up to in a tent now.”

“No, we arranged that weeks ago, a deal’s a deal.Bros before…something, hey?”

“Party on, dude,”Romeo confirmed deadpan.

“Just…easy on the cosying up, okay?”

Miles and Rabbit were sitting on deckchairs in the caravan park, taking in the sun.“So the night went okay?”Miles asked.

“So far as I could tell before I bailed and left them to it, yes.”She glanced to the side.“People at three o’clock.”

Miles followed her gaze and saw Lucas and Nicole approaching, towels flung over their shoulders, their arms around each other.They seemed to have an oddly flushed appearance…“What have you two been up to?”he asked.

Looks of guilt flashed across their faces.“Nothing,”Lucas claimed quickly.

“Just hanging,”Nicole added.

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“We were just about to go and hang down the beach.”Nicole shot Lucas a look.“I mean, just hang, I wasn’t suggesting that we…”

“Yeah, I know it’s not a code word or anything.”

“Well…good luck with the…hanging,”Miles told them.

“Thanks!”Nicole replied cheerily, a smile that could not look more plastered on her face.She quickly grabbed Lucas’ hand.“Come on.”

Miles watched the pair as they walked out of sight.“They’ve been having sex,”Rabbit opined.

Miles looked at her uncertainly.“Are you sure?”

“Kids know these things.”

“So…you’ve set Nicole up with Lucas, you’ve set Xavier up with April, why can’t you find someone for me?”

“I might be an extraordinary individual, Miles, but I’m not a miracle worker.”Her gaze wandered across the park.“Uh-oh.”

Miles followed her gaze and saw a familiar azkhan hat wearing figure stomping towards them.

“Mr.Stewart doesn’t look very happy,”Rabbit offered.

“What’s up, Alf?”Miles called out,“Shouldn’t you be at the bait shop?”

“Closed early,”he replied.


“Because I’d rather use that bait myself than have it sitting in boxes in that shop while I don’t get a sniff of a customer all day!I’m going to grab my rod and then take a long holiday.About thirty years should do it.”He stormed off to the house.

“Miles, I need you to be ready first thing,”Rabbit decided.

“What for?”

“I need to show you something.”

Early the next morning, Miles found himself doubting his sanity more than usual as he followed Rabbit along the wharf.The route took them past the bait shop but to his surprise they didn’t stop there.Instead they carried on for another twenty minutes, Rabbit skipping ahead and desperately waving for him to keep up as he puffed along behind her.“You mind telling me where we’re going?”he asked.

“We’re nearly there!”she insisted, although she’d said that plenty of times before,“It’s just over the next dune, he had to make sure he was out of sight.”

“What?”Miles asked but as he listened he was sure he could hear something from beyond the next dune. The clamour of voices.

He caught up with Rabbit who gestured down towards the beach.A makeshift stall had been set up on the sand, a group of fishermen crowded around it.Big hand-painted signs proclaimed it was a bait stall.

Miles looked closely at the man running it.Although he was dressed casually, to blend in with his customers, there was something about him that suggested he wasn’t accustomed to that sort of style at all, as though he usually dressed more formally.“Is that..?”

“James Brighton,”Rabbit confirmed,“Who, if he gets his way, will soon be the owner of Mr.Stewart’s bait shop.”

“He’s set up right on the path to the shop,”Miles realised,“All Alf’s customers will come past here.And his prices, they’ve got to be about 30% cheaper.No wonder Alf hasn’t got any customers, he’s pinched them all!He’ll drive Alf’s business into the ground, then when he buys it up he can charge whatever he likes!”

“Top marks, first prize,”Rabbit agreed,“Now, for a bonus point:What are we going to do about it?”

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Big thanks for all the comments, hope you like this one.


James Brighton hefted two buckets full of bait as he headed down towards the spot he had chosen for his pitch.As much as he resented having to get his hands dirty in that matter, Alf Stewart had left him no choice.He had made him reasonable offers time and time again, given him the chance to retire gracefully, but the stubborn fool had refused him every time.He’d brought it all on himself.

He heard voices coming from behind the dune where his spot was and smiled to himself.Obviously word of mouth was spreading.All Alf’s old customers would be gathering here to make their morning purchases instead of going to the shop.Then it occurred to him that of all the voices he was hearing, one seemed to be louder and more frequent than the rest.And he was sure he recognised it…

As he came over the dune, he got his answer.Someone else had set up a stall, offering prices even cheaper than his.Someone else had a large crowd around him.Someone else was announcing his intention in a loud salesman’s voice:“Special offer!Come and pick up your bait dirt cheap!This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!Here, Bill, you won’t turn down a chance like this, will you?Get tomorrow’s as well, just don’t let your missus see you storing it in the freezer.”

That someone was Alf Stewart.

Brighton tried to turn round and head back along the sand dunes but Alf had seen him.“Mr.Brighton!”he called out enthusiastically,“Come to see how the other half lives, eh?Tell you what, I’ll do you a special deal.I’m practically giving this stuff away!Just like you expected me to give away my shop.”

Brighton forced a smile onto his face.“No, thank you, Mr.Stewart.I must be getting on.”

“Aww, that’s a shame!”Alf crossed the few paces between them…and as soon as they were out of earshot of the others his cheeriness disappeared.“Listen here, you gutless mongrel,”he snarled quietly,“I know all about what you’ve been doing, flogging your shonky merchandise down here to try and get your hands on my shop.And I’m telling you, it stops now.If I ever see your sorry face in Summer Bay again…”

“You’ll what?”Brighton asked defiantly.

For a moment, Alf seemed lost for words.But then he smiled the smile of a man who knows he holds all the cards.“I’ll set up stall outside every single one of your lousy shops.I’ll sell stuff at half price, quarter price, heck, I’ll give the stuff away.I’ll make sure every fisherman in the district gets everything they want without making a cent and it’ll be worth it…because you won’t make a cent either and your little tinpot empire will go down the plughole.”

Brighton blanched.“You wouldn’t.”

“Try me.You just try me.And you’ll see that a dumb Aussie bloke like me is just as capable of playing dirty as a sly snake like you.”

“So what did he say?”Miles asked, as Alf related the story to him back at the house.

“Well, what could he say?Just got his sorry hide out of town as fast as he could.”

“Nice one, Mr.Stewart,”congratulated Rabbit.

“Nice one, Alf,”Miles echoed.

Alf nodded.“Got you to thank, of course.I mean, I had no idea Brighton was trying to pull a fast one like that.How, er, how did you know?”

Rabbit shot him a worried look.“Tread very carefully on this one.”

“Just sheer dumb luck,”Miles claimed,“I just happened to be walking past where his stall was set up and there he was.”

“Ah.Walk that way often, do you?”There was a suspicious edge to Alf’s question.

“Yeah…No!No, because if I went that way often I’d have seen him before now.Just a one off.Just felt like…pushing myself that little bit further that morning.”

“It’s just I’ve been talking to Colleen a bit recently…”

“I’m getting one of my bad feelings about this,”Rabbit sighed.

“…and she was thinking that maybe your little bunny rabbit friend’s been hanging around and telling you what to do again.And I mean, well, if that were true, you would tell me, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes, I would,”Miles replied quickly.

“So, um, are you?”

Miles glanced at Rabbit who shook her head emphatically.He looked back at Alf and sighed.“Yes, I am.”

Rabbit rolled her eyes.“You never heard of a secret identity?”

Alf processed the information.“Is she, ah, is she here now?”

Miles gestured to the space next to him, which as far as Alf could see was empty.“Right here.”

Alf looked where he’d gestured, seeming a bit awkward.“Well, Rabbit, I’m not sure if I believe in you but thanks to you and to Miles here, my business might be picking up at last and I might be able to avoid hanging up my hat and learning to play bowls for a while as yet.So, well, thanks for that.”

Rabbit smiled.“My pleasure, Mr.Stewart.”

“So, are you going to tell anyone?”asked Miles.

“Well, so far as I can see, everything’s that gone on has only helped people,”Alf mused,“So unless Rabbit persuades you to go around setting fire to barns or running naked through the Diner, I think I’ll let this one slide.Just…exercise a bit of discretion, okay?”He headed out of the house.

“Wow,”Rabbit remarked,“I’m really glad we helped him now.”

“So, was that it?”Miles asked,“We helped Alf so job done.”

Rabbit shook her head.“Uh-uh.There’s something else.Something bigger.”

“And you’ve no idea what it might be?”

“Not yet.”Rabbit paused before adding,“But it’s going to be soon.”

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