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Shadow of the Day

Guest mizziette

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Slowly getting back into this...


Jake looked at the old comatose man on the hospital bed and on impulse, decided he couldn’t wait any longer. It was now or never. All it would take was a little pressure. And as he did what he did next, Jake saw his whole world change.

It was so easy, getting that transplant. It had been so easy to ensure the heart would got to Jake. The nurses and doctors persistently tried and tried to save the other man but it was no use. The man was dead to the world. Literally,

It wasn’t long before Jake was prepped and ready to go. Everything was working out in his favour and by dinner time, he’d have what he’d always wanted.

‘Jake, I heard the good news. Are you okay?’ Valerie Pirovic rushed into the hospital room just as the doctors were getting ready to wheel him into the operation room for surgery.

The doctors moved the bed as Valerie walked along with it. Jake smiled at her. ‘It’s happening,’

‘Yeah, it is.’ And just like that, Jake disappeared into the surgery wing.

The phone rang and Valerie picked it up. ‘Hello?’

‘Yes, it’s me again. I know it hasn’t been long since we last spoke and I thought more about the adoption thing and I definitely want to go through with it now.’

‘Oh, well, we can discuss the details if you want make an appointment with my office,’ Valerie said. ‘Actually, I think I might have a potential match for you,’

The voice sounded unsure. ‘Um, I don’t really think I’m going to be able to meet up in your office.’

‘Oh, well, would you like me to come to you?’ Valerie asked.

‘Yes, yes, I think that would be best from now on,’ A pause before continuing. ‘But, it might be a little difficult, I don’t know. I don’t really know what’s going to happen to me after today.’

‘I don’t like that sound of that.’

‘Neither do I, I just wanted you to know that this is a sure thing.’

Valerie was left perplexed as the line went dead.

‘Yeah, thanks, I will,’ Brax said goodbye and hung up the phone. He rubbed his eyes with one hand as he sighed.

‘Daddy, who was it?’ A very excited Jade ran up and jumped on his knee.

‘Oh,’ Brax groaned. ‘That was just some business. Listen, you brushed your teeth yet?’

Jade bit her lip and looked around sheepishly. ‘Maybe,’

‘Go on, quick, before your teeth fall out,’ Brax rushed her off.

‘They’re already falling out dad. Dr Rachel says they supposed to when I get big, remember? You were there.’

‘Yeah, yeah,’ Brax sighed half-heartedly as she left.

When Jade had disappeared into the bathroom, Casey who’d been eating breakfast turned to his brother. ‘You look stressed.’

‘I wonder why,’ Brax rolled his eyes and gestured to his phone. ‘That was the adoption folks on the line. They finally looked at my application.’

‘They took their time. What did they say?’

‘I got to go in and give them some more paperwork or something. They love their paperwork.’

‘They’re just being thorough.’

‘Yeah, get to school Mr Braxton, you’ll be late.’

Casey looked at his watch and rushed the rest of the coffee down as he jumped up. ‘Oh crap, I got to go, if you need anything…’

‘Go on, get out of here!’

As soon as Casey had left, Brax reached for his phone and dialled the familiar number.

‘Yes?’ Ruby picked up the phone at the crisis centre. She wasn’t in the mood to listen to other people’s problems; she had enough of her own. But it was part of her community service and she had to complete it.

Brax crinkled his eyebrows at the abrupt greeting. ‘Um, well, I guess I just got arrested for something I didn’t do.’

‘Oh, I really can’t deal with this right now,’ Ruby groaned.

‘I don’t care but my daughter; and her sister…’

‘Brax, just get over it, would you? It’s never going to happen.’ Ruby instantly snapped up at her name. She was tired, exhausted and after Brax’ arrest, didn’t feel like pretending

‘How do you know my name?’ Brax got suspicious. ‘I thought this was supposed to be a confidential thing.’

‘Confidential?’ Ruby snapped. ‘You’re messed up, I get it. I’m sorry but you can’t just sit there and talk to me like everything’s okay. Because it’s not and…’

‘What’re you talking about? Elsie…’

‘Don’t,’ Ruby spat out as she slammed the phone down onto the desk in front of her.

Ruby stormed into the house later that day and slumped onto the couch in defeat.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ Casey asked from the kitchen table where he was marking papers.

‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ Ruby grumbled and then sighed. ‘Because of Brax, I have to do a two weeks more community service. How unfair is that? Like I don’t have enough to deal with already,’

‘I thought you didn’t want to talk about it,’ Casey sighed. ‘Why’d you get it extended?’

‘Because I hung up on Brax,’

‘What? Brax was calling the centre?’

At that point, Xavier walked out of the hall, hearing the last few words of the conversation. ‘Did you just say Brax called the crisis helpline? He seems always in control. I doubt he’d need it.’

‘He doesn’t,’ Ruby clarified sarcastically. ‘Like you said, like he always keeps saying, he’s always “in control”. Always trying to control everything, playing people,’

‘You know, that is my brother you keep putting down all the time.’ Casey pointed out. ‘He may not seem like much to you, but Brax isn’t the horrible evil man you make him out to be. And I actually care whether he goes to jail or not, especially if he didn’t do it. Once upon a time, you’d have cared too.’

‘I grew up,’ Ruby said. ‘Case, I’m sorry but some people are just really good at deceiving.’

Casey took his marking and picked it up. ‘I don’t want to fight with you again Rubes. I’m going to call it a night. Night guys,’

‘Night mate,’ Xavier smiled as Casey walked past him. He sat down next to Ruby. ‘So what happened today?’

‘He called the hotline complaining and feeling so self-pitying but I couldn’t do it this time. So I hung up. And then the supervisor got called and one thing led to another and…I got my time extended. It’s not like I broke the law.’

‘You hung up on someone on the crisis line, Rubes,’ Xavier shook his head. ‘People call because they need help. They gave you extra just for hanging up?’

Ruby shrugged. ‘I might have cursed a little and broken the phone when I slammed it down.’

Xavier sighed. ‘You’re never going to let it go, are you?’

‘What’re you talking about? You’re supposed to be on my side,’

‘I am, Rubes, you’re so angry. This kind of anger can’t be good for you. It’s eating you up, I can see it.’

‘You’re not seriously defending him right now.’

‘No, I’m not. I’m worried about you. I don’t like the person all this anger is turning you into. It’s changed you, and not for the better.’

‘Glad I can count on you,’ Ruby looked away.’

‘You don’t get it do you?’ Xavier stood up. ‘You’re not just pushing away Brax; you’re pushing everyone else away along with him. You need to find a way to get past this.’

Ruby shed a tear as Xavier walked back to his room. Before she could shed any more, however, the phone rang.

‘Hello?’ Ruby answered.

‘Hi Rubes,’

‘Hey, do you want to hang out? It’s not that late yet?’

‘I can’t. I have to do something.’

‘What’s more important than hanging out with me?’ Ruby asked cheekily.

There was a pause. ‘I have to go to the police station and turn myself in. Ruby, I’m so sorry. I murdered your father.’

And the colour drained out of Ruby’s face.

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Great update,

At the risk of sounding harsh - ruby needs to build a bridge and get over it!!! I don't mean that she has to forget Charlie or be best buds with Brax but she needs to find a way to move on with her life!!!

Have a theory as to who killed grant so can't wait to see if I'm right :)!!

More soon please :D

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Maybe it's best if Ruby and Brax just go their separate ways and move on now. I can't see Ruby ever forgriving him.

I think I know who killed Grant too.

I wonder if Jake will turn up to cause trouble now he is having his operation.

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‘What’re you talking about? No, it was Brax.’ Ruby was in denial.

‘I’m sorry,’

‘You let me think I killed him. I poured my heart out to you and all that time, you knew,’

‘I was scared.’ Elle whispered; her voice full of fear.

‘So was I. Elle, I trusted you. Why couldn’t you trust me?’

‘I was scared. I have a baby to think about and I thought,’ Elle stuttered.

‘You thought you could get away with it. You’re supposed to be my friend, Elle.’ Ruby hung up the phone without even a good bye in disappointment. She sighed from the frustrations of the long day as she tried to process yet another piece of information.

‘Aah,’ Ruby threw the phone at the TV in frustration. All those words she’d spoken about Brax suddenly seemed harsh and unjustified. She didn’t know what was right and wrong any more. The lines between everything became blurred a long time ago.

Ruby sat there feeling extremely down for a very long time. Time seemed to blur by as she sat there and Ruby barely noticed Xavier walking over and sitting down next to her.

‘Rubes, aren’t you coming to bed?’ Xavier asked sleepily. ‘It’s starting to get late.’

Ruby stayed quiet for a while and when she spoke, it was in a cracked distant voice. ‘I don’t want to be alone. Xav, I just want to be happy. Why do people hurt me?’

Xavier grabbed Ruby as she burst into tears and held her to his chest as she sobbed and rocked. ‘It’s okay; it’s going to be okay,’

Ruby shook her head and laid her head on his lap as everything that had been building up inside her cascaded out of her.

‘It was Elle,’ Ruby whispered.

‘What was Elle?’

‘She’s going to confess for killing Grant,’

Xavier stroked Ruby’s hair. ‘What?’

‘She just called while you were asleep.’

‘Do you know what happened?’ Xavier asked. ‘I mean, was it an accident, did he attack her or…’

Ruby shook her head. ‘I was upset, I hung up. I don’t know why everything’s always so wrong in my life. Everything just feels so lonely. She was my friend and…’

‘Hey,’ Xavier pulled her closer. ‘Hey, you’re not alone. I’m here; I’m always here, okay? I love you.’

‘Doesn’t stop the loneliness, no matter who’s with me,’ Ruby sobbed. ‘I miss her. She’d know what to say. She always did.’

Xavier didn’t ask who ‘she’ was. There were times in a girl’s life that only a mother could amend.

When Ruby woke up the next morning, she was still resting her head on Xavier’s lap on the couch. Behind her, the kitchen cabinets were banging as she looked over in that direction. ‘Morning,’

Casey said. ‘Morning, you two slept on the couch?’

‘Big mistake,’ Ruby massaged her neck as she sat up trying to stop the soreness. ‘Listen Case, I was out of line last night. I’m sorry.’

‘It’s alright.’ Casey assured. ‘It’s water under the bridge and all that. But seriously though, you do know anger doesn’t get you anywhere right? Trust me, I know. It once ended me in juvie.’

‘Yeah, I should wash up,’ Ruby said noncommittally as she got up and paused. ‘I guess what I said to you doesn’t make much sense now.’

‘What’d you mean?’ Casey asked as he took a mouthful of cereal.

‘With the real killer confessing and all,’

By the time Casey could process what she said; Ruby was already down the hall and into the bathroom. In confusion, he picked up his phone and tried to find some answers.

‘Honestly, it’s a wonder we have any food left given how much we go through. I could’ve sworn I got a new peanut butter jar just the other day. It can’t surely be gone now.’ Irene complained as she moved away from the fridge and grabbed her bag. ‘Right, I’m heading off.’

‘Bye Irene.’ Bianca called as she sipped on her coffee. ‘Irene’s right you know, out fridge is emptier than it is full.’

‘Maybe it’s you.’ April pondered knowingly. ‘Maybe your appetite’s getting needier.’

‘Hey, what are you trying to say about me?’ Bianca complained jokingly and then sobered as a thought came to her. ‘I wish it was me eating it all and I wish I could blame it on pregnancy cravings but it’s not me this time.’

April noticed her sister’s expression. ‘Sorry, I know it’s hard for you. I didn’t mean to imply…’

‘No, it’s fine.’ Bianca brushed it away just as Liam came into the eating area. ‘Hey babe, do you want some coffee?’

‘No,’ Liam looked serious.

‘What’s wrong?’ Bianca asked.

‘Well, I was looking for the toolbox to fix that squeak in the bathroom door and I think there’s something you should see.’

‘That sounds ominous.’ Bianca said as she followed Liam out into the backyard and into the garage. As they entered, Liam guided her to a little corner hidden behind some crates. There hid cans of food including the peanut butter jar that Irene had been looking for only minutes ago. ‘Liam, what is this?’

Liam bent down and picked up a locket that was amongst the pile. ‘Not just food, jewellery too and a couple of ten dollar bills,’

Bianca took the locket from Liam and opened it. ‘This is Roo’s. She left it here a few weeks ago but when she came looking for it, we couldn’t find it.’

‘It was clearly taken from our house.’

‘What’re you trying to say, that Reed’s been stealing food and money?’ Bianca didn’t know what to think. ‘Why would she do that?’

‘For a young one, she’s smart enough to understand survival skills.’ Liam stated. ‘Food and money are pretty important if you’re planning on being self-reliant. But everything else is a whole other story.’

‘You think she was thinking of running away?’ Bianca took a breath. ‘She’s been getting along fine, she wouldn’t do that.’

‘Whatever her reasons she stole from us, and we have to deal with it.’

Bianca looked down at the pile and sure enough, noticed the transparent red bottle of her Dolce perfume. She bent to pick it up, feeling hurt. ‘This is mine, from my room.’

‘What’re we going to do about this?’ Liam asked. Sure, they had been taking care of Reed in the technical sense but this was the first time they had to actually parent.

‘We’ll talk to her.’

‘And what, give her a slap on the wrist. Bianca, this is serious. We don’t even know anything about this girl. When you run away, you steal food, yes; I can understand that, but perfume?’

‘She’s vulnerable and she’s scared, you don’t have to have a conversation to understand that much. If she’s not happy here, we’ll talk to her.’ Bianca ignored.

By the time they got inside, April had already gone to work and Reed was reading a Snoopy picture book that Bianca had dug up for her on the couch. Bianca sat next to her with Liam standing beside his wife.

‘Reed, can we talk to you for a second?’

Reed looked at the perfume bottle and Roo’s locket in Bianca’s hand and instantly stood up and tried to run away. Bianca held her and made her sit. ‘Reed honey, we just want to talk. Please.’

Reed looked scared and guilty. Liam stated the obvious. ‘We found your stash.’

Bianca had an arm around the girl. ‘Honey, did you take all that food because you don’t want to live with me anymore? We just want you to be comfortable here and if you’re not then we can talk about it and fix things.’

‘Stealing isn’t on, Reed. You don’t steal from other people. It’s not right.’ Liam added sternly.

Reed looked confused; that wasn’t what she was used to. Bianca stared at Liam and looked back to Reed with warmth. ‘Look, you’re not in trouble, we’re just trying to understand this. Did you take my perfume because you liked it? You know I’d be more than happy to share if you ask. You don’t have to steal it. You made me sad.’

The silence ate away at them. Reed shed a tear and Bianca pulled her close. ‘I’m not angry. I’m just upset that you’re not happy here. If you just told me, I could help. Please, it’s okay.’

Reed pulled away and took the perfume bottle and stared at it. Bianca and Liam looked at each other in confusion but Reed stared at the bottle and more than anything wanted to be with the woman who she used to know that used to wear the same perfume as Bianca; the woman she called her mother.

‘Yeah mate, the coppers called me first thing this morning.’ Brax told his brother on the phone. ‘Some chick confessed last night. Thanks for the call Case.’

Brax ended his call and sighed. He sat there on the bench, staring at the water and didn’t know how to feel. He should be relieved that he was acquitted but it didn’t seem to come to him. A little away from him, Jade sat on the grass playing with the seashells she’d just collected on their walk to the beach.

‘You look like you need someone to talk to.’ Brax hadn’t even realised anyone walk up to him. He looked up to find Marissa Gold standing beside him. ‘Is this seat taken?’

‘No, go ahead.’ Brax smiled as Marissa sat beside him on the bench. ‘How’s everything with you?’

‘I’m settling in at the school, I met your little brother actually. He’s a teacher isn’t he?’

‘Yeah, who would’ve thought? The kid’s actually got a brain in there.’ Brax joked as he stared at the ocean aimlessly.

Marissa watched him for a minute. ‘You’re not going to find it in there.’

‘What?’ Brax asked.

‘Whatever it is you’re looking for. You’re not going to find it in the ocean.’

‘What makes you think I’m looking for anything?’ Brax asked defensively.

‘I’m a counsellor. I’m good at reading people.’

‘I don’t need psychoanalysing,’ Brax retorted.

‘I never said you did.’ Marissa assured.

They sat together for a minute just enjoying the day. ‘I just got acquitted from a murder charge this morning. They caught the real killer.’ Brax finally said. He didn’t even realise the words coming out of his mouth until he heard them and instantly regretted it.

‘Ah, so that’s why you’re in a gloomy mood; because you got good news.’ Marissa joked.

‘Maybe I do need your psychobabble after all.’ Brax joked back.

‘Yeah, I should get going to school. I have an appointment with a student,’ Marissa looked at her watch and got up. For a second or two, she paused as if contemplating what she was going to say. ‘Listen, what’re you doing for lunch? If you’re not busy, maybe we could catch up?’

Brax looked once at Jade playing in the far distance and at Charlie sitting beside her and looked back at Marissa. ‘I actually have plans, maybe another time.’

‘Yeah,’ Marissa tried to hide her disappointment. ‘I’ll see you later, bye.’

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