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Tomorrow and Forever

Guest ScreamingQueen2006

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Story Title: Tomorrow and Forever

Type of story: Long Fic

Main Characters: Charlie, Ruby, Brax, Jack, Martha, Bobby, Roo and others.

BTTB rating: G/T

Genre: Drama/Romance

Does story include spoilers: None

Any warnings: (SC, V/D)

Summary: A pastiche of Summer Bay.

Chapter 1 - Part 1

Patterson Residence

"I can't believe you would do this to me!" Ruby's entire body clenched up.

"Ruby please. I'm sorry." Charlie begged, her words dissolved behind tears.

"Sorry doesn't even begin to cover it."

"I never meant to hurt you."

"But you have Charlie. You've lied to me my whole life. I don't care if I never see you again." Ruby stormed out of the house and slammed the door behind her.

Charlie turned to Morag. "You vindictive cow. She hates me, no thanks to you."

"She has a right to know the facts."

"Since when did you decide what' best for Ruby? You could at least pretend to care."

"Oh i do care. Believe it or not Charlie, I did not intend for that to happen."

"So why all the lies?"

"What makes you think I lied?"

"You're denying that this is what you wanted?"

"Ross happened to mention it one day, I don't think he realised what he was saying. Do you expect me not to be curious?"

"So why did you?"

"You were against me from the beginning. Whatever I do, I'm always going to be under your mircoscope."

"I have a right to protect my dad's interests."

"Correction, your interests. You're unhappy because a secret came out from your past Charlie. I think you really need to deal with those demons and not go blaming a sick man."

Charlie swelled with rage. It overpowered her sense of reason, and knowing she couldn't ignore it any longer, she snatched the wine glass from Morag's hand and splashed the contents over her face.

Stewart's Point Road/Summer Bay Caravan Park

The yellow convertible drove along the narrow road of the coast, the sand stone cliffs rising steeply, as the glimpses of Summer Bay stretched out to the left.

"Excited about coming?" Roo asked her teenage son who sat in the passenger seat.

"Yeah, thrilled."

"Is it that bad?"

"Leaving New York to come here? Yeah, it's tragically bad."

"You may like it here, if you give it a chance."

"I doubt it." He said stubbornly.

"I wanted to show you where I grew up."

"This is the first time you've been back, right?"

"Yes." Roo turned a corner.

"Then it can't be that important to you."

The Caravan Park remained unchanged. Vans were dotted around the grounds, deck chairs and fold out tables were full of activities, from cards to books belonging to the people staying at the site. Miles walked toward them busily, a bucket in one hand and a mop in the other. Roo walked over to him wheeling a suitcase and called to her teenage son to stop dawdling.

"Hey. Can I help you?" Miles asked her.

"I'm here to see somone, Alf Stewart." Roo replied. "Is he in?"

"Well he should be doing the dishes, seeing as he doesn't pay rent." Miles laughed.

Summer Bay House looked as it had when Roo had last seen it. The sheer size of the stone building with its red roof and verandah. She knocked musically on the door, listening for someone who may answer.

"Just a minute." Called a familiar voice.

Roo stood in the doorway and smiled as Alf appeared. "Surprise!"

"Struth Ruth! You're back!" Alf threw hs arms around his daughter. "Matthew! How's my favourite grandson eh?"

"Hey Grandad."

"I fly halfway around the world." Roo began. "And the welcome I get is struth."

"I just didn't know what to say, you're the last person I expected to see."

Pier Diner

The Pier Diner was quiet with the usual atmosphere, as customers sat at various tables. Martha stood by the counter, glancing between the deli shop items and the menu board.

"You alright?" Jack asked from beside her. "Can't decide on what to have?"

"I was just about to order actually." She smiled cheerily.

"Me too."

"You seem familiar." Martha's eyes fixed on him.

"Oh yeah. Ever been in trouble with the police?"

"No. Why?"

"Well I'm a police officer. Maybe I was that cop who gave you a speeding ticket or something."

She laughed a little. "You don't remember me do you? I'm Martha."

"Martha?" He looked at her vaguely.

"The stripper from the other night. You know, in the sailor girl outfit?"

"Oh right. I didn't recognise you."

"With clothes on? Yeah i know. So how was your friend's wedding?"

"It didn't work out. His bride to be went over to his house the next day, and told him she couldn't marry him."

"Oh no, that sucks. So what's your name?"

"Jack. Jack Holden." He offered a hand.

"Nice to meet you Jack."

"I'm fairly new to town, just moved here a couple of weeks ago. The scenery here is amazing, I've seen whales on my early morning jogs, never known anything like it."

Martha nodded in agreement. "Summer Bay is a pretty great place."

Bobby hurried out of the kitchen carrying two plates, she told them that she would take their orders when her hands were free.

"What can I do for you?" Bobby asked them moments later.

"Coffee to go thanks." Jack said.

Bobby began making it.

"Have you had a tour around the Bay?" Martha asked Jack.

"Are you inviting me for coffee?"

Martha blushed. "I honestly don't know what I'm inviting you to do, but a coffee does sound good."

"Sure. How's tomorrow sound? I'm currently on a shift, but my schedule is clear then."

"That's fine."

Bobby handed the hot drink to Jack and took the money from the counter, placing it into the till.

"Great. See you here at 11:30." Jack gave Martha one last smile before leaving the diner.

"Looks like you've got an admirer." Bobby said.

Ruby reached the counter, seemingly more self-conscious then ever before.

"Is everything ok?" Bobby asked her.

"No..." To Ruby's fury she began to cry.

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Thanks for the comments guys, I really appreciate the feedback. Hope you enjoy reading the next part in the chapter.

Chapter 1 - Part 2

Patterson Residence

Charlie held the empty glass in her hand. She couldn't help feel satisfied at the sight of Morag's face soaked in bright red wine.

"What on earth is going on?" Leah said as she entered the living room.

Vinnie planted himself inbetween Charlie and Morag. "I think you both need to take a chill pill."

"Would someone like to tell me what's going on here?" Leah asked again.

"Morag let slip to Ruby the truth that I'm her mother. She snooped for information on the adoption." Charlie explained.

"Get out of my house Morag." Leah demanded.

"Gladly, although I find it quite remarkable how you're not surprised."

"Charlie's my best friend, we tell each other everything. Now leave."

"You heard her, get out." Vinnie told Morag.

Brax let himself into the house and entered the living the room. "Hey Charlie. I came as quick as I could."

"Not now Brax." Charlie said.

"I know you've a lot to process right now, but I want to help."

"It's not his fault Charlie but why he cares I don't know."

"Would you shut up." Brax snapped at Morag. "You've already caused enough trouble."

Charlie looked at Brax, seeing the person she had come to love and trust over the last year. "We'll talk tomorrow." She wanted nothing more than to have his support, but for the moment she needed space.

Morag turned to leave, the red remnants of wine remained on her face. She took a quick glance at everyone and walked out.

"I'm sorry for spoiling your anniversary guys." Charlie said.

"Not at all, don't worry about it." Leah walked over to Charlie and embraced her in her arms.

Pier Diner

"So Morag let the cat outta the bag that Charlie's your mum?" Bobby asked.

"Yeah." Ruby swiped angrily at her eyes. "I already gave her Charlie a massive serve about it, before I headed here. She's been sending me all these texts apologising for the whole mess, but she's wasting her time."

"Sounds to me like she's feeling really bad about it."

"So am I. I mean I've been lied to, and if she can keep this from me..." Ruby thought for a moment. "What else could she lie about? Don't you think it's weird how she never said anything?"

"I reckon she was trying to protect you. Maybe Morag putting her on the spot made her panic, and instead of brushing it off she came clean."

"If it wasn't for Morag I wouldn't know." Ruby dabbed a Kleenex tissue at her eyes.

Bobby leaned back in her chair, thoughtful and calm. "Maybe that's where the real problem is."

"What do you mean by that?" Ruy blinked the last of the brief storm of tears away.

"The dragon lady isn't all she's cracked up to be."

Ruby's phone beeped. "Hold on." She looked at the screen to see a new message. "It's Xave, I best go. Thanks for the chat Bobby."


Summer Bay House

"So you're the famous Roo Stewart or should I say famous." Miles joked.

"Dad!" Roo tapped Alf on the hand playfully. "What have you been saying?"

"Nothing love."

"So what's the real story then?" Miles asked her.

Roo set her mug down on the table. "The short version is, a girl grew in a small town, she went off the rails that caused her nothing but disgrace and then left. Twenty years later she returns."

At the sound of the front door opening, everyone turned to see Matthew.

"Having fun looking around?" Roo asked.

"There's nothing to do here. I'm bored."

"There must be something here you like." Miles said.

"I like my surf board, the end. I'll just keep reminding myself it's only for six weeks, then I can go back to the real world." Matthew stormed out the way he'd came in.

"What's up with him?" Alf asked.

"He's not really coping with Frank's new marriage."

"Oh love. I didn't realise that had happened."

"Yeah it was sudden, but it's not like Frank and I were an item for long."

"Understandable given the circumstances. Remember how you were when Alisa and me got married? All those stunts you played."

"Don't remind me."

Melody walked in, a bag over her shoulder. "Carrying these books is really starting to cripple me."

"The library getting stressful?" Miles asked.

"I've been there all day. I need a break."

"Melody this is Alf's daughter, Roo." Miles began. "She arrived today with her son Matthew, and he's about your age."

"It's nice to meet you. I'm gonna go to my room, kinda feeling tired after slogging away at the books you know." She smiled politely and headed toward the stairs.

Alf turned his attention back to Roo. "So, how long are you intending to stay?"

"For the forseeable future. I'm moving back."

"Well this is a turn up for the books."

"It is, but what's worrying me is how Matthew's going to react when he finds out I've enrolled him at Summer Bay High."

Austin's House

"Maybe she wanted to tell you." Xavier said.

"Then why didn't she?" Ruby replied.

Xavier gave a confused shrug. He wanted to help, but had no idea how to.

"Why couldn't she have just told me? She knows how important something like this would be to me."

"Maybe you should come inside, take your mind off it for a while, before you go back home."

"Xave, I don't want to go back there tonight. Could I stay here with you?"

Xavier smiled slightly not knowing what to say.

"That's if your mum's ok with it." She added.

"Yeah, ok. I'll ask." He unlocked the front door of the Austin's home with great care. Gina and John might be asleep by now given the time. As he made his way inside he found them on the couch, watching television with the lights turned low.

"Hi." Ruby said, as she followed Xavier into the house.

"Hi you two. How was the second to last day of the holidays?" Gina asked.

"Erm mum, would it be ok if Ruby stayed tonight?" Xavier knew exactly what the answer would be. "Something happened and she can't go home."

"I seriously can't go back there." Ruby said.

Gina thought for a moment. "I suppose it would be fine. Just remember the separate bedroom policy. I know what you kids get up to when left alone."

"Do you have to go into that? Ruby can stay in Hugo's old room." Xavier said, trying to make sure it was clear that this wasn't some ploy to have his girlfriend stay over.

"I think I should go to bed feelng rather tired, and thank you Gina."

"No need to thank me." Gina smiled. "Night then."

"See you two love birds tomorrow." John added.

After they had said their good-nights the adults watched as Xavier led Ruby through the passage to Hugo's room.

"Didn't they seem like they were hiding something to you?" John asked.

"I noticed Ruby's expression change at the mention of Charlie, but there didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary. Maybe they're just having a few issues that will be ironed out come morning."

Inside the spare room Ruby scanned her new surroundings. A small waste-basket overflowed with crumpled note paper, and she spied Hugo's childhood skateboard, peeking out from under a pile of boxes.

"I have a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you can borrow." Xavier called out to her.

"It's really nice of your mum to let me stay. I don't know what I'd have done if I couldn't have stayed. I've literally had the rug pulled out from under me. What are people going to think and say?"

"Same as they always have." Xavier placed the clothes on the bed. "Who would gossip anyway?"

"Colleen will for sure. Oh my gosh, this is such a mess."

"Maybe things will be clearer by morning."

"Maybe." She didn't sound convinced. "Does it make you feel any different about me?"

"Of course not."

Ruby sat down on the neatly made bed. "Am I overreacting? I feel like I'm being a drama queen over this, but I'm so angry."

"I'm sure it's really weird, and you've got every right to be angry. Who wouldn't be? But you should try to get some sleep."

"Yeah." She let out a heavy breath, trying to expel the days trauma.

Ten minutes later Ruby walked into Xaviers room. She had changed into the t-shirt and beach shorts, they drowned her as they were too big for her frame. "Just wanted to say thanks."

Xavier grinned. "I don't think you should thank me for making you look like that."

Ruby's face brightened momentarily. "Ha ha very funny. Just don't go taking any pictures."

"Aww, but I promised half the school I'd upload them onto the internet this weekend."

"This is so weird, like the weirdest night of my life even."

"Sleep on it. See how you feel tomorrow."

"Wait. I have an idea." Ruby moved toward the desk and turned on Xavier's sliver Apple laptop.

"What sort of idea?" He didn't like the sound of it.

"You'll see."

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beebee - Thanks. There are quite a few characters, but most are just supporting. You see them pop in and out but they don't get their own stories like Ruby, Charlie, Brax, Martha and such, but they are connected in a way to everyone else's storylines.

pembie Thanks Pembie. It's been a challenge trying to mix the old in with the new but it's been heaps of fun.

EmyKate68 Thank you. I'm glad you're liking the use of the old and new characters together.

Thanks again for your lovely comments, I appreciate the feedback. As some of my chapters can be long I decided to break them down into parts, so as not to overwhelm you guys with too much in one go. Let me know if you like it this way. Here's Part 1 of Chapter 2. Hope you enjoy the read.

Chapter 2 - Part 1

Austin's House

Gina had finished spreading Vegemite on a slice of toast, just as there was a knock at the door. She thought it was still early for anyone to be dropping by.

"Hi." Gina opened the door to Charlie.

"Hey Gina. Is Ruby here?" Charlie appeared stressed and sleep deprived, dark circles beneath her eyes.

"They came back here to spend the night, but this morning I found a note on Xavier's bed saying they'd gone out. I left a voice message for him to call me, though I haven't heard anything yet."

Charlie sighed, the anxiety and strain had started to take their toll on her.

"Did you get much sleep?"

"If passing out on the couch at 6am for half an hour counts then not really."

"Can I get you a tea or coffee?" Gina offered with a compassionate smile.

"A coffee would be great. I hope I'm not taking up your time."

"Not at all. I've got timetables to write up for the new school year, but I can do that any time today." She poured the boiled water from the kettle into the two mugs and handed one to Charlie.

"Thanks." She seemed grateful for the small gesture.

"Maybe I can get ahold of Xavier again." Gina dialed the familiar entry and waited as the caller tone rang. "Although sometimes trying to get through to him is like trying to wake the dead. Impossible."

Sydney Airport: Terminal 1

The vibrating mobile in Xavier's hand ceased as the call went to voice-mail.

"Was that Gina again?" Ruby asked.


As they stood in the bustling terminal they saw the excited faces of holidaymakers waiting to be flown to their far flung dream destinations. They didn't share their excitment as they nervously waited to leave Australia.

"This wasn't a bad idea, was it?" Xavier asked.

"No." Ruby gazed out of the window and watched as passengers boarded a flight. "This is supposed to be fun, an escape. We aren't running away forever."

Xavier looked at her, the sight of her hopeful face brought optimism to him. "How much longer till our flight? It already seems like it's taking forever."

"Not long to go. Do you know how long it'll take to get there?"

"It's a non-stop so about fourteen hours."

"Do you think we can sleep for fourteen hours?"

"Probably, but I'm still cautious Rubes. I don't think I could sleep until we arrive."

The announcement rang from the speakers. "Flight DL16 to Los Angeles will depart from Terminal one in thirty minutes. Please have your boarding passes ready."

Patterson Residence

Vinnie stood at the kitchen counter flipping through the mail, separating the junk from the bills.

Leah walked into the kitchen, wearing her dressing gown. "Morning baby."

"Morning princess." Vinnie gave her a light kiss on the lips.

"The V man is up far too early. Come back to bed." She directed her eyes at him, as if waiting for him to say something, but he merely looked at her clueless. The sudden knock at the door interrupted them.

"Hi Irene." Leah began as she opened the door. "How's VJ been"?

"Good. I took him on the swings. He insisted on swinging as high as he could, so he could kick his shoes over the fence. Colleen didn't appreciate almost getting pelted with crocs I don't think."

"Well." Vinnie turned from reading the mail. "At least he's not too young to know that Colleen is a good target to aim for."

"So where is" Did you drop him off at Stella's?" Leah asked.

"Yeah darl. I forgot you might want him here with you guys. I just thought with everything going on with Charlie and Ruby, and obviously Morag being about. It might be wise to keep him out the way, as not to upset the little bloke. I hope you don't mind."

"Of course not."

"So what's the latest? Charlie about?"

"No, last time we saw her she looked really worn out, and said something about going to look for Ruby."

"Oh no, don't tell me she's done a runner?"

"Looks that way. She's at Gina's now trying to work it out. I'll keep you posted if there's any news."

"Thanks darl. I best be off."

"Thanks again Irene." Leah closed the door, and pounced on an unsuspecting Vinnie. "Come on babe, come back to bed. If only for half an hour. It could be the half hour we conceive." She tilted her head making puppy dog eyes.

Vinnie looked at her for a second. "Ok, but you have to let me wear my Superman outfit." Leah laughed as he picked her up and carried her off to the bedroom.

Austin's House

From the doorway of Hugo's old room, Charlie and Gina stared at the immaculately made bed.

"This bed has definitely not been slept in." Charlie said. "I've seen Ruby's idea of making the bed and that is nothing like it."

"I'm guessing they spent the night in here?" Gina closed the door and headed for Xavier's room. It was still, except for the blinds swaying softly in the morning breeze. The note that Gina found sat on the bedside table.

"I'm sorry you had to be dragged into this." Charlie began. "It's my mess or disaster."

"This is hardly a disaster, a mess maybe, but messes can be fixed." Gina heard the laptop humming. It felt extremely warm as she pushed the mouse to wake up the computer. "I'm sure Ruby will come home once she's calm."

"I hope you're right. I just want to know where she is and that she's safe."

"I bet they're going to hang around at Yabbie Creek until they get bored or run out of money. They'll be home by dinnertime I'm sure."

As she was about to shut down the laptop, the email notifier on the desktop flashed to life.

"What's wrong?" Charlie asked.

"You know I said about them being back by dinnertime? Well, it might take a lot longer than that." Gina continued to read the details in the email.

"Why? Where are they?"

Gina noticed a word document open on the task bar. She clicked on it and read an apology note stating that Xavier would pay her back for using her credit card details online. "Not exactly sure where they are right now, but I can say where they'll be tomorrow afternoon."

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Thanks for the comments Pembie and Jarliefanever.

Chapter 2 - Part 2

Summer Bay House

Miles yawned as he walked sleeplessly into the living room. "Another beautiful day to wake up to."

"Absolutely." Roo replied as she made herself a cup of coffee.

"I forgot how beautiful it is at this hour." Melody said, as she grabbed herself a slice of buttered toast from a plate on the table.

"Life is extraordinarily beautiful Melody." Miles spoke positively. "But sometimes when the sun is shining too brighty into my eyes, I have to squint."

Melody laughed before making an exit up the stairs.

Roo sat down with her steaming cup of coffee.

"So where's the boy got to this morning?" Alf asked.

"I checked his bed and it's been made. So I'm guessing he's gone to check out the beach."

"He will adjust love."

"I hope so."

"If he doesn't Roo. Do I have permission to fire a rocket up him?" Miles asked.

"If that's what it takes to get through to him, I'm all for it."

"Excellent. Right I'm off to take a shower." Miles wandered away up the stairs.

"And we're off to the diner." Alf said to Roo. "I want to show you off."

Summer Bay Beach

The wind whipped past Matthew's cheeks, as he opened hus mouth to take a breath of air, he could taste the salted tang of the ocean on his tongue. To his right the vast sea glistened, its surface broken by the waves rolling toward the shore.

Annie sat atop a sand dune holding a camera, scanning between the fascinating culture of happy and peaceful people building sandcastles, and the view of surfers riding on the crest of the waves. She was looking for a muse, the she saw him, focusing the zoom she began snapping away.

"Hey!" Matthew called up to her. He had noticed she'd been taking photos. "Show me what you've got."

"Sorry?" She lifted her eyes from the viewfinder.

"You've been taking pictures of me. Don't think I didn't notice."

"Since when was it a crime to take pictures?" Annie buried the camera into her bag.

"I'm in those shots. Now give me the camera."

Three men who had been close enough to hear the conversation climbed up the sand dune.

"You been perving taking photos little girl?" One guy said, who sported a grenade tattoo on his neck.

"Just leave me alone."

"Give me the camera." Matthew demanded.

"Forget it. I have the right to take what pictures I like." She stood moodily, removing the beach towel she'd sat on.

"You're getting cocky due to PMS. I like it." The guy teased, aiming to get another reaction out of her. "I'm Heath." He held out his hand to Matthew.


"You one of us now mate. Now here's a favour." Heath snatched Annie's bag.

"Hey! Give it back!"

"Now you know how Matt here feels when you stole hs image." Heath searched for the camera, throwing the contents over the beach. The camera landed with a soft thud as it hit the sand.

"I'm serious! Just give it back!" Annie watched as Heath picked it up.

"Those photos won't be a problem now Matty boy." Heath ran down the dune towards the sea, and with a big swing flung it into the outgoing tide. "Gotta go mate, catch ya later."

Matthew watched as Heath and his two friends walked up the beach.

"You idiot!" Annie screamed at Matthew.

"Why you shouting at me? He's the one that threw your camera into the ocean"

"You have absolutely no idea what that camera meant." Annie held back tears, she wasn't going to let him have the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

"Well it wouldn't be a problem if you hadn't been taking photos of me."

"Just go to hell!" Annie said, delaring at him.

"Why don't you slip into something more comfortable like a coma!"

Sydney Airport: Terminal 1

"L.A Hollywood. This is going to be so awesome." Ruby said as she flicked through some pages Xaver had printed out.

"Yeah. I'm actually looking forward to it now. We might even get to see some celebrities like Johnny Depp." Xavier replied.

"Then I can steal his bottle of rum, you know how his alter ego drinks it all the time."

"I've had it with wobbly-legged rum soaked Pirates!" Xavier impersonated the actor's character Jack Sparrow.

They laughed together as the doors to the runway opened, passports at the ready.

"How are we going to get to a hotel?" Ruby asked.

"I guess we'll get a taxi at the airport. I have enough money to pay for that."

"I want to go on one of those bus tours too. You know where you sit on the roof and it drives around the movie studios."

"Then we'll go check it out." Xavier knew his mother's bank account wasn't overflowing, but he was sure it would all work out.

"I don't know what I'd do without you Xave." Ruby flashed him the sweetest smile, as she took his hand in hers.

Blaxland Wharf

The wharf stretched over the water, maybe thirty metres, enough room to secure two craft but only the Blaxland bobbed gently on the incoming tide.

"Just thought we'd take a detour love." Alf said, as him and Roo walked along the plank.

"I remember when we used to come down here all the time. It's nice to see it again." Roo noticed Alf didn't seem himself. "It was a bit naughty of me to rock up unannounced. Wasn't it?"

"Yeah. Well to tell you the truth it was quite a suprise, you and Matthew arriving the way you did. It's not been great timing with everything else that's been going on."

"It's ok Dad. If you want us to stay at the Sands and get out of your hair for a bit."

"No, course I don't want you to go Roo. I actually like having my family around, even if I haven't seen you for goodness knows how long."

"Miles told me about Hugo. How's Martha holding up?"

"I think she could do with some motherly chats. She's keeping it together on the surface, but I know she's not coping too well with Hugo's death. She's called in sick from work no end of times. So I've had to rotate shifts at the Juice Bar."

"I'll go round and see her later."

Brax walked up the plank, seemingly frustrated. "Alf. I've been looking for you everywhere."

"Just on my way to the diner. Why? Is something the matter?"

"Yeah, but you're not gonna like it. It's about Morag."

"What's that flammin' sister of mine done now?"

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Thanks for the comments Pembie, JarlieFanEver and RoRo90.

Chaper 3 - Part 1

Morag's Apartment

"Open up, Morag!" Alf's fist bashed on the front door. "We know you're in there." He glanced at Roo who was standing beside him. "Her car's parked outside. She's got to be in."

"Listen. Why don't we head off and catch her later." Roo said.

"I want to flammin' talk to her now. Come Morag!."

Suddenly the front door opened to reveal Morag. Alf lowered his fist. "I want a word with you." He pushed past her into the neatly kept living room.

"Of course." Morag stepped aside to allow Roo entry. "What's with all the noise? Maybe a spot of tea might you down Alfred."

"Forget tea Morag. What's this I hear about you telling Ruby who her mother was?"

"Just a mere slip of the tongue."

"Just a slip of the tongue? No other reason?" Alf levelled a hard gaze upon Morag.

"No. I don't see what it has to do with you."

"Ruby's gone on the flammin' run, that's what."

"She's not your concern Alfred."

"No she isn't, but she's your granddaughter. Maybe you start treating her like one."

"I think we need to calm down." Roo said.

"You need to listen Morag, and listen good. You can't play Charlie and Ruby off against each other. What ever you have up your sleeve you ought to foget it."

"I'll have you know my days of having something up my sleeve are long gone. Now if you don't mind Ross and I are about to go for a spot of lunch. Remember to close the door on your way out."

Pier Diner

"Thanks for the coffee." Jack said. "It was nice hanging out."

"Likewise." Martha replied.

"I hope I didn't bore you. I'd be gutted if I bored a great chick like yourself."

Martha laughed. "You need to stop complimenting me like that."

"Did I come on a bit strong."

Martha's face grew red as they made eye-contact. Then she remembered Hugo and everything came rushing back. "I have to go. It was really nice meeting you."

"Maybe we could do this again sometime?"

"Yeah. I'd like that." Martha watched as he left and was about to do the same when Alf and Roo entered. "Grandad. Mum!"

"Hi Martha." Roo answered.

"What brings you here? It's not long ago I visited you in the Big Apple."

"Well, I figured I could do with a break and I guess your Grandad hasn't told you yet, but I'm back for more than a holiday."

"Really? That's fantastic."

"Have you seen your brother yet?"

"No." Martha shook her head. "He's here too?"

"Against his will." Roo joked. "I'm driving him to the school for his enrolment today. So I can't stay long, but I'd really like to catch up."

"I'd like that too. Drop by the farm whenever you can, that's where I usually am."

Colleen walked out from the kitchen and stopped dead in her tracks. "Well I never in a million years thought I'd see you in here Roo Stewart."

"Hi Colleen." Roo said.

"Call me Auntie Colleen."

Later they were all sat down eating Lamington, under Roo's request, while Colleen began her usual sticky beaking. "I see you aren't wearing an engagement ring. Isn't the man you're seeing going to propose? I mean you're not getting any younger."

"We're just taking this slow for now." Roo dug her fork into a piece of the cubed cake, which was covered in thin chocolate icing and dried coconut.

"I remember you had a wild side. All those things you did, such scandals. The terrible times you put your poor father through, the things you did to Alisa. Not to mention the whole fiasco with young Martha."

"I am here Colleen."

At that moment Bobby entered the Diner, and happened to overhear the conversation.

"But it's good to see you're turned out nicely, despite all that. Now you've got a chance to amend your ways and be a mum to Martha. Although, I can't help wondering if Frank Morgan hadn't left Bobby for you, he would have run off with someone else."

"For heaven's sake woman, put a sock in it." Alf said sharply.

Bobby strolled over to them. "No. It's ok Alf. Colleen's right. Frank would have nicked of with some other bimbo and you know what? He would have left her eventually too."

Annie seemed visibly upset as she walked into the Pier Diner. Irene, who had been busy in the kitchen noticed. Something the matter darl? I thought you had Biology class now."

"I'm ok. I have a free period."

"You're not ok. I have eyes in my head, I can see when something is bothering you."

"It's nothing, really."

"If it was nothing you wondering be looking so down. Why don't I make you a smoothie? Then we can talk about what's troubling my girlie."

Annie nodded, and headed toward a nearby table.

Roo Stewart's Car

It was a warm summer day and a lot of students were sitting on the grass outside the school. Matthew sighed as he ran his fingers through his brown hair.

"I know it's uncool for your mum to drop you near the gates, but at least you're here on time." Roo said.

Matthew stayed quiet.

"I'll see you later then?"

"Guess so." Matthew teared his gaze from the crystal blue sky to grab his bag.

"Oh and Miles has arranged for one of the students to give you a tour."

"Great, just what I need."

"And if you could be nice to people for a day. What you did to Annie was very unkind."

"For the last time. I didn't do anything to her stupid camera."

"Just be nice, a change of attitude might make things easier for you here."

"It's not like I want to be here. You made me."

"Matthew. We've been through this."

"Maybe we should go through it again. Don't ever make decisions for me in future." He swung the passenger door open and slammed it shut behind him, as he headed toward the school, not looking back.

Summer Bay High

In the hall at the front of the school stood an impressive showcase, displaying the sports trophies won by former and present athletes. The pride of students and staff alike. Matthew stood viewing them, a rather bored expression on his face.

"Uh." Annie paused hesitantly, looking at the piece of paper in her hand. "Matthew Morgan-Stewart?"

The voice cut through his daydreams, his blue eyes tore themselves from the trophy cabinets. "Yeah. Who's asking?" He blinked, staring at him was the girl he'd seen earlier.

"I didn't think you were attending here."

"Yep. Totally suprised you huh?" Matthew asked.

"I guess."

"So can we start again? Probably could do with a friend now I'm entrolling."

"Why should I?"

"Look about the other day. I didn't like you taking pictures of me, but what those guys did was really out of line."

"You didn't try and stop them. I'm only here to give you the tour Miles asked me to."

"Fair enough. So where should we start?"

"We'll start at the science block."

Matthew followed Annie up a flight of stairs. "Have you lived in Summer Bay long?"

"A while."

"I suppose Summer Bay's ok, but it's not as good as back home."

"Where was that Transylvania?" Annie resisted the impulse not to stick out her tongue like a little child.

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Pembie You could be on to something there. Watch this space. Thanks for commenting as usual, really appreciate it.

~JarlieFanEver~ Thanks Jarlie.

Hope you guys enjoy this chapter.

Chapter 3 - Part 2

Pier Diner

"You've been really touchy this afternoon Annie." Melody said.

"Blame Biology." Annie replied moodily.

"I don't think Mel's talking about the hour we've just had to endure." Adrian added. "Does this have anything something to do with a guy?"

"Sort of."

"Tell me he isn't like Dracula's spawn?" Adrian asked.

"He's worse."

Melody spotted Matthew entering the diner, and slid down in her seat. "Please tell me I'm seeing things."

Annie turned round to see what had caught Melody's attention.

"Skip ahead to the real reason Annie's not been herself. I bet she likes him." Adrian said, giving Annie a slight smile.

Annie turned back to her friend. "No I don't."

"You're blushing." Adrian teased.

"It's possibly windburn, from earlier."

"So what's the deal with you and him?" Melody asked.

"He humiliated me on the beach before school, and then let some River Boy throw my camera into the sea."

"Why that little toad." Melody stood up fists at the ready.

"Mel, sit down!" Annie urged. "He'll see you. I don't want him coming over."

"He needs to say sorry."

Annie sighed. "He already tried to apologise."

"You mean he humoured you to make himself feel better." Adrian drank the last of her chocolate milkshake.

"All because he's now a student at Summer Bay High."

"Well he needs to learn he can't treat people like that here." Melody watched as Matthew left the diner and contemplated what to do next.

Summer Bay House

Melody found Matthew on the couch, listenng to his ipod. "I want to talk to you. That girl you humiliated down at the beach, she's my friend. How could you be so cruel"

"What?" Matthew looked at her puzzled.

"The girl with the camera. You do know what both of those look like?"

"Look, it wasn't me. I noticed her taking photos, but I didn't harm her stupid camera. So why don't you find the realy perpetrator and leave me to chill."

"That camera once belonged to a friend of Annie's, and it was given as a token to remember her by."

"So she moved, big deal."

"No you moron. She died."


"They took photos with that when she was in hospital. So if you have an ounce of decency you'd apologise."

"I already have."

"Actions speak louder than words."

"You expect me to buy her a new camera?"

"That's the least you can do."

Matthew laughed. "Getting her a new camera isn't going to make the ordeal go away." He lifted his eyes from his ipod. "Why you so interested in me being nice to her anyway?"

"Because she's my friend and secondly her camera is gone and that was down to you. So it's up to you to replace it, you owe her that much."

Pier Diner

Morag and Ross were sat looking at a table menu together.

"Can I take your order?" Leah asked.

"I thought you'd be kicking us out." Morag said.

"That whole incident at my house is separate from the diner. Whoever my customers are I have to treat them the same. So I'll take your order Morag." Her pen and order pad ready. "Is there any news on Ruby?"

"We know Ruby's with..." Ross tried to remember, but his alzheimers made it difficult.

"Xavier." Morag helped him.

"But we still don't know where they are."

"I'm sure we'll know more in due course." Morag began. "In the meantime, could we have two bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and our usual coffees."

"Sure, coming right up." Leah scurried back into the kitchen to prepare the orders.

A middle aged man dressed in a suit entered the diner and proceeded to the counter. He opened up a brief case, taking out a pack of flyers and placed them on the counter.

"Hey. You can't leave them there. We don't advertise in here." Leah told him.

"Do you know who I am?" The man snarled.

"You could be the blinking Pope for all we cared and you still wouldn't be able to put your little flyers out." Irene said.

"Brett Macklin of Macklin Development."

Roo and Alf exchanged concerned looks as they recognised who the man was.

"Hogan's ghost."

"Roo, fancy seeing you here."

"I could say the same about you Brett."

"It's not like we didn't expect this day would happen. People move on, life goes forward. We can't live in the past forever. I run Macklin Development now."

Roo picked up one of the flyers, a look of shock upon her face as she viewed it. "You can't do this."

"We're redeveloping the houses, old ones are to be demolished."

"You'll be sorry you ever tried to cross this town again." Alf threatened Brett.

"Nobody in this town scares me Alf, just so you know."

"If I were you darl I'd skip town, before the sun has a chance to set."

Feeling the hostility Brett quickly packed up his flyers and headed out the diner.

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Thanks for the comments JarlieFanEver and Pembie. Hope you guys like this one. We're away from Summer Bay for the next couple chapters, as Ruby and Xavier's time on the run progresses.

Chapter 4 - Part 1

Hollywood Boulevard

Ruby and Xavier strolled a few miles to the Walk of Fame. Crowds of tourists cluttered every square inch as the pair pushed their way along the Boulevard, eyes focussed on the ground as they passed the famous names.

"Look, Marilyn Monroe!" Ruby squealed, as she tentatively touched the pink star, complete with handprint and signature.

"Rube's has the same size hands as Monroe." Xavier teased.

"Must mean I'm going to be a huge star."

Xavier pointed to the Kodak Theatre. "That's where they have American Idol finales."

"And the Oscars. This is so amazingly out of this world, home to the rich and famous, home to rejection and great acceptance."

"No praising Hollywood as some sort of Nivana."

"It can be our Nirvana Xave."

They pushed their way through the crowd, looking at the other stars.

"Alvin and the Chipmunks have a star?"

Ruby laughed, as they continued to walk and look at the stars that lined the Boulevard, almost forgetting about everything that had left behind in Summer Bay.

Los Angeles International Airport

John checked his watch for the umpteenth time as a taxi they'd hailed pulled up. He asked the driver to wait a moment.

Charlie checked the arrivals board, there was sign of the Boeing DL16 that the teenagers had boarded. She hurried to the help desk, where a young woman sat, a nerdy appearance about her.

"How may I help you?" The employee asked, adjusting her glasses.

"I'm looking for two teenagers, both minors." Charlie pulled out a photo of them together. "Have you seen them?"

The woman squinted. "Sorry, wrong glasses." She took off the ones she had been wearing and slipped on another pair. "Ah, that's better. Now lemme see." She studied the picture and shook her head. "Not a clue, m'am."

Charlie looked at the name tag pinned to the woman's shirt. "Lizzie is it? Lizzie Burito?"

"Yeah. I just love my name, don't you?" She slapped a hand over her mouth, trying not to vomit. "I'm sorry. I have to go the bathroom. You see I ate something that didn't agree with me this morning and its really given me the green apple two-step, if you know what I mean. Good luck on finding those kids." She raised herself from her chair and bolted toward the staff WC.

"Xavier isn't answering." Gina said, putting away her mobile phone.

"What shall we do now?" John asked.

"We think like teenagers." Charlie said as all three of them hurried back to the waiting cab.

Miceli's Italian Restaurant

Ruby and Xavier passed an assortment of fast food joints, finally they came upon a restaurant that, with the glowing red and green neon sign above its door with the words 'Family Owned Since 1949'. Inside photographs lined the walls, of drawn dignitaries and celebrities galore. People from JFK and the Beatles, to Julia Roberts.

A host, who appeared super friendly, seated them at a table and handed them two menus, as a waiter stood by ready to take their orders.

"I'll have a coke and the Chicken Lasagna." Xavier said, handing over his menu.

"And I'll have a coke and Shrimp Fettuccini."

The waiter brought their drinks a moment later, then began to serenade Ruby with Italian arias and musical show tunes while they dined.

"What are we gonna do tomorrow?" Ruby asked.

"We can go on one of those bus tours like you said about. What else is there? We can go to the Hollywood sign thing."

"Yeah. Are you glad you came here now?"

"I guess." Xavier noticed outside the restaurant window, a shady looking gang wearing hoodies, on the street corner.

"Are you ok Xave?"

"Yeah." He turned his attention back to his girlfriend. "I can't complain. I get to spend time with you."

The waiter brought a New York style Cheese Cake, topped with fresh strawberries over to them.

"You know, I feel like the luckiest girl alive right now." Ruby said, smiling into Xavier's eyes.

Griffith Park Observatory

Charlie, Gina and John roamed the observatory, but as they searched amongst the families and couples on dates, they did not see Ruby and Xavier anywhere.

"I'm pretty sure they'd want to see that." Charlie said, pointing to the Hollywood sign, nestled on the side of the mountain.

"You can't actually go to the sign, can you?" Gina asked.

"It's fenced off." John responded. "There are a few spots where you can get a good view of it though."

The prospect of continuing to run around Los Angeles with little more than guesswork was not particulary appealing to Gina, but she wanted to find her son. "Where are the other spots?"

John pulled out one of the information brochures that he had grabbed upon their arrival. "What about the Walk of Fame?"

"We could give it a try." Both Gina and Charlie agreed as the three of them wasted no time in heading toward the direction of the Holy Ground, along the Walk of Fame.

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Thanks for all your comments Jarlie, it really is nice to see you're enjoying the story.

Here's the next part. :)

Chapter 4 - Part 2

Micelli's Italian Restaurant

Ruby and Xavier stepped out from the restaurant to a pulse reverberating with the constant rush of night-life, from beeping car horns and people shouting, to music blaring in a myriad of echoes. The night air hung with scents of hot Pretzels and Popcorn from street vendors.

"Really cool bag you got there." One of the hooded gang said.

The compliment caught Ruby off guard. "Um, thanks."

"Where did you get it? I think I wanna get one just like it."

"I got it for Christmas."

"Oh. You mind taking a picture of me holding it? Then I can look for one myself."

"Uh, sure."

The girl pulled out a beat-up disposable camera that looked like it didn't work. "Here you take it." She said, handing it to Xavier. "You get in the picture with me." She told Ruby.

Ruby walked over and stood next to the girl.

Xavier held the camera up and pointed it at them. "Ready?" He snapped the photo, but before he could take another he heard a thump. The girl had clocked Ruby in the head, and was running away with her bag.


"Hey! Get back here!" Xavier gave chase. The girl blurred in front of his eyes, as he felt the surge of adrenaline. As he caught up to her, she tossed the bag to one of the other kids, who jumped the nearby fence like he had superpowers.

It took Xavier several seconds to climb to the top of the fence, but when he looked around the girl and her group of friends were nowhere in sight. He headed back toward Ruby, who stood outside the entrance of the restaurant.

"We should call the cops."

"And tell them what Xave? All our money was in there. How are we gonna manage to pay for anything now?"

Xavier's stomach dropped as he realised she was right.

Hollywood Police Station

The adults stepped out from the precinct into the warm Los Angeles night, a welcome arrival from the stuffy interior of the police department.

"What are we supposed to do for seven more hours?" Gina asked.

"I guess we have to wait, I just can't believe they won't file a missing person's report yet." John said. "They're been missing long enough."

Gina nodded in agreement, as she seated herself on a nearby bench. "I just hope they're ok. There's so many things that could happen to them out here. They shouldn't even be here in the first place."

"I never meant for this to happen." Charlie began. "If I had my way, it never would have."

"Really?" Gina was taken aback my Charlie's statement. "Did you not realise that the truth might come out, it usually does. Then maybe my son would not have become involved."

"Gina." John cut in. "I know everyone's worked up, but now's not the time for confrontations. We have kids to find."

"What are we supposed to do?" She asked her voice calming.

"We keep looking. There are a lot of places we can look."

"I bet their tourists ideas aren't that imaginative."

"How about we start with some coffee?" Charlie asked.

John and Gina agreed. They headed down the block, knowing that a refreshment would give them the energy to tackle the search anew.

Motel 6

Xavier cursed as he and Ruby let themselves into their hotel room. He flipped on the light switch and cringed, it was not the cleanest of rooms, and if it weren't for the fact they'd run away they would have complained.

"Did that seriously just happen?" Ruby asked.

"Yeah, we got played."

"And robbed."

"This is all my fault. I should have known she'd try something." Xavier sat on the edge of the bed.

"So. What are we gonna do now?"

"I don't know, we've got to think of something."

"Xave. I wanted it to turn out better than this. How come we were stupid enough to let that girl fool us? If it wasn't for the fact that was all the money we had." Ruby folded her arms across her chest and sighed.

"Maybe we should get some sleep, figure out a new strategy."

"I guess." Ruby sat down on the bed beside Xavier and kissed him. She felt the warmth of his breath on the top of her lip, and with one hand pressed against his chest, she reached with the other for the button on his jeans.

Xavier pulled away slightly. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Rubes, I don't want to do anything you aren't sure of."

"What makes you think I'm not sure of this?" She ran her fingernails over his lower arm. "You've been amazing through this whole mess. You're like the only person I can actually trust. Believe me, I know what I'm doing, and I want my first time to be with you." She leaned in and kissed him again, as they lay back onto the bed together.

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pembie Hehe Ravier. :) Oh yes, spending all her money. It's not like she's rolling in it though, being a High School Principle she probably gets more than the likes of Miles, but not a whole lot. I actually looked up about Runneraways in L.A while writing these chapters and there's alot of stealing going on and much more. Very insightful. I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far and thanks so much for your comments, they really mean alot.

~JarlieFanEver~ Thanks for commenting Jarlie, I'm glad you're still enjoying the story. It's been a nice change of scenery being in L.A and all, but I do miss Summer Bay. Btw I like your new avatar.

Hope you guys enjoy the next update. :)

Chapter 5 - Part 1

Motel 6

The mugging was all but forgotten in the motel room, where Ruby and Xavier were tangled in the bed sheets.

"Rubes." Xavier reached over to rouse her, and noticed she was already awake. "How did you sleep?"

"Pretty rough, this bed isn't very comfy."

"Anything apart from that?" He felt as though he should mention last night, but didn't know what to say.

"Well, apart from that, waking up to you is nice." Ruby smiled sleeplessly as Xavier planted a quick kiss on her lips.

"Any regrets about last night?"

"None at all." Ruby stroked the side of his arm her fingers ran smoothly along his skin. "What about you?"

"I never regret anything we do." He smiled. "I really don't want to get up."

"Me either."

"We should probably think about getting out of here."

"I know."

Jumping out the bed Xavier began to gather his clothes, packing them into his rucksack. Ruby took his lead, slipping into the clothes she had worn yesterday and hurriedly began packing her own belongings. Ten minutes later they were ready to leave.

"Got everything?" Xavier asked as he opened the door. Ruby nodded and they moved out from the room, taking care to be quiet. Xavier eased the door shut and they turned down the corridor, toward the exit.

"Where are you two going so early?" A loud, assured voice spoke from behind them. They turned to see a maid, who would no doubt have raised the alarm.

Hollywood Diner

The promise of caffeine and a few minutes to sit down were enough to get Charlie, John and Gina inside the greasy spoon diner. They settled at a corner table, steam rose from their coffee mugs.

"I'm going to make the rounds with these photos of the kids. See if anyone's seen them." John raised himself from his seat and headed over to the other customers.

Once alone Charlie turned to Gina. "I'm sorry you and John had to be dragged into this, I really am."

Gina waved off the apology. "Please. My son might be a lot of things, but an angel is certainly not one of them." She casually took a sip of her coffee. "You don't have to blame yourself for all of this."

"I've already blamed everyone else for it, Morag, Brax..."

The mention of his name struck an instant spark with Gina, causing her to be more alert than any cup of coffee could make her. "You and Brax?"

"I know you probably think I'm stupid for being with him."

"No. I just hope you know what you're letting yourself in for. He knows more about what happened to Hugo than he lets on, and I know he wasn't perfect and he was just as much a criminal, but I don't think Hugo would murder anyone. Just be careful Charlie, those River Boys have quite a reputation, and not such a glowing one."

John returned to the table having had no luck with the pictures. Gina drank the last drops of her coffee, and thought about what it meant to have a second chance and wondered if she was wasting hers.

Motel 6

"We, uh, we're going to get something to eat." Xavier said.

"Up awfully early, aren't you?"

"It's the time difference." Ruby jumped in, which surprised Xavier with how natural she sounded as she span the story. "The jet lag really doesn't help either. See we're from Australia. It's already like the middle of the evening for us."

"Yeah, I can tell by the accents you aren't local. Why be taking all your stuff with you, if just going to get food?"

"I get really paranoid." Ruby replied. "I always have that feeling that someone's gonna steal by bag. I guess you can never be too careful, wouldn't you say?"

The maid nodded, still listening.

"There was this one time my sister and I..." Ruby paused, the thought of Charlie processed her mind. Still unable to fathom the fact they weren't sisters, but mother and daughter instead. "We were on a plane." She continued. "She kept telling me not to put my luggage in the holding above the seats, but I didn't care, I mean who wants their bags on the floor? There's barely any foot room as it is. So I put my stuff up there, and when I went to collect my bags after the flight, they were gone. Then we had to go through the process of reporting it, then this man was running out of the airport with my bags and get this...he had one arm."

"A one armed man stole your stuff?" The maid asked bewildered.

Ruby nodded. "Yeah, it was crazy." She grabbed Xavier's hand and began to lead him away. "I'm starving Marvin, let's go get something to eat."

"Do you know you're supposed to sign out of the building at the front desk?"

"We almost forgot, thanks for the reminder."

The teens raced through the lobby and out of the building, as soon as they hit the pavement they burst out laughing.

"The man had one arm." Xavier quoted, hardly able to breathe.

Suddenly the maid emerged from the front of the motel with the desk clerk. "There they are!"

Ruby and Xavier exchanged a look and without needing any words they both knew they had to run.

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Thanks for your comments Pembie, Jarlie and Freakie42. It's a short update this time, I'm pretty tired as I've had a busy day. Will update again in the week sometime. Hope you all enjoy reading. :)

Chapter 5 - Part 2

Franklin and Vine

Ruby and Xavier didn't stop running until they were a mile from the motel. Xavier spotted a mini-mart, they entered and pretended to peruse the snacks.

"That was close." Xavier said.

"You reckon." Ruby tried to catch her breath. "So what are we gonna do now? We can't buy anything. We don't even have plane tickets to get back home."

"I know." Xavier reached out and took her by the hand. "We'll figure it out, I'm sure of it. I probably wasn't taken with in with the idea of coming here, but I'm glad we came now, even it's all a huge mess. Being with you makes this all worthwhile." He pulled out his phone to check the time and noticed a new text message. "My mum says he's here in L.A."

"What? How?"

"I don't know." Xavier scanned the message again. "Maybe we should call her. She will be able to help us."

"Ok." Ruby wasn't crazy about the prospect of calling and giving away their location, but she didn't want to talk around any longer than necessary, if it meant they wouldn't go hungry or have to sleep outside.

Xavier led the way outside the store, where he placed the call to his mum.

Gina answered before the first ring had finished. "Xavier. Are you ok? Where are you?"

"I'm ok. We're both ok. How did you find out we were here?"

"I found your flight reservation on the computer."

"Oh." He should have known she'd have checked his computer. "So you came here alone?"

"No, John's here too. So where are you? We'll come and get you."

"We're outside this mini-mart. I think the intersection is Franklin and Vine."

"We're on our way, give us a few minutes. Oh, and Xavier?"


"I'm glad you called me. I'll see you soon."

"Are they coming to collect us?" Ruby asked.

Xavier was about to answer, when a familiar face caught his attention. "It's her." He pointed the girl out to Ruby. She was walking toward the mini-mart, carrying Ruby's bag.


"Hey!" Xavier shouted and positioned himself in front of her. "Remember us?"

"Who the heck are you?"

"C'mon quit playing dumb. Just give my girlfriend her bag."

"You morons need to get outta my way." The girl pushed him.

Ruby grabbed onto the bag. "Give it back."


Suddenly Xavier was witnessing a tug of war between the two girls. As he went to break up the fight he heard sirens whir behind him. All three teenagers froze as the police car drove into the parking lot.

"What's going on here?" The uniformed officer asked as he approached them.

"They're trying to steal my bag." The girl called out stepping forward.

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