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One Spark Starts A Fire

Guest Jen

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Story Title: One Spark Starts A Fire

Type of story: One shot

Main Characters: Teen ensemble (Dex, April, Xavier, Romeo, Indi, Ruby, Casey, Sasha)
BTTB rating: G
Genre: Romance
Does story include spoilers: No
Any warnings: None.

Summary: It’s a bit of harmless fun. Kind of like Gossip Girl.

A/N: Written for Quick Fanfic Contest #35. Posted for archive purposes.


fic: one spark starts a fire (Quick Fanfic Contest #35)


blogpost: School Girl Fantasy

It reads like a soap opera. A young, attractive student takes a shine to her music teacher, and we all know he just can’t resist the underage ones. If this student continues to ask for extra “tutoring” after class, then pretty soon he’s not going to be the only one seeing Red.


“Did you do this?!” Ruby demands, slamming her hands down on the desk in front of Dex.

He jumps, startled by Ruby’s abrupt outburst. He glances at April, sitting across from him, but her expression seems to match his; complete and utter confusion.

“Um, what exactly did I do?” Dex asks tentatively.

“This!” Ruby shrieks, her voice rising an octave as she waves a piece of paper in front of Dex’s face. He snatches it out of her hand, because clearly she’s not going to explain things (that decreases the dramatic effectiveness), and reads whatever it is that has her knickers in a knot.

“Seriously?” Dex questions, looking up at Ruby. “You think that just because I have a laptop and have mastered the skill of typing I would spend my time writing blind gossip?” He huffs a laugh, hands over the page to a curious looking April, before going back to addressing Ruby. “I have better things to do.”

“Well, then if it wasn’t you, then who was it?” Ruby asks.

April’s eyes widen as she glances from the printed out page to Ruby. “Did you really have an affair with Mr Murphy?”

Ruby’s lips thin, her glare turning on April. She holds up a hand and for a split second Dex thinks Ruby might slap her, but then she just turns on her heel and stalks away. She’s gone as quickly as she appeared.

Dex lets out a long, low whistle and raises his eyebrows at April. “Talk about Drama Queen.”

April shrugs and Dex cocks his head curiously. “Maybe this whole Charlie thing is affecting her more than we thought.”

“Notice how she didn’t exactly deny it, though,” Dex points out, and April gives a conceding nod.



blogpost: Nerds Just Want To Be Loved Too

It seems that although the weather is cooling down, the romance is heating up. Two of our more intellectual students were seen doing more than just studying in the library. Blog Boy has been actively pursuing Eco Girl for quite some time, but she’s been emotionally unavailable. Has she changed her mind? Or does she just want to ensure an A on her Science project? Maybe they should be working on their chemistry.


Dex stares at the blog post for a long time before he does anything. Sure, he and April have been spending a lot of time together, but they’re friends. That’s what friends do, right? Besides, Xavier was only just asking him whether he thought April might be interested in them getting back together. Dex isn’t about to interfere. So this whole thing doesn’t have to be a big deal. Someone obviously has far too much time on their hands and is taking their right to freedom of speech a little too far, but Dex understands the internet. He knows people will do anything for a rise, so he’s going to ignore it. It’s not like anyone really reads this site.

“Oh my god, Dex! Congratulations!”

“Huh?” Dex is thoroughly confused by the spontaneous hug his sister gives him when she appears beside him at his locker later that day. She lets go, and beams up at him.

“You and April!” Sasha explains excitedly. “I honestly didn’t think you would ever make a move, but I’m so happy for you!”

“Woah, woah, woah. What? No, me and April aren’t ...” he trails off. He and April aren’t anything.

“But I saw on Summer Bay Scandals -?” Sasha wrinkles her brow in confusion.

“You believed something you read on the internet?” Dex teases. “We’ve been through this, Sash. Justin Bieber isn’t actually in the chat room with you.”

“Very funny,” Sasha dead pans, rolling her eyes, but quickly turns serious. “You might want to set the record straight though, because most of the school thinks you’re a couple.”

“How many people read this stupid site?” Dex questions, closing his locker door. He hoists his school bag higher on his shoulder and glances around at the crowded hallway. If he’s being honest, things had been a little strange today. Joshua clapped him on the back when he sat down behind him in English, and Lachlan gave him a not-so-subtle wink and a “didn’t know you had it in you,” as he was walking across the basketball courts during recess. And come to think of it, Dex hasn’t seen April or Xavier all day.

“Are you kidding? It’s the only thing anyone is talking about,” Sasha says, slightly incredulous.

Just then, Dex spots April coming around the corner. She’s got her books hugged tightly to her chest, and keeps her head low as she walks past Dex and Sasha, pointedly ignoring eye contact with them.

Sasha arcs an eyebrow in Dex’s direction. “Trouble in paradise already?”



blogpost: The Wrong Side of the Sand

Summer Bay is not longer safe. The Bay’s newest bad boy has arrived and is set to cause a stir. He’s already turning heads, having been caught down on the beach rather than in class, and attracting the attention of many young ladies. But beware, girls: There is a reason he and his brothers were kicked out of Mangrove River.


Ruby hears the wolf whistle, keeps her head down, and continues to walk along the beach. She tries to block them out but they are persistent; the creepy calls of “Show us your bikini!” and “Want to check out my long board?” following her. She rolls her eyes, tries to pick up her pace.

“Shut up.” There’s a lone voice, not as deep as the others, and Ruby finds herself stopping. She turns her head back, watches the youngest of the group staring around at the rest of the River Boys. “Leave her alone.”

“You got a crush, Case?” one of the River Boys teases and the rest of them crack up, a couple hitting Casey playfully in the ribs, shoulders. They lose interest pretty quickly, lifting their surf boards and jogging into the surf.

“Hey, um, Casey?”

Casey pauses on the sand, surf board tucked under his arm, and turns back slowly.



Casey shrugs. “Whatever.”

Ruby’s the first girl he’s met who hasn’t been either a) scared of him, or b) fawning all over him. It’s nice, easy, but Casey has to stop himself from getting too far ahead.

A little further down the beach, Xavier sits down beside April, watching the exchange. Casey is now turning back, jogging towards the waves, and leaving Ruby looking wistfully after him on the shore.

“I don’t know what everyone sees in him,” April says.

“You prefer the more intellectual kind, don’t you?” Xavier quips, unable to hide the hurt in his voice.

April looks over at him. “I’m not dating Dex, despite what everyone is saying.”

Xavier’s brow furrows together. “You’re not?”

“No, and now I can’t even be in the same room as him without someone saying something, and I can’t talk to him about it because I don’t even know what to say.”

Xavier considers this carefully. He’d told Dex in the strictest of confidence that he was thinking of trying to get back together with April, and had been so angry at the thought of Dex going behind his back to get to her first. But now, it seems, April doesn’t see Dex in that way.

Xavier watches April for a moment, chooses his next words very carefully. “Maybe the only way to get people to stop talking about you and Dex, is for you to be dating someone else.”



blogpost: Best Friends At War

It seems Eco Girl has made a snap decision. She’s ditched Blog Boy and returned to her previous flame, Mr X. While things didn’t work out the first time for this pair, maybe second time lucky? The two were seen sharing a quiet kiss between the dunes and watching the sun set. Very romantic; I’m jealous. It must be nice to have two guys fighting over your affections.


“You know,” Dex says, “It’s one thing to be posting about presumed couples and romance, but it’s an entirely different matter to have personal information plastered on the internet for everyone to see.”

“It’s a bit of harmless fun,” Sasha replies. “Kind of like Gossip Girl, right?”

“I’m going to ignore the fact that you watch that show, and point out the fact that Mr Murphy hasn’t been back to class since that first post and people are happy to speculate about the reason Casey Braxton left his previous school. That kind of stuff is none of our business, and yet everyone seems to have an opinion.”

“Don’t you think you’re the one taking this a bit too seriously?” Sasha asks.

Dex shrugs, sighs. “I’m just saying, it’s a dangerous game, is all.”

“They at least look happy,” Sasha says, and Dex nods mutely.

He doesn’t exactly know how he feels about the whole April-Xavier thing.

Sure, he’d known Xavier still liked April and wanted them to get back together, but actually seeing them as a couple – holding hands, sharing sneaky kisses when they thought no one was looking – that is completely different. Dex felt something lodge in his chest when he looked up from his lunch to see April and Xavier walk into the Diner hand-in-hand.

He pushes the feeling aside, as he continues to watch them across the floor at Angelo’s.

He looks up and sees Romeo wander in too, trailed by Ruby who’s intently trying to talk to him.

“I’m sorry about you and Indi,” Ruby says, and Romeo scrubs at his face with his hand. He really doesn’t want to talk about it.

“We haven’t broken up,” he says resolutely. “We’re just ...” He sighs. He doesn’t know what they are anymore. They’re still together, but can’t really have a conversation without it dissolving into some kind of argument. It’s always about money, and Indi trying to cope with uni and the fact that Romeo’s surf school hasn’t had any new bookings in over a month.

“Well, you’re a better person than me,” Ruby concludes. “And hey, if you need the money, then you can always teach me to surf.”



blogpost: Full Disclosure

It’s not often you hear gossip about yourself, but it seems even yours truly isn’t immune.

There has been some discussion regarding the reliability of my sources, whether I make this all up, or whether I have some sort of ulterior motive for posting all the goings-on in Summer Bay.

The truth? I write what I see.

I’m tired of people keeping secrets and going behind each other’s backs. Secrets and lies have a way of getting out and I’m in no position to discriminate. If you have something to hide, I will find out and tell the world. So, tread lightly, as you never know where I might be lurking. Right, Little Miss Indi-pendent?

View photo: photoshoot1.jpeg


Indi has tears in her eyes, pushing food around her plate, not really eating anything. Sid looks across at his daughter, refusing to meet his gaze. Their family dinner is unusually quiet, with Dex and Sasha keeping a low profile, nibbling at their vegetables without complaint for once, and Romeo noticeably absent.

There’s a faint tap on the door and all four of the Walker’s look up from their dinner. Romeo is hovering awkwardly just inside the door.

He glances around at all of them, swallows. “Uh, Indi? Can I talk to you?”

Indi bites down on her lip and slowly stands from the table, and follows Romeo out of the room.

Sasha still doesn’t know what to say to Sid and Dex. She exchanges a look with her brother, but he just shrugs, and she doesn’t venture to check her father’s face. He’d been furious, to say the least, so they all fall into silence again, the occasional scrape of a fork on china the only sound. That is, until the voices of Indi and Romeo carry into the room.

“Do you know what it’s like to know that guys all over the world now have that picture of you?”

“Romeo, I –“

“Why did you do it?”

They aren’t eavesdropping on purpose, and Sid promptly stands from the table, clearing away his plate and going through to the lounge room. He picks up a newspaper and starts to read, and effort to block out the conversation occurring on the front porch. But Sasha and Dex stay sitting there, neither one of them saying anything as they hear Indi’s wavering voice.

“I – We needed the money. And you hated your job, and the Diner wasn’t giving me any shifts and I just figured that if I did one or two sessions, then we’d have enough to move out. To get a place of our own, pay off our debts.”

“Don’t put this back on me,” Romeo snaps, and Sasha hears the gasp of Indi as she tries to reign in her tears again. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

There’s a pause, then, “I was ashamed.”

“Not too ashamed to take your clothes off in front of some sleazy photographer.”

“Romeo, I’m so-“

“Don’t. Don’t tell me that you’re sorry.”

Sasha hears the pitter-patter of footsteps, and the creak of their front door as Indi slips back into the house. She doesn’t come back into the lounge room, but Sasha sees her wipe at her cheeks with the back of her hands before disappearing into her bedroom.



blogpost: Business As Usual

Under the cover of darkness, Mangrove River and Red aren’t the only ones trying to keep their recent exploits on the ‘down low’.

Last Seen:

  • Two certain ex-lovebirds huddled closely between the Ancient History and Art sections of the library. Playing the field?
  • A Montague taking his surfing business to the next level. Red seen gaining some hands-on coaching.
  • Mr X’s grades going up in more ways than one. Can anyone say preferential treatment?
  • What do you get when you cross a blonde beauty with a rock star? A recipe for disaster.


Everything seems to blow up all at once.

“You told me you didn’t like Dex!” Xavier snaps, and April has to bite down on her lip. She’s not going to cry over a vicious rumour.

“I don’t!”

“Then why does Scandals say that you two were seen together?”

“Because we were studying. Something you obviously don’t have to do,” she bites back.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Your mother is the principal!” April exclaims angrily, “Of course you don’t have to work as hard as the rest of us.”

“Are you accusing me of cheating?”

“Your words not mine,” she replies, crossing her arms over her chest, glaring at Xavier who huffs indignantly and storms off.

He finds Dex at the beach, and can’t control the sudden surge of anger that comes over him. Before he can reign himself in, he’s stalking up to Dex, fingers curled into a fist, and Dex doesn’t even get a chance to say anything before Xavier is thumping him in the face.

Dex falls to the sand, clutching at his nose, blinking as he pulls his hand away to see the constant flow of blood seeping through his fingers. There’s a flurry of movement around him, but Dex is oblivious, concentrating just trying to stem the bleeding and not pass out at the same time.

Romeo swoops in guns blazing, lunging at Xavier, and hauling him away from Dex by the scruff of his shirt.

“What the hell?!” he demands.

Xavier is still breathing heavily, his left hand, cradling the bruised knuckles of his right.

“He-“ pant “-deserved-“ pant “-it.”

“I thought you were friends?” Romeo asks, he glances back at Dex, making sure he’s okay. Ruby has appeared too, and she’s got a hand around Dex’s shoulder, helping him get back on his feet.

Xavier scoffs. “Friends don’t hook up with other friends girlfriends!”

“I dibbit hoog-ub wid her,” Dex interrupts. He’s got a tissue plugged to the end of his nose, head tilted back slightly as he stumbles a little on the stand.

Xavier rolls his eyes before he turns on Romeo. “You aren’t really one to talk about the importance of friendship.”


“You need to stay away from my husband,” Indi grits out. She’s holding onto the glass so tight she’s almost worried it might break.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realise it was a crime to be supportive of a friend and his business,” Ruby retorts. “Besides, are you sure you can still call him your ‘husband’ after what you did?”

Indi gapes, fuming, and she feels Liam come up behind her, rest a hand on her shoulder. She tries not to prickle under his touch.

“Ruby, I think you need to leave,” Liam says. Ruby’s eyes dart between the two of them, she nods. “I see how it is.”

They watch her leave, and Liam can still see the tense muscles in Indi’s neck, the way her hand is clamped on the glass like she’s scared she’ll drop it. Slowly, she loosens her fingers, lets her head drop.

“Everyone thinks we’re a couple,” Indi says dejectedly. Liam hums non-committally.

He takes the glass from her hand, places it back on a shelf, tosses the towel to the side and sighs.

“There’s not a lot we can do. While this ridiculous blog is calling the shots, we are pretty much powerless against it,” Liam replies.

“So you’re happy to sit back and let the whole town hate us?”


Sasha sees him out of the corner of her eye, sitting by himself on the edge of the pier. She debates just pretending she didn’t see him, but she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t a little bit intrigued.

Cautiously, she approaches, watching the slump in his shoulders, the strain in his neck as he hangs his head. Casey’s got his feet dangling off the edge of the boardwalk and Sasha clears her throat, causing him to look around.

“Yes?” Casey enquires, and the only thing that Sasha didn’t consider, was that she didn’t figure out what she was going to say when she got to this point.

“Um, I was ... just –“

“Seeing whether the rumours hold any truth?” Casey prods, and Sasha doesn’t want to nod. She smiles instead.

He shakes his head, almost sadly, to himself. “You’d think that moving towns would be enough to escape the whispers. But apparently, these sorts of things follow you around.”

“I’m sorry,” Sasha offers, and it seems woefully inadequate for everything that has been going on over the past couple of weeks. “I wish there was something I could do.”

Casey scoots over a little, allowing room for Sasha to perch beside him. He sighs, “The stupid part is that for the first time, I actually haven’t done anything. Ruby and I were only hanging out.” He glances over at Sasha, a wry smile on his face. “Careful, someone might see us and think we’re a couple.”

Something shifts, clicks into place in Sasha’ mind, and she’s scuttling to her feet.

“Did I scare you off already?” Casey asks as he watches Sasha stand.

“What? No. There’s just ... I have something I need to do.” She just hopes she can get there in time.


The gentle tapping of the keys under her fingers is relaxing, in a way. It’s familiar, easy, and she feels a smile creep over her face as she finishes off the post. It’ll be her last one; she’s done what she set out to achieve. I bit of notoriety, attention, and there was a certain entertainment value in the drama that had unfolded.

It was kind of a joke at first; a way to vent when Liam said he couldn’t keep seeing her, and she was so hurt that she didn’t really care the kind of trouble she got him in. The rest of it kind of fell into Ruby’s lap. Seeing Dex shoot April glances over a table in the Diner – anyone could have worked out that he liked her – and then Casey turning up in town, and Ruby knew she needed to be noticed. And please, anyone can use Google Images.

She heard what people said about her – The Girl With the Mum Who Got Shot – but for the first time since Charlie’s death she actually felt in control. Like her life wasn’t just spiralling out of control; she was the one determining how people felt, what they should be feeling towards her, and it was liberating.

Ruby re-reads her post for a final time, can hear the rapid approach of footsteps pounding down the corridor, and she knew it was risky doing this at school – but that was half the appeal; the thrill of possibly getting caught.

The door flies open behind her, and Ruby doesn’t turn around at first. “I wondered how long it would take.”

“How could you do it? Do you realise the kind of trouble you’ve caused.” It’s Sasha.

She turns around slowly and Ruby looks up, meets Sasha’s eye.

“Haven’t you heard? I’ve got nothing left to lose, and a bad reputation is better than no reputation at all.”



blogpost: Walking Amongst the Flames

In a small town like this, gossip spreads like wildfire. All it takes is a spark.

We must know what goes on, but we’re all scared of our own secrets getting out, that we are willing to excuse other people’s in the process. An ‘ignore it and it will go away’ mentality.

So here is my final little secret for you:

Mangrove River has found himself a new play toy in the form of a Doctor’s Daughter; maybe a distraction from her family’s impending self-implosion. And the cause? Our favourite Montague has given his missus a Red light. Fortunately, she isn’t going to be around for the fallout.


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