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Bonds of Blood and Water


Red Ranger 1

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Thank you for all the comments!Hope you like this one.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“No, no, I told you to leave the heavy ones to me,”Oscar scolded, taking a box from Maddy’s hands.

  Maddy gave a rueful smile.“I think I’m going to enjoy the next few months, having you wait on me hand and foot.”

  Oscar cocked his head slightly.“I’m not sure I agreed to that exactly.”

  “Well, if I’m going to be busy making a new life…”

  They were in the middle of moving into their new flat.The rest of the teens had come over to help and were scattered around the dwelling, which consisted of a small living area with combined lounge and kitchen, with two bedrooms and a bathroom leading off from it.The furniture had come with it, meaning Izzy was able to sit on a couch, looking glum.

  Maddy left Oscar unpacking the box and went to join her.“You’re not looking too happy.”

  Izzy looked daggers at her.“You’re surprised?”

  “I want you to feel at home here, okay?You can come and visit whenever you want, Oscar and I are always going to be glad to see you, the baby too when he or she comes…”

  Izzy gave a snort of disgust.“I don’t even feel at home in Summer Bay, you think I’m going to feel at home here?”She got up abruptly.“I’m going out,”she announced and headed for the door.

  Maddy looked round.“Veej?”

  VJ was in the middle of unpacking a box of kitchen equipment, most of it donated by friends and relatives.He looked up at the holler.“What have I done?”

  Maddy nodded towards where Izzy had made her exit.“Can you keep an eye on her?”VJ nodded in agreement and followed Izzy out.

  Oscar sighed.“And then there were four.”

***

Matt headed into the bedroom where Evelyn was putting items on the shelves.“You okay with that?”he asked.

  “I’m not an invalid,”she said testily.

  “Yeah.Sorry.”He sighed.“I guess you think I’m a jerk now.”

  “Yes.”She paused.“No,”she admitted,“I know I was asking a lot of you.”

  “Yeah, you were.But…I wish I was the sort of guy that could step up.”

  She turned to face him.“Maybe you are.You just don’t know it yet.”

  He gave an awkward smile.“Yeah, maybe.”He quickly changed the subject.“So how are you with everything?”

  “Tired, nauseous and fat.”Evelyn patted the slight curve in her stomach self-consciously.“Hopefully it’ll be worth it in the end.”

  “You’ll probably be good at it.”

  “You think so?”

  “Yeah, you always were good at bossing people about.”He smiled at her and she returned it.“So, are we friends?”

  Evelyn kept smiling.“I think I can manage that.”

***

VJ was walking with Izzy down by the beach.“Do you have to give Maddy such a hard time?”he asked.

  “Why shouldn’t I?”Izzy bit back.

  “Because…it’s not doing you any good and it’s not doing her any good.I gave Zac a hard time when I was upset once but it just made both of us miserable.”

  “Well, I don’t really fancy making her life easier.”

  “It’s not just about her, it’ll make your life easier too.Don’t you get tired of being angry all the time?”

  “Don’t you get tired of being pious all the time?”Izzy shook her head.“I thought maybe you’d understand but you’re just like all the rest.Leave me alone.”She ran away, off the beach.At first VJ thought she was just running aimlessly, but then he realised she was heading towards where Tyson and his friends were parked.

  Tyson nodded a greeting as Izzy skidded to a halt in front of him.“Long time no see.”

  “Get me out of here,”Izzy told him breathlessly.

  Tyson looked from her to VJ, then back again.“Okay.”

  VJ broke into a run as he saw Izzy getting in the car.He made it up to the road just as the car was pulling away.“Izzy!”he called after them.But she was gone.

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Thank you for all the comments!

CHAPTER TWELVE

The car was parked out in the bush.Izzy was leaning against the bonnet, some distance from where the boys were drinking and joking.Tyson came over to her.“So.You come here often?”

  Izzy shot him a withering look.“I just came here to get away from my sister and her friends, okay?”

  Tyson held up his hands.“Hey, I get it.Families getting you down.I’ve got one too.”

  “She just thinks she’s so perfect, with her life and her friends and her baby and her family.And what have I got?Living with some woman that pretends to be her mum.”

  Tyson handed her a bottle of beer.“This’ll take your mind off it.”

  Izzy looked at the bottle sceptically.“I don’t really drink.”

  “Time you started then.”He took a swig from his own bottle.Izzy still didn’t seem convinced.“It’ll make you feel better.”

  Even though she was still uncertain, Izzy lifted the bottle to her lips.

***

“You done exploiting us?”Evelyn asked as she and Matt emerged into the main living area.

  Oscar looked around the flat.“Yeah, I think we’re just about done.”

  “Okay, well, we’re going to grab a coffee.”

  “Catch you later, kiddies!”Matt interjected as he swept out,“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”

  Oscar looked after the retreating pair.“Is there something going on there?”

  Maddy shrugged.“Would it be the worst thing that could happen?”

  Oscar considered this.“Well, she could do worse.And apparently has.”

  “You should tell her that.Given that she’s excluded from dating the best guy in town…”Maddy gave a sudden exaggerated look of shock.“I’ve just realised something!We’re alone.In our home.”

  Realising began to dawn on Oscar and a smile spread across his face.“Ri-ight.No parental figures or siblings or Matts about to barge in on us at the wrong moment.”He moved closer to her and put his arms round her waist.“We could get up to anything we want.”

  Maddy put her arms round his neck.“Whatever could you be suggesting?”

  They kissed, a kiss that soon deepened, their hands roaming about each other’s bodies…and then there was a hammering on the door.

  They disentangled with a sigh and Oscar went to answer it.“VJ?”

  Maddy was at his side in an instant.“What’s up?Where’s Izzy?”

  VJ looked as though he was reluctant to speak.“I’ve got some bad news,”he said at last.

***

Izzy handed the empty bottle back to Tyson, feeling slightly queasy.He looked at it approvingly.“Nice.” Then he turned and kissed her.Izzy responded as he lifted her up onto the bonnet of the car.But when he began putting his hand up her skirt, she pulled away.

  “Wait,”she requested, sliding off the bonnet and standing up straight.

  Tyson scowled at her.“What now?”

  “I didn’t…come here for that.”

  Tyson’s stormy expression was unchanged.“What did you come here for then?”

  “I told you, just to hang out.”

  Tyson sneered at her.“Well, hang out by yourself then.”He gestured to his friends.“Come on, we’re leaving.”

  Izzy watched them all pile into the car.It took her a moment to realise what was going on.“Wait, I don’t know where I am!”

  Ignoring her, Tyson reversed his car back up the track, leaving her alone.

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Thank you for the comments, RomeoIndi Forever, JosieTash and Jarliefan!

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Izzy was walking.She didn’t know where she was going but she must be going somewhere.She thought that made sense.She’d grown up in the city, didn’t know much about the bush, but it had to end somewhere, didn’t it?Every step she took had to bring her closer to civilisation, one way or another.That’s what she was telling herself, but with each step she found it harder to believe.

  She tripped and fell in the rough ground, scratching herself.She wasn’t badly hurt but somehow the fall seemed to sum up how hopeless and painful her quest was.The tears came and she just lay there, crying, not seeing the point in getting up.

***

VJ had led Maddy and Oscar to the headland where Tyson’s car had been parked earlier.“This is where I last saw her,”he explained.

  Maddy looked around in a mixture of anger and frustration, that was probably covering up a deep concern.“She could be anywhere by now.”

  “Well, Tyson probably knows,”suggested VJ.

  “And where’s he?”Maddy snapped,“Do you know where he lives?”

  VJ just shrugged helplessly.“Someone’ll know though.What about Mr.Stewart, he usually knows everyone in town?”

  Oscar was staring off in another direction.“Er, isn’t that Tyson’s car there?”

  Maddy and VJ followed his gaze and saw the car pulling up nearby.Tyson and his friends got out, laughing and joking.Maddy ran over to them and gave Tyson a shove that sent him staggering.“Where’s my sister, you jerk?”

  “Back off, psycho!”Tyson snapped back.

  Maddy looked like she wanted to hit him but managed to restrict herself to yelling “Where is she?What have you done to her?”

  “I didn’t touch her!”Tyson protested.

  “Only because she wouldn’t let you,”pointed out one of his friends with a laugh.

  Maddy calmed a bit at that but was still worried.“What did you do with her?”

  “She got a bit het-up so we left her out there to calm down,”Tyson explained.

  “You left her?”Maddy demanded, her temper boiling over again.

  “Yeah, out in the bush.”

  “How did you think she’d get back?”

  Tyson shrugged.“I don’t know, hitch a lift, walk?”

  “Did you think to tell her how to get back?She could be anywhere!”

  Oscar and VJ had caught up to them during the altercation and Oscar took hold of his girlfriend gently. “Hey, hey, steady on, all this stress isn’t good for the baby.”

  “She’s my little sister, Oscar!”Maddy cried, as Oscar tried to soothe her,“And she’s out there on her own!”

  “I guess we’d better tell someone,”VJ acknowledged.

***

Alf had laid out a map of the bush on the table in the surf club, with orange uniformed SES volunteers surrounding it.He gestured to a point on the map.“Now, according to young Tyson, Izzy was last seen here.We don’t know which way she went after that, or even if she’s still there or not, so we’ll all head to there and then fan out in different directions.All right?”He received a number of nods of assent.“Good. Well let’s get going then.”

  While John and Nate handed out maps to the volunteers, Alf’s attention was drawn to where Zac was standing with Maddy, Oscar, Evelyn, VJ and Matt.He sensed that they had something to say and he had a feeling he knew what it was and that he wouldn’t like it.But he went over to them anyway.

  “We want to help,”Maddy stated.

  That was what Alf had been expecting.His gaze flicked over the other teens, who were all nodding in agreement.“I’m not too keen about taking two pregnant sheilas out into the wilds,”he noted.

  “We can keep an eye on them,”Zac argued.

  “Hmph.That’s what I’m afraid of.”But looking at the quintet, Alf found he didn’t have the heart to say no.“Pick up maps and radios from John.And wear sensible footwear!”

***

They’d reached the site where Tyson and his friends had left Izzy easily enough but she was nowhere in sight.Maddy had tried not to worry.Zac, Evelyn and Matt had gone off with one group of volunteers down one track, and John and Nate had gone with another, so it was only Maddy, Oscar and VJ left with Alf’s group.

  Alf checked his watch and glanced up at the sun.“We’re running out of daylight here,”he remarked to a volunteer,“Might have to turn back in an hour or so.”

  Maddy overheard and was stricken.“No, no, we can’t go back!”she protested.

  “Easy, Maddy,”Oscar tried but she was beyond being calmed this time.

  “We can’t go back without her!”she persisted.

  “Love, if visibility goes we’re gonna be stumbling around blind out here,”Alf pointed out,“We’re likely to lose each other and we could step over her without noticing.”

  “But she’s young and she’s probably scared…”Maddy turned about and began yelling wildly,“Izzy! Izzy!”

  Izzy hadn’t moved since her fall but the familiar voice, seemingly just a few hundred yards away, brought her to.“Maddy!”she called back,“Maddy!”

  Maddy picked up the voice and dashed headlong towards it, to the point that the others were struggling to catch up.When she caught sight of her sister kneeling in the dirt, she ran to her and flung her arms around her.

  “I was so scared,”Izzy sobbed,“I thought no-one was coming.”

  “It’s all right,”Maddy replied softly,“I’m not going to leave you.”

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Thank you, Romeo&Indi Forever and JosieTash!

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Izzy hadn’t been badly hurt but it had been enough to grab her at least a day lying on the settee being waited on.It was while she was demolishing her second plate of biscuits that Roo approached.“How are you feeling?”

  Izzy paused, unsure how to answer.Some part of her wanted to open up to Roo but the rest…“Pretty stupid,”she said at last.

  Roo smiled, understanding.“I guess you don’t feel very secure here.A lot’s changed for you lately.Your family and now Maddy moving out…I want you to feel like this is your home.But I don’t want you to think I’m trying to replace your parents.”

  “It’s okay,”Izzy said quietly,“I think I’m ready for it to be home.”

  “Right.Well, in that case…”Roo went to the laundry and came back with a patterned dress.It took Izzy a moment to recognise it as a Summer Bay High School uniform.“I think it’s about your size but if it needs adjusting I can do that.”

  Izzy managed a smile.“Thanks.”

***

The next person to come see her was Maddy.She knocked cautiously on the side door before catching sight of Izzy waving her in.Even then, she hesitated on the threshold.“I was going to come round earlier,” she said,“But I guess I wasn’t sure what to say.”

  “I was speaking to Roo,”Izzy noted,“She’s nice.I can see why you stayed here.”

  Maddy shrugged awkwardly as she made her way into the house.“She’s my mum.I don’t mean that in a bad way, I haven’t forgotten about Mum, but…”

  “I know,”Izzy agreed,“I think I’m starting to feel the same way about her.”

  Maddy sat down near her.“Is that a good thing?”

  “I guess so.I’m fed up of being sad and angry all the time.”

  Maddy smiled with empathy.“It can be a bit tiring.”

  “What about you?Are you..?”

  “Not going anywhere,”Maddy finished,“I know I’m living with Oscar now but…you won’t get rid of me that easily.”

***

Oscar was waiting outside the house when Maddy emerged.“How’d it go?”he asked.

  “Good, I think,”she answered,“I feel for her, you know.She spent all that time with Mum and Dad while I got to be here and meet some great people.I wish I’d been there for her more.”

  Oscar smiled at her fondly.“Look at you, being all protective.It’s nice seeing this side of you.”

  Maddy gave him a mock glare.“Oscar MacGuire, are you making fun of me?”

  “No, no.I think it shows you’ll make a good mother.”

  Maddy softened.“Scary thought, isn’t it?”

  “The scariest.But I guess we’ll muddle through together.”

  Maddy linked arms with him as they headed down the path.“That’ll be nice.”

***

“So are you fed up with people asking you how you’re feeling yet?”

  Izzy looked round at the voice and saw that VJ had entered the lounge room.“Pretty much,”she admitted,“But I think it’s first starting to sink in that there’s people round here that care.It feels nice.”

  “Yeah, this place is like that.”

  “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you and went off with Tyson.”

  VJ grinned.“Well, we’ve all made mistakes like that.”

  “I wish I’d stayed with you instead.”

  VJ hesitated, his expression serious.“Really?”

  Izzy nodded.“Really?”

  VJ leaned in close and his lips gently brushed against hers.The kiss lasted just a moment but when they both pulled back their faces had reddened.“So, you want to go somewhere together when you’re up to it?”VJ asked.

  Izzy smiled.“I’d like that.”

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Thank you for the comments, Romeo&Indi Forever and JosieTash! This is the last chapter, hope you like.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Maddy let out a howl of pain.Oscar shot the midwife a worried look.“Is she supposed to be like this?”

  The midwife gave an indulgent smile, as if she’d heard the question a million times before.“It’s all perfectly normal, I promise you.”

  “Just be happy you’re not the one that has to go through it,”Maddy pointed out through gritted teeth.

  Oscar rubbed her back soothingly.“Just think what it’ll be like when it’s over.Family picnics, walks in the park…”

  “Sleepless nights, dirty nappies, no more spending all day in bed…”

  “Your ankles won’t be as swollen?”Oscar offered.

  Maddy gave out another yell which suggested the conversation wasn’t helping that much.

  “It’s nearly time, Maddy,”the midwife warned,“Wait for the next contraction and then push.”

  Maddy tensed and then, with a yell, she pushed.

  “And again!”the midwife called.

  Maddy did as directed…and then she heard someone crying.

  The midwife wrapped up a bundle and handed him to her.“Maddy, meet your son.”

***

It was about half an hour later that the large crowd of well wishers was allowed into the room:Alf and Roo, Zac and Leah, Hannah and Chris, Izzy and VJ, and Matt and Evelyn, the latter cradling her own son, Jonathan.

  “Now will you look at the three of you,”Alf remarked,“Someone should have brought a camera.”VJ, Matt, Izzy and Chris all held up camera phones.“Huh.Ask a silly question.”

  “Have you thought about what you’re going to call him?”Leah asked.

  “We were thinking Jacob,”Oscar noted.

  “Seriously?”Evelyn asked,“Two J MacGuires?”

  “Um, Jacob Osborne-MacGuire, thank you very much,”Maddy interjected pointedly.

  Evelyn didn’t seem particularly mollified.“Seriously?”

  Matt put his arm round her.“You know, lack of sleep, and not in a good way, makes you cranky.”

  “She’s always been like that,”Oscar responded.

  “Anyway,”Roo cut in, to forestall further argument,“maybe we should let the new family get some rest?”

  With a bit of grumbling, and Chris loudly enquiring about what the canteen was like, the crowd began to file out.“Um, Izzy, can you stay for a bit?”Maddy asked.

  Izzy gave VJ a quick kiss and turned back.

  Maddy gestured to the space next to her.“Sit down.”

  Izzy perched on the bed and stared fondly at her nephew, rubbing his curled hand slightly with her finger.“He’s beautiful.”

  “Yes.And you know he’s your family too.”

  Izzy smiled.“Yeah, I know.”

  “Any time you feel like babysitting, we won’t object,”Oscar agreed.

  “I’ll remember that.”Izzy got up and kissed Maddy on the cheek.“I’m glad I’ve got you back.”

  Maddy smiled and nodded.“I'm glad I've got you back too.”

 

 

 

 

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