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**Sally And Jesse Fanfic**

Guest WYN100

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:D **HI LAURZ ! :D - saw your post and started having a go at this before I saw that Destiny was going to do one - thought I'd just pop this on here anyway, hope that'sd ok, and I'll leave Destiny to hers then ! :D


Jesse emerged from Van number 4 at the Caravan Park , the used bedsheets slung casually over his shoulder and a bemused smile on his face. Shaking his head in disbelief he entered the house calling “Sal – Sal !â€

Sally trotted down the stairs and into the kitchen calling “What’s up ?â€

Still shaking his head he squatted down at the table and said “It will NEVER cease to amaze me what people leave behind in those vans ..â€

“Go on then, what this time – Lleyton Hewitt’s tennis racket or something ?â€

“Oh NO “ he said “ FAR more bizarre than that – a completely uneaten pepperoni pizza and an empty goldfish bowl – I mean WHY… oh anyway.. as long as they paid !â€

“Yep, they sure did !†smiled Sally, slipping easily into the chair alongside him and even more easily into a hug.

She sometimes had to pinch herself to believe she could be this happy – and yet there’d always been an easy dynamic between the two of them – from when she’d first known him during his more edgy, lawless days with the car-stealing gang, even up until quite recently when the whole Flynn-Leah situation had in hindsight given them a signpost towards their current relationship.

If she was honest too, looking back on her time with Flynn, crisis and uncertainty had never been all that far away. From her cancer scare and childbearing problems ,right through the whole surrogacy episode, the screaming row over the morphine taken from the surgery- the doubts about Leah that in truth she’d never really got over – then the drugs at the hospital etc etc – it actually made her wonder how they could even have lasted as long as they did.

Jesse on the other hand seemed to fill all the gaps – matured, dependable and making his way in business – and more importantly than anything she could actively FEEL the love he had for her.

“You at the bar tonight ?†she asked, hoping he wasn’t. “’Fraid so†he replied, smoothing the hair back on both sides of her forehead, and wishing he wasn’t either. There’d been something of a cloud over his working life – once he’d uncovered the full extent of Josie’s deception involving Mark, 1989 and all the jaw-dropping rest of it – she’d immediately sold her share in the bar and left town within a matter of days.

Mysteriously – no-one knew exactly WHO she’d sold out to – a mystery “sleeping partner†was all they’d been told – but so far he and Hayley had been able to rub along with no great interference – but nonetheless he’d still have given quids to know !

“Pizza and video when you get back?†asked Sally, jumping up to answer the phone which had started ringing- “Sounds good†he mouthed silently as she answered the call, “Donald !†she beamed – Jesse immediately felt a tiny prickle of uneasiness – it had after all been involvement with the gang that stole Fisher’s car around seven years back that had ultimately led to his first spell in jail. He settled quickly though – that had been a very long time ago – hadn’t it ? Sally replaced the receiver and turned back to him with slightly creased brow “Donald wants to come visit – he wouldn’t say much – but said it was very importantâ€. The prickle of uneasiness swung a u-turn and edged back towards Jesse’s thoughts.

“Hey Rick – Matilda†said Sally as the side door opened and two happily chatting teenagers trotted in . Rick was another area where Sally felt huge strides had been made compared to previously with Flynn. He’d never got past that awkward age-related “distanceâ€, whereas Jesse saw so much of himself in young Daulby – and was able to get right to the heart of most of his now very infrequent outbursts.

His relationship with Matilda had made Sally delighted with its perseverance, and they’d even won over her mother Beth, one of Rick’s sternest critics at the outset.

“Sal’s offering pizza and “Die Hard†later on guys, you up for it ?†asked Jesse with a wink Sally didn’t pick up “Oy – I thought more of “Pretty Woman†she said back, poking her tongue out and pretending to ignore the theatrical yawns launched into both by Jesse and Rick , who were each counting out large numbers of fingers to try and calculate just how many times Sally had watched that old classic over the years.

Rick and Matilda did though seem pleased to see them, and for the promise of pizza – a friendly argument already breaking out over the choice of toppings.

“I’d better be heading off Sal†said Jesse, who’d been tying one of the small bedsheets round her head like a turban – she patiently unwound the head-dress, kissed him goodbye and turned to lift the laundry basket – wincing as a sharp pain ran up her side…..it wasn’t the first time either, she told herself – but it would be nothing – it would go away as soon as it had come…

Jesse paused and examined the large, black semi-American style car parked outside the bar as he arrived . They didn’t open for ages yet, and he certainly wasn’t expecting anyone as he’d come early to get some general work done. A thought struck him – this couldn’t be the “sleeping partnerâ€, could it ? He quickened his pace, pushed the door and went inside……

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Ric’s brow was clouded with worry as he sat hunched over his banana milk-shake at the diner – using his straw to navigate circles clockwise then anti-clockwise in the thick yellow top layer. Colleen had brought the drink to the table a full 20 minutes back – ten of which had been spent questioning trhe morals of the judge at the previous day’s bowls club flower show that hadn’t even considered her begonias worthy of a top three ranking.

Matilda had considered phoning for a trailer to come and pull her away (probably still talking), but eventually Irene’s voice – considerably more powerful than a trailer – had demanded her return to kitchen duties. After a deep sigh of relief Matilda said gently “Ric, what’s the matter ? You didn’t want to stay at yours, but since we got here you’ve hardly said a word – AND I could tell you were only pretending to be happy about the pizza and video thing tonight. She looked suddenly vulnerable – “Is it me – are you going off me ?†Ric’s head immediately jerked up from the banana shake whirlpool on hearing that – “What !1 – are you CRAZY ?? Of COURSE I’m not.†– he reached out and took her hand with real affection “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me 1 It’s just….†He looked uncertain, but with an encouraging smile and squeeze of the hand she urged him on “Well ok – but you have to PROMISE not to say anything to Jesse and Sal – it’s just this letter I got this morning….â€

For the second time since the others had left the caravan park house, Sally trotted downstairs from seeing to Pippa to answer the phone – and for the second time after she’d answered it, the line went dead.

Tutting a little impatiently she resolved to tell Jesse to look out for one of those cordless phones she could take upstairs with her. She turned towards the door again but stopped –struck by a thought – of course ! – she could try dialling the ringback number to check if the caler’s number may have been logged. Of course the number may well have been withheld as so many were – but it was worth a try – and as she punched in the 4 digits, this number was – THERE – it was a cellphone number –she heard it repeated, grabbed a pen, and wrote it down.

She stood looking at the paper and it slowly dawned on her that there was something familiar – very familiar about that number….

Jesse strode into the bar – and immediately found himself confrontedby a man in his mid 50’s – short, greying hair, an open-neck shirt of the expensive variety, a jacket of similar pedigree and casual but immaculate trousers.

Jesse noticed with a swift stab of annoyance that he was reading the bar’s account ledger, and – striding forward – asked bluntly “ Can I help you mate ?â€

Looking up without any sign of being peturbed, the man said “ Business been a bit quiet lately Mr MacGregor ?†Jesse’s fist curled instinctively before reaching across and pulling the account book away from the interloper.

“Sorry, should have introduced myself, Alec Wilkins – I represent the 3rd part owner of Noah’s, and they’ve asked me to cast my eye over things a little.â€

Jesse had recovered his poise a little on learning the man’s identity, but countered “ Oh yes, and wouldn’t it have been better if they’d come themselves ? I mean , who exactly ARE they ?

Wilkins’ face remained impassive as he moved into a well-rehearsed response to that question “I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to disclose their name, and - grief ,is that the time ?? I need to be making tracks..â€

“Oh don’t give me all that baloney Mr Wilkins – I’m one of the owners too….!†– but he found himself calling into thin air as the outer door closed and the sleek start-up of the black car’s engine slinked through from outside- leaving one highly frustrated Jesse in its wake…

Sally was feeling contended – happy – as she had been more or less ever since getting together with Jesse – but today Pippa had been remarkably co-operative – she personally was looking forward to the pizza and video tonight – and the break from school had been very refreshing.

She took a sip from her cup of coffee before the familiar “â€Yoo-hoo, only me !†cut through the calm. Sally allowed herself a well-disguised roll of the eyes before turning round with a well painted-on smile and saying “Hello Colleen, what can I do for you ?â€

“Well I wouldn’t have interrupted you for the world, you know I’m the soul of discretion, but I thought you should see this…â€

She was carrying a copy of the evening Summer Bay newspaper, which Sally took from her and unfolded to see a headline “SCHOOL IN EXAM MARKING SHOCK – CORRUPTION PROBE GOES RIGHT TO THE TOP !â€

Colleen stood back with the slightly satisfied but non-malicious air of a gossip who’s successfully delivered a “new†piece of news – with her contended day unravelling swiftly around her, Sally was simply left gaping……

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**PART 3**

Don Fisher threw down the newspaper in exasperation and shook his head disbelievingly. This was JUST what he’d feared. “Flathead†as generations of Summer Bay High students had come to know him , first heard the rumours at a headteachers’ reunion in Sydney around a week before. He’d known then that the school was under the microscope and had resolved to do a little more digging.

But – the more earth he shifted, the louder and more persuasive the rumour grew.

So- he’d resolved to travel down, bring Sally up to speed with things , and if necessary remain in the Bay for a little while to back her up as events unfolded. Even though Barry Hyde was of course in charge, Fisher felt he owed his loyalty and school experience to the girl he’d known now for nearly 20 years. And it was also that loyalty and affection that gave him recurring doubts about her relationship with Jesse…….He finished his raisin toast and headed to the car for the last leg of his journey to the Bay….

“So you can see why I’m worried, right ?†said Ric .He’d filled Matilda in on the contents of the letter haltingly and partly reluctantly – almost in the way that if he didn’t confront it, it may somehow not be true.

It was a new – and unwelcome concept for Matty to take in. “ So this Uncle Tony is a HALF brother of your father—you’ve hardly even met him – but now he’s talking about coming for custody of you ?â€

“Yes – and from the little I’d heard, he had the same pleasant little habits as my dad – knocking his wife AND the kids around any day of the week that had a “y†in it, but because they were all too afraid to report him, he never got done for it.â€

“Well we can’t allow a loser like that to get anywhere NEAR you, THAT’s for sure said Matilda with real spirit – but the big question is, why is he sniffing around NOW after this amount of time ?â€

“That†said Ric, shaking his head slowly “..is something about which I have absolutely NO idea…â€

“Miss Fletcher , I guarantee I know as much as you do about this !†Barry Hyde ‘s already rather craggy face had gained a few extra lines of confusion and bewilderment since getting his copy of the evening paper, and while he thoroughly shared in Sally’s outrage at their front page “scoop†he was feeling with some justification that the almost unbroken tirade of indignation she’d unleashed since arriving in his office would be better directed elsewhere. “I’m expecting a call back from the department at any moment†he intervened during a brief break for air on Sally’s behalf. “All I have been able to glean to the best of my knowledge is that this amazing claim has come from a parent – at the school –and if they won’t tell us which one – I think we have to make it our business to find out !â€Sally’s flow of outrage was certainly tempered by the positive outlook of her superior to this wholly unexpected and unwelcome development – she had thought briefly of mentioning Donald Fisher’s warning call and his anticipated arrival in the Bay very soon – but thought better of it for now . She recalled how the two men had got off on rather the wrong foot when they’d first met in the diner, and she guessed too that Barry would immediately become defensive if he thought – however inaccurately – that Donald had been “parachuted in “ by her to firefight his problem for him.

She resolved to await developments and headed to the car-park. A thought had been nagging the back of her mind throughout the meeting with Barry – she hoped she hadn’t thrown out that sheet of paper with the mystery cellphone caller’s number on it. Reaching the side of the car it struck her she may have slipped it in her handbag, but in attempting to combine opening it with juggling car-keys, the bag slipped to the tarmac floor. Muttering crossly to herself she stretched down to pick it up – and gasped as the searing pain again tore up her right side – her knees buckled as she slumped to the ground..

Hayley was enjoying life on “their “ side of the bar rather than “ours†for one night at least. Sitting happily at a small corner table she sipped a glass of pleasantly chilled white wine, and allowed the usual patchwork of thoughts to glide through her mind – Noah – the bar – Irene – Scott – the sleeping partner etc etc…..

The early evening clientele contained the usual mix – some familiar faces – some new- their varying conversations all combining to produce a steady hum if not quite yet the loud crescendo she’d hope for later in the evening . Her ears though were steadily tuning in as sometimes happens to one particular – though by no means at all the loudest- conversation. And as the tuning became more precise, so her eyebrows steadily rose and her eyes grew wider before sending her springing to her feet, round the back of the bar and into the stockroom where she paused Jesse in the act of raising a crate of mixers by tapping him on the shoulder, and – looking back over her shoulder as she spoke, hissed urgently “Jess – I think I know who the sleeping partner is !!!….â€

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