WONDERS WILL NEVER CEASE!
I’m flashing again with the Free Fiction Friday Group!
As a gentle reminder (LOL), my contribution to the group will be an ongoing tale set in Australia.
I hope everyone is enjoying the journey with Davie!!!!!!!!
IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING
( IYLS )
David and Jesse are childhood friends who get separated in their teens but meet up again at university in Newcastle, Australia.
They soon find out that though some things remain the same, other change… oh boy, do they change.
Turning the page, the photos of Jeremy ended, replaced with those of a new house, a new school, and Bobbi. Looking at her now with adult eyes, I could see that even at fifteen she’d had the makings of a very attractive young woman. Back then, of course, all I’d seen was a bossy, skinny, scrap of a thing who wouldn’t take my shit.
CHAPTER 04: BEGINNINGS
Past (David aged 15)
I spotted Mum at the school gate immediately. She was pretty hard to miss with her red hair. The apple—being me—had obviously not fallen far from the tree. For the first time in months, she had a smile on her face, and the sight of it made me forget my embarrassment at having my mother meet me at school, and I found myself grinning back at her. It was great to see her happy and smiling.
She rushed over to me, threw her arms around me and squeezed me so tight I thought she’d pop one of my ribs. Taking a small step back, she cupped my face. “Let me look at you, my beautiful boy. Are you ready for an adventure?”
“Mum, stop” I whispered ferociously. “Not so loud. Everyone will see and hear you.” God, she could be embarrassing. ‘Beautiful boy?’ I’m not a freakin’ doll.
“Does that mean I have to wait till we’re in the car for a hello kiss?” she asked, not at all fazed by my outburst. Next thing I knew, she had her fingers in my hair, trying to make it sit flat.
My outburst didn’t seem to dampen her mood one bit. “Okay, let’s go then.”
“Go where?” Something in her voice and the look on her face made my stomach tie itself in knots.
“I have a surprise for you, sweetie.”
Now my stomach really churned—I had a bad feeling. A really bad feeling, ’cause her voice had gotten all high and squeaky. Somehow, I just knew I wasn’t going to like her surprise.
“We’re moving. The car’s packed and the house is sold, and I’ve bought us a little cottage near a huge lake, and it’s not far to the ocean either. I didn’t tell you earlier because I didn’t want you worrying while you had exams. The movers are already on their way there with most of our things. It’s so pretty, sweetie. I just know you’re going to love it…”
She was going on and on, and I could tell she was nervous, but all I could think about was I wouldn’t be living around the corner from Jeremy when he came back from Africa.
“But, Mum, Jeremy—” I began, but this time, she talked over me.
“David, Jeremy is gone. Who knows when, or even if, they will ever return to Byron Bay? Please don’t be troublesome. Don’t spoil this for me. I have to get away from here. I can’t… No, I won’t live in fear of bumping into that woman every fucking time I go shopping anymore!” I couldn’t help looking at the kids milling around us, waiting for their parents or the school bus. It was only when my bottom lip started to hurt that I realized I was gnawing on it. Mum was making me feel anxious, with the way her voice was getting really high and loud—I was sure they’d all hear.
And then I felt like crap because she was swearing, and Mum hardly ever swore, and she wasn’t smiling and happy anymore. Her face was red, and I could tell it wouldn’t take much before she’d be bawling. And Lord knows, she’d done enough of that in the last few months. The littlest thing could set her off. Like the time I’d found her sitting on the kitchen floor clutching a freakin’ coffee mug. Apparently, the old man had given it to her on some holiday we took when I was little.
“I’m sorry, Mum. It’ll be great,” I whispered, not knowing what to do. Should I hug her? Sometimes that made her better, but other times it just made her cry harder. And what about all the kids standing around watching us? What would they think? Would they tease the crap out of me the next week? Well, if we were moving, I suppose they wouldn’t be able to. Fuck, I don’t know!
“It will, sweetheart, trust me. It will be fresh start for both of us. It will be easier for you to make new friends too in a new place, with no memories of Jeremy. I just know it,” she mumbled, ducking her head down while her hands dug into her bag and pulled out a wad of tissues. I shoved my hands in my pockets and watched silently while she dabbed at her eyes, too afraid to say anything in case it set her off again.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the other kids staring at us. Mum’s crying in front of all them made me just want to get her into the car and out of their line of vision.
“Come on then,” she said still a bit teary. “Let’s get this show on the road!”
I’m not angry. I’m not angry. I’m not angry. My silent chant kept pace with my pedaling along the wide bike and walk path that hugged the shoreline of the lake. I was grateful I pretty much had the path to myself because of the light rain that was falling. I told myself that was why my cheeks were wet. It certainly wasn’t because I was crying.
I’d had to get out of the house. I mean, it was nice and my new room with a view of the lake was great and everything, but I felt like the walls were closing in on me when Mum told me she’d tossed away our old address book because she wanted this to be a new start for us. A clean break, she’d said. I’d almost howled in frustration.
I could still hear myself shouting, “But, Mum, it had Jeremy’s address in it! How am I supposed to write to him if I don’t have it? It was too complicated to remember off by heart!”
“Never mind, sweetie, we can contact one of their relatives and find out from them,” she’d replied, patting my cheek, before bending back down to unpack another box.
And that’s when I’d mumbled that I was going to go for a ride to explore the area.
I pedaled faster and faster, hardly noticing the scenery, trying to convince myself I wasn’t angry with her. But I was. In fact, I was ropable. I wanted to yell and scream at her. How could she be so freakin’ stupid as to throw out our old address book without giving me a chance to copy down a few addresses and numbers I might want out of it? I mean, I understood things had been really hard on her. Fuck, did I understand! I’d had to live it with her, so if anyone knew the tough time she was having with it all, it was me. But still, to throw out my one link to my best friend. To Jeremy.
God, what would he think? I’d promised to write to him every week.
I stopped pedaling and just let the bike cruise, resigned to the fact that at that precise moment I couldn’t do anything about it, so I might as well get back to the house and get my gear unpacked. At least then I could go first thing in the morning to the Post Office and look up some rello of Jere’s.
“Excuse me, honey, but we’re closing in five minutes, so you’ll have to finish off what you’re doing on the computer.”
Reluctantly, I dragged my eyes from the screen in front of me to the librarian who had set me up earlier. I must have looked upset or something because she gave my arm a little pat. “We open again tomorrow at nine o’clock. You can come back then.”
I nodded, mumbling my thanks, as I began the process of exiting back to the computer’s main screen. Gathering my pad and my helmet, I headed for the door. Unchaining my bike, I let it lean against my thighs while I tucked my notebook into the waistband of my jeans, adjusting my t-shirt to fall back over the top. As I slipped my helmet on and buckled it, my thoughts were on the list of phone numbers I’d jotted down from my research on the net.
Riding home, I tried to ignore the sinking feeling in my belly. Somehow, I knew that none of the numbers I’d written down were going to find me someone who knew Jeremy’s address, but I didn’t want to face that possibility. I’d been feeling down ever since I’d raced home a little after ten in the morning armed with four phone numbers listed for Hammond in the Byron Bay area. None of them had been related to him.
I swallowed the painful lump in my throat at the memory of those phone calls. I couldn’t believe that not one other Hammond in the area was relative, however distant.
Determined to find him, I’d gone to the local library and spent the rest of the day googling, trying to find his dad’s old practice. Who’d have known there were so many different sorts of eye doctors and not one freakin’ Hammond among them? It was beyond frustrating. The hospital where Mr. Hammond had also worked told me that weren’t at liberty to reveal his contact details in Africa. Fuck, what did they think I was going to do? Send a hit squad to Africa to take the whole family out? I was fifteen for Christ sake!
That night I had no appetite, but I didn’t want Mum on my case, so I gulped down my dinner before asking to be excused and going to my room. I wanted to fall asleep quickly, because the sooner I was asleep, the sooner it’d be morning, and I could ring the numbers on my list.
It was the first day of school, and if it wasn’t bad enough starting at a new school mid-year, I’d also been buddied up with a girl. Bloody great. It wasn’t that she was that bad, I mean, really, she was quite cool, but being shown around by a girl was not the best way for a guy to start off in a new school.
“For Christ sake, Sadler! Grow up. Get over it, will you! I’m a girl. Yep, Sadler got saddled with a girl. It ain’t the end of the world.”
Standing with her hands on her hips, glaring at me like she’d like to roast me with her eyes, she looked so funny, and before I knew it, I was laughing. “Um, sorry, Bobbi. It’s not you. Really, it’s not. It’s just, um… a guy thing.”
She gave an exaggerated roll of her eyes. “Don’t talk to me about a freakin’ ‘guy thing.’ I have three older brothers. I know all about ‘guy things.’ What it is, is a fuckin’ stupid thing. Look, we’re stuck with each other so let’s make this as painless as possible shall we?”
I mean, she had a point. We were in all the same classes except for PE. And what did it matter anyway? I was never again going to let another person matter to me the way Jeremy had, because caring for someone only meant getting hurt when they left, or you lost them.
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