Part Twenty:


The twins found themselves about a block and a half behind the silver and brown truck. From the slight swerves that the vehicle was making, they would rightly be guessing that Cheryl wasn’t the only drunk in the vehicle.

A part of them really hoped that she would crash, but neither was willing to actually say that aloud. There had to be some bad karma for wishing one’s own mother death.

When they finally stopped, they were in a part of Yabbie Creek that neither twin knew well. Still they figured it wouldn’t be a problem since they were pretty good at finding their way home.

                “Do you want to hit at the house or her personally?” Nash asked, standing up to release some of the pressure the seat had taken on his bum. He reached back, rubbing the numbness from the almost hour long ride.

                “She tossed the jug at yer head,” Jagger remembered. “Whatever you wat to do.”

Nash wasn’t exactly violent, but he did like a good fight. Jagger had the tendency to act and not think, but he knew that his twin had his back no matter what. No one had seemed more upset about Cheryl’s attack on Nash than Jagger.

                “If we do attack her, what are you thinking?”

Jagger stood up, dropping the bike on the ground. Stretching, many malicious thoughts crossed her mind. Nash waited her out.

They watched as Cheryl and her latest bloke headed into a rather nice looking little place. The curtains and the carefully cared for flowerbed told them there was probably a woman responsible around. And it wouldn’t be the first time that their mum knowingly slept with someone else’s husband.

Nash felt a shiver down his spine. He always wondered what would happen if the woman became pregnant again. She always complained that her four pregnancies, especially the twins, had ruined her body. But sleeping around like she did probably didn’t help the odds against a sixth kid.

                “I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking three things.”

                “I’m listening,” Nash smirked, leaning forward to rest his arms against the handbars.

                “First, that car needs to stick around for a bit-

                “Jimmy the hood open and get creative,” Nash shrugged. He had helped Heath and Brax both with their cars loads of times. “Done.”

                “I think Mrs. Rosebuds deserves to know what her dick of a man is doing –

                “Cell pic and find out the woman’s name and number through a phony delivery charity ploy with the neighbors, done.”

Jagger giggled. “And lastly, I reckon we haven’t gone to the toilets in hours.”

At this, Nash frowned.

                “That’s not what I thought you were going to say, but I think I saw a place a few blocks back.”

Jagger rolled her eyes.

                “I saw a dollar shop half a mile back. And I’ll bet that they have balloons.”

It took Nash a moment to realize what Jagger was implying.

                “Ugh gross!” he finally cringed when he got it. “Really Jag?”

                “I can slingshot them at her from the top of that tree,” Jagger smiled. “It’s too good to miss!”

                “But how are we going to get her out?”

                “You handle the car, I’ll talk to the neighbors and get the wife’s number. Then, we’ll get a call phone from the store and take some pics from the windows.”

                “Peep at our Mum?” Nash cringed.

                “We don’t have to look,” Jagger shrugged. “Besides, can’t be worse than walking in on Heath that one time!”

Both twins cringed. It was a devious plan, but the way that they figured it, someone had to do it. And it wasn’t like they had much that they could do against Cheryl. She was wicked and cunning, they were just trying to even the odds.

                “What if there is no wife?” Nash wondered as he walked his bike off to the side.

                “There’s a wife,” Jagger rolled her eyes. “Unless the guy’s queer enough to hang those 70s rejects flower overload on his own.”

                “Maybe they’re his mum’s.”

Jagger groaned. “There’s a wife! Trust me!”

                “You know the same nothing about this guy that I do,” he frowned. “We could be wrong.”

                “Then we ruin his car and throw balloons full of piss on them and split! Geesh!”




Even the best laid out plans had their downfalls, and for the twins this was no different.

Realizing that going around to get the (alleged) wife’s number would clue people in on their presence, the duo decided instead to wait out f the man’s inevitable departure. They thought, certainly he wouldn’t let her spend the night.

They were wrong.

The Braxton house was still, each in their own rooms and in their own beds. Even Brax had slept the night in the master bedroom, which he didn’t normally do since it was still filled with Cheryl’s things and he wasn’t willing to actually toss the shit out.

Two Braxtons, however, found themselves waking up twelve feet in the air, sleep grip keeping them up a tree.

As the day begun, Brax was as usual the first to rise. He got up and headed out, grabbing his board for a few quick waves before he had to head down to Summer Bay. It was one of the rare days that he didn’t check in on the younger Braxton brats, but he was pressed for time and figured they were all asleep.

Heath was up next, and as he slugged his way over to the bathroom, he peeked into the kids’ room. Casey was sprawled out in his bed, and the other bed was already made. Figuring that the troublesome twosome had headed out with Brax, Heath went into the bathroom for a shower.

The next to awake was Jagger, who was awoken by the sound of some birds chirping near her ear. She was startled to spot where she was, and reached over to wake her twin.

                “Go away,” Nash muttered, wiggling slightly to get away from the touch.

                “Don’t move!” Jagger hissed. “Seriously, Nash, wake up.”

Finally, Nash opened his eyes and in another second he too was wide eyed and astonished.

                “I can’t believe we slept here,” he muttered, pulling some fallen leaves from his hair.

                “I can’t believe we didn’t fall,” Jagger scoffed.

They both glanced over at the house.

                “Think she’s still in there?”

Jagger nodded. The car’s wheels were still at the same tilt that they had been the previous night. Not to mention, Jagger was a pretty light sleeper, she would’ve woken up to any little sound.

Unfortunately, it was a seemingly quietly little part of town they were in.


                “What do you want to do now?” Nash wondered, stretching as much as he could.

                “Well, Brax is going to kill us,” Jagger stated matter of factly. “Maybe even Heath too.”

                “Given,” cringed Nash. “Pulled an all nighter.”

                “Maybe he’ll finally get us cell phones,” Jagger offered back, but Nash just glared. “Well, I’m not about to leave after all of this without causing some ruckus. Unless, you want to?”

Nash thought about it for a moment. He figured they were in enough trouble, but he also didn’t like Cheryl very much. It wasn’t often that the twins were able to get to her without one of their brothers around. And if they were around, there was no way that the twins would be able to do anything.

The chance was just too good.

They didn’t care much for making a scandal, and preferred to be under the radar – so to speak – but there was something about Cheryl that just made Nash see red.

                “We can wait,” Nash said, leaning back against the wide trunk again.

Jagger grinned. She liked causing chaos more than Nash, but had he wanted to leave she would have. Not that she wouldn’t carry this out on her own. Even at ten years old, Jagger liked to think she was fearless.

                “We could try sneaking into the place?” she offered.

                “Are you mad?” Nash scoffed.

                “Just a thought then,” Jagger too settled down to watch the house again. They were hungry, certainly, but they could go without for a bit longer.




Waking up, Casey wasn’t surprised to find himself home alone. It was just past 9, which in Braxton standards was downright late. Showered and dressed, Casey set out to see what he would be able to find to entertain himself.

It was Saturday, and that would usually mean people were either trickling out of their Friday night parties or heading for a weekend bash up. Casey was interested in neither.

The few friends that Casey had had at Mangrove River weren’t available. Either in weekend detentions or some other kind of community service, and if that wasn’t the case, Brax had warned him away from that lot since even before he was expelled.

He wondered, briefly, what his brothers were up to. Brax was probably over at Summer Bay again. He seemed quite interested in the restaurant place, and Casey figured it was better for him to keep away until he was told otherwise.

Heath, if Casey remembered correctly, would be spending the day with the Boys over at Deacon’s Point. The Point was known for its rowdy parties, and occasionally like today, the fellas would get together and ogle over each other’s cars. A lot of the boys were into racing, and they liked putting their money into making their cars more and more powerful. Heath liked the speed of the cars, and a lot of the other guys let him drive them, but more than a few of the Boys had been pinched through the years for illegal races, and Brax had warned his brother far off from that.

Casey wouldn’t be surprised if Heath had still gone to one or two though. He had certainly carried off a few rolls of money that Casey was certain Brax knew nothing about.

The few times that Casey had been to Deacon’s Point, he had seen things he was most certainly not comfortable thinking about again. He’d been thirteen the first time Heath had brought him over, and Brax had been livid. He’d made it back a few other times, but it was still odd. He knew about cars, but he didn’t have one. He was too afraid to touch anything because he was absolutely certain that he would get pummeled for it, and to top it all off Heath would usually get wasted and make the drive back home extremely nerve wracking for him in the backseat – sometimes, with the car filled passed capacity and more often than not with a slew of women he couldn’t even name.

Still, as he saw Xavier’s yellow V8 coming up the turn, he couldn’t help thinking about it.

                “I thought you weren’t allowed to drive,” he grinned as Xavier stopped beside him.

                “Eh,” Xavier shrugged. “No one’s gonna notice it’s gone.”

Casey looked at him strangely. How no one would notice a yellow car like that, he couldn’t figure.

                “Come on!” Xavier insisted. “Deacon’s Point this weekend, right? Hot cars, hot girls?”

Xavier’s smile was infectious, and Casey smirked back.

                “Alright, fine,” he got into the passenger’s seat. In truth, he was surprised that Xavier would even offer. He wouldn’t have blamed the other teen if he had kept on driving. Maybe there was hope for him in Summer Bay.

                “Yes!” Xavier laughed. “It’s on!”

The two were driving around, Xavier every so often revving up the engine and causing Casey to laugh. It was such a dream car that he didn’t even mind not being behind the wheel. He certainly couldn’t afford crashing it.

                “I can’t believe Mrs. Palmer let you have this thing,” Casey shook his head. “It’s a beast!”

                “Yeah, well, Mum’s pretty cool,” Xavier smiled. “She wasn’t always a principal you know. And it’s taken me a long time to get her to calm down. By the time I came along, I think she’s been all out of energy.”

Casey nodded. He didn’t know too much about Xavier, but he could account for what he said. His own mother wasn’t exactly full of life, and she would often blame him and his siblings for “taking the youth right out of her”.

                “Mums though,” Xavier continued, getting his cell phone out of his pocket. “Probably gonna wonder where I am.”

                “I thought you said –

                “I’m not gonna mention the car!” Xavier rolled his eyes. He quickly dialed her number.

                “She might hear it though,” Casey added.

                “Right,” Xavier nodded, pulling over. “Hey Mum! What? No, I’m fine! Yeah listen, I’m out with Casey and we probably won’t make it back before dinner. Nothing. Yeah. Yeah, don’t worry. Alright, talk to you later.”

Xavier hung up shaking his head. “That oughta give me an hour,” he laughed.

And they were off again.

Ten minutes later, they turned up a street and spotted Ruby Buckton walking up the way.

Xavier stopped and Casey couldn’t believe his bad luck.

So, Casey liked Ruby. But Ruby liked another guy, and while she had seemed interested at first, now she treated Casey like a lemur or something. Casey didn’t understand it all, but he knew he didn’t like where this was headed.

                “Why are you driving this thing anyway? I thought you weren’t allowed to touch it until you were 25 or something?” Ruby.

                “We’re just gonna take it up for a spin to Deacon’s Point,” Xavier shrugged. “Wanna come?”

Casey tapped at Xavier’s shoulder.

                “You heard her!” he muttered. “She doesn’t car about cars”

                “You said we should bring girls along,” Xavier groaned back.

                “Yeah, girls,” Casey stressed. “Not Ruby!” How could he get Xavier to see that it would be a bad idea to have Ruby around when she was one of his friends? Xavier didn’t have the same problem that Casey did. His ex was April. And while Casey and Ruby were never a thing, it was still hard for him to be around her.

Xavier frowned. He could certainly tell something was up with those two. He had seen Casey talking with Ruby, and since the new kid didn’t talk with many people, he had figured they were friends.

                “What are you going to do there anyway?” Ruby asked, having not heard the boys’ exchange. “Hang around and check out each other’s cars? Compare exhaust sizes?” she teased.

Xavier looked out his window to her, and he rolled his eyes. “Fine, don’t come.”

Casey sighed, relieved at the thought.

                “I will come!” Ruby said before Xavier was able to turn the car back on. She leaned down against the window frame.  “On one condition, I drive.”

Xavier scoffed.   Casey tried not to look over at her.

“But it’s my car.”

“But I’ve had my license longer than you,” she smirked.

“For like, a couple of months,” Xavier stressed.

“Fine,” Ruby pretended to be disinterested. “I might just doddle on home, and let Charlie know that I ran into you both.”

Xavier tossed his head back with a groan. Casey glared.  This was not how the day was supposed to carry out. He was trying to avoid drama, not be in the center of it. Not that his presence seemed to be bothering Ruby in the slightest.

Faced with the current predicament, and knowing exactly how fast Sgt. Buckton would be calling his mother to rat him out, Xavier had to concede.

                “Alright,” he started to unbuckle himself. Ruby’s face grinned wide that it reached her mischievous eyes.

Casey turned away from them, taking a deep breath.

                “Hey, it’s cool,” he stated, since no one asked him. “You sit in the front,” Casey pulled off his own seatbelt with a lot more force than necessary.

As the teens all took their new seating arrangements and Ruby happily started the car up, Casey wondered if he should have bothered getting out of bed in the first place.

                “Buckle up boys!” Ruby stated, starting her up. “Oh wow. Actually,” she turned to Xavier. “These things are kind of hot.” She glanced back at Casey, laughing, and he couldn’t help but feel his heart shatter at the sweet sound of it.

Why did she have to like some other bloke? She was the coolest girl Casey had ever met, the first he had ever thought about liking, but of course she couldn’t be his.

This was going to be a long day.




Heath sat at the back of his truck as a sweet yellow V8 coming slowly through the crowd of people. He, like the others, stopped talking to watch it go.

Most of the other cars were more or less the same that had been at the point for some months, if not years. Sure, the other guys would make improvements and paintjobs changed, but it was mostly all the same.

Every now and then, however, some one new would brave it up there, River Boy reputation either making them tentive and fearful or have them out to prove something.

When he spotted a girl, young and slightly familiar, he smirked.

A second later, he spotted the blond in the seat beside her and couldn’t help but be interested. He had definitely seen the two around Summer Bay, and this proved much more interesting than listening on about Mick visiting with his granddad at the prison again.

Coming over to the vehicle, Heath wasn’t sure what he was going to say, but he leaned down anyway and was even more pleasantly surprised to spot a much more familiar face in the backseat.

                “Nice car, Case,” he smirked.

Casey, in true teenaged form, rolled his eyes.

Heath was glad to see his brother. It was hard enough to get Casey interested in anything that Heath liked, besides surfing, but to get him away from Brax was downright impossible. It had been years since Casey had been up at Deacon’s point, if he didn’t count Robbo’s birthday some months back. And thinking about how that had ended, it was probably best not to count it. The less he thought about it, the less likely he would be to blab it out drunkenly around Brax and get his ass kicked for him.

                “Shame you had to bring the coot,” he turned his gaze much more hard when he glanced over at the blond.

Xavier glared back, but the look did nothing to Heath. To him, it was just another brat thinking they could up on him. Heath was always happy to fight, but it wouldn’t look good for him to fight a kid.

Still, he wasn’t about to let the blond walk around easy, especially now that he wasn’t under his precious father’s beach patrol.

                “Leave it alone,” Casey said, trying his own glare at his brother.

The look, which Heath had to admit was better than the blondie’s, was just kind of – well, cute. He couldn’t ever see himself taking the kid seriously, and the look was just about as big eyed as it had been for the past sixteen years.

Heath scoffed and straightened up he pointed over to the side so that the girlie could park and he motioned over for a few of the fellows to move their slowness out of the way.

Entertainment would come from not just the sweet ride, but he knew that he would be able to work the blond kid up some.

The teens hopped out of the V8, and Mick stupidly offered Casey a beer.

                “No thanks,” Casey shook his head.

                “Oi, daft,” Heath smacked the back of Mick’s head. “He’s sixteen.”

                “That never stopped you,” Mick offered, laughing as he instead tossed the beer over to another of the guys.

                “Brax was way too busy chasing toddlers,” Heath rolled his eyes. “You want to be the one to get the kiddies pissed, you go right ahead.”

At the thought of Brax, like Heath knew it would, Mick slightly sobered up and shook his head. Heath shook his head. He hoped that someday people would feel the same level or respect and tremor from the mere sound of his name.

Casey moved closer to Heath, and it didn’t slip pass him how the blondie moved closer to the girlie. Heath shook his head, smirking. He walked around the ride, looking it over. It was very well done. He would sell Casey off for a chance at a car like that.

                “So, what’s the story,” Heath stood back up from admiring the rims and walked towards Casey, who was now seated casually on the hood of the car. “Leave you alone for one minute and you get all soft; start hanging out with little kids.”

Blondie glared right back at Heath, who merely crossed his arms.

                “As opposed to the Boys?” Casey countered.

                “As opposed to your mates,” Heath shook his head. It was hard for him to see things from his kid brother’s perspective. The kid was unlike him and Brax in most ways. If he didn’t surf, Heath would just assume the kid was switched at birth in the hospital.

                “Well, last time I checked, they were your mates .”

Heath sighed. “Well, they’d be your mates too, if you made a little bit more effort.” This was a conversation he had had dozens of dozens of times. The more he thought that Casey should do something, the less the kid seemed to want to do it, and if he finally did do it – like coming out to Deacon’s Point – he went and did something wacked like taking along a kid he knew his brother, and a handful of the Boys, had a beef with.

Leave it to Casey to make drama were none was needed.

The kid shrugged. “Just thought it would be fun to bring along some friends of my own.”

                “What, are we not good enough for you?”

                “You can’t have too many mates,” Casey retorted back quickly. “Isn’t that what you always say?”

Leave it to the kid to swing his words back at him like that. When you think the brats aren’t listening, and they go and quote you, what gives?

Heath frowned.  “Yeah, but couldn’t you have found some better ones?”

Heath didn’t know who he was trying to get a more rise out of, Blondie or his kid brother. Casey was always easy to rile up, if you knew the buttons to press. And if you pressed them often enough. But mostly, there was just something about the smug Blondie, Heath was finding it hard enough to not mark over and punch his face in – no reason needed.

Of course, if that happened, that would put the kid on open torment from all of the Boys. That would take all of the fun away from Heath. He wasn’t about to punch some kid if he didn’t have to.

                “I mean, the chick’s alright, but what’s with the pretty boy?” he was looking at the other two as he spoke and he could tell that while the girl was finding his statements uncomfortable and trying to be cool, the Blondie was getting worked up. Maybe he would be able to fight him after all. “You trying to suck up to his mum or something?”

It was a low joke, but those were Heath’s favorite kinds. He slapped Casey’s knee, laughing a mite himself and could see the frown permenatntly etched on the Blonde’s face.

                “Save it, alright,” Casey stated back. “This is Xave’s car.”

Heath shook his head. This beauty of a vehicle to that kid?

                “Yeah right, Blondie drives a Mad Max car?”

                “I bought it at the dump,” Xavier interjected. “Me and my stepdad rebuilt it from scratch.”

Heath was impressed, but he wasn’t about to show it. Especially not to that kid.

                “So you know about cars?” he asked instead.

                “Yeah,” Xavier nodded. “We replaced the headlights, the exhaust, the new shocks.”

Heath hated being jealous, and he hated showing it. He started talking about the car, trying to test the kid, and instead found that he might not have been up to jabbing at the Blondie about his own car. The kid kept spewing facts about his ride that Heath had no clue about. Sure, he liked cars, but he wasn’t a walking encyclopedia, damnit!

So Blondie made him feel jealous and look foolish. And Heath once again let his drunk mind direct him into a situation he wasn’t ready for.

Of course, the Boys around him all laughed, and Casey tried to hide his own amusement into his hand. Alright, Heath had to conceded that it it hadn’t been himself, he would have been right there teasing whatever idiot had been made to look the fool, but damn he hated when it was him.

Casey openly laughed as Heath tried to justify his observations, but stupid Mick had to side with the kid, and probably the truth. Mick was an idiot, but it was his actual job to work with cars so he did know the most about them.

                “You’re not bad for a Bay Boy,” Mick said after his shook his head at Heath’s failing attempts.

                “Thanks,” Xavier turned, accepting the beer can that was tossed to him. “Do you want me to pop the hood?”

The rest of the fellows moved in then, and Heath just couldn’t help shaking his head. He didn’t even mention about how the kid was obviously Casey’s age and shouldn’t be drinking, mostly because it wasn’t Casey and he didn’t give a shit about other kids, but also because he was berating himself for talking in the first place.

One day, he was going to keep his mouth shut and not feel like an idiot for having opened it. Maybe.





                “How do you do that?” Nash whispered as he shook his head.

                “It’s a gift,” Jagger shrugged. “And people, old guys ‘specially, all sleaze-balls dicks.”

They were watching the scene beneath them. A white Taurus had pulled onto the front of the house, and the twins had prepared to pepper whoever answered the door with balloons, but instead, the women hopped out and started shrieking at the house. She took her purse and started attacking the car, and the commotion was enough to awaken the two inside.

And when they emerged, it was just too good to watch to dare interrupt it.

The man was trying to get in-between his wife and his beloved car, Cheryl was trying to slip away unnoticed.

                “Are we gonna?” Jagger asked, pointing to where the barefooted woman was trying to slide out of the frame by way of walking against the garage door.

Idiot man, should’ve kept it in his pants long enough to get his car into the garage, maybe would’ve afforded the neighborhood sideshow he was staring in.

Nash cringed. He never really liked making things worse, and the couple were already screeching so loudly at each other that no one could clearly understand what was being said.

That and he kind of hated the thought of attacking his mother, as horrible as she was.

                “Nash,” Jagger groaned. “We are freezing, starving, and grounded for probably infinity. Besides, what are we supposed to do with six pissed-fill balloons otherwise?”

Nash cringed again.

                “I’m not taking them home,” Jagger added.

Nash looked back. Cheryl was trying to slip her shoes on, but they were on the wrong feet and the fact she had clearly not zipped up the back of her dress was making the sleeves slide down her sickly-slender arms.

How the boney woman could pack so much strength and hatred into her hits, surely it defied physics.

                “Nashy,” Jagger poked at his shoulder.

                “Alright,” he conceded with a groan. “We pelt her and dash outa here.”

                “That was always the plan” Jagger shrugged. “Here.”

Nash took the green balloon in hand, it was his own pee, because Jagger had used black balloons. He wanted to do this, but he knew there would be consequences. There had to be, or at least there should be when people did bad things. There never seemed to be for Cheryl. Not when she hurt them or when she left them or when she stole from them.

Nash reached back with his right, throwing arm, thinking about how awful he always felt whenever he was around the woman. How hopeful he would be for three seconds whenever she appeared, but then how devastating it all became again once she revealed her reasons for being home.

He didn’t have a recollection of tossing it, but the shriek Cheryl let out when it hit her square in the face snapped him out of his thoughts.

                “Perfect!” Jagger chuckled, she quickly pocketed the cellphone she used to record the hit and tossed another balloon to him.

                “What the hell?!” the man turned and saw just as the second balloon hit Cheryl in the chest. He did not see his wife swinging her purse at his head.

                “Pay fucking child support on time, and I would be here! Stop fucking around and I would be here!” she continued to shriek herself, completely uninterrupted by the flying balloons.

Jagger let fly the third balloon and they both jumped down from the tree. Nash sent one up in a curve that came down to get Cheryl on her back as she tried to cower down.

                “Nice,” Jagger nodded.

                “Come on,” Nash grabbed a fourth from her hands. Together they each hit Cheryl, the last coming from Jagger as they started running down the street.

                “You goddamn fucking kids!” Cheryl was yelping out. She didn’t notice who they were or when they had stopped, cowering to stop any next assault.

When she finally straightened up, she could see neighbors either at their windows or doors, and the divorcing couple had stopped squabbling enough to look at her.

And then the lady launched herself towards Cheryl.




                “I cannot believe that!” Nash said for the thirtieth or such time.

                “I know,” Jagger replied, again.

                “I just, I can’t!”

                “I know!”

They came upon their street, both riding their bikes standing up since their backsides hurt from having been up in the tree so long.

                “Best thing ever!” Nash smiled wide, hopping off his ride outside of their house’s fence.

                “No,” Jagger got off her own bike, a wicked smile coming across her face. “That’s the best thing ever!”

Nash turned and noticed for the first time the lack of any vehicle waiting in the driveway. He frowned.

                “You think?”

                “I pray.” Jagger opened the gate for the backyard and led the way over to the shed where they put their bikes away – when they remembered to do that, of course. But the best thing for them would be to make it seem like that had been their mode of transportation’s resting place all along.

Nash led them into the house, frowning even more at the silence inside.

                “Case?” he called out.

                “Nope,” Jagger smirked, closing the door behind them. “He’s gone too! This is the best thing ever ever!”

Jagger went over to the kitchen and started pulling things out to eat. She kept looking over her shoulder, grinning at her twin. It took Nash a moment longer, before he finally accepted the fact that they had managed to stay out all night and not be spotted.

And he finally got some revenge and frustration out on Cheryl.

                “You want a grilled chicken or a egg salad sammich?”

                “Both,” Nash cringed as his stomach rumbled.

He walked over and easily got into a rhythm with Jagger that could have easily modeled a danced, effortless and well-practiced.




                “So what about you and Heath?” Ruby was asking him as they sat back watching Heath over at one end talking with his Boys and drinking, and Xavier over at his V8, mucking it up with Mick and a few others. “Are you sure you guys are related?”

Casey frowned, looking over to where Heath was shoving at PeeWee like he was edging for a fight.

His brother was an idiot, and he had clearly shown that, but Casey couldn’t forget all of the hundreds of times when he wasn’t River Boy-Heath, but instead Big Brother-Heath, who wasn’t such a tool to be around.

                “Yeah, pretty sure.”

                “I just don’t see him winning any science competitions any time soon,” Ruby fronwed, watching the Boys interactions. “You sure there wasn’t a mix-up at the hospital?”

Her smirk. His heart fluttered at the small gesture, but he had to remind it that she didn’t belong to him. She couldn’t.

Casey looked instead away.

                “Heath’s not a bad guy,” Casey started. Though, he could also argue the opposite most days. There was something about Ruby though, still, that made him want her to see things differently. Made him think she could understand. “He just likes to disturb people.”

                “Right,” Ruby sighed. And then there was silence.

She was uncomfortable. Casey could tell, but he too was uncomfortable, and had she not told him about her own interest in another boy, he would have tried …something.

Ruby tried, however, talking and jokes. But Casey couldn’t get his head around her being there. About them being there, but it not meaning anything.

Of all of the girls that they had to run into, why did it have to be her?

And then Heath somehow overheard and had to come over, make Casey feel more like a jerk and a fool. He teased Ruby, who was pretty good at keeping her own, but that just caught Xavier’s attention and then he tried to have a go at Heath.

What a horrid day.

When Ruby announced she wanted to leave, Casey couldn’t be happier to oblige, even if Heath was laughing behind them. Heath loved being the cause of trouble.

Things didn’t seem like they could be worse, until they were halfway back to Summer Bay, on a nowhere road, and the car decided to spurt to death.

                “Are you serious?” Ruby groaned as Xavier pulled over.

                “It’s probably fine,” Xavier insisted.

They all climbed out and Xavier popped the hood up to check things over. Things had seemed fine enough when he had been shoving her off just moments before, but it had been close to twenty minutes since they had left.

                “Man we are so busted!” Casey started to pace.

                “It’s probably something small, like the spark plugs’ come loose,” insisted Xavier.

                “And what if it’s not?” Casey questioned, letting his overall frustration carry his ranting. “We’re in the middle of no where, no one’s here.”

                “Dude, calm down!” Xavier straightened up. “This is a historic day,” he continued, smiling and seeing the positive side of things like he so often did. “The car made it’s debut at Deacon’s Point! And everybody loved it!” Casey sighed. “Okay,” Xavier tried. “Maybe not your brother, but everyone else did!”

Xavier turned his happiness once more towards his car.

                “Yeah, so what?” Casey shook his head. “Arent you worried about your parents finding out?”

                “Mum never checks the garage,” Xavier didn’t even bat an eye. “And Palmer’s not due back until late.”

                “We are so busted,” Casey groaned. And to think about how the school principal was going to see this little outing, that ended with them stranded no less.

                “You never know!” insisted Xavier. “I’ve talked my way out of tougher fixes than this.”

Xavier grinned, and motioned for Ruby to try the car again.

To no avail.

                “Okay, maybe not tougher than this,” Xavier sighed, unsure now.

                “Guys!” Ruby called out, stopping her efforts. “You did remember to fill the tank, right?”

Casey glanced over at Xavier, who merely groaned and dropped his head. They were doomed.

                “Okay, just hold on.” Xavier extracted his cell phone and started going through his contacts for someone that might be helpful. And had a car. At their age, however, that wasn’t a very long list. “Paul! I’ll call Paul!”

                “Paul Everett?” Ruby cringed. “Your friends with him?”

                “He’s with the lifeguards,” Xavier shrugged. “And he’s got his own car.”  

                “He’s got worse body order than a mule,” she shook her head.

                “Nice,” Casey shook his head.

                “Shh!” Xavier held his hand up at both of them and started to walk away, he started talking, but it was clear soon enough that he was leaving a voicemail. Not even smelly Paul could help them.

                “Cool, so if he doesn’t get that message until later on tonight, we just sit here and wait?” Ruby asked, knowing how overall dumb their situation was and hating for being in it.

Xavier thought for a moment.

                “Can you call your brothers?” he asked instead to Casey.

                “Yeah, like they’re going to help.” The thought of having to call Heath to save them after how they’d just left, Casey rather walk home. And the thought of calling out to one of the Boys was downright unthinkable. And if he called Brax, he would get in trouble for being at Deacon’s, being in the car with someone inexperienced driving, and then Brax would likely just end up calling Heath or one of the Boys himself. No thanks.

                “Besides, they’ll be half-tanked by now. I’m not getting in the car with them.”

Xavier groaned. “How far back was that petrol station?”

                “I don’t know man,” Casey groaned. “10Ks maybe?”

Xavier nodded. “I can be there and back before you guys know it.” And then Xavier started to jog back the way they had driven.

                “Pace yourself, dude!” Casey yelled out. “We don’t want you collapsing on the way back!”

Xavier nodded, but he was already on his way.

And that just left Casey, with Ruby. Maybe he should’ve gone instead.




Jagger awoke to the sound of the back door sliding open. She popped up, rubbing at her eyes and nudging at Nash beside her awake.

                “Hey,” she called out tentively as Brax came into view.

                “Hey yourself,” he frowned at them, closing the door behind him.

Nash nudged at her, but Jagger just raised her eyebrows.

                “How was your day?” she tried instead, getting up to walk over to where Brax was headed into the kitchen.

                “Too damn long,” he groaned. He placed the groceries on the counter, some takeout that he had been eating out of and then pointed at the dishes the twins had left in the sink.

Jagger walked over, leaning against his side.

                “You two alright?” he asked, wrapping his arm around her and ruffling up her hair a bit before he leaned down to kiss her forehead.

                “It’s been a good day,” Nash said, smirking at his own recollection.

                “Yeah?” Brax had to smile back at the kid’s infectious grin. The twins traded places seemingly, with Jagger releasing Brax and moving to clear the dishes and Nash coming over instead for his own hug. “Anything I should be concerned about?”

                “Nope,” Nash shook his head.

                “Nah,” Jagger said at the same time.

Brax scoffed. “Yeah, that’ll be the day.” He ruffled Nash’s hair and moved him away before walking over to get some plates.  “Where’s Case?”

                “Out,” replied Nash.

Brax turned to them, frowning.

                “You’re alone?”

                “You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Jagger rolled her eyes, placing the dishes to dry.

                “Usually it is.”

                “You’re alright with us being out on our own,” Nash stressed. “Why can’t we be home alone?”

                “Because out there, you’re someone else’s problem. Here, you end up burning our own shit.” Brax shook his head. “Where’d he head out to?”

                “Uh, he just went out,” Nash shrugged.


                “No, well, we weren’t home when he left,” Jagger stated instead.

                “Where were you?” Brax crossed his arms, leaning back against the kitchen counter and giving each twin a look they knew too well.

                “We went for a swim,” Jagger answered, barely catching herself from saying that they’d gone for a surf. It was dead waves that weekend, everyone knew it.


                “He was gone too,” Nash replied. “Didn’t he say they were meeting up at Deacon’s?”

Brax nodded, recalling Heath stating that a few times during the week. “You guys know I don’t like you left to your own.”

                “We’re not alone, we’re together,” Jagger corrected.

                “And you’re both kids,” Brax jabbed against her nose. “And I’ll knock both ya brothers’ heads together until they remember that. Get some cups will ya, I’ve grabbed some Thai.”

                “Really?” Nash frowned. “Where were you Yabbie Creek?”

                “Did you go to see that Lola, Lucy, what’s her name?”

                “Loudres,” Brax sighed. “And no.  Also, mind yer own business.”

                “What?” Jagger kept an innocent face.

                “We were just asking about your day,” Nash brought over a few mismatched glasses as Jagger grabbed them the carton of juice from the fridge. “It’s only polite.”

Brax walked the plates and the takeout to the table, making certain that the bottom of the bag grazed the top of Nash’s head.

                “Brats,” he muttered, going out taking out the food.




Casey had no idea how he found himself in this position now. He was sitting in the backseat of the police cruiser, correction Sgt. Buckton’s cruiser. Heading home. Having been caught in the backseat of Xavier’s car. With Ruby. By the sergeant and Xave.


That’s the words that turned Casey’s heart  from slightly fluttered at talking to Ruby to springing into action and the backseat.


As in there was another guy. There was someone else that had stopped Ruby from saying yes to Casey’s asking her to go out with him, but now that person was no more.

                “I’m sorry it didn’t work out,” he had said, but he hadn’t really been.

He still wasn’t.

He had told her things, things he barely let himself think.

He talked about his brothers. He talked about the Boys. He talked more in that time than he was used to doing in a day, maybe two days.

As Ruby stated how the guy had lied to her, Casey couldn’t help but be mad. He couldn’t  help but try and make her feel better. They talked honest, Ruby too, and she cried and he had made her feel better about herself. This was new territory for Casey.

Heath was right, he was not a ladies’ man.

And one minute they’re talking, the next Ruby is leaning forward and her lips are on his. And then her hands are in his hair, and her motions are kind of desperate and she’s moving faster than he can think – though whatever he would be thinking wouldn’t be of any help then either.

And then Ruby’s on top of him, but he can’t hold her up, so he falls back and lands on not so soft grass but all kinds of small pebbles and things too.

                “Ow!” he groaned.

                “Sorry,” Ruby stopped and he hated himself for having her stop because what he wanted more than anything then was for her to never stop and for her to always be with him and emotions are colliding inside of him like his insides are just tracks for bumper cars.

                “No, it’s alright,” he’s quick to assure her.

                “This really isn’t the best place,” Ruby started to laugh. “Anyone can see us.”

                “If anyone would drive by here,” Casey scoffed.

Ruby laughed. She looked over at him, a look in her eyes Case has never seen, and yet, he understands it.

He still wants her too.

So she took his hand, and they helped each other to their feet, and he kisses her again once they were standing.

And she lead him over to the car. Just in case. The backseat and more kisses and her hands are tugging up his shirt. And she’s laughing and he can’t think straight.

And he’s returning the favor and she’s just in her bra, right in front of him, and she’s gives him this teasing look that he’s about ready to lose himself then and there. And she laughed again, and she leaned over, right on top of him and he can feel his heart in his toes now it’s pumping so hard.

And they’re kissing, and he’s telling himself to remember this, every detail of this. He takes his arm around her, spinning them with moves he’s used on the twins before and he doesn’t want to think like that just then, only wanted to focus on the now and Ruby and them. She’s under him, and they’re kissing and he’s just going to do whatever she’s allowing him to when there’s a knock on the window and the door opened and there was Sgt. Buckton.

And then they were pulling up to his house, and Brax's ute is there, and Casey might as well be dead.

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Part Twenty-One ->