CHAPTER ONE - FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Thankyou for reading my story! Testing the limits was originally posted on Chapters taptales in 2019. It has been edited for Inkitt, with the same storyline and loveable characters as well as added scenes.
It is my aim to bring the entire limits series to Inkitt
Feedback and constructive criticism is greatly appreciated! Happy reading.
- S L Walders
10 hours into the 17 hour flight from London to Perth, Australia, I get up to stretch my legs.
The cramped economy cabin seats are numbing my ass and making my knees lock up. I feel like an old woman as I walk down the narrow aisle towards the airplane bathroom.
Through the curtains separating economy from first class, I see how the other class live and sigh. How I wish for that little bit of luxury on this long flight.
I do my business then head back to my seat.
As I take my seat, I look over to my best friend, Ryan and laugh at his sleeping form. At 6'4, he's folded up like an accordion in the little seats, yet somehow he managed to fall asleep. I'm 5'2 and cannot get comfortable. Maybe part of that is the anxiety of returning home after 5 years.
I take out my laptop and place it on the fold down tray, opening up my latest attempt at writing and trying not to think about what made me move to London in the first place.
I know what you're thinking, some horribly tragic event that sent me running or a bad childhood. Sadly, it's much more cliche than that.
My story is one told through the ages and countless romance stories. But it's mine none the less. It's simple really. Girl falls in love with her big brothers best friend. The best friend sees her like an annoying little sister. In the stories she would make a big play for his affections, only to find that he felt the same way and they would live happily ever after. THE END.
But that's not how this story went. There was no declaration of undying love. There wasn't even any form of rejection. Instead, at 18 I had the opportunity to go to London and live with my grandparents. I figured my aching heart would be easier to handle if I didn't have to see him every day.
So I took the offer and ran. I never came home, not even to visit. Not once.
And I hated that. I've missed Australia. London is always so dreary, so miserable, so cold.
I miss the hot summer days in Perth. The 40 degree heat that melts the bitumen. I miss making the mistake of going outside without shoes on and burning the soles of my feet on the hot cement. I miss getting into a car that's sat in the sun all day and getting branded by the seatbelt buckle.
I miss the Aussie Christmas. A white Christmas is nice the first time, don't get me wrong, but I miss watching mum sweat in the kitchen cooking a hot roast lunch with 5 different types of meat, all the while wondering why we would be eating a hot meal in the middle of summer. I miss playing backyard cricket barefoot, cursing when you get bindi's in your feet, only to sit down in the grass to get them out and end up with bindi's in your ass.
But in the end, I still didn't go home. I couldn't trust myself not to throw myself at him. Even years after leaving Perth. Even after he enlisted in the army, just in case he was on leave when I visited.
There's just something about forbidden fruit that makes it so desirable, so delicious that you just have to have it. I understand why Eve bit the apple. If the apple looked anything like Sebastian Taylor, I'd take a big ol’ bite too.
Mmm biting Sebastian... I close my eyes and slouch back in my seat, imagining my tongue running over his rock hard abs, up to his chest where I leave my teeth marks over his pecks
“Urgh, stop it Lucy!”
My voice rings out louder than it should have in the confines of the plane, earning me a glare from tired passengers
Ryan jerks up in his seat and looks at me through sleepy startled eyes. I shake my head and place my hand on his arm, squeezing it lightly.
“Sorry, didn't mean to wake you. My mind just went to places it shouldn't.”
Ryan lays his head back on the uncomfortable seat and closes his eyes
“Mhmm. Let me guess. Starts with Seb. Ends in astion.”
I sigh and lay back, looking up to the roof of the plane, a blush forming on my cheeks.
“Yeah. I know. It's dumb. I haven't seen or spoken to him in 5 years. I'm just holding on to a teenage fantasy.”
Ryan nods in agreement, his eyes remaining closed.
“And even if you're not. He's probably turned into some macho army jerk who will make those aching loins dry up on sight.”
I giggle and slap Ryan on the chest
“Gross. Don't talk about my loins.”
Ryan opens one eye to look at me incredulously.
“You were just thinking about Sebastian. I know you're wet.”
I blush and look away making Ryan chuckle.
“Come on. The only reason you are holding onto him is because English men are dull. Myself excluded of course.”
I smile at his massive ego
“Of course. If you were straight, I’d never be able to keep my hands off you.”
He grins and throws me a wink.
“Too right, babe… You've had nothing to tickle your fancy. We are going to where hot men are born. Mmm Aussie men, no finer species...”
I giggle and look over to Ryan
“I'm going to heaveeennn.”
His voice raises an octave at the end and I laugh. I don't have the heart to tell him they aren't all Liam Hemsworth or Hugh Jackman. He will find that out soon enough for himself. Hopefully he won't be too disappointed.
Ryan gets comfortable and falls back to sleep. I shake my head at his ability to fall asleep anywhere, although I won’t deny my jealousy.
I met Ryan 3 years ago. We both started at the same publishing house on the same day. We clicked instantly and have been inseparable since.
The publishing house decided to go international and set up an office in Perth.
Why Perth instead of the east coast, I have no idea, but I'm not complaining.
They gave the co-editors position to the "dynamic duo" as we are aptly named.
Ryan was beyond excited to move to Australia. I was too. I needed to move on from this childish infatuation with Sebastian Taylor and live my life how I want to. And that's back in Australia.
Ryan's boyfriend Dave was less excited for Ryan's move. He had just received a promotion with his job which would move him to Sweden. Instead of holding each other back they decided to part ways.
I cried hard at their emotional end. They truly had a fairy-tale romance that should have ended in happy ever after.
But I'm starting to believe that doesn't exist.
Their end came sooner than expected when only 24 hours ago they moved up our departure date. Originally, we weren't supposed to move to Australia for another 6 weeks. But a budding young author may sign with us so they sent us to Perth to meet with him.
So for the next 6 weeks, Ryan and I will be living with my brother until our house is ready.
I'm pulled from my thoughts when the plane bumps suddenly from turbulence. I look over at my laptop screen and sigh. I'm not going to get any writing done with my thoughts going crazy. I close my laptop and lay back my seat, closing my eyes, I’m hoping to get at least some sleep on this long flight.
I walk down the stairs to Brad's basement where he told me his home gym is set up. I started my leave last night and needed to get off the base, I knew Brad would be happy to let me crash here until my next deployment.
Brad has always been like a brother to me. We met on the first day of primary school and remained mates to this day. He's been beside me through thick and thin. When my mum died at 16, when dad passed at 18, and when I dropped out of university to enlist in the army. We have each other's backs and share everything. Well, almost everything.
I never told him I had feelings for his sister, Lucy. That, he would kill me for. I never acted on it of course. She was always off limits to all of Brad’s friends and he made sure that we all knew it.
I step into the basement and flick on the lights. I take a look around the room and chuckle to myself.
The room is covered in floor to ceiling mirrors and every piece of equipment you could ever need, some of which I doubt has ever been used to its full potential.
Shaking my head, I walk over to the treadmill, tossing my towel on the adjacent bench press and start my warm up routine.
While being on leave, I have to keep up my fitness. I could be deployed at any moment, usually with only a few hours’ notice. Being part of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SAS), commando unit, we are the elite of the Australian defence force.
Think US seals but Aussie. They send us where they need us, anywhere at any time.
I run 30km on the treadmill, slowing down to a jog towards the end. Turning off the machine, I wipe it down with my towel and step off the base, stretching my legs slightly as I wipe the sweat off my face and neck before moving on to the bench press, and adding another 60kgs to the bar Brad already had set up.
I'm nearing the end of my third set, Kreator blaring through my ear phones, when a shadow comes over my head. I look up to see Brad smirking at me.
I finish the set and place the bar back up, Brad spotting me, and sit up on the bench, removing my ear plugs
“Geez, that all you lifting?”
I shrug and smirk
He chuckles and shakes his head before moving in to pull me into a bro hug.
I didn't see him when I got in last night. He was on night shift at the hospital where he's completing his residency.
“Good to see you mate, how long are you on leave?”
I shrug and take a sip of water from my bottle, squirting some over my face in an attempt to cool down.
“No clue, until they call me I guess. Just have to check in on base once a week.”
Brad nods and picks up a dumbbell, playing with it in his hands.
“Sounds good. Thought I'd let you know, Lucy's moving home.”
I try to calm my racing heart. It's from the set I just completed, not the mention of her name.
Yeah, definitely the sets. I take another sip of my water and stand up, trying to appear nonchalant.
I walk over to check out what dumbbells he has, opting to do bicep curls with the bar when none of them are heavy enough.
“Yeah, it was meant to be in 6 weeks but the company wanted them here by Monday. So her and Ryan will be crashing here until their house is ready.”
Ryan. I'd heard Brad mention him in passing when talking about Lucy over the past couple of years. No doubt some rich Pom with a snotty accent and bad teeth.
Wait.... Their house? They’re moving in together?
I don't care, why would I care? I haven't seen her in 5 years.
I definitely don't care. I'm over her. Absolutely over her.
“You ok with that?”
I shrug my shoulders.
“Yeah mate, it's your house. Be good to see Lucy again, what's it been? 6 years?”
“5 years. She left a few months before you joined the army”.
I nod, knowing full well the exact date and time she left.
“Oh yeah, that's right.”
Of course it's right. I joined up to get out of this place. To get away from everything that reminded me of her. Which was everything.
And now she's back. With her boyfriend.
“When do they get in?”
Brad looks at his watch and sighs
“Plane lands in an hour. I better get going to pick them up.”
I nod and place the bar back on the bench press
“Catch ya later mate. And stop slacking”
Laughing, I flick him the bird as he trots up the stairs.
Once out of sight, I sit down on the bench seat and put my head in my hands.
My heart beats out of control at the thought of seeing Lucy again. I know it’s just residual feelings, held over from our childhood. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in 5 years.
She left and completely forgot about me. I was, and always will be, just her brothers best friend.