Soundtrack To My Youth (book 1)

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You Oughta Know

I woke up before the alarm went off, groaning to myself, knowing I had to go to my Mother’s house for the weekend but then I felt Sam’s arm wrap around me and I smiled. I’d get to see him again on Sunday when his team came to the coast to play. I looked at the clock on the bedside table, it was just after 6am, Bridget and I didn’t have to leave here until at least 8 and if I even attempted to wake her before 730 there would be hell to pay.

I rolled over and looked up at Sam who was still sleeping, his dark brown hair falling onto his face and sweat glistening on his chest. The room was stifling hot, indicating that we were in for another scorching Summers day. I broke out of his hold and heard him moan at little, I walked over to the window and opened it, letting the fresh air fill the room.

“Are you attempting to sneak out on me princess” Sam asked, his voice thick with sleep as he wiped his eyes. He was a gorgeous sight to see first thing in the morning, laying on his bed in just his briefs.

“Not at all, I was just opening the window, it’s like a furnace in here. How can you sleep in the heat with no fan?” I complain. He grabs a remote from the bedside table and hits a button, suddenly sending cool air into the room. I close the window and climb back into bed with him.

“My Dad must have turned the air conditioner off when he came home” He tells me sending me into a panic.

“Your Dad came in here? He knows I’m here?” My voice is shrill with embarrassment

“Roni chill, we have ducted air conditioning, it runs throughout the whole house, he would have turned it off downstairs when he came in. He knows you and Bridget were staying here last night” He reassures me, stroking my hair to calm me. I relax back onto his chest, feeling it rise and fall beneath me. “Do you regret last night?” He asks me insecurely, his past no doubt weighing heavy on his mind.

“Nope, I have no regrets, in fact, I wanna do it again” I run my hand down his body and slip it beneath his briefs but he stops me and laughs.

“Lets make a deal, if we beat the Red Devils at the swimming carnival on Friday we will celebrate” He says, giving me that cheeky smile.

“You’re kidding me? I’m now relying on 50 other students to swim harder than any of the Red Devils?” I laugh and shake my head, it’s almost an impossible task.

“That’s why I’m going to make you my co-captain, so you can raise their spirits, now that you have a goal to aim for” He says before kissing me.

“and if we don’t beat the Red Devils then...?”

“Then the country won’t be the only thing in drought this Summer” He teases me, laughing loudly.

“I don’t even know how the scoring all works at these stupid carnivals” I protest, “I’ve only ever been to one of them and that was in the seventh grade”

“It’s 50 points for first place, 30 for second, 10 for third and a point for last place, the races are broken down into years 7 and 8, 9 and 10 and then years 11 and 12, boys verses boys and girls verses girls and the winning swimmers will go on to participate in regionals and if they win that they go to state finals” He explains

“And beating Lucas?” I laugh

“Lucas and I have always had a friendly rivalry between us, he will be driving his team just as hard to win” He tells me

“Is that what last night was about? You gaining something over Lucas?” I’m angry at just the thought of being used as a pawn in their little game.

“Oh fuck, no” he pulls me in tight and holds me, “Last night was purely about you and I, it has nothing to do with Lucas and I want you to know that. I never thought I’d have the privilege of even being able to kiss you, let alone have you naked in my bed. You mean more to me than some stupid rivalry” He promises me.

There was a soft knock on his bedroom door, making my heart jump into my throat as I ducked under the donna. It was one thing for his Dad to know I was in the house, another thing completely to see me in bed with his son.

“Come in” Sam called out, tickling me along my rib cage to make me squirm and expose myself. The door opened and there stood Bridget, dressed in last nights clothes with shocking bed hair, she looked at Sam first, then at me, smiled shyly and made her way into the room.

“I woke up and went looking for you in the other guest room, saw it was empty and thought you would probably be in here” She says, eyeing the pile of our clothing on the floor and decides it’s best to sit down in the desk chair, Sam snickers and I blush.

“I was going to wake you around 730, thought I’d let you sleep in as long as you could considering it was a late night last night. Did you sleep ok?” I ask her, hoping she didn’t hear us.

“Yeah, I slept like a log, that bed is so comfy and so big but the heat woke me up, it’s too hot in that room, it’s cooler in here though” She says, swinging the chair back and forth, “I was wondering if I could take a shower?” She asks.

“Of course you can Bridge, I’ll grab you a towel” Sam offers, he lifts the donna slightly but I slam my hand down on it quickly, remembering that he only has his briefs on.

“I’ll grab her that towel, you just tell me where the linen cupboard is” I tell him, climbing out of bed and following his instructions to the cupboard down the hall near the main bathroom. Bridget grabs my arm and pulls me into the bathroom with her, shutting the door behind us.

“Did you have sex with Sam last night?” She questions me, her eyes are wide with curiosity.

“Im not having this conversation with my 15 year old...”

“Almost 16 year old” She interrupts me.

“My almost 16 year old sister, not before I’ve had at least one strong coffee this morning” I tell her and she dances on the spot.

“So that means you will tell me after you’ve had coffee?” She asks excitedly

“We have an hour car ride this morning to Mum’s house, I will answer all your questions on the way there” I promise her, hugging her tightly before exiting the bathroom and making my way back to Sam’s room, which I discover is now empty. I throw on my clothes for the day, brush my hair into a pony and repack my bag just as Sam re-enters the room with two cups of coffee, he hands one to me, I take a sip and let the strong, bitter taste wake me.

“Bridget asked if we had sex” I tell Sam as he sits on his bed drinking in his coffee.

“What are you going to tell her?” He asks me

“The truth, if that’s alright with you” I say, meeting his gaze, he smiles warmly and nods.

“I have no issues with that, I trust Bridget, she knows everything about me and I know she’s not going to be spreading it around school” He points out and I realise that all this time Bridget has known about Sam’s past and never said a word, their friendship is built on strong trust and loyalty.

After her shower Bridget made her way back to Sam’s room, hair pulled back neatly, clothes stylish yet respectable knowing that our Mother would be all over us from the moment we walked through her door, pointing out every flaw in our appearance. I have longed stopped caring what she thought of me but I knew Bridget would let Mum’s words eat away at her self esteem so I pulled my hair out of the pony and let it fall messily around my face, knowing my appearance would be the thing to distract Mum from attacking Bridget.

Sam walked us to my car, he hugged Bridget tightly before kissing me softly on the lips.

“Drive carefully princess, stop at all stop signs and don’t hit telegraph poles” He tells me, “I’ll see you both Sunday”

~~~

We were 15 minutes and my second coffee into our drive when Bridget couldn’t wait any longer

“You said you would tell me once you had coffee and you’ve had two, spill” She begs me, jumping around in her chair.

“What I am going to tell you stays between us” I warn her

“Always” She promises, turning the radio down so she doesn’t miss anything.

“Sam and I did have sex last night” I tell her and she squeals with joy.

“Was it your first time?” She questions me

“With Sam? Yes”

“I meant was it your first time ever?”

“Oh, ah, no”

“Really? You’ve done it before? With who?

“With Lucas” I feel it best to leave out any future sexual partners, at this point they don’t really exist anyway.

“Was Sam better than Lucas?” She asks, hanging on my every word like this is the most exciting news she’s ever been told

“Yes, very much a yes on that, so much better” My mouth runs away from me and Bridget giggles

“I’m going to ask Amber to go on a date with me” Bridget announces, she’s nervous but excited.

“I think that’s a great idea Bridge, where are you thinking you’d like to go?” I ask her, she smiles widely at me, knowing she has my support puts her at ease.

“Hmm, I don’t really know, neither one of us drive so it would have to be somewhere close by, unless...”

“Unless you had a nice sister who could drive you and pick you up?” I pick up on what she is hinting at

“Would you?” She looks surprised by my offer

“Of course. Sam and I are going out on Friday night, you could tag along with us, I’m sure Sam wouldn’t mind or he could drop you somewhere” I tell her and she squeals with joy

“Thank you Roni, you’re the best”

~~~

We arrived at our Mother’s house just after 9am, parking on the street out the front, knowing it would just start trouble with Carson if I parked in the driveway.

The house looked exactly how I remembered it, grass overgrown because Carson refused to mow, paint chipping off the weatherboard cladding and the strong smell of cigarette smoke that hits you as you approach the front door because my Mother was a heavy smoker and refused to smoke outside.

Both Bridget and I had a key to the front door but we would still always knock to announce our arrival. This never felt like it was our home, it was just the prisoWn we were forced to stay every second weekend.

My Mother opened the door with a cigarette in her hand and a disapproving look plastered on her face, great, it was going to be one of those weekends.

“You’re late Veronica” She spits out at me, no hello, no friendly greeting here, just pure venom straight up.

“It’s just after 9 Susan” I point out, using her name, knowing it pisses her off.

“Don’t give me attitude Veronica, you show up here with your hair hanging in your face, looking like no one owns you and you start drama. I don’t need this Veronica” She looks at me coldly as I step inside the small, 3 bedroom house that is filled with clutter that she ‘collects’, she looks passed me and smiles warmly at Bridget, the child she can still manipulate and guilt into doing as she wants, “Hello sweetie, don’t you look like a little doll with your hair in that ponytail like that, see Veronica, you should do your hair like Bridgets, she always looks respectable.”

I looked at Bridget and rolled my eyes, I knew this game well, this was my Mother trying to cause friction between Bridget and I, hoping we would fight so I would have no one to talk to all weekend, proving to herself that I was the bad seed she has made me out to be to the rest of our family. I had suffered through years of this and wasn’t going to be taking the bait today, I just calmly walked down the hall to the room that was designated for Bridget and I, threw my bag in the corner and flopped on to the uncomfortable mattress that was on Bridget’s bed

I could hear my Mother talking to Bridget about her up coming 16th birthday, asking Bridget what she would like for her birthday and then shooting down every idea while pushing her own.

“I want to get my learners permit” Bridget told Mum and it was met with a heavy sigh.

“Oh Bridgy, I don’t think you’re ready to learn how to drive yet, you don’t have the concentration skills, you’d get into an accident and kill someone honey” Mum said in her fake soothing tone. The reality was that my Mother feared that once Bridget could drive she wouldn’t need her anymore. I come back out of the bedroom and stand by Bridgets side, seeing the disappointment on her face as she lets Mum’s words seep into her, believing them to be true.

“I think it’s a great idea Bridget, in fact, I’ll be on my full licence once I turn 18 and I’m more than happy to teach you and I know Sam would take you for lessons too” Throwing my support behind Bridget just angers Mum.

“We will talk about it later Bridget” Mum says coldly, meaning, when I’m not around to influence Bridget.

~~~

The day dragged on, there was never really much to do when we were staying here, we had no friends here and the only television in the house was usually dominated by Carson who would watch endless matches of Cricket in the Summer and Rugby League the rest of the year. Bridget and I would occupy our time here by reading or playing games on our Nintendo Gameboys. Today though we just hung out in our prison cell...sorry bedroom, laying in our bunk bed, Bridget scrawling furiously in the diary that she kept while I texted Sam and Kate.

We heard the front door slam loudly and I looked down at Bridget who was in the bed below mine, we both knew that meant that Carson had returned home. Fucking great. I lay there listening to the voices coming from the living room as Mum came out to greet her precious golden child and I could hear that he wasn’t alone, I looked back down at Bridget when I recognised the voice that belonged to the person accompanying Carson into the house. Her eyes wide, knowing the day had just gotten so much worse for me.

“Lucas” My Mother’s voice screeched, “Don’t you look handsome today”, I could just imagine how she would greet him too, pulling him in for a hug and kissing his cheek. My Mother loved Lucas, maybe even more than she loved her own two daughters. To her, Lucas was a good guy, always clean shaven and dressed sharply and the fact that he and Carson became friends pleased her to no end.

I jumped down from the top bunk, landing on the worn out carpet with a thud and walked out in to the living room, needing to see the proof with my own eyes. Sure enough, there he was, hugging my Mother tightly, he pulled back once I entered the room, sly smile coming across his smug face.

“Hey Roni, I forgot that you would be here this weekend baby” He says to me, walking up to where I stood cross armed in the living room doorway and he plants a kiss on my cheek.

“Why are you here?” I ask him as I push him off me and move to the other side of the room.

“Carson and I went and had a beer at the pub” He tells me, “We’re still friends, even though his sister is acting like a psycho right now”

“You drove all the way here to have a beer with Carson?” I question him, I know Lucas’ motives, he’s realising he’s lost me and is trying the family angle to get back in, he knows my Dad would never give him the time of day but Carson and my Mother will back him.

“well I was thinking we could go out for dinner” He suggests, my Mother is more than excited by the thought of Lucas and I going out tonight, I can see that glint in her eyes.

“Which is it Lucas? You claim you had no idea I would be here and now you’re saying you’re here to take me out tonight? I broke up with you Lucas, which means I no longer have to go out with you when you demand it” By now Bridget has joined the rest of us in the living room, making sure to keep her distance from Carson.

“Veronica don’t be so rude, you are lucky to have a boy like Lucas that even want to take you out, especially with that attitude of yours” Mum scolds me before turning her attention to Lucas and smiling warmly, “I honestly don’t know how you put up with her sweetheart, you’re a saint for trying”

“He cheats on me” I scream at her, feeling the hot tears fall from my eyes.

“Well I’m really not surprised Veronica, if you treat him how you treat me” She shakes her head

“I’m not surprised you and Carson get along so well, you like to force yourself desperately in to my life and He likes to force himself onto girls when he knows they don’t want him” I yell at Lucas, I’d had enough of being painted at the bad seed. Carson crosses the room and slams me up against a wall, holding his forearm against my neck, I can hear Bridget screaming at him to let me go but he doesn’t, I’ve awaken the beast and he’s angry.

“You fucking mole” He grunts, baring his yellow stained teeth as his disgusting, putrid breath fills my nostrils.

“Carson stop, this is what she wants, she just comes here to start trouble” My Mother reasons with him and he backs off.

“Touch me again and I’ll call the police” I threaten him but it’s met with a smile.

“They’d laugh at you” This has been his response since I first started threatening it as a child and I stupidly believed it because he was older and because my Mother did nothing to stop his violent outburst against us, as an adult I learnt that he was in the wrong.

“Try me” I walk away from him, coming to stand beside Bridget who is now shaking.

“You’re going out with Lucas tonight Veronica, I’m not having you stay here and making things worse, I don’t need this kind of stress in my life” My mother screeches at me as she throws her arms in the air dramatically. I look at Bridget, she’s absolutely terrified to be left alone in the house with Carson.

“Well if I’m being forced to go then Bridget is coming with me” I tell Mum firmly.

“Fine, whatever but don’t you dare drag her down to your level” She yells as we storm out of the house, Lucas following closely behind, surprisingly silent for once. He knew Carson was physically violent towards Bridget and I but had never seen it.

I climb into the front seat of Lucas’ car and Bridget gets into the seat behind mine, I feel her hand touch my shoulder, giving me comfort and I give it a squeeze to let her know I’m alright, I just need to get away from this house. Lucas starts the car and his v8 engine roars to life as he pulls away from the curb. The angry, heavy metal music that he loves fills the silence of the short car ride to the beach clubhouse.

The smell of the salty sea water is in the air and the sound of the waves crashing against the sand begins to calm me down as the three us make our way into the club house. Lucas and I would often eat here when he would drive down to visit me on my weekends stuck at the Mothers, we would eat and then take a walk along the beach, stopping the sit on the giant sand dunes to make out. It was almost like this was our spot, we had so many great memories of coming here but today would not be one of them.

We grabbed menus from the counter and found a table near the large open windows that looked out onto the ocean. Once we had decided what we wanted Lucas placed the order at the counter. I offered him money but he refused to take it, which was odd in itself but I also knew that nothing from Lucas came for without an expectation of getting further and I would have to make it clear that there was no chance of that tonight.

“Petra thinks that you and Sam are seeing each other” Lucas says as he returns to the table with cutlery for us, big smile on his face but it’s not directed at me, he’s looking at Bridget, “She saw that hug he gave you last night and how he whispered in your ear and made you laugh”

Bridget looks over to me and smiles, it’s like I can read her mind, she knows that this is the best way to get Lucas away from being suspicious of Sam and I and I know she’s not ready to expose what she has with Amber to anyone other than Sam and myself.

“Yep, Sam’s my boyfriend, you caught us out” She proudly lies.

“Well that explains why he’s been driving you to school every day too.” Lucas points out, “I gotta say though, that’s a weight lifted off my chest”

“How so?” I ask him

“Because I thought Sam might have made a move on you” Lucas tells me as a waiter places our drinks down on the table. Lucas ordered himself a beer, a vodka and orange juice for me and a coke for Bridget.

“Sam and I are friends Lucas” a friend who I’ve now had sex with.

“I never told you this before but when Sam first came to our school he had a thing for you” Lucas tells me, I look over at Bridget and she nods to confirm it.

“You and I weren’t even together when Sam started school with us” I point out, piecing it all together. I’d known Lucas since kindergarten and then suddenly one day in year 10 he started flirting with me out of nowhere, I never questioned why the most popular guy in our class had taken an interest in me, I guess I was just so swept up in the magic that was Lucas Stephenson.

“I’ll admit, he made you seem appealing but I fell for you too, after a bit and I loved you Veronica, I still do love you, if you could just give me another chance I’d prove that to you” He begs me, sincerity in his eyes but I’d be a fool to fall for it.

“Did you sleep with Petra last night?” I ask him and watch the guilt wash over his face, “I’m not angry if you did, you can sleep with whoever you want but you’re then coming to me and begging for another chance. Do you not see the flaw in that Lucas?”

“Petra was just all over me last night, I couldn’t just tell her no, so yeah, I went home with her but the sex was shit and I was thinking about you the whole time, I swear it Roni” His voice is small, almost pleading.

“Veronica had sex too” Bridget announces and I shoot her a death stare. Boundaries, something she still hasn’t learnt even now. It’s like a knife has cut through Lucas, the pain on his face as he registers what Bridget said. The waiter returns to our table with our meals and I’m grateful for the distraction. We ate in silence but I knew the conversation was far from over.

~~~

After dinner Lucas handed Bridget his keys and asked if she could wait in the car while we talked, she reluctantly agreed, leaving me alone in the clubhouse with Lucas and he had only one thing on his mind.

“It was with Harry right?” He asked me after we had sat there for a while, not speaking.

“Ah, yes” I awkwardly replied. I’d rather have the embarrassing sex talk with my Mother again than talk about who I slept with last night, I’m so afraid I’m going to slip up and say Sam’s name.

“So after the movies you drove over to his house and just did it?” I cringe at his question but I know I need to tell him, it might actually make him back off.

“Yes, I stayed there last night” I confirm

“Was that the first time?” He asks, this is hard for him, I can see it all over his face but he’s not stopping.

“Yes, it was our first time together and the first guy after you....” I trail off

“I fucked this up, I pushed you into his arms” His words catch my attention, I’ve never had Lucas admit to destroying our relationship, he’s always put the blame on me, “I love you Veronica, I’ll always love you, I need you to know that. I didn’t cheat on you because of anything you did, it was all me, I was scared to be tied down with one girl, while watching Sam go out with a different one each week”

“So you wanted your cake and to eat it too?” I sigh, I’d waited 21 years for an apology, for something from him and I guess this was it.

“Something like that and now I’ve lost you from my life and I miss you so much, I miss being able to just talk to you because you’re the one person I am able to be myself with” He looks at me, the sad, pained eyes tell a story of a boy who is just lost.

“If you stop hitting on me we could try and be friends” I tell him

“I’d like that and as your friend I feel that it’s my duty to tell you that Sam bought condoms on Thursday when I was with him” I look at him confused for a moment and then it hits me.

“Oh, you think him and Bridget are planning on using them?” It takes everything inside of me to keep a straight face at the thought of Bridget and Sam sleeping together.

“Yeah, it’s good that they’re being careful but she’s so young and he’s known to sleep around so I’m just looking out for her and you should too Roni” He warns me.

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on Sam” I promise. I’ll keep more than just an eye on him though.

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