Soundtrack To My Youth (book 1)

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Teenager Of The Year

I woke up early Friday morning wrapped up in Sam’s arms as he held me against his chest. Memories of the night before flooding back to me, making me smile to myself. I looked up at Sam, peacefully sleeping, I didn’t want to wake him but the sound of the alarm blaring from his clock radio destroyed that plan. He reached over me without a word and shut it off, falling back onto his bed with a loud groan.

We had been awake well into the night, creating posters and coming up with cool cheers that would encourage our team to do their best and I was extremely pleased with our efforts.

“I like waking up with you pretty girl” Sam said to me, his voice coming out somewhat husky. He kissed my forehead as I snuggle into him.

“I like waking up with you too, although I could have done without the snoring” I tease him, placing kisses on his chest.

“I don’t snore” He laughs, tickling me along my rib cage to make me squirm.

“Well not as loudly as Bridget does” I tell him, laughing hard

“No one snores as loud as Bridget does, I’ve heard freight trains make less noise.” We both break out into hysterics, poor Amber, I may have to buy her some ear plugs.

I got out of bed and made my way over to my bag, fishing out my clothing that I planned to wear that day and headed towards the bathroom to change. When I re-entered the bedroom Sam was up and had made the bed and gotten changed into his green board shorts and white t-shirt.

“Breakfast?” He asked me, I nodded and he takes hold of my hand and leads me downstairs into the kitchen, “We have some cereal or there’s bread so you could make toast but we only have possum’s arse to spread on it” He informs me

“Possum’s arse?” I question him, confusion spread across my face, he opens a cupboard and pulls out a jar of Vegemite, placing it down in front of me.

“Nasty shit that is but Dad loves it” Sam says as I place two pieces of bread into the toaster, he fills the kettle with water and grabs us two mugs.

“Morning Sammy” Doctor Lion’s calls from the dinning room, Sam’s father has an accent that is English mixed with his native Australian accent I noticed. He enters the room and smiles brightly when he sees me.

“Bridget?” He says unsure, Dr Lion’s often got Bridget and I confused, which isn’t hard considering we do look very similar with our shoulder length blonde hair and blue eyes, it’s only that I’m taller and curvier than she is.

“Veronica” I correct him, “How are you Dr Lions?”

“I’m really good, just got in about an hour ago, busy night last night but I wont bore you with the details” He places his empty mug and plate into the dishwasher and says goodbye before he retreats upstairs to his room for some much needed sleep.

“I think he may be seeing some bird” Sam comments once he knows his Father is out of earshot.

“Really? Has he said something?” I ask, I knew Sam and his Dad talked about almost everything so it surprised me to think that Dr Lions would hide something from Sam.

“No, he’s just been going out more often on the nights he’s not working” Sam says as he fills our mugs with boiling water from the kettle and stirs our coffees. My toasts pops and I butter it and smear the tiniest amount of Vegemite on to each slice.

“But I thought you two were pretty open and honest with each other?”

“Maybe he thinks I can’t handle him moving on?” Sam ponders.

“Can you?” I ask him, taking a sip of my coffee as we move ourselves into the dinning room.

“He deserves to be happy, I wouldn’t stand in the way of that but it would take a bit of getting use to, especially if he brought her home to shag” He laughs, placing a spoonful of his cereal in his mouth.

“Ah, so you’re the only one who is allowed to bring girls home to sleep with?” I giggle

“Girl, not girls, just you Roni” He reminds me.

~~~

Sam picked up Kate and Bridget on our way to the Claremont Pool, Bridget had worn her light green one piece swimsuit with a lime green sundress thrown over the top, she had styled her hair into two buns and tied green ribbons around each bun, Kate on the other hand was true to her word, dressed only in her red bikini and blue, denim mini skirt. The car now smelling strongly of coconut sunscreen.

“Will she get into trouble?” I asked Sam before Kate got into the truck.

“No, only the team gets penalised, not the individual” He promised me, not that Kate would have cared anyway, she was the Queen of lunchtime detentions, having racked up so many for her witty comments that teachers seem to take offence to.

We arrived at the pool, the smell of chlorine and bleach heavy in the air and the heat of the hot, Summer sun seem to amplify it. Passing through the admissions kiosk, I see Mr Scott, our school principal pulling kids aside who he deemed were dressed inappropriately, there was no way Kate was going to get past him unnoticed.

“Katherine Stolls” He bellowed as we approached where he was standing, “I would have thought that being school captain that you of all people would have set an example for your peers and stuck to the rules” Kate looks at him confused for a moment and then it clicks with her, her bikini is the issue.

“Mr Scott, with all due respect, my girls are only going to be this perky for another 5 years, tops, so I felt I owed them the opportunity to be put on display today” Kate says, dragging her finger along her cleavage suggestively while Mr Scott awkwardly fidgets with his pen and avoids contact with Kate.

“Well you’ve cost your team 5 points today” He chastises her, writing a note on his sheet. She breezes past him, not caring, “And I’ll be seeing you in lunchtime detention on Monday.” This stops her in her tracks.

“Mr Scott, that is completely sexist, you’ve got boys walking around here in speedos that leave nothing to the imagination yet you punish me even though I’m completely covered up?” Kate fires back at him angrily, “Just because you’re a pervert who cant keep your eyes off young girls tits...”

I drag her away before she can say anything more, last thing she needs is to lose her captain position because she couldn’t control her mouth. We find a spot in the stands, under the ‘Green Machine’ banner, laying our towels out along the bench. Bridget and I discarded our dresses and the three of us laid back, allowing the warm, morning sun to soak into our skin.

“We’ve had only two penalties” Sam tells me, standing in front of us, blocking the sun, “which isn’t too bad, Red Devils have had six, including Kate’s”

I looked up at my team sitting in the stands, a sea of green, there were posters and streamers everywhere and a small pot of green zinc being passed around. I applied some in two lines under my eyes, warrior style and then went to hand the pot to Bridget.

“No thanks, that stuff gets all over everything, I have a white dress that I wore last year that is ruined but a bright, green smudge that I still can’t get out, plus it’s impossible to get off your skin” She complains, I instead pass it on to Sam, who then paints a giant G on his chest.

~~~

The day got underway with the years 7-8 girls Freestyle 50 metre race straight up, we had two girls in that race, both looked to be from year 7, one of which managed to take the lead from the moment she dived into the pool, creating a giant head start. Our team cheered her on all the way to the finish line where she touched the end of the pool first and we all roared. Sam looked elated with the result and went over to congratulate both of our team members, the other of which who managed to score third place, with the second place going to the Yellow Bears.

I realised, that as co-captain, I couldn’t just sit back and let my team do all the work, so I jumped to my feet and stood out in front of the stands, trying to capture their attention, which wasn’t easy, I didn’t have to the same presence that Sam could muster.

“Ok Green Machine’s lets try a chant” I yelled once the crowd had simmered down and Sam was back by my side. I led our team in a chant that Sam and I had created the night before and it caught on quickly, soon my whole team was singing it as the buzzer for the second race, the 7-8 boys 50 metre Freestyle race went off, we had 3 boys competing, one of which scored third place, unfortunately the Red Devils picked up first and second, earning them 70 points. Their stand was right next to ours and the cheering coming from them was strong.

They announced that the year 9-10 Girl, Freestyle was next. Bridget slipped her swimming cap on to cover her hair and grabbed her goggles, she had always been a strong, confident swimmer, even when we were kids and we’d go next door every day in Summer to play in their pool, she’d always want to race us and would always win so I had no doubt that she would take this one.

She stepped up on to her diving block and took her position, beside her was a girl from year 9, representing the Red Devils.

“Ready” The announcer called before firing his cap gun a moment later. The girls dived into the pool, with Bridget and the girl next to her battling it out for first place, it was going to be a close race. By the halfway point Bridget had a small lead, not by much but just enough for when she touched the end of the pool first and was announced first. Our team cheered her name and I ran to the end of the pool to congratulate her. It wasn’t often that Bridget liked to be in the spotlight, normally she’d shy away from such attention but today she was basking in it as she pulled herself out of the pool and was handed her blue ribbon, having her photo taken for the year book.

Sam attempted to hug her but she denied him.

“Don’t you get that green shit anywhere near me” She laughed and he resolved to just high fiving her instead.

We took a break for lunch at noon, with the tally board showing that the Green Machines were just trailing the Red Devils for the lead by a mere 20 points. Sam said though that didn’t take into account for team penalties, which would minus off at the end of the day so technically we were in the lead.

I applied more sunscreen as the sun was now scorching and the temperature was had hit the mid 40c and then headed to the canteen to buy lunch, I didn’t make it that far though, as I passed the end of our stand I was grabbed and pulled behind the stands, out of sight.

“I thought seeing you naked was a turn on but seeing you in bathers is a whole different level” Sam whispered in my ear, pulling me in close to his chest and kissing me passionately. A flash of light went off in front of us, bringing our make out to a complete halt. There, standing before us, was a kid with a professional looking camera, I recognised him as the same kid who had taken Bridget’s picture for the year book earlier when she won. He then moved on from us and headed back out towards the pool.

“Fuck” Sam said, closing his eyes pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Is it really so bad? Those pictures don’t get used until the end of the year anyway” I try to consolidate him but he just shakes his head.

“The pictures taken today get displayed at school, all team captains have to view them next week and pick out what ones they want on show” He tells me, “Which means by next Thursday, Lucas will see it”

“What if we convince the kid to delete the picture?” I suggest, surely it’s an easy fix.

“How would he delete it, it’s on a roll of film, the only way to delete it would to be delete the whole roll” Sam points out, no digital camera.

“We bribe him to give us the picture, $20 should do it right?”

“Good plan, I’ll go find the little shit and you go get some lunch so no one gets suspicious” Sam says, kissing me on the cheek before running off to find the boy with the camera, I wait a moment before walking out from behind the stands.

Bridget and Kate were waiting in line at the canteen when I walked up, Lucas was only just head of us in the line and after he had got his lunch he stepped back to stand with us.

“I would have thought Sam would have pashed you after your big win?” Lucas questions Bridget, “I guess he didn’t want to risk losing the ten points for inappropriate behaviour though”

“He was going to but I stopped him because I didn’t want to get the green zinc on me” Bridget says, thinking up an excuse which is only half a lie really.

“Well clearly Veronica doesn’t mind” Lucas point to my chest, I look down and see the green zinc from Sam’s G smeared along the top of my chest, just above my swimsuit.

“Trust you to be looking at her boobs” Kate exclaims, Lucas smiles to himself and walks away, “Creep” Kate screws her face up in disgust.

We bought our food and made our way back over to the stands. Kate and I had decided to get hot dogs but Bridget had settled on a pre-made garden salad, claiming that carbs would slow her down in her next race.

“How did your talk with Dad go last night?” I questioned Bridget once we were back on our towels.

“Really good, I was so nervous at first but once I started talking I just couldn’t stop and Dad just said he was so proud of me and that if I was happy then that made him happy too. He did admit that he had suspected it though so I think he saw this coming and that helped. He even took me out for ice cream after our talk” She explains, digging her plastic fork into her salad and pulling out a mass of lettuce and cucumber.

“You must feel relieved?” I ask her

“A little, I’ve still gotta have the conversation with Mum yet and You and I both know that she won’t be taking me out for ice cream” Bridget says, looking somewhat nervous at just the thought.

“Well I’ll be there with you and if she gets nasty we will just leave” I promise my sister. I’d never make her face our Mother alone with such a revelation.

“Where is Amber today?” Kate asks Bridget, the two were usually inseparable but I realised I hadn’t seen Amber today either.

“She skipped, she’s in the Blue Torpedos and thought she’d be sitting by herself all day so she decided not to come” Bridget explains.

“Fuck sitting with your team” Kate laughs, looking over to the stand next to ours, “Look at them, dressed in their red one piece swimsuits, they look like a bunch of Baywatch wannabes”, we all burst in to a fit of laughter.

~~~

The races commenced again after lunch, Bridget competed in her second race, the 50 metre Butterfly with the girl from year 9 who had asked Sam for a date, Bridget came in first place while the other girl took out last place. When Sam went over to congratulate them both, the girl from year 9 threw her arms around Sam’s neck and kissed him on the lips. Kate and I exchanged looks, her eyes wide with surprise. Jealousy burned deep inside me at just the sight of Sam kissing any girl, even though I knew it was forced upon him.

“Slut bomb doesn’t realise you will claw her eyes out” Kate says as Mr Scott announced that 5 points would be deducted from The Green Machines for inappropriate behaviour, Sam protested the penalty, claiming it was outrageous, he wasn’t at fault but it fell on deaf ears. Sam’s face stormy as he and Bridget walked back over to the stands.

“That’s complete bullshit” Sam exclaimed, “She fucking threw herself on me”

I could hear the girl, sitting a few rows back, swooning with her friends about how she ‘scored a kiss from Sam Lions’, I turn around and give them my most filthiest look.

“You cost us 5 points” I screamed at her, shutting her up while her friends squirmed, “If anyone else pulls this type of crap, you will be dealing with me” I announce to the team, adapting my teacher voice.

~~~

At the end of the day we were given time to just go in the pool while the scores were calculated and penalties were deducted. Even Kate and I got in the water to cool off as the heat had became relentless.

“Alright teams, we have our winning team for 1999, head back to your stands and we will announce the scores” Mr Scott called out and we all scrambled out of the pool. Lucas stirring Sam on the short walk back to our stands claiming that his team had this and Sam pointing out how many penalties the Red Devils had that day.

“In forth place, with 203 points is the Yellow Bears, in third place, with 395 points is the Blue Torpedos” Mr Scott tells the crowd through the use of a megaphone. Sam looks over at Lucas who is smiling smugly.

“This was a very close one this year, in fact theres only 5 points difference between the Red Devils and The Green Machines, proving how much the penalties can impact your overall outcome” Mr Scott uses the moment to drive his point home, earning a groan from Kate, “Without further ado, our winner for the 1999 swimming carnival is...The Green Machines with 432 points, placing the Red Devils in Second with 427 points”

Our team breaks out into a screaming roar, Sam and I jump up excited from our seat and he grabs hold of me tightly, spinning me around. When he places me back down, I look over to where Lucas is standing, his face looks stony with anger, anger directed right at Sam.

“Kiss Bridget” I whisper to Sam as Lucas stares us down. Sam looks at me confused for a moment until he notices Lucas, he pulls Bridget up from the bench and plants his lips onto hers in front of the whole school, earning himself another cheer from our team.

He pulls back and whispers something in her ear, she nods in agreement, looking over to me and smiles and I mouth a thank you to her.

I throw my dress back on over my swimsuit and pack up my towel just as Lucas walks over to us, holding out his hand to congratulate Sam.

“We should hang out tonight and celebrate” Lucas suggests to Sam and I.

“Sorry mate, I’ve got a date with my girl tonight” Sam tell him, Lucas then looks at me.

“So then, just you and me Roni, like old times” He winks at me and I cringe inwardly.

“I, ah, have plans with Harry tonight” I lie, hoping he believes it and asks no follow up questions. Lucas looks deflated for a moment before looking to Kate, his eyes falling on her chest, he opens his mouth to ask her but she gets in before he has a chance to speak.

“Eww” She says, pushing past him and making her way to the front entrance, Bridget and I follow after her while Sam hangs back to talk

“I have to admit I did have fun today” Kate says to us while we wait for Sam by the truck, “Kinda wish we’d gone to others but I guess you can’t go back and change things hey?” She giggled.

Sam hit the button on the remote and unlocks the truck, we all climb in and he pumps the air con to cool the heat that has been trapped in the car all day. He pulled out of the parking lot and made his way over towards my house.

“I’ll pick you up at 7” Sam said as he pulled into my driveway

“No hints of where you’re even taking me?” I question him, he had been very tight lipped about where this ‘special place’ was.

“Nope” He smiles, taking my hand and kissing it, “Just be ready by 7, that all you need to worry about”

“Can you possibly drop Amber and I at the skating rink on your way tonight?” Bridget asks Sam, he turns around to face her.

“Of course, are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” He offers

“Maybe another time, I kinda want to have my first date alone with Amber” Bridget explains. We say our goodbyes to Kate and Sam and make our way inside.

I borrowed a long, slinky, red dress from Bridget because she hinted that Sam was taking me somewhere somewhat fancy. I showered and tried to scrub every bit of green zinc from my skin but it clung to me, making me scrub harder until I was such I got rid of every last bit, leaving me with a red mark across the top of my chest and on my face. Great. Luckily I could cover my face with concealer and foundation but the one on my chest stood out.

“I did warn you” Bridget says, standing in my doorway, watching me try desperately to get the red mark to go away.

“What am I going to do?” I fret to her.

“It will go away soon, just wear your hair down” She suggests, she leaves my room but returns with a beautiful silver locket in hand, she places it around my neck and it falls perfectly just above my cleavage, distracting from the red mark beneath.

“Thank You Bridge” I say, hugging her.

Sam arrived just before 7, he sat in the living room and talked with Dad about cars while I did the last minute touches to my make up. I walked out to the living room once I was finished and I saw Sam taking in my appearance, his eyes racking down my body before coming back up to meet my gaze and smiling brightly.

Bridget entered the room, dressed simply in white, denim, ripped jeans and a classic black tee, her hair pulled back into a high pony, she looked effortlessly cool.

We both hugged Dad goodbye and made our way out to the truck.

“You look gorgeous” Sam said to me as he held the door open for me, kissing my cheek. He looked pretty handsome himself, dressed in a dark blue button down shirt and dark, navy blue pants, his collar undone and I spied a smidge of green zinc smeared on his chest.

“So do you you” I reply.

~~~

Sam dropped Bridget and Amber at the skating rink before heading out of Claremont, driving into the city centre. He parked the truck on the street, out the front of Valentino’s, an Italian restaurant that had a reputation for being expensive.

“Sam, I can’t afford this place” I stressed, I only had $25 on me and I knew that wouldn’t even get me the cheapest item on the menu.

“I got you Princess” He said, opening his door and stepping out of the truck, he walked around to my side, opening my door and held out his hand for me to take, leading me inside the restaurant.

“I had a booking for two, under the name Lions” Sam tells the woman behind the podium, she grabs two menus and walks us to a table. I take in the decor of this place, the tables all have small, tea lights burning on them, giving out a beautiful amber glow, the table cloth is bold red cast against the stark white chairs. We take our seats and are handed menus. I open mine and browse through the selection of fine, Italian food on offer.

“Your waitress will be with you shortly to take you drinks order.” The hostess tells us before returning to her podium at the front of the restaurant, no sooner had she left when we were approached by a young, brunette woman with a writing pad and pen in hand.

“Hi, I’m Natasha, I’ll be your waitress tonight, lets get you started with some drinks” She smiles brightly at us, pen poised on the paper, ready to write.

“I’ll have a Toohey’s New” Sam tells Natasha, she scribble it down without asking to see any form of ID.

“And for the lady?” Natasha asks sweetly, I look down at the drinks menu, wondering if I should risk it and ask for alcohol or just stick to soft drinks incase she does decide to ask to see my ID, which, being only 17, would kill any chance of alcohol being served to me.

“Can I please have a glass of the Jacob’s Creek Sauvignon Blanc?” I ask her tentatively, praying to the powers that be that she doesn’t question me, she scribbles my oder on her pad

“Of course you can” She says, leaving us to place the order. I look back down at the menu in front of me, trying to decide what I want.

“You drink wine?” Sam asks me, surprised.

“Yeah” I answer him, looking up, “It’s usually free when you attend big events like weddings or birthdays, I guess that’s how I started drinking it, plus it can be cheap to buy, I can pick up a bottle from Aldi for under $3"

“Aldi?” He asks, confused. I forget it doesn’t exist yet.

“It’s a supermarket” I explain, my eyes returning to the menu, settling on the traditional carbonara.

The waitress returns with our drinks and takes our food orders, collecting the menus before she leaves.

“To our win today” I say to Sam, holding up my glass of wine, he clinks his glass of beer against it and smiles.

“I couldn’t have done it without you Veronica, I was so impressed with all the effort you put in today and how you yelled at Serena, that girl from year 9 who kissed me” He reaches over the table and takes my hand in his, running his thumb over the top of mine, just like he had done, that first day at school at assemble. His touch still managed to release butterflies inside me.

“I was so angry at her, overshadowing Bridget’s win like that” I thought it best to keep the fact that I really yelled at Serena because I was jealous, to myself, Sam didn’t need to see my crazy side coming out.

“Lucas kept asking me about Bridget all day, asking why I didn’t snog her when she won and I caught him watching us all day” Sam groans, “I think he’s starting to suspect somethings going on”

“Did you end up catching up with that kid, the one who took our picture?” I ask

“Yeah, he scammed me out of $50 but he only gets it if I get the negative and any copies printed. I’m planning on having it framed and put up next to that other picture of us from school camp. I hate that picture, I look like a desperate loser who is looking at the most gorgeous girl int he arms of another” Sam says. Our waitress approaches our table with two plates and places them in front of us, Sam nods a thank you to her and she smiles back at us.

“You were never a loser and you’re far from desperate” I tell him, running my foot up the inside of his leg, he gives me that beautiful, cheeky smile.

“Stay over tonight?” He asks and of course I nod, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

~~~

Sam drove us back to my house, picking up Bridget and Amber along the way from the skating rink. they sat in the back giggling and kissing the whole way home.

“Young love” Sam commented once we had reached our house and the girls had made their way inside. I was happy that Bridget was falling for Amber but I still worried that she may get hurt, that’s what love does, it breaks you, that’s why I had steered clear of it for so long, it you don’t let it in, it can’t hurt you. “I think we should tell Lucas about us” Sam says, dropping a bombshell.

“What? Tell him that we’re sleeping together? Yeah, I’m sure he’d take that well from his best friend and ex girlfriend” I scoff, looking at Sam like he’s gone mad.

“I’ll talk to him, I’ll tell him that you’re my girlfriend, that it’s more than just sex, that I fell in love with you because I do love you Veronica, I’ve loved you since I first met you” He confesses, taking my hand in his. I can feel my heart beat racing, this isn’t happening, it can’t be.

“You love me?” I question him, my voice so small

“Yeah, I do, I’d been looking for the right moment to tell you, that’s why I thought I’d take you somewhere special tonight, somewhere really romantic” Sam continues, bringing my hand up to his mouth and kissing it.

“You can’t love me, you know nothing about me” I panic, the air in the truck suddenly becoming so thick that I feel like I can’t breathe. I open the passenger door and step out onto my driveway, Sam is quick to follow, sprinting around the front of the truck to stand in front of me. “I’m not your girlfriend Sam, I thought we were just having fun”

“Fun? Is that all this is to you Veronica?” Sam looks at me, wounded, “What part of me telling you about what happened with Shayla would make you think that I just wanted to have fun with you?”

“I can’t do this” I exclaim, pushing past him and running towards my house. I open the front door and make a b line towards my room, locking myself inside.

Those three words destroy everything.

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