Soundtrack To My Youth (book 1)

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Strong Enough

We heard the sound of the front door closing and voices coming from downstairs. Kate and I looked at each other and then to the condoms I had sprawled out on the bed, gathering them up quickly I shoved them back into their box and placed the box back in the drawer next to the bed before we left the room.

Taking the stairs to the kitchen I’m surprised to see Lucas standing there with Sam, It was close to 9pm on a Sunday night. What surprised me more was the sight of the bag I had taken to my Mother’s house, sitting at Sam’s feet.

That explains Kate’s vagueness about Sam’s disappearance, she most likely knew where he was going and didn’t want to panic me further.

“Hey” I say, entering the kitchen, “You didn’t have to do that” I motion towards the bag.

“I wanted you and Bridget to have your things and I didn’t want you going back to that house” Sam says. Without thinking I throw my arms around his neck and embrace him tightly, drinking in his scent. He stiffens in my arms, wrapping one of his arms loosely around my waist.

“She let you in?” I ask him, my Mother is not the most accommodating person, especially when confronted.

“That’s why I took Lucas, turns out he can get your Mum to do anything, she seems to have a soft spot for the lad” Sam laughs softly into my hair, I pull back and move over to Lucas, wrapping him up in a hug which throws him for a moment.

“Thank you” I whisper to him, I attempt to move away after our hug but he wraps an arm around my waist and holds me close to him. I look up at Kate, still standing on the last stair, willing her not to say anything, I don’t need to confrontation right now. Luckily she keeps her mouth shut and steps further into the kitchen.

“I brought your car here too” Sam says, his face unreadable as he watches me trapped in Lucas’ arm.

“Oh shit, my tyre. I still have to get a new one and get Dad to put it on” I stress. In all the commotion I had forgotten all about my car.

“It’s done” Sam tells me, “That’s what I was doing when you called me”

I want to cross the kitchen and kiss him, I don’t care if Lucas sees me do it, I want Sam even though I don’t deserve him but he doesn’t want me anymore so instead I stand in my place and give him a simple thank you.

“Why didn’t you call me?” Lucas asks, his voice laced with hurt and jealousy.

“Bridget asked me to call Sam” and let’s face it Lucas, you witnessed Carson’s aggression first hand against me and did fuck all.

“I guess that makes sense, he is her boyfriend” Lucas reasons with himself, “I just would have liked to be there for you too baby, I still love you, even though we’re not together right now” He kisses my forehead while I stare at Sam who picks up a mug and slams it hard onto the titled floor, smashing it into many pieces. I break free from Lucas, grabbing a broom from the nearby laundry to help clear up the mess. Fragments of ceramic scattered all of the kitchen floor.

“Sorry” Sam apologies to us, sweeping the broken mug into a pan and emptying it into the kitchen bin. There’s so much tension in the air and the only person unaware of it is Lucas.

“It’s alright mate, he was my friend and I’m so fucking angry right now, I feel like smashing things too” Lucas says to Sam, placing a hand on his back

“Well I should be going” Kate says, trying to drop the hint to Lucas.

“Yeah, I should be going too” Lucas says and I breathe a sigh of relief, “School and all tomorrow”

Shit, school, I don’t want to walk in there with a giant hand print wrapped around my neck, Petra would have a field day with seeing that.

Sam and I see Kate and Lucas out with promises that I will call them if I need anything.

“Are you hungry?” Sam asked me, walking back into the kitchen, my stomach growled to remind me I hadn’t eaten since breakfast at 7.

“Famished” I tell him, placing myself in one of the bar stools that run along the kitchen bench.

“Pancakes?” He suggests, pulling the frying pan out from one of the cabinets and coating it in butter.

“Oh yes please” I smile, a smile that he returns. It feels like forever that I’ve had Sam smile at me, I miss it, I miss him.

“I saw your Dad, when I dropped Bridget’s things to her, he said to tell you that you can take tomorrow off and I’ll take it off too, we can do something fun like see a movie, play mini golf” He tells me, shaking the pancake batter in the bottle and pouring out two round blobs onto the now hot frying pan, I watch as the small bubbles come to the surface of the pancake before he flips it.

“I don’t know, I lost mini golf last time we played, but I did win a date and the best kiss I’ve ever had so maybe I could risk losing again” I laugh but he doesn’t join in.

“I think a movie would be a better option” Sam says, placing a pancake on a plate and sliding it over to me. I grab the butter and maple syrup from the fridge and go about dousing my pancake.

“Can we just go to the mall? I want to get Bridget a present because it’s her birthday next Sunday” I tell him as he pours two more blobs of mix onto the frying pan.

“Of course, actually, I totally forgot but your Dad gave me some money to give to you, he said to put it towards a present, he also said that he already has presents for Bridget, none of which were a mobile phone, his words not mine” Sam informs me. I’m glad Dad is on board with giving Bridget a phone, especially if she’s going to be stuck in that hospital bed for a while.

“This is all my fault you know” I tell him, hanging my head, “If I hadn’t come back and changed things then Bridget wouldn’t have a broken rib right now and you wouldn’t be hating me”

“I don’t hate you Roni and what’s to say that Bridget would have been hurt and not have told anyone, like you both have done before?” He points out, clearly Dad and Lucas had filled him in on past events.

“You should hate me, I hurt you” I admit, looking up at him, our eyes meeting for a moment before he looks away and places another pancake on my plate.

“I’m strong enough to take it” He assures me, smiling.

I slept in one of the spare rooms that night, well slept isn’t really what I did, more like lay awake, seeing Carson’s face every time I closed my eyes. I couldn’t shut off my overactive mind, I just kept thinking about Bridget, laying there as he slammed his foot into her, over and over. What if I hadn’t been there? What if I couldn’t get her out?

I must have fallen asleep sometime in the early hours of the morning though because I woke up screaming, my body sweating even though the room was cooled by the air conditioner, I couldn’t distort the difference between what was reality and what was the nightmare I was having so when I felt arms wrapping around me I kicked and screamed louder.

“Veronica, Princess, it’s Sam” I registered his soothing voice in my ear, “You’re safe sweetheart”

My body was still trying to fight him off as my mind tried to calm me. It took me several minutes to realise where I was. The bedroom light was switched on and Dr Lions stepped into the room. I felt terrible that I had woken him, he’d been at the hospital until after midnight and probably desperately craved sleep and here I was screaming down his house.

“Veronica you’re with Sam and Nick, you’re safe honey. The police have your brother locked away” Dr Lions tries to offer me comfort. My breathing is sharp and heavy on my chest as I do everything to control it.

I thought the nightmare had ended once we left that house but I still carried it with me and now it was spilling over into reality and affecting not just me but others around me.

“Veronica I think you should come sleep in with me, I think you would feel safer if you weren’t alone right now” Sam suggests, he stands up from the bed and holds out his hand to me, I hesitate for a moment before taking it.

“I’m sorry” I apologise to Dr Lions as Sam leads me out of the spare room, towards his own.

“You have nothing to apologise for honey, not after what you’ve been through” He assures me.

I enter Sam’s room and climb onto his bed, wrapping myself up in his blanket. The clock on the nightstand read that it was 3:49am, the sun would be coming up in a few hours. Sam sat on the bed, switching the lamp on to cast the room with a dim glow, he laid down beside me, drawing me into his arms. It felt like all the other times that I had stayed in his room but I knew it was completely different.

His arms wrapped around my waist, holding me against his bare chest, drinking in his intoxicating scent as I felt myself begin to drift off. I felt at home with Sam, this is where I belonged and I’m going to do everything I can to be with him.

Sam and I walked into the Claremont Shopping Centre after 10, it was pretty busy considering it was only mid morning on a Monday.The shopping centre had had a complete upgrade done in the late 2000′s, expanding out to create a courtyard that held restaurants and a bowling ally and all the stores were modernised. That would be another 10 years away yet but walking through the stuffy mall I spotted chipped paint on the banisters, missing tiles on the floors and one giant stand out that hadn’t survived past the mid 2000s.

“I forgot that there was a HMV here” I exclaim, grabbing Sam hand and dragging towards to giant music store that was filled with rows and rows of CDs categorised into genres. We broke off into different sections, Sam heading towards metal while I browsed through Alternative on the other side of him, flipping through the mass amounts of CDs displayed, I even discovered some that I never owned but always wished I had.

I strolled over to where Sam was busy looking though all the ‘new’ released metal bands.

“How can you listen to that, I can never understand what they’re screaming about?” I laugh

“It sounds better than your bleach blonde boy bands who just whine on in a song they didn’t even write about a girl who broke their precious heart” He smiles cheekily at me. I hold up the Green Day CD that I had picked out to prove to him that I listen to more than just boy bands.

“Well it’s good to see that your taste has improved significantly” He compliments me. Yes it has Sam, not just with music either.

We move over to the rock section, both of us flipping through the mass amounts of CDs.

“I listen to music where you can hear the lyrics too” Sam says, holding up a Prince CD.

“You might wanna get that, it will be worth a fortune after 2016” I advise him and he looks at me confused, “Prince died”

“Fuck” He exclaims, adding the CD to his pile.

“So did Bowie and George Michael, it was a bad year for celebrities that year” I explain to his shocked expression.

“Any others?” He asks nervously, like he’s hearing his own devastating, bad news.

“Michael Jackson died in 2009 and Dimebag died too” I deliver the bad news

“No!” He exclaims

“Yes” I confirm

“David Beckham is still alive though right? I don’t think I could handle it if you tell me my idol died” Sam asks me, almost begging.

“Yeah, he’s alive, he married Posh Spice and they have 4 kids together” I assure him and he lets out a sigh.

“You’re not allowed to tell me of any future deaths anymore, I can’t handle finding out this stuff” He laughs

“At least you get notice, we didn’t” I point out.

We strolled on over to a phone store and I began browsing the prepaid phones they had on offer. Dad had put my phone onto a plan with his own which was awesome because it meant I never had to worry about running out of credit but wasn’t so great when he would receive my bill for the month and see how much I’d spent on sending continuous texts to Kate and Lucas, although the bill he would receive for this month would be significantly lower, considering I barely used my phone now.

Dad had wanted to avoid having the same issue with Bridget, he knew her bill would be twice the size of mine so when prepaid phones were released he knew that was the best option. I found the phone that was the exact same model as mine available to buy outright for $220, Dad had given me $150 and I knew I had $70 in my purse so I thought that this was the perfect choice.

A salesman approached us and talked to me about the features of the phone, how much it was to call or send texts, the interchangeable covers and how the phone came with a bonus $20 worth of credit. I almost asked him how much data came with the credit but then remembered that there’s no data used because theres no apps on phones yet.

We headed over to the hospital after the mall. I wanted to see Bridget so badly and to give her the birthday gift early. Dad was in the gift shop, browsing through teen magazines, trying to find something to keep Bridget entertained but he looked completely lost as he looked at the many magazines they had on offer.

“Let me pick, I know what she’s already read this month” I said, he handed me $10 and went to wait out front with Sam while I made my selection from the glossy covers that had boy bands and TV stars littered all over them.

Dad said he was going to get a coffee with Sam, it was his way of allowing Bridget and I time alone. I took the elevator up to her room, magazines in one hand, new phone in a bag in the other.

Bridget was propped up in her bed, flicking through the TV channels but turned it off when she saw me come into the room. A big, beautiful smile spreading across her face when she saw I brought gifts with me.

“I got you TV Hits, Girlfriend Magazine and Cosmopolitan" I tell her, placing the magazines down on the table next to the bed.

“Mum says I’m not allowed to read Cosmo, she said it’s full of smut and penises” Bridget tells me laughing.

“Fuck what Mum says, I think you’re old enough to read it now that you’re going to be 16, plus, as a lesbian it will be good for you to see a dick pic just so you know what you’re missing” I tell her, taking her small hand in mine.

“I’m so sorry Roni” Bridget says, her eyes brimming with tears that threaten to fall.

“Sorry that you don’t like penises? More for me then” I joke with her.

“I’m sorry I was such a bitch to you last week, I deserve to be in pain after how badly I treated you” She apologises but I’m not having it.

“Bridget, listen to me, you did nothing to deserve this, don’t ever think that way” I assure her.

“Still, I shouldn’t have abandoned you just because you don’t love Sam, it was wrong of me” She says, the tears falling down her cheeks.

“I kinda do though, I just didn’t realise it. I’ve been trying since Tuesday to tell him but I cant just blurt it out, I need the moment to be right” I confess, feeling a weight lift off of me. Her eyes go wide with joy as she gets excited.

“Grand gesture” She exclaims.

“What?” I ask her, confused as hell.

“In all the romantic movies, when someone realises that they truely love someone they tell them with a grand gesture. Like in Cruel Intentions when Sebastian finally realises that he loves Annette he gives her his journal, exposing the bet to her”

“I don’t have a journal and Sebastian dies after that. You want me dead?” I laugh

“OK, bad example but you get my point” She resolves happily, “You just gotta tell him because he loves you so much and he thinks you still love Lucas and that’s why you won’t let him in but you don’t love Lucas, you love Sam”

“Sam slept with someone else though” I tell her, she shakes her head.

“No, he wouldn’t have” She defends him, “He’s only into you”

“He did” I say firmly, not wanting to explain to her how I know though.

“Sam tells me everything, we’re best friends and he didn’t tell me” She says, hurt that he didnt confide in her.

“Maybe he didn’t tell you because he was afraid of it getting back to me?” I point out.

Whoever it was with is even a mystery to Bridget, which makes me need to know.

“What’s in that bag?” She asks, looking at the bag I placed on the table next to the magazines, I reach into it and pull out her new phone and she screams with joy.

“Happy Birthday” I say, handing the box over to her, she takes no time at all to unpack it and pull the phone out, handing me the cord to pull in so she charge it up.

“Oh my God, I’m going to need your number and Sam’s number and Kate’s number and Amber’s number” She squeals excited.

I helped her set up the phone, adding everyones numbers and she’s texting away in no time while I flip through the Cosmo I bought her.

“Maybe this could be my grand gesture?” I ask her, showing her the centrefold of an almost naked David Beckham with a soccer ball covering his privates, “Maybe if I give this to Sam and tell him how I feel?” We both break out into hysterics at just the thought as I pull the centrefold from the magazine, folding it up and placing it in my handbag.

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