Soundtrack To My Youth (book 1)

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I Don't Want To Miss A Thing

I was awoken mid Sunday morning by a loud crack of thunder and a flash of lightening that lit up the room electric blue. I rolled over and pulled the covers over my pounding head, promising myself that I’ll never drink again, a lie that every hungover ridden idiot tells themselves to try and ease the pain. I don’t know what was worse, the thumping of my heart beat that rattled my brain or the churning of my stomach which threatened to expel its contents at any moment.

I have two options, I could continue to lay here, hoping by some miracle that sleep would take over and relieve me of feeling like death or I could, very slowly and painfully, make my way into the bathroom and give into my body’s will.

I hate throwing up, it’s a complete loss of control, not to mention the vile taste of acid that burns and the never knowing when it will end but it could make me feel better afterwards, it won’t cure the rave that’s going on in my head but it will, hopefully, stop the washing machine churning in my stomach and if I lay here any longer then chances are that I’d just end up throwing up on the floor or worse, the bed.

I sit up, very slowly, careful not to make any sudden movements that could result in an explosion. The cool air hits my back and I realise that I’m naked under the covers. I look to the other side of the bed, no Sam but he has laid out fresh underwear and pyjamas for me. I could put them on but that’s going to be extra effort that, in my fragile state, I’m not going to be able to handle, instead I peel back the covers and force myself out of the bed, standing still for a moment, taking deep breaths to try and gain control over my stomach. With my eyes focused on the floor, I slump into the ensuite, my bare knees feeling the instant chill of the cold, tiled flooring, my head hunches forward and I heave into the toilet bowl.

I placed my clammy head into my hands and prayed that was over but the next wave came, faster and stronger than the first. The warmth of a blanket was wrapped around my naked body and my hair pulled back from my face. This is so humiliating, Sam is never going to want to kiss me ever again after witnessing me throw up.

“My poor baby” He says, rubbing my back, as embarrassing as it is, for him to see me like this, it does feel good to have him comfort me. My eyes sting from watering, my throat is sore and my whole body aches, I lean back against his chest. My head is now thumping harder but my stomach has settled. “Drink this” Sam says, grabbing a glass of green goop juice that he had placed beside us on the floor. “It’s my dad’s hangover cure, it will make you feel better, I promise”

I take the glass from him, inspecting it’s contents closely, it looks like green sludge that he scooped up off the pavement and put in a glass but it smells alright and I trust his judgement. I bring the glass to my mouth and slide the thick, green goop down my throat, it doesn’t taste too nasty, it’s actually quite pleasant really. I was expecting it to come right back up but when it doesn’t I know I’m safe to move away from the toilet bowl.

Sam holds out his hands to help me up from the tiles, once on my feet I turn and look in the mirror, my reflection makes me shudder. My eyes are surrounded in smudged black eyeliner, my hair looks like a birds nest, my skin is pasty white and is that what I think it is on my chest?

“You gave me a hickey?” I accuse Sam, inspecting the dark, purplish marking he left on me last night.

“You gave me mine first” He says, pointing to the smaller, reddish mark on his neck. I’ve never, in my whole life, given someone a hickey. What the hell was I thinking? I blame the alcohol.

“How drunk was I?” A part of me doesn’t want to know the answer but I need to know if it’s safe to show my face in public.

“You told the bouncers that they had tiny dicks, you told Kelsey that we had great sex that day on the couch and then you started copping a feel while I was driving and I had to stop you so we wouldn’t have an accident” He laughs and I cringe, he wraps his arms around me and holds me against his warmth.

“I know I’m naked because we got it on last night, unless my memory is playing tricks on me, I have a vague memory of us showering” My memory is fragmented but I do remember the good parts.

“Yeah, we shagged and you, my gorgeous girl were very, very vocal, I’m surprised the neighbours didn’t come banging on the door and ask us to keep it down” He chuckles into my messy hair, my cheeks burning with embarrassment.

“Oh my God, your dad...”

“Isn’t home, he stayed at your Aunty’s last night.” He assures me, making me breathe a little easy, I wouldn’t have been able to face Nick today, knowing he heard us. He kisses my forehead softly. “How are you feeling now? That hangover cure should be starting to kick in soon, I threw some paracetamol in there to help”

The thudding in my head had reduced down to a light headache, my stomach no longer felt like it was going to chunder but my legs still ached, most likely from dancing in heels for hours the night before.

“It’s working”I tell him and he smiles, pleased with himself that he helped me.

“I’m glad, it works for me whenever I’ve had a big night. Now I want you to have a nice, hot shower, wash your hair and I’ll cook you some breakfast, baby” He reaches behind me and turns on the shower, placing his hand under the stream until he gets the perfect temperature.

“Thank you Sammy bear” I kiss his cheek, I’m in awe of how much he cares for me, it’s all still something so foreign to me really, I’ve never had a guy stick around to help me through a hangover and be so sweet about it.


After my shower I dry my hair of, brush my teeth and then get dressed and join Sam in the kitchen where he had a plate on bacon, eggs and toast waiting for me. He hands me a cup of coffee and we walk together to the dinning room.

The lights are turned out and the house is filled with darkness from the greying sky, except for the occasional flash of blue lightening. This storm is relentless and doesn’t look to be giving up any time soon. Sam switches on the dinning room light and it flickers a bit, threatening to go out completely.

“How will you play today if this is going on?” I ask, taking my seat at the long table, he places the plate in front of me, along with some cutlery. It smells so good and I’m just hoping it stays down.

“We’ve moved the game to the indoor sports centre, which is great because we still get to play but the area is smaller and we haven’t played there before so none of us are used it, which could go against us today.”

“You’re going to win no matter where you play” I promise him, leaning over and kissing his lips. “Plus, I’ll be there to cheer you on and motivate you, so will Bridget and Kate”

“Our dads and your Aunty are coming too, my very own cheer squad” He smiles to himself, it means so much to him that they all come out to support him today, making it to the grand final is a pretty big deal.

“You’ve got this baby”

We hear the front door open and close, followed by the sound of squeaky, wet shoes on the tiles. Nick and Aunty Celeste are mid way through a conversation about how the rain here is nothing compared to what they both saw in London, which turns into a conversation about kissing in the rain and how romantic it is. They stand in the doorway to the dinning room, her hand wrapped snuggly into his and they’re looking at each other with such admiration and love and they don’t even notice us watching.

Aunty Celeste has had boyfriends before, the most memorable one being a guy named Clint, who she lived with for about 8 years until they both realised that the magic had died and mutually decided to end things. She never looked at Clint, or any of the others, like how she was looking at Nick and I get it because, before Sam, I’d never felt this way about any man either. It was the Lions’ effect. Nick leans in close and she closes her eyes, just as their lips are about to meet Sam clears his throat loudly, making Celeste jump with fright.

“Children present” Sam says, laughing. Celeste steps back from Nick, looking mortified but Nick just takes it in his stride, unfazed to be almost caught out by his own son, he kisses Celeste on her, now bright red, cheek and takes a seat at the table.

“So, you’re allowed to kiss your girlfriend in front of me but I can’t kiss mine?” Nick asks his son. Poor Celeste can’t even look at us, she takes a seat next to Nick, her eyes fixed to the floor. Sam looks from Celeste to Nick, worry spreading across his face, he never meant to cause any offence.

“I’m sorry Celeste, I make stupid jokes some times and I forget that not everyone gets my humour, I never meant to make you feel uncomfortable” Sam apologises, Celeste looks up from the floor, the redness of her cheeks slowly starts to fade.

“Sam, it’s me that should be apologising to you, I should be more sensitive to the fact that you may not be ready to see your dad kiss someone else yet” Aunty Celeste has always been very considerate of everyone else, I took Sam’s hand in mine and he gave me a tight smile to let me know that he was alright.

“You make him happy Celeste, which makes me happy to see” Sam stands up and walks around the table, he pats his dad and then surprises everyone by embracing Celeste, hugging her tightly. “Dad, kiss your woman, she deserves it” He says as he walks back to his own seat. Nick leans over and kisses Celeste, it’s only a brief kiss but it’s still sweet and tender. I take Sam’s hand back in my own, this couldn’t be easy for him at all but he wants his dad to be happy.

“Remind me again who you’re playing against today?” Nick ask, he knows the answer but needs a change of subject, something else for Sam to focus on.

“The Terrigal Tigers, we played them in the first round and won but they’ve had a strong season too” Sam was nervous, not that he’d admit it but he was fidgeting with the hem of his t-shirt, a habit I’d noticed he had whenever something was playing on his mind.

“Well all you can do is go out there today, play your best but be proud of how far your team made it under your leadership. I’m proud of you son”

“Thanks Dad”

“Oh, before I forget, a letter came for you, from Cambridge” Nick says, he leaves the room and returns with a thick envelope that he hands to Sam. Sam wastes no time tearing the envelope open and unpacking what’s inside, letting it fall onto the table, he reads over a letter as my eyes skim the documents sprawled out before us, brochures for dorm rooms, class registration, a map of the campus student handbook.

“I got in” Sam exclaims excitedly, handing the letter over to Nick. My heart sinks, I knew this day would come and I am happy for Sam but it means that the reality of him leaving is becoming closer, closing in on us and I’m not ready for him to not be here.

“You haven’t finished year 12 yet, how can they accept you without your high school certificate?” There’s got to be some mistake, an oversight, surely no university would accept a student who hasn’t even completed high school?

“They took into account my Year 11 Preliminary results, I just have to pass an interview and I’m in.” Sam explains to me, Nick hands me the letter to read and sure enough, there it is in print, a welcome to Cambridge University for the semester starting in September, 1999, pending an interview which is scheduled for June 6th, they day after Bridget’s trial is due to end.

I thought we’d have the rest of the year together, I thought we’d be going to the formal together and graduating but now his time is being stolen from me, cut short by months but I can’t show him how much this pains me, I can’t have him thinking that I don’t support his dream, I force a smile and hope he can’t see through my lie.

“I’m so happy for you”


The car park of the indoor sports centre was filling up fast when we pulled in, which surprised me because next to no one had come to watch any of the games all season but now that the The Crushers had made it to the grand final it seemed that the whole town wanted to throw their support behind the team, there was even a local TV crew from the news filming.

Dad and Bridget had arrived early and managed to reserve a row of seats for all of us, Aunty Celeste sat down next to dad, Nick the other side of her, leaving Bridget, Kate and I to fill up the end of the row.

At her feet, Bridget had the sign that we had made for Sam, when we went to his first game, it was now tattered around the edges and had a crease through the middle where we had folded it and threw it into the back of my car, where it had been for months, lying among the rubbish that I really need to clean out.

“How was Alex today?” I asked Kate as we watched our boys doing their warm up session, any nerves that Sam had had at home seemed to have disappeared once he stepped onto the court, his focus was on his team.

“He’s good, he had some reservations about playing the Tigers again, you know, after what happened with Carson last time but he knows that the rest of the team isn’t like that” Kates mention of Carson is just another reminder of what he did to Bridget.

“When does that go to court?” Alex didn’t like bringing up his own case against Carson in front of Bridget out of respect for what she went through herself, he had told Kate that a broken nose was nothing compared to the trauma that Bridget had endured.

“Two weeks after Bridget’s, same judge too” Kate said, looking past me to make sure Bridget wasn’t listening to us, she was talking to Aunty Celeste about a trip they were plaining to take to the outlet mall next weekend. “Apparently your Mum is struggling to find anyone who wants to give a character reference for Carson”

“I’m surprised that the merry band of enablers haven’t offered up their services, although, even they probably know that is a crime to lie under oath” I laugh. Our lawyer had told us that Mum’s lawyer was remaining very tight lipped about who was to be Carson’s character reference for Bridget’s case but I couldn’t wait to see what magic she attempts to pull out of her lying arse to save her precious son from doing potential prison time.

The ref blows his whistle and the two teams enter the court. Sam shakes the captain of the Tiger’s hand as the two teams get into formation, the ref tosses the coin and indicates that the Tigers won, letting them kickoff the ball first.

The atmosphere inside the sports centre is electrifying, the loud cheering drowning out the sound of the heavy rain that hits the tin roof above us as the Tiggers attempt to pass the ball down the field but it’s intercepted by Alex just before the goal posts and then passed off to Sam who runs it in the opposite direction, towards the Crushers goal post, using fast foot techniques to swerve around opposing players who attempt to steal the ball. Sam passes the ball to their shooter who makes a play for the goal but it’s blocked by the Tigger’s goalie.

I sat on the edge of my seat, my hands gripping the plastic beneath me, watching the ball be run up and down the court but neither team was able to score a goal. The ref blew the whistle for the end of first half but still my heart was racing with the adrenaline from watching the game.

“Are all games this intense?” Dad shouted down to us from the far end of the row, from the look on his face I could see that he was enjoying this, Dad loved sports, mainly Rugby League but did like to watch the World Cup every 4 years, even if it meant getting up long before sunrise and being dead tired at work for the rest of the day.

“Yes” Bridget, Kate and I answered in unison. Along the sidelines Sam was talking to the news reporter, Alex handed him a bottle of Gatorade, which he took large gulps from whenever the microphone wasn’t being directed at him. His skin glistening with sweat under the bright lights. I couldn’t hear what he was saying over the loud noise of the crowd but he was gesturing towards his team , a look of pride on his face. I wonder if he will remember his first TV interview when he’s a playing for Manchester? I wish my phone had the ability to record or even take pictures so I could document this moment for him.

The ref blew his whistle and the teams headed back into formation, swapping sides for the second half of the game. Sam’s eyes dart around the rows of seats until they land on me and he smiles. I blow him a kiss and he pretends to catch it and brings it to his heart. The ref blows his whistle again and the Crushers kickoff the ball, moving it at a speedy pace down the court, weaving in and out and passing it between players but the Tiger’s goalie managers to prevent the ball from passing through the goal posts, using his head to knock it out and giving control of the ball to a player from the Tigers, who wastes no time passing it off to an unguarded player. I watch in disbelief as the ball is easily ran down the court and passes through the Tigers goal post to score a goal, the first of the match.

There’s a mixture of cheering and booing from the spectators watching on, some even getting up and leaving but the game was far from over and the team needed all the support they could get. I decided to start a chant, to help rally the team and lift their spirits.

“Go Crushers” I yelled out, clapping my hands and repeating the the chant, it wasn’t long before the people seated around us, including dad, Nick and Celeste started to join in, and then it spread throughout the rows, drowning out the few Tigers’ fans who attempted to start their own. Our chant became even louder as the ball was kicked into the Crushers’ goal and the Tigers’ goalie wasn’t quick enough to stop it sailing past him and hitting the back of the net, bringing the crowd to their feet as they roared with excitement.

“What happens if, by the end of the game, no one scores another goal? Do they both win?” Bridget asked dad, knowing that neither Kate or I would have a clue what happens, we’d only ever been to games where there was a clear winner.

“It goes into overtime” Dad explained

“I hope it doesn’t come to that, I’m introducing Alex to my grandparents tonight, which is already going to be tense enough and turning up late will only make things worse” Kate groaned, her grandfather was in the military for years, had served in two wars and was now retired but still liked to hand out orders to keep things structured. I’d only met him a handful of times but he still managed to scare the life out of me.

“They don’t know you’re pregnant yet?” I ask, Kate had only just started to show and, being almost Winter, she could easily hide her growing belly under many layers but once the warmer weather kicked in she was not going to be able to it from anyone.

“Not yet, we were going to break the news tonight but I’m not looking forward to Pa’s reaction to the fact that his favourite granddaughter, who promised to stay away from boys until she was 30, did in fact mess around and get knocked up” She looks terrified at just the thought of telling her Grandpa.

“What’s the worst that he could do though?” Bridget asks, she’s never met George, Kate’s Grandpa and we grew up without any grandparents ourselves so she’s only ever had to answer to our parents.

“He could kill Alex” She wasn’t joking.

“Make him like Alex before you tell him, tell Alex to shake his hand, firmly and call him sir” I suggest, remembering how I eventually won George over.

“That could work”

There’s a minute left on the clock and the two teams are both fighting to score that second goal to win the game but neither team is able to get the ball towards their goal posts and the clock is counting down until out of nowhere Alex swoops in and steals the ball from a Tigers’ player and passes it off to Sam who is standing unguarded, he runs it down the court before the Tigers can even register that they’ve lost it, he then kicks the ball to Harrison who shoots the goal that goes flying pass the goalie to win the game.

My hand goes over my mouth in absolute shock as I start jumping around, I did not see that coming but by the looks on the Crusher’s faces, this was their plan for the second half, distract the Tigers with half the players and have their best mid fielders waiting, they just needed Alex to make the swoop.

“You can tell your Pa that Alex is a hero” I tell Kate, wrapping my arms around her, “He just won them the grand final”

Both teams look completely exhausted but the Crushers can’t wipe the smiles off their faces as they are presented the golden cup, Sam and Alex hold it up high and the crowd chants for them. A photographer from the paper snaps a photo of their win and the TV reporter steps up for a follow up interview from Sam and Alex.

Once the media has moved on Kate and I decide to make our way onto the court to congratulate our boys. Sam saw me coming and ran up to me, catching me in his arms, lifting me off the ground and spinning me around. My heart feels like it’s going to pound right out of my chest, it’s racing so fast.

“I can’t believe that actually worked, we distracted them and stole the game.” His lips crash against mine as he lowers me back onto the ground.

“It was a brilliant plan, even I didn’t see that coming” I had been too focused on where the ball was to notice the set up taking place.

“It was all Alex’s idea, he’s going to make an awesome captain next year” I can’t hide the sadness on my face at the mention of next year and the reminder that he won’t be here, he takes my hand and leads me away from the team and the spectators, into an empty grandstand that overlooks a basketball court. Taking a seat on one of the benches, he pulls me down onto his lap. “Roni, it’s alright for you to not be happy about me leaving, you don’t have to hide that from me baby”

“I don’t want you to think that I’m not happy for you because I am but we’ve only just gotten together, I thought we’d have more time before we get torn apart” My eyes begin to well with tears and flow freely down my cheeks, he brings his thumb up and softly brushes a tear aside, his eyes looking deep into mine.

“I hated this place, from the moment that I got here but I knew that it would make my dad happy just being here, he needed this because everything back home was just a reminder of what he had lost. This was never home for me until the day I met you and now you give me the best reason to want to come back here as often as I can” Keeping him here would make him unhappy, he needs to go back home and follow his dreams.

“Please don’t forget about me once you’re there, please don’t let us end up like Bridget and Amber” I beg him between sobs, admitting my worst fear for us out loud, I wrap my arms around his neck and rest my head on his shoulder, he’s covered in sweat but I don’t care, I’ll take these moments together for as long as I can because soon enough he will be gone.

“I could never forget you my bunny girl, you’ve stolen my heart and I need you to keep it safe” His hand moves to the heart chain he gave me for my birthday, hanging around my neck.

“I wish I had something to give you too, something that you can always carry with you to show you how much I love you”

“I have your voice, etched into my memory, reminding me everyday that you love me, that’s how I know that we will be alright, you and I are stronger than any distance put between us” He promises me. I want to believe him but theres this niggling inside of me, this fear that we can’t control what’s coming.

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