What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 5

The weather had cleared up and the sun was out in full force. A Page A Day was completely and utterly dead and Scout had been watching the clock like a hawk, wanting to get out and head down to the beach and catch the end of the air show.

When 5 o’clock rolled around, she didn’t hesitate and made her way outside to lock up. If she had it her way, she wouldn’t have worked today but Jim’s cricket club had travelled up to Oxford for some competition and she couldn’t say no.

“Scout!”

She looked over her shoulder to see Lucky coming towards her. He was dressed in a tshirt and some short. It was pretty obvious that’s he’d been on a run.

“Done for the day?” he asked, pulling his earphones out as he reached her.

“Yeah. Sorry, but your browsing will have to wait until tomorrow.”

“No browsing today,” he informed her. “I’m about to head down to the beach and see what all the fuss is down there.”

“It’s the air show weekend.”

“What is that?”

“You must be new around here if you don’t know what it is,” Scout laughed.

“So help the new guy out.”

Scout rolled her eyes but said, “I’m heading down there now. You can come with me. When did you move here?”

“A week or so ago.”

“Why Swansea?” she asked curiously.

“Why not?”

“Most people are trying to get out of this place, not move into it.”

“I bet the local council are glad you aren’t on the tourist board.”

Scout shook her head and they crossed the road without a second thought. It had all been coned off to give way for the masses of people that were there for the show.

“It’s not such a bad place,” she admitted. “But there’s just not much here.”

“I think a place is what you make of it.”

“I guess, but I grew up here and always wanted something… busier.”

“Let me guess. You ended up in London?”

“My home away from home.”

They walked in comfortable silence, dodging young children who ran down the promenade.

“So, what’s the fuss about?” Lucky asked.

“Who doesn’t like watching planes doing aerobatics?”

“Ah, okay! Now I see the appeal,” he said, cottoning on. “Would you mind if I join you and your friends?”

“It’s just me,” she shrugged. “And you can join if you promise to keep your mouth shut.”

“You aren’t finding me charming yet?”

“I don’t think I’m ever going to find you charming, Lucky,” Scout snorted.

He looked at her. “You are terrible for my ego.”

“Then you definitely need a friend like me.”

They continued to walk along the promenade until they spied a space on the wall. Lucky jogged ahead and plonked himself down on the stone, with Scout following behind him. She placed the crutches on the ground close to the wall and, in the least graceful way, got onto the wall and swung her legs over so she was facing the beach.

“How long before you can get rid of the crutches?” Lucky asked.

“I’m hoping next week at my physio appointment.”

“Have you been doing the exercises?”

She nodded, swinging her legs slightly to see if she could but it was a mistake. Scout gritted her teeth as the pain shot through her joint.

“Stop that,” Lucky scolded gently. He put a hand on her knee and Scout looked up at him, cheeks burning. “Sorry.” He quickly pulled his hand away.

“It’s fine,” she told him, looking back out to the glittering sea.

Thankfully, the planes started to fly overhead and they both tipped their heads towards the sky. The Red Arrows display had always been Scout’s favourite. Jim brought her down to the beach every summer without fail to watch them pull their stunts and even now, at 24, she didn’t get bored of watching them.

They ended the display by drawing a heart in the sky and Scout grinned as she joined in the applause with the rest of the crowd. She turned her head to aske Lucky what he’d thought of it but Lucky wasn’t looking at the sky or the crowd. Lucky was watching Scout.

“What?” she asked. Feeling self conscious had become a normal thing for Scout. The moment she came out of surgery, she knew people would stare because of the crutches and because she would walk funny for some time. But that was the general public. It was a whole other ball game when an attractive guy was staring at you.

“A smile really suits you,” Lucky said.

Scout swallowed and ask him, “Do those lines really work for you?”

Lucky gave her a grin that lifted his features and put a sparkle in his eye. “Most of the time.”

“I despair for the female population.”

They spent the rest of the evening watching the displays take place. The sun started to sink below the horizon and the beach was slowly starting to clear as the temperature dropped.

“I better get home,” Scout said. “Before the buses stop.”

“I can give you a lift,” Lucky offered.

“No, I can’t let you do that.”

“It’s honestly not a problem. Plus, there’s probably a shit tonne of delays because of all this, right?”

Scout hesitated before nodding. “Okay.”

Lucky got off the wall and then held out a hand to her. She took it, trying to ignore just how warm it was and how it sent tingles up her arm. She swung her legs back around and Lucky let go of her hand to pick up her crutches. Scout pushed herself up and took them from him.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

They walked a little further down the promenade until he stopped at a car. Unlocking it, he opened the door for Scout, hovering nearby and taking the crutches from her once she was in. Before long, he’d joined her on the driver’s side.

“You drive,” she told him. “I’ll direct.”

“Are you this efficient in all aspects of your life?”

“I would say so.”

He turned on the radio, tuned to the local station that played old tunes all the time. The song of choice was Just Dance by Lady Gaga. Scout found herself head bobbing to the music and it wasn’t long before her hands and arms were involved and she was muttering the song under her breath.

The chuckle that came from Lucky made her blush and stop. “No,” he said, grinning. “Keep going.”

“Absolutely not.”

“Spoil sport.”

Scout caught the half smile on his face. There was no question why Lucky had his nickname. If she had met him before Scott at university, there was no doubt in her mind that she would have tried to catch Lucky’s attention.

“People have paid good money to see me dance,” she informed him.

“I thought you said you weren’t a stripper.” She reached over and punched him in the arm as hard as she could but hurt herself in a process. “Hey! If you’re not careful I’m going to dump you at the side of the rode.”

“You wouldn’t be the first bloke,” she mumbled.

“You’re still hung up on that loser?”

“I’m the loser,” Scout sighed. “He kept the flat. He has a new girlfriend. He still has a job.”

“Why do you know all of this?”

“It’s all over social media.”

“Do me a favour?”

“What?” Scout asked, looking over to him.

“Delete the guy,” Lucky said simply. “Unfollow him from everything. You’re not doing yourself any favours by following him.”

“But…”

“But what, Scout? He’s moved on. He’s not looking at your Insta or whatever.”

“Wow,” she said. “Tell it like it is, why don’t you?”

“There’s no point in sugar coating. Get your phone out and unfollow him.”

Scout narrowed her eyes. “I barely know you.”

“And yet I’m the one who’s talking the most sense out of the two of us.”

She hesitated before pulling out her phone. Opening up Facebook and Instagram, Scout unfriended and unfollowed Scott.

“Trust me on this,” Lucky told her as they pulled up on her street. He switched off the engine. “You deserve to thrive, Scout. Don’t live in the past.”

She gave him a definitive nod.

“Since you have your phone out, what are the chances of getting your number?”

“Are you hitting on me?” she asked.

“Not at all.” She wasn’t sure whether she was happy about that answer. Lucky continued, “Like I said, I’m new around here and it would be nice to actually get to know some people who aren’t my parents and my twin.” He noticed Scout’s hesitancy. “How about you take my number and then you can get in touch with me if you feel like it?”

“Okay.” Scout handed over her phone and Lucky punched in his number and then took a selfie before handing it back to her.

“Just in case you forget what you’re missing out on,” he clarified. He set the picture as his contact photo. He came under L for Lucky not Lachlan and there was a four leaf clover emoji next to his name.

“Don’t get your hopes up,” she said as he helped her out of the car. “Do you live nearby?”

“No. I live down the Mumbles.”

Her jaw dropped. “Why didn’t you say anything? You just drove across town.”

“And?” he asked. “I need to see more of the place.”

“You have to drive back now and I feel awful.”

“Seriously, don’t worry about it. I’m going to head back. You’re good to get to your house, right?”

“Yeah. Thanks again, Lucky.”

“Look forward to hearing from you soon, Scout.” He gave her a wink and got into the car.

Scout let him go and walked up the path and into the house.

“What’s got you smiling like that, sweetheart?” Jim asked. He was making his way out of the kitchen, holding a cup of tea in his hands. “Do you want a cup?”

“No thanks, Dad.” She put her stuff down and joined him on the couch.

“Are you going to tell me who put that smile on your face?”

“Who said it was a who?” Scout asked. “Maybe I’m just happy.”

“My girl, I’ve lived a few more years than you. That smile is definitely because of a someone.” Nothing got past Jim. He may not have been a great conversationalist but he could read you like a book.

“I’m just making new friends.”

“Is that what they’re calling it now?” Scout nudged him with her shoulder and they both gasped as tea spilled out of his mug. She helped him mop up the mess before he said, “Did he drop you home, because you are earlier than I expected?”

“…Yes.”

“You should have invited the young man in.”

“Dad, he’s just a friend.”

Could she call Lucky a friend? Friend sounded better than pain in the ass, which is what he truly was. Friend felt like something he could be if they spend more time together. It could never be more than that. Lucky was an all out ladies man and Scout was not on the market for another relationship any time soon.

“Alright,” Jim said. “But I hope I get to meet him before I walk you down the aisle to him.”

“You’re hilarious,” Scout deadpanned. “You know that? How was the cricket?”

Jim filled her in on his games and how they were robbed of the win because the umpire was biased. Scout wasn’t sure if that was the case of if the team wasn’t as polished as Jim believed.

By the time she crawled into bed, Scout felt exhausted. She played with her phone, scrolling through social media and it felt good not to see Scott cropping up on her feed. Before she put her phone away, Scout debated on texting Lucky. She stared at his picture. He’d taken it so the setting sun hit him just right and he had that half smile on his face. Scout’s thumb hovered over his name before she locked her phone and stuffed in under her pillow.

She wasn’t giving in that easily.

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