Excerpt for Summer Love And All Its Follies by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Summer Love

And

All Its Follies

By

Sandra Corton



Copyright © 2015 by Sandra Corton

ISBN: 978-0-6480239-4-4

All rights reserved.

Published by Sandra Corton

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any forms or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Cover Design by Marianne Nowicki



To my sister Karen.

We had some of the best time of our lives at

Toowoon Bay.

I hope this book gives you fond memories

Of the times we spent there.



Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter28

Epilogue

About the author



Chapter 1

Aurora Matthews fury bubbled through her, as she stormed from the ice cream store. She tossed her apron at the losers who managed to get her fired from her summer job. She wished for something heavier to throw at that dingbat Foster's head.

"Good going, Nerd Bird." Foster snickered, and his friend's laughter surrounded her.

She winced inwardly, hoping that it didn't show. She hated the nickname they had branded her with so long ago. From the moment she had beat Foster at the beginning of high school, they labelled her. She was good in school, but why did that only make them more judgemental? In fact, she loved school, even the homework. It was all a challenge that she took in her stride.

The only problem became the label that attached to her. It stamped a brand on her head that she could never escape. Foster and his idiot friends were the only thing she despised about having to attend school.

The brand new year wasn't starting the way she wanted. It was no wonder that she didn't believe in New Year resolutions when you were always disappointed. She had decided to find a part time job so that she could afford a car for her last year of school. Now that wasn't going to happen.

Thinking those dumb morons might appreciate her smarts had always been a long shot. She had hoped that Foster's brain might have matured as much as his body. She let out a wry laugh when she realised that that was never going to happen.

Knowing that she couldn't call her best friend Suli, only managed to drag her mood down further. Her friend happened to be on the other side of the planet, until a week after school began. Suli had such great luck, while Aurora remained a gargantuan loser.

She hadn't realised how fast she had stormed towards the beach and its soothing presence. It was her quickest walk home, as long as the high tide hadn't washed in yet. Slipping off her sandals, she let her feet sink into the warm, golden sands of The Entrance beach.

She stood there hoping that the beach-going attitude might wash away the horror of her morning. Squeals from swimmers entering the water echoed around, while surfers swam further out into the oceans current to seek the best wave. Families built sand castles and played together on the water's edge, while others lay spread out seeking a tan.

The crash of the waves helped to calm her, until she sighed. It appeared that walking would be her mode of transportation for longer than she had expected. She cursed Foster to the worst part of hell, as she trudged onwards.

She wondered if she could get another job, but school would be back soon, so there would be no point. The money she had saved was nowhere near enough for a car, and she would need to spend it on school supplies.

Her short, brown curly hair flew onto her face with the sea breeze, so she shoved a pin in it that she always kept in her pockets. As the sun blazed down onto her, she hoped that the layer of sunscreen she put on this morning was enough to protect her.

Looking out at the bright blue ocean helped her to realise that she would miss this. When she did get a car, she knew that there would be a lot less walking on the beach for her. Yes, she craved the freedom that a car would bring, but she would miss the serenity the beach always delivered.

She scrambled over the jutting rocks, noticing that the tide had begun to roll in. She hated having to walk the boring streets when the tide rose too high, especially in summer with the king tides. The sights and sounds of the beach were always far more wonderful.

She turned the corner into Blue Bay and smiled. She often went swimming in this quiet bay. Most of the time, she enjoyed looking at the people in their big expensive houses, which sat along the edge of the beach. They provided an entertainment that she only ever saw here.

She always dreamed of what it would be like to live in such luxury, and to have the ocean at your doorstep. She often saw them sunbathing or playing games with friends and family. The conversations she overheard helped her build a clearer picture of the lives of these richer people.

It gave her all sorts of fanciful dreams and thoughts about living in such great surrounds. It was a pipe dream that she knew would never happen, still she could dream.

"Hey, you look down. Is everything alright?" a male voice startled her and for a moment, Aurora wondered if he was talking to her. She turned around to face him with a suspicious glare, not used to boys paying her any attention.

It had to be the sun radiating into her brain that made him look both cheeky and handsome. Brown hair, streaked lighter by the rays of the sun flared out around his head in the breeze. His tan skin looked muscled beneath his plain white t-shirt, and he towered over her in height.

A spectacular smile beamed at her, making her chest begin to flutter. His eyes were perhaps the most striking feature of his face. A deep, rich emerald green that had the ability to penetrate and muddle her mind.

With a frown, she wondered where he had appeared from. She gave the area an extensive search, as she figured that he was talking to someone else. It turned out that she happened to be the only person within his vicinity.

"Why are you talking to me?" she asked, and then tried not to slap a hand on her forehead for how idiotic she sounded.

"Like I said, you looked down and angry. I thought that maybe you would want someone to talk to." His awkward shrug surprised her.

"And that someone would be you?" she asked in confusion.

"Sure, why not."

He grinned at her, and the beauty of such a smile stunned her. She tried to figure out if he had some ulterior motive, as she frowned at him. Boys like him had never gone out of their way to talk to her before. Years of taunts for her nerdy behaviour always flared in the back of her mind, reminding her of the danger of trusting people.

"Because…"

She thought about it again from a different angle, while looking at his earnest face. This guy didn't know her as Nerd Bird. He only spent the summers here with no clue how it worked for the locals. A breath of relief escaped her as she reassured herself that he wasn't trying anything underhanded.

"Strange boys don’t approach me at the beach." She admitted.

"Are you sure about that?" he asked with a frown, and she nodded. "How about you come in, and you can tell me about your bad day."

He gestured to the house behind him, and she took a quick step back. Now she knew what kind of a guy he was, and there was no way that she would get involved.

"I don’t go into any boy's house, let alone one that I don’t know the name of." She went to walk away from him.

"My name is Trey, Trey Arlington. I live here with my parents in the summer, and my mum is home. Honest to God, no lie." He put his hands up, and she studied him for a long moment, still hesitant.

"Do you have a habit of inviting girls into your home?" she asked and he shook his head.

"No, but you looked upset." He shrugged hoping that he appeared casual and cool.

The last thing he wanted to admit was that he had watched her walking by his house more than once. He had always found her intriguing. Sometimes he would hear her murmuring to herself, as she bent over to pick up a shell. He would watch when she went swimming in the bay, or scurrying to look in the rock pools.

The first day that he had noticed her, he’d been busy waxing his board. His mum had come outside to yell at him for something, and she had turned his way. Fascination had struck him at her pretty face, and he hadn't been able to look away.

Her cut off denim shorts and plain green t-shirt would have looked boring on any girl, but her. Her skin had a golden sheen, and her short curls had bounced around her face in cheerful disarray. Sunglasses hid her eyes that he longed to see.

At his mother's noise, she had stared at him, before glancing away. His mother had continued yelling, but he still couldn't take his eyes from the girl on the beach. That was three summers ago.

Since then, he spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to get up the courage to talk to her. She never noticed him again, even when she often walked past his house up to four times a day.

When had he become such a stalker? He seemed to know her habits far more than he should. That was why seeing her today had prompted his attention. She never walked by that early on a weekday. He assumed that she had a job somewhere, but he had yet to figure out doing what.

"So, if any random girl walks by do you offer her an invite?" the girl who he still didn't know the name of pondered.

"No, like I said, you looked like you had a bad day." He pointed out yet again. She tilted her head to the side, considering him, before a wonderful smile appeared on her face.

"I did, and thank you for asking." She told him, before turning away. He panicked, having no idea what he could say to get her to stay.

"Do you want to walk and talk?" he asked, as he rolled his eyes at his own lame comment.

"Only if you're sure that you want to hear about my day." She bargained, and he grinned in encouragement.

"Sure, go right ahead and vent." He waved a hand at her, as they began walking through the sand.

"It's that idiot Foster's fault. I swear his parents have brought up the biggest and most detestable half-witted, idiotic moron." She ground out the words, and he laughed.

He wondered if she was talking about full of himself Roth Foster. That guy had an obsession with Trey. He followed Trey and his friends around everywhere, which Trey found disturbing. He also thought he was king of the waves, and Trey had always left him to his delusions.

"If you're going to laugh, then I'm leaving." She threatened with a frown.

"It happened to be your description that I found funny." He promised, and she seemed to relax.

"I work, sorry worked at one of the ice cream shops at The Entrance. I was saving for a car, but I guess it's not going to happen now. Anyway, a fussy tourist insisted on trying every flavour, which my boss wasn't happy about, but I thought I was keeping the customer happy. Then Foster complained about his sundae, which had nothing wrong with it. The jerk wanted a freebie, and to watch me squirm. I hate that guy so freaking much!" she shouted out the last words, making the sunning tourists peer at her.

"That's what they fired you for?" he asked, and she jerked her head in a nod.

"The thing is, Foster's dad is an important guy on the council here, so everyone falls down to worship him and his stupid kid. Now that jerk cost me my job." She finished with a hopeless expression on her face, before scrubbing a hand through her bouncy curls.

"No wonder you looked so angry before." He mused and she sighed.

"Thanks for listening, Trey, right?" she squinted up at him looking adorable, and he could only nod.

"And you are?" he sent her an encouraging look.

Aurora pondered what to tell him. She had always despised her full name. On the other hand, she didn't want Foster to find out that she had talked about him. She knew that he always tried to hang out with the rich kids who spent their summers here, of which Trey appeared to be one.

"Aurora." She answered.

"Aurora?" he asked, her name rolling off his tongue in a beautiful tone.

"Yeah, as in Aurora Borealis. My parents insist they conceived me when they were on holiday watching, of all things, the aurora borealis." She told him with a roll of her eyes.

"That’s a cool story," he said, and she snorted in disdain. "It’s better than being named after a plastic object that holds food." She let out a burst of laughter at his words.

"I guess I never thought of that," she managed to say around her giggles. "It sounded like a great name until you gave me that description."

"In that case, I’m Treyson Arlington the third." He said with an arrogant tilt to his head, which only made her laugh harder.

Her response surprised him. It was all too common that people knew who he was, but Aurora didn't seem to have a clue. That was a refreshing change from the girls who knew his mum as the famous fashion designer.

"Now there are three people named after a plastic food carrier. Your family sure has some strange traditions." She peered at him to find him laughing as well.

He could only imagine his suit wearing, serious father shortening his name, and realising that his name resembled a serving object. That was hard to believe.

"I guess we do, but I never realised. I was named after my father who in turn was named after my great grandfather." He shrugged, as they walked past the resort area of Toowoon Bay.

"Thanks for cheering me up." She said with a genuine smile, taking in that this was the longest conversation that she'd ever had with a boy.

"Hey, it's no problem." He replied, buoyed by her effervescent smile.

"You made a horrible day better," she swung her hands in front of her, as an awkwardness settled over her. "I, uh, better get home." She gestured up to the top of the walkway that led away from the beach, and he didn't know what to say.

"Are you sure that you don’t want me to walk you home?" he asked and her eyes went wide.

"No, thanks, but no." she replied as she backed away from him. "I'm glad you're a great listener. Thanks again. See you, Trey." She gave him a wave.

"'Bye, Aurora."

He sighed and watched her walk up the wooden boardwalk. Geez, he didn't even ask about seeing her again. The way things had gone awkward at the end had given him no opportunity. His ability to flirt had died. With a shake of his head, he turned to walk back home at the exact moment that she had glanced back to him.

She shrugged her shoulders in disappointment that he had left so fast. Ugh! She was certain a guy that good looking wouldn’t want to spend more time with her that he had to. Then again, he had approached her, hadn't he? She went over all these exciting facets, as she walked the rest of the way home.

The silence of her home didn't surprise her, as both of her parents were still at work. At times like this, she missed her older, annoying sister. Kiri had left home a year ago without finishing her senior year of high school. Her goal then, as when she attended school, was to be a fashion model.

Aurora had mixed emotions at her sister’s departure. Her elation had soon deflated into an unexpected sadness. Sure Kiri was prettier, popular, and more outgoing, but Aurora missed her all the same.

Her sister had come home for Christmas. She flashed her designer clothes, her perfect styled hair, and her pimple free skin. Rory had enjoyed their brief time together, but letting her sister go back to her life relieved her.

Kiri could be the worst drama queen. She could act so shallow and selfish, and would often throw temper tantrums when things didn't go her way. She demanded the latest fashions and trends, liked to hang around only those who she deemed worthy, which in the end translated to her being nothing like Aurora.

Aurora had a more laid-back attitude, unless it had to do with her grades. She knew that could always make her a little overbearing too, but never like the craziness that Kiri could make them endure.

The company would have been nice, now that she would have to poke around the house for the rest of the summer. Her anger at Foster the moron returned, as she slapped a sandwich together to take to her room.

Her home had a hodgepodge design, but she loved it. Her grandparents had originally built it as a holiday house with only the very basics. Over the years, when her parents had the money they had extended. The sisters now had their own space, which ended many of the constant arguments. They had added an extra bathroom and an ensuite, leading to less fighting over shower times. The large family room happened to be one of Aurora's favourite places. If you looked just right, you could get a glimpse of the ocean.

Aurora found a great deal of happiness here, and with her sister gone, she had found the freedom to be more herself. Kiri had become the biggest nag, as she tried to make Rory fit the mould that she had wanted. She never seemed to understand that Aurora had no need for the popularity and parties that Kiri had deemed important. Aurora was who she was and that was fine with her, most of the time at least.

She munched on her sandwich, as she thought over her conversation with Trey. Her body had gone somewhat tingly and fluttery as she thought about him. At least until she recalled her jobless state.

Now it appeared that her holidays would stretch out before her with nothing to do and nobody who would spend time with her. She knew that the chances of finding a job now would be slim, and her prospects of affording a car were rock bottom. She could only munch on her sandwich and wonder what to do with her summer now.



Chapter 2

With the light of morning, Aurora had made no decisions on her summer plans. Her parents had accepted her job loss easier than she had. They were encouraging her to enjoy the last of her summer holiday. Aurora wasn't as happy about it, when all she saw were boring hours alone.

She had grown up in the coastal town of Long Jetty, situated on the eastern coast of Australia. Year by year, she went to school with the same people who never seemed to change. She never talked to any of the boys when they began to see her as nothing but a teacher's pet and she only had one true friend.

School had improved with Kiri leaving. Her sister had never acted outright mean to her, but she had refused to acknowledge Aurora's existence. On the first day of high school, Kiri had left her to fend for herself, and Aurora had never quite forgiven her for that.

She sighed, wishing that Suli were here. She had missed her up beat personality, her crazy style, and the mischievous smiles of her best friend. Knowing that she wasn't returning until the week after school started only bothered her more.

Aurora knew that she had one solid week of loneliness at school that she dreaded. Add that to the holiday boredom that she now had coming her way, and she seemed lost.

With her normal hour of rising at sunup, she decided that her usual walk and a swim might help her to focus on a more productive plan. As she tugged her shorts over her swimmers, she recalled that her normal walk went past Trey's house. She bit her lip and wondered whether to take a different walk today.

Aurora glanced out the window at the glimmer of dawn. She had always been an early riser, and she never knew why. The rest of her family could sleep in, but she always awoke with the breaking of dawn.

She figured that Trey wouldn't be much of an early riser either. With a sigh of relief, she continued dressing. She grabbed her beach towel along with her keys, and determined to walk her normal way. Her certainty that she wouldn't see him grew and she strolled with more confidence.

Her problem with seeing him again came from her thoughts that yesterday had to be a fluke. He would’ve talked to her out of pity because she looked upset. She knew that would be the case, so it would be awkward to see him today.

Boys like him would have girls flocking to him, so her pity party had made him feel sorry for her. She determined that he would never take notice of her again, let alone be awake at this hour.

Aurora enjoyed her walk, so she decided that she wasn't changing it for a guy who had only noticed her once. She smiled to herself, as she walked out of her front door, now looking forward to a nice, quiet day.

The morning sea breeze scattered her curls, but she couldn't care how she looked. A little sea spray in the morning was quite welcome to her. The regulars who swam, no matter what the weather were the only people she saw, besides the ones walking their dogs who would always smile and greet her.

She had only run into Foster once, which she found odd, considering that he was supposed to live along the beach. His excitement over the waves meant that he had never noticed her and that left her grateful for his ignorance. He could be the nastiest human being that society had to offer.

Standing on the golden sand, watching the waves rolling in, she calmed. She decided not to worry about seeing Trey, as it seemed unlikely to happen.

She walked, as the pinks and yellows stretched across the horizon heralding the sun's arrival. The reflection on the water of the dazzling colours always made her smile. Caught up in her thoughts, and the stunning beauty of the ocean, she hadn't even realised that she had walked past Trey's house, until she heard his voice.

"Hey, Aurora! What brings you down here so early?" Trey called out, so she had to face him.

That was of course the moment where her brain switched off, and her hormones decided to take over. He had a surfboard under one arm with a wetsuit half on displaying a spectacular upper body.

She was used to seeing guys running around in swimwear, but for some reason, Trey proved to be more of a distraction to her. She snapped her gaping mouth closed, tried to force away the blush, and bit down hard on the inside of her cheek.

"Morning, Trey," she managed to say, her voice sounding timid and small. She cursed herself for her own idiocy. "You're… um, up early."

"I'm sure I asked you that first." He smiled, and her heart fluttered in response.

"I've always been an early riser." She replied with a shrug.

"I'm used to getting up early for swimming practice at school."

"Do you swim competitively?"

"I do it so that I can be in the water. I can't surf out at Bathurst where my school is. Swimming is the next best thing." He patted his surfboard fondly.

"School at Bathurst, hey? That sounds like fun." She used her driest tone and he laughed.

"For certain, when it's not boiling, it's freezing cold. Where are you off too?" he tilted his head towards her.

"I walk to the rocks before heading back for a swim in the bay." She gestured back to Toowoon Bay.

"Cool. I was heading to Shelley. The surfs only mediocre today, but I still wanted to go."

"As its past where I'm walking, I'll come with you if you want. I do owe you for my venting yesterday." She smiled at him, as she turned back towards Toowoon Bay.

"Sweet." He thumped his surfboard and grinned.

They chatted as they walked and Aurora’s astonishment grew at the ease between them. She found it easier to talk now that they were side by side, and his half-naked body proved less of a distraction.

"Trey!" a voice boomed out that left Aurora shivering with dread.

"You know something; I should leave you to it." Aurora sped up until she was much further away from him.

"Aurora, wait." Trey called out to her.

"Hey, mate, who's the chick?" Roth Foster caught Trey's attention

"That's Aurora."

Trey headed off after her, but Roth kept level with him. Trey rolled his eyes at the guy's fawning behaviour. Every summer he had to put up with this stupidity. Roth annoyed him no end, but he could never get rid of him.

At first, Trey hadn't cared, until Roth began following him everywhere, and expected invitations to whatever Trey had planned. He came across as a desperate, try hard with the worst chauvinistic arrogance, which Trey had no time for.

"Were you chatting her up? Smooth, man." Roth sounded smug, but Trey refused to answer.

"Wait up." Trey called out to her again, which only made her walk faster.

"You know what? That looks a lot like Nerd Bird." Roth sneered, and that made Aurora stop.

"Why are you following me?" Aurora turned a glare to Roth.

"Hey, it’s a free beach, Nerd Bird. I can walk wherever I damn well please." Roth's smug attitude only grew at Aurora's obvious frustration.

"Damn! When the hell are you going to grow up? My names Rory, try calling me that." She snapped, but his amusement and spite only grew.

"Aurora?" Trey's voice interrupted them.

"Why are you calling her that?" Roth asked with snobbish confusion.

"Because, you utter imbecile, it's my name!" Aurora shouted, as she raced off down the beach.

"Stupid Nerd Bird, she can't even remember what her name is," Roth snickered loud enough for Aurora to hear. "Thanks for the free ice cream yesterday!" he taunted, as she reached the corner of the bay and left their sight.

Trey’s anger smothered him. He recalled Aurora saying that a guy named Foster had cost her the job she had yesterday. He knew that it had to be Roth, by the horrible way that he treated her.

"Did you get her fired from her job yesterday?" Trey asked, barely able to contain his fury.

"What?"

"You heard me, I'm not repeating myself. Answer the question, Roth." Trey glared at him.

"She's such a damn wuss." Roth ran a hand through his hair.

"Answer me."

"Yeah, look I didn't mean too. I was having a joke and Rory has no damned sense of humour."

"You're an arsehole." Trey snapped, as he walked away.

He jogged along the sand, his surfboard banging on his side, hoping to catch up with Aurora. Trey’s rage only flared brighter, as he thought of how Roth had treated her. His rudeness had astounded Trey. The menace in his voice when he spoke to her had an underlying threat in every word.

"Hey, Aurora." Trey shouted into the early morning air when he couldn't see her.

"Trey, will you shush." Aurora ordered, and he followed her voice to find her sitting on the top of the dune.

She stared down at the ocean with a burning fury in her eyes. She sat with her arms around her drawn up knees, showing a vulnerability that he had never expected.

"He's a dick." He stated, as he stabbed his surfboard into the sand and joined her.

"I'm well aware of that."

"I'm sure that you are. He reckons that he was joking with you yesterday, and that he didn't mean to get you fired." Trey told her, and Aurora snorted with disbelief.

"Yeah, right." She muttered, as she sifted sand through her fingers.

Trey looked at her slouched in defeat. He hated that he didn't know her well enough to offer any support. Knowing that Roth had treated her horribly for years only made his chest clench harder.

He had let that guy hang around with him and his friends. Now he saw him clearer. He treated the one girl who fascinated him with such a nasty attitude that Trey never wanted to deal with him. His guilt filled him, by his association with Roth.

"Is it Rory or Aurora?" he asked when he could no longer handle the silence.

"Both." She said into her knees.

"What first and middle name?" he continued to try to encourage her to enter the conversation.

"No, my names Aurora, but everyone calls me Rory."

"Then why did you tell me to call you Aurora?" he asked in confusion, and she sighed.

"I thought you might know Foster and I didn't want it getting back to him that I had said anything bad about him." She huffed, continuing to look anywhere but at him.

"I do know him, but I can't stand him." Trey answered, and Aurora dared a glance his way.

"That's got to be a first." She looked back down at her knees.

"Aurora, that guy's got nothing on me. He's always the one following me around everywhere." Trey assured her.

"That explains why he's up so early. Foster's always late for school, and I mean every single day." She shook her head and stared hard at the sand.

"Ever since my parent's went to some party that his parent's attended, he's been trying to hang around me and my friends. We never invite him but he turns up and expects us to include him. Sometimes he'll come over to my place, and hang around when I've never wanted him there. It's been better this year. I've only seen him a few times, and he hasn't come anywhere near my place." He explained as best he could.

"Until now." She replied, and he had no answer for her.

"Which do you prefer?" he decided on a subject change.

"Huh?" she glanced up at him.

"Aurora or Rory?" his eyes seemed to smile at her in encouragement.

"Either. They are both my names." She shrugged.

"I think I like Aurora. It suits you better." He grinned, and his attention flummoxed her.

"Trey, are you coming, mate?" Roth's voice disturbed the quiet moment together.

"Are you serious?" Trey shook his head, turning a glare on the oblivious guy.

"The waves are waiting." Roth turned convincing, and Aurora rolled her eyes.

"I don’t want to surf anymore. Do you want breakfast?" Trey turned to Aurora.

"That sounds great." Roth answered, but Trey ignored him.

"Sure, what were you thinking of getting?" Aurora looked at Trey, glad that he was helping her out. Most people fawned at Roth's feet and did whatever he wanted. It relieved her that Trey wasn't one of those people.

"I'm a pretty good cook." He winked and Aurora gave him a questioning look.

"Are you sure?" she sounded dubious.

"Okay, no, but my mum was up when I left. She wanted to weed the garden before it gets too hot." His cute, pleading expression made it difficult for her to refuse.

"What is it with you and inviting me to your house?" she tilted her head to see him better, and his smile overwhelmed her.

"I'm guessing that it's closer than yours." He waved a hand back towards his house.

"You know what? Sure, let's go." Aurora stated, as she saw Roth's flabbergasted face. She would do almost anything to get away from him, even pretend to breakfast at a stranger’s house.

Trey slid down the dune, and snatched up his board, determined not to let this opportunity escape. He had craved a chance with her since the moment he saw her years ago. Roth stared at him in disbelief, but Trey couldn't care less.

"Thanks." Aurora sighed when they left Roth's sight.

"For what?"

"Getting that idiot away from me. I'll wait until he's gone, and then you can get back to your surfing." She stopped walking but Trey seemed puzzled.

"I meant that invitation."

"Huh? Why?" her face filled with astonishment.

"C'mon." He started walking back towards his house.

"Okay, I guess," she whispered when he waved for her to follow. "Didn't you want to go surfing?" she asked when she caught up with him.

"Not with 'I'm king of the waves' Foster out there. He talks himself up when he's not that great, especially at surfing." Trey laughed.

"I can only imagine." Aurora dry reply made him laugh louder.

"Have you lived here for long?"

"My whole life," she told him with a smile. "Trust me; I've heard all his stories of how fantastic he thinks he is."

"I guess it's true that he's been a dick for most of his life. Why does he have such a problem with you?" he turned to see her pretty face, and couldn't for the life of him figure out Roth's reasoning.

"I think it first started when I beat him at a writing contest back at the beginning of high school. After that, I achieved higher grades than he did. He's never been nice to me since." She explained with a shrug.

Trey felt for her. Roth Foster could make any person's life a living hell, and it seemed that he chose Aurora as one of his targets. Trey’s anger grew the more that he found out about Roth's behaviour. Picking on Aurora because she had smarts annoyed Trey. He wasn't sure what to do about it, but he knew that he would come up with something.

"Let's have breakfast, I'm starved." He continued walking, but Aurora slowed down, as an awkwardness engulfed her.

"I can go home." She said in a small voice.

"Aurora." He turned the adorable, pleading look on her again, and she couldn't refuse.

Approaching the intimidating, large blue house that sat a little off the beach, made Aurora gulp. Everything about this seemed wrong to her. Trey continued walking with confidence, so she followed along behind.

"Trey, I thought you were going surfing." A woman's voice made Aurora stop moving.

"I intended to, but I met Aurora on the beach and offered her breakfast." Trey winked at Aurora, but she retreated.

"Now that's an interesting name." The woman popped her head out of the garden, and Aurora once again stepped away.

"Thank you." Aurora stuttered in response.

"What has my son been trying to talk you into?" the woman's teasing eyes were the exact same colour as her son's, which distracted Aurora.

"Mum!" Trey exclaimed, looking embarrassed.

"Um… you know… I think I'll, um, skip the invite, but thanks for offering." Aurora spoke fast, while retreating a little further.

"Aurora, I was joking around. Please come in." the woman took a step towards Aurora, which only made her withdraw quicker.

"Hey, it's fine but give me a sec." Trey raced towards the house, tossing his surfboard at the door.

Aurora was certain she’s never been more uncomfortable in her life as right then, with Trey's mum observing her. She twisted her feet in the sand, and wondered what to say. With relief gushing through her, Trey came back out with a pen and paper, while Aurora stared at him.

"Here's my number. Call me if you get bored and want to go do something." He tore the paper in half, but handed her both sheets.

"Oh, okay." She accepted with a bewildered expression, not quite believing that this was happening.

"I mean it." He handed her the pen with a hopeful look. It took a second to click in her stunned mind that he wanted her number in return.

She had never given any boy her phone number, so this became quite an exhilarating moment for her. Excitement filled her that this boy wanted her number. She scribbled it down, before shyly handing him back the pen and the paper with her number.

"Cool," be grinned at her, which she answered with a small smile of her own. “Catch you later?"

"I guess so." She waved the piece of paper at him, and then tucked it into the pocket of her shorts.

She turned back to continue walking towards Toowoon Bay with a fluttering stomach and a lightness in her heart. Her grin spread across her face in a wide, happy beam. Her morning had turned out far better than expected.



Chapter 3

Aurora arrived home with the biggest grin on her face. She kept staring at Trey's number growing giddy with excitement. Her nerves about ever ringing his number increased, but at the same time, she wanted to hear from him.

"Don’t you look cheerful this morning?" her mum, Judy looked at her daughter with a fond smile, as she walked into the house.

"It’s been a pretty good start to the day." Aurora replied with a giggle.

"I can't believe that you didn't even go for a swim."

"No, I, uh, met a boy." She blurted out without meaning too, and she slapped a hand over her blathering mouth.

"No! No boys! I had enough of a time with Kiri." Her dad, Dan groaned from the kitchen.

"Dan, stop being ridiculous," Judy walked into the kitchen, shaking her head at her husband. "She's going to be an adult in a few months, and then she can make her own choices." Judy chided him.

"I can't do it again." Dan groaned out once more.

"You are being the biggest drama queen, Dad. Let me repeat my words, I just met him." Aurora stated, as she began to find her father's reaction both annoying and amusing.

"And I know how teenage boys think." He snapped.

Aurora left to go to her room with a huff, knowing that she couldn't change her father's mind. Kiri had always been the one to have boyfriends who her father disapproved of, which seemed to be all her dad could recall.

She changed out of her swimmers, laughing to herself that she had wandered home in such a daze to forget about swimming. Trey had managed to muddle up her mind.

She went back into the kitchen, where her mother had begun making breakfast. Both she and her father were dressed for work, as they chatted about their day ahead.

"Here, honey, ignore the grouchy bear." Judy handed her a plate of eggs and toast, while teasing her father.

"Dad, I'm not Kiri." Aurora said, as she grabbed the barbecue sauce to put on her eggs.

"We know that, Rory." Judy patted her daughters shoulder.

"House rules have changed." Dan nodded his head and Aurora groaned.

"I'm not going to invite him over when you're not here." Aurora rolled her eyes at her father's presumptions.

"Just listen." He gave his daughter a firm look. She waved an arm at him to continue, as she buttered her toast.

"Okay, I'm all ears."

"If you go anywhere with any boy than tell us. Nobody else can enter this house unless one of us is at home. Carry your phone with you at all times, and don’t let any boy talk you into doing something that you don’t want to." He pointed his finger on the table with each remark.

"Yes, Dad, I get it. Can I eat my breakfast now?" Aurora enquired.

"Yes, as long as you understand."

"I tell you what; if we ever go out on a date then I'll invite him over, how's that?" Aurora sounded exasperated.

"That would be nice, Honey. What's his name?" Judy added.

"Trey. Can we be done with this topic now?"

"Sure."

The breakfast lecture stole Aurora's excitement away. Now she wished that she had never mentioned Trey at all. She could only hope that her dad would start seeing her as someone other than Kiri, and all the bad choices that her sister had made.

Aurora waved her parents off for work, and cleaned up the breakfast dishes. She found herself pondering what she was going to do today, when she heard the phone ring. With a happy grin and a pounding heart, she ran upstairs to answer the call.

"Hello." She tried to calm her excited voice.

"Hey, Rory." Her sister's voice rang down the line, and Aurora had intense disappointment fill her.

"Hi, Kiri, what's happening?" Aurora forced herself to sound happy.

"I wanted to ask you something."

"Sure, what?" Aurora braced herself for anything that her sister may want.

"I'm thinking of going back to school and finishing my HSC." Kiri babbled.

"Okay, and?"

"Would you mind if I finished year twelve with you?" she could hear the wince in her sister's voice, but Aurora was too stunned to respond.

"You, ah, know there are other options, right? You don’t have to go to high school." Rory blurted out.

"Yeah, I know, but I didn't get to do all those end of school year things. I had no dances, graduation, or even muck up day."

"Are you thinking of doing all these things when you're nineteen?"

"Better late than never." Kiri let out a nervous laugh.

"Have you talked to mum and dad about this?"

"Not yet. I wanted to get your thoughts on it first." Kiri sounded hopeful, and Aurora didn't know what to answer.

"Um, can you give me a few days to think it over?" Aurora forced herself to sound polite, when all she wanted to do was scream a firm 'no' into the phone.

"Sure, yeah, of course. You ring me when you have an answer. See you, Rory."

"'Bye."

Aurora stared at the phone in disbelief. She didn't even want to think about Kiri waltzing in and destroying her senior year. She already had Foster as a problem, and she didn't need another one in the form of her sister.

When her phone beeped in her hands, a startled yelp escaped her and she threw it on her bed. Her thoughts fractured from only thinking about her sister to who may have sent her a message. With shaking, excited fingers, she picked up the phone.

"Hey, my friends want to go bowling later. Did you want to come too?" the message had her confused as to the sender, until she recalled Trey's number sitting on her desk.

She scrambled for the piece of paper to make sure that the numbers were the same before replying. A squeal escaped her when it was his number, and she answered with nervous fingers.

"Sure, what time?"

"Around ten. What's your address, I'll pick you up on the way."

His instant reply had exhilaration gushing through her limbs, until she recalled that her parents would want to know about this bowling trip. She sent off her address, before looking for her mum's number. She gritted her teeth, hoping that she had the gumption to tell her. She wriggled her toes into the carpet, stared at the number on the screen, before forcing herself to press the call button.

"Hi, love, is everything alright? Did I forget something?" Judy asked, and Aurora’s mouth dried.

"Can I go bowling with Trey and his friends?" the words flew out of her mouth.

"Today?" Judy enquired.

"Yeah, he said he'd pick me up, so can I go?"

"I hope you rung me first."

"Of course, Mum. So can I go?"

"Sure, there's a twenty in the bread and milk money. Take that and I'll replace it tonight. Have fun, Honey, and I'll tell your dad about this later."

"Thanks Mum."

Aurora’s breath of relief escaped her as she hung up. Now all she had to do was decide what to wear. Her excitement only dissipated when she realised that it wasn't a date, she would have to tag along with Trey's friends.

Still, she rifled through her sister's left behind clothes. When she found a dark jean skirt and a soft, yellow top, she grinned. It was perfect for bowling without being her staple shorts and a t-shirt. By the time she was dressed, it surprised her to find that the morning had passed by so fast that Trey would be at her house soon.

At five minutes to ten, she locked up the house and sat on the outdoor veranda, waiting tensely. Sometimes her desperate need to be early only increased her nerves. She hated waiting, but she also hated being late.

When a new, expensive looking car pulled up, she blinked and stared at it for a while. Only when Trey lowered the window and poked his head out with a grin did Aurora move.

"Hey, Aurora, come and join us." Trey called out.

With a smile and a nervous twitch in her step, she headed towards him. She could hear curious voices from the car, which only made her nerves more noticeable.

"You've got the front seat."

He patted the seat next to him and all eyes fell on her. She opened the door and glanced to the backseat. A girl sat crammed, looking disgruntled, between two other guys.

"At last we've been graced with another girl." The blonde girl grinned in welcome at her.

"Hi, I'm Rory." Aurora replied, as she sat down.

"Cool, I'm Laura and these are my twin brothers, Dweeb and Dweebette." She poked a finger into the guys sitting next to her.

"Hey, enough of your nonsense, Tiny. I'm Mick and that's Nathan." The guy on the left said, but they looked so alike that Aurora couldn't tell the difference.

"Hi." Aurora gave them a small wave.

"Ready to bowl?" Trey asked, grabbing her attention.

"Sure, I haven't been for a while, so I'm not going to be the greatest." She warned them in advance.

"No worries. You can team up with me, and we'll battle those guys." Trey pointed a thumb to the rear of the car.

"Trey, have you forgotten how horrible your score was the last time we bowled?" Laura spluttered with laughter.

"That happened to be a bad luck day," Trey announced, as the car filled with laughter. "Ignore them; I'm sure they don’t remember anything." He said in a haughty tone.

Aurora couldn't believe how easily this group of people accepted her. The casual conversation included her, as they drove out to Bateau Bay to the bowling alley.

As Trey began looking for a park, Aurora's phone rang. She groaned, wondering if it was her dad preparing to give her another lecture like this morning. When Kiri's number flashed on the screen, she closed her eyes, not wanting to talk to her again so soon.

"What is it, Kiri?" Aurora asked, as she rolled her head back to look at the roof of the car.

"Have you thought about it yet?" Kiri sounded nervous.

"Giving a person time means more than a few hours. I'm busy okay, I'll call you later," Aurora hung up to find a car full of people gawking at her. "Sorry, that was my sister." She pointed to her phone.

"You know someone named Kiri?" Trey asked into the quiet, while everyone else looked on intrigued.

"Trey, it may not be the same girl." Laura warned, and Aurora’s heart clenched.

"Like I said, Kiri is my sister. What did she do this time?" Aurora winced leaving the rest of the car looking anywhere but at her.

"Wow! You're the flasher's sister." One of the guys from the back stated in awe, making Aurora's heart sink down even further.

"Do I want to know why that's Kiri's nickname?" Aurora closed her eyes, and tried to calm her breathing.

"I think that we should all go bowling, and you can tell me how much I suck." Trey added in.

"Tell me." Aurora insisted.

Trey floundered, but Mick babbled with excitement, "she flashed her boobs at any party that she went to."

"Now why doesn't that surprise me?" Aurora muttered.

"She had invitations to every party this year, but she didn't show for one so far." Nathan spoke, but Aurora's unease grew. Why couldn't she escape her sister's shadow?

"She moved out last year, and she only came home for Christmas." Aurora told them, trying to sound calm and cordial.

"That explains the no show," Mick added in. "Damn, I sure missed those boobs this year."

"God, you are horrible!" Laura smacked him in the chest. "We're talking about Rory's sister, so get your mind out of the damn gutter."

"Hey, she's the boob flasher, not me. Her reputation precedes her." Mick argued, which increased Aurora’s apprehension.

Once Trey found a park and pulled the car to a stop, Aurora jumped out as fast as she could. She tried to breathe and calm down with a great deal of trouble.

She hated that Kiri's name always came up with such frequency, and that she never seemed portrayed in a good light. Her name always had hidden meanings to others, and it exhausted Aurora from dealing with, or about her sister.

"You okay, Aurora?" Trey asked, as he came over to where she stood.

"Yeah, fine." She answered.

"I shouldn't have asked you about her."

"It's not news to me that Kiri would have acted that way."

"Let's bowl, you guys." Laura said when she got out of the car, trying to distract the attention away from the subject of Kiri.

Aurora forced a small smile, before her jaw dropped open in shock. The siblings stood together with their shining blonde hair, and similar features. They were all tall, even Laura, and all good looking. Something tickled in the back of her mind about these three, although she had never met them before.

"You're the triplets that Kiri used to tell me about." Aurora pointed at them, and Laura groaned.

"Great, that seems to be my only achievement in life, being lugged with these two." Laura rolled her eyes.

"Sorry." Aurora winced, wondering if she had offended her.

"Not your fault. Okay, we are so wiping the slate clean and going bowling." Laura pointed to the entrance, and Aurora admired her attitude.

"Sure." She agreed.

As a group, they walked to the entrance, but Aurora hung back surrounded by awkwardness and embarrassed about Kiri's actions. Knowing that these people had seen her sister in such an intimate way had her wishing that she could leave as soon as she could.

"C'mon, Aurora." Trey gestured her forward, and she had little choice but to join him.

None of the others seemed bothered by the earlier conversation, so Aurora tried to let it go as well. They had traded their shoes in and chosen a lane, where everybody had dumped their things, before they each went searching for the best ball.

Aurora excused herself for the bathroom, needing a pep talk with herself before she could go back to the bowling. She took in a few deep breaths and stared at her reflection in the mirror. She wasn't Kiri, and with certainty, she knew that it was obvious to all of the others. With her nervousness trampled down, she went to return to the bowling.

"Do you reckon she's like her sister?" a male voice had her cringing back against the door.

"Hell, no! Would you stop that? Don’t make this awkward for Aurora." Trey snapped back, and she sagged with relief that at least he knew that she wasn't anything like Kiri.

"Come on, Trey, you had a thing for those boobs too." The other brother piped up, and Aurora squirmed at the thought.

"Hey, a girl runs around flashing her boobs, so of course I looked, but that's not Aurora, so don’t mention it again." Trey sounded angrier.

"Chill, mate. Have you got a thing for her or something?" Mick sounded amazed.

"You are all so freaking dense!" Laura added in to the conversation. "Leave Rory be, or I'm telling mum that you perve on our next door neighbour."

"You are such a bitch, Tiny." Mick huffed.

"Takes one to know one," Laura taunted in return, and Aurora found herself liking Laura even more. "Go away now," silence filled the air, and Aurora assumed they had gone back to the bowling. “My mouth is shut about anything else that I've seen her sister do." Laura said, as Aurora once again tried to leave the bathroom.

"Thanks, I don’t think Aurora needs to hear it either. It's hard to believe that Kiri is Aurora's sister," Trey sounded baffled. "They aren't alike in anyway at all."

"So, I'm not like the blockheads, am I? They are my brothers remember." Laura pointed out.

"I know that, but they don’t even look the same." Trey's confusion only increased.

"Look, I'm gathering that you like the girl?"

"You are so damn blunt." Trey sounded as if he didn't want to answer.

"That means that you do," Laura's smugness filled her voice. "Does it even matter if they're sisters? It's not like Kiri ever looked your way."

"Yeah, you're right. C'mon, let's get my horrid bowling under way." Trey said, and their voices trailed off, as they walked away.

Aurora stood in the doorway trying to digest everything that she had heard. Kiri seemed a well-known figure amongst the group, almost a household name. Aurora didn't want to have to live up to anything like that.

The doubt faded a little more when she recalled Trey almost agreeing that he liked her. That reminded her that Trey had noticed the differences between her and Kiri. He had seen her better than she had ever expected.

She walked out of the bathroom more positive and with her confidence restored. She would never be Kiri, but Trey still seemed to appreciate her for who she was, and that meant a lot to her.



Chapter 4

“Strike!”

“I think you may have lied to us.” Laura sat with crossed arms, as she watched Aurora score another strike.

“Maybe, it might be my lucky day.” Aurora smirked at her.

“Or maybe you're a sneaky one.” Laura enquired with a quirk to her brow.

“Could be.”

Aurora grinned, surprised how comfortable she was with Trey’s friends. To Aurora’s great relief, there was no mention of her sister's name for the rest of the day. Mick and Nathan might have given her an odd look every now and again, but she could ignore those.

“You need to ask her.” Nathan shoved Trey in the arm, capturing Aurora’s attention.

“Yeah, c’mon mate, she's cool.” Mick aimed a cheeky wink to Aurora, and she wondered what they were doing.

“It seems that you've charmed my friends, and they wanted me to ask you to join our pizza party tonight.” Trey smiled at Aurora, who peered between all of the boys.

“At no time am I taking my top off.” She warned them and Trey flinched.

“We gathered that.” Mick deliberately looked at her chest.

“Stop it, guys. She's the only girl that you've all ever approved of, so leave her be,” Laura chided them. “Please come over.” She turned to Aurora with a pleading look.

“Sure, where are we meeting?” Aurora grinned.

“Trey’s house.” Nathan nodded and Aurora smirked.

“You are far too keen for me to visit your house.” She tried to sound annoyed, but was sure that she failed.

“What? When did he invite you before?” Laura looked between them.

“This morning.” Trey replied, but said nothing else.

“Right,” Laura dragged the word out seeking for more information, which neither supplied. “Okay, are you still coming over?” Laura’s sparkling blue eyes lit up with enthusiasm.

“I already agreed. Who's next?” Aurora looked at the scoreboard, surprised to see that she was close to winning.

“Someone's got to prove that we men remain superior.” Mick stuck his nose in the air, which received raised eyebrows from the girls.

“Go right ahead.” Laura waved a hand at him, while sticking her leg out to trip her brother on his way to the lane.

“Not cool, Tiny.” He clicked his tongue at her when he stumbled, but Laura laughed.

“Promise me that you’ll come over tonight. I'm tired of only hanging out with the guys.” Laura pleaded again, while sending a disdainful look to her brothers who were now wrestling over the ball.

“Yeah, I'll check with my parents first, but I don’t think they'll say no.” Aurora hoped that her statement would be truth.

“I think Trey’s a bit smitten with you.” Laura lowered her voice, while the boys remained distracted.

“Me?” Aurora blurted out, astounded that Laura confided in her.

“Yeah, you. He hasn't asked a girl to join us in ages, and he looks at you funny sometimes.”

“Funny?” Aurora looked perturbed.

“Uh, huh. Look I’ve known you for what, about two hours now, but I've known Trey for years. I've never seen him stare at any other girl in the same way that he stares at you.” Laura admitted rendering Aurora speechless, as she blinked at the other girl.

“Really?”

“Yep. Oh, in case you're wondering, I approve.” Laura grinned, only stunning Aurora further.

“Laura, it’s your turn.” Trey called, as he walked over to them.

“Keep that in mind.” Laura grinned before walking off.

“What did she tell you?” Trey asked with a worried expression.

“That she's tired of only hanging out with the boys.” Aurora replied and Trey laughed.

“She loves us.” Trey said loud enough for Laura to hear.

“Yeah, right!” Laura snickered.

“You so do, Tiny.” Nathan snatched his sister into a hug, which she protested with a wriggle.

“C’mon, let me bowl.” Laura complained and her brother set her down.

“Are you doing alright?” Trey nudged Aurora’s shoulder.

“Yeah, why wouldn't I be?”

“You are kicking our butts so far. I meant about earlier.” He scrunched up his face.


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