Bus 14

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Bus 14 ambles down the main road of Yale River. It appears to be a normal school bus; it stops at every bus stop, and enables its blinker for every turn.
But inside is different. Inside the bus, nothing is a secret. Inside the bus, everyone knows your name, who you are, where you live and what you do. Inside Bus 14, nothing ever changes.

A/N : I worte this story about 2 years ago for my major work in my HSC. Hope you enjoy! (Beautiful image by Chocolate_Frog @ TDA)

alt

Fact:

Bus 14 is the only school bus to come into Yale River


He was called Maccas.

That wasn’t his name, but it sure sent his father wild. Andrew. That’s what he was always called. ‘Meet my son, Andrew.’ Never Drew, or mate, or Andy. Even when he was a really little kid it was always the full bit, and of course never any of those affectionate nicknames that fathers call their sons.

He narrowed it down. That was why he always had different nicknames for people. For instance, his little brother, Jayden, was Jay and JD and Goggle and Dickhead and sometimes the usual nicknames, such as Lil’ Bro, and the ones he was called at school, like Little Maccas and Jay-Jay.

And he was Dad when Drew addressed him in public (said in the deep manly voice he liked), and The Slayer when he would come to school to weasel Drew out of any suspensions and possible expulsion, lest it damage his reputation. He was Sir when he’d have the ‘little talks’ with Principal Webb about ‘the kid’s future’ (not that he could care less about where Drew was headed), and he was Father when they were sitting at the dinner table. But he was also Hitler, Vlad the Impaler, Stalin, Satan, and Gordon.

And as for his mother: once upon a time she was Mummy, but that was quickly discarded when Peter declared it ‘gay’ that a son should still call his Mum ‘Mummy’ at the age of five. So she became Mum—never a Mother (which was a problem) or Madam Macintyre (which was a large part of the problem [though Drew’s Dad had plenty of substitutes]). She was his wife for a while, though she also became the Black Widow, when her ‘husband’ disappeared for months on end without one word to his family.

As for Andrew—he was Drew to the younger teachers, Macintyre to the older ones (sometimes even Mr. Macintyre, though they soon realised that this name did nothing to improve Drew’s behaviour), and Maccas to all his friends. To his enemies, he never really found out what they called him, though he was sure there were plenty of names circulating around. Most people realised that calling Drew insulting names wasn’t a good idea after he punched out his best mate in year five for calling him a ‘stupid bloody idiot’.

But the only name he could really stand was ‘Maccas’. In the years before his 18th, around town and school there was never any ‘Andrew’. It was always ‘Drew Macintyre’, to which at least one person in any room would exclaim, “Oh, you mean young Maccas?”

Most days back then, though, Drew never got out much. Rumours circulated around, but Drew had truly disappeared from his town, disappeared from everywhere. There was some curiosity, but never anything substantial, anything ‘out there’ waiting to be answered. In fact, most of the community of Yale River rejoiced in his absence; it gave them something to gossip about in their long, boring, everyday lives.

But Drew would come back. Make those football appearances; maybe even to go down to the local skate park and watch his childhood friends do the tricks he remembered them only dreaming of doing when they were five, six, eight. He’d have a cigarette with a couple of mates, just to enjoy the feeling of the smoke tearing down his lungs while he basked in the company of the people who always appreciated him for who he was.


Yes, and for one crowded hour,

You were the only one in the room.

—One Crowded Hour, Augie March

... i have no words. im scared.


The principal shuffled through his papers, rearranging nothing in a fruitless attempt to decide on where Drew should head.

Other than his father, if there was one thing Drew couldn’t stand, it was having someone decide on his future. He couldn’t deny that he lived life recklessly, spontaneously, but that was no invitation for anyone to dictate him.

Drew folded his arms, unable to hide is anger, and challenged Principal Webb with his glare. The man was familiar with Drew’s tactics though. Catching onto his mood by his body language, Webb sighed, leaning forward across the desk, not once losing eye contact with the boy’s unnerving dark gaze.

Eventually Drew turned his stare downward, out of mutual respect.

“Andrew, I know I’m doing something ridiculous ...” Webb started, then paused, studying Drew with critical eyes.

There was always a catch.

“If I so much as hear of you being sent to any head teacher in school, or coming into this office for any other reason other than for leaving school early or arriving late, you’ll be getting the full twenty day suspension without any negotiations.”

“You can’t do that!”

“I can and I will.”

Drew’s head started to spin. What was he doing back here? A stupid slip of the mind, Drew had forgotten how much trouble he got into here. His first day back at school and in the first hour he was sitting in the principal’s, office brushing suspension’s shoulder and plunging himself into a month-long menu of lunchtime detentions. He was better off in Yale River, living in his room with nothing to do.

Propping his elbow on the chair armrest, Drew rubbed his temple with his thumb.

“You realise I’m going to have to call your parents, Drew, to come get you.” His voice had softened.

Drew had been through this before. Swallowing hard, he tried shaking all his thoughts away and took a breath.

“I’ll catch the bus.”

Webb looked at him. “I was told this morning by your driver that you don’t have a bus pass, Andrew.”

“He gave me the form.” There was a slight knock on the door.

“Mr Webb?” The office secretary poked her head around the corner. “Mrs Wheatley and her daughter are here.”

“Bring them in.” Webb reached over to retrieve a pile of papers. “Andrew—” Drew spun around. “I—I’m pleased to see you back. Stay...” A sigh. “Try and be normal?”

This was his invitation to exit. Drew winked and clicked his tongue. “Always am.” He turned around—

Stopped.

She was...

Well, for a start, she was only a year older then Drew, at the most. She was nearly the same height as him, too, and she had the look of the ‘not too thin and not too rich’. Her skin was as white as parchment and her eyes were smoky grey, red lips that would look unnatural on anyone but her …

Bare legs. Bare, white long legs that were as smooth as silk. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

The girl saw him looking and blushed. But she kept eye-contact. Sharp, grey eyes that penetrated instead of looked. Drew smiled, standing straighter and messing the back of his hair with one hand.

“Are we interrupting?”

Drew was plunged back into the middle of Webb’s office. Behind him, the Principal cleared his throat, opening a desk drawer, breaking the silence with a loud squeak. Only his top draw made that sound—it was reserved for Drew; piles of paperwork of suspensions and near expulsions took refuge in that draw. Complaints, letters, psychologist’s tapes. It was all there.

Drew’s head started to spin, and he leant heavily on one foot, readjusting the bag on his shoulder. “I’m leaving.” His voice was a lot harsher than he anticipated.

Drew pushed his way past both mother and daughter.

“Wait.”

He stopped. His movement cut into the tension in the air, and Webb waved Drew back, the girl’s mother looking less than impressed at the Principal’s gesture.

The boy stood at the door awkwardly, shuffling his feet, unsure of where this was going.

“Andrew, this is Elanora.”

Drew caught on. This was Webb’s attempt at something real, solid. For four years he had been trying to convince himself that Drew was not a waste of his time, that there was a reason that he kept twisting the boy out of the suspensions, detentions and possible arrests by the police.

Webb was trying to persuade himself that he was doing something worthwhile.

A small “Hi,” tumble out, and a rushed, “Ellen, I’m just Ellen.”

Once again, Drew stared, caught in the moment. Her lack of confidence leaked from her fingertips, and Drew could just taste her on his lips.

The silence was drawn out, suffocating and intrusive. Webb waited for Drew to say something—anything. But the boy just stared at her, his eyes like two bottomless pits.

“I think I should go.”

When Drew closed the door, Webb made no effort to stop him.


Fact:

You are not alone.


That evening Drew boarded the bus, still mulling over the morning’s episode. Hatred and regret stirred in his gut, his stress building to a point where he couldn’t see two metres in front of him.

Yet somehow, he saw her.

Like some cruel, sick joke, she was seated up the back—in his seat—completely oblivious. She’d had a hard, long day at school—each period and break passed with fake smiles and bad company, and she had hardly touched pen to paper all day. She kept reminding herself that there were only two more years left, but that only gave her a few seconds of peace before she was brought back into the classroom, where each kid spoke a dialect she could barely believe, let alone understand.

She just wanted to go home and die.

“Hey, you’re in my seat.” His bogan drawl cut through her thoughts, and Ellen looked up at him with a challenging glare.

“Really?” She turned back to the window.

It was clear to Drew she didn’t remember him. Instead of pressing the matter, though, he put his bag on the floor beside Ellen, flopping down next to her. She didn’t turn.

He was feeling more than uncomfortable—almost intrusive. He felt utterly ridiculous that this new girl could just take his seat, and make him feel unwelcome on his bus. It was a well known rule on Bus 14 that you did not ‘swap’ seats. There was a set order, and it had always been that way since Drew had first caught the bus, way back in Kindergarten. Seats got passed down—the further up the back you were to the bus driver, the more popular, and generally older, you were. Drew’s seat, which was right up on the second backseat, had been his older brother’s—and Drew was sure that when he left school, this seat would be occupied by his younger sibling, Jay.

It was the just way things went.

He stood. “You’re just gonna have ta move, aye.”

Ellen’s head snapped around, looking at the empty seat beside her, then up at Drew. She frowned at him, as though deciding whether he was joking or serious.

His expression remained the same. Ellen couldn’t help but let out a harsh bark of laughter.

Excuse me?” she spat sarcastically.

“You. Need. To. Move.”

She laughed again, turning back to the window. “That’s what I thought you said,” she mumbled.

The bus started to roll forward out of the school, and Drew had no choice but to sit down. Once again, Ellen made no move to look at him. Drew felt unnerved. He couldn’t believe that anyone, especially a new girl, could be this controlled—it was as if she owned the space around her. Was this truly the girl he had met this morning?

“I was in Webb’s office with you.” Drew broke the silence between them as the bus left the school gates. Twenty minutes before home. “This mornin’.”

This time, Ellen turned and looked at him a little more carefully; as though actually seeing him. There was no smile on her lips, but her eyes danced. Drew clenched his fist.

“That’s right. I remember.”

“So...”

“So...” Ellen waited, not taking her eyes off him.

“How was your first day?”

She shrugged. “It’s a school.”

Silence. Drew mulled. He hadn’t realised how general his question had been until he’d received the answer. She had a point—there was nothing different from this school to the next. Every school had a hall, students, teachers, desks, and buses. It probably all meant nothing to this strange, new, girl.

“This is a little different though.”

Her whisper cut through his thoughts, and his head snapped in her direction. The bus was buzzing with noise—the primary school kids were at the front, screaming, and all the high schoolers had their phones on loudspeaker, playing music, or were shouting over one another recounting their weekend.

So how he heard her at all her was beyond belief.

“What?”

She stared at him. “This is different.” She shrugged again and shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t feel welcome here.”

“You’re not.”

As soon as he said it, Drew realised his mistake. He cringed, looking away from her—at nothing in particular, just anywhere but her eyes and astounded features.

She continued to stare at him carefully. “What?”

And like a reflection of the morning, Drew disappeared on her. His eyes glazed over, and he continued to look anywhere but her—it was as if he had entered another world. It wasn’t long before she was completely erased, and he was dragged into a conversation by the boy behind him.

For the rest of the bus ride, Ellen didn’t exist to him.

She liked it better that way.


Players only love you when they’re playing

—Dreams, Fleetwood Mac

i sit next to this boy on the bus every morning and afternoon. everything i say to him he seems surprised.

i like his voice.


It was 6 AM, two months later, when her phone bleated out rendering her almost deaf.

“You’re not going to school.”

Ellen sat up in her bed, her phone clutched to her ear, eyes squinting in the faint light steaming from between the crack in her curtains. She wasn’t aware that the sun actually rose this early.

Aware that she had no choice in the matter, she replied, “Okay,” before hanging up and rolling over in her bed.

Sure that everyone in her house had left, Ellen eventually dragged herself out of bed. Gypsy nipped at her heels. She picked the dog up, taking her to the laundry and grabbing the dog biscuits out of the cupboard, before dropping Gypsy to the floor. The dog trotted away with soft feet.

“Elle.”

A hand touched her shoulder. His whisper tickled her neck, her head bowed.

Her breath got shaky, and her head started to spin. She pulled away from him, grabbing the food and placing it near the door. Gypsy reappeared from nowhere, scoffing it down. Ellen soured. The dog could’ve at least barked, to let her know he was in her house.

“What are you doing here?”

Drew merely shrugged. “I missed you.”

“You could’ve at least knocked.”

“Why?”

Ellen frowned at him; was he serious or joking? He did this a lot to her—she hated it. The fine lines between common human morality and Drew’s fantasy world always tilted her own conceptions. There were no values--there was no right and no wrong. Just Drew. She was not even certain if this boy was real—if he was a justifiable presence or someone imagined. Everything with him was just balanced on a wire. And it was only a matter of time before it over-balanced, pulling everything down around it.

Manners, she thought. Common decency. She swallowed, “To get me prepared for you.”

As soon as she said it, Ellen looked to the ground, blushing furiously. Oh, my God.

His hand shot up, reaching out to touch her, before it fell limply to his side. He wiped his face, ashamed, maybe frustrated, before saying, “You don’t have to be prepared for me.”

“I can’t be.”

She looked up. Drew’s dark brown gaze hypnotised her. She grabbed the bench beside her, not sure whether to scream and run, or laugh. He smiled. “Isn’t that the way it should be?”

Gypsy resurfaced, comfortably full, and placed herself at Drew’s feet. He leant down, scratching the mutt behind the ears and chuckling as it rolled over on its back, tail wagging furiously.

Ellen glared. Traitor.

“Maybe. You’re unlike anyone else I know.”

“I like it that way.” Pulling a face, he picked up the dog, cradling it in his arms. He backed out of the laundry, dropping the dog to the floor and watching it run into the loungeroom. “It’s better.”

Not sure whether it was a question or statement, Ellen’s eyes darted to the ground as he turned to look at her.

One smooth step. He was just inches away.

“Maybe,” she repeated. His hand held hers, briefly, before moving up her arm, to her shoulder, and cupping the side of her face. She held her breath.

“Can anyone else make you feel this way?”

She felt sick, dizzy. She convinced herself that yes, they could, but when Drew’s lips touched her’s—a mere brush—her actions could not lie.

She took a sharp, angry breath, before trying to pull herself away. Drew let her go, staring at her with wide eyes.

“It was an accident, I’m sorry.”

“You should leave now.”

“Ellen.” He looked at her. “Please.”

Her body moved without consent. She had never touched a boy properly before—not in that way. She had always been the girl who played football with them; the girl that was their sister, never sexy enough to be a lover, or beautiful enough to be a fantasy. No one had ever been interested in her this way. Now why was the most popular guy in her school here in her house—a boy who could, and did, get anything he wanted—why was he here?

She wanted to ask his motive, she wanted to hear his lies of hopes and dreams of the future. Whatever morality and reason was within her, he had just taken from her. Now she was just skin and bone. His.

She was in Drew’s world.

This time, when he kissed her, Ellen didn’t pull away.


Talkin’ bout a girl that looks quite like you

—Badge, Cream; Eric Clapton

here is something i have never, and will never, tell anyone. it’s hard to write, because i can barely even understand it myself. but there is a boy at school, named drew macintyre. he is the most popular guy in our grade, so unbelievably good-looking. he disappears from time to time, but now right now he’s back, and no one knows what happens to him when he leaves.

but that’s not even the weird part, yet—the thing i don’t understand.

it's just like, every time i am around him, i can’t speak, i can’t even breathe. and i cannot, i just can’t, look into his eyes for too long—if not, at all.

i wish i knew what it meant. because the thing is, when i'm around him, these things happen to him, too.


The thing about cricket is, at the end of the day, it isn’t really a team sport.

Which was just as well, because Drew had never been one to ‘go for the team’. Sure, he played Rugby League once and a while, and every winter sat down weekly Fridays to watch the matches between the state teams—but he never could really play it professionally. The structure of the game’s, the reliance on your team, was just something he didn’t get.

Tennis and cricket on the other hand; well, you were completely on your own then. You decided the way the match should head, you dictated how well you should play.

Of course, with cricket you had a team, but it really wasn’t a ‘team sport’. In football or rugby, or any of those “bunch of players trying to score to the other end of the field” games, you have to be in a team. You have to think like a team and synchronise your actions to fit in with team structure and poise. It’s the only way you can win.

But cricket …

In cricket, when you step in front of those wickets, your partner is completely gone. That is it. It’s just you. One man against the world. All that matters in those moments is your individual state of mind and your individual skill. There is literally nothing else your team can do for you. They’re just sitting on the bench, counting on your skill. It’s just you and the bat.

And the bowler and the ball.

It is the best, the most sublime thing in Drew’s world; the pure moment in all sport. He loves watching serves in tennis, but there is nothing more impressive then a bowler bowling someone out.

“Oi, Maccas!”

Drew blinked just in time to see Ricky’s fast bowl hurtling across the pitch, aimed straight at his face. In a moment of sheer panic, he quickly did the calculations in his head—move, then the ball was sure to hit the wickets. He’d have to go for the hit.

The bat collided with the maroon sphere, sending it hurtling across the Yale River cricket pitch. Cameron, standing at the other end of the wickets let out a loud “Woop!”, jumping up into the air and waving his bat around.

“Six! That’s a century!”

Ricky turned a darker shade of red. “Big deal. He got that yesterday, and the day before.”

Drew calmly tapped the toes of his sneakers with the end of his bat, releasing the dirt from his shoes. “It’s only because of your crappy bowling, Rickman.”

“Take that back, you hunk of shit,” Ricky sneered, walking up to Drew and shoving his face in his.

Reeling away, Drew tapped the side of Ricky’s leg with the cricket bat, reminding him who had the weapon and who was empty handed.

Ricky took the hint, and stepped back once, but still had the hide to say, “You can fucking try, Maccas, but you ain’t ever going to be your brother. You’re just a sick, perverted loser.”

He hissed the last word, eyes flashing.

The balance between anger and acceptance tilted. In two quick steps he pushed Josh Rickman to the ground, rolling him around on the dirt and throwing punches in every possible place on Ricky’s body.

“Take that back!” Drew screamed, punching him in the gut. “Here’s what you can take back, Rickman, you pathetic fuck!”

He punched Ricky’s jaw, bloodying his knuckles on Rickman’s teeth. But he kept going.

“You faggot! You know nothing about Scott! Don’t”—another punch—“talk”—one near the eye—“about Scott!”

He began to finish Ricky off, aiming for a punch in the head—but before he had the chance, he found himself lying on his back, the cool grass tickling his neck.

His cricket coach, Tom had pinned his arms down, and Cameron and Shaun stood above him, faces swimming in the rage.

“Are you insane?” Tom spat in his face. “Please, Macintyre, tell me you’re nuts, because I cannot believe what I just saw.”

Drew kicked his legs up on the ground, trying to get out of Tom’s strong grip hold. But Cameron bent down and held both his legs.

“Come on, Macintyre, tell me you’re nuts!”

Tom moved his head fast as Drew tried to head butt him.

“I—will—kill—” Drew spat through gritted teeth. He glared at Cameron, then at Shaun. “Let me go.”

“Not until you’re calm, mate,” Shaun said carefully.

Drew roared, but Tom and Cameron were defiant. After five minutes, Drew was just a limp, heaving lump on the ground. He sat up shakily, accepting a bottle of water from Shaun, and Tom looked around to make sure Ricky had gone home.

Without warning, he forcefully grabbed Drew’s arm, dragging him off the grass and flinging him onto one of the wooden side-line seats.

“My all-rounder!” He threw his hands into the air. “My star batsman—what’s he do? Punches the living shit out of my fast bowler! We’re not fucking Neanderthals here, Maccas! We may be playing in Yale River, but when it comes to cricket practice, you play by MY rules, Macintyre. Not “Yale River” rules, none of this, “my brother” shit, or snorting cocaine every lunch break bull shit. MY RULES, got it?”

Drew nodded.

“HAVE YOU GOT IT, MACINTYRE?”

“Yes.” Drew’s voice was small. God, he felt stupid. Why did he let Rickman get to him? He knew he was an idiot.

Tom walked away before Drew managed to work up his apology. Heaving a sigh, he walked back to the pitch and picked up the bat he had discarded in his moment of sheer anger. He then gathered up the wickets and put them in the storehouse. Cameron came up to help him.

“I’m sorry, man.”

“Nah, don’t—don’t worry about it. I shouldn’t have let Rickman get to me.”

And he really shouldn’t have. Looking back, he could barely remember why he had acted so irrationally.

They hung around the cricket ground for a few more minutes, dancing on eggshells. Drew talked non-stop for ten minute intervals about everything and anything, as if scared of silence.

Finally Shaun announced that he should head home, and Cameron and Drew left, walking back to Cam’s house. They chucked their bags in the front hall, grabbing two beers on their way through the kitchen and plonking down on the couch. Cameron threw on Fox Sports.

Just like the old days. It was like they had never spent any time apart.

“Come on, man, stop it. You’ve been doing that all day.”

Drew shook his head slightly, blinking. “Doin’ what?”

“That, you know …” Cameron pulled a face, crossing his eyes and putting his hands out in front of him. Drew laughed. “That zoning out thingy.”

“You’ll get used to it.” Drew took a long swing from his drink.

“I think I was happily used to the old Drew,” Cameron muttered under his breath. “You staying the night?”

He didn’t need to be told to know that things weren’t right at home. Drew just didn’t go all out like that—sure, he hit a few people here and there, but he never just completely lost it, like back then.

“Do you mind?”

“Mind! Man, as long as I don’t end up like Rickman …”

Drew, halfway through taking a long sip of his drink, spluttered and choked, pulling his bottle away. “Was he pretty bad?”

“Pretty bad?! Fuck me, Maccas, you punched him, like, ten times. What the hell did he say to you?”

And it was so sudden, so quick, that Cameron almost missed it. Drew’s blue eyes darkened, so smoothly it was like someone was turning down the contrast.

Cameron blinked, as if he had been seeing things. Surely he had imagined that. That couldn’t have possibly been real, could it?

Instead of telling Cameron what Ricky said, though, Drew murmured, “I think I’ve nearly got her.”

“What?”

“Ellen.”

“Wha—Oh, dude, you’re not taking that bet seriously, are you?” Cameron looked at him, eyebrows raised. “She’s pretty cool.”

Drew shrugged, not taking his eyes off the television. He went to take a swig of his beer, but instead it turned into a gulp that just didn’t stop. Cameron watched him drown the whole bottle in a matter of seconds, worried and ashamed.

“I don’t know.”

Without another word, he left. Cameron reached forward, grabbed the remote, and turned up the volume.

The screen door slammed shut.


Fact:

Without trust, there is nothing


Ellen’s house was shutting down—it was Friday night, and the rest of Yale River was just starting to stir. Party after party began to light up, the hissing of fizz and smell of barbeques danced through the night air.

He turned on the bedside lamp and switched off the main light, wanting everything to be perfect. He lay down beside Ellen on her bed, and she looked up at him, almost afraid. He kissed her softly and unbuttoned her shirt slowly. His touch was gentle, and his breath was sweet; yet Ellen lay frozen on the bed, anxious to touch him.

His hands found hers, pinned to her sides. Slowly, he lifted them above her head, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb. He kissed her forehead, before whispering, “Ellen. Don’t be scared.”

She sighed, closing her eyes. Then, Drew started doing it, grabbing her hips and holding on really tight.

She couldn’t believe what she felt. It was … amazing. It felt as though all her senses were being held into position by the placement of his hands, into the place where he was inside her. She started to squirm, unsure what to do, trying hard to hold back the moans that were so desperate to escape.

Then his hands slid up her waist, trapping her limp wrists above her head as if in handcuffs. She could feel something starting to happen, and she became a little scared, a mixture of her wanting to do it and not wanting to collectively rolling into one.

But Drew kept going, and she could feel herself getting close to a breaking point. Before she knew what was happening, she felt her brain switch off and Drew kept moving up and down, up and down, up and down, until it happened.

It rushed through her like ice water, and she gasped, trying to hold it right there, the feeling so intense she almost blacked out. She tried to slow him down, but Drew just kept going, kept moving, kept fucking her.

He pinned her arms to her sides, gripping so tightly she didn’t know what hurt her more—the pain in her belly or the pressing of her wrists. Finally he came and it was over, and she lay there, frozen, feeling the blood rush back through her veins. She felt damp and cold, her brain swimming with words and nonsense that felt as if a nail was being hammered into the back of her head.

Drew collapsed next to her. She didn’t dare look at him. She couldn’t believe what that had been.

She had been fucked. Totally, and utterly, fucked. Now she knew why there were so many girls that fell in love with the boy beside her. It was so strange—so astonishing. He was … professional. For her first time, she doubted that she had been ready—but now it was too late. She had been fucked. It was a lot different from just sex. When some fucked you, it made you realise how female you were. They were men, you were women, and you were fucked. There was no love. There was just pleasure and … fucking. You did not fuck them. You were just their wanking toy, their fuck.


No, I could never take a chance,

Because I could never understand,

The mysterious distance,

Between a man and a woman.

—A Man and a Woman, U2

everything must go. sluts cant own things. not even themselves.


Monday morning crept up slowly, engulfing her in suffocating summer heat. The sultry Northern breeze ruffled her curtains, and faintly, in the distance, she could hear her mother fussing away downstairs, ordering members of the family about the house.

She rolled over, staring at the whitewashed wall. Dreams rushed through her and out, quickly forgotten. He strolled back into her head so calmly. Smooth as ice. She closed her eyes and wished him away. But, the more she thought of him leaving, the stronger the Drew in her head became—until he dominated her, guided her.

Until there was just no escape.

Her eyes had looked directly at his seat when she boarded the bus. There was a mess of frustration, anger and relief washing over her when she saw that it was empty. Her emotions were so strong that she had to hold onto the chair beside her.

Cameron, who was usually seated behind Ellen and Drew, patted the empty chair beside him.

“I’d like some company,” he said. “Drew can’t always have the fun.”

Ellen let out a small, fake laugh, biting her tongue. The hurt registered on her face, and when she sat down, she could feel Cameron’s eyes on her.

“How was your weekend?”

“Good...” She looked at their empty seat in front of her, before throwing her head back and staring at the roof of the bus. “Good.”

Cameron didn’t reply. Ellen looked at him, wondering if she could have possibly hurt his feelings. Working herself into a frenzy of worry, she opened her mouth to say sorry, but Cameron busied himself, bending down to his bag and searching for something.

And that was when she saw it.

It was faint, fairly invisible, but it was just one word that jumped out, craved into the wood just beside Cameron’s head.

DREW $2

“Wh—?”

Ellen jumped forward, squinting in the faint light at the back of her and Drew’s seat. Scratched into the wood, in a faint, childish scrawl was a story it seemed.

Ellen reached forward and pushed Cameron back.

“Huh?” He looked at her. “What?—Ellen!”

Cameron jumped forward, throwing his hand over the engraving. Around his fingers danced names of students and numbers that Ellen couldn’t comprehend. She looked at him, and breathed out, slowly.

“I...” Her voice faded, and Ellen looked beyond Cameron—to the blur of the trees passing by, to Yale River. “I get it now.”

“What?” Cameron looked hesitantly down the bus. They were just seconds from school. Down the aisle, kids heads turned—smirking, laughter, and the most prominent—gasps. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I get it,” Ellen repeated, voice rising. “It was a bet. To see who could fuck me first. And guess what?”

Ellen stood as the bus slowed to a stop. She picked up her bag, swinging it on her shoulder. “You all won.”

When she stepped off Bus 14, she didn’t look back.


For everything you thought you had

has gone from worse to bad.

My Kind of Scene, Powderfinger

it was more than that.


It was only winter when you stood in the shade. The breeze was cool, but the sun was hot on his bare back. Delicately, the water licked at his feet; tickling, taunting. It was cold, but he was game. It was something he had done before, and something he will do again. The touch of the water reminded him of summer—the nights, the mornings, those lazy afternoons. Yale River was a ribbon of memories in the midday winter sun.

He stared at the water, transfixed, before Ellen emerged from the bush behind him. Her presence took hold, and the air shifted around Drew as she slipped in by his side.

Nothing said. He looked at Ellen, digging her feet into the dirt, features disappearing behind the curtain of dark hair.

She didn’t wait for him to ask what was on her mind. It was just another silent question in his eyes.

“Where do you want to be in ten years?”

“Anywhere but here.” His answer came out, sharp and quick, just as he hoped.

Ellen glanced at him, smiling as if it was a joke. No idea, she continued, “I like it here. It’s a nice place.” She looked out over the river, drawing her knees up below her chin and hugging her legs. “You don’t see this down south.”

“You don’t see people like me either, down south.”

Ellen looked at him critically. “You’re not special, Drew,” she sneered, obviously annoyed.

Drew was unaware of what he had done, but nevertheless, he instantly rose to the defensive. “I never said that.”

He picked up a rock near his feet, and threw it across the river, frustrated that she had gotten to him. Despite its wide expanse, Drew’s throw was elite. The rock bounced off the opposite bank, landing in the long brown scrub shaded by a lone tree.

Drew paused, frowning. “Elle... Look at the tree.”

But Ellen had already seen it. A mature Blue-gum, the tree’s main trunk had split right down in the middle, into two separate trees. One reached out to the sky, its branches littered with eucalyptus leaves that rustled in the light breeze. Lorikeets and cockatoos flew in and out of its canopy for the flowering gumnuts—their cries echoed across the river, linking the banks together through their music.

The other branch was significantly less dramatic. Over the decades, this side of the tree had withered away into nothing. It was no more than a long, dangerous spur, threatening the wildlife below of its inevitable fall.

Drew continued to pick rocks up from the ground and throw them across the bank. He was at a constant game with himself to see how far he could throw.

One never beat the first.

Patiently, Ellen watched him, until Drew eventually gave up, turning around and kissing her directly on the lips. Slowly, he tilted her back onto the grass, his kisses gradually working their way down her neck, his body trapping her on the ground. He held her tight, as if the river were to snatch her away.

Turning her into nothing but a memory.

When Ellen stood, she was alone. The night cloaked the river, the cool evening air stinging her cheeks as she turned to make her way toward home in the darkness.

Drew was nowhere to be seen.


You step on my soul as you walk away,

My demons you’ll never know.

—Fly Away, Black Eyed Peas



Submitted: April 23, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Kitters. All rights reserved.

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BooksRule

I stumbled across this when I was browsing in boredom, but I was hooked. Beautifully written and captivating ... you managed to leave so many loose ends but without any doubt about your intentions for the story. Drew is fascinating, and Ellen almost equally so ... Good work ^^

Mon, April 23rd, 2012 9:20pm

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Thank you so much! This comment meant a lot to me - though I wrote this a while ago, I still remember the pain I went through writing this; it took so very long, haha. Thank you again!!

Mon, April 23rd, 2012 6:32pm

BooksRule

I stumbled across this when I was browsing in boredom, but I was hooked. Beautifully written and captivating ... you managed to leave so many loose ends but without any doubt about your intentions for the story. Drew is fascinating, and Ellen almost equally so ... Good work ^^

Mon, April 23rd, 2012 9:20pm

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