One year later:
It's funny how things change quite dramatically when you least expect it. Take my life for example. Two years ago I didn't think my life would get any better than straight A+'s and Doctor Who episode marathons with Matt Smith. I used to wander the halls unnoticed, my name would be a dead whisper in the corridors. It's strange how things turned out for me. I never expected a boyfriend, let alone my own personal Abercrombie and Fitch model.
I never expected heads to turn as I walked the halls of the school in twelfth grade. Thankfully I was never bullied but there would always be snide remarks made about the way I dress, what I do in my spare time, my inability to talk to the male species and my grades. You would think with my constant rituals that I did day in and day out which became religious wouldn't change because I was just that small city girl who had her eyes set on university with no distractions.
But life has its way of throwing curve balls at you, ones that shape the way we are today. Some of these curve balls can be bad like my mother leaving. The abandonment and neglection played a big role in the way I am today. Her actions, tossing Tara and I out into the big world to fend for ourselves taught me what I didn't want to become when I became a mother myself. She taught me to never become reliant on a big figure in my life because when they disappear I may not have had someone to fall back on. Luckily I did.
Another curve ball that life threw at me was Mikaela. One of the queens who walked the halls of high school. Her attitude and behaviour towards me taught me not to become a push over. I now follow the rule of not becoming a doormat to allow people to walk all over me. I will also not become a manipulator to make others do what I want. So I believe in some way, Mikaela's presence in my life left an unwanted but valuable imprint in the way I perceive things.
Then again, life has its perks in throwing the biggest curve ball that I face everyday. Sleep doesn't come easy to me most nights. Constant tossing and turning because my mind has its way of not shutting off and constantly replaying scenes in the day which has the most important character in my life featuring. My stomach has this way of feeling unsettlement yet comfort when a certain mug shot forms in my mind. Bubbling and jumpiness swirls in my stomach constantly.
With those thoughts, I zip up my back pack as I lift my weight from the seat I had been sitting comfortably in for the duration of the lesson. "It has always been a pleasure to teach you Alexandra, good luck with your results in the HSC and I hope you get into your chosen university." My favourite teacher since the seventh grade, Mr Hutchenson said as he packed his papers away.
"Thank you sir for being a role model in my life as a teacher. I'll make sure to come back and visit. My results are available on the Internet as of today and all the acceptance letters were mailed off two days ago so fingers crossed they arrive today." I said with a genuine smile.
To be completely honest I was nervous about returning home. I was nervous about seeing my results for HSC as they will be the cornerstone in determining what my profession and occupation will be. These results determine my acceptance into my deal university which is Melbourne.
It was today, the last day of highschool that I knew a few tears would be shed. These six years of my life have been the most draining, most exciting and the most educational years of my life. I began walking through the school halls for the last time. Some doors were littered with toilet paper, silly string and chewing gum. The floors trashed with scrunched paper of test results, assignments and teachers notes.
I was about to join in on the fun shared by all graduating year twelve students because all my rational thoughts were clouded when he stepped into view. Dressed in the school uniform which he has never warn so smugly and presentably, he leaned up and was supported by one of the basketballers shoulders. He reached up and pulled the red box which we have been warned for several years not to touch.
Suddenly the flooded corridors of students felt the impact of his actions as the roof spurted out with fresh cold water sprinkling on our bodies. An alarm sounded, ringing in our ears shortly followed. As screams and cries were voiced, I joined in on the laughter met by the majority of the boys involved with the prank. Teachers attempted to yell over the loud siren, trying to file us all out of the school building.
We all did so willingly and I gathered around my best friends. "Luke?" The asked for clarification.
"Brooks." I confirmed who the master mind was and they laughed.
"Here comes the man himself," Bec said and so it was, the announced Brooks wrapped his arms around my waist.
"Biggest prank of the year. I bought us some time to sneak out. I was thinking we could get some food, watch a movie, maybe have a little fun." He whispered the nature of his business in my ear.
I shuddered and leaned back into his embrace. "I cant," I pouted. "I'm going to the cemetery to see my grandparents and then heading home." I disliked that my afternoon was sensible instead of getting drunk and partying with the rest of the year but I had my tasks already organized.
He kissed my neck, "Maybe after you can come over to my new house. I want to show you it. I can also show you another thing too, while you're there." I could feel his smirk grow on the skin of my neck. I could feel him slipping me a piece of paper, in a completely private part. His wriggled his hand through my shirt and slipped the address in my bra.
"Maybe not." I teased but I knew I would be heading over because we previously promised to open our letters together and also exchange gifts.
After the teachers instructed that we were to go home because of the 'fire', I kissed Brooks and hugged my friends, congratulating them on graduating. Soon I made my way to my car which I unlocked and sat in. Brooks had his hands on my car door and kissed me again. He then closed my car door and waved me goodbye.
I got home and immediately checked the mail. My eyes widened at the sight of the logo for the university of Melbourne. I knew I couldn't open it but I wanted to buy as much time before I had to open it. I was worried that my hard efforts were not good enough.
Brooks - What are you up to?
I was nervous upon reading the text I received from Brooks. I couldn't tell him that for the past hour I wasted staring pointlessly at the unopened letter from the University of Melbourne which will either make me the happiest girl in the world or the most depressed. You see, I have had my whole future invested in these results since I was a little girl.
All I ever wanted was a high atar, hence the reason as to why I had been killing myself for the past year, studying and taking notes. If I didn't get a good HSC result or if I didn't get into the university I didn't know what I was going to do with my life.
My hand shook and I leaned over and clutched the phone in my finger tips. I wrote many responses back but never sent any for the fear of sounding stupid. Eventually, I did what I thought was the best option, I called him. It only took one ring before I was greeted with his raspy voice. "If you're done staring at your unopened letter of doom then I suggest you take upon my offer and come over."
It never failed to surprise me how well Brooks knew me, scary even. "Brooks, I don't..." He cut me off by scoffing. He knew that I was doing exactly nothing and I was just avoiding more time to open it.
"Al, we arranged that we'd open ours together. So, pick up the letter, stuff it in your handbag of junk, find the address I gave you to the house and get your ass down here." He knew that when he instructed me on exactly what to do that I could never say no.
"And bring some clothes because I want my first night sleeping here to be with you." Brooks always had the right things to say to brighten my mood. Sometimes I swear that boys was reading off a script.
"Ok, I'm on my way, see you soon," I told him as I jumped off my bed and ran to get the small envelope that I had organized earlier. You see, Brooks and I arranged to get small gifts for each other to mark a sign for graduation. He suggested it so I happily followed along only because I knew exactly what to get him. I spent more than a little just because I would be enjoying the goods as well as he so I had not problem in spending the little bit extra.
"I love you Al," my stomach still bubbled with butterflies each time he said it.
I smiled, "I love you too Brooks."
I sighed heavily, reached for the letter and placed it in my handbag which mind you was perfectly organized and lunged for my keys. I left the address that Brooks slipped me attached to a magnet on my fridge. Using my phone as a GPS, I typed in his address and the streets view came up. I called out to whoever was in the house that I was on my way out and was greeted with my mum gushing to me about her new brownies.
"You should bring some to Luke and his family," my mum suggested and immediately began making a plate. I would have taken a moment to correct her and inform her that Brooks had now moved into his new house with a few of his friends that he met at smokers anonymous but she looked too happy so I kept quiet.
She moved back in four months ago and it was like she never left, aside from the fact that they don't fight as much anymore. It's not like screaming matches anymore, where the two are at each others necks, more over like little things. For example, she'd just tell him off for not putting the toilet seat down or some nights dad would come home with takeaway when mum slaved the whole day preparing food. Just little fights that every normal couple has, I have them with Brooks as well.
Only last week we were wrestling because it was his turn to get the popcorn although he didn't believe me. Deep down he knew it was his turn, he just didn't want to get his lazy ass off the seat. That, or he wanted to his hands over my little waist. My mother wrapped the plastic plate with aluminum foil and kissed my cheek before sending me on my way.
I was nervous in seeing Brooks' house. I was grateful that he had chosen to move in with good guys and not the typical scary ones you'd see in a smoking anonymous meeting. I was also grateful that Brooks followed my advice and took those meetings. Although I liked the faint smell of ashtray on his clothes, I did not like the taste of it in my mouth. Back to the guys Brooks moved in with, they were clean cut, one was Chase (the tattoo artist), another is Spencer who is incredibly nice and in a rock band, and Braydon who works in an adult book store.
I had no idea what his house would look like with the assortment of those three characters. All of them with tattoos and piercings, I was worried that Brooks' didn't chose the right home but I knew better than to judge a book by its cover. As I drove into a quiet suburban area, I quickly grew fond especially when my car rolled to a stop right in front of his house. It was an average sized cream house, with a well maintained garden in the front lawn.
I quickly peeled off my seat and padded over the pebbled driveway, the balcony was a nice tanned colour and the doorway was neither looming or daunting but sweet and inviting. With one hand occupied with the brownies, I used my free hand to knock on the wooden door. Moments later I was greeted by Chase who gingerly opened the door. "Hey Alex, come on in." He welcomed, leaving the door wide open.
"Your boy flooded this house with strippers early this morning," Chase was about to continue but Brooks' booming voice caused him to shut his mouth, laugh and walk away.
"Piss off Chase!" Brooks called throughout a corridor and soon his thundering footsteps came to a halt as he came into view. His attire consisted of grey track suit pants and a plain white shirt, looking irresistibly good.
He smiled down at me, "Hey babe, let me show you around the place." He said, swiftly taking my hand in his and dragging me through the long corridor that I was staring at. The house was modern, some walls were painted an ocean blue. Seems as though some of their mothers came in, organizing the home style furniture and setting up a dining table. It was evident that the house was inhabited by boys because there was a whole section secluded by the television designed for the playstation and other video game consoles.
"I gathered that there were no strippers," I laughed as we entered into the modern and clean kitchen. in the clear glass cupboards, the plates, glasses, cutlery, plastic tupperware all followed the theme of blue and silver. It was astonishingly big, apparently because Braydon is big on cooking. Chase being the artist that he is, designated a wall purely to his passion of art, hence the big mural on one of the walls the leading to where all the bedrooms are.
"Luckily for us, my room is on the other side of the house, away from all the other bedrooms so we can rattle and make as much noise as we want without disturbing any one." Brooks informed, sending a flirtatious wink in my direction. Of course, nothing had changed and my cheeks were turning a deep pink.
"Teddy, you brought brownies! Wait, do they have you-know-what is there? Do you like it kinky?" I knew he was just teasing but my body reacted the way it always does and my blush grew deeper.
"My mum baked them and asked me to bring them over," I explained as I settled them on the kitchen island. We had done a round of the house and I was astonished by how clean it was, wouldn't count on it to be like this for too long because there are four boys in the house.
A new figure stepped into the kitchen, "Yum, brownies!" Spencer's hand flexed out and grabbed a brownie, no shame at all. He walked off, his black hair spiked up as he was munching on the little brownie.
"Well there goes Spencer," Brooks laughed as he directed me to where his room was. There was no need for introductions because I met his roommates all at the first smokers anonymous which I attended with Brooks for moral support purposes. I was acquaintances with each boy, more of a friend with Chase, but that didn't matter. Brooks' room was secluded at the end of the house. At the end of the cream corridor there was a second bathroom, his own personal one as he calls it and then his bedroom.
His room was set up much differently to his room at home. It was clean for starters, of course his television was yet to be set up. His royal blue walls were magnified with the lamp he had on and set up. His room had a lot of potential and he explained that he didn't have a lot of time to make it personal yet but he promised he'd get to it. On his bedside table, set up next to the lamp was a photo frame and I gasped at the sight of me. It was a photo he took on his phone when I wasn't looking, the day of the carnival we went to a month ago with Jai and Lily who are now a proud couple.
He must have noticed my gaze because he said, "It's hard to choose a favourite photo of you because every photo is my favourite but this was a good night and you look hella sexy." Brooks smirked as he propped down on the bed.
I soon followed and smiled deeply at him. "I wander what you'll do when you see my photo at night." I rolled my eyes as I teased him, I was extremely flattered at the first personal item he set up in his room was a photograph of me.
He chuckled, "I think we both know what I'd do at night staring at that photo." I could hear the smirk in his voice but I once again rolled my eyes before meeting his gaze.
Shooting me a 100 watt smile in all it's glory, he got up off the bed and advanced to his chester drawers. There he picked up he laptop as well as two envelopes and a small box which was wrapped in gold wrapping paper. The nerves washed over me again as he settled everything he collected on the bed in front of me. I inhaled deeply as his fingers flew across the keyboard and soon the Higher School Certificate results tab was up.
"Which one did you want to see first?" He asked, meaning either the results or the letter from the universities we applied at.
I bit my lip, "We will look at your HSC results then mine, then together we will open the envelopes." I suggested and he nodded. Scrolling through, he found his name but hesitated to click the button. My hand covered his and I pressed his fingers on the pad, selecting his results. I continued to hold his hand as my eyes rushed over his results.
Brooks and I studied each and every night for six months, sometimes together. We were helping each other. We worked out that we worked well as a team after we completed the plastic baby assignment with flying colours. That was a tough day, the day we said goodbye to Annabelle. Without that little treasure I would have never have gotten to know Brooks, she meant a lot to us. I still have a photo of the three of us as the background of my phone, as cheesy as it is.
I took note of his extremely good results, ranging from band 5s to band 6s which were the highest to get. I observed his body actions as he covered his mouth with his hand in disbelief. "You did it!" I screamed, shaking his body which was currently undergoing shock.
"Al, I got band sixes in some of my classes! That's the top result!" He said loudly with pride instead of smugness. Cupping my jaw in his hands, he pulled my face closer to his and he kissed me hard with excitement.
"Let's look at yours!" He said with a wide smile. I pulled out of his grasp with a weary smile, nervousness consumed me and I was too afraid to select my name with my results on the website.
He hinted my fear, "It's ok Al, you will do amazing." His voice was soft and comforting but I didn't believe him because I didn't believe in myself.
He paused, "You did your best right?" He asked but I could barely hear him.
"Huh?" I asked, swelling out of my daze of self pity.
"Did you do your best?" He asked slowly so I had enough time to hear him clearly.
I nodded, "Yes," I watched as his smile grew.
"Then it doesn't matter what your result is as long as you did your best." He was right, so it was that I snuggled closer to him and with confidence clicked the pad so I could see my results. My eyes widened in disbelieve at the sight of band sixes everywhere, on my extension classes the highest you can reach is a band four and I achieved that too.
I did it.
"Al, you scored the highest in the grade across Victoria." I gulped as my eyes widened even more, I had achieved the highest in the state. How was that even possible? I had worked hard I knew that for a fact. I neglected house chores, admittedly stopped feeding my fish and skimped on eating because I was so engrossed in my work for a whole year and finally, it had payed off.
"Teddy, I'm so proud if you." He said as he pulled me into the tightest hug he could muster. I was clearly still in shock, as was he. To my embarrassment, I sort of drenched his shoulders with salt water from my tears of happiness.
"Ok, as promised we need to open these letters together." I finally said, my hands still shaky. I took my envelope in my hands and he took his two. I had other stacked at home of other universities I applied to but my eyes were set on the university of Melbourne logo plastered on the front of this envelope.
"Three, two," Brooks began to countdown and soon -in unison- we were peeling open our letters together.
Congratulations! You have been selected for admission to the University of Melbourne in the heart of Melbourne city. You and your family have every reason to be proud of your great achievements that we acknowledge today with this good news.
I didn't have a chance to read on nor did I need to because Brooks whispered, "I got in." I noticed the discarded envelope which he opened the letter from and saw the logo from the university of Melbourne.
"We got in." I said in a hushed tone and his eyes darted up. His were were clouded by water, this was the second time I saw Brooks crying.
"We're going together, you and I." I hadn't even known he applied for that university so I didn't make a plan for him. I knew that we would still be together, that was no question but now we were going together and I was over the moon. I knew it wouldn't be like high school, classes wise but we would be on the same campus, together.
"Brooks, you got in!" I said in a louder voice, I could feel my cheeks moistening from my newly formed tears.
He sniffled, "You believed in my Al. I wouldn't have gotten in, I wouldn't have studied if you believed in me." He wasn't embarrassed of his tears because he was proud of himself and I was proud of him.
"I love you Alex, I love you more than I've loved any body else. Thank you for believing in me." His words grew more muffled as he dug his head in my shoulder from the hug I was embraced in.
"I'm so proud of you Brooks, you deserved it! I love you too, I love you so so so much!" I don't think I had ever felt so many emotions before. I was still in disbelieve that I had scored the highest HSC result in the state, let alone Brooks and I taking on university together. It was more than I could ever dream of.
"And now to celebrate," I said between sniffled. I reached into my bag and fished out another envelope which had Brooks' name written on it.
"Another envelope?" He joked, skeptically.
"Graduation present?" He clarified as I handed him the envelope and I nodded in response several times. Gulping, I held my hand out as he placed the small, jewelry sized box in my hands.
"Three, two, one." I counted down and we both teared our presents open. I didn't want Brooks to get me something big or expensive, it was little things but I had no objections. Once the wrapper was off, I carefully peeled open the box and saw a single glistening key.
That was when I heard Brooks gasp. "Teddy! Are you serious?!" I saw the two tickets in his hands and he began reading the card with the biggest smile on his face which I shared. I saw his smile grow and he began laughing at the stupid memories I wrote on the card.
"So you like it?" I asked in a concerned voice.
"Al," he looked at me with the most serious eyes. "Al, I swear I love it and I'm in love with you. I mean tickets to All Time Low, this is the greatest thing in the world!" He went on to curse about today being the best day ever and I couldn't help but agree.
Curiosity got the better of me and I ran out of ideas, so I couldn't help but ask. "Brooks, what is the key to?" Upon asking this his smile grew even more.
He got up off the bed, laced his fingers with mine resulting in pulling me up off the bed too. Then he tugged me to follow him which I did so obligingly. We came to a stop right in front of his dresser. I looked down and saw no jewelry box that the key might fit to, then I glanced at the drawers and noticed one which had a lock. Crouching down, I slipped the mystery key into the hole and it fit like a glove.
Turning the key, it clicked open and I pulled the drawer open. My eyes raked over every square inch of the empty drawer and I repeat, empty. I didn't get it. Maybe he forgot to hide the present in there. "Brooks, I'm so confused." I admitted which caused him to laugh.
He crouched down beside me, on his way descending he kissed my forehead and I searched his eyes. "Al, I don't want you to have to keep packing a bag and bringing it over when you stay the night. This is your drawer now. You can fill it up with whatever crap you want. Consider this your second home."
My heart hammered in my chest and all I could do was lean over and kiss him. The kiss resembled every emotion I felt. "I don't know what to say," I said, wiping my cheeks.
"Say yes!" He laughed and I nodded and repeated the affirmative response over as over again.
If there was someone to thank for my upmost happiness it would be to the universe and maybe Tara surprisingly, who is now backpacking the world with Willow on her gap year. If it wasn't for her I would have never applied for that health class. Then my world was completely transformed when I was partnered with a completely arrogant jerk who two months later became my boyfriend. It's funny how the world works.
I was just that girl who got lucky. Now I wake up to those cute good morning texts or I actually wake up in the arms of the guy who drives me absolutely crazy but I love to death. It seems to me that the planets aligned and the odds were in my favour because in that very health class I met my soul mate.
It was all because my shaky hand pulled out the number of all numbers. Number 15. That number caused me to meet the boy whom I'm in love with. That day in health class, in the second term on my second last year at Penola Catholic College, I was paired with Luke Brooks and I wouldn't trade that day for anything.
Because that's the day my journey started with the one and only, Mr. Player.