30 Days Of Summer

One year. Twelve months. 365 days to find myself and live on the wild side in Australia. It seemed like a long time at the start. I made friends, learned how to surf, got a nice tan. The usual. Then I met five crazy Australians who changed my life. It wasn’t just the fun, the laughs, the risks, the love. They showed me a part of myself I didn’t even know existed. And suddenly, one year didn’t seem so long anymore. {http://www.wattpad.com/story/11732664-30-days-of-summer}


15. Chapter 15

{ A/N - The credit is mostly owed to @constellations1 for this chapter. We were worried that it would be a bit repetitive considering the part where Jai finds out about Lilly leaving a few chapters prior, but there is a lot more excitement and...over-due confessions to follow in the next chapter. There's a picture of Lilly's outfit at the side, but I do not own the image. Vote, comment and enjoy. }

In the end, when the time came to tell Luke, it seemed almost unexpected. I felt like a procrastinating teenager putting off a piece of homework until the night before. And with less than two weeks left, I knew was risking too much.

For once I woke up early, just as dawn began to break, the sky dissolving into rich orange pastels. The light seeped in through my curtains, casting a warm glow across the floorboards and my eyes seemed to open of their own accord. I lay still, staring up at the ceiling. My mind swirled with a sleepy drowsiness; a thousand thoughts forming and dying away again, mostly drifting to the ripe memory of Luke’s words during the livestream yesterday. My stomach stirred at the prospect of the memory.

But still time ticked away, each second mocking me. I felt as if I was wasting the precious time that I had so little of.

Silent footsteps somehow made my ancient bedroom floorboards creak, my stomach growling loudly in chorus. Yet the prospect of breakfast wasn’t inviting; food would do nothing to ease the nauseous pang in the pit of my stomach. Mark was sleeping off an intoxicated Friday night out with his friends, sleeping coming much easier to him than it did to me today. I prized out a faded checked shirt and thin top from my disorganized wardrobe and slipped both over my head, before pulling on some denim cut-offs and throwing an innocent glance at the mirror. My hair was a mass of wild brown curls, ruffled and messy from sleep. I tried my best to stop a discontented sigh from leaving my parted lips, smoothing down my hair with my hand to no avail. I slung my guitar case over my shoulder and padded into the hallway. I noticed one of Mark's old trilby hats hanging on a peg. I shrugged, angling it loosely on my head and stepping silently out onto the porch.

The sound of my footsteps echoed as I walked, the uneven paving stones dappled with a soft morning glow. The first yawning rays of sun stretched out on the ground before me, a light breeze making loose strands of my hair flutter around my shoulders. I skipped lightly from curb to curb, turning down street after street until I came to the park. Beads of dew glistened on each thin blade and a fragrant, fresh scent accentuated the morning.

My gaze weaved its way between the tangle of trees and I soon found that I was alone. I walked some way further before sinking down into the thick green mass in the shade of a large oak tree, setting my guitar down beside me. I lay my head against the ridged bark of the trunk and closed my eyes. A calm silence descended.

I released the guitar from its case and settled it on my lap. My fingers trailed across the strings and soon a peaceful melody rose from the instrument. Mumbled lyrics fluttered from my mouth but I tipped my head and let them melt in the cool air, feeling my eyelids begin to close as the music surrounded me. I kept my plucking steady and my fingers planted firmly on the fret board, never increasing; never ceasing. I let each note grow and shrink as it pleased, the tune morphing into something so gentle, so smooth.

It was one of those puzzling moments. That second where you lose yourself, lose your thoughts, your feelings, your awareness of everything; past, present and future. Yet somehow you still feel happy, still feel content in this moment of blissful nothingness.

But slowly everything began to catch up with me; the roar of reality pumping in my ears as dawn faded to morning. Cars sped past on the roads, a deafening screech of rubber against tarmac, and I knew that soon I would no longer be alone. I heard distant footsteps and I leapt up from the grass, my cheeks burning even from the simple thought of someone watching, someone listening to me play. But sure enough my gaze fell on one person, one face I would never fail to recognize. 


My voice rose to meet his ears, battling to be heard over the morning breeze as it whistled through the trees above me. He turned, and his brown eyes seemed to lock onto mine even from so far away.

“Lilly?” He smiled as he approached, the corners of his mouth slanted in a wide grin. “What are you doing here so early?”

I shrugged. “Couldn't sleep.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Huh. Neither could I.” His gaze drifted elsewhere, settling on my guitar. His eyes lit up. “You were playing?”

I looked away. “A little.”

He beamed hopefully. “Play me something.”

I shook my head.

“Go on. Please?”

I threw him a firm stare. “Luke.”

He pouted. “Fine. But at least come back to mine.”

I shrugged again. “Sure.”

♥ ♥ ♥

As we walked I felt the nerves return. I knew that today I had to tell Luke I was leaving. I couldn't keep putting it off.

My mind was running in circles, spinning like a broken record. I could picture it, the bitterness of the boys as they spoke to me; the fathomless glare in Jai's eyes as I told him the truth. Three words that suddenly turned everything into one big, inescapable mess.

I'm leaving soon.

I shuddered as they formed in my mind. Guilt overwhelmed me. How could I have left it so long to say anything? How could I have been so selfish? I thought back to what Tiffany had said to me on the night of the party. The only place the dark cloud is hanging over is you.

I dreaded to think of the future; life without Tiffany, or Ellis, or Mark, or the boys... Life without Luke. For what seemed like the millionth time that week I felt the memories fill me; the laughter, the pranks, the excitement. I needed to make it last. I needed to be honest. There was only one person left for me to tell. And I needed to do it. For Luke's sake.

The minutes passed with little conversation until we approached Luke's house. I clutched the handle of my guitar case as he raised a clenched fist, but hesitated before knocking.

“Play me something,” he pressed.

I shook my head.

He shot me a look, his voice coming out more like a question. “But you played for me a few weeks ago…?”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh, how naïve I was back then.”

He grinned at me again, brown eyes sparkling. “Come on. One song.”

I held his gaze. “No.”

“Please?” he prompted, planning a defiant knock on the door.

“No way!” I giggled, just as we were greeted by a somewhat disheveled-looking Beau as he pulled open the door.

“Hey,” he grunted, a half smile playing on his lips as he stepped aside to let us through the doorway.

I grinned back at him but Luke barely glanced at his older brother, just kept his face fixed on me.

“Just play one song. I'll buy you a milkshake at Shake Shack…?”

I raised my eyebrows. “Strawberry milkshake with marshmallows, cream and chocolate sauce?”

He rolled his eyes. “Done. Now play.”

I flashed him a cheeky grin, running out of the hallway and shouting in sing-song voice, “I'm not playing you anything!”

“Lilly!” Luke yelled, his short temper already ignited. “Come back!”

I laughed as he chased me into the kitchen, ducking through the doorway and grabbing my hand.

“Luke,” I giggled. “Get off!”

He pulled me towards him, wrapping his arms around my waist. “You promised you'd play me something.”

My breath caught in my throat as I stood so close to him. I could see every sparkling hazel shard in his chocolate gaze. It was only as I glanced at his pouting face that I could lighten up.

“Oh, come on.” I grinned. “It's not the end of the world.”

He sighed, leading me back into the living room. “Fine. But no milkshakes.”

We both crashed on the sofa next to Jai, who was staring at the television screen, engrossed in a video game.

“Hey,” Beau called, following us into the living room. “I want a milkshake!”

I shook my head, nudging Luke playfully. He grunted and tossed me a look. I grinned.

Beau stared at us, grabbing a games controller and bouncing onto the sofa before shouting, “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're like -”

“Shut up!” Luke interjected. Jai glanced at the scene unfolding before him warily before his phone buzzed and he tore his eyes away to look at it.

“James and Skip are going to a gig tonight,” he informed us. “You going?”

Beau nodded. “Yeah. Do the lovebirds want to want to tag along too?”

 I rolled my eyes, but heat prickled behind my cheeks. Luke shrugged. “Alright.”

I nodded. “For sure.”

Jai jabbed at his phone to inform his friends. “It starts at half eight tonight.”  

I turned to Luke and Beau. “What do you want to do until then?”

Beau grinned, his eyes lighting up with mischief. ”I've got an idea…”

♥ ♥ ♥

Ten minutes later I found myself balanced on an old penny board, gripping the fence of a nearby house like a life raft in a storm to stop myself from rolling down the street.

“Help!” I cried in the direction of the boys. The sound of their laughter chorused in my ears. I rolled my eyes. “Bloody hell. How do you do this without falling off?”

Luke ran up to me, iPhone in hand.

“Hey!” I let go of the wall to cover my face. “Why are you filming me?”

Jai and Beau walked towards us, smiles plastered on their faces. I jumped off the board, pouting.

“Fetus!” Beau cried, taking my place and easing the board forward.

“Wait,” I skipped onto Luke's board, flicking my hair out of my face and tossing him an innocent smile. “Teach me?”

“Sure,” he laughed. He walked towards me, shoving his phone into his pocket. “Just move up a bit...” I shuffled my feet. “Okay, now keep pushing with your other foot.” I squealed as the penny board jolted forward rapidly. “Keep going!”

I dared to shoot him a look over my shoulder. “Do you think I have a choice?” I scoffed, turning back as I felt the wheels spinning faster, bouncing across the uneven paving stones. I slid down the road, the afternoon breeze making my long hair tumble past my shoulders. “I can't stop!” I yelled as the board caught on a jagged concrete slab and I was flung to the ground.

“You okay?” Footsteps pounded on the pavement behind me and Luke approached. I peered up at him.

“I think so,” I huffed. He reached down, pulling me to my feet. His gaze found mine and he stared at me for a second, his eyes rimmed with concern. “Sorry…” he sounded guilty.

“It wasn't your fault,” I chuckled, brushing myself down. “I'm fine.”

He nodded wordlessly, before walking some way further and picking up something from the curb. “What's with the hat?” he held up Mark's old trilby, the patterned material faded and worn. I felt my cheeks darken.

“I don't know,” I muttered, staring down at my dilapidated Converse. “I just threw it on this morning –”

“No,” he flashed me a grin, gently tilting it onto my head. “I like it.”

♥ ♥ ♥

The few hours left before the gig were spent messing around with the Brooks brothers, until I rushed home to change. It was agreed they would pick me up a little before the concert and we would meet James and Daniel when we arrived. All I had to do was get ready.

I sat on my bed, a mellow acoustic piece blaring from my phone as burning curling tongs defined my unruly curls. My stomach swirled with a flurry of nerves, my hand shaking slightly as a flicked a mascara wand over my eyelashes. This was it. Tonight I had to tell Luke.

But a quick glance at the clock told me I didn't have time to worry. Jai, Luke and Beau would be here in less than half an hour and I hardly had a minute to spare. I stashed a tube of lip gloss into my purse and smoothed down my skirt, running the soft turquoise material between my fingers. It was the skirt I had bought on the trip out to the mall with the boys; the day their fans first found out about me. It felt like months ago, even though it was only a matter of days. Another burst of nerves coursed through me, making my skin prickle. I shook my head. I was going to tell him. I had to.

I risked a quick glance in the mirror, trying to distract myself from the tension. I tugged at the lacy top that clung lightly to my chest, the crisp white fabric stopping just short of my waist; exposing my flat, tanned stomach. I picked up Mark's trilby, shaking back my long fringe and fitting it loosely onto my head.

“Lilly!” I heard a shout. “Are you ready yet?”

Beau stood in the doorway, adored a in red top which hugged his lean, muscular figure. His green eyes sparkled. “Ready to go? The boys are waiting in the car.”

“Sure,” I answered, I slipping on some sparkly silver pumps. I poked my head round the doorway of the living room and glancing at Mark. “I'm going to a gig with the boys. I might be back late, so don't wait up.”

He shrugged and smiled. “Have fun.”

I nodded, nerves once again rising inside me. “I'll try.”

♥ ♥ ♥

The gig was held in a large hall that sat on the edge of the promenade, leading down to the beach. It was fairly crowded, with groups of people scattered about as music pumped through huge speakers protruding from what looked like a stage; a wide platform that took up one side of the room. Graffiti-covered canvases lined the walls, and spotlights bounced from the polished wooden floor to the high ceilings. The boys seemed to know most of the guests, socializing with people I hardly recognized, despite having lived in Glenroy for a year.

After a few minutes of warm greetings to unfamiliar people, Beau and James went off to order drinks. I followed the twins and Daniel through the clusters of people until we reached the stage. The music was almost deafening, and the combination of nerves and self-consciousness amongst the hoards of people made my stomach churn once again. I leant against the wall, lifting a sticky hand to my forehead.

“Are you alright?” Luke shouted over the roar of the music, concern dripping from his hazel-brown irises. I flipped him a small smile.

 “Fine,” I assured softly. He raised his eyebrows, unconvinced.

“Luke...” my voice seemed to crack as I took a deep breath, words tumbling out of my mouth before I was even aware of what I was saying. “I need to tell you something –”

“How's it going?” James' voice cut loudly though my own as he and Beau approached. He handed me a Solo cup containing a clear liquid I didn’t intend on drinking, but I thanked him anyway. My cheeks burned.

“Tell me what?” Luke said, his eyes boring into mine, brimmed with curiosity and concern.

I shook my head, fiddling nervously with the waistband of my skirt.  “Nothing.”

Luke stared at me for a second more, before shrugging. “Okay.”

The six of us huddled round, rowdy chatter bouncing between us, as we waited for the gig to start. Minutes later someone strode purposefully onto the stage, microphone in hand, jumping up onto the stage. The crowd cheered.

“Faydee!”Jai shouted, laughing and waving vividly.

“What?” I asked.

Jai smiled. “He's a friend of ours. Actually, I was in one of his music videos.”

I nodded and glanced at the stage. Faydee stood, teasing the crowd, his dark eyes sparkling underneath a low cut fringe of black hair. “You ready?” he shouted to the swarm of people before him. They screamed a response. He grinned. “Let's go!”

The music started almost immediately, a steady beat soaring over the crowd and filling the room. Voices morphed into a huge mass of noise, buzzing and pounding in my ears. I felt sick. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the thought out of my mind. I needed to confess. I needed to admit it to Luke.

I turned away from the stage, scouring the throng of people. Ahead of me I spotted Luke and Skip hovering at the outskirts of the stage, engrossed in conversation. I tried my best to push through the crowd but it seemed to resist, like a huge wave resisting a gust of wind. My eyes never left my friends, watching Daniel talk animatedly.

“Hey!” I heard Beau shout and I stepped back, startled. “Come listen to this song,” he offered me a hand. I sighed, letting him pull me to the edge of the stage. I jumped awkwardly in unison to the pulsating crowd, mirroring Beau’s movements.

I stole my gaze away, turning back to the corner of the room. Luke’s gaze was focused on one particular point. His eyes stared at me in an icy glare which sent shivers down my spine. Daniel was still talking, sipping his drink simultaneously. Luke wore a frown on his face, his expression a mask but his eyes burning with a fiery flare of venom.

Skip’s lips stopped moving and Luke snapped out of his trance to look at him. His eyes darted back to me briefly before he leapt forward, shoving the crowd out of the way and heading towards the exit, anger injected in every stride.

Panic gripped me, as cold as the feeling of being dragged under by the waves. It was like I had been surfing, riding a giant wave. Then I’d fallen off my board. But this time, the water was determined to submerge me.

“If you’re not here I don’t know what I’m living for...” Faydee crooned the last line, blinking in the blinding glare of the lights. The crowd screamed again.

Beau sighed and fanned his face. “Come on. I need a drink.”

He led me out of the heart of the crowd, thrusting another Solo cup at me which seemed to appear from nowhere. I scanned the hall for my friends once more, my heart still pounding.

“Lilly,” Jai marched up to me with James in tow, anger etched on his face. “Where the hell is Luke?”

I gulped. “What?”

“There may be over a hundred people in this room right now, but Luke is not among him. Have you seen him?”

I blinked, hesitated over my words. I had seen him. I’d seen him storm out. “I…um…”

Jai pulled me towards him, his voice low and menacing as he muttered a response. “Have you told him yet?”

I looked up at my friend, guilt and regret burning inside of me, tears stinging furiously behind my eyes. “No. I was going to, I swear. I tried earlier, but then –”

Jai glared at me. “I can’t think of any other reason why he just left. Someone must have told him.” I opened my mouth in an attempt to speak but he shook his head, silencing my words prematurely. “It's the only possibility.”

Beau gulped down his drink, hovering on our conversation but not saying anything. Silence crackled uncomfortably between us as James and Daniel sauntered over nonchalantly, instantly feeding off the tense atmosphere which surrounded us.

“Did someone die?” James said too loudly.

I bit my lip, glancing at Daniel warily. “Luke has disappeared.”

“He’s a magician?” Skip replied with a small grin.

I frowned and shook my head solemnly, starting pointedly at him. “No. He walked off because someone told him that I was leaving.”

Skip blinked at me. “What?”

“I was going to tell him that I was leaving. But you did, didn't you? I saw it!” my voice cracked.

Daniel tore his eyes away, nursing his forehead. “I might’ve mentioned it, yeah. But I thought he already knew.”

James cleared his throat. “So you’re leaving in less than two weeks and you still haven’t told him?”

Panic clawed up my throat, restricting me from forming a valid response. The boys jostled to be heard, shouting and speaking all at once. My mind was racing, thoughts and memories flashing too fast for me to register. But something stuck. Something big.

“Guys!” I yelled. “Will you just shut up for one second?”

They glanced at me, their voices dialling down to almost nothing. The muffled pounding of the music felt distant, like the irritating buzz which spills from someone’s headphones when you pass them on the street. I gulped and glared firmly at each of my friends.

“Listen. I think I know where to find Luke.”


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