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}

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5. Chapter 5

{ A/N - I thought now would be a good time to clarify that there won't be thirty chapters in this story - one for each day Lilly has left in Australia. We will be skipping days so it won't be consecutive. Vote, comment and enjoy. }

♥ ♥ ♥

The sunlight flooded my room through cracks in the blinds; inching through every gap it could locate. I prised my eyes open, pushing the duvet aside. I was tempted to fall back into my bed’s warm embrace, but I leapt up before I had the chance to change my mind. I had to make the most of every precious day I had left.

The sweet, rich aroma of breakfast wafted upstairs and I inhaled it deeply. Instead, I channelled my energy into the simple task of showering, letting the heat of the water cruise over my slender body and massaging the scented soap to caress my skin. But the normally relaxing effect of the shower had long since washed off on me. There was no reassurance in the warm water any more.

I brushed my hair, teeth and changed. Doing my make-up lightly, I darted downstairs.

The muffled babble of conversation reached my ears and I pushed open the door to reveal Tiffany and Mark standing by the kitchen island chatting idly and sipping orange juice.

“Tiffany? You’re here early. Eager to see me?” I grinned, pouring myself a glass of juice.

“Good morning, Lilly,” my friend replied sweetly. “I came to see you because I couldn’t wait to ask you how yesterday went. I didn’t want to call yesterday evening just in case...you know...” she raised an eyebrow suggestively and giggled.

I shoved her shoulder lightly. “Tiff, shut up. We only chatted in the park, for God’s sake.”

“Mm...” she nodded, cocking her head to the side curiously. I grabbed a pancake from the fresh pile Mark had skilfully made, spreading Nutella on it and letting the sweet, sugary taste coat my tongue.

“Do you want one?” I offered my friend. She wrinkled her nose.

“Lilly, need I remind you?”

I swallowed and rolled my eyes. “Oh yeah, I forgot. Sorry. You’re a vegan.”

“And have you any idea how many calories there are in that thing?” she warned sternly. I shrugged and took another bite.

“What should we do today?” I said through a mouthful of pancake.

“Um...Ellis and I are going to get a coffee this afternoon,” Tiffany said.

“Oh, cool! Should we go to Starbucks or that new coffee shop on the high street which just opened?” I said, dipping a fresh strawberry in the Nutella pot greedily.

“Lilly! Where are your manners?” Mark said, slapping my hand away from the pot. “That’s disgusting.”

I stuck my tongue out playfully in reply, eating my sweet treat ravenously.

“Um...no. Ellis...asked me...” Tiffany trailed off. I stared at her for a moment, before getting the hint.

“Oh!” I blushed in embarrassment. “Well...have fun.”

“It’s about time,” Mark voiced his opinion. “You kids have been eyeing each other for ages now.”

“Mark!” It was my turn to scold. “Where are your manners?”

“But you have to tell me about yesterday first,” Tiffany smirked, nodding at the doorway. I plucked off the stalk and popped the rest of the strawberry in my mouth.

“See you later, Mark. Have a nice day at work.”

“Will do!” he called after me as Tiffany dragged me up the stairs towards my bedroom. She perched herself on the end of my unmade bed and crossed her legs.

“Spill,” she prompted.

“There’s nothing much to tell,” I replied, sinking into the beanbag by my window. “He brought me a coffee, we chatted for a bit. You know.”

“He brought you a coffee?” Tiffany grinned. I nodded. “Continue.”

“That’s about it...Hey, did you know he’s part of a YouTube prankster group called the Janoskians?”

Tiffany unfolded her legs, doing an odd mixture of a sigh, grin and eye-roll. “Of course I knew. They’re quite famous, you know. They have one million subscribers.”

She tapped away on her phone for a bit and then thrust the screen in my face. “See? And Luke has one million followers on Twitter. So, Lil, you have competition.”

I frowned, taking the phone from her and examining the screen. “How do you know this? Why didn’t you tell me he was famous.

Tiffany chuckled. “I didn’t realize until yesterday. My sister is obsessed with the Janoskians and she screamed when she heard I’d met them. She almost burst my ear drum.”

I pictured Tiffany’s little sister, Kayla, a thirteen year old doe-eyed, blonde-hair replica of her sister, except more petite and not as witty.

“They have a very dedicated fan base,” Tiffany added. Then she smirked. “So, how do you feel about having a famous Australian boyfriend?”

I scowled. “He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Whatever,” she tossed it away with a shake of her manicured hand. “Are you put off? Or drawn to him more?”

I paused, considering it. “Not really. I mean, he’s still Luke. Famous or not famous, I still like him.” Tiffany leaned forward eagerly. “Not like that!” I laughed nervously. “Anyway. What about you and Ellis?”

She blushed slightly. “He asked me out yesterday. He sounded so nervous...it was super cute. I really hope he tells me where we stand though. I mean, he’s asked me out a few times before but I was never sure whether it was as a friend or...”

“He’s asked you out before?”

She nodded vaguely and checked her watch. “I better be off. Mum wants me to look after Kayla for a while.”

I nodded. “Have fun.”

A few seconds later, the door slammed. I picked up my phone, drafting a text message to Luke.

Hey! I forgot to give ur hoody back...when’s a good time to drop it round quickly? :)

I pressed send before I could change my mind. The reply came through just minutes later.

Now’s good :) 38 Widford St Glenroy. Thanks x

My heart fluttered slightly as my eyes skimmed the message. I read it again, my gaze lingering on the kiss at the end of the text.

It means nothing, I told myself firmly. He’s just being polite.

I’m on my way :) I typed quickly. Somehow, I couldn’t help but load up Twitter briefly and check his profile. Tiffany was right. He had over a million followers and counting – the majority dedicated fangirls.

I flicked on some more mascara consciously, checking there were no smudges in my make-up. I wasn’t sure why. I mean, he probably just wanted to be friends. And there was no point making a good impression, I was leaving soon.

Luke didn’t live too far away. The day was bright, the breeze light and balmy. It felt relaxing to walk along; Luke’s hoody in my arms. I kept rubbing the sleeve over my cheek. I don’t know why, but it felt reassuring. The jumper was masked with his masculine scent, powerful and sweet.

My pace slowed as I approached his house. I walked up the driveway slowly, dusting down my purposely oversized top with an embroidered tiger nervously. Then I raised my clenched fist, and knocked on the door.

“Lilly!” Luke’s familiar voice greeted me, a wide smile on his face as he flung the door open.

“Hey,” I smiled. “I, uh, brought your hoody.”

He took the soft material from my hands gently. “Thanks.”

“Thanks for letting me borrow it. Sorry I forgot to give it back to you yesterday.”

“There you go. Apologizing again,” he smirked, running a hand through his hair.

Instinctively, another apology was poised on the tip of my tongue, but I refrained. Instead, my gaze wandered down to my worn Converses, scuffed and dilapidated.

“Are you just going to stand there or are you going to come it?” Luke said, his voice both firm and teasing.

I shook my head. “I don’t want to be a burden.”

Luke rolled his eyes. “Oh, you’re too polite. Get your ass in here.”

I stepped into the house gingerly, scanning my surroundings. The hallway smelt fresh; of incense and fresh cooking. At the same time, it was cluttered – organized chaos. I stood awkwardly, wandering if I should take my shoes off or not. Luke dragged me into the living room before I had the chance.

Sprawled on the sofa, clutching game controllers and eyes glued to the TV screen in front of them, was Beau and James. They looked up briefly and tossed me a smile, grunting their welcome, before returning to their game. 

Luke cleared his throat, waiting for them to greet me properly. After a few more flicks of the controller, Beau let out a loud, strangled cry and threw his controller down. James cheered victoriously and the screen froze. Both boys turned to me.

“Hey,” James said casually. I grinned at him.

“Oh, Lilly. Back to see Luke already?” Beau smirked.

“Yeah. I was desperate to see him, and the hoody gave me an excuse,” I said sarcastically. But I knew there was truth laced in my words.

“Hoody?” Beau questioned.

“She was cold yesterday so I lent her my hoody. She came to give it back.”

Beau nodded understandingly. “Awh, how romantic,” he cooed.

“Beau Job, be nice,” James elbowed him, grinning sympathetically at me.

“Shut up,” Beau said, his face suddenly sour. “Just because you beat me at Fifa.”

“Sore loser?” I raised an eyebrow. Beau studied me for a second, his face hard. I suddenly regretted the words. I’d met this guy twice. Was that comment too rude?

Beau, however, didn’t care. His face softened. “You’re funny, Lilly.”

Luke touched my arm again. “Let’s go get a drink.”

He led me through to the kitchen, grabbing a glass from a cupboard. “I’m sorry about Beau.”

“Now who’s apologizing?” I grinned. Luke stuck his tongue out at me.

“What would you like?”

“Water’s fine, thanks.”

Luke poured me a glass and handed it to me, taking a long swig from a coke can himself. He swallowed and stared at me, his eyes lingering on my features for long enough to make me feel uncomfortable. I shuffled awkwardly on the spot, leaning against the worktop.

“I...um...watched some of your videos last night,” I announced nervously.

“Oh. Really?”

“Yeah. You guys are funny.” He smiled, sipping his coke again. “And what’s with Beau always being in the middle? And James not having any shoes? And Baby Annabelle?”

He laughed. “Beau gets so pissed off if you so much as look at the middle. James can’t afford shoes. And Annabelle...they grow up so fast, you know? She said her first word the other day.”

I grinned. “Really? What was that?”

“Fuck.”

“Nice,” I laughed. “Her parents are such a good influence on her.”

“We thought we’d teach her from an early age that bad language is tolerated.”

“Such responsible adults,” I replied sarcastically. He snorted with laughter.

Suddenly, James sauntered into the kitchen, Beau trailing behind. James grabbed the coke from Luke’s hand and took a sip.

“Fuck, bro. Give that back!” Luke growled. James just smirked.

“So, Lilly. Where are you from? Do you like Australia?” James said, his tone friendly and conversational.

“I’m from London,” I replied. “And yeah. It makes a change from ‘sunny’ England.”

“Naw,” Beau grinned at me. “I love a good English girl.”

“Shut up,” Luke snapped.

“Come on, Beau. Can’t you see you’re embarrassing Luke?” James ushered his friend out the room, winking at me over his shoulder.

Luke buried his face in his hands, ashamed. I eyed the room again.

“Um...Luke?”

He groaned in response.

“Why is there a guitar by the sink?”

Another groan. “I was playing it earlier and didn’t put it away.”

I picked it up and strummed softly. It was a bit out of tune; I started twiddling with the pegs, straining my ears to find the right notes.

“You play?” Luke asked, looking up.

“Uh-huh,” I replied distantly. I plucked and strummed, the old tunes reminding me of lazy days back in London, caved in my room with nothing but my guitar to drown out the world. To lose myself in the music and let the lyrics cradle me. Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.

The words came slowly at first, dribbling out of my mouth like I was afraid to let them go. But gradually, they got louder and the song found its way out; and all I could do was strum and sing part of a song I knew only vaguely and let the music lull me into it’s warm embrace, like it always used to.

If I could build a rocket I would
Put all my dreams inside it, I would

My fingers moved faster; sliding up the fret board, catching on the old strings. But I kept singing and Luke kept listening, and somehow it still felt right.

Maybe I could travel far into something new
Hang onto a shooting star bursting into view
Just me and my fickle heart, lonely never felt so right
I would go anywhere tonight

My voice was smoky, featherlight and world-weary all at once – high and sweet and haunting with an elastic chest voice. My hushed voice eclipsed the dull sound of the instrument in my arms.

I stopped abruptly, the colour rushing to my cheeks. Confidence was something I’d always lacked, especially when it came to singing. And here I was, singing to a boy I hardly knew. A famous boy.

“Sorry,” I mumbled, setting the guitar down.

“Stop it,” Luke insisted, his voice low and husky. “Stop apologizing. You have a lovely voice.”

I gave him a half-hearted smile. “I should be off. Thanks.”

Luke didn’t protest, instead he followed me to the door. “Thanks for, um, bringing my hoody over.”

I forced myself to smile as I stepped down the driveway. “You’re welcome, Lucas.”

“Oh, Billie?” he called after me. “Same time tomorrow?”

I pondered on the thought for a split-second. But it was no use trying to reason with myself; my mind was already made up. I was drawn towards Luke and his crazy Australian friends. I nodded and grinned and kept walking, hearing the door click shut behind me.

I whipped out my phone; it was still loaded onto Luke’s Twitter page. A smile tugging at my lips, I pressed the follow button. It was one click; a simple movement. Yet it still felt like I’d sealed my fate. Despite the fact that I shouldn’t be making anymore friends so late in my stay in Australia. There was no going back now.

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