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}


9. Chapter 9

{ A/N - vote, comment and enjoy. }

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The heavy footsteps of my flatmate were barely audible over the buzz of sounds filling the kitchen. The dull hum of clattering filled the air; a high pitched whistle from the kettle was matched with the sizzle of the frying pan. I skipped from one spot to another, singing quietly to myself.

“What are you doing?” Mark asked from the doorway, eyeing the pan warily before scanning the cluttered work tops. His arms were folded over his chest, a frown painted on his lips.

“Cooking you breakfast before you go to work,” I tossed him an innocent smile.

He nodded, still glaring at the pan. He cleared his throat. “Is this breakfast going to be...edible?”

I glanced at the pan and squealed as I stared at the charred remains in my pan. “I burnt the bacon!” I frowned, holding the blackened meat at arm’s length before tipping it into the bin. I grabbed the kettle instead. “Still up for tea?”

Mark shook his head. “I’ll pass. Now clear up.”

“Fine,” I muttered, dusting crumbs off my denim cut-offs. I popped two slices of bread in the toaster. “You’ve got to have some toast at least. I got up early especially to make you breakfast.”

Mark snorted and grabbed his backpack, sliding his laptop into it. “I’m running late.”

I started to dump the pan into the sink, but the pan was still hot. It grazed the inside of my wrist, scorching the skin. I cursed, dropping the pan into the basin and clutching my wrist.

“Are you okay?” Mark asked. “Run it under cold water.”

I held my arm under the tap, letting the cool liquid sooth the burn. I exhaled in satisfaction as the pain eased away. “I’m okay. I’ll put some aloe vera gel on it later. Let me get your toast.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Mark said. I frowned again, just as the familiar tone of my phone sounded out. I ignored it as Mark offered me a smile, heading for the doorway. “I appreciate it though, Lilly. Now clear up!”

A few seconds later the door slammed, leaving me in an empty apartment gazing at the mess I’d created. Slowly, I started to dump the pans in the sink, just as the doorbell chimed loudly.

“What have you forgotten?” I called out, shuffling towards the door. I flung it open to reveal Luke, his dark hair poking out from under a beanie and his laptop case under his arm.

“Fancy helping me edit the video?” he raised an eyebrow, grinning at me.

“I don’t see why not,” I smirked, stepping aside so he could enter. He brushed against me lightly as he passed and I caught a hint of his masculine scent. I followed him into the living room, watching as he sunk into an armchair and sniffed the air curiously.

“What’s that smell?”

“I burnt Mark’s breakfast...” I bowed my head, ashamed. “I think I’ll leave the cooking to him from now on.”

“I think that’s best,” Luke laughed.

“Why? Don’t you trust me in the kitchen?” I pouted.

He spread his arms open, leaning back in the chair. “Well. Show me what you’ve got.”

I smirked at him slyly, darting into the kitchen. I popped two more slices of bread into the toaster and grabbed the Nutella jar.

I drummed my fingers against the sleek black granite countertop, my eyes fixated on the toaster as I waited for the bread to toast. Nevertheless, I still let out a small squeal when it popped.

“You know, that’s not cooking,” Luke argued, laughing at my antics.

“I’d like to see you do better,” I challenged, spreading Nutella on the toast.

“Beans on toast?” he offered.

I wrinkled my nose. “I’ll pass.”

I passed him the toast and he took a bite ravenously. I nibbled at my own slice tentatively, watching him chew.

“So. This video,” I murmured, swallowing a mouthful.

“I do all the editing. Takes me hours sometimes and I’m up all night. But I thought I’d start early today. And I figured...who better to help me than my dear friend Lilly.”

“I’m flattered,” I replied, placing my hand on my heart. Luke chuckled, loading up his laptop.

“So, how have you been?”

“Considering when I last saw you I was choking on baby food, I’m doing good,” I replied, perching myself on the arm of the chair. “How about you?”

“Not too bad,” he replied, tapping the keyboard. He groaned lowly. “This ancient thing always takes forever to load.”

I nodded understandingly, biting my lip as he clenched and unclenched his fists, his jaw tensing, cursing loudly. “Luke, it’s a computer. Calm down.”

He glanced at me, breathing deeply. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Short temper.”

I giggled softly. “I know.”

Silence descended as we stared at the computer screen, waiting for it to load. As the desktop finally flashed up on screen, Luke slotted the memory card into the computer and began to scroll through the footage. I noticed that the eerie quiet which filled the flat didn’t feel awkward. It didn't feel uncomfortable. I realised that, since the start, I'd never felt out of place when I've been with Luke. It all just seems to...correspond.

“I promised the fans I’d get it up by tonight...” he said, breaking the silence. I felt something flip in my stomach when he mentioned the fans. But it was numbed by one of his reassuring smiles he offered me, as if he could tell what I was thinking.

“Do you ever break your promises?” I asked, leaning back so that my back pressed against the smooth white wall and twisting my hands in my lap thoughtfully.

Luke glanced at me curiously. “I try not to...why?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. Just wondering.”

He nodded. “You wonder about a lot of things, you know.”

“Oh, really?”


“Like what?”

“Like...isn’t Luke Brooks unbelievable hot?

I shoved his shoulder playfully. “And since when you could read my mind?”

“So you’re not denying it?” he wiggled his eyebrows.

“Oh, shut up,” I rolled my eyes. “Actually, I find narcissism a turn off.”

Luke smiled smugly, clicking on a shot of the boys all lined up, staring straight into the camera. I was standing awkwardly at the side, gazing into the distance; my eyes squinted against the sun.

I squealed and covered my face with my hands, trying to hide away. “Ew, no! There’s no way you’re uploading this to the Internet. I look horrible!”

“You know, I find self-loathing a turn off,” Luke smirked. I peered around my fingers to scowl at him. Then he reached up and grabbed my hands, prising them from my face and staring me straight in the eyes. “And I am going to upload this, so the world can see how beautiful you are.”

The colour rushed to my cheeks and a sensation I’d never experienced before erupted inside of me. I offered him a small smile, unable to hold his gaze.

He dropped my hands and returned to his computer, clicking and scrolling through the shots. They all merged together to form a small snippet of a video full of with promise of laughter and memories. A video that captured yesterday afternoon in a perfect light. So that the memory would never fade. Those few days we’d known each other felt like so much more; as if I’d known those five crazy Aussies all my life.

Luke paused the video on a screenshot of Beau with baby food drooling from his mouth, smudged all over his cheeks. I cringed but couldn’t help laughing.

“That’s disgusting!”

“What can I say?” Luke shrugged, offering me a grin.

The sound of laughter and chatter filled the air as Luke continued to edit the video, his fingers moving expertly over the keyboard and flicking at the mouse vigorously. The atmosphere was easy and I felt a wave of content spread through me.

“Wait!” I said, reaching my hand across the laptop to scroll back a few scenes. I paused it at a shot of James pulling a face which resembled a constipated cockatoo, a spoonful of baby food in his mouth.

We erupted with laughter, pointing and laughing helplessly.

“He looks like an electrocuted jellyfish!” I giggled, gasping for breath.

“Hey! What’s that on your arm?” Luke’s voice was dripping with concern as he grabbed my left arm. His thumb brushed over the fresh burn from earlier lightly, his brow furrowed. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I said, trying to snatch my arm back. My laughter dialled down to nothing.

“What happened?” he asked. His grip was too strong for me to pull away.

“I burnt myself when I was making Mark’s breakfast. I’m okay now,” I replied. I sounded convincing but as Luke gripped my arm in a tight vice, the wound began to sting a little. Luke could see the fleeting pain in my eyes.

“No, you’re not. Hang on,” he jumped up, darting out of the room. I nursed my arm, staring at the burn. Now I looked at it, the wound looked more painful than I’d first interpreted.

There was the sound of rustling and clattering before Luke bounded back into the room, carrying a tube of aloe vera gel.

He grabbed my arm again, this time his grip was soft. He glanced up at me, hazel eyes framed with apprehension. He squeezed a small blob of the cool gel onto the wound, smoothing it onto my skin. I felt a cooling sensation rush over the burn and I smiled up at Luke.

“Better?” he murmured softly. I nodded in reply. He held my gaze, his hands still on my arm. His close proximity pushed all coherent thoughts from my mind.

 “Lilly?” I was pulled back to earth by Luke’s quiet tone.

“Yeah?” I shook my head. “Sorry. I just...”

“There you go again,” he rolled his eyes, offering me a small grin. “Apologizing.”

“I apologize for apologizing,” I replied earnestly.

He smiled, his strong gaze gripping me, hazel brown eyes melting into mine. “You know, Lilly. If there’s anything...you know. You can talk to me.”

I only have seventeen days left, I thought. The thought crossed my mind and suddenly my blood rand cold. I gulped, slowly tearing my eyes away from his. Thoughts tangled in my mind and words caught in the back of my throat.

Tell him.

I turned away.

Tell him.

I took a deep breath. “Luke...”

Tell him.

“I’m fine. Honestly. But thanks.”

He gave me one last look; deep and meaningful. I could tell he had more to say but he cut off, his unsaid words somehow melting the tension between us. Time passed with minimal conversation as Luke got down to work. I interjected occasionally, adjusting the shots or examining the transitions.

The sound of the doorbell echoed throughout the house and I jumped, rushing to get it. Jai greeted me with a lopsided grin.

“Is Luke here?” he asked. I nodded. “I figured he would be.”

I lead him into the living room where Luke was frowning at the screen. He barely acknowledged his twin; grunting as a greeting.

“We’ve been editing the video,” I informed Jai. “Do you want a drink?”

He shook his head. “I’m fine. Almost finished, Luke?”

“Why, is there a rush?” Luke snapped.

Jai glanced at me, grinning slyly. “I’m sorry, mate. I didn’t realize I was interrupting something.”

“You weren’t!” I insisted. I turned to Luke, my tone soft. “Almost done? I was thinking of going surfing later.”

Luke gave a few final taps on the keyboard before closing the lid of the laptop with a flourish. “I am now.”

I smiled and raised my hand. “High five?”

He returned my smile, his eyes glinting with humour. He pressed his thumb and forefinger together and spread out the others; a sign I recognized from the video. “Uh-uh. Traces must be popped.”

I rolled my eyes and copied him. “Okay. Pop a trace.”

“Why does he listen to you but not me?” Jai moaned, folding his arms over his chest and pouting.

“Oh, grow up you lesbian,” Luke replied, carefully placing his laptop on the small table beside the sofa.

Jai flipped him the finger, spinning on the spot to face the small mirror which hung on the other side of the sofa. He ruffled his hand with his hand before smoothing down the fringe. “You missed a gym session with us. We killed it.”

“I’ll bet,” Luke mumbled.

Jai laughing, gabbling over his words. “There was this guy who weighed like one hundred million stone and he kept giving us dirty looks because we were blasting Elvis really loud.”

“If he weighed one hundred million stone he’d probably be dead,” Luke dead-panned.

My brow furrowed as I tried to concentrate on deciphering what Jai had said. They boys had a habit of talking really fast all at once. “You know, sometimes I wish I had subtitles to understand what you guys say.”

“Then you watch too much TV,” Jai pointed out. “You can’t get subtitles in real life.”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “I do not, Einstein.”

“Do you really play Elvis in the gym?” Luke raised his eyebrows.

“You play fucking opera music,” Jai argued.

“Yeah; it’s a laugh. Elvis though? Seriously?” his twin replied.

“Shut the fuck up! You know how much I love Elvis,” Jai said, picking up a cushion and advancing slowly.

Luke snorted. “Faggot.”

Suddenly, Luke let out a high-pitched scream as Jai landed a hard blow from the cushion on his brother’s head. Luke grabbed a cushion hurriedly, trying to slap Jai back as his twin threw shot after shot at him.

I was practically choking with laughter as they rolled on the floor, cursing and attacking one another lethally with cushions. I was swallowed up in the midst of a huge pillow fight, gasping for breath as the boys lock into combat.

“Brotherly love,” I wheezed as Jai’s legs came alarmingly close to my face and I stumbled back.

“For God’s sake!” I was surprised by the venom in Luke’s voice as the pillow fight jolted to an abrupt halt. He pushed Jai away and removed me from the chaos. “You nearly kicked her in the face.”

“I’m fine, Luke,” I assured.

“Yeah, calm down, Lukey,” Jai said, pushing himself off the floor with his elbows. He nodded at me. “Sorry, Lil.”

“You better be,” Luke muttered. Jai glared at his brother.

“Fuck off.”

“Well, I will be fine when you guys stop fighting,” I said, articulating each syllable.

“We can’t help it. We’re brothers,” Luke replied, slipping his arms around Jai’s shoulders. Jai mirrored the gesture.

“Yeah. We love each other really.”

I sighed dramatically. “Okay. So, are we going to upload this video now or at Christmas?”

We settled on the sofa as Luke loaded up his laptop again and slotted in his memory card. I twisted my fingers together nervously in my lap as the familiar sight of the Janoskians’ YouTube page met my eyes. Butterflies churned in my stomach.

“Nervous?” Jai touched my arm lightly. I shrugged, staring at the floor. “It’ll be fine.”

“You’re good at that,” I said. “At, like, saying crazy things in a way that makes me believe them.”

He leaned forward, his hands grabbing me by the shoulders, his eyes alight and his face close to mine. “The fans are going to love you and we’re going to have to retire as Janoskians because they say that you do a much better job than we do.”

I shrugged. “Yeah, that didn’t work.”

“Damn it.” He smiled.

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