I was running late the next morning. By the time I made it out to the kitchen Simon was already gone. That really says something, because he is one of the laziest people I know. I ate a piece of toast in world record time. I was still gagging on it when I rushed into the garage, only to find my car gone. I nearly shit a brick. There was a note lying on dad's workbench. 'Hailey. Borrowed Wilson. Had to work. See you later."

I screwed the letter up and threw it on the floor. "Sean!" I cried to the empty house. Shit. I'd have to walk. I'd be really late. When you're late you have to get a pass. That would mean that I would have to go and see the nazi office lady. She scares me. A lot. I sighed and set off on the long 100m walk to school.

I got there just after first period had started. The office lady gave me the evil eye as I told her why I was late. (Car troubles.) She looked at me beadily over her glasses as she pushed my morning notices across the table to me. I picked them up and flipped through them. My mouth dropped open. Detention! Again! What for this time? I racked my brains trying to think of what I had done wrong. I glanced at my other messages. I had to supervise sports sign on again, and I had my own training. Great. I gave the office bag a sarcastic smile and headed off to class. When I got to home economics Mackenzie had already been moved away from Laura and Kate. I sat down next to Laura and showed her my detention slip. "What's this all about?"

She shrugged. "How would I know? You're the one in trouble."

I looked at the slip. "Well I don't know."

Kate leant over to borrow my white out. "Does Ben have a gig tonight?"

I shook my head. "No. We're going to the movies I think."

She nodded and grinned. "Did Laura tell you about her latest developments?"

I shook my head again. "No. What?"

Laura gave an embarrassed smile. "Jason asked me out."

I laughed. "Congratulations."

Mrs Barnwell shot me a dirty look and settled back into her extraordinarily boring talk about cotton and other fibres. I imagined the look on her face when she had realised that her dress was on fire. I snorted with laughter and bent hastily over my book when she glared at me again.

Lunch rolled around and I trudged off to detention. I entered the room only to find Ryan and Flip both grinning at me. "Oh god. I should have known." I muttered as I handed the teacher my slip. You're probably wondering how I could have gotten detention without even knowing what I did. It's quite easy really. I think that the teachers at my school have a monthly quota of detentions they have to give out. Which would explain why I always get more than my fair share. The teacher looked at me. "What now Miss Atkinson?"

I shrugged. "I really don't know sir."

"Well why don't you take a seat next to Phillip over there and let him fill you in hm?" the teacher gave me a sarcastic smile and sat back down behind the desk. I thumped down next to Flip and glared at him. "What's going on?"

He gave me a sheepish grin. "Remember that note you wrote for me?"

I closed my eyes. "Don't tell me."

"McCann didn't buy it."

"Great." I had forged notes for Flip and Ryan to get out of maths the other day. I guess McCann had found out, and landed me in the shit as well.

We sat there for half an hour before the teacher let us go. "How's Ben?" Flip asked as we walked out of the room. "Stressed actually."

"About the band?"


Flip nodded. "Are you going to their Spitfire gig on the weekend?"


Flip's eyes glinted. "Seen Liam lately."

I shook my head amused. Flip had a thing for Liam. Liam knew about it as well. "Tell him I'm still waiting for his fine ass to come around to my way of thinking." Flip said. I had to laugh. "What about the guy from Sanity?"

"Straight." Flip said sadly. "And not at all open minded."

I patted his shoulders. "I'm sorry."

Flip shrugged and looked up. He jerked away from me as his eyes landed on someone. "Oh well. I have to go, see you later." And he was gone, just like that.

The next two lessons passed agonizingly slowly. We copied down endless pages of notes in English and watched an amazingly boring video in history. Break rolled around again and I headed down to the sports hall. I pushed my way into the foyer. There was a babble of year 8's waiting outside to be let in to play. Some of them gave me evil looks as I walked in. the joys of being a senior. Joining Ryan and Josh in the storeroom, Mr Hoffman gave us the rundown of what we had to do. "Just hand over the clipboard." Great. I can see how he became the head of sports at a huge ass school like this one. We sat there for 20 mins, while kids came to sign up for the sports that they wanted for next season. Josh and Ryan sat back, letting me do all the work. Year 8's ask the stupidest questions. Finally Felicity and some other kids came to take over. I escaped to training. Miss Connell made us run around the oval until we died. Bitch. I think she got her methods from the 'training sessions for nazi coaches' or something like that. Then we dragged ourselves over to the courts to have a game. The damn defence tripped me over. I fell onto my hip. It was going to bruise. "ow." I complained as Dan hauled me to my feet. My elbow was bleeding as well. "God. This isn't even a real game." I muttered as I inspected the damage. I seemed to spend half my life on the ground.

I couldn't wait for three o'clock to roll around, so this shitty day would be over. I walked out the gate with Laura and Mac. Dan was walking home the other way, and Kate had run off somewhere or another. Ben was waiting at the gate with Jared. He was leaning against the pole with his arms crossed, looking very gorgeous in his school uniform. A group of year 10's were in a little circle, giggling and shooting glances at him over their shoulders. I sighed. I was going to have to start dating ugly guys, just so I could have them all to myself. I studied Ben as I walked up. My heart had sped up when I saw him, and I felt my face go red. That always embarrassed me. Today he must have been in rush as well. He hadn't gelled his hair, so bits of it fell into his eyes. That morning he had probably looked decent, but now his shirt was untucked, his pants were hanging low and his tie had been loosened. The toes of his converse peeked out from beneath his school pants. His eyes lit up when he saw me and he held his arms out. I fell into them with much exaggeration. "How was your day?" he asked.


"Got detention again didn't you?"

"No." I lied. Ben laughed.

"Anyway, I have something to show you." He dug something out of his pocket and handed it to me. I eyed it sceptically. "A crumpled up piece of paper?"

Ben shook his head impatiently. "Open it!"

I did. It was a cut out from Rave, which is a free music magazine distributed around Brisbane. The first thing I noticed was a picture of two guys who looked very much alike. Both were leaning casually against a brick wall, wearing faded jeans, a white t-shit and a leather jacket. My eyes skipped down to the article.

Miss them and you'll cry – by Claire Donahue

They're young, gorgeous and talented. Meet Liam and Ben Leigh, two fifths of the up and coming local band, Splintered Tears. Claire Donahue met the brothers at the Lion's den café on Ann Street, to have a chat with them about their upcoming gig with Brisbane hero's Spitfire, and their brand new single Stricken.

I arrived at the Lions den a few minutes before the brothers did. I hadn't been waiting long before Liam ambled in, closely followed by Ben. The first thing that struck me was how much alike they are. Both share the same olive skin, cheeky grins and dark brown eyes. Liam has a few inches on his brother, but Ben is broader around the chest and shoulders. They both sit down grinning and apologise profusely for being late.

Ben: Liam's shit box car broke down.

Liam: it just needed to warm up, that's all.

Ben: Liam needs a new car but he's too cheap to buy a new one.

Liam: this one has sentimental value…

Their argument goes on for a while. Though I don't mind being caught in the middle between two guys as good looking as the Leigh's I grudgingly swing the conversation around to their work. The boys answer mostly with jokes. It's refreshing to talk to people as down to earth as they are. And they're still very young, Liam has just turned 20 while Ben's 18th birthday is in two weeks.

Me: so, Stricken has just reached number 8 on the triple J net 50. That's a huge achievement. You must be stoked.

Liam: yeah.

Ben (laughs): he means yes we are. We only just found out, so it's still sinking in. It's crazy.

Liam: It is. We never imagined that we would get this far. It's awesome.

Me: Ben, you've just replaced Michael Drummond as the band's bass player. Hard shoes to fill?

Ben: for sure. The guy has like size 13 feet.

Liam (shakes his head): you're a wanka. The only reason we chose Ben was that there was no one else. And he begged so hard to be allowed in…

Ben: yeah that's right. But who was begging who Liam?

Me: do you all have a say in the music and the lyrics?

Liam: yeah, we all kick in ideas. I mainly write the lyrics, and both AJ and Ben help out with the music.

Me: The Spitfire gig is this weekend. Are you looking forward to that?

Liam: yeah!

Ben: I've been a Spitfire fan for ages. It's definitely going to be an amazing experience to open for them. But I think Dylan is the most excited out of all of us.

Liam: yeah that's probably true. She's had a thing for Hunter Fallows for ages.

Me: Speaking of Hunter Fallows, who is your celebrity crush?

Liam (laughs): uh…Jennifer Garner. She's hot.

Ben: yeah, Jennifer garner is pretty hot. And Liv Tyler is gorgeous as well.

Me: who were your biggest influences growing up?

Liam: musically or otherwise?

Me: well both.

Ben: our dad, for sure.

Liam: yeah, definitely dad. He taught us so much. We never would have gotten so far without his advice. And as for music…I listened to a lot of Pearl Jam growing up and a lot of Nirvana as well.

Ben: Kurt Cobain was a champion. And The Beatles as well. But I think they have influenced a lot of artists.

Me: What about now?

Ben: I'm really into a lot of aussie bands at the moment. You can't go past Silverchair, Body jar kick ass, Powderfinger are total champions, and antiskeptic have a great song out at the moment.

Liam: I really admire Chris Martin from Coldplay. He's an extraordinarily talented guy. And I've always been a fan of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters.

Time is getting away from us. So I ask one last question, the question that I, and dozens of girls are dying to know.

Me: with the workload you guys have at the moment, you mustn't get much time for girls.

Liam (grins wickedly): not really. But I could make time. So any girls out there, if you're interested…

Me: I am. Ben, what about you?

Ben (grins sheepishly and rubs the back of his head): there's a girl who's had my heart for a while now.

Me: so you're taken?

Ben (laughs): yeah, sorry.

Damn. Oh well. But their music rocks, and they're genuinely nice guys. Splintered Tears are going somewhere to happen, so make sure you jump on the bandwagon. You'll be seriously pissed off if you miss them.

I looked up. The rest of the article just listed their gig times. I gaped at Ben. "How come you didn't tell me?"

Ben grinned. "I wanted to surprise you. Surprise!"

"Yeah well, I am." I grinned. "She was pretty taken with you. Seems like you have a fan."

"One in a multitude."

"Ben…wow. That was so good!" I hugged him as Mac took the paper out of my hand to read it. "You must be stoked!"

Ben couldn't wipe the grin off his face. "Well yeah. It's pretty cool."

"I reckon. Wow."

Ben wrapped his arms around my waist. "So how does it feel to have a celebrity for a boyfriend?"

I pretended to think. "It's great. I can live my frustrated dreams of becoming a rock star through you."

Ben laughed. "You, can't be me I'm a rock star." Jared sang. He checked his watch. "We'd better go." He said to Ben.

"Oh right. Listen Hail, I forgot about the school soccer match we have tonight, I'm sorry. Will you come?"

I was slightly disappointed that we wouldn't get to be alone, but some time is better than none. "Sure." I said, trying to keep the disappointment from my voice. Ben kissed my cheek. "I'm sorry. I completely forgot." He whispered. "I could say I'm sick or injured or something."

"na, don't do that. Play. It's ok, we'll come and watch."


"Yeah. What time is it?"


"Ok. We'll be there."

Ben sighed. "I have to go home to get changed then I've got to be there an hour early."

I nodded. "Ok."

Ben rested his chin on my shoulder. "I'll make it up to you. I promise."

 I turned around so I was facing him. "Ben. It's ok. I'll deal. Don't feel bad because you're doing well."

"I'm not. I'm upset because I hardly get to see you for periods of longer than half an hour." 

I kissed him gently on the lips. "It's ok. Really. We'll find some time."

Ben sighed again. "Ok. This time I really have to go. Turn around so I can walk away with out seeing your face."

I rolled my eyes and turned my back on him. Ben grabbed my arm and planted a firm kiss on my mouth before taking off towards his car. Mac watched him go. "He's an odd boy." She commented thoughtfully.