Claimers: All characters, character names, places, organisations, and / or programs, unless specified, are made specifically from my imagination. Apologies must be said if any part or form of this story has any similarities to any persons, living or dead, or organisations, past or present.

A/N: Any word or sentence as such, with a dash or two before and after it, means that it's been stricken (Struck? Stricken? One of those has to be the right tense … hmm … is stricken the past participle?) out by whoever is writing. Like this: --Hello, my name is Small Marshmallow-- … see, this type of document here on FictionPress doesn't accept this type of superscript. Oh well.


Chapter One: Reminiscent

Ellora

The little cursor keeps blinking at me.

It's teasing me, mocking at the fact that I don't have anything to commit to print.

I have things to say — plenty to say, but not a clue how to say it.

I know it's so damn cheesy, but it really does hurt. Every time I think about him, I mean. And it's only now that I want to think about it.

The sad part is, is that it's not because I hate him. Don't get me wrong, what he did was hugely, immensely, totally bad and wrong and such a big mistake, but I don't hate him. Not anymore I don't. What makes it hurt the most is that I think what I did was the biggest mistake of all.

You gotta learn to forgive, is what my dad always used to say. You hear that a lot, or some form of it, throughout your life (even more so if you went to a Catholic Grammar school), and you just take that piece of advice without as much as another thought. But it's not until you've had something done to you that needs so much forgiveness that that little niggling piece of information floats back into your head to be of any good use.

It's not until then that you really need to forgive, because if you don't, there's a possibility that you'll never forgive yourself for not giving that first pardon in the first place.

I don't really care if that makes sense or not, because frankly, there's such a thing as editors here in the newspaper world, and they can edit that bit out or jiggle it out a little so that the sense comes shining through.

But right now, grammatical errors are the least of my worries. Right now, there's something I have to do—and sitting at this desk typing my feelings out won't help me one little bit.

Wish me luck.


JOURNALIST / MEDIA REPORTER

The Melbourne Morning Journal seeks applications for a position as a Columnist. Must have suitable qualifications. Must be enthusiastic and a team-player. Be able to work under pressure, and in all kinds of situations. Must have a valid passport.

Send all applications by mail, or make an appointment with Jacinta Mulberry: 9889 9186 or 0410 909 576; or e-mail to: jacinta.mulberry (a) mmjournal (dot) com.

Are you what we're looking for?


CURRICULUM VITAE

ELLORA DENISE ASHTON
D.O.B.:
June 10th 1982

Apartment 15A, 3907 Royal Parade
Melbourne City, VICTORIA
3000

Phone: 9090 3456
Mob: 0423 925 868


OBJECTIVE:

To obtain a position on the Melbourne Morning Journal staff as a Columnist for the Hearsay! pages.

EDUCATION:

1986 – 1993: Attended Holy Christ Child Catholic Primary School, Adelaide
- Obtained Scholarship into Nestor Hall Grammar Academy, Melbourne

1995 – 1999: Attended Nestor Hall Grammar Academy
- Year 7:

- Year 8:

- Year 9:
- Victoria University Language Excellence Award (Italian)

- Year 10:
- Overall Excellence Award

- Year 11:
- Media Achievement Award
- History Achievement Award
- Editor of School Newspaper ("The Weekly Stats")

- Year 12:
- Media Achievement Award
- Philosophy Achievement Award
- English Achievement Award
- Award for Creative Writing
- Victorian Certificate of Education ENTER SCORE: 93.95

1999: Accepted into RMIT University

2000 – 2003: RMIT University, City Campus

- Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) (3 Years) with Honours (1 Year)

2004: Graduate Cadetship with on-the-job training with Senior Feature Writer for The Herald Sun, Michael O'Hardy


EMPLOYMENT HISTORY:

1998 – 1999: State Library of Victoria (part-time)

2000 – 2003: Esprit store, Melbourne Central (part-time)


PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATION:

1. Debater's Association of Victoria
2. Ambulance Care Victoria


REFEREES:

Mr. Michael O'Hardy
The Herald Sun
HWT Tower, Level 23
40 City Road
Southbank,
(03) 9292 2023
E-mail: michael.ohardy (a) heraldsun (dot) com

Ms. Olivia Innsbrook
Esprit
Store 65, Level 2
Melbourne Central
Bourke Street
Melbourne City, 3000
(03) 9909 7878



Dear Ms. Mulberry,

I have recently --encountered-- --seen-- noticed

No, wait —

--To Whom It May Concern-- Wait, isn't it that if you're given the person to address it to, you should use the name? Hmm, it's any wonder I passed English.

Dear Miss Mulberry, God, I hope you're a Miss. You should be a Miss. God forbid if you're a Mrs. I wonder how much pain you'd go through if you saw your no good, son of a bitch husband doing it doggy style on the living room carpet with your best china being used as a rubbish bin dump for all the used condom packets and with a damn University student underneath him saying, "Oops" when you walked in with his favourite Chinese take away and him saying, "We need to talk" like it's no big deal that he's CHEATING ON YOU on your FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF MARRIAGE.

Screw him and his manly charm! Screw the way his hair is so nice and soft, and the way it flops onto his forehead and stay there until you have to just give into the urge and brush that lock out of his gorgeous blue eyes! Screw the fact that whenever I touch that forehead, my spine tingles like someone's just sent an electric current down my spinal cord! Screw his beautiful face and the way his mouth crinkles upwards whenever he laughs, and the way his arms feel so strong whenever he lifts you to the bed because you've been crying over another dead monkey that's been found on the news! Screw him and the fact that whenever I see him, it's like my heart thumps so loudly in my ribcage that I'm not surprised the Arctic doesn't hea —

Damn.


Ellora
1999

"Just go and talk to him!"

"No! Stop pushing me!"

"Lora, don't play stupid! I know you like him! And, come on, we know he has something for you. It's obvious. Come on, Lora! It's time you learnt to fend for yourself! Go and ask him out, for Christ's sake!"

"No, and don't blaspheme!"

"I can swear whenever the fucking hell I want! Now go and ask him out! He's only going to be free for another five minutes anyway, not until—"

But it was too late. We all knew it. The fragrance of Chanel No. 5 wafted through their air like a sweet spring scent, mixing with the hormones and the pheromones in the air.

"—Victoria and her lot get here," Pippa said, her voice monotonous as she narrowed her eyes.

"Oh well girls," said Carla with a heavy sigh, "it was fun while it lasted. We could stare at that fine piece of man cake without getting any stares dripping with so much venom that it would've put all the blondes at a Miss Universe pageant to shame."

"Yeah," breathed Pippa.

"Yeah," I said, a final sigh making my voice quiver.

Victoria Michael-John was the epitome of beauty. She was endowed with so much that my friends and I, indeed all of the female population of Nestor Hall, failed to comprehend why God had let us go with such meagre bequests. She had beautifully curly blonde hair that touched down to her miniscule waist, and a walk that would've put Elle Macpherson to disgrace. Her extremities were all long and slender, and her skin was like porcelain. There was a bet that many of the male population of Nestor Hall were involved in: whether or not Victoria Michael-John had had a breast augmentation surgery. I mean, who could have such big boobs with such a small waist and still stand? It was near impossible—but hey, the Queen Bee managed it. Lucky bitch.

And it's not like she couldn't afford it either—I mean, hello, her father half-owned the bloody school. Her uncle was Headmaster of our fine establishment. Her mother used to be an actress, but she gave that up to "raise her family", in her words. She still owns three television studios. Her other uncle, on her mother's side, this time, has three beach houses—all in different worldly cities. One in Nice, one in Sydney Bayside, and one in Hawaii. Yup, Queen Bitch had it all.

Which left us all asking, why God? Why not us? We're your lowly creatures—you're supposed to be on our side!

But God never really answered us. But he would give us hints that he cared, like when our lives were altered so greatly on that fateful morning in Year 9.

Victoria Michael-John was on another one of her man hunts, going around the grounds strategically, quadrangle by quadrangle, when I swear to God (whoops, go me, hypocrisy all the way) … when I swear to big ol' Pete up there and Pearly Gates that the world stood still—it didn't revolve around or whatever for a whole five minutes.

Headmaster Beatrix was taking another family on a tour around our school—you know the sort, to get your child or whatever used to his or her new surroundings. Unfortunately for the guy, he was exposed to the wonderful world of Nestor Hall during a lunchtime—when all the claws to grope the newcomer, and all the tongues to stroke and to hiss, were ready.

But fortunately for us, Daniel Thomas was introduced in our lives.

He walked around, with his hands in his slacks pockets, and his blazer fitting so snugly on his shoulders that the width of it all amazed me. I mean, how much muscle could a sixteen year old boy really have? But to Daniel Thomas, the boy who beguiled us all with just one soft glance accompanied with a slight tilt of the mouth corners, anything was achievable.

Headmaster Beatrix walked up to me and my two friends, Carla Morrison and Phillippa Bradley, and me, being the Student Body President (or SBP) that I was, stood up as quickly as I could, straightened my skirt, pulled up my socks, and adjusted my glasses.

"Ellora Ashton, meet the Thomases. They're here to inspect their new school for their son. I believe he's in your Year Level," said Headmaster Beatrix. He turned around. "Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, I'd like you to meet Ellora Ashton, Student Body President of Year 9. She's been elected as a representative of our peers in her particular Year Level."

The Thomases all smiled demurely, even the dad—which I never thought was really possible you know, a male and all giving me a slight tip of the mouth with the soft eye flutter, but hey, I haven't seen all of the world yet. They stuck out their hands for me to shake, and I shook it gracefully, giving the whole, "Hello, welcome to Nestor Hall," spiel. I saved shaking the boy's hand until last.

Now, I am usually good around the opposite sex. To me, they're just another girl, without all the unnecessary-to-be-explained anatomical technicalities. But when I looked into those gorgeous clear, blue eyes, the world stopped rotating on its axis just to elongate the time I could stare into his soul. I was rendered speechless, and my brain, not being used to not knowing what to do in any given situation, froze—a suit which my whole body promptly followed.

It took me a moment to realise that he was waiting for me to shake his hand, and when my brain, thankfully, had switched itself back into consciousness, I shook his hand. His grip was strong and firm, yet not at all commanding. His eyes were clear and blue, yet an unfathomable air seemed to surround his swirling cerulean mists. His hair was a light, sandy colour, yet in a certain light, it reflected off a luminous, hazel tone. His cheekbones were beautifully sculpted and his lips—well, his lips looked like you could bounce a bouncy ball off it, and it would still work when it was given one of the two jobs it was built to do—and no, I don't mean smiling. The other one.

I was in love.

And it was so obvious to my friends, and not to him, that I wanted to throw up.

Daniel Thomas settled in quite well at our lovely little neck of the woods. He was the personification or perfection. He was beautiful, he was smart, he was witty, he was polite—he was flawless, unspoilt, seamless, without wax. So much so that I caught one of our Latin teachers flirting with him and trying to kindle an affair. Needless to say, she was fired—but not because Daniel Thomas dobbed him in or anything; oh no, he wasn't that kind of person; but because the Latin teacher was so open about her feelings that everyone knew her intentions. It was there. She couldn't have made it any plainer, with the way she sashayed her hips when he passed her, and the way she would pass him little notes before and after class saying "MEET ME IN THE OFFICE. COME ALONE AND NAKED". It was horrible. Many of us needed therapy when we heard about it.

But back to Daniel Thomas. He took all this controversy in his stride, and he continued to move about his life, getting all those compliments from everybody and entering every single tennis competition any fifteen year old can enter.

There was one other thing that made Daniel Thomas likeable—the fact that he was accessible, unlike so many of the guys in our school that absolutely fawned all over Victoria Michael-John and her posse. Daniel Thomas seemed like he never cared much for orgies. He just concentrated on school, and his tennis. He was away for a lot of the school year in Year 10. He was off playing so many tournaments that he became a professional at just the mere age of seventeen. Some said he was the next Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi. If you're good to be either one of those, let alone both, then you know you're good. But Daniel never acted like he was better than us. He just walked around school, with his backpack, and saying hello to everyone. He was nice to everybody.

We all knew he was famous already, and we knew he'd be super famous one day. His fame and his pending greatness added to his mysterious appeal. Daniel Thomas was a very private person. Nobody ever knew where he lived. He never really had any solid friends—which I guess would be useless in his line of work, you know, being a tennis champion at the age of fifteen and all—but I don't really think he minded at all. Plus, he never had any girlfriends—which got us all thinking. What is a beautiful specimen like him doing, roaming about on this earth, currently single?

That's when Victoria Michael-John promenaded into the scene.

It was her party. Her seventeenth, actually. And by now, you can probably guess I'm not the kind of person to just walk right up to someone and say, "Hello, I'm Lora, I think you're so goddamned hot that I wanna bang your brains out." At least, not to people like Daniel Thomas.

Just kidding.

But seriously, I harboured my secret passion for the guy and kept it inside, all bottled up and locked and sealed so tightly that you would have to have twenty people with crowbars just to pry it out of my cold, dead body. I never told him anything. But those little smiles and those little glances he gave me in the hallway (which he gave everyone, he was that type of person, but whatever), each and every one of them were stowed in my memory.

Every day he would enter Pastoral Care, and I would gaze his way, hoping so badly he would make eye contact with me and see something like those girl in the movies. But it never happened.

Daniel Thomas wasn't really known for his sexual activity. He was known for his disappearances, mostly of the tennis-related kind. And the fact that he could play tennis really well. He once beat the head of our PE department, Mr Fields, in a game of tennis. 6-0, 6-0, 6-0—obviously in favour of the golden boy. Mr. Fields took the defeat graciously, though we all knew he was fuming inside. He's that kind of person.

But one night, at a particular seventeenth birthday party, Daniel Thomas came trudging into the pool house, his jumper soaked and smelling strongly of alcohol. He swept the whole pool house with one glance, sought out Victoria Michael-John, who was in the midst of being grovelled to by about three gazillion boys, and walked towards her, his chest heaving. He picked her up, and started making out with her, right then and there.

Carla and Pippa, who were sitting right behind me, each rested a gentle hand on my shoulders. I knew it pained them as much as it pained me to see my dream crash before our very eyes.

Just like that, Daniel Thomas, Nestor Hall's all-round nice guy, morphed into the biggest man-skank on Earth. Nobody really knew why he had changed so quickly—I mean, he was fine and all Daniel Thomas-ish when we all left to go home and get ready for the party (which everyone was invited to, even us geeks—we all had a feeling Victoria's mother had had a say in whom she invited), but when he entered that party, his eyes were all sad and unhappy and he was unkempt and a bit scruffy. He looked so pained, and he drowned that pain with Victoria Michael-John.

The next day at school, Mr. Daniel Thomas looked so different. It felt so impossible. I mean, how could anyone change overnight? Is that really viable? It was disgusting. He came into school, with a slinking Victoria Michael-John sashaying next to him. I snapped the pencil I was holding when his hand squeezed onto her behind as they walked past. His hair wasn't in the usual neat, slick style that it was always in. Instead, it was spiked up in the trend, and his uniform wasn't neat anymore. His shirt was out and untucked, and he had an unshaved stubble. I still can't forget that image. It was so weird. We were all so used to seeing Daniel say, "Hey (insert name of every single person in school here)," and now, we all somehow knew that that casual greeting would never happen again.

In the space of a year, where I turned seventeen and Daniel Thomas turned a much anticipated eighteen, he had slept with most of the girls in our Year Level. Some said he even went out with someone from Year 7, which, all I can say to is Ew, but hey, what floats your boat. He slept with most girls in our Year Level—probably except me. He even slept with Carla, one of my best friends. I forgave her for it when I found out. Nobody can say no to Daniel Thomas. Phillippa said she would've slept with him if she didn't already have a boyfriend. There then left me. I was the odd one out. Not that I really cared. I mean, I'm going to keep my virginity for as long as I can. I'm going to be ready when I'm ready. But he just never really asked.

But the funniest thing is, even though Daniel had deflowered possibly every single female above the age of sixteen in our whole school (is that healthy?) he never really bragged about it. Whenever someone would ask him, "Hey Dan! How many is it now?" he would just smile and nod, and walk away. He still kept his polite manner towards teachers, and his grades were as steady as they could be for anyone who was gone for about six months of the year going on tournaments. And people envied him like they would anyone who was, basically, perfection. He was revered. Although he was such a promiscuous person, he hardly said anything—he was more of a physical person, from what we observed in the hallways being entwined with Victoria. Yet, when Daniel would say anything, I swear the whole class or whatever he was saying in would shush just to hear what he was saying.

Daniel Thomas was, and still is, everything I want.

But now, a day after he's back from another major tournament, he's allegedly broken up with his long time bitch Victoria Michael-John. What a sad day … not.

"Just go and talk to him!"

"No! Stop pushing me!"

"Lora, don't play stupid! I know you like him! And, come on, we know he has something for you. It's obvious. Come on, Lora! It's time you learnt to fend for yourself! Go and ask him out, for Christ's sake!"

"No, and don't blaspheme!"

"I can't swear whenever the fucking hell I want! Now go and ask him out! He's only going to be free for another five or so minutes, not until—"

But it was too late. We all knew it. The fragrance of Chanel No. 5 wafted through their air like a sweet spring scent, mixing with the hormones and the pheromones in the air.

"—Victoria and her lot get here," Pippa said, her voice monotonous as she narrowed her eyes.

"Oh well girls," said Carla with a heavy sigh, "it was fun while it lasted. We could stare at that fine piece of man cake without getting any stares dripping with so much venom that it would've put all the blondes at a Miss Universe pageant to shame."

"Yeah," breathed Pippa.

"Yeah," I said, a final sigh making my voice quiver.

Victoria Michael-John slinked to her man in her usual way, shaking her butt so much that it was mesmerising.

"Hey, Dan," she crooned, bending over and kissing Daniel's ear as he sat. His eyes closed to savour the moment. "I missed you when you were gone."

Daniel murmured something to make Victoria plop down onto his lap and giggle. She whispered something in his ear to make him raise his eyebrows and laugh that tinkling laugh only he could endow as his own.

Their break up was last minute's news. Daniel Thomas and Victoria Michael-John were back together.

I sighed, and Phillippa pouted her lips.

"It's not fair."

"Life's a bitch," Carla said.

"Don't I know it?" I said, not even bothering to close my books as I dumped them in my bad haphazardly.


Disclaimers: Although I would one day like to work for a newspaper, in particular the Herald Sun, I currently have no affiliation with it, nor Chanel, so therefore, no pending legal arbitrations need be sent my way. Thankyou.

A/N: Okay, so, yes, I know it'll be the death of me. I've decided to re-write Rebound Ace whilst the creative juices are flowing wildly. And while the tennis season's reaching its peak. I deleted the old one, because, frankly, I'm thankful I had a thought to re-write because I cringe every time I read it. Gah. Cross your fingers, and I'll be crossing mine, that I'll be able to update this story AND Save Me, Oh Brave Protector. I really hope so. Hey, it's summer, right? And I hope this version is WAY better than the old Rebound. Drop us a line if you have the chance.