Chapter One

The Goodbye

In a way, I'm really glad that he had to move away for six months.

If Trent hadn't, then so many good things wouldn't have happened.

Looking back on everything that happened in those short months, I don't know whether or not I want to go back and change it all. Of course, I know that changing the past is impossible – but what if I could change time? What if I could make everything so much easier for myself? Confusion was such an often feeling for me back then, I would have given anything to see into the future, to see what was to come. I know that I don't regret my decision in the end. It, after all, made me very happy and I've never wished to take back my ending.

I was young, so very young and yet I thought that I knew everything.

I'll admit some things, though. There are many, many things I wish I didn't say, do, feel or think. There are actions I wish I could take back, retrace and think about more clearly before making the precise conclusion. There are moments I hope I could relive, even though that's highly-unlikely and probably won't ever happen again. There are people I wish I could see again, people I wish I could make up with and just get along with so that I don't have to wonder if I hurt them more than I originally thought.

In a way, this made me grow up and become a woman, become an adult.

Some people would regret the choice I made in the end; I know that it probably could have been thought through a little better. But what can say? That I was young, naïve and stupid? That I didn't know what I was doing most of the time? If I said those things, I would be lying through my teeth. Except maybe for the "young, naïve and stupid" thing, I was definitely all three of those put together. I wonder that if I'd made the other choice, gone back on my words, would I be happy like I still am today? Would I be smiling and full of bursting energy? I honestly don't know.

But regret, no, I don't regret my ending.

Happy or not, I'm perfectly content with the way things worked out.

There is no regret, no matter how many different ways I look at it.

I dreaded what was to come.

The hum of Ben's beaten up 1967 Chevy Camaro could be heard above the roar of angry rock music coming from the crappy speakers. I wondered why Ben even bothered trying to listen to music in his car when the engine made more noise that his screamo tunes he was so fond of. Rain poured around the little, cramped car as Ben kept his head forward and his concentration on the road before him. I knew he was trying to give me some privacy, to gather my thoughts and compose myself before we got to the airport. But doing something like that when I knew what was coming up.

I contemplated the idea of asking Ben to drive me off a cliff.

Greif weighed down my stomach; I was sweaty and uncomfortable in the fuzzy, black passenger seat. I licked my chapped lips and let out a tiny, broken sigh. It was true that Trent was my whole world; he completed me and made me whole. I'd never been happier when I was with Trent; he was just so bright and full of life. It was hard not to love my practical, grades-are-important boyfriend. He was every girl's dream – blonde, blue-eyed and well-muscled. He was about as scary as a kitten and he never put his needs before anyone else. Straight-A student, I marvelled at how intelligent, calm and collected he always seemed to be. There wasn't a time when I'd ever felt threatened by Trent. I trusted him with my heart, soul and mind.

That's why I felt like killing myself at this very moment.

Six months seemed like years and years to me, I didn't know how I was going to handle the distance between us. When Trent first told me that his father was taking up a business offer, in the UK of all places, I thought my world would break into tiny pieces before my eyes. I felt like there was nothing else left. Nothing but me and my broken heart – and of course, the guilty Trent. After freaking out for at least two weeks, we'd come to the conclusion that we didn't need to end our relationship. But that hardly helped my nerves. I was a clingy person, I needed to feel his arms around me to believe that he loved me; I needed him with me to believe that everything would be okay. And yet, he was leaving me.

I didn't know what was worse, the fact that he was leaving or the fact that my life was about to end in a matter of hours.

Sadness or sorrow didn't come close to how I felt.

There were no words to describe how utterly lost I was feeling. The car drove on, ploughing through the rain and onward to our destination, the airport. Somewhere in the depths of my mind, I wondered if the car broke down, would he wait until we got there? Or would he leave without saying goodbye, the only thing I would have to hold onto until he got back? My fingers were shaky as I moved to turn the heat up; they were numb with the cold and fright. What would I do without Trent, the guy I loved unconditionally and whole-heartedly? Nervous didn't come close to how I felt about such a separation.

Ben looked torn.


My head snapped up sharply to look at him with my big, honey-gold eyes. Ben, as my protective older step-brother, had offered to be the one to drive me to the airport. I was grateful he'd saved me from such a car trip with my nagging step-mother, or even worse, my father how didn't seem to feel anymore. In some ways, I was closer to Ben than I was to my actual flesh and blood. He was always there for me in my times of need, or stupidity. In the beginning, Ben hadn't liked Trent at all for the soul reason that he didn't get along with Jack Ivory, one of Ben's best friends. But he soon got over his "grudge" when he realized just how much I'd come to feel for Trent. That's why I loved him so much; he just understood the way some people didn't.

Ben could have been attractive if he wanted to, but I don't think he had the patience in him to tame his unruly dark blonde, almost brown curls. He was tall, think and lanky – slightly on the awkward side, since he barely ever ate anything except for dinner everyday. It used to worry me to no end until I found out that he usually raided one of friend's cardboards. Dark lashes framed his almond-shaped, hazel-green eyes. He was sickly pale and had a quick temper. Ben was the type of guy to stay in his room for days, just chilling and playing his music. His whole life revolved around his guitar and band, nothing else really mattered to him except for the given – friends and family.

I loved him like he was actually my brother.

"What?" I whispered, staring down at my hands, which were folded neatly in my lap. I could see, in the corner of my eye, how surprised he looked when I spoke. I never sounded so…flat. I was bubbly, passionate and full of life. It was just not me otherwise. "Is there something you want to say?" I asked, frowning after he was silent.

"You can't let Trent's moving away ruin your life." Ben said. I could tell this was going to turn into one of his 'life-has-so-many-opinions' speeches. They were the kind I hated with a fiery passion burning in my gut, and he knew it. "I'm not going to tell you that it will be easy," he sighed and stopped at a red light. I bit my lip, glancing at the time. Trent's plane took off at nine, and it was seven-thirty now. We had plenty of time to get there and say goodbye, I hoped. My heart skipped a beat when I thought about missing such a chance to have my last moments with him before he went away for a long time. "Melanie," Ben spoke up firmly, obviously trying to regain my attention. "You can't sulk for the whole six months he's gone." I cringed at the words. "That's not fair to yourself or anyone around you."

The car lurched forward when the light turned green.

"Ben," I murmured darkly, "Do me a favour and cut the crap. You know how much he means to me."

"Yeah," Ben agreed, "I do. And I also know how much you mean to him. Do you think he'd like to see you like this? No," he said the last part of the sentence when I opened my mouth to counter. "He wouldn't want you to be so…sad. It's not you, Mel."

I looked down, ashamed. "I know."

Ben smirked with joy when he realized he'd won. "Six months isn't as long as you think it is, Melanie."


"No but's."

"Ben," I growled. "Don't cut me off."

He flashed me a cheeky grin. "Then don't be so negative. This could open your opportunities."

I gave him a dry look, even though I knew he had his eyes trained on the road before him. "Stop trying to make me see the good side of things. It's not going to work."

Ben shrugged indifferently, "It's your happiness."

I whacked him on the arm. "Oh shut up and drive."

We lapsed into a silence; I couldn't say it was comfortable, because I was shaking in my boots. The fear seeped into my brain and poisoned my rational thoughts. Worry seemed to flood to my veins like wild fire, spreading quickly. What if he'd left already? What if there was something wrong with the plane and they crashed? I don't think I could live with myself, knowing that I let him board the plane. What if he found someone he liked better in the UK? I wasn't the most gorgeous of girls. I was the plain Jane of the school, nobody really noticed me, but I wasn't a social reject.

The airport was bright, loud and overwhelming.

I saw him almost instantly, and I was struck by how beautiful Trent was once again.

His golden blonde hair was pushed back in a way that made me think he'd been running his hands through those thick, silky locks. It was something he did when he was nervous, or irritated. But his face was so perfectly content, so calm and happy that I couldn't imagine he was nervous or feeling annoyed – his slightly red lips were pulled back into a smile, and his pale cheeks were red with happiness. I knew he was excited about going to the UK, he loved spending time with his father, but I couldn't believe he was this thrilled to leave me. Even so, I rushed forward to catch his embrace and realized, once again, just how much taller he was than me. Then again, I'd always been smaller than everyone else – even the shortest guys in my classes towered over me.

"You made it."

Immediately, I couldn't imagine him cheating on me. My fear was washed away by three simple words.

"You didn't think I would come?" I couldn't hide the hurt from my voice.

He laughed into my hair and breathed in. "Yes, I knew you would come. I just…"

"Worried?" I finished his sentence for him.


I wrapped my arms around his waist tighter, as if I didn't want to ever let him go again. Something raw and happy pulsed through me and I knew it was love. I loved Trent so much. So much more than I ever imagined I would love someone. I felt wonderful, although Trent was leaving, he loved me and I loved him. And that was all that mattered to me at that moment.

I just knew something would have to break that.

"Barkley, what are you doing here?"

My whole body froze at the sound of the voice.

Jack Fords.

Jack Fords was beyond just good-looking, and he knew it. He was the bad boy type, always getting himself into sticky situations, where he always charmed his way out of. His dark brown hair surrounded his head in a straight mess, while his blonde fringe hung over his eyes like a curtain. His eyes were a dark chocolate, so dark they were almost pitch-black. He was very pale and extremely tall, but to people like me he was a giant. Muscularly built, Jack was found at the basket ball courts most of the time. I knew this because Trent was on the team. Compared to Trent, he was massive with broad shoulders and thick biceps. In a way, he frightened me more than anything, but in other ways I knew that underneath the whole "bad ass" act, there was a softy. He had angular features – with a prominent nose, high cheek bones and a regal-looking jaw. He was rough-looking, with a sight amount of dark stubble dotting his chin and jaw.

He was trouble, to put it lightly.

I felt Trent stiffen underneath my touch.

"Jack," he nodded his head. "What are you doing here?"

The dark haired boy's face lit up with a smile, "I'm picking my uncle up. His plane hasn't landed yet, though." Jack looked down at me briefly with a raised eyebrow, obviously wondering what I was doing there with Trent. "What are you doing here?"

Trent squeezed me tighter, and I had a feeling that he thought Jack was looking at me the wrong way. I couldn't imagine how plain I looked next to him; he was so perfect in every way. My eyes were a golden-honey colour I'd never much liked, but put up with because it was the only thing I had of my mother's (who'd left my father after my sister, Kimberly, was born). My hair was a very light brown, tinted red and hung just above my shoulders. I styled it so the side-fringe hung over my left eye when I looked down, so I could hide behind it if I wished. Even though I was petite and fit, I'd never had curves or very big boobs. Really, I didn't know what Trent saw in me, but I was very glad he'd even noticed me when so many other beautiful girls were around.

At least I wasn't hideous, I could give myself that.

"Oh," Trent said, as if trying to be as calm as Jack was acting. "Just going away for a little while."

Jack, I think just to piss Trent off, winked flirtatiously at me and took a step forward. "So are you two splitting then?"

I felt two strong arms encircle my torso. "Back off, Ivory." Trent warned.

I bit my lip and waited for Jack to hit Trent, or via versa. But they just stood there, glaring at each other.

Gathering up my thoughts, I drew forth the temper I knew I had. "Okay," I pushed Jack back a little with one hand, ignoring the well-built muscles underneath his black, Atreyu band T-shirt. Trent was eyeing me carefully, and it would not do to see me guffawing at some other guy's chest. "Jack, I think you should just leave. Trent, calm down, he's only trying to get a reaction from you."

Trent's eyes darkened. "If you lay one hand on her while I'm gone, Ivory so help me I'll-;"

Jack jumped at the threat. "You'll what?" he cut in.

"Okay stop it, both of you!" I stomped my foot and glared menacingly at Jack. He chuckled underneath his breathe, but held up two hands, backing away slightly. "Leave us alone, Ivory or I'll get Ben."

"Oh, I'm scared." Jack snorted.

"Just go away." Trent was practically shaking with anger.

There was an announcement over the speakers, and we all quietened down to listen, I held my breath, hoping it wouldn't be Trent's flight. Fights 117 for Brisbane please go to terminal 7 for passenger boarding. Thankyou.

My throat dried instantaneously, this was Trent's flight. Off he went to Brisbane, and then the long journey with his father to a country miles and miles away. Tears watered in my eyes, and for the first time, Trent seemed to forget that Jack was there at all.

"I love you, Mel." Trent murmured in my ear as he kissed me.

Lightening shot through my body.

"Love you too, Trent." I choked out my words, scared I might cry.

"Nothing will change." He told me forcefully, letting go of my hand with reluctance. "Nothing," he repeated.

I nodded my head. "Nothing," I whispered back. I watched him pick up his luggage and wander over to a coffee shop, where I saw him greet his father and move on to the terminal. I hugged myself self-consciously, suddenly wishing that Ben was with me and not in his toasty warm car.

Jack grunted, "Bye,"

And then he was gone.

I noticed a slight limp in his leg as he walked away and frowned.

Once I left the airport doors, the cold air hit me full force and I had to make myself run to the park where Ben was waiting for me.

The cold seemed to numb me, and for the moment I knew I wouldn't cry. Not yet, at least.


for some reason all my stories suddenly DISAPPEARED. i think someone hacked into my account. all is well now, i'm reposting "torn" and have changed my password. i am thoroughly pissed off though.

i found out, from one helpful reader, that i was nominated for the SKoW awards. which came as an extreme shock to me.

thankyou to whoever nominated, that was very sweet.