Hi everyone. This is the first chapter of a new story. It's quite similar to Writing to Reach You, one of my very first stories but this one is solely centred around Charlie. It follows all the ups and downs of her time in the Bay, including the good, bad and ugly relationships she has had. Obviously, I am a CJ fan so there will be a hell of a lot of emphasis on that but I have forced myself to be inclusive of her other relationships as well. But my hope is to perhaps find a way of explaining her lousy decisions! Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. I will be back shortly to post another new story called Family Values, which is not set within the Home and Away timeline but of course involves our girls falling in love. Also, thank you to everyone who reviewed and messaged me last night. It really meant a lot. I will continue writing for as long as you want me. Love, IJKS xxx

Chapter One

Thursday 5th June 2008

20:03

Home

It's my birthday today and I have never felt so alone. Ruby is away at boarding school and Dad has gone off to be with his fancy woman. He sent me a text but no card. I know we're fighting at the moment but I had hoped that maybe he'd at least acknowledge the anniversary of the birth of his daughter. But he's too fixated on his own life. Mum always used to buy and sign the cards. Some years, Dad would scrawl his name at the bottom but I guess this year, the first birthday that Mum has been gone, meant that I didn't get anything from him. I don't know why I'm surprised really. He's never had time for me. I did get a nice card and gift through the post from Ruby though and she called me at lunch time. She's such a light in my life. I miss her now she's at boarding school. I objected to Dad sending her there but I had no say in the matter. Of course I didn't. She's only my sister after all.

I put in for leave at the beginning of the week. Dad obviously isn't prepared to listen to me by text or phone so I am heading to Summer Bay in the morning to have it out with him. Dad always taught me to confront issues head on and that's exactly what I plan to do with him. For tonight, I'm sitting in with a bottle of wine and a pizza. All by myself. Happy birthday, Charlie. Many happy returns.


Friday 6th June

21:36

The Sands Hotel, Summer Bay

Well, I'm now in a tiny town called Summer Bay and so far, it isn't as happy as the name suggests. I had hoped I could fly in and out but it hasn't worked out that way so I'm in a hotel on the outskirts of town. It's called The Sands Hotel and it's okay I guess. Hopefully I won't be stopping here for too long.

Just as I was heading into the area, I was nearly involved in a car crash with a woman who turned out to be none other than Morag Bellingham, the woman who has stolen my Dad. She was messing around with her phone and nearly ploughed into me. It wasn't exactly the nicest entrance into the town but at least it's given me the fuel I need to bring her down. I don't want her anywhere near my father. This whole relationship is completely inappropriate. Mum has only been gone for two months and he's practically dancing on her grave. How on earth do you recover from losing your wife of thirty years in two months? I know I'm a bit of a cold heart when it comes to relationships but then, I haven't been married for thirty years. I do the one night to six month thing and then it's over. You don't really need to grieve for that, do you? How can Dad just wander off with this woman, some local judge or whatever and be happy when mine and Ruby's lives are torn apart?

After the near miss, I ran her registration plate through the computer and tracked her down at some Diner. She was having coffee with Dad and I had no choice but to challenge him. He's living in la-la land if he thinks what he said is the truth. He's convinced that Mum would be fine with him running off with the first woman he sees and that Ruby, my Ruby, is happy at boarding school. I'll never forgive him for sending my baby girl away. But because he's playing the father and she's never allowed to know the truth, I can't say a damn word. I can't kick up a fuss, even though I know she's not happy there, in any other guise than a concerned sister. Dad gets the final vote and to hell with us.

You know, it's kind of sad but after Mum passed away, I hoped something good might come out of it. I thought maybe Dad and I could reconnect. I hoped after all these years we might find something to unite us. But he doesn't want to be around me any more than he did before. He ran off as soon as he could and he's abandoning me all over again. What do I have to do to make him proud of me? Why doesn't he love me the way I want him to? Ugh. I don't know why I torture myself with this. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try to make him proud with work and everything, he'll never feel that way about me and I should stop trying to force him.


Saturday 7th June

13:19

The Beach

I've spent the day wandering around town. This place is pretty pleasant. It feels like a bit of a holiday town without the energy of tourists. There's not much going on but the beach is nice. I like it. It's calming. I haven't seen Dad or Morag since yesterday. I'm not sure how to go forward with breaking them up.


Sunday 8th June

12:42

The Sands Hotel

I've reached a decision. I'm going to stick around in Summer Bay for a bit. I've got a phone appointment with my Sergeant in the city to arrange a transfer here. That way, Dad will have to up sticks and be around for Ruby at home, even if it's only for the holidays. And maybe even in the in between times, he might want to hang out with me. I doubt it but I can always hope, can't I? What is life without hope?


Next time… Charlie transfers to Summer Bay and meets some of the locals…