Olivia is an awkward teenage girl, with a secret. Sadly it’s a secret she can’t remember, and this memory loss is more than inconvenience. It is her freedom. The blackouts started at the age of twelve,now their getting much worse along with the epileptic episodes, but she is coping. Yet everything seems to spiral out of her hands on a moody November afternoon,Olivia is woken up to discover she is covered in the blood of the two people she loved the most. Her sister in law Aaliyah and brother Drake, yet with the blackouts come severe memory loss, everything is blank, except for one moment. The one person who can prove her innocence is local bad boy Tommy Driscoll, with the brain of a genius and the charm of a chameleon they take on shadowless personas investigating the habits patterns of a very challenging young girl. Driscoll proves to her that things are more complex than they seem, and so is he.yet with a killer on the loose both of them are living on borrowed time.
Chapter Chapter one
“sink or swim, what’s your game?”I eyed Billy Figgle with a narrowed grey lens,christ I hated this ginger bastard. What was his problem?With me, with humans, with life?
“It’s a toy Billy,” I groaned letting my jet black hair spool over my shoulder. It was my pride and joy my hair, mother said we originated from the first Cherokees, and my hair made me look lean and gamely long as it was. I wasn’t wearing no weave like the other black girls,i may not have their features but when I run my hands through my hair in Jermaine Clarkson’s class him and his friend Claudelle are simply hypnotised. I pretend like I don’t see then start doing all these things in the loreal advert I saw, you know, ” because I’m worth it,” then I look at billy whose cracking up, make a fart noise and say in a really masculine voice,” can I go to the bathroom please miss?” Those idiots fall for it each time, and look at each other in confusion. I love head fuckin people like this. Last year I was really popular, then Sheila Madsen started this rumour that I was a transgender girl who had been abused. The whole school went wild with it, she also put in,”and she smells as well.” After six months of being avoided, ignored, and the object of ridicule I realised what a tough place the world was. How nobody was your puppet like you think when your popular, in fact most of them secretly resent you. The only kid that would talk to me for miles was this fat kid, Billy Figgle. The same thing had happened to him kind of with Roger fenis, the worst player on the rugby team.
Word was Billy’s dad was the complete opposite of Billy, his parents were divorced and lived two completely opposite lives. His dad was some hot shot sports agent who had refused to sign ‘ the Fenis,” who to his face they called him terminator of the pitch, and behind his back…they called him crap. There’s strategy in the good old game, to win you have to be a tactician,but poor old Rodge hadn’t been born with any of that. The boy could run I kid you not my friend,first one in the dinner line every time. Yet on the field when he was dragged down….It….was…..merciless. The more people talked about Rogers failures, the more he resented Billy…and made his life as unbearable as it could get.
Anyway I miss my point,im always missing my point.Me and Billy are circling the pool in the sports gym after sneaking out of double science watching the teddy bear with the spliff in its mouth, to see if it sinks or swims.
” Sink or swim Dick sponge,”
“It’ll float, or you’ll have to put your lifeguard costume and jump in to save it.”He smiles sheepishly. ” Tranny I don’t have a baywatch bod like you.” I guess this is what my life has come too,i am defending my sister’s Teddy Bear Albert. Shit I had no one else to defend anymore,dad was gone , “Olivia your mother and I are taking a little sabbatical from one another,” translation DIVORCE.
“Were different people,” and I wonder if he says that to convince himself when his sleeping with the tea lady at his job as a Market research team leader, or one of those stupid title jobs your supposed to grow out of when you finish uni. Funny that, how Dad doesn’t think I know stuff, maybe it’s the way I write things down, all those letters I sent him when he’d been inside. I wish they’d been neater, trimmed like a haircut, perched neatly on the page like an egg lined with soldiers, instead they were wild and erratic, panicked, with words like We need you, and Why did you do this, at the time I needed to understand.Now I know that things are charcoal and grey, or blurred in between watercolours. Mum made me understand as best as I could,ive found it hard to meet my fathers true gaze since then. Billy says a true gaze is when you see right through someone, like you trust them. ” You should know what some grownups get up to,”my mother lied,her pencil frame almost a strand in the wind.I wiped the tears from her cheeks as she cuddled me on the landing, where the rats had half eaten her fake Persian rug.
I hang out with William Figgle because I guess mum and dad’s divorce really messed me up,mum says figgs is messed up too.He’s a strange boy , I find him talking in riddles in the bicycle sheds or speaking in parables in lit. One time his mum had to be called to school, she sat in the bike sheds with us a thin woman with classic eloquent features, and the most astonishing green eyes. Maggie Figgle kind of reminded me of a very beautiful sparrow that if you spoke too loudly it would fly away. In comparison to her son’s torch orange hair, hers was a soft mousy brown, curly and cropped short like baby hair. I used to think she was a lesbian growing up, because she dressed even more dapper than I did,its just you never saw a prettier woman in our neighbourhood.
You find out strange things about grownups, about people, when they peel the door open and let your shadow peek in slightly. Mrs Figgle couldn’t carry a tune, but she sang Jeff Buckley’s hallelujah in a way that made your bones weep, I mean you really felt it. I’d needed to feel something, you know after Tommy Driscoll.
Chapter two Dreams of Driscoll
“Jesus, Jesus Christ come over here, a minute.”
“leave her alone.” Abel blows out smoke. I know Driscoll, I know stuff, this dick has bothered me for years. ” I said Jehovah,”
“Fuck you Tommy,” I slice back. ” I never said Jesus Christ was a woman,”
” It’s all that feminist Sylvia Walby crap you been reading, or is it ‘ hang myself Plath'” There are people you meet in life that hate you on sight, and the love is recycled. My gosh, Tommy Driscoll is devilishly good looking, dangerously smart and was born with an interesting silver spoon up his arse. This was your everyday average little shit that terrorised the kids in the neighbourhood, you know , the neighbourhood bully. Then Tommy’s grandfather calls it a day and the family inherit not one but two oil companies, at first little Thomas is gifted an Oil company, that’s how it all started, then he’s gifted a book,my older brother and his older brother are best friends and were in cadets together. Most Sundays sarge his older brother meets mine in the local cafeteria for one of their gentlemen’s catch up clubs, my bro says its hysterical. Then gets this faraway look in his eye like he remembers something, he doesn’t want to remember, and I excuse myself because other people’s memories can be impolite.
Anyhow so Thomas Driscoll is in the year above me, “what are you reading?” He says to me one day on the bus ride into the city. Im lost in a language that’s foreign to the rest of the world, my understanding of a book. ” Carlos Ruiz zaffron Shadow of the wind,”
” Your brothers reading Mario Puzo,” he sniped
” I’m not my brothers keeper, these days anyway.” When I say it, the sentence cuts deep like a rough blade. Out of the family of four boys Tommy is the pretty one, he makes me feel tingly and uncomfortable , when you look at his face…confession when I look at his face it’s like I’m studying a piece of music. Bach or Beethoven collecting perfect symphony in between rhythm and flow. I know he hates that. Driscoll has these startling blue eyes that are like an aqua sea,he has Nordic blonde hair, a cleft in his chin and looks like one of those old Hollywood stars like Montgomery Clift or James Dean.”My bro says your writing as well,” I shiver as he sits too close, I can smell the Johnson’s skin cream and the vanilla scented with cinnamon musk on his skin.Its okay he’s tryna tell me,its okay to let people be close, under your skin. But it’s not for me it’s too soon.After what happened. ” Abel, not with you?” I ask
” Abel’s in the toilets…with Joanie.” He grins and raises two eyebrows. I don’t know whether it’s the bus journey that’s making me sick,or the scent of his deodorant. I think I’m allergic to some scents,if that’s in a biology book somewhere or a psychology book I’d feel less weird. I’m feeling claustrophobic, trapped, like a bunny caught in a cage. The energy is stiff in the air, there is a long silence, it’s heavy like a ton, then I remember. ” I can read you know, I’m dyslexic not dumb.” He stands up and bolts out of the bus when the doors slide open. That was the beginning of our hate saga. Only I don’t think I actually hate him…. Maybe I’m just emotionally back to front.
Growing up should come with some manual, about guys,parents and maybe even pimples. I’m trudging the winding path towards our four bedroom house on Angels Landing,ive been listening to ‘ where is my mind’ by nada surf on repeat for almost an hour. Yes the song is depressing,but it gets me thinking about mum and Dad,how mums always weeping privately in the bathroom and dad always had some story to tell about why things are so messed up between them now. They speak to each other in riddles,dad still quoting Shakespeare when he arrives at the house and mum burrowing further into her nest of isolation. I think she’s scared of love, I would be. It’s unpredictable and demands too much, it’s always taking and through her periscope never giving back. “I love you mum,” I say,if only to soothe that loneliness ,the hollowness within where a soul has succumbed to sleep.” Hey,” I’m startled out of thought.”Hi ,” I respond cooly. I’ve dug my fingernails in my pockets to hide that I , like Andrea McQueen, and Elvy Douglas like to touch the sparkle. I am staring at the softest aqua eyes, a shiver runs through me. Then a hot flush. ” Tommy, I thought you stormed off in a rage because I’m so judgemental,” I roll my eyes.
He shrugs. I bite my lips nervously,my insides turning to water. ” So I came back, just to watch you do this,”
“Do what?” I say nervously
“Act weird when you see me. Just proof,”
” That I’m different now?” I feel the claustrophobia creeping in again.please don’t get me I roll in my head, I’m a song that nobody should understand. He shoves his thick hands inside his denim jeans pockets,hes wearing a black turtleneck jumper, and a leather maroon biker jacket. I’m aware of two things which I hate. He’s hit growth spurt early, and towers above most of the boys in my grade, I had been one of the girls who laughed in science when his voice broke then became an avid listener when he joined the radio debate team. When all these odd things started happening to me, with underwear that suddenly got damp,and sweat like a fever I spoke to mum about it,who told me it was hormones,but then looked at me quite candidly over her broadsheet and tilted her thick brow. ” Boys are trouble honey, watch the news, you’ve seen the talk shows.”
” You still watch the sound of music mum,”
“It’s a classic honey.” At that she usually reaches for another glass of chilled Lambrini and downs it like a shot. ” You are aware that were practically standing in the middle of the street,”he puts his hand on the small of my back and ushers me across the street to where Eden Forks is; the local cafeteria. Takes a long breath and then hurls out a sentence which sends my blood pounding to my head.
” I know you applied for the school magazine.” I gulp.” Sub editor?”
“Features.” I try and reply in a commanding yet offhanded tone.For a chick I’m really territorial my brother says.
” I applied for features,” he handed me the slip of paper I hadn’t realised he’d been holding.
” You what now?”
“Features.” I can hear the smugness in his tone.
” There’s no more space,your dad invests in the schools recreational Facilities if you’ve got it, then I’m out”
“Maybe,” he shrugged,his eyes narrowing ” Sink or swim Olivia, tell Billy I said hi.” At that he disappears like smoke