"Man, I go away for week, and the whole world changes. My best friend has a date with Simon Reeves!" Nikki exclaimed that night, looking tanned from her family holiday to Queensland.

I groaned from where I was lying next to Tara on Nikki's bed. "It's not a date. It's two friends, hanging out."

"And I thought I was moving up in the world, having gone on two and a half dates with Travis, before that fizzled out. But you, Miss James…" she trailed off, grinning at me. "Ok, ok, I'll quit teasing you. I'm glad you guys are becoming better friends."

"Me too. But most importantly, what are you going to wear?" Tara asked.

I laughed. "I don't know, Tara. I generally don't plan outfits ahead of time when I go to the beach with a mate."

"Well, just make sure you wear these," Nikki announced, handing me a small bundle of tissue paper. "And I got you something too, Taz. Gifts from Queensland."

Tara opened a shopping bag to find a blue summer skirt, and squealed in delight. I unraveled my tissue paper, to find a pair of mother-of-pearl drop earrings. "These are gorgeous, hun," I said with a smile, and Nikki grinned at me.

"You deserve to dress up like a princess sometimes."

I put them in my ears the next day, as I put on my skinny jeans, flip flops, and a black long sleeved v-neck top. It seemed like Simon had a similar idea to accommodate both the beach in the cool autumn weather in shorts, flip flops and a surf hoodie.

"Hey," he said with a smile, as I dubiously eyed something in his hand.

"What's that?"

He grinned. "A Frisbee. You only refused to throw a football, but didn't specify about more general items."

I rolled my eyes, but smiled. "Fine, but this is at your own peril."

"Didn't you say you were a netballer? You must know something about throwing and catching."

"Yeah, with a netball. Not a flat piece of plastic."

"Stop flapping, start catching," he took some long strides away from me, then sent the Frisbee sailing at me. To my credit, I managed to brush it with my fingertips before it fell to the sand. I threw it back at him, and he caught it with ease.

"So," he said, sending it back. "Tell me something fascinating I don't know about the world of Sam James."

I threw the Frisbee, and it landed on the sand several feet in front of him. Smiling grudgingly, I said. "Frisbee's not one of my regular pastimes."

"No kidding. Anything else?"

"Um…" I thought for a moment. "Oh! I know. Toe socks freak me out."


"You know those socks you can wear, that have individual sections for each of your toes? I hate how they feel when you wear them, the way they separate each of your toes."

He laughed. "Fair enough. Anything else?"

"I despise Indian food, horror movies, and call waiting. Your turn."

He leapt up to catch the Frisbee I'd thrown too high, then said," Ok. I'm totally freaked my emus."

"What?" I asked, laughing.

"Yep! Emus, ostriches…I think it's the long neck thing, you never know when you're going to peck you…" he shuddered.

"So, is this birds with long necks in general?" I asked, delighted I'd finally caught the Frisbee. "Like, do swans freak you out?"

He glowered. "No."

Later, we went for a wander around the rocks pools below the headland. "So, what subjects are you doing at school?" he asked.

"Advanced English and Extension English, modern history, geography, maths, biology and art."

"That's a lot of English."

"Yep. I'll probably drop biology, and pick up an extra unit of English in grade 12 next year. I just did bio this year because the student advisor said I should. I guess they wanted their scholarship student not to have such an outright obvious slant towards a liberal arts education," I said with a grin. "But Phil, the guy with the scholarship in my year, is doing like every possible maths subject and every science you can, so I guess we balance each other out."

"So, I'm guessing English is your favourite subject?"

"Totally, and art. But I love writing. I want to study journalism, I think, so mostly English."

"Ah. See I don't like writing that much, but know something about it by association."

I gave him a half smile at his reference to father. "Does your dad do much writing anymore?"

"Very occasionally. But since his new obsession became owning every media outlet he could, its mostly business for him. He's actually taking a pseudo day off today, which is incredible."

"A pseudo day off?" I asked.

"He's at the golf club, where he sees all his business associates, and they actually engage in at least two minutes of small talk, before talking shop. It's disguised as a social activity. But golf can hardly be classified as a sport."

So I'm guessing golf isn't you thing?"

He smirked as he sat down on a rock, and I followed suit. "Nope. See, Mum and Dad paid for Holly and I to dabble in every sport imaginable when we were younger, until we found our niche. It's what rich kids do. So we did tennis lessons together, I tried golf, Holly horse-riding. I played soccer in primary school, Holly played netball, then it was footy for me…and I was finally allowed to just settle on that. Throw in a bit of sailing and surfing. Holly just settled on kickboxing classes at the gym, but she still occasionally has a hit on our tennis court."

I nodded, a far off memory surfacing in my mind of Holly and I as small children, struggling to hit the ball over the net.

"So, what's in the future for you, huh? Heir to the Reeves empire?"

Simon sighed. "Nothing's final. I know Dad would like it, but he's beginning to suspect that journalism and big business aren't actually my thing. It used to break his heart that I wasn't at the top of my business studies class, but I think he'll respect my choice if I choose not to go into business with him. He won't do the nepotism thing if it means his empire won't thrive. I actually think Holly could be good at it, if she just applied herself. She likes writing, and has good instincts for business and finance. On the rare occasion she studies for an English or economics test, she does well."

I gave a soft smile. "You talk about your sister a lot. It's nice."

"Do I?" he seemed surprised. "I guess. But we're not exactly close. Not like you and Chloe."

"I got lucky with my family. So, if it's not journalism, what do you want to do?"

He hesitated, and dropped his eyes shyly to the rocks in front of him, sticking his toe idly in a rock pool and withdrawing instantly at the feel of the cold water. "You've got to promise not to say anything. I haven't told anyone."

"Not anyone?" I asked incredulously.

"Well, I mentioned it to Justin in passing once…I want to be a psychologist."

"What type of psychology?" I asked.

"Counselling psychology, maybe clinical." He lifted is eyes to look at me. "I just think there's so many young people out there with so many burdens, so much crap going on, but they've got no-one to listen. But if there is someone to listen, that person can make all the difference. I guess it could be cool to be that person."

At that moment, I was more intrigued by his past than ever, but didn't push it. "That's a really awesome ambition."

He looked at me and smiled. I got the feeling he was glad to talk about it, a dream he kept silent. "And as hard as biology can be, I actually like it. The science side of psychology actually interests me as well, though it doesn't for a lot of people."

"I won't try to pretend to understand that someone could actually like science, but I'm glad for you."

He grinned. "Yeah, well, we can't all have brilliant minds like mine."

A little while later, he stood up. "I guess I better get back to studying, we've got half-yearly exams our first week back, and I'm hardly a diligent studier."

"Well, they don't start for a week, and if you've started studying already, that's better than a typical last minute crammer."

"Oh, but I am a last minute crammer. I try to start before hand, but have trouble concentrating. I'm making an effort this week."

I made an errant offer to help him study if he needed it, and then we parted ways.

Simon really did have the best of intentions to study, but after he and Sam hung out, he headed over to Justin's for a bit.

He was pleasantly surprised to find Jade there. "Have a good afternoon?" she asked, giving him a hug, her eyes twinkling.

He groaned. "What has Justine here told you?"

Justin grinned. "Only that you're currently in denial about your feelings for Sam. I know, I know, you're just friends."

"And what have you got to say about this? Let's get it over with," Simon said, flopping back on the sofa.

"Hey, your friends are your business. But I'm glad to see you've got some good taste for once. I mean, she's on a scholarship, so obviously there's a brain floating around up there, and she's got balls, so hopefully she won't put up with your usual crap."

"How do you figure she's got balls?"

"Well, look at the hell she went through a few years ago, and she's still standing. "

Simon considered this as Justin put in, "we're forgetting the most important thing: she doesn't look half bad out of her school uniform. She could even be hot, Simone."

Jade rolled her eyes. "Such boys. She is pretty, and unlike most girls you two twits surround yourself with, it's actually a natural thing. So, you've got my tick of approval with this one, Simon. And," she grinned wickedly. "If by chance you did start dating her, I would love to see the reaction of all the skanks."

I was in the middle of a Geography assessment that week when I got message. Checking my phone, I smirked upon reading Simon's anguish: study = death. Study break suggestions?

Checking my watch, I calculated that I could hang with him for an hour or two before I was due at work.

I wrote back: meet at the headland in 20. DON'T bring any Frisbees.

The bus was running late, so he was already sitting on the bench at the headland when I arrived. There was a beautiful view up there, with the little beach with the swimming area to the right, the start of the marina on the left, and the ocean stretching endlessly straight ahead.

"So, study = death?" I asked, sitting down beside him, hugging my legs to my chest.

He groaned. "Yes. When it's English, and we're studying Julius Caesar. It's probably my least favourite Shakespearean play."

"You're kidding. It's probably my favourite. 'There are tides in the affairs of men,' and whatnot."

"But you won't study it til next year…you read Shakespeare for fun?" he asked incredulously.

I shrugged. "After we studied Much Ado About Nothingin grade seven, I loved it, and got heaps of Shakespeare plays from the library. I read Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's dream, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar before I began to yearn for modern English again…I'm talking like the world's biggest geek, aren't I?" I realized, seeing his expression. I was used to rattling off my literary obsessions with my friends, but realized they were perhaps a little excessive for people that weren't used to it.

He smiled. "No, it's interesting. I've never met someone that read Shakespeare for fun at age twelve before. I was never really into the bard, but learnt an appreciation for him when I studied in England."

"Yeah, you were on exchange last year or something, right?"

"Halfway through grade ten here, I went to boarding school in England for a year. I came back at the end of their school year in June last year."

"Did you like it?"

His gaze was fixed on the far distance as he nodded. "Yeah, I really did. I made some great mates, and learnt heaps. I'm talking more life lessons than school lessons."

We talked for ages, more seriously than we usually did. I glanced at my watch. "Crap, I gotta go. I have to be at work in ten minutes."

"I'll drive you. Where's work?

"Reeves PR," I replied as we walked to his car.

"Seriously?" he asked, grinning. "Since when do you work there?"

"Since the beginning of the year, doing the secondary receptionist job thing, when there's a build-up of admin by the end of the day."

"No kidding. How often?"

"Mondays and Wednesdays, 3.30-6. I know people in high places there, see, that helped get me the job."

"Yeah, I think I know someone in a high place there, too," he countered, as he started the car. "Well what d'ya know, we've just got to get Chloe a job for my Mum or Dad, and that's the whole family in servitude."

He glanced at me sidelong to catch my reaction, and to ensure I knew he was kidding.

Glad that he could joke about this with me without any seriousness, I replied, "and we'll stay that way, until your family actually learns to do things for themselves."

He laughed out loud at this. "Ouch. I should know better than to take you on by now, shouldn't I?"

Soon, we pulled up out the front of the building. "It's been fun," he said.

"It didn't suck. Message me again if you need a study break."

"Will do. See ya, Sam."

I met his blue gaze for a moment, and smiled. "Bye, Simon."

A/N Thanks for reading! Please leave a review :)