Sammy looked up from the piano and groaned as he played the chords of his latest request. Of all the music rooms, of all the high schools, of all the states in Australia, she had to walk into his… well, okay not really his, but Mr Sharp’s . Glancing over at Gene, he somehow caught the teacher’s eye, indicated at the door with his head and the teacher walked over to the young student and started talking to her.
This was going to be trouble.
Big trouble, and Sammy knew it.
He thought she was out of his life forever. But she kept on showing up. So, he knew what he had to do… he had to take off and see what would happen. Sammy finished his piece, closed the piano lid and picked up his bag to leave.
“Hey Sam, thought you’d like to show Veronica around the place.” Gene smiled, “It’s her first day here. Her parents just moved to Brisbane.”
Yeah I bet. He nodded, “Oh, I see. But I can’t. I have somewhere to be.”
“Oh… that’s a pity.” He said and let Sam go.
Once out the door, he didn’t turn around, knowing Veronica was standing outside the music room watching him leave. She was expecting him to turn just once; almost ordering him to. Shit, he needed a day off from her. Why did she show up all the time; just when he thought he was over her?
The bus into town was good. He swiped his Go Card and grabbed a seat near the middle where he could see a mirror reflecting everyone on the bus behind him. He was being stupid thinking she might be already on here, but he knew what she was like. Instead, he saw her running up to the bus and jumping on, also swiping her Go Card.
“Hi Sam.” She smiled that award-winning smile she sprung on any unsuspecting human being around, “Now, why are you trying to get away from me?” she pushed herself into the seat next to him; forcing him to shove over next to the window.
He looked out the window, “You keep following me around.”
“You’re not making it easy to keep up with you.” She touched his hand and he pulled away quickly, “Aww, don’t be like that. Let’s have some fun. What do you want to do?”
Get away from you. “Don’t you have a boyfriend?” he asked.
“Yeah… we’re cool.” She nodded as the bus pulled away from the curb, “But you were my first real love and I’ll leave him to be with you.”
“Look I’m not all that great, really.” He tried to move away from her, but found himself wedged against the window as she moved closer, “Besides, don’t you have a promise ring or something like that he gave you saying that you belong to him?”
Holding out her left hand, she wiggled her fingers showing off a gold ring with a garnet in it, “Yeah, it’s cute.” Her dark eyes looked up at him as her raven hair flicked back, “But it’s you I want.”
The bus turned a corner onto Edward Street and Sam saw his exit, pressed the button and the bus pulled up to a stop. He pushed past Veronica as the doors opened and he swiped his card as he rushed out the doors and they slammed shut behind him. He didn’t wait to see if the bus stopped again as he raced off toward Eagle Street Pier. He wanted to get away from her… she was so suffocating. As he approached the ferry, he found he was on time for the one to go to Southbank. As the City Cat pulled away from the river bank, Sam spotted Veronica running along the bank. He went inside and found a seat; he had a few minutes before she caught up to him.
Throughout the day, he was constantly looking over his shoulder as he walked around Southbank and West End, and Veronica always seemed to be around the place or nearby. Exactly how she knew where he’d be was beyond him. But he didn’t like how this was turning out. His stalker was beginning to get to him in the most uncomfortable way; after all, he had begun running from her two years ago after leaving Melbourne and thought he had ditched her.
But he was wrong.
As he walked up to the GoMA, he spotted Mr Sharp from his school who was standing at the reception desk, who turned and caught his eye, “Sammy, we’ve been looking for you.”
He turned and looked for Veronica, but she seemed to have vanished, “You have?” he turned back to him, “Veronica’s been tailing me all day.”
“We’ve been looking for her too. Her husband…”
“Yeah… husband.” He said, “He’s been worried she’s going to leave him for somebody else.”
He looked around the foyer of the art gallery, knowing she was around here somewhere, “She’s here, but she’s hiding.”
“I just want to be with you…” when she saw his face, her smile faltered, “Oh, you know about him don’t you?”
“Listen, I loved you at one point, but you can’t just leave him. It’s far safer if you go with him.” Sammy said, “Besides, if you stay with me, we’ll be running all the time.”
“Away from what?”
He held her hands gently, “Well, I keep running from you… think about it.”
She looked down, “Oh… you’re a traveller, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, every year is a holiday to me.”
Mr Sharp smiled, “Veronica, it’s best if you do leave and go back to Sydney where your husband is waiting.”
She nodded and looked up at Sammy, “I love you.”
Letting go of his hands, she walked outside into the waning day. Sam turned to Mr Sharp, “This is the beginning of a new friendship, Gene.”
“Yeah. But this time, you’re free.”