Amber A’s Australia Day

Tuesday, 
27th January 2004

Australia Day was the BEST!

Fun + Friends + Fireworks = Happy Amber!

Ok, so it wasn’t all good. There was sooooo much drama I don’t even know where to begin.

So, this morning I was stressing out trying to work out what I was going to wear. I settled with my pink halter neck top, short denim skirt and thongs. Next, was my makeup. Then my hair. It’s always takes the longest to do; I have to make sure that it’s not going to be ruined by the time the Fremantle Doctor sweeps through in the afternoon.

The Perth foreshore is always packed on Aus Day. But it is the best spot to watch fireworks from. The crazy people get there at like 8am in the morning so they can get the best spots along the river. They bring their families and have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the heat. Did I mention it was 35 degrees Celsius today? That’s insane weather to be sitting in without any shade. Seriously, there’s like, stuff all shade along the foreshore. I feel sorry for all those parents who had to deal with their kids whining about how hot it is.

We all decided at the sleepover that we would head in around 2pm. So Britt’s mum picked me up, along with Jenny and… Amy. She just smiled at me when I got in the car. I ignored her.

Two-faced bitch.

Seriously, why couldn’t she just tell me that she’s pissed off with me. I hate when my friends pretend to be ‘ok’, when really they’re ready to rip my head off. They do it, like all the time. I guarantee that once we go back to school, it will start up all over again.

We got to the turn off to South Perth… but it was blocked! There were roadblocks everywhere! They usually cut off the traffic around 4pm. Obviously not this year! Britt’s mum ended up dropping us off near the Perth Zoo and we had to walk all the way to our meeting point. Poor Lauren was waiting for 20 minutes all by herself. I gave her the biggest hug and we all apologised and explained what happened. Thankfully, she understood. If it was me and I was waiting on a busy corner street, in seriously hot weather, I don’t think I’d be too happy at all. And especially with Lauren having diabetes, she needs to keep hydrated, so being in the sun is like the last thing she needs.

We waited another 10 minutes for Mercy, but she never rocked up. Typical Filipino. She is like, never on time. But 30 minutes is not fashionably late. It’s borderline rude. As we were walking away, Britt’s phone started to go off. Sure enough, it was Mercy. She said that she was running late because her sister needed to pick up some friends. She said she would call us when she got to the foreshore.

That didn’t make any sense to us; since when was Marisol coming? And her friends? We all looked at each other. We were so confused. I told Britt just to msg Mercy and ask her what was going on. We actually never got an answer. Mercy is really unreliable. But… we still love her.

*Face palm*

We headed down to the foreshore. SOOOOO many people! I have always seen the crowds on TV in previous years, but this? Well… this was something else! There were teenagers everywhere! All wearing skimpy clothing and painted in Aussie colours, waving flags around and singing Aussie classics. There was loud music, water sports and even some food stalls. I think we were all shocked – this is the first time that any of us had come down here. And, it was actually really overwhelming. We decided to try and find somewhere to sit down until the heat died down.

Luckily, we managed to find a bit of shade from some random family’s umbrella. And wouldn’t you know it; we were right next to a group of guys around our age. They were pretty funny though; they kept looking over at us and doing stupid shit, obviously to try and get our attention. But we were too busy talking.

Lauren told us that Aaron was going to come to the foreshore too, but he ended up going fishing with Joshua instead. Whatever. I don’t care about him anymore anyway. Well, I do. But like, I just want him to suffer. I was actually really glad that Aaron didn’t come; I pretty much bitched about Joshua all night to the girls. So yeah, I don’t think he’d like that at all.

Britt’s phone went off again. It was Mercy. FINALLY. She said that she was at the jetty. We had no idea where that was, so we went to go find her. I think we wandered around aimlessly for about 20 minutes until we randomly bumped into her. She screamed and we had a group hug. Everyone around us was giving us the evils, but I didn’t care – the group was finally together!

We all walked back to our original spot, but it was already taken. Mercy was telling us along the way that Marisol and her friends were going to spend Aus day on the foreshore too, so that’s why she was late. She said that Demarco might come down later too. Yep. She’s still with him. I really hope that he’s nice and nothing like Isiah… or Dan Flanders.

Ugh.

OMG. That guy. Ok, so Amy was really really quiet and on her phone msging for most of the time. I didn’t notice until Jenny whispered it to me when she was trailing behind. I didn’t think anything of it… until Dan Flanders FUCKING rocked up!

WHAT. THE. FUCK?!

None of us recognised him at first – he looked completely different from when we saw him at the shops. Or maybe we were just paying a bit more attention now. Mercy looked him up and down; she didn’t look impressed at all. He literally appeared out of nowhere. And what was worse, was that Amy didn’t fucking tell any of us! I was hell pissed at her.

“You guys remember Dan? From the shops yeah?” Amy said nervously, introducing us to Dan again.

“Hey,” he said lazily, along with a half-assed wave.

We all quietly said hello back, and then ignored them while Amy and Dan made out chatted to one another. Britt had obviously told the rest of the girls the ‘Peter Parker’ story, because we all had the same look on our face. Shock.

This doesn’t happen very often; normally we argue good points and bad points about a situation. But this… this relationship… I’m glad that we are not arguing about how dangerous we think it is. But at the same time, we can’t really do anything about it; he technically hasn’t done anything wrong. Yet. But he will. And I know that all of us will be there for her when shit hits the fan… after we rub it in her face for not listening to us. Lol.

The sun finally dropped and the Fremantle Doctor felt amazing! I used my compact mirror and touched up my hair and makeup. I was ready to go find some guys! Everyone knows that everyone looks better when it’s darker. So naturally, I’ll look better. Lol. Amy and Dan disappeared off somewhere, so we decided not to bother trying to find them.

We wandered around again, but this time, we ran into Marisol and her friends. Then I looked behind her. It wasn’t just her group of friends. I recognised a lot of people from school. But not in my year. They were all Year 12’s.

Awkward!

Mercy ushered us to come sit with her sister’s friends, so we sat down nervously. We were freaking out. We were sitting with Year 12’s. Talking about school, and teachers, and gossip on people we knew only by seeing them around the school grounds… I felt SO cool! And they were actually talking to us, and asking us about life and stuff, as if being a year younger wasn’t an issue at all. And then, something interesting happened.

I was starting to get hungry, so I suggested that we all get some food. No one wanted to come with me (they were all trying to be ‘cool’ in front of the year 12’s) but I was able to convince Jenny, so we made our way over to the food stalls. We were lining up to get chips, when a familiar face turned around to greet us.

“Amber? Jenny?”

We were both shocked. I couldn’t speak.

Taj Amherst.

“Taj? H-hey Taj,” Jenny replied in surprise.

“Gosh, I thought for a second you’d forgotten about me!” he joked.

Taj and I met last year on an overseas trip to France which was organised by the school. Only students in year 10 and 11 who were studying French were allowed to put their names forward for the ‘experience of a lifetime’. Jenny and I were lucky enough to be chosen… along with 18 other people. Taj just happened to be one of them.

“Of course not! It’s hard to forget someone you’ve spent thirteen days with,” Jenny said, a little too flirtatiously.

“France was pretty amazing, wasn’t it? Still can’t believe that was six months ago. Good times, good times.”

Taj is a really nice guy. Very talkative, and very smart. He helped us out when we were struggling to talk to people in France, and he always had some witty thing to share with all of us.  Although we didn’t even know each other at first, by the end of the trip we were getting on like a house on fire. Jenny said to me that he was flirting with me the whole trip. But I beg to differ. I mean, if he was flirting with me, then why hasn’t he added me on MSN? Or spoken to me since the trip ended? She is so wrong.

“Yeah, they were,” Jenny said as I nodded.

“So, how are you Amber?” Taj asked suddenly, looking straight at me.

“I’m uh, good. Now that the heat has eased up a bit. Yeah, good.”

OMG. I sounded like an idiot.

“That’s great to hear. It really is,” he said, smiling at me, “So, where are you guys sitting?”

“Just over there, next to the people with the huge flag,” Jenny said as she pointed towards the river.

“Oh cool, looks like you’re near my group. I’ll be happy to walk you girls back once you’ve got your food,” Taj offered politely, “Don’t want some strange, evil boys hitting on you two.”

“Oh, so you’ll be our protector huh?” Jenny teased.

“Sure! I’m up for the job, don’t you think?” he laughed as he flexed his non-existent muscles.

While Jenny and Taj were flirting, I bought some much needed food. Then, the 3 of us walked back to our friends. I didn’t say much because I was starving! Plus, I didn’t really know what to say to him. Like I said, we got along really well. I told him things which none of my friends even know about me! We had D&M’s and joked around. Then, when we got back to Australia, we just… stopped talking. Not intentionally, I don’t think, but like even at school, we didn’t say hi or anything. It was as if nothing had happened between us. Not that I wanted anything to happen between us, but it was kind of like losing a friend, you know? So yeah, I really didn’t know what to say…

We got back to Marisol’s group of friends, and noticed there were a couple more additions. Amy and Dan managed to find their way back to us and were actually being sociable for the first time today. And then I noticed a guy I hadn’t seen before with his arm over Mercy’s shoulder. She smiled at us and introduced us to Demarco.

From first glance, he is definitely Mercy’s type. He was tall, tanned and had street style. He kind of dressed like Nelly, but looked more like Bow Wow, if that makes sense. Demarco was really nice and said hello and asked us how we were and our names. He spoke like a gangsta. Jenny and I giggled; it was really hot. Then I heard Taj clearing his throat. Oops. I completely forgot that he was standing next to me.

“Well, looks like I got you here safe and sound! I’ll leave you girls to it,” he said nicely.

“Hang on, wait – where are you sitting again?” Jenny asked.

“Just over there. Don’t worry, I won’t be far away if you need a male escort,” he said as he winked at both of us and walked away.

Everyone was looking at us.

“Uh, why were you talking to him?” Marisol asked us as soon as Taj was out of earshot.

“We know him from the France trip we went on last year,” Jenny replied quietly.

Marisol stared at us, as if she was searching for more of a reason, “Yeah. OK. Just don’t ask his group to come sit with us.”

“Why would we-“ I started to say.

“Just don’t. K?”

Jenny and I stood there, dumbfounded. Like, we were not expecting to be humiliated by Marisol, Mercy’s sister! I didn’t want to get on her bad side, so I bit my tongue. We quickly sat down and listened in on the conversation about whatever it was that they were talking about.

“I’m really sorry about my sister,” Mercy whispered to me, “She’s just annoyed her boyfriend couldn’t make it tonight.”

“That’s ok,” I said, lying through my teeth, “But I don’t get why she won’t let them sit here? As if we were going to ask them anyway!”

“Oh, she just doesn’t want to be seen with them, that’s all. She thinks they are losers.”

Losers? Really? I guess Marisol and her friends are higher on the social hierarchy than what I initially thought. Interesting.

“Ok. Well, you know the only reason I’d invite Taj over here is for Jenny. I think he likes her.”

“Excuse me?”

I turned around. Jenny was staring at me with her hands on her hips.

“Taj doesn’t like me,” she stated.

“Well, you were flirting with him just before…” I trailed off.

“Maybe I was trying it on, but he was staring at you the whole time, just like in France,” she snapped back.

I heard a ‘ooooooo’. Oh shit. Now everyone else was listening to us.

“No he wasn’t Jenny,” I started to say.

“Like you’d know; you were totally avoiding eye contact! You should go talk to him.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s really obvious that he likes you Amber, I mean, look at him.”

I did. I glanced over to his group.

And he was staring right back at me.

“See?” Jenny said triumphantly.

“Yeah, but that’s…” I stopped.

Everyone was purely focused on us now. This was the last thing I wanted to happen. I told Jenny we needed to talk one on one, so we went for a quick walk. I didn’t want Marisol’s friends to know what exactly happened in France, especially now that I know she thinks they are losers.

“Jenny, I’m not interested in Taj,” I said firmly.

“Yes you are,” she contradicted.

“No, I’m not.”

I told her what happened after we got back to Australia. She finally got my point of view… eventually.

“Ok, so what if he ignored you? Maybe there was a reason,” Jenny rationalised out loud, “Don’t you want to find out?”

“Ye- no! No, I don’t. I don’t need any more boy drama in my life right now,” I said logically, “So, are you interested in him?”

Jenny laughed, “I might be. I mean, I could try but I think he wouldn’t go for me. There’s no spark between us, not like you and him A.”

I cringed. Spark? That’s sooooo cliché. I looked over to their group again. Taj was still looking at me. He didn’t even bother to hide it – his just smiled even wider.

“Whatever. Let’s go back now,” I said wanting to end the conversation.

There was about 30 minutes until the fireworks were about to go off, so we were just chatting away and mucking around. Marisol’s friends were actually quite funny. Unfortunately, Dan didn’t think they were…

“Are you some kinda Perth racist?” Dan suddenly said, out of nowhere.

“What? No!” one of Marisol’s friends defended, “I just meant-“

“Nah. I know what you meant. I don’t appreciate it.”

“Calm down bro, it was just a joke,” Demarco intervened.

“Nah, it wasn’t. He thinks he’s better than me,” Dan spat, as he got up and tried to grab Marisol’s friend.

Demarco pushed Dan back, “Not cool man. Back off.”

And then the brawl started.

Britt, Lauren, Jenny and I leapt back and watched as Dan threw a punch at Demarco. We screamed in shock as Mercy and Amy tried to restrain their boys. They failed so bad. Marisol started yelling at them, and her friends attempted to pull them off one another. I didn’t understand why Dan was over reacting – I didn’t even hear the joke! Amy looked like she was about to cry and Mercy was pulling on Demarco’s arm to stop. Other people around us got involved and we eventually got pushed away from the fight and separated. It was chaos!

I was totalling freaking out. How the hell did this happen?! Then, I felt someone grab my hand.

“Come with me.”

It was Taj! He lead me out of the crowd and over to his group of friends.

“Stay here,” he said, as he went back in, obviously to go look for Jenny, Britt and Lauren.

The brawl was getting out of hand. It was so embarrassing. Scary, but seriously embarrassing. I knew Dan was trouble. Poor Amy. I actually felt so bad for her; Marisol and her friends probably hate her now. But you know what? She shouldn’t have brought Dan in the first place. Then none of this would have happened. So really, it’s her fault. I’d hate to be her right now.

I turned around and smiled sheepishly at Taj’s friends. They were all looking at me, as if I had some weird smell of something. One of them, a slightly bigger girl that I had seen around school, asked me to sit down. So I did. I thought it was nice of her, considering she doesn’t even know me. She introduced herself as Megan, and then started naming everyone else in the group. I honestly wasn’t paying attention – I was way too worried about my friends to even care. They could tell; they kept trying to reassure me that everything was going to be fine. They didn’t even ask what it was about! I guess they probably didn’t really care though.

Taj finally emerged, with Britt, Jenny and Lauren trailing behind him. They all looked red faced, and Britt burst into tears once she was clear of the crowd. I ran to hug her.

“That was scary. The boys… OMG,” Jenny said incoherently, “Marisol’s friends tried to stop Demarco but he’s bashed up Dan pretty badly.”

“OMG! Where’s Mercy and Amy? ” I alarmingly asked.

“Don’t know,” Jenny said, under her breath.

By now, the crowd had gone. Luckily there were no cops around to see it. Omg. Mum would have killed me if I got arrested! And I didn’t even do anything!

“You guys ok?” Taj asked us all.

We all nodded. We were all in too much of a shock to speak anymore. Britt was seriously overwhelmed, Lauren was tapping away on her phone – no doubt msging Aaron – and Jenny was panicking. And me? I was frozen. Then, we heard a large bang.

The fireworks had started.

None of us could see Mercy, Amy, or Marisol’s friends, so we just stayed with Taj’s group and watched the fireworks. It was uber awkward. But, we made the best out of the situation; the 4 of us hugged each other and watched the fireworks together. We were all upset about the brawl, but we put that aside while we watched the bright colours explode above us. Fireworks are so entrancing. And pretty. And just overall amazing!

“I really hope you’re ok Amber,” Taj whispered.

I didn’t even realise he was sitting next to me, “I’m a bit shaken. Like, I’ve only seen fights like that in the movies lol. I’ll be ok.”

“Well, I’m happy to be your white knight anytime.”

I smiled coyly, “Thank you for rescuing me – and for getting my friends out of there.”

Queue the awkward silent staring between us. Yeah. We definitely had a moment.

“Amber!”

Mercy’s voice cut through my gaze and I looked around for her. She was walking towards us, along with Demarco and Amy.

“OMG! Where did you go?” I said, sooooo thankful for the distraction.

The 3 of them sat down with us. Demarco’s face was looking a bit swollen and Amy… well, I could tell she had been crying; her face was uber blotchy. She just stared at the ground, probably dying inside with shame.

“Marisol freaked so she told us to just keep walking,” Mercy explained, “She was hell worried that the cops were going to blame them for the fight so she didn’t want to be anywhere near it.”

“If I ever see that home boy again, I’ll smash him,” Demarco said angrily, obviously talking about Dan.

“Where is Dan anyway?” Britt asked.

Amy said nothing.

“We were so worried about you guys. I’ve never seen a crowd rush like that before. Are you all ok?” I asked the 3 of them.

Mercy and Amy nodded. I knew everyone wanted to talk about it, but we waited until the fireworks display finished. It was such a good finale; it felt like the fireworks were actually coming right at me! Once the last explosion ended, pretty much everyone decided to up and leave. But that’s typical of families; it’s probably wayyyy past their children’s bedtime. Most of the teen’s just hung back. Just like us, they weren’t ready to go home yet.

“Ok, so what exactly happened?” Jenny asked out of nowhere.

“He just lost his shit, like the loser he is,” Demarco said carelessly, “Can’t take a joke.”

“Well, Marisol’s friends called Armadale, Armahole. Dan lives around there,” Amy piped up.

“So what? Don’t mean you can go around fighting everybody who disses your hood,” Demarco replied angrily, “That dude is tapped.”

“He’s not tapped!” Amy screeched, and stormed off.

“OMG babe, now look what you’ve done!” Mercy scolded as she hit Demarco’s arm softly.

“I’ll go get her,” Lauren said, as she got up and went after her.

Then Taj leapt up and followed her. He’s such a gentlemen.

“So… you and Taj, huh?” Mercy teased.

“OMG! No! we are just friends,” I said defensively.

“He likes you A,” Britt added.

“Yeah. He does Amber,” Jenny said as she playfully pushed my shoulder away.

“You’re going to go out with him soon. I can feel it,” Mercy teased further.

The girls pretty much teased me until Lauren and Taj came back. There was no sign of Amy.

“We tried to bring her back, but she’s called her sister to come pick her up,” Lauren informed us.

“What? You can’t leave her by herself!” I freaked.

“She’ll be ok, she’s waiting at the first aid tent,” Taj said, completely reassuring me.

“Babe, you need to apologise to her next you see her!” Mercy told Demarco.

“K.”

None of us believed Demarco would say sorry to her. He didn’t care at all. I guess that’s the bad boy in him. We hung around for a while, until Britt’s phone rang. It was her mum. She said she was on her way to pick us up.

“Well, looks like our ride is on its way,” Britt said to no one in particular.

“Thankyou guys so much for letting us hang out with you,” I said politely to Taj and his friends.

“You’re welcome! Don’t be a stranger!” Megan said as she gave me a hug.

Yeah. I thought that was weird. Everyone else just waved goodbye to us and carried on with their own group conversation.

I turned to Taj, “Thanks again for helping us out.”

“Anytime Amber. Do you guys need me to walk you to your pick up point?” Taj kindly offered.

“We’re good,” Demarco surprisingly answered on behalf of all us girls.

They just looked at each other intensely for a split second. Did Taj just size up Demarco? Probably not. Must’ve just been my imagination.

“Ok. Well. look after them,” Taj said sincerely.

“I will bro,” Demarco said as he went in for a fistbump-handshake thingy.

Taj reciprocated and laughed, “Oh cool! I’ve always wanted to do that. I feel like a homie now!”

We all laughed. It was pretty funny, especially since he’s like, the whitest guy I know. And when I mean white, I mean like, Milky Bar white.

Us girls and Demarco said goodbye to Taj and headed for the pick up point. It was soooo far away; right outside the Perth Zoo again. I thought it was nice of Mercy’s boyfriend to walk us there. I wasn’t sure how the 2 of them were getting home but Mercy told us that Marisol was going to pick them up. And so she should! She practically abandoned her sister! The rest of the night went smoothly; Britt’s mum was on time and we got home safe and sound. Mum did yell at me for getting home later than expected, but I lied and told her there was heaps of traffic. And she bought it, just like always.

I was still really annoyed at Amy. Storming off like that – we were supposed to stay together! She really should have come home with us, even if she was upset. I know all the girls will rally around her and forgive her for inviting Dan to the foreshore, but I won’t. No one forced her to bring him. And no one really wanted him there anyway. She has to live with that guilt. She could have put us all in danger. So, I’m not talking to her until she apologises.

And as for Taj? I’m not really sure what to do about him. Like, I half believe Jenny, but at the same time, wouldn’t he have asked for my number or something if he was interested? Not that I would go out with him… would I? He’s funny, smart, witty, caring… but he’s no Joshua. Wait a minute! No, screw Joshua! Taj runs laps around him any day! He’s a gentlemen compared to Joshua. And you know what? I did find myself enjoying his company tonight through all the craziness though…

Amber A.

loveheart

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