Cherie M Hudson
My name is Brendon Osmond. I’m a 25 year old post-graduate student who knows three things with absolute conviction. I know damn near everything there is to know about keeping in peak physical shape. I have a plan to make a lot of money from that knowledge. I’m an optimist who’s not easily rattled. But then the girl I fell in love with almost two years ago texts me out of the blue and everything I know is thrown out the window.
Am I rattled? No.
Not until I fly to the other side of the world and discover the girl I fell for has kept a very big secret from me.
A secret that mocks all my knowledge of the human body and how to keep it healthy.
A secret that shatters my plans for my own personal training business.
A secret with my eyes.
A secret who needs me more than I can comprehend.
Ask me again if I’m rattled.
Now ask me if I’m still in love.
Excerpt from Unforgettable
I didn’t sleep for the entire flight. I watched every Dwayne Johnson movie on offer (Yes, even Tooth Fairy). I walked the aisles every thirty minutes. I did deep lunges up and down said aisles every hour.
I drank more coffee than I ever have in a thirteen-hour period. I put sugar in my coffee three times, not even realizing I’d done it until I took the first sip.
The passenger beside me, a rather large man with a dubious understanding of personal hygiene, had a habit of facing me whenever he yawned, so I kept getting drops of the saliva squirting from his mouth on my arm.
I thought of Amanda only once during those long hours. I remembered the last time we were together. Really together. Our bodies joined, our sweat mingling, our breaths doing the same as we moved to a rhythm so perfectly in sync it was a thing of beauty.
I’ll admit to finding myself in the memory halfway through Tooth Fairy. On reflection, that was a bad movie choice. It didn’t help that my new pal on my right decided to pick that exact moment to need to go to the loo. Do you have any idea how hard it is to hide an erection when you’re standing in a plane aisle while wearing loose flannel drawstring pants?
All in all, it was an interesting flight.
Twelve hours and forty-two minutes after takeoff, the captain announced we were going to be landing soon. I hurried to the loo, my jeans, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant in hand. Thirty seconds later – PJs off, jeans not yet on, foamy toothbrush in mouth – the seatbelt warning sign chimed. A second after that, the captain announced we were heading into turbulence and everyone needed to return to their seat and buckle up, ASAP.
“We’re in for a bumpy landing, everyone,” he informed us all. “Sorry about that.”
I made my way back to my seat, bouncing side to side as the plane did its best to mimic some kind of insane ride at a theme park. From the overhead compartment, the raucous laughter of the kookaburra in my backpack provided a jarring soundtrack to the violent movement.
Thirty-five minutes later, with a screeching of tires and a teeth-clattering thud, we touched down. I refused to see the landing as an omen of what was waiting for me outside the plane. I was, however, going to pull that damn kookaburra from my backpack and rip the bloody thing to shreds.
It took me a few moments to realize I was not … at my best. Wired, sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated. Not my usual state.
Choosing not to take it out on the soft-toy bird, I disembarked. My B.O. resplendent traveling companion followed closely behind me. It seemed he didn’t just have a poor understanding of personal hygiene, he wasn’t a big fan of personal space either. After we crossed through the doors leading to Customs he moved from directly behind me to directly beside me.
“Hey,” he said, puffing as he matched my stride. “You’re that guy who was in the news last year, right? The guy who beat up some other guy over some American student at Sydney University?”
It wasn’t the first time I’d been recognized since that incident happened. Fame, even fame as surreal and superficial as mine, has a weird impact on people. In the immediate days that followed the infamous “Mackellar House Brawl” as the media christened it, I’d been contacted by more than one news program, followed by more than one Biceps Groupie (who had a Facebook page documenting where I was, what I was eating, what I was wearing) and been confronted more than once by guys who wanted to prove they could take out the guy who took out a royal bodyguard.
The world is full of strange people and I don’t normally worry about that. But I was tired, desperately wanted a shower and the kookaburra was still uttering the odd chuckle from my backpack. I didn’t snap at the guy, but by the way he scurried away from me when I shot him a look, I must have had bloody murder in my eyes. Of course, the second he did, I was flooded by another emotion I’ve never found myself experiencing.
Oh man, why was I doing this again? Why was I here? Sucking in a slow breath, I dragged my hands through my hair, counted to ten, and exhaled just as slowly. I was okay. I was good. I was gravy. I was chillaxed.
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