Long time without an update…my bad, guys! I've been focused on other stories, but I hope to bring this back into my regular update cycle! No promises, though…

Don't forget to review!

The first thing I register is a loud vibration against my side. My eyes flutter open and I yawn heavily. Stretching my arms and legs, I open my eyes and look around. It take me a second to remember where I am. Flashes of the previous night flit through my mind and I wince.

Zombie was not happy by my stretching and looks at me with an unamused face. He meows woefully and rolls onto his back, stretching his front and back legs to the full extent. I chuckle and rub his belly, causing him to go limp.

"You're fat." I tell him, patting his large furry stomach. He glares at me and rolls back to his feet, waddling over to the edge of the bed and jumping down. I swear the ground shakes.

I yawn again and my stomach grumbles. Time for some food. I grab the room service phone on the bedside table and dial the number.

"How can I help you?" Says a charming voice.

"I'd like to order room service." I tell the voice placidly.

"What can we get you?"

"I'll have the pancakes please."

"Blueberry or chocolate chip?"

"Umm…" I say, awkward.

"…Would you like both?" The charming voice laughs, a sweet little tinkle of a voice.

"Maybe." I grin into the phone.

"It'll be up in ten." She hangs up.

I stretch and sit up. I strip off my pajamas and hop into the shower. The water feels nice on my skin. My thoughts once again drift to Jasmine. It was such a rush seeing her again. Like when you get that sharp excitedly jolt in your stomach, you know what I mean? Ah well. I hope she's in a better mood today. My stomach twists again at the thought of eating lunch with her. I turn the water off and step out, wrapping a towel around my waist.

I leave the bathroom and re-enter the bedroom. I throw on a new pair of underwear and pants, and am dressing in a red t-shirt when theres a knock on the door.

"Room service!" The same voice from the phone sings.

I open the door. "Hey, thanks."

The girl smiles at me. She's young and very attractive. She has waist length blonde hair and tanned skin. She's tall and chesty and has a very mischievous feel about her.

"Chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes?" She asks, grinning.

"Yeah, thanks!" My stomach growls audibly and she laughs again.

"You're not from around here." She notes.

"Huh? How do you figure?" I ask her.

"The accent." She taps her smirking mouth. "Canadian, huh?"

"Yeah." I nod. Suddenly, Zombie meows loudly from the depths of my room and waddles on over to us.

"Meow?" He looks up at me.

The girl looks down at the cat with a raised eyebrow. "Uh…you're not supposed to have pets here."

"Erm…I, well uh…" I can't think of anything good other than 'I bribed the lady' so I just shrug in defeat.

She touches my arm. "It's okay, I love cats." She squats down and holds her hand out to Zombie. He sniffs curiously in her direction and toddles over. She effectively mauls him.

She stands up and offers her hand. "I'm Gina! Are you going to be staying here long?"

"Shawn." I tell her. "And I don't know, depends how things go."

"Oh?" She asks.

"Long story." I tell her. "Way too long."

She takes a step back, the mischievous smirk back on her face. "You should tell me sometime, Shawn." She turns around and gives me a backhanded wave. "I'll see you around, Shawn. Enjoy your pancakes."

I wave back and close the door.

"That was weird, huh?" I tell Zombie. He gives me a "are you retarded look".

I roll my eyes. "Don't give me that look, fatty."

He turns away and haughtily walks over to the bed, hopping up on it and curling up in the sheets.

I grab my breakfast and chow down. It's delicious, and when I'm finished I'm still hungry. I check the clock. It's 11:45 A.M. "What the hell time to Australian's eat lunch?" I ask myself out loud. "Eh, I'll just head over for noon."

I look at my well loved beanie that I got from Laney on my fourteenth birthday. I debate whether or not to put it on. I look at myself in the mirror. Plain red t-shirt and blue-jeans. I look odd after being in my Total Drama Pahkitew Island clothes for so long. The way my hair is right now looks crap without the beanie, so I shove it on. Gotta look my best for Jasmine.

I breath deeply and stare at myself. "You got this." I tell my reflection as the butterflies return. I breath deeply again. "It'll be all good. She has to understand.

From under my blankets Zombie gives a muffled meow. I can almost hear the taunting.

"See you later, Zom-bitch." I chuckle. "I'll be back later."

Zombie pokes his head out and glares at me.



I think of what he could want. It hits me. I don't have any cat food.

"Ah, shit." I breath. "I'll go get some, buddy." I tell him, grabbing my room key and wallet. I shove them into my pocket and head out the hotel room. I wince. I'm going to be late.

I turn the corner and run into Gina. Literally. We stumble backward. "Sorry." I apologize. "I'm in a bit of a rush."

She smoothes her hotel uniform and smiles. "No worries! What's the rush?"

"I have to get cat food and I'll be late for lunch." I sigh. Jasmine's gonna be pissed, but I can't leave Zombie without food.

Gina thinks about it for a second. She grins slyly. "You've got a date, don't you?"

I feel my cheeks flush and I stammer. "Huh? What-I, no not really," I scratch the back of my head nervously. "More of a reunion…"

She laughs. "You so have a date. And look, you're all embarrassed!"

"Well, it's more of an…it's really complicated." I all but plead. "I gotta go, sorry!" I wave apologetically and run off.

"Wait, Shawn!"

I stop, skidding for a few feet. I turn around, trying not to be rude. "Whaaat?"

"The place where I get lunch has a little corner store right nearby." She tells me. "I'll grab some cat food and feed the little bugger."

Wow, that's really nice of her. I grab into my wallet and pull out twenty bucks. "Thanks so much!" I tell her, before turning on my heel and continuing this journey out of the hotel thats taking WAY longer than it freaking needs to!

"I'll keep the change!" Gina calls to me teasingly.

I give her a thumbs over my shoulder and barrel through the fancy spinny door at the hotel and nearly careen into some fat lady with a small dog.

"I say!" She barks at me. I offer an apology and keep running down the street. I'm running for a good minute, receiving stares from everyone like I'm an escaped mental patient before I realize something.

I'm not in Canada anymore.

No, seriously. Where I'm from you can walk to anything relevant. I remember the car ride last night and literally face palm. "Ugh!"

I walk over to the curb next to a teenage boy with long dreads and Jasmine's skin color. He's wearing a yellow shirt. I stick my hand out and copy what he's doing. It's not the same thing we do in Canada but when a taxi pulls up next to him, I get the idea pretty quick.

The boy spares me a glance. He does a double take and his eyes widen. He gasps.

Oh boy.

"Shawn?" His thick accent is so aforementionedly thick that I wouldn't understand him if he wasn't gawking right at me.

"That's me." I laugh nervously.

He laughs in disbelief. "Crikey." He pats his pocket quickly and blanches. "I don't have a pen! Shit!" He sticks his head in the taxi. "Oi, cabbie, you got a biro[1]?"

The cabbie throws a pen in the boy's face. Excited, the boy turns to me with the pen, and I understand what he wants.

"Ohh, my autograph." I laugh, and he nods excitedly. I take the pen and look around for some paper.

"Just sign my shirt, mate." I still don't understand him, but the rapid pointing to his shirt is clear enough.

"What's your name?" I ask. Please be intelligible. It'd be really awkward if I got it wrong.

The guy, thankfully, seems to understand my difficulty understand him and says his name clearly. "Jerome."

I sign a quick note telling Jerome "hi" and then scoot into his taxi. He doesn't seem to mind, though. He yanked out his phone and took a picture of me and is busy clicking away on his phone as I tell the taxi where to drive.

I fiddle my hands nervously as the minutes tick by. I hope she isn't angry. If she curses me out and denies me, I don't know what I'll do. I've got twenty-nine days, twenty eight and a half if I want to be technical. I'll have no one. I'll have to go back to my apartment in Canada and sit alone as the days tick down to my near certain death.

But that hasn't happened yet. Dwelling on that will lead me down a dark path.

"We're here, that'll be forty bucks." The cabbie tells me.

I hand him the money and step out, seeing the house I saw merely a day ago again. This time, its accompanied by a much more prominent sense of worry. I walk over to the door and knock quickly.

I hear footsteps on the other side of the door and I freeze, panicking. Should I have brought flowers? Chocolates? Five hundred thousand dollars? No, I already delivered that. I calm down.

The door opens.

Jason towers above me. "Shawn!" He booms. "Glad you could come! Come on in!" He wraps a meaty hand around my shoulder and guides me into his home.

I curl my hands into fists to keep them from shaking. I'm very, very thankful I remembered to put deodorant on.

I guess I should describe the house. When you first walk in there's a small little room with a basket for shoes. It's a tiled floor. Jason calls it a mudroom. The walls are grey and the tiles white, and several pictures adorn the walls. I glance and see a small girl that's wearing Jasmine's hat grinning in front of a fire.

You take a right after the mudroom, where I was requested to take off my shoes, is the kitchen. It's a beautiful thing, with big windows so the sunlight streams in all over the room. There's a large table with eight chairs. Over on the far side is an island for cooking and a large stove. One wall consists of a sink, fridge, and counter space with a microwave oven and toaster. There are cupboards everywhere.

After the kitchen was the living room, the place where Jason is leading me. It's a wide, gorgeous room, with one wall being completely windows, giving you a great view of the Australian plains. Couches and chairs all point towards a large TV sitting on a stand, and I see an xBox tucked underneath. There was also a small fireplace.

"Shawn's here!" Jason calls into the room, and I hear some stirring from another room, the contents of which I cannot fathom.

I've never been so nervous in all my life. Not even when Sky and I were fighting for the million. At least Jasmine was on my side…er, kinda…

Jasmine walks into the room, arms crossed and a cool look on her face. Her hair is in the hairstyle I remembered, though she's not wearing her hat. She's wearing a short-sleeved turquoise cardigan and blue skinny jeans. She's barefoot.

"Hi, Jasmine." I say hopefully, trying not to choke on my words. As much as I hate to admit, the cardigan does a much poorer job on concealing her chest than the utility vest thing she wore when we were on Pahkitew Island. I succeed in looking her in the face and smile as warm as I can.

"G'day." She nods, though her tone is anything but warm. She doesn't smile either.

"Er, how are you?" I gulp. Her fists aren't curled, which is good.

"I've been better." She replies simply. She turns to her dad. "Any idea when the grubs gonna be up?"

"Should be about now." Jason checks the clock on the wall. "But ask your Mum."

Jasmine sighs and crosses the room, brushing by me without so much as a glance. My soul tightens some what, and for a crazy moment I almost reach out and take her hand. After she's gone, I find the nearest couch and fall back into it, wringing my hands nervously. I look at Jason. "It's not good, huh?"

"Better than yesterday." He offers. "Still not very good, though."

I sigh. "Man, I hope this works."

Jason puts a hand on my shoulder, though he has to stoop to do so, he's so tall. "If its any consolation, son, she spent two hours choosing her outfit."

My spirits lift a little at that. "Really?"

He chuckles and nods. "Now come on, I think lunch is ready."

I get up and sigh again. Let's hope this isn't awkward. I enter the room and see Reyna and Jazmine sitting at the pretty kitchen table.

"Hi, Ms. Reyna." I say politely as I take a seat next to Jasmine, who doesn't object. Thank god.

She waves a hand as if she's brushing something away. "Please, Reyna will do just fine."

I nod and look at the food in front of me. Dripping red steak with french fries and a big salad. Even though I ate not an hour ago, I'm as hungry as a zombie. My stomach growls loudly.

"Sounds like someones hungry." Jason laughed, reaching over and slapping a big ol' piece of meat onto my plate.

"This looks awesome, thanks guys!" I grin, accepting the plate of french fries from Jasmine and dropping a handful onto my plate. I even grab some salad, just to be healthy.

Everyone starts eating, so I follow suit. There's silence for minute or so. It's kind of awkward, so I decide to break it.

"So, uh, Jasmine." I offer. "You, uh, gonna open that cage-fighting and flower shop combo?"

She scowls at her plate. Her fork digs into her steak rather viciously. "No." She sighs. "Mum and Dad convinced me there were better ways to spend the money."

I look at Jason and Reyna with an amused glance, and the two stare very hard at their plates, trying to keep the smiles off their faces.

"Like, uh, what?" I try and keep the conversation going. Even though she's not speaking to me warmly, just speaking to her in general makes my day ten times better.

"I'm not sure yet." Jasmine admits. "I'll think of something."

"That's cool…" I falter, not sure what to say. Maybe I'll ask her about her personal life? "So uh, what do you do here in Australia?"

Jasmine shrugs. I notice her shoulders have relaxed somewhat, and I notice she's wearing eyeliner. My stomach flutters as I think back to Jason telling me about her outfit. My heart lifts slightly.

"I dunno. I don't have a lot of friends." She shrugs. "I play video games sometimes. I work out a lot too."

"Sounds awesome!" I grin. "I don't play a lot of video games, I couldn't afford it."

She raises an eyebrow. "You've had like eight months being a millionaire…"

I freeze. Time to think of something, quickly. "Oh, I just never really thought of it." I say. "What with Uncle Not-Bernie's funeral and everything."

She nods. "I'm sorry to hear about that. Not like I knew the guy, but still."

I wince, hoping the lie about Uncle Not-Bernie doesn't come to bite me in the future. "Thanks. It was tough, him being my last known relative and all."

The rest of the meal is ate in relative silence, but it's not as awkward as it was. When I'm finished, I clear my plate and offer to help clean up, but Jason and Reyna deny my help.

"You kids go up to Jasmine's room and talk." Reyna tells us sternly. "We'll take care of the dishes."

I gulp and nod as Jasmine's sighs next to me.

"Follow me." She tells me, and I follow her through a couple rooms and up a flight of stairs. Next thing I know, she's sitting on her very large bed, glaring at me.

I shift awkwardly. "Uh, do you want the door closed?"

"Please." She says sternly.

I close the door and look around for a place to sit. The walls are a sunny yellow, and one entire wall is taken up by a large, very comfy looking bed. Another wall has a dresser with mirror on it, and a third wall has a tall closet. The last, the one that has the doorway out, has a desk and chair. I sit on the chair nervously.

As soon as I sit down, the look on Jasmine's face goes from stern to sad.

"Look, Jaz," I start.

"Don't." She interrupts me. "Let me go first."

I swallow the lump in my throat and nod.

"I was so excited." She begins hollowly, and the tone in her voice makes my entire being ache. "After two months had gone, I couldn't imagine why you hadn't come to see me. Did I do something wrong? Was it only for the cameras? I didn't know what to think." She takes a deep, shuddering breath and continues. "So I waited, and waited, and waited. And you wanna know what makes me the most upset?" She pauses and looks at me expectantly, and the look of hurt on her face nearly brings tears to my eyes.

"W-what?" I choke out.

"I was still excited when you walked through that door yesterday." She nearly whispered it, so quiet I wasn't even sure I heard it correctly, but I did. My heart leaps.

"Despite my anger at you, I was still so happy to se you, and thats what upsets me the most." She grabs a large stuffed koala and cradles it. "I don't know what to do…"

That's it.

I get up and run-walk over to the other side of the room. I drop down on the bed next to her and wrap my arms around her. "I'm sorry, Jasmine!" I blubber. "I wanted to see you, I did! Every night I thought about you, but stuff go so crazy that I couldn't! There was Gertrude and everything fell to pieces! I'm so, so sorry!" Tears leak down my eyes.

My one treasure in this world, and I hurt her. It wasn't even my fault, but I still feel horrible.

I sit with my arms wrapped around her middle and my head in her shoulder for about five seconds, when I feel her shift and wrap her strong, wonderful arms around me. Her face buries in the top of my head, which I assume is the only place she can reach without hurting her back, and she takes a deep shuddering breath.

"I forgive you…"

I look up from her shoulder, accidentally bumping her in the chin as I do. Jasmine's not an easily forgiving person, so I'm shocked.

"You-you do?"

She nods, a lone tear drying on her cheek. She smiles through her wet eyes. The eyeliner she put on streaks down her cheek. "I can't stay mad at you, Shawn. No matter how hard I try."

I break down and sob into her shoulder again. I can't even form coherent words. I don't know what I would've done if Jasmine couldn't forgive me, what with the operation to remove Gertrude hanging over my head. Dark images flash through my mind and I cling to her even tighter.

"Shawn? What's the matter?" Her voice brings me back to reality. I look up and see her eyes, which since I arrived here had been cold, filled with worry. "Are you okay?"

I shake my head. Pull it together, Shawn! Would you survive an apocalypse blubbering like a baby?

"I'm, I'm fine." I tell her. "I was just terrified you wouldn't forgive me." At least I don't have to lie to her on that front. A know is untwisted in my stomach, and I realize if I'm going to stay sane throughout these thirty days, I'm going to have to be honest with her. I can't tell her now though.

"There is something, but I just can't talk about it right now." I tell her. "Do you understand?"

The worry doesn't leave her eyes. "Yeah, I guess."

"Can we just…lay here?" I ask hopefully. I trace her shoulder line. "I've been away from you so long I have to refamiliarize with you."

She chuckles and snorts. "Okay then." She says playfully.

I suddenly realize how tired I am, and thank myself for suggesting we just snuggle up.

I breathe into her shoulder again, and darkness, of a comforting kind, surrounds me.

The next thing I know, I'm being lightly shook awake by Jasmine.

"Shawn," She yawns sleepily. Man, I'm glad she fell asleep too. That would've been awkward.

"Yeah?" I moan, sitting up and trying to get my bearing. Where am I again? I can't lose this warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach. It intensifies every time I look at Jasmine, who just looks so cute with her hair disheveled and the eyeliner streaks still on her face.

"Let me give you a ride home. It's nearly eight." She yawns.

"Yeah, I need to check on Zombie." I rub my eyes and stand up.

She gets up too and walks across her room, opening her door. "Mum? Dad?" She calls. "I'm giving Shawn a ride home!"

I hear voices, but can't make out their responses.

We walk downstairs and see Reyna and Jason watching something on TV. They smile at us and they bid me goodnight.

"Goodnight, guys. Thanks for lunch, again." I tell them, and they smile and wave it off.

Huh, guess Reyna likes me now.

I stop in the mudroom to grab my shoes and pet Whiskers at the same time, who reluctantly lets me pet her once before hissing at me.

We climb into her car and drive home. There's a heavy, comfortable silence between us, and I still feel giddy. Jasmine drives like a bat out of hell, and there's hardly anyone on the roads, so we're back to my hotel within ten minutes.

"I'll be by again tomorrow." I tell her. "I'll tell you what I want to tell you."

She nods and smiles at me. We lean in at the same time and press our lips together, and I swear, if I hadn't been sitting down in her car, my heel would've popped. It lasts fifteen seconds and I relish the feeling.

"See you tomorrow." She winks at me, blushing slightly.

I'm positive I'm beet red.

In a daze with my drowsiness returning, I tell her goodbye and stumble up to my hotel room. People probably think I'm drunk. I realize with a chuckle how little I care what the hell other people think. I open my hotel room to see Zombie conked out on my bed, a half eaten bowl of cat-kibble on the floor. Guess he's not used to the new brand yet.

I strip off my pants and shirt and throw on some pajamas. Sliding into my bed, I yank Zombie from his position at the end of the bed and put him right next to my head. The looming thought of telling Jasmine the truth tomorrow does little to staunch the giddiness as I go to sleep, hot cat breath beating against my face.

I'm happy.

[1] Australian slang for "pen".