What You Left Behind - Len Webster

Four Years Ago

The walk from Karon Beach to her hotel room only took a few minutes, but Stevie Appleton felt the sweat on the back of her knees and on her forehead. The air was hot and muggy; being out in the sun had exhausted her. Just before walking up the last step that led to her hotel room, she glanced at her arms. Her skin was now a light golden colour from days of being in the sun. It surprised her that her skin hadn’t burned under the harsh Thai sun. Stevie sighed. Then she gripped the railing as she climbed up the steps.

Her two-week stay in Thailand was meant to be one unforgettable Schoolies experience. Her reasons for attending the post-high school tradition was not so she could get drunk and party. She had needed to get away from her family. Stevie hadn’t been happy when her dad and stepmother sent her to an all-girls school while her stepbrother, Jarred, went to a co-ed high school. Stevie’s only issue with an all-girls school was having to spend her final year with pretentious and spoilt brats. But she had needed them. At the last minute, Stevie had agreed to fill one of the spots after one girl had left to stay with her boyfriend up in Queensland.

Once she reached the hotel room she shared with her business management classmate, Stevie rummaged through her beach bag. After several attempts of moving sunscreen, a bottle of water, and other items around, she realised that she didn’t have her room key.

“Are you kidding me?” she huffed and knocked on the door, hoping her roommate was inside. Stevie listened with her ear close to the door and could hear noises on the other side of the door so she knocked again.

“Roxy, let me in!” she yelled after the third set of knocks. Stevie removed the bag from her shoulder and let it fall to the ground. “Roxy! I don’t have my key card. Can you please let me in? I’m dying here!”

“Stephanie, go away!” Roxy shouted.

When are they going to realise that I hate being called Stephanie?

“It’s my room, too. Let me in!”

There were whispers as Stevie heard the deadbolt unlocking. Roxy opened the door slightly and her messy head poked out from the crack she’d made.

“I’m kind of busy with kilt boy over here. You need to go.” There was a serious expression on Roxy’s face and Stevie sighed.

“Fine. If I’m going to be out here waiting for you to finish up, then I’ll need my hat.”

Roxy closed the door and left for a second. She returned and handed Stevie her floppy sun hat.

“You should go and get laid. Enjoy the fact that this is Schoolies!”

Stevie glared at her and shook her head at Roxy. When she picked up her bag from the ground, she heard the hotel door slam shut.

“You’re such a slut!” Stevie yelled out and headed for the stairs.

“I heard that!”

Stevie turned to see Roxy’s head poking out the door again.

“I hope his dick falls off!”

A smirk appeared on Roxy’s face. “Then it means I’m memorable for him. Go get laid, Stephanie. I’m sure there are plenty of foreign boys out there after your goodies. If you can’t get laid here, then there is something wrong with you.”

Stevie’s nostrils flared as she flipped Roxy the bird. “Screw you!” Then she began to march towards the stairs.

“I’m good. I have Braveheart in my bed making sure he screws me good!”

Stevie felt the bile rise in her throat. Instead of retaliating, she shook her head and went down the steps, heading towards the beach.

Stopping by one of the small drink vendors across from Karon Beach, Stevie bought a bottle of cold water. Once she had crossed the road, she placed the hat over her blonde hair and looked out at the crystal clear blue water. She was in awe.

They don’t have beaches like this back home.

Stevie slipped off her thongs and her bare feet instantly felt the hot sand. Although she had been here not too long ago, she couldn’t help but smile at the fact that she was miles away from home. Life at home hadn’t been horrible. She had felt suffocated and needed to find herself before she started university. That had been one thing she wasn’t looking forward to—finding out whether or not she had been accepted into the university of her dreams.

Instead of trying to pass tourists to get to the water, Stevie decided to sit on the