RSS

“You’d never cheat. I know you.”

02 Mar

FairWayToHeavenFinal-harlequin 200_200x315The Amazon gods have put my April 8 release, Fairway To Heaven on sale for less than a dollar most of this week. I don’t know how long the sale will last. You can pre-order Fairway for 94 cents from Amazon in Australia, and from iTunes right now.

Amazon: Australia link here:

Amazon: US link here:

iTunes link here:

Here’s one of my favourite snippets from the book. It’s just after Jenn and Brayden have been reunited at the beach shack in Busselton, and they’re sitting on the beach at Geographe Bay watching Jenn’s son, Seb, play in the sand. They have a lot to catch up on.

“So, have you been playing any golf, Jenn?”

Now he’s kicked off on another topic destined to screw with my insides. Yesterday’s golf course visit is a blazing scar in my mind.

“Not since before Seb was born.”

He fixes me with a look. “You hook up with a golf pro and you’re not playing golf? That sucks.”

“Jack plays or coaches all day. The last thing he wants to do is play another nine holes with me. And anyway, we’ve got Seb. I’d just slow him down. Jack hates wasting practice time.”

“Bullshit,” Brayden scoffs. “Your golf game can keep up with anyone.”

“I haven’t hit a ball in two years.”

“You’d still run rings around me. You were a better golfer than most people I know, even when we were in school.” He’s doing it again, talking about the past, making ‘us’ sound natural as breathing. “Remember when your Dad made that driving range in the scrub at the back of your place? Emmy and I had bets on how far you could hit. We used to fetch buckets of balls for you.”

“Yeah.” I remember.

My life revolved around Brayden then. There wasn’t a minute of the day where I didn’t know where he was. When I came out of my science class on Tuesday afternoon, I knew that if I stopped for thirty seconds at the drink fountain, he’d come out of English and I’d see him on his way to Technical Drawing. Sometimes he’d sneak close, flick his hand in the water and make it spurt in my face and I’d squeal, like I never saw him coming.

On Fridays, I had piano lessons. I could walk halfway home with Emmy and Brayden before I’d turn at Swan Street to get to old Mrs Hampson’s. I got later and later for my lessons because I’d linger longer and longer with the Culhanes, and finally my parents said they wouldn’t waste their money if I couldn’t even get to the lessons on time.

“We should play at the weekend. It’ll be fun.” His voice jolts me from the Pilbara to Busselton.

I tip my nose at Seb—now burying the dozer up to its windows in sand. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“Bring him with. He can run around. He’ll love it.”

“Most golfers I know don’t deal well with small children who run around while they’re trying to line up a putt.”

Brayden scoops a handful of dry sand and lobs it five metres from us, then another, making the grains scatter and roll. Then he turns to me and says,  “You gonna tell me the story with Jack?”

“There’s no story.” I can’t look at him. His question starts that prickle behind my eyes, same as when I peel onions. I hate peeling onions, and I refuse to cry here on this beautiful beach.

“Come on, Jenn. Something happened. You and Emmy cooked up this beach shack sabbatical, and Jack’s not invited. It’s not rocket science.”

I pick at something trapped behind the fingernail of my left hand, banana probably, while I debate over how much to say. It sounds so cheap to admit Jack’s affair—if a quickie in a bunker can even be called an affair—and I’m not sure it’s any of Brayden’s business. It’s crazy really, Jack’s the cheat and yet I’m the one who feels disloyal talking about it behind his back.

“Jenn?” He prompts.

Bloody pushy Culhanes. Eventually I settle for, “I’ve moved out.”

“Forever? For the weekend? What?”

I get a horrible flash of Marnie James’ knickers on the grass. “Forever.”

“When you two had Seb… I thought things were good. Emmy said—”

He stops, picks up another handful of sand.

Let it go, Jenn. But I can’t. I don’t care how many cats curiosity killed. “What did Emmy say?”

Throwing the sand at his feet, he turns to me. The breeze surfs through his hair and I want to reach out and smooth the tangle, test whether his beard is long enough to be soft.

“Em said she thought I’d pretty much blown my chance. She thought you and Jack were a done deal.”

Why does he choose now to talk about blown chances? Now when everything’s so complicated and I’ve got no easy answers.

God. I hug my knees to my chest. “I can’t do this… I can’t talk about Jack… with you.” I’ve got no hope of keeping any of my armour intact if Brayden can open my weak spots like this.

“It’s okay, Jenn.” His arms constrict around his knees, all the muscles outlined. “Just tell me this: he didn’t hurt you? Or Seb?”

“What? Like hit us? No. I’d have been out the door in a flash.”

Seb has had enough of pushing the bulldozer in the sand. He’s wandering toward the water. I don’t want him to get wet because it’s almost time to go home.

“He couldn’t keep his dick in his pants,” Jack says. It’s not a question.

“What?”

“Jack. He cheated, didn’t he? That’s what you won’t tell me. He’d be the one who strayed. You’d never cheat. I know you.”

My mouth works without making a sound, and the hesitation is all it takes. It’s written all over Brayden’s face: he knows he’s guessed right.

“It’s not your fault,” he says.

“I know it’s not my fault. I don’t need you to feel sorry for me.” Abruptly, I’m on my feet, shaking out the towel, sending sand flying. “Seb and I better get back. It’s getting late.”

He stands too, slings his towel over his shoulder. “Jenn…”

Please. Just leave it.” I bristle. I won’t cry if I bristle.

Seb doesn’t want to leave the beach. He kicks at me when I pick him up. Screams, and when that doesn’t work, goes limp, trying to slip through my hands like a wet fish.

Brayden appears beside us. “Do you think he’ll let me give him a lift home?”

“Who knows? Give it a try.”

Brayden throws Seb in the air a couple of times and I don’t know if it’s shock at being tossed so high, or that instinctual little boy love of rough games that cuts through, but he stops screaming and lets Brayden swing him onto his shoulders. They start up the beach.

I pick up Seb’s hat, the bulldozer, my bag, and I follow the trail Brayden blazes, like I’ve done most of my life.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Excerpts

 

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: