“Hey, I’m George. You’re Beth right? Aunty always talks about you lot.”
“Hey.” Beth says, “Yeah, come in”. Why am I still in my uniform? It’s so ugly. I look like a kid. How long has he ben living there, I’ve never seen him before. Beth leads him into the kitchen where Kara is boiling, frying, mixing all at once.
“Hey boy, thanks for that. You all moved in?”
“Yeah just unloaded the last box, I’ll take Dad’s Ute back to him tonight and pick up me bike.” He grins at Beth.
“Don’t you try and impress her with that bike. It’s a bloody death trap.”
“Calm down Aunty. I can take you for a ride one day, if you want.” He looks at Beth. She looks back at him and for a moment they are lost in each other’s eyes. His are deep, chocolate brown, warm, yet somehow lonely. Hers are greeny-brown, hazel, curious, yet like a lost puppy.
“Oi you two, mind giving me a hand?” George goes and takes over the cooking of the meat and Beth puts Lena back in the highchair and goes to check on the boys. She pops her head through the door and smiles with relief.
“How you guys getting on?”
“Good, almost done.”
“Good boys.” The clumsy attempts of children cleaning are stamped on the room. I’ll be able to fix that easily enough later on. “Dinner’ll be ready soon.” She heads back down to the kitchen and the table has been laid with meat and pasta in the centre.
“Alright girl, we’re gonna take off. I’ve got the slow-cooker on and it should be ready soon.”
“Oh, thank you so much Kara. You’re a life saver.”
“Nonsense, you know you can come over, anytime. If you need help.”
“Seeya later Beth.” George chimes in.
“Seeya George.” They look at each other one last time before he walks out the door with Kara.
“Boys! It’s time for dinner.” Beth calls loudly.
Kids are in bed, dishes are done and the house is tidy. Time to chill out. Beth makes herself a sweet cup of tea and grabs her novel out of her schoolbag. She curls up on the doorstep and lets the warm night air envelop her. A few chapters in an engine roars in the distance and grows steadily louder. She sits up and watches George fly by on his bike and pull up to Kara’s house. He takes off his helmet and shakes out his long ringlets. He’s so hot, and he’s nice. He’s hot and nice. Like so, so, so, hot. She waves and he waves back.
“Hey.” He calls out to her as he jumps over the fence.
“Hey.” Beth replies.
“What are you doing out here?” He pulls a pack of cigarettes from his jacket pocket and offers Beth one. She takes it.
“Just reading. You just getting home from your parents?”
“Yeah, stopped at the pub for a quick jug on the way home though.” He lights her cigarette and then his own. “Be good living this close to town.”
“Yeah, I’ve been here since the beginning of the year. Mum lives out in the whops so the school isn’t very good.”
“You at Taradale High?”
“Finished up at Boys High last year. I’m doing joinery now.”
“Yeah.” They sat in the dark smoking and looking at each other. Beth tries to stub out her cigarette but manages to burn herself.
“Ooh” she looks at her finger.
“Here, let me take a look.” He takes her hand and her heart jumps wildly in her chest. He blows on it gently then smiles at her. “You’ll probably live.”
“That’s a relief.” She smiles back. Lena starts to cry in the house. “Hey I better go back inside. Thanks for the ciggy.”
“Seeya later Beth.” Beth watches as he walks back to Kara’s and sighs deeply before heading back inside.