You met Cress and Quin in the first installment…what happens next?
Covering herself with a snort and smacking his shoulder, she said, ‘Hey, I didn’t copy you, promise. I applied for Melbourne teams.’
Quin covered his chest with his huge hands. ‘Wound me, right where it hurts.’
Cress groaned and did up her seatbelt. He started the car. ‘I wasn’t thinking about you when I tried out. Dad poked and prodded until I went down.’
‘You didn’t get in?’ Quin’s question held a touch of disbelief and she almost preened.
‘The Sydney Sirens rang before I heard.’
Quin laughed. ‘That doesn’t surprise me.’
A niggly thought chased through her mind. ‘Did you tell them to?’
‘No.’ Quin shook his head and the frown he gave her was genuine. ‘They have scouts down in the Riverina.’
Her lips itched as she held in a grin. ‘So you knew they were wanting to put together a girls’ team and you didn’t put my name forward?’ She faked a huff.
He muttered a curse under his breath and his fingers clenched on the wheel. She began to snigger because she couldn’t hold it in any longer. He was so like her brothers.
‘Sit there and shut up while I concentrate on getting us out of this place.’ His growl was just like her brothers’ too, however the depth of his seemed to have some accord with her body. When he growled, her body tingled. Like she was a freaking tuning fork. There was no defence to that. None that she’d found anyway. She sat quietly, while her entire body strummed to the echoes of his growl.
Focusing her attention outside the car helped her regain control. It looked like they were in the city. Big sandstone buildings, dazzling lights even though the sunset was an hour away, an incredible number of cars and trucks, buses and people swirled past and around them. When they stopped at a red light, she said, ‘Are we in the city?’
‘Right in the heart of it, Watercress.’ A little grin as he glanced at her made her heart speed up. ‘You going to survive this?’ He waved his fingers, then moved off as the light changed.
There was a question. She’d barely survived quick footy or family, trips to Sydney and now she was living here. At least for four months, or almost four months. If they made the finals, it would be four months. The whole of summer; mid-November to mid-March.
She’d stayed at home for as long as she could, working the harvest with Dad, but he still had weeks to go. She had a team meeting tomorrow and the start of a new gardening job. Her brothers promised to help Dad out, but knowing Tris, Ollie, Damo and Gar, she doubted they’d be much use, or even remember. They all had their lives to live.
Although they never broke promises, and they had promised.
She sighed. Dad would hire someone if things got tough. She hated leaving him in the lurch. No matter how many times he told her she was his employee and employees leave, especially when chasing their dreams, it didn’t make her feel any less guilty.
Quin snapped his fingers. ‘You here, Watercress, or sleeping?’
She spun towards him, wondering what she’d missed. He was still concentrating on the traffic. There were still cars everywhere. Who could imagine this much traffic after eight pm on a Sunday night? She looked beyond the cars, and up ahead loomed something familiar. Big stone pylons and steel. A multi-lane roadway they seemed to be driving on.
She glanced around faster, her stomach tightening and squeezing, sweat breaking out on her palms. She gasped. ‘Quin, is this the bridge?’ Her voice was so high-pitched it was hardly recognisable. ‘You’re taking me on the Sydney Harbour Bridge? On my first night.’ Her voice dropped. Her heart swelled to almost bursting. ‘Wow. You’re amazing, Quin.’
‘I’m lost, Watercress. Lost. Don’t go getting all starry-eyed.’ He sounded grumpy, but underneath she was sure he was gratified, and that he’d done this deliberately.
She’d raved about the bridge. It was the only thing she loved about Sydney. Sure, the harbour was beautiful, and the beaches, but there was water out of Sydney that had fewer people. There wasn’t another ‘coathanger’ and the beauty of the structure had always attracted her. Grey steel should never look beautiful but the construction of this was always mesmerising. The straight lines intersected by the zigzag-filled arches were exquisite. Those four huge sandstone pillars, plonked in pairs at either end, should look misplaced and awkward; it worked to be breathtaking.
She’d welded a rough imitation in high school and it was the farm mailbox now. But she hadn’t come close to the exquisite detail of the real thing.
Those huge steel arches were right there ahead of her. On the left and the right, across lanes of traffic, were the huge sandstone pillars. And she, she was on the most beautiful monument in the whole city. Words couldn’t describe how she felt right now.
She poked at buttons until the window came down and then she squished in her seat, angling her head so she could drink it all in. Her first glimpse of the bridge and she was on it. The lighting was enough so she could see the incredible crisscross of metal. Sun from the west illuminated the length of the bridge, and she wished she was a bird so she could fly around it, marvel at it. Heck, if she was a bird, she’d roost here, spend every day flying around her favourite place in all the world. Not that she’d seen the world. She’d only seen parts of Australia. Very few parts.
But the bridge. She wanted to hang her head and shoulders out of that window, stretch her arms wide, and feel the wind rush her face as they drove beneath the beautiful arches.
Except they weren’t moving.
And she was on the bridge.
Can’t wait to see what happens next?
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Everyone in Grong Grong knows Cress Kennedy’s childhood dream is to play Aussie Rules Football, so when the Sydney Sirens sign her in the new Women’s Aussie Rules competition, she heads to the big city to pursue her dream. But no one in Grong Grong knows of Cress’s other dreams: the ones that revolve entirely around Quin Fitzpatrick.
Quin Fitzpatrick left Grong Grong as an eighteen-year-old to play Aussie Rules in Sydney, but after eight years the shine has gone from the lifestyle. When his best friend’s little sister follows in his country-to-city footsteps, he promises to look after her. She can stay with him and he’ll protect her as best he can. Besides, Watercress is the little sister he never had.
But Cress is all grown up now and playing Women’s Aussie Rules, and it’s about time that Quin sees her as a woman too…