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Short Story A GOOD BLOKE
Maria sat wistfully at her parents kitchen table sipping a cup of tea. She was surrounded by a throng of noisy relatives and friends as well as a neighbour who'd dropped in, to borrow a tractor from her dad. This was a typical afternoon at the Mella's house: dining room filled to capacity with people spilling onto the stairs and Pop in the lounge room with the television blaring, everyone shouting over it and each other. A far cry from her old home life she'd left behind two weeks ago where she'd ditched her now ex-husband and the home they'd bought together.
At the time she had been content to walk away and completely leave that life behind her. After all she was still young at 25 and attractive, but now she was feeling a little lost and added to that, a sense of failure.
"What you need is a root!", her brother Jim announced over the din.
"JIM", Maria shouted in disbelief at her brother, as everyone erupted into fits of laughter.
"It's true love", her mother yelled from somewhere in the background.
Maria's mouth dropped open incapable of speech as somewhere in her brain a scenario of herself and some gorgeous specimen of male humanity, lay half naked on a deserted beach entwined in each others arms as the waves washed over them. She shook her head and scowled at her involuntary thoughts, her sense of failure obviously not over-riding her libido.
"Joe knows a good bloke for you hey", her father winked from across the table.
Maria began slowly banging her head on the table hoping the dull pain would drown out the banter around her.
"Aaww you know you want to meet him", her brother Joe teased as a new peal of laughter filled the air.
The trouble was 'everyone' knew she wanted too because she herself frequently made jokes about her sudden lack of sex.
"You know who Mal is hey?", Joe continued.
Maria arched a carefully shaped eyebrow and leaned menacingly across the table towards her brother, close enough that she could listen clearly and smack him across the head if she didn't like what she heard .
"Isn't he with that hot French chick he brought back with him on holiday?", she asked quizzically.
If I'm going to have a recovery shag, this is the shag to have. Maria thought to herself remembering Mal from a brief encounter some time ago.
"Nah, she reckons she doesn't love him anymore and she doesn't like Australia, so she's flying back home in a couple of days. The poor bastard will need a root to get over it", her brother said matter of factly.
"Oh for heavens sake", Maria sat back and rolled her eyes in disbelief.
"No...listen mate you'll be good for each other", he yelled as the rest of the room suddenly exploded in support of her brother/family's premeditated scheme.
Despite herself Maria laughed and shook her head, "Yeah, good on ya's". And with that she downed the remants of her cup and retreated to her caravan nestled in the expanse of a backyard among the mango trees.
Two weeks passed and during that time Maria was set up with another of her brothers friends, Hamish. Maria wasn't keen, however her mothers persistence (especially since the young mans family was rich and owned a big cane farm) won out in the end. So Maria decided to make the most of the situation and bought herself a new outfit and some sexy knee high boots, however on the supposed night there was no phone call and no Hamish. Maria later found out that Hamish had gone pig hunting instead and she refused to talk to him after that.
"The silly bastard doesn't know what he's missed out on and he's not getting another chance", she pouted in disgust.
Her mother agreed and didn't push the subject again.
Maria's famiy decided she shouldn't go out on the town for awhile, least she run into her drunken ex-husband or his friends. In a small place and without going into town, Maria had to resign herself to letting her brothers come up with someone else again.
"Mal says you can come over on Friday night for a cuppa and a chat", Joe announced out of the blue one day.
"What?", Maria said.
"Well he's living at, and managing the prawn farm so he can't go anywhere because the prawns are due for harvesting. There's thousands of dollars worth of prawns and if the power goes out the aerators will stop and the prawns will die from lack of oxygen. So make sure you wear closed in shoes so you can go with him on the quad bike to check the ponds. Oh and don't get out of your car until you see him or the dogs will get you, just honk your horn if you can't see him", Joe said.
Maria scratched her head and said, "This guy is still really hot hey, he hasn't lost any teeth or got some kind of a rash or anything".
"You'll love him", Joe said, simply.
"Jeez thanks", Maria sighed.
The big night arrived and Maria pondered what to wear to a date on a prawn farm where she might be chased by unfriendly dogs and have to ride on a quad bike. In the end she decided on a short brightly coloured dress even though pants would have been a better choice, but then she put on her running shoes, so at least part of her was appropriately attired. She smiled at herself in the bathroom mirror and sprayed a 'bit' of perfume in case he didn't like the stuff. She's already eaten dinner, since this was more of a meet and greet thing.
'I feel like an idiot', she thought to herself on the thankfully, short drive over. She stopped the car a short distance from the house and was relieved when she saw Mal standing outside so she wouldn't have to 'honk her horn'.
"Hi, I'm Maria", she introduced herself as three dogs in various sizes came bounding towards her.
"They're OK", he said reassuringly, pulling the larger dog to a stop by his collar, the other two also stopped beside their master.
"I'm Mal and we have met before", Mal said.
"Yeah I remember", smiled Maria.
"Nice dress", Mal began.
"Thanks I wasn't sure what to wear because Joe said you might have to go check on the prawns or something", Maria said.
"I've just been, so they'll be right for awhile now", said Mal. "Come inside".
Maria followed Mal into the house. She had been there many years before, visiting a school friend whose parents had originally set the place up. Although, now it looked very different. They had a great conversation about her memories of the place from years before and talked about themselves, although her brother Joe had done a pretty good job of giving information about each other already.
Maria felt that the conversation seemed to be reaching its end and it was with some disappointment that she decided to go home.
"Well I'd best be going", she said.
"It's been good talking to you. You'll have to come over again", Mal said with a huge smile.
Unsure of what she should do next Maria extended her hand out to shake his hand goodbye. He held her offered hand with his and pulled her towards himself and kissed her directly on her mouth. Her eyes flew open in surprise, which she quickly overcame and kissed him back greedily. He pulled her onto his lap and she ran her hands over his face and slid her fingers up through his hair, without realising it she began making soft groaning noises which made him laugh and pull back momentarily to look into her face.
"What?", she said perplexed.
"You're beautiful", he said simply.