Our Kind of Love

By: Victoria Purman



Anna pinched the bridge of her nose, felt her chest constrict. Fudged her answer. ‘It was lovely.’ That part, at least, was true.

Sonia Morelli tut-tutted down the line. ‘Who gets married in a hotel? And so far away. I don’t understand it.’

Anna steeled herself with a deep breath and kept breathing in until she felt it right down to the bottom of her rib cage, until the lower lobes of her lungs were filled with oxygen, and she tried to find some patience.

‘Ma, it’s not a hotel. It’s a beachside pub and Ry owns it. He and his wife love Middle Point. It makes sense if you know them.’ Not that Anna did all that well. Their lives had gone their separate ways since university, even more so after she’d married Alex, but Ry had called her late last year to enlist her help with his best friend Dan McSwaine. It had taken Dan months to get over his injuries from the shocking car accident he’d been in, and even longer for the emotional scars to heal. She was proud that she’d been able to help Dan with that, and help him get well enough to realise that he loved Lizzie Blake. She was genuinely happy for him that his life was regaining its equilibrium.

Just when hers was spinning into space like a rogue satellite.

‘I wish you’d been there for lunch. Your Nonna is driving me crazy.’ While her mother talked, Anna checked her emails, the afternoon’s appointments and the latest online edition of a respected medical journal. She liked to call it family multi-tasking.

‘So. I’ll see you next Wednesday,’ her mother said in a rush.

‘Sorry, Ma. What?’

‘For dinner. I’ll see you and Alex on Wednesday night, as usual.’

Oh shit. Anna knew she had to make a choice, one that would send her straight to hell if she wasn’t on the fast track in that direction already. She could either lie to her mother now, or later. She would tell her mother, of course she would, just not today and not over the phone. When she was feeling stronger. And braver. ‘Sorry, Mum. Alex has a work dinner but I’ll be there.’

‘A work dinner on a Wednesday? Who has a work dinner on a Wednesday?’

‘Lawyers do, Mum.’ Anna needed to distract her mother, and fast. ‘So what are you cooking?’

‘A surprise.’

‘I’m sure it will be delicious,’ Anna tried to sound excited about the prospect. She was done with surprises. She wanted her mother’s comfort food – home-made pasta and fresh ciabatta, tomato sauce made from last year’s crop and fresh basil from the garden.

‘See you Wednesday, then. Ti amo.’

‘Love you too,’ Anna replied.

Yes. She was definitely going straight to hell.





CHAPTER

4

‘The most complicated thing in the house is the coffee machine. The rest looks after itself.’

Joe regarded the silver appliance with trepidation. It was built into the pristine white cupboards of Ry and Julia’s kitchen and it looked angry, hissing steam and gurgling. In Joe’s former life, the one in which he lived in Sydney and had both a high-flying newspaper job and a wife, coffee came in takeaway cups on the way to work or was delivered to his desk by a newsroom minion. He wasn’t sure if he knew how to drive one of these beasts. Or if he even wanted to learn.

‘Just push the button here and it’ll do the rest. Okay?’ Julia gave him a wry grin.

She got a shoulder bump in return. ‘Is a coffee really worth all this trouble?’

‘God, don’t let Ry hear you say that. He loves this machine almost as much as he loves me.’

‘I don’t believe that for a second.’

‘So,’ Julia checked once again. ‘You think you can remember that while we’re away, Joe?’

Joe shrugged. ‘Jools, I get it. It’s a coffee machine, not a nuclear reactor.’

‘Okay. But I’m warning you,’ Julia leaned in close and looked up into his eyes. ‘This is Ry’s pride and joy. If anything happens to it while we’re away, you’re a dead man.’

Joe had jumped at the chance to house-sit Ry and Julia’s beach house while the newly-weds honeymooned in Italy. Their three weeks of loved-up travelling meant that he could feel slightly like an adult again. He would be able to move out of his old bedroom in what was now Lizzie’s house and take every advantage of this magnificent beachside home, with views on a clear day up and down the coast, from the Coorong to Victor Harbor. It also meant he could get out of Lizzie’s hair and give her some space with Dan, without being the protective older brother looking over her shoulder. He owed her that much, after bunking in with her for the past few months. Truth be told, he was over living with his little sister and had been looking forward to the alone time himself.

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