HOW IT STARTED.
“The vodka is on the counter,” she said sweetly. “My glass is empty.”
Millie knew how to ask for what she wanted, and Jason liked to please her. Relaxing on the patio behind her house overlooking the pool, where they had splashed earlier, they were watching a pair of green parrots scolding a large magpie in the tall flowering fig tree. It was a comfortable way to share a lovely afternoon.
“Thank you,” she said as he replaced her glass on the table beside his. “You were about to tell me why you are in Cairns.”
They had met just three weeks ago. His life changed quickly after arriving on Hibiscus Lane thanks to the people who live here and the fresh sea air blowing from over the Great Barrier Reef.
“I’m here to write a book and escape stress in the city.”
“I haven’t seen any pages, darling. Maybe you need to get going.” She put on a serious face as she picked up her drink.
“It’s your fault, Millie. You drain my energy.”
She laughed and enjoyed the vodka tonic. “That’s an excuse. Why did you really come to Cairns?”
“It’s a long story but here’s a version, Millie. I told you about Kerri who went home when her daughter was badly hurt in a car crash. Before she left we agreed I would stay to work on the book and she would return to help me when she could.”
“Why on earth were you in Australia? People aren’t here on a whim.”
“True, we were travelling together. We intended to travel around the world.”
“We travelled, too. The doctor and I visited a lot of places. Where did you go?”
Jason touched his chin as if thinking. “I can’t name them all, but we were in
Greece, Istanbul, Cairo, cruised the Nile, swam in the Red Sea and did weird things in India. We needed red meat, so we came to Australia and eventually Brisbane.” He laughed about the red meat.
She laughed too, “Red meat, that’s an interesting way to put it. What happened in Brisbane?”
“Everyone knows they don’t eat beef in India, so we came to Australia. While we were here we went to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Canberra was interesting; we stayed with people we met in Greece. Melbourne is a great city with that amazing glass box called the Edge on the Eureka Tower.”
Millie tried to appear interested. “I’ve heard about it, it must be exciting.”
“Yes, it is but there is a tower on the Gold Coast that I think is better.”
Millie, not easily put off, demanded, “Okay, Jason, thanks for the travelogue. Tell me what happened in Brisbane.”