Hi! This is my one shot that I submitted for the Fandom for Oklahoma compilation. As it's quite long, I've split it into a two shot on here.
Massive thank you's go to the organisers of the compilation, Authors, Beta's and Banner Makers. Collectively over $4000 dollars was raised to help the victims of the tornado that devastated Oklahoma in May '13.
A huge thank you goes out to my girls, the crazy cows for helping me along the way with this. Bec, Bree, Cait, Kim - I had so much fun working with you on this. I would never have come up with Funny Buggers and Crazy Cows, without you - I love you all. Special thanks to my pre reader Mon and of course Rainy and Daph. I couldn't have done this without you.
My banner was made by Caiteexx Graphics. Simply amazing, as always. Thank you my gorgeous friend! Link is on my profile page.
Acknowledgements go to Charlie Daniels Band for Devil Went Down To Georgia, and Keith Urban for Love Somebody Like You. No copyright infringements intended.
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.
Hope you enjoy my very own Aussie Countryboyward!
As this fic is set in Australia, some terms may be a little confusing. I've added a Glossary, for anyone who may need it
Glossary of Aussie-isms
Akubra - wide-brimmed bush hat
Bain Marie - Steel equipment used to keep food warm
Big Smoke - The City, Brisbane, Sydney Melbourne
Billy - Billy can, used for boiling water over a fire
Blu'in - Fighting
Brekky - Breakfast
Brumby - Wild horse
Buckley's - No chance
Bull bar - Stout bar fixed to the front of a vehicle to protect it against hitting kangaroos (also roo bar)
Channel Country - Area that covers parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory and South Australia
Chunder - Vomit
Clicks - Kilometres
Come a gutser/cropper - Fall over
Cow cockie - Small time farmer
CWA - Is the largest womens association in Australia. They aim to improve the conditions for women and children and make life better for families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia.
Dead ringer - Carbon Copy
Deadset - Truth
Dobbed - Tell on
Don't get your knickers in a knot - Upset
Driza Bone - Waterproof riding coats
Droving - Is the practice of movinglivestock over large distances by walking them "on the hoof".
Flash what you had for breakfast - When a woman is wearing a small skirt, sitting or standing and you can almost see the woman's genitals.
Flashing their goods - See above
Flat out like a lizard drinking - Busy
Fourex - AKA XXXX. The beer up here, in Queensland
Gap year - A gap year is time out to travel between life stages. Normally between high school and University
G-string - Thong
Jackie Howe - Blue singlet, like a wife beater. Named after the famous sheep shearer Jackie Howe
Jillaroo/Jackaroo - Young woman in training on a station in Australia. Jackaroo is a male
Knock ya block off - To hit someone
Kilometres - Rate of speed. 0.62 miles to every kilometre
Looking flash - fancy, stunning
Loos - Toilet
Mad as a cut snake - Crazy or angry
Marquee - A large tent with open sides, used for entertainment purposes
Min Min lights - unusual light formations seen in the outback
Moll - Slut
Mozzies - Mosquitos
Nads/Gonads - Nuts/testicles
Op-shop - Consignment store or thrift shop
Out bush - the outback/country
Painting the pavement - Vomiting
Quad bike - ATV
Ranga - Short for orangutan - nickname given to redheads/gingers
RFDS - Royal Flying Doctor Service, An aeromedical health service for those who live, work or travel in outback and regional Australia
RM Williams - Aussie icon, specialising in handcrafted leatherwear, boots, clothing etc.
Rocky - Short for Rockhampton, Central Queensland
Round Yard or Round Pen - Yard where horses are worked. Normally made of wood or steel
Schmicko - Good
Station - Cattle Ranch
Swag - A foam mattress inside a canvas cover, rolled up for ease of tranport. Sort of like a one person tent
Ute - Low riding pick-up truck
VB - Victoria Bitter - type of beer
Village bike - Slut
Yobbo's - Thuggish, uncouth
Your blood's worth bottling - Very helpful
Dragging the old metal chair across the concrete floor, I pull it up to the wooden table and plonk myself in it. The lunchroom is abuzz with co-workers, discussing plans for their days off. It's Friday, thank God! I've been flat out like a lizard drinking all week, so I'm looking forward to some shopping and chillin' with my girlfriends.
"So, what's on the agenda for this weekend, Bella?" Alice asks, eyes shining with eager anticipation. Alice and Rose are here in Brisbane on a twelve month exchange with the finance company we work for. The institution is worldwide, so it gives employees the opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures, for six or twelve months at a time.
The girls have only been here for a month or so, but they're fitting in well. It's taking a while to get used to our "Aussie-isms," as they call them, but I've made it my mission to educate them before they go home to The States. I'm what the company calls their "buddy". In addition to managing my accounts, I get an allowance to play tour guide, show them the sights and help them experience our state. What I have planned for them is going to give them a real taste of the country life.
"Tomorrow, we're going shopping," I announce with a smile on my face. Alice squeals and bounces in her seat. I knew she'd be happy about that.
"So, what are we shopping for?" Rose asks, leaning forward with interest. In the short time I've known her, she's never passed up a shopping trip.
"Formal Wear." ...three...two...one... And there goes Alice, screaming her head off. Covering my ears, I look at her like she's grown another head. Everyone in the lunchroom has turned to see who's being attacked.
"Jesus, Alice. You didn't need to scream the place down. We'll have the cops here soon to arrest you for disturbing the peace," I say in a hushed tone, trying to calm her down.
"Oh I know! You're taking us to the Treasury Casino. Or maybe that fancy hotel, what was it, The Marriott? I can't wait to try out that indoor swimming pool." I hold my hand up to stop her before she gets too carried away.
"Okay, yes we're needing formal dress, but it's not what you think," I state, thankful they're quiet so I can at least explain.
"We're going to a B and S Ball—" I barely get it out before Alice starts again.
"What the hell is a Bayoness Ball? What's a Bayoness? Like a princess? Is there going to be royalty there? Will we get to meet a prince?" Alice rambles out.
God I wish this woman would slow the hell down so I can explain properly. She's going to give herself an aneurysm if she doesn't calm down.
"Alice, just calm the fuck down so I can explain, okay?"
She sits back and says, "You know what, I don't even care what it is, as long as I get to be a princess for a night."
"As I was saying, it's a B and S Ball, Alice. Bachelor and Spinsters. Basically, it's a big pick-up party out bush with...wait for it...cowboys!" The girls are looking at me like I've completely lost my mind.
"So wait... You're telling me that we get dressed to the nines, just to go hang out with a bunch of smelly old cowboys?" I gasp at the blasphemy that has just come out of Alice's mouth.
"Cowboys are not smelly! They're hot.. and sweaty... and diiiiiirty..." My mouth waters just thinking about it. This is not the place to be getting aroused over gods of the Outback.
I come back to reality with Rose snapping her fingers in front of my face.
Laughing, she says, "we lost you for a minute there, B. I guess we've found your soft spot."
"Bitch," I mumble under my breath, but they both hear me and crack up laughing.
"It's okay, Bella. Tell us more about what this B and S thing is," Rose finally says.
Taking a deep breath, I launch into my spiel.
"B and S is short for Bachelor and Spinster. Basically it's a huge party, in the middle of nowhere, with all kinds of food and alcohol supplied. Goes from the afternoon, normally until the next morning. All you have to do is buy a ticket and you're right to go. They take a bit of planning, which is why we're shopping tomorrow. The ball's not for another month, though."
"What do you mean planning?" Rose inquires. Oh boy, are they in for a treat.
"You'll find out soon enough. So, I'll pick you both up at ten?" Both girls nod in agreement, and we head our separate ways to complete our work day.
I head to the girls' unit to pick them up at the agreed time. They're waiting outside for me and jump in my car, ready to start our shopping spree.
"So, where are we going?" Alice bursts out after we make our greetings. "I was looking at some places online last night, and there's this gorgeous couture boutique at Paddington, or there's some at Greenslopes. Or do you think it's better if we go into the city?" I have to laugh at her enthusiasm. She is going to flip her lid when she finds out where we're going.
"Nope, none of those. We're going Op-shopping!" I say with excitement. Gasps of horror come from both of them. Judging from the way they're always immaculately dressed, I'd hazard a guess that neither have ever set foot into an Op-shop in their lives.
Alice gasps in horror, "Op-shop, you mean like a consignment shop? No...no way. Absolutely not. I am not buying someone elses used clothes. That's just...nasty," she says with a shudder.
I pull up outside of an Op-shop in inner city Brisbane, hoping by chance they may have some good quality formal or cocktail dresses suitable for a B and S. Alice is starting to argue with me, and I hold my hand up to halt her tirade.
"Now listen, and listen to me carefully. I don't care what you find, but it must fit these guidelines, okay?" They're both looking at me with a mix of horror and confusion.
Continuing, I explain, "The dresses must not be floor length, but definitely a dark colour and comfortable. Be prepared to fall on your ass, so choose something that's not going to flash what you had for breakfast. Don't pick anything expensive, because chances are you're going to be covered in booze, paint, and or food dye."
"What the fuck, Bella? What have you got us into?" This time it's Rosalie snapping at me.
"Welcome to the Wild West, my friend," I answer with a chuckle and wander off to have a look around the store.
I'm really surprised at the range they have. After a couple of hours, the three of us exit the store with our purchases. The dresses are gorgeous, reasonably priced and exactly what we need for a B and S Ball. Once the girls saw the selection and the quality of the clothes, they relaxed and started enjoying themselves.
"Accessories, Bella. We need to go find lingerie, shoes, and jewellery. Oh, and a jacket. Do you think I need a necklace with this dress? Or should I just go with earrings and bracelet?" Alice is off on her own little tangent, I have to stop her again.
"Alice, you won't be needing shoes or a jacket. I'll organise both of those."
"What do you mean Bella? I'm more than capable of shopping for my—"
I cut her off. "—I know you are Alice, but I've been to these balls before. There are definitely no heels at these places. I'm just trying to save you some embarrassment. I promise, I'll find you a delicious pair of shoes to wear with your dress. You just have to trust me, okay?"
Grabbing onto her forearms, I look her dead in the eyes. Nodding slightly, she bites her lip and looks away. Now I feel like a mother chastising her child.
"I guarantee you'll thank me for it later," I tell her with a wink. "Now, who's up for some lunch?"
The month passes in a blink of an eye. No matter how much the girls have tried to pry information about the ball from me, I refuse to give in. I've loved watching them squirm, not knowing what they're in for. I wonder how we're going to survive the sixteen hour drive.
I pull into the driveway of their unit, hoping they've taken my advice and packed only the bare necessities. They both come bounding out the front door with a suitcase each, and their dress bags draped over an arm. Thank goodness they packed light, there's not a lot of room in the back of the ute.
"Hey Bella, ummm...where's your car?" Alice questions. I know I've taken her by surprise with my choice of transport.
"Hiya girls. My little car won't make it to where we're going, so I've called in the heavy artillery," I say with a grin. The girls look uncertainly at the dirty big bull bar on the front, and the spotlights on the roof of the vehicle.
"Nice ride," Rose replies, "can I throw these in the back?" She's already at the tailgate, waiting for me to open the tonneau cover so they can put their bags in.
Alice is still looking a little unsure, but follows to do the same.
"Jump in ladies, I'll explain on the way."
Once we're all settled on the bench seat of the ute, I tell them the reason for the changeover of vehicles.
"This is my brother's, it's a V8 SS Commodore. A much smoother ride, with a lot more horsepower to get us over the bumpy roads. He uses it when he goes out pig and roo shooting." I see Alice shiver a little and I smile to myself. She's certainly not a country girl at all.
"Settle in, girls, it's going to be a long drive." With a rev of the engine, I screech out of the driveway.
"Exactly how long are we driving today?" Rose asks.
"To get to Windorah, we're looking at around sixteen hours, give or take. It'll be a slower run around dusk, as the roos are out. So maybe even seventeen? We've got some rooms booked at the Windorah Motel, so we'll have plenty of time to rest up. We can sleep in, then head out after lunch to check out the location for the Ball. Then, we can come back to our rooms, and have a rest before we get ready and go again."
"How far away is the Ball from where we're staying?"
"By my calculations, it's around another hour." I hope it's not much longer than that. After sixteen hours in a car, the last thing we'll all want is to be stuck in there for long again.
"So, who's the designated driver then?" Alice asks, ever conscious of doing the right thing.
"Well, that's the beauty of a B and S, you stay at the property," I answer with a smile on my face. Memories race back of previous B and S's I've attended.
"What? How can they possibly fit everyone in?" Alice asks with concern.
"Ummm, they don't. That's the other reason for the ute. We're camping out."
"Whaaaat!" Alice screeches. Her reaction startles me, and I swerve the car. We're going to have a goddamn accident before we even get there.
"Don't get your knickers in a knot, Alice. It's only one night. I'm sure you'll survive sleeping under the stars for just one night." I can see her starting to hyperventilate. I honestly didn't expect this reaction from her.
"Oh stop being such a baby," Rose replies. "Just think of it as another wonderful Australian experience," she says with mirth.
Throughout the drive we regale each other with tales of our childhood, our families and where we grew up. I've never travelled overseas, but after hearing stories of where the girls live, I know it will be on my to do list.
A few hours into the trip, exhaustion starts creeping in. No matter how much I turn up the music, or wind down the window for fresh air, I can't seem to keep my eyes open. Rose offers to take over. So, after giving her instructions to keep following the Warrego Highway, I drift off into a light sleep.
When I wake, I see the signs to Augathella. I know I've had a decent sleep, and it's time to relieve Rose. Alice expressed her distaste at driving such a 'monstrosity', so Rose and I agree to share the driving.
The country roads stretch out for miles in front of us. As dusk settles, the roos start dotting the countryside. On a lot of stretches of road, our speeds are reduced to under sixty kilometres an hour. We're crawling along because of the possibility of one jumping out in front of us.
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God... Is that a kangaroo?" Alice is screeching in my ear. I'm going to be deaf by the time she goes home.
"Does it hop like a kangaroo? Has it got paws like a kangaroo? Is it eating grass like a kangaroo? It's a fucking kangaroo, Alice! There's millions of them out here. They're a pest. They have to be culled because they damage the environment. During drought, they compete with livestock for the food," I tell her emphatically.
"How can they kill a poor defenceless creature like that?" she whines. Rose is just rolling her eyes at her.
"You need to toughen up, princess. I've already explained. The farmers do it to protect their livelihood. End of story. Just don't hit the suckers, they make a hell of a mess of your vehicle. That's why Mick has a dirty big bull bar on this thing," I say, patting the steering wheel.
"How is it you know so much about this, Bella?" Rose asks, intrigued.
"I grew up on a station, about five hours north of where we are going tomorrow. Then after I finished high school, I took a gap year. Spent it as a Jillaroo on a station in the Northern Territory."
"What's a Jillaroo?" Rose questions.
"Basically it's a female stockhand. Anything to do with the stock: droving, feeding and watering the animals, branding... You name it, I've done it."
"Wow, Bella, I never would have picked you for a country gal."
"Hahaha well, you girls don't know me too well. I get down and dirty with the best of them," I admit with a wink.
I turn the music back up, singing at the top of my voice. The girls are getting treated to a lot of Australian country music on the way.
By the time we make it to Windorah, it's well and truly dark. We split off to our separate rooms and I tell the girls I'll meet them for brekky in the morning.
The warm water in the shower does wonders for my aching muscles. I'd forgotten how exhausting these long drives are. Since moving to the city, I haven't had to drive for any long length of time.
I'm woken in the morning by Rose bashing on the motel room door, yelling at me that she's hungry. I roll over to see it's well after ten am, so I fall out of bed to open the front door. The girls barge in with bags of pastries. After eating breakfast quickly, I organise the gifts for the girls.
"Okay, girls, seeing as we'll be "roughing it" tonight, I've bought some essentials for us."
"First, for today, I have some shoes and hats for you." I unpack the R.M. Williams bags to hand each of them an Akubra hat and a pair of boots. "You have Stetsons over there, we have Akubras." I tell them with a smile.
"There's absolutely no way you can go out in sandals like that. You'll see what I mean when we get there." Squeals of delight come from both girls, obviously happy with my choices.
"Next, it doesn't matter how hot it gets here during the day, it can get fucking cold at night." I pull two Driza Bones out of the bags and hand one to each of them. The coats are not only warm, but waterproof too.
"Bella, you can't be serious!" Alice proclaims. "These are so damn ugly, and oily. Ugh, what is that stuff all over them?"
"Alice they need to be oiled, it keeps them waterproof. If you don't like it, fine. But don't come crawling to me when you're freezing your ass off.
"Lastly, I have a swag and sleeping bag each. As I said, it gets cold, so you need something to protect you from the weather. It's like a mini tent, covers you completely and protects you from the weather.
"Now go change your shoes, make sure you've got sunscreen on, grab your hats and we'll head out."
Ten minutes later, we're back in the car, making the trek to Woodcroft Station. With the music turned up, we sing the rest of the way.
Finally, the turnoff for the station comes into view. With a sigh of relief, the girls relax a little. We're all keen to get out of this car.
"Don't get too excited, we're still a good thirty clicks away."
With every twist and turn of the dusty road our excitement builds. Rose and Alice are eager to see what it's all about, but for me it's almost familiar. Even though I haven't been to a ball for a couple of years, it's still something that reminds me of home, my roots and where I came from. I've been to about a dozen of these, and each one is different. Meeting new people, enjoying yourself and travelling to new places is what it's all about.
As I round the corner, the entryway to Woodcroft Station majestically greets us. It's almost like an oasis rising up out of the desert. Large trees frame and grow toward the middle of the winding dirt driveway. White fencing follows the boundary on either side of two white metal gates. The ute jolts as it crosses over the cattle grids just on the inside of the gates.
"What the hell was that?" Alice asks, as we slowly make our way down the drive.
"Cattle grids," I answer in a half-hearted manner. On one hand I'm awed at the beauty and magnificence of the property. On the other, I'm trying to concentrate on where the hell I'm going. She's asked me another question that I've totally missed.
"Huh?" I turn briefly to look at her.
With a huff she asks again, "What are they?"
"Oh sorry, Alice, they stop the cows from getting onto the road. They can't get their hooves over the grids. It's so the owner can leave the gate open."
"Hmmm," is her answer. I shake my head, wondering why she bothered asking in the first place. This girl is not cut out for the country. I snicker to myself, knowing she's in for a shock.
As we come to the end of the drive, there is a huge banner strung between two of the large trees, saying "Welcome to Woodcroft Station, Funny Buggers and Crazy Cows B and S Ball. All proceeds benefit the RFDS."
We're directed by a young boy to take a park to the right of the driveway. There, we're greeted by a stunning woman with auburn hair, dressed in a pair of worn jeans and a polo shirt with the station name emblazoned on the back.
As we exit the car she greets us at the tailgate, clipboard in hand and a large smile gracing her face.
"Hi and welcome to Woodcroft Station. I'm Esme, I'm one of your hosts for the evening. Can I just grab your names so I can mark you off and I'll run through the basics with you?"
Upon giving Esme our details, she hands each of us a wristband to allow us entry and exit to the ball, and a goodie bag.
"So girls, are you staying now, or coming back later?" she asks in a pleasant voice.
"We just thought we'd come check out where to go, and find a camp spot. We'll head back to the motel and come back later."
"Ah, no worries, girls. The best place to camp is just over to the right, past where you see the marquees. I have a stake with a plot number on it if you'd like to reserve somewhere now?"
With a nod of agreement, I take the stake and head over that way. The girls and Esme trail behind, chatting the whole way.
"We have so much entertainment organised for you tonight. Meals are served in the dining marquee."Alice looks around, raising an eyebrow in question.
Leaning in to Alice I reply to her unspoken question in a whisper, "Marquees are the big white tents over there."
We also have raffles, bands, and so on. Don't forget to wear your wristband for your free drinks. Now in your goodie bags is a program, some more info on the charity we are supporting, glow sticks, and a whistle—if for any reason you feel threatened use it. Security is hired for tonight and will be mingling among the crowd. There's also some condoms in there," she says with a wink.
A look of shock crosses all our faces at the same time.
"Now what sort of hosts would we be if we didn't ensure our guests were looked after?" She snickers. I'm really starting to like Esme.
"I have to head off as it looks like there's more people coming. If you need anything further, my boys are just around the corner in the round yard. Have a wonderful night and I hope to catch up with you." A huge smile spreads across her face, as she walks backward. With a wave she turns and jogs back the way she came.
Picking a campsite is easy, as there's only a handful of vehicles here already. We wander back toward the round yard, as I thought it might be a good opportunity for the girls to see some work hands in action. What I didn't expect was the three absolutely dreamy country boys working a very cranky stallion in the yard.
Dust is being kicked up as the horse is guided around the pen. We all lean on the bars of the yard to watch them work. One foot on the lowest rung, we lean on our arms, trying not to knock our Akubra's from our heads.
"Jesus, Bella. What's with these fucking flies?" Alice is standing there doing the Aussie salute, waving her arms like a mad woman trying to shoo them. I laugh at her because she's going to be doing a lot more of it. I decide not to tell her about the mozzies.
"Just wait until the sun goes down, they won't be as bad then," I tell her. Anything to stop the whining.
One man catches my eye. Sweat is pouring down his face and over his strong, muscular body. He takes off his cowboy hat to reveal the oddest reddish-bronze coloured hair plastered to his head and neck. Running his hands through it, he grabs a bottle of water that is offered to him by who I'm assuming is one of his brothers. After taking a huge drink, he then tips the rest of the bottle over his head. Oh my God, it's like slow-motion porn. He grabs the back of his Jackie Howe and pulls it over his head, using the singlet to rub the excess water from his neck, shoulders, pecs and extremely taut abs. He looks up, and I'm greeted with the most incredible green eyes I've ever seen.
His Wranglers are slung low on his hips, held there with a brown leather belt and large buckle. Suddenly he turns around, where I have a perfect view of his jeans practically painted onto his tight ass. He turns to look over his shoulder, points to the Wrangler logo on the back pocket and smacks himself on the ass. Throwing a wink over his shoulder, he turns back to face me.
Suddenly feeling self conscious, I break eye contact, glancing at the girls, only to look up and see him still staring at me. During this time I'm totally unaware that I've taken off my plaid button up shirt and tied it around my waist, making my tank with "Wrangler butts drive me nuts" more than visible for the hottie cowboy to see. I now realise that little show was just for me.
The girls are talking, but I'm so completely hypnotised by him I don't hear what they're saying. Before I know it, they're dragging me backwards, toward the car. Finally I snap out of my cowboy-induced trance and turn to follow them the way we came in. Once we reach the car, they both start in on me.
"Bella, what the hell was all that about? We were talking to you for about five minutes and you completely ignored us. You just kept staring at that cowboy."
"I..I'm sorry girls, I don't know what the hell came over me. Something happened back there and I've got no idea what it was," I stutter out, trying to make sense of the feelings washing over me.
"Yeah, it was called perving," Rose says with a chuckle, Alice joining in.
"Come along little lady, we sure have some purdying up to do before this 'ole barn dance tonight." I burst into laughter at Alice's attempt at a country voice. She sounds more like a Beverly Hillbilly.
"So...umm... what were you girls looking at whilst I was off with the fairies?" I ask in a curious voice.
"Oh, just checking out the scenery," Rose replies with a hint of mischief in her voice,
"Pfft, checking out the monkey man is more like it." The sarcasm in Alice's voice tells us she's joking.
"Puh-lease. Don't tell me you weren't checking out blondie in there." All of a sudden Alice is blushing bright red.
"Bella, I hate to say it, but I think you're right about cowboys," she admits in barely more than a whisper.
Rose starts to say something snarky back before I interrupt, "Alright girls, no need to get bitchy. I can guarantee you there'll be more scrumptious man meat there tonight. Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
"Yeah, like you haven't already, Bella. Seriously, you looked at that guy like he was something to eat. I almost felt sorry for him," Rose guffaws.
"What a crock of shit, Rosalie, I did not!" Stopping to think about it, maybe I did. I know I couldn't take my eyes off him. Sinewy muscles, rippling under taut, tanned skin. An ass so tight you could bounce coins off it. Abs and pecs so defined, the crevices made just for running your tongue through. And that's only his body, his face is the perfect mix of ruggedly handsome, yet well looked after.
Shaking myself from my thoughts, I climb into the driver's seat to head back to the motel. If there were more facilities available at the station. it would have been easier to stay and get ready there. I'm sure the princesses would much rather a hot shower and mirror to get ready in front of at the motel. I laugh quietly to myself. All this just proves the old adage, "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl", rings so very true for me.
I've always loved driving, especially the country roads. The solitude appeals to me in a way nothing ever has. I shocked myself more than my family when I decided to take a job in the big smoke. With a degree in finance under my belt and a lucrative offer from a prominent finance company on the table, the opportunity was too good to pass up.
But now, after making this trip, I realise how much I miss the outback. Being lost in my own head makes for a quicker ride.
The other girls must be the same, as they've barely said anything the whole way back to the motel.
We go our own ways for a couple of hours rest, then meet back in my motel room to finish getting ready. They look stunning in their cocktail dresses, and their shoes are going to top the look off perfectly.
Deep down I'm concerned that Alice won't enjoy herself. She's very much a champagne and caviar type of girl, this may be too much for her. Only time will tell.
"Wow Bella, just wow. If you don't get lucky tonight, there's something seriously wrong with these Aussie boys," Rose says upon entering my room.
They both look stunning themselves. Rose's red, backless cocktail dress, compliments her skin tone perfectly. Her long blonde hair lay in waves down her back, and her makeup is natural, apart from her red lipstick.
"Thanks, Rose, you're looking pretty darn schmicko yourself. Here are your shoes," I say, as I hand her a box, "and these, gorgeous Miss Alice, are for you."
Alice's powder-blue dress isn't exactly ideal for tonight's festivities, we're not expecting it to come out unscathed. It suits her personality perfectly, though. Fun and flirty, with a big splash of class. I wait anxiously while they open their boxes. Cowboy boots are definitely not their style, but I'm certain they will adore these as much as I did when I found them.
Squeals of delight fill the room, as I'm engulfed in hugs from the two women. I certainly wasn't expecting that reaction.
"Bella, oh my God, these are gorgeous!" Alice shrieks as she pulls the packing out of her boots and pulls them onto her dainty feet. Blue accents, the colour of her dress, adorn the tan boots, while Rose's are the same colour of her dress. I had to do some searching to find the right ones, but I'm happy with my choices.
All of a sudden Alice throws herself at me again, "Bella, I'm so so sorry I doubted you," she says, her voice muffled as she buries her face against my shoulder. Patting her awkwardly on the back, I reassure her it's fine.
"Okay girls, time to get this show on the road. Let me throw my boots on and I'll be ready. I'll meet you at the ute." Gathering my bags, I head out.
Alice is standing beside the vehicle, a confused look on her face. "Umm...Bella, you know you look gorgeous right? That dress is perfect for you, showing the right amount of your assets. But..." She's stumbling over her words, and I'm wondering what the heck is wrong.
"Alice, just spit it out, for God's sake. Am I flashing too much boob or something?" I look down the bodice of the dress. It's a little more risqué than I would normally wear, the sweetheart neckline dipping to a couple of inches below my breasts. I was hoping the embellishments of the top would draw attention away from that fact. The bottom half of the dress is a flowing silky material in a cream colour. I know that can't be the issue. I look up to her in confusion.
"Well...it's just that we have these gorgeous new boots, and you're wearing ones that look like they've been around forever," she replies uncertainly. Rose is standing behind her, curious as to what my answer will be.
"Ali, it's fine. These boots are my old faithfuls. They've been to every B and S with me and they'll continue to. I know they're not the prettiest, but they're mine." With a smile and a wave of the hand to chase them to their seats, we're finally on our way.