Thursday, July 10, 2008

rottnest romance #10

The next choice 500 words from Rottnest Romance. Will it win the Miles Franklin or the Man Booker? I wouldn't be surprised. The scintillating story so far: Larissa wanted a quiet dinner but - fancy! - ended up sitting with evil money-grubbing scum-of-the-earth developer Nick at the same table. She proceeds to lick jus off his torso - hang on, no, will they even get to dessert before Larissa chucks a tanty? Read on...


“Was it a business or a social event?” he pressed her.

“Social – and not very interesting. Why aren’t you eating at your hotel?” she asked, hoping to deflect his curiosity.

“We had lunch there today. We thought we’d try somewhere different for dinner.”

As he spoke Larissa saw Ashleigh Kane walk towards them. She was wearing an expensive-looking blood-red dress that hugged her body.

As Ashleigh took her seat Larissa noted that she touched Nick’s shoulder for a moment. That gesture, and the fact he hadn’t been ostentatiously polite to her, told her they were intimate – perhaps lovers.

So what? It wasn’t her business.

She greeted Ashleigh, and asked, “Are you feeling better now after your rest?”

“I’m fine now, thanks. Have you ordered yet, Nick?”

He shook his head. “No, not yet. What are you going to have?”

Ashleigh’s gold jewelry caught Larissa’s eye: she wore several bracelets and a big earring in each ear. To match her dress, Ashleigh had bright red lipstick, lots of makeup and black strappy shoes. ‘How wrong for Rottnest’, thought Larissa.

“I don’t think I want anything. The menu seems a bit limited here. Are there any better places to eat on this island?”

That was a bit unfair, Larissa thought. “The food is really good here, Ashleigh – I’m sure you’ll like it.”

The other woman just shrugged. Larissa wondered how long it would be before she could leave without seeming rude.

“You have an uncommon family name, Larissa,” Nick said. “Kidd – how did you come by that?”

“We think our ancestors were from Britain and came out with the First Fleet,” she explained. “Apparently it’s an old Scottish name.”

“It was also the name of an infamous pirate – William Kidd, from Greenock, Scotland. Rather appropriate really, seeing you run a sea-faring business,” he smiled.

“Appropriate in what way?” she asked guardedly.

“I notice on my map there have been quite a few shipwrecks around Rottnest. Doesn’t that conjure up pictures of pirates and sunken treasure to you?”

“No,” she said bluntly, “although you are right about the shipwrecks. There have been about a dozen or so on reefs around the island in the past hundred and fifty years.”

“Have there been any around Parakeet Bay?” he asked.

“I don’t think so. Up until now people have had the good sense to stay away from that particular area,” she said pointedly.

It was as if Nick hadn’t heard her. “We went out to Parakeet Bay today, in fact – or rather I did. Ashleigh was still resting and didn’t fancy a bike ride.”

“Yes?” Larissa tried to sound interested. She didn’t want to hear the details about how the Bay was going to be developed – destroyed, in her view. “What did you do there?”

“Looked around. Generally got a feel for the area. It’s very scenic out there – quite beautiful.”

“It certainly is,” she agreed. She wanted to add, ‘Then why are you determined to ruin it with your big plans?’ but stopped herself.

Instead she asked, “Have you seen anything else of the island?”

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