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Authors: Angela Verdenius

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The Goodbye Girl

BOOK: The Goodbye Girl
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The Goodbye Girl

 

By

 

Angela Verdenius

 

 

(BBW Romance)

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2014 Angela Verdenius

 

Cover images courtesy of dundanim & istock.com and Cmillc22 & Dreamstime.com

Cover by Angela Verdenius

 

 

ebook Edition License Notes

No part of this book may be reproduced or copied in any form without prior consent of the author & publisher.

All characters and towns are figments of the author’s imagination and bear no resemblance to any person living or deceased.

Foreword

 

I found that some overseas readers were having difficulty with the Australian slang, so I thought a list of the slang I’ve used will help while reading the following story.  If I’ve forgotten any, I do apologise!  Also, you’ll find some of our Aussie words have different spelling to the US.   Interestingly enough, as I’ve grown (gracefully) older, I find a lot of our slang is bypassing the younger generation, so if a young Aussie says they have never heard a certain word, don’t be surprised!  But trust me, I’ve used these words all my life growing up, and so have a lot of my family and friends.  Does that make me an older Aussie?  Heck yes!  LOL

 

 

Cheers,

Angela

 

Australian Terms/Slang

 

Arvo
- afternoon

Barbie
- BBQ

Beaut
-  beautiful, awesome, great, wonderful

Bewdy
- as in ‘awsome, great’

Biccies
- biscuits.  The same as cookies

Bikie
- biker, person who rides motorcycles.

Bloke/s
- man/men

Bloody
- a swear word ‘no bloody good’, in place of ‘no damned good’

Boofhead
- idiot, simpleton, etc.  It’s an insult, though sometimes we use it as a term of affection.  It depends on how it is said and meant.

Boot (of a car)
- trunk

Budgie smugglers
- men’s bathers, small, brief and tight-fitting

Buggered
- many Aussie use it as a slang word for ‘broken’ (it’s buggered), ‘tired (I’m buggered), and ‘no way’ (I’m buggered if I’m going to do that).  Just some examples

Bung/Bunging
- as in ‘bunging onto something’, putting on something (bung veggies on a plate, putting veggies on a plate), usually in a careless or ‘easy’ manner.

Chemist
- pharmacy

Chips
- in Australia we have cold crunchy chips from a packet, or hot chips known in some countries as French Fries 

Crash cart
- resuscitation trolley in a hospital or medical setting - used for life threatening situations such as cardiac arrest

Dander
– temper

Dill
- silly, idiot

Doona
- like a padded quilt that fits inside a cover and lies on the bed.  Can have the warmth of two, three or four blankets, etc.

Donger
- penis.  Also another meaning is a place people sometimes sleep in, such as ‘dongers’ on mine sites.

Dunny
- toilet.  When used in the terms ‘built like a brick dunny’, it refers to something built solid, unmoveable.

Garbo
/s
- the person/s who drive and/or load garbage onto the garbage truck.

Gee-gees
- horses

Giggle-box
- TV, television

Got his/her/their goat
– annoyed him/her/them

Hoon/s
- person/people who indulge in antisocial behaviour.  Great explanation in Wikipedia

Iced coffee/chocolate
- a milk drink flavoured with chocolate or coffee

Jumper
- sweater

Lolly
- sweetie, candy

Loo
- toilet

Lug
- face

Milo
- chocolate malt drink.  Can have it hot or cold. Yummy!

Moosh
- slang for face/mouth

Mobile phone
- cell phone

Mozzie
- mosquito

NAD
- No Abnormalities Detected

Nong
- idiot

Nooky
- sex

Panadol
- paracetamol, similar to Tylenol in the US

Pav/s
- Pavlova/Pavlovas - best dessert ever!

PCYC
- Police and Citizens Youth Club

Pedal Pushers
- three quarter pants/knickerbockers

Porking
- having sex

Primapore
- sticky patch with a pad in it, a medical dressing

Pub
– hotel

Quack
– derogatory term for a doctor

RAC
- Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia.  Covers insurance, holidays, loans, etc

Red backs -
poisonous spider, black in colour with a red stripe on its back.

Rotty
– Rottweiler breed of dog.

Rubbers
– condoms

Seasol
- gardening mix used to nourish plants

Servo
- service station

Shag
- sex

Sheila
– female

Slab
– carton of beer.

Snaggers
- sausages

Soft drink
- soda, fizzy drink

Stiffy
- erection, boner

Tea
- some people call the evening meal dinner.  In my family, we’ve always called it tea, as in breaky, dinner and tea, or breaky, lunch and tea.

Thongs
- worn on the feet, same as ‘flip flops’

Tickled pink
- delighted

Tim Tams
- a brand of Arnott’s Biscuits. Yummy!

TLC
- Tender Loving Care

Togs
- bathers, swim suit

Torch
- flashlight

Toot
- toilet

Tucker
– food

Twistie
– a brand of cheese-flavoured snack food – very yummy!

Ute -
small truck

Vegemite
- most Aussies find this spread yummy, many non-Aussies find it too salty.  Here’s the hint - if you ever have Vegemite, use it spread thinly, never thickly!

Wacky baccy
-
marijuana

Wanger
- penis

Waterworks
- crying

Whopper
- a lie

Yamaha & Suzuki
- ‘brands’ of motorcycles.

You wally
- silly

 

Chapter 1

 

Australian Army Base

Afghanistan

 

Towel slung around his neck, Nick fingered the envelope in his hand.  One look at that handwriting and he knew who it was from, just as he knew what it would say.

Only he didn’t want to read it.  Not yet, not knowing what it contained.

Walking
beside him, his friend, Alex Lawson, was already opening his envelope, drawing out the pale blue paper covered in the handwriting of his wife, Harly. Within seconds of starting to read, Alex was smiling.

Yeah, Alex loved his wife, and he lived for her regular letters
and emails.

Nick couldn’t say that he loved the woman who wrote him letters, but he sure as hell looked forward to them.  It was those letters peppered with amusing anecdotes that had gotten him through his tour of duty here, just as her letters had gotten a lot of lonely soldiers through their tours.

Alex glanced at him.  “Not opening it?”

“Not yet.” 
Don’t want to read the words
.

Alex’s eyebrows rose, the silent question in his eyes.

“Yeah.”  Nick fingered the envelope.  “I know.”

“Mate, she knows you’re going home.”

“Yeah.”

Alex slowed, his gaze taking in Nick’s expression.  “You know she only writes until you go home.”

“Yeah.” Nick cleared his throat.

“She only writes to a chosen soldier until they go home, then she gets passed to the next one.”

“Yeah.”  He didn’t want to pass the only link to a normal life, a happy life, to another soldier.  Have another man laugh, open her letters as eagerly as he’d done all these long months.

Hell, he didn’t even have a photo of her.  When he’d dared to ask, he’d gotten a magazine cutting of Angelina Jolie.  He was pretty certain he w
asn’t writing to Angelina Jolie.

Slowing to a halt, Alex studied him.  “You all right?”

“Sure.”

Alex looked at the envelope clutched tight in Nick’s hand.  “There’s a reason they
call her The Goodbye Girl, Nick.”

“I know.”

“You’re going home.  This is goodbye.”

“I know.”  He couldn’t even think why he’d have a stupid lump in his damned throat.  Had to be the dust in the air.  Yeah, the bloody dust and heat of Afghanistan.

Those all-seeing eyes of Alex’s studied him.

Nick cleared his throat again, ripped open the envelope and took out the paper.   Only he didn’t unfold it
, he just stared at it.

“Have you thought about who you’re going to
pass her to?” Alex asked.

“Jonesy, I guess.”  Nick took a deep breath.  “No need for her to keep writing me anyway, right?  My tour here is finished; I may not be posted back.”

Alex smiled slightly.  “You don’t even know if you want to come back after our holiday.”

“True.”  Nick glanced around the camp
at his fellow soldiers heading out on patrol, several others sitting in the shades of the huts reading, a couple heading towards the shower block he’d left as soon as he’d heard the truck pull into camp.

Army life was all he’d known since he’d joined at the age of eighteen. 
Seventeen years in the Army, his life, his family.  He’d made a lot of friends, seen some die, waved goodbye to others who had been posted elsewhere, thinking the Army was all he needed.

Until he’d had the honour of having The Goodbye Girl handed to him by her last
‘soldier boy’, as the lucky recipient was laughingly nicknamed in the camp.

The Goodbye Girl wrote to one lonely soldier who had no family, she sent him care parcels, wrote regularly, kept him updated on the happenings back home, and made him laugh.  When the time came for that soldier to return home, she bid him goodbye and her address was passed onto the
next lonely soldier who had no family.

And so it had been for the last ten years that Nick knew of, and he’d been the last bloke to be The Goodbye Girl’s ‘soldier boy’
, had been getting her care packages and fun letters for nine months.

N
ow she was bidding him goodbye.

He didn’t want to let her go, feeling as though her ghost was standing at his elbow, an elusive wisp of womanhood who had shared her life with a lonely soldier.  Or as much of her life as she’d let him see.  Mostly it was just amusement, little anecdotes, a lot
of laughter and sympathy when required.  He felt like the woman was almost tangible, just out of reach, hovering on the brink of his eyesight.  He’d never seen her face, never heard her voice.  She wouldn’t Skype.  She did email, he had quite a collection of jokes and cartoons, some really risqué, but not once had she ever agreed to Skype.  So grateful just to be in contact with her, he hadn’t argued.

She was such a part of his life, he hadn’t realised until he’d been told his tour was over and he was going home, that he was also facing separation from Bree.

Bree.  Just Bree.  No last name.  One of her little quirks, putting just ‘Bree’ on the back of her envelopes along with a post box address that changed every couple of months

Entering
the hut, Nick slung the towel over the end of the cot and dropped onto the thin mattress. So much for the refreshing shower, he was already sweating. 

Holding up the paper, he ran his thumb over it.

Bree travelled a lot, that much he knew from her letters to previous soldiers that they’d shared, and from her letters to him.  The postcodes never stayed the same for long.

Holding up the envelope, he studied the postmark.

Whicha

Huh
.  Sitting up, he pulled a box from under his cot and opened it, pulling out her letters to check the postmarks.

So many different places, never more than two in any one place.  Except for the last three months.  All those addresses a
nd postmarks were from Whicha.

His heart took a little leap.

Whicha.  It was like fate.  Fate because it was to Whicha he was going for his leave, or most of it, staying with Alex Lawson and his wife while he tried to sort out what he wanted to do with his life, continue in the Army or seek a life outside, a civilian life.

He had a yearning to buy a home, settle down, and lead a peaceful life. 
Or maybe it was just that he’d seen how happy Alex was, his wife and home back in Australia, that tie, knowing someone loved him and waited for him.

He wanted that, too.  With no family, the only one
who’d shown him any tenderness or care was Bree.

The Goodbye Girl.

Smiling, he opened the paper.  Fate.

Bree might
be saying goodbye, but he wasn’t, not yet.

He just prayed she’d still be there when he arrived.

~*~

 

Whicha, Australia 

Three Weeks Later

 

Holding a section of hair between her forefinger and middle finger,
Bree carefully, quickly, and efficiently trimmed the edges.  Her eyes were on the job, but her ears were listening to the conversations going on around her.

One thing you learned very quickly as a hairdresser - you became the varied clients’ agony aunt, trapped
listener, and all around confident.  The things people told hairdressers while having their hair chopped, trimmed, styled or dyed, was mind-boggling.  The secrets they spilled made Bree sometimes mentally shake her head.

Though after
fifteen years as a hairdresser there wasn’t much that shocked her anymore…a lot that amused her, yes, but shocked?  Not much at all.

But this conversation was awesome.  Bree studied her client in the mirror. Charlotte Harmon was all agog about the UFO sighting.  How true was it?

“I’m telling you, Maryanne,” Charlotte insisted.  “I saw it.”

Maryanne, who was sitting in the chair beside Charlotte while Bella applied hair colour to her hair, rolled her eyes.  “There’s no such thing as UFOs, Charlotte.”

“I’d have said so before my sighting, but now I’m a true believer.”  Charlotte nodded.  “Ouch!”

Years of hairdressing experience had given Bree strong
fingers; nothing escaped them when she was trimming.  A woman thoughtlessly nodding while wanting a dead straight edge on her hair was no competition for Bree’s grip.

“Keep your head still,” Bree cautioned her.  “Or you’ll end up with an uneven trim.”

Obeying, Charlotte watched Maryanne in the mirror.  “I’m lucky to still have my hair.  It could have been burned off by the radiation.”

A smile hovered around Bree’s lips, but Bella didn’t even try to hide her incredulity.

“Radiation?”

“Given off by the spaceships,” Charlotte explained.  “It can leave you with burns.”

Dropping the section of hair, Bree ran her comb through it, studying the fall of the hair.  “Hmmmm.  Didn’t you say you were about a km away when you saw a light in the sky?”

“Yes.”

“Not close enough for burns, surely?”

“I didn’t say
I
was burned.  I said that you can
get
burns from being too close to the spaceships.”

“I thought you only saw one light?”
Bella queried.  “One ship?”

Maryanne winked.  “One buff
alien with a long appendage is all you’d need.”

Charlotte huffed.  “I know you don’t believe me.  Only a true believer would understand.”

Bree mentally rolled her eyes.  The woman sounded like a complete dill.  One light in the distance that dipped a little didn’t mean it was a UFO, and she ought to know, she’d spent most of her youth chasing sightings with her mother.

“What do you think?”
Charlotte asked.

Glancing
into the mirror, Bree saw her client staring at her, a mixture of defiance and a flash of vulnerability in her eyes.

Charlotte Harmon was a member of the blue rinse set, and that she’d
even contemplate the idea of UFOs was a wonder.  For her to announce what she had to everyone in the hairdresser - well, everyone being a total of four people - was a huge thing.  Everyone would know once word got around.

Bree glanced at the
reflections of Bella and Maryanne in the mirror, both of them smirking a little.

Oh well,
why not?


Actually,” she said calmly, fluffing Charlotte’s blue-tinged curls, “UFO sightings aren’t uncommon.”

“Sure, every nut in the world claims to have seen a UFO,” Maryanne shot back, adding belatedly, “Not you, of course,
Charlotte.’

Charlotte’s
mouth tightened, but her gaze switched back to watch Bree.  “Have you seen a UFO here as well?”

“Not here.” 
Bree gave Charlotte’s curls a sweep of hairspray.  “There you go.  All done.”

“But you’ve seen one?”
Charlotte persisted.

“Yep.”

Maryanne laughed.

“Seriously,”
Bree added.  “Yes, Charlotte, I have seen a UFO, but not here.”

Bella stared at her.  “Bree. 
Seriously?”

N
ot in the least offended by the incredulity on the women’s faces, she nodded.  It was one she was used t, and it didn’t bother her one little bit.  “Absolutely.”

“Where?” Charlotte demanded eagerly.

“I was travelling across the Nullarbor Plains
quite a few years ago and we saw one in the sky.”  One of many sightings on one of many trips.

“At night?” Maryanne asked
sceptically.

“During the day, actually.”  Grabbing the broom, Bree star
ted sweeping up the trimmed hair.  “Triangle shape, silver.  It hovered in the air for several minutes before shooting off into the sky.”

“Sure it did.” Bella grinned.

“Maybe mine was triangular,” Charlotte said thoughtfully.

Bree smiled.  “You couldn’t tell the shape of a spaceship at night unless it was lit up and you were close enough.”

“”And you told us it was a light you saw from a
km
away,” Maryanne interjected.  “Geez.  Really, Bree?  You really believe in UFOs?”

“I do
.” Gathering the hair into a dustpan, she tipped into the little bin in the corner of the room.

“You’d have to experience a UFO sighting to truly understand, dear.”  Patting Maryanne’s hand with a propriety air, Charlotte stood up and walked across
to the counter.

Ringing up the sale, Bree gave her the change, not in the least surprised when
Charlotte leaned forward to whisper confidentially, “We must have a coffee soon, chat about our otherworldly experiences.”

Bree smiled
noncommittally.

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