Colin Rogers and his civil partner, Martin Kellam, are invited to spend Christmas down under with Colin’s uncle Matt on his sheep station.
Colin has lost his job and worries about the airfare. But Matt offers to help with the cost, and also mentions the possibility that the pair will like Australia so much they’ll agree to emigrate.
Two years earlier when Matt spent Christmas with Colin’s family in London, he’d talked about his feelings for Bruce, his foreman. However, on arrival it soon becomes obvious he hasn’t said anything to Bruce, so Colin and Martin decide to play matchmakers.
Many decisions have to be made. Can Matt trust his heart? Will Australia be the new start Colin and Martin need? Or is England, despite its cool temperatures and warm beer, too comfortable and familiar to leave?
“Hey, Col, Martin, over here!”
Martin Kellam, holding his civil partner’s arm, smiled at hearing the familiar voice of Colin’s uncle Matt.
“G’day, mate,” Martin called out. He’d been practicing his Aussie accent but he knew it was pretty terrible, a fact confirmed when Matt laughed.
“Gawd,” Martin felt two strong arms engulf him. “It’s great to see you. Uh ... sorry.”
Martin found and kissed Matt’s cheek. “Don’t start all that again. Blind people say that they’ll see each other all the time.”
“Thanks, mate.” Matt’s words were punctuated with slaps on Martin’s back.
Martin got a second squeeze before Matt moved on to his nephew.
Colin’s words were muffled; Martin guessed his partner’s face was pressed into Matt’s wide shoulder.
“You both have a good flight?” Matt asked.
“It was bloody long,” Colin said.
“And tiring,” Martin yawned.
“I remember.” Matt chuckled. “Sorry, I haven’t congratulated you both on getting married, uh, hitched.”
“Thanks.” Unconsciously Martin touched the smooth metal band on the ring finger of his left hand. “Somehow getting civil partnered doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
“Wish I coulda been there ... but we were a couple of jackaroos down and I couldn’t --”
“It’s okay. Like we said at the time, we understand,” Colin told him. “Hope the pictures and the video helped.”
“They did, mate, thanks.”
Martin took Colin’s elbow and they started walking, Colin pulling his case with his free arm and Matt pulling Martin’s, even though the latter insisted he could manage it himself.
Martin had told Colin he wanted the civil partnership ceremony to be filmed, knowing at least he’d be able to hear the soundtrack and relive the second-most important day of his life. The most important had been Christmas seven years earlier when he and Colin had first become a couple.
The ceremony had been amazing. Even without the video Martin knew he’d never forget standing in front of their friends and family -- mostly Colin’s -- as the registrar had joined them in their civil partnership. Seth, Martin’s guide dog and successor to Toby, had been there. Colin had insisted on this, saying the German Shepherd was an important member of their family.
Colin, Martin, and Matt walked seemingly miles along hallways, around corners, and more corners until finally they emerged outside.
“Hell,” Colin said, echoing Martin’s unspoken sentiments. It was hot.
Matt laughed. “Welcome to Oz in summer.”