The third Gathering. On the Coast, where the weather is bleak and wet, much like the mood of some of the participants, though Julia was in no mood to let that stop her having what she hopes will be a good time. The last was an eye-opener, could this be better?
After sampling some of the delights with a new found friend she meets up again with Tim her bartender from the first Gathering and some of his mates, before running into some old friends from Sydney who are there to screen her performances for a position with their business. An unexpected bus ride proves nearly too much for the adventurous Julia, but does prove one or two points which she hadn’t expected, as she teams up with a group of escorts who entertain at these Gatherings.
Carly waits impatiently in her unit for Julia’s answer to her much flaunted question, but Julia hedges, not wanting to reveal anything until the final hour of the Gathering.
She meets her two criminal friends as they are about to attempt another heist and innocently helps them out, landing herself in the lap of the local Constabulary.
Another romp as Julia bounces from one situation to another, finally revealing her decision to an impatient Carly and preparing herself for a new life in the oldest profession…
3:15 PM – 5 PM
Julia waited in the terminal, watching as Carly entered through the tunnel and collected her bags before making her way to where she was waiting. Carly smiled and gave Julia a hug and kiss.
“Welcome to sunny Queensland,” Carly mocked, looking out at the rain pouring down outside.
“It started this morning and is supposed to clear by tomorrow,” Julia said, defending the Queensland climate and offering to take Carly’s bags. They walked outside to the covered pick up area, feeling the coolness of the breeze, and confronted by the continual heavy rain. “I’ll bring the car around. Wait here,” Julia told her, opening the umbrella and rushing out into the rain. In a couple of minutes she returned, parking the car opposite where Carly was waiting and hopped out. She opened the passenger door for Carly and took her luggage, putting it into the boot. “Damned weather!” she said as she got back in the car, brushing her clothes with her hands.
“When you said you’d meet me at the airport, I thought you meant with something a little more elegant, where we might both be kept dry.” Carly grinned. “You’re not likely to catch a cold?”
“Come on, they breed us tough up here. It’s only a shower. If you’ve finished criticizing the weather, and the transport, we can leave,” Julia said, driving the car out into the rain, the noise on the hood drowning out any reply Carly made.
“Do you know where we’re going?” Carly yelled.
“I looked it up. It’s a resort on the beach near Surfers. You’ve never been there before?”
Carly shook her head. “I wouldn’t be here now, only for you. I’m not really a beach lover.” Carly smirked. “Or for that matter a water baby.”
“Well, let’s hope we all enjoy ourselves. Was it a good flight?” They yelled at each other in conversation for the next twenty minutes, until they reached the gates of the resort, the rain still falling heavily. The intercom system stood alone on the driver’s side and Julia wound down her window reaching out to press the button, her arm and shoulder getting saturated.
“What name?” A voice crackled over the intercom. She looked over at Carly who had made the booking.
“Bassami,” Carly told her. Julia repeated the name into the intercom and the gates slowly opened.
“Drive through to the office,” the voice crackled again, as Julia wound up the window, wiping her arm.
“I never knew your surname. Is it Italian?” she asked, following the road around to under a wide awning at the entrance to the large high rise building, stopping the car.
Julia started to get out, but Carla stopped her. “Wait here. I booked a beachside cabin thinking it would be fine, I’ll go and get the keys and find out anything we need to know. It’ll give you a few minutes to dry off.” There was no actual sarcasm in her voice, but Julia had the feeling Carly was less than impressed with the start to this weekend. While she waited, she did rub her arms and dry any moisture that remained on her skin just to keep warm. It probably wasn’t the ideal start to a weekend on the Gold Coast, but the bureau had said it would clear overnight, so fingers crossed.
Carly returned, waving a key. “We’re in luck there’s a lean-to at the side of the cabin where you can park, and we can get inside without getting wet.” She looked at Julia and grinned. “Wetter.” Julia smirked, started the car, and followed the winding road through the abundant amount of green shrubs and trees that grew on either side of the roadway.
The greenery cleared revealing a row of bungalows perched on top of a dune and right on the beach. “Number eight,” Carly told her, as they drove slowly along watching the numbers. Julia turned and drove up a short drive and stopped under the cover of a thatched roofed from where they could see the surf rolling in ahead of them. “Let’s hope, its high tide already,” Carly commented skeptically.
They got out, and while Carly went to unlock the unit, Julia got the bags from the trunk and followed her in. “Nice,” Julia said as she put the bags down and took a good look around.
“If you like that beachcomber existence,” Carly added, sitting on the bed. “I guess I can watch the rain from here, as easy as I could from the high rise.”
“I’m sorry, the weather’s not what you hoped, but it will improve. Promise.”
“It’s not really that, girl. I’m not sure how many of my friends are going to be here either. I know John and Isobel won’t be coming, and I’m not sure about some of the others. I might be stuck in here all weekend with nothing to do, and all day to do it.”
“I’ll be here some of the time, so don’t get down. Let’s have a drink. That’ll help brighten things up,” Julia said going to the small cupboard in the kitchenette and opening the door. “Great. It’s fully stocked. They must have been expecting us.” She moved the bottles looking for the gin, finding it and taking it out, along with a bottle of scotch for Carly. Julia made the drinks and brought them across to the bed where Carly was looking at a map of the complex she had got from the receptionist.
“You might need to look at this if you intend to go places tonight.”
Julia took a sip of the drink and looked over the map. “We’re here, and the entertainment venues are all inside the unit complex?” she asked looking at the plan.