When Kate Thompson returns from college to her family sheep farm with her boyfriend Dylan in tow, she expects to take her place as her father's right-hand on the farm. Instead she returns to a farm in ruin, and a father in despair. Her relationship begins to crumble, and Kate's dreams crumble with it. When tragedy strikes, Kate finds herself caring for her distraught mother while battling her own grief and a dysfunctional relationship. Summoning all her strength, Kate seeks help from two courage
It was late in the evening after a long Friday at the office when Jessica Cooper pulled up her tiny 2 door car outside her house. She could faintly see the lounge-room light on and sighed sadly. She didn’t want to go into their little rental house in this crowded suburban street- much less smell the dirty carpet she could never seem to get clean. Wanting to delay the moment a bit longer, she pulled her natural blonde hair into a messy pony-tail. Timothy was always at her to do something more interesting with her hair than simply run a brush roughly through it and pull it into the familiar pony-tail every morning. He had even once brought Jess make-up, though she refused to wear it, preferring a natural look. Tim believed that he had an image to maintain and she too, had to maintain that image. He had been her boyfriend now for 5 years, since during high-school, and in truth she really knew no other life then life with him. Tim worked hard to build his career as a real-estate agent in a city firm- he was at the office more than he was at home. 6 months ago they had signed a lease together for the small brick house in the concrete jungle that is inner-city Melbourne. Jess hated it. Tim knew she hated it. He loved it though- the proximity to his office, the city lights, the constant hum of traffic through the night.
Jess looked in the car mirror at the slight bags under her eyes. She just could not seem to get a decent night’s sleep in their claustrophobic bedroom.The makeup might actually be a good idea, she thought to herself, pulling at her eyes.
Deciding she had stalled the moment long enough, Jess started to head inside. She fought, as always, with the designer front door which was designed so well it refused to open without a fight. Finally, she flung it open, swearing heavily.
Jess jumped in shock as she realised there was a large group of people crowding her small lounge-room, cheering her name. She saw aunts, cousins and grandparents she hadn’t seen in months, and spotted Tim’s parents waving at her from across the room. Tim himself stood next to her mother Jane, under a huge “Happy 21stBirthday” banner strung across the back wall. Jess started laughing and dashed around the room, hugging and kissing all of the family and friends who had evidently decided to throw her a surprise 21stbirthday party.
Finally she got to Tim who gave her a huge bear hug, lifting her off the ground for a moment. Various people started waving presents in her face and trying to talk to her, while someone else put a CD of cheerful music over the music system. Jane, who had a huge voice when she wanted to, boomed across the cacophony of voices all talking at once.
“Wait! Speeches first! We talked about this!” She yelled, laughing, turning to Jess,
“Jess. As you can see, we got a couple of people together for a quiet dinner” she nodded sarcastically towards the huge amount of family- Tim’s extended family included- who were packed in the room. They laughed along with her as a couple of Jess’s cousins passed around champagne glasses to everyone.
“We know you didn’t really want a huge party, but we all did, and majority rules” another laugh rumbled away as Jane continued, “but to get serious for a moment. We wanted you to remember this night. We are so proud of you, and we all love you so much. My little girl has grown up!” A few people groaned in good humour and patted Jane’s back as tears formed in her eyes.
“You have always been a strong girl, and I hope that you will always remain true to your heart, and follow your dreams. Those dreams might be unusual, they might not be what other people would want you to do, but my wish for you is that you always remember to follow them.” Jane caught and held Jess’s gaze for a long moment. She had a serious look in her eyes now and Jess felt confused. It was like her mother was trying to tell her something. Jess wasn’t sure what. Jane looked away and stepped aside as Tim stepped forward.
“Jess is amazing” he smiled at her as he addressed the crowd. “She’s smart, funny, gorgeous: she’s my future. I enjoy every day with her, and am looking forward to a long future with her. I see us getting ahead our careers, I see a house in a nice new estate, I see children, I see minivans and kindergarten and soccer practice and, most importantly, a long lifetime of happiness together. I want that lifetime to start as soon as possible,” He turned to look at her again, his face radiating with joy.
“Jess, I love you”.
Suddenly he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. He bent down on one knee and held it up to her, looking up at her with his rich blue eyes under his head of thick black hair. He looked extremely handsome tonight, dressed as he was in a perfectly-fitted dark suit.
“Will you marry me?” he asked happily.
Jess glanced quickly around the room, feeling a sense of horror. Her family stood, watching with excited looks on their faces. She looked to Tim’s parents, who both had huge grins breaking across their faces. She knew how they already considered her a daughter- she also knew how excited they would be to hear it become official. Then she saw her mother, who didn’t look quite so excited. She actually seemed a little concerned, and she was watching Jess carefully. Suddenly Jess knew what her mother’s cryptic speech had been trying to tell her. She was telling Jess to follow her dreams... even if other people wouldn’t agree with those dreams.
Jess looked back at Tim, who looked up at her hopefully as he opened the box. A white gold ring sat looking striking against the black velvet. Adorning the silver ring was a huge diamond, with two smaller diamonds either side. The ring must have cost thousands. Jess almost closed her eyes in agony.
She had done so much for Tim in the last few years- she had moved into the city even though she missed the country every single day; she had given her cattle dog to her aunt to look after as a rental house was no place for a farm dog; the distance to her job as a farmhand had been too far to drive so she now worked as a secretary, which she hated. Hell, even only 10 minutes ago she had been considering wearing makeup when all her life she had never liked the stuff, just to please him.
And yet in all that time, Tim had never bothered to remember that not only did Jess hate big flashy rings, she also hated diamonds. In fact she never wore a single piece of jewellery. And she hated those new housing estates... In truth, she hated his whole idea of their future life.
“Jess?” Tim interrupted her thoughts, looking worried. Jess looked again at her mother. Jane smiled slightly back at her, a silent show of support. Jess felt stronger and looked back at Tim, speaking gently.
“I’m so sorry Tim. I’m sorry to embarrass you in front of so many people, when you’ve gone to so much trouble... But we’re not right for each other. I know you don’t understand right now, but maybe one day you will. I’m so... so sorry. I have to go”
Refusing to look at a single person in the room in case her resolve crumbled, Jess turned on her heel and walked out of the small house, got into her car and drove away, trying to stem the flood of tears running from her eyes and onto her lap.