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Authors: Ann B Harrison

Coming Home

BOOK: Coming Home
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COMING HOME

 

Ann B. Harrison

 

 

Copyright©
December, 2013 Ann B. Harrison

Edited
by Juanita Kees

Cover
art by Valerie Tibbs

 

This
book is a work of fiction. Names, characters places and incidents are the product
of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

 

Acknowledgement

 

Coming Home
was inspired by the abundance of historical houses in the Hunter Valley. To
make my story come alive I needed to touch bricks and mortar and absorb the
history. A friend suggested I visit Tocal Homestead in the Hunter Valley.

The moment I drove over
the crest of the hill and saw Tocal Homestead before  me, I knew I'd come
home. I spent my first morning roaming the magnificent estate, taking photos
and talking to the ladies in the information centre. As I was about to leave, I
was introduced to Sandra Earle, the Homestead Coordinator.

When Sandra found out
why I was visiting Tocal, she offered me a behind the scenes guided tour. I
can't thank her enough for the invaluable information she gave me for my book.

I would also like to
express my heartfelt gratitude to The CB Alexander Foundation for the great
work they do keeping our history alive. You can find out  more about Tocal
Homestead and its engaging story here.
http://www.tocal.com/

If you find yourself in
the Hunter Valley, I recommend a visit to Tocal Homestead, in my  mind the
most beautiful  maintained Australian homes.

 

Table of
Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Chapter Thirty-three

Chapter Thirty-four

Chapter Thirty-five

Chapter Thirty-six

Chapter Thirty-seven

Chapter Thirty-eight

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Cade Williams hit the
ground hard clutching the ball to his chest. His chin connected with the
cropped grass and the metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. The ball was
still in his grasp and that was all that mattered. There was no way he was
going to let it go so close to the line for the other team to pounce on. He
groaned as the cascade of tackling bodies landed on top of him.

"Try!" The
crowd screamed and he bucked under the pressure of the opposing team. When they
climbed off giving him the chance to stand up, he surged to his feet.

"Cade, Cade,
Cade," came the roar from the stands.

He took out his
mouthguard and spat blood on the ground before lifting his arms to the crowd,
throwing the ball in the air. "Woohoo."

His team mates surged
forward, lifting him up as they chanted his name and slapped him on the back.
He relished the attention, his heart pumping with adrenaline as they dropped
him to the ground.

Cade grabbed a water
bottle from the drink boy and took a long drink, rinsing his mouth out before
squirting the remains over his head. He took a few deep breaths, letting the
cool water trickle down his cheeks. He threw the bottle back and ran to join
the rest of the team to watch their captain, Matt Boyle attempt to convert the
goal.

With cautious steps,
Matt paced back from the ball and looked at the goal posts. Rubbing his hands
together, he dipped his head, ran and kicked. Cade kept his eye on the ball and
screamed along with the crowd when it sailed between the goal posts.

"On fire, boys.
Only ten minutes to go and you're on a winning streak," yelled their
coach. "Go get 'em, Cade. One more try to seal the match." He slapped
Cade on the shoulder. "Back him up, boys."

They lined up in front
of the half way line and waited for the opposing team to kick the ball. The
referee blew the whistle and the ball soared through the air toward Cade and
his team.

They surged forward.
Cade leapt into the air and clutched the ball to his chest. As he fell to the
ground, he was tackled with force. He lay still, conserving his energy for the
final part of the game and waited until they let him get up. He put the ball
under his boot and tapped it back before falling back into line, ready to
intercept a pass when it came his way.

Second tackle, third
tackle, they reached the half way line and the crowd screamed its support. The
adrenaline raced through his veins, giving him a buzz nothing could take away
from him. Cade lived for the sport and the adulation of the crowd.
Living
the dream buddy, living the dream
. Fourth tackle and he was ready, heading
to the seventy-five yard line.

The ball flew through
the air toward him and he reached out to take it, holding it tucked against his
chest with one hand, the other held out like a battering ram as he focused on
the line ahead.

The crowd screamed his
name, spurring him on. Ducking and weaving, Cade powered to the touch line, the
need to get the next goal burning in his chest. Hands grabbed at his shirt,
slowing him down but he pushed forward. A blur from his right torpedoed towards
him but with a final surge of energy, he launched himself across the line to
land behind the goal posts.

A sickening pain
radiated up his leg from the tackle he couldn't avoid. His screams of agony
were lost in the roar of the crowd. His stomach rolled and Cade gasped to
breathe through the knife like pains shooting down his leg. A cold sweat took
hold of him and he shuddered uncontrollably. He tried to focus on the men on
top of him but his vision wavered with each stab of pain.

Team mates jumped on
top of Cade, their excitement overflowing, and the crowd rose to their feet to
cheer the victory. Feeling as though he was separated from the action around him,
he focused on trying to stay conscious. He concentrated on taking stock of his
injury. His leg was burning and it was hard to tell exactly where the pain was
coming from. He feared it was broken at the very least.

"Cade, mate, are
you alright?" The coach looked down at him and took his mouthguard out so
he could talk.

"My leg. The
bastard got my leg. It fucking burns, Col."

The coach called on his
radio for the stretcher and the crowd hushed as the ambulance officers attended
to Cade. As they lifted him onto the stretcher, his leg moved and he screamed
in pain.

"Fuck, fuck,
fuck
."
He groaned and wiped his hand over his face, resting his arm over his eyes.

"Cade, you'll be
right, mate. You did it," Matt said. The team captain leaned over him,
grinning. "We won, mate. I'll catch up with you soon."

"Just make sure
you convert that damned goal," Cade said before his voice wavered as
another wave of pain hit. "Make it worth the bloody pain."

"Done. Listen for
the roar of the crowd as they take you into the locker room." Matt ran off
to set up the ball.

"Cade, mate,
listen." The doctor leaned over him. "I need you to tell me where it
hurts."

"Fucked my
leg…ahh…not sure where. It’s burning." The sweat ran into Cade’s eyes and
he wiped his hand across his face as he grunted.

"Right, let’s
splint it, just in case." The doctor guided the paramedics to strap Cade’s
leg to minimise movement. "This is going to hurt, mate, but it can't be
helped. We’ve got to get you onto the stretcher." He nodded at the paramedics.
"On my count—one, two, three, lift."

Cade gritted his teeth
as they worked together to lift him. His vision wavered but he managed to hold
in his cries of pain, with three people holding him in place on the cart. The
jolt as the cart started shot new pain to his leg. Cade groaned and turned his
head sideways, his stomach rolling. If he was going to vomit, it wouldn't be
over his shirt. With each metre of space covered, the ruts in the ground
vibrated through his body. The sweat rolled down his forehead and pooled in his
eye sockets making his vision disappear and clear with each blink.

The faces of the crowd
blurred as Cade lifted his hand to wave. At least forty thousand members filled
the stadium and their voices roared as he was driven through the tunnel to the
locker room. Silence fell and in his mind, Cade pictured Matt taking the kick.
The crowd went wild.

"Good job Matt,
good job," Cade muttered.

"You set it up,
Cade. You did well, mate."

He tried to smile at
the team doctor but the pain was too much. At what cost though.

 

Chapter Two

 

Across town, Cade's
brother, Doctor Russ Williams rubbed his hand over his face, thankful his
office door was closed. Another screaming phone call from Paula was all he
needed to make his day. His soon to be ex-wife was determined to drain his bank
account of every last cent she could lay her hands on. She told him it was
payback for not being the husband she’d hoped he would be.

He’d signed over their
townhouse just so he could walk away and put his marriage behind him. Paula had
been his soul mate, or so he thought at the time. They met in his last year at
med school and clicked instantly.

It wasn't until after
they were married, he found out it was what he could offer her that mattered
the most. She was determined to marry for money and with his family’s land
investments, she thought she was onto a winner with Russ.

Russ leaned back in his
chair, his gaze going to the painting of a country scene on the wall. The
rolling hills and gum trees took him back to his last visit home.

***

"If you want to
leave behind what I’ve worked my arse off to give you ungrateful kids, you are
on your own. You won't get a penny from me." Russ's father stormed out,
leaving him standing in the front drawing room.

"You know your
father loves you, Russ. It’s a great disappointment to him that you won't take
over the farm," his mother said as she walked into the room.

"He knows I want
to be a doctor, Mother. He knew all along. Why wait until now to tell me how
he’s disowning me?" Russ knew his father was a hard man but he had never
tried to talk him out of his dream.

"I know, Russ but
I think deep down he thought it was just a young man's dream and you would come
around eventually. You have farming blood in your veins but that doesn't mean you
have to be a farmer like your father." She walked over and slipped her arm
through his, guiding him to the green button-patterned leather couch. Drawing
him down, she settled beside him. "Don't let go of your dream if that’s
what you want. Go and study. Your father will survive."

"I don't want to
let you down, Mother. I don't think I could stand it if you were disappointed
in me too."

"Oh Russ, always
the peacemaker." She kissed his cheek and the smell of her violet perfume
filled his nostrils. "Do what feels right for you. Your father will
survive, I'm sure."

"He's cutting me
off." He looked around the room and wondered how he would cope living away
from all of this. He gazed through the open French windows at the manicured
front lawns and circular driveway. The fabulous house he’d grown up in, wide
open spaces of the family farm, and the restaurant quality meals their
housekeeper cooked would soon be a thing of the past.

"I know, but you
can always use your grandmother’s trust fund. I'll clear it with the lawyers so
you can dip into it for your school fees and rent." She squeezed his
shoulder.

"Won't Father try
and stop you doing that? I know how he feels about us saving everything we
get."

"Since it was my
mother that left you children the funds, it is mine to supervise however I see
fit. Your father has never questioned how I run things in that respect."

"Thanks, Mother.
You’re amazing."

BOOK: Coming Home
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