Rocks in Their Heads Pt. 03

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Author’s note:

I considered splitting Part 3 of this story into two parts, but I felt it worked better as one. Consequently, it’s a little longer than usual. As was the case with Part 1 and 2, there are a number of Australianisms and other minor references to popular culture, mostly to songs and musicians, which may not be entirely clear as to their meaning, but again I’ve tried to explain them as naturally as possible in the text. For any further explanations a simple Google search will most definitely help the reader. I’ve conducted my own proof reading on this section, and if there are any mistakes, I apologise. Finally, all characters engaging in any sexual acts are over the age of 18.


~~~~ PART 3 ~~~~

~~~~ CHAPTER 6 ~~~~

January 2017

One of Scott’s passions was rock climbing, where he and buddies from his university days, Drew and Yumi, generally caught up once a month for a climbing session. Usually they’d climb at the iconic Kangaroo Point Cliffs, across the river from the city, but after Scott began seeing Evelyn more than half a year ago he’d only climbed on three occasions. When Drew suggested they organise a climbing weekend away at another popular climbing location, several hours out of town, Scott jumped at the chance. Evelyn enthusiastically agreed Scott should go, insisting it was important they maintain their respective hobbies. In this respect, Scott found Evelyn more flexible than most of his previous girlfriends.

Climbing, like surfing, helped Scott clear his mind, even if only momentarily. With surfing it was the calm of being out on the ocean, bobbing up and down and waiting for the wave that brings a thrilling, but short lived, adrenaline rush. With rock climbing, it was the requirement to maintain focus on ensuring his security on the rock face, and the satisfaction gained from completing a difficult route. Hanging from a rock many metres above the ground tended to make all other issues in life insignificant.

Drew and Yumi invited another friend of theirs; a French girl named Carole. Scott and Carole sat in the rear of Drew’s old ex-military Land Rover, which was the same vehicle he’d owned when Scott first met him nine years previously. The old beast of a Landy was loud, and conversations required shouting if one wanted to be heard. They managed to converse, however, and Scott learnt Carole was more experienced at climbing than anyone he’d met, having climbed in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and now Australia. She was a hydrologist who was currently collecting data for postdoctoral research into the impacts of hydrological fracturing on water tables in rural regions. As a geotechnical engineer who’d trained in the mining and gas extraction industry when first out of university, Scott found these things genuinely interesting.

Moreover, Scott found Carole extremely attractive. Her hair was blond and short-cropped in a pixie style haircut with spikey tips. Her eyes were almond-shaped and jade-green, and she had a smattering of light freckles across the bridge of her nose and the tops of her cheeks. Carole’s mouth appeared to form a permanent smile, with her lips curling up at the corners; a feature Scott found exceptionally cute. Her body was lithe, and when she began her first pitch, she exuded complete confidence. Scott belayed and spotted for her from below, watching as she made the climb look easy, jamming cams into cracks and finding tiny footholds, and he couldn’t help but be impressed by her skills. Not to mention her physique and tight bum.

It was the middle of summer, which is not the best time for climbing in the subtropics, and thus, it was hot and sweaty work under the harsh summer sun on the exposed rhyolite cliff. Before midday, they agreed to cease climbing until late afternoon when it would hopefully be cooler. For the time being they ate lunch and drove down the mountain to a local lake for a swim.

All four of them were lean, with the well-muscled bodies of climbers, and with the guys shirtless and the girls in their bikinis, a lot of eye-candied flesh was on display as they splashed around in the cool water. They threw a frisbee back and forward, and Scott couldn’t help but notice Carole’s regular glances in his direction, and the way she smiled at him when he caught her eye. It was clear she was interested in him, which wasn’t helped by the fact that he couldn’t help but have an interest in her too.

Scott returned Carole’s smile, and felt a slight pang of guilt. He thought of Evelyn, and completely unexpectedly, he also thought of Jacqueline, recalling their afternoon of surfing the week before Christmas. Scott considered his predicament, where he’d fallen for fifty-one year old Evelyn, but two beautiful women closer to his own age were showing interest in him. His natural defence was to laugh at himself, as if he were watching his relationship conundrum in third person. Carole misinterpreted Scott’s laughter and smiled again.

“Hey, Carole and samsun escort Scott,” Yumi called out to them. “Drew and me versus you two, with girls on guy’s shoulders. Let’s see who can knock the other off first.”

“What do you say, Scott? I think we can take them down!” Carole grinned.

“Yep, I reckon we can take em!”

“Let’s joust!” Drew called out in excitement.

And so there Scott was, feeling guilty once again because he was waist deep in water with an extremely attractive woman on his shoulders, her crotch at the back of his head and he holding onto her long, smooth legs. They faced off against Drew and Yumi, with much giggling and sledging from both parties, before closing the gap. The girls locked in combat above the guys, pushing and pulling each other, and Carole managed to unseat Yumi from Drew’s shoulders, sending them squealing into the water.

“Victory!” Carole cried out from Scott’s shoulders, her arms held triumphant and pumping her fists in the air. “I think we make a good team, Scott. Oui?”

“Bloody oath,” Scott said, caught up in the moment.

After frolicking in the lake they drove back up the mountain where they met with two other climbing mates, Ricardo and Monty, who arrived late at camp. Both were single and naturally took an interest in Carole. When they found out she was not Scott’s girlfriend, which on first impression appeared to be the case because of the apparent chemistry between them, Ricardo and Monty spent every possible moment trying to chat with her. Scott, on the other hand, was surprised he felt irritated by Ricardo and Monty’s interest in Carole. He tried to supress the feeling, and let the other fellas do their thing. He mentally berated himself because he loved Evelyn, and like his situation with Jacqueline, as long as he didn’t act on any impulse with Carole, things would be fine.

Nevertheless, as Carole said, they did make a good team and the chemistry between them was undeniably palpable. Unlike Ricardo and Monty, he didn’t even need to try. Carole teamed up with Scott again for their late afternoon climb, and thus, twenty metres up the cliff, Scott looked down at Carole who held his ropes as his belay. He rested against the warm rock face, his hand jammed in a crack between hexagonal columns, aching from lack of practice. Noticing him looking down at her, Carole smiled with a cheeky grin and called out, “Keep going, lazy bones, you’re almost there!”

After climbing they sorted and collated their gear, before making a small campfire and cracking open some very welcome icy cold beers from the ice chest. Carole produced a set of boules, and they stood around, beers in hand and playing Pétanque in the quickly fading light that filtered almost horizontally through the tall eucalypt trees. By this stage Ricardo and Monty noticed Carole showed little interest in them, other than friendly conversation, but they showed off in front of her anyhow, and occasionally made lame jokes at Scott and Carole’s expense.

“Good luck with your attempt to climb up Mount French tonight, ay Scotty,” Monty joked when Carole was out of earshot, referencing the coincidence between Carole’s nationality and the name of the mountain upon which they climbed and camped, which indeed was named Mount French.

“Hey, Monty,” Scott said in a conspiratorial tone. “A couple of years ago I ran into Francesca Farina at a party. Remember her from the climbing club days at uni?”

“Yeah, of course I remember.” Monty looked at Scott with a curious look on his face.

“Francesca and I had a good long chat over a few drinks, and she told me a funny story about you and her on one of our climbing trips with the club, involving premature summiting, if you get my drift? I’m not sure why she told me, but I reckon it’d make a nice little campfire story tonight, don’t you think?”

Monty’s face went red. “Yeah, nah, mate, I get it, I get it. No more jokes, ay.”

Scott didn’t even try hard with Carole, but their natural magnetism was powerful. He thought if he were single, there possibly would be more than sparks flying between them that night. But he wasn’t single and once again he was amused and a little frustrated, and decided this was another test of his feelings for Evelyn.

After sunset they sat on their camp chairs around the fire, and Carole regaled them all with stories of climbing in the European Alps and Yosemite National Park in the US, up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and even walking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. They were all in awe of her and she clearly enjoyed being the centre of attention, but at the same time she was not consciously trying to impress anyone. She naturally carried herself with confidence, and they all thought she was clearly one very cool girl.

Later, Yumi strummed her battered guitar, singing a sweet sounding Japanese love song into the night air, while Scott noticed Carole watching him across the flames, where her eyes sparkled with the reflected campfire light. The urfa escort moment was extremely romantic, and Scott was conflicted. He knew in his heart he loved Evelyn, but he’d never felt such an immediate connection with someone in the manner he was experiencing with Carole. Sure, he also felt a strong connection with Jacqueline, but they’d known each other for two years before he’d noticed there was possibly something beyond friendship between them. He gazed into the fire and smiled again at his predicament.

Drew and Yumi sat together, happy to let the fire die down, and waited for something to happen between Carole and Scott, just as they’d hoped when inviting them both on the trip. They were unaware Scott was in a relationship, and they’d thought to do him and Carole a favour by setting them up because they were a good match. Ricardo and Monty, on the other hand, passed around more beers and fed the fire with timber. Embers shot up into the sky as Monty threw a small log into the flams, and Scott watched it catch alight and burn, deep in conflicted contemplation.

“So, Scott, tell me, do you have a girlfriend?” Carole asked directly, as if she’d read his thoughts.

Scott was taken aback, and took his time to answer. He felt uncomfortable about the situation, because he hadn’t told anyone about Evelyn, and now was forced into doing so by someone who he was strongly drawn to. On the other hand, he now saw the way out of his guilty feelings, by revealing he was indeed in a relationship. “Sort of,” he eventually replied. “Well, there is someone. I guess I do have a girlfriend.”

Carole frowned in confusion. “You guess? Are you not sure?”

“Yeah, actually, I have a lover. We sleep together, we hang out together, but well, she is older than me. Twenty-five years older.” He paused for a moment, poking at the log that now threated to roll out of the fire back in with a stick. He sighed. “She’s reluctant for us to be proper couple until she speaks to her daughter. She fears her daughter, or people at her work, or my parents will disapprove of us.”

“Good work, Scotty, caught yourself a cougar!” Monty said. Despite being the same age as Scott, Monty regularly acted like a teenager. He was, however, a highly competent climber and highly conscious of safety when on the rock face. Ricardo, on the other hand, was a Brazilian in his mid-twenties and thought himself to have a natural advantage when it came to interactions with women, regularly exploiting his exotic and worldly image. He sat up a little taller with renewed confidence that Scott may not secure Carole’s affection for long and she’d likely lose interest. Unfortunately for the two single lads, Scott’s predicament made him even more interesting to Carole.

“Oh, mon Dieu, this is an age old problem and not uncommon. In France we have a politician, Emmanuel Macron, who is married to a lady twenty-four years his senior. She was his school teacher and already married when they first met! Some say Macron will be our next president. Some people also say their relationship is scandalous, but I think it’s very romantic. People hardly bat an eye if an older man has a large age gap with a younger woman, and there are many examples, so I don’t know why it should be a problem for a younger man to be with an older woman. Only the media care, because it sells magazines and people like gossip.”

Scott looked at Carole and smiled. “I wish it were that easy, but I do think she and I are moving forward.” He felt confident it was so, and a weight lifted from his shoulders where he no longer needed to think about his and Carole’s mutual attraction, because there was no chance of anything inappropriate happening now. Not that he’d have given into temptation and cheat on Evelyn, because he was not the cheating type. But he felt tested by temptation and was happy to put it behind him.

Carole and Scott teamed up for the rest of the weekend, and she showed no interest in the other fellas, to their disappointment. Scott and Carole worked well together on the cliff face, and she didn’t bring up Scott’s relationship with Evelyn again, except when Drew and Yumi dropped him back at his apartment the following evening. “It was a true pleasure to meet you, Scott,” she said, giving him a hug and kisses on both cheeks. “I wish you and your lady friend all the best.”

“Sure, Carole, it was a pleasure. Thanks. All the best with your research too.” He smiled as she climbed back in the old Land Rover.

“Au revoir, mon ami!” She smiled cheerfully before closing the door. As he watched them drive off, he felt an unsolicited pang of regret, hoping to see Carole again. Later in the evening he received a Facebook friend request from Carole, which he accepted without hesitation.

~~~~ CHAPTER 7 ~~~~

April 2017

Several days before Easter, Scott was alone on his work lunch break, when his phone chimed two Facebook message notifications within seconds of each other. The first message was sinop escort from Drew, asking Scott if he wanted to rock climb in the afternoon of Easter Monday, which he replied with a tentative yes. He hadn’t climbed with them since the New Year’s trip and was keen to go. The second message was from Nicola.

Hi Scotty! I’m in town on Friday arvo for Easter! Staying at mum’s but I’d love to catch up with you! It’s been way too long. I’m free on Friday night but heading into the Valley with mates for a big one on Saturday. If you can’t do Friday, I might be able to do Sunday evening if I don’t get too maggot on Sat night. Let me know what suits! xox

Scott called Evelyn to discuss what he should do. “Perhaps I could come over to your place? Maybe we could tell Nicky together?” Scott was hopeful.

“I don’t think it would be a good idea. I’d rather tell Nicky in my own way.”

“Do you think I should tell her I’m busy those evenings?”

“I don’t know, Scott. I’m not sure if it would be best for us if you don’t see her, or if you rekindle your old friendship with her.”

“Maybe that would work? She might be more understanding of our relationship if she and I get on like in the old days?”

Eventually they agreed no approach was optimal, but it would be okay for Scott to catch up with Nicola. Scott arranged to meet Nicola at the train station, and told her she could leave her luggage at his place while they went into town. He gave her the option to stay the night in his spare bed and he would drive her to Evelyn’s in the morning, or she could catch a taxi to Evelyn’s if she preferred.

“Scotty! Oh my God, it’s been so long! Look at you! You’re so buff and handsome!” Nicola literally threw herself into Scott’s arms.

“Hey, Nic, how’ve you been?” He returned her embrace and she held him for a moment longer than he felt comfortable with, given they were estranged friends who’d parted ways many years before. When she released him he couldn’t help but note, for the umpteenth time in his life, the similarity between Nicola and Evelyn. There could be no doubt Nicola was cut from Evelyn’s cloth. She was stick-thin and the same height as Evelyn. Her bright blue eyes were wide-set each side of her triangle-like wedge of a nose, and she had a pretty smile that beamed.

However, Scott recognised a harshness about Nicola he could never associate with Evelyn. She still dyed her hair jet black, just like she coloured it in her late teenage years, but now wore it shaved around the back and sides. Her ears were adorned with a plethora of piercings, and several studs pierced below her lower lip, plus she wore a nose ring through her septum. Scott knew, from Facebook photos, she sported several gothic-themed tattoos on her arms, which were hidden under her long-sleeved black top. In contrast to her dark outfit, her fingernails were painted aqua and glinted with glitter.

They walked back to Scott’s apartment, dumping Nicola’s luggage on his spare bed. “Oh, my, God, look at your place! It’s amazing! Look at the river! The views! How do you keep it so neat? Jesus, you never kept your room this clean back at your parent’s house.” Nicola was like a ball of energy.

Because it was Good Friday, there were alcohol restrictions at pubs and clubs, which Scott hadn’t considered. However, pubs were allowed to sell alcohol with meals, so they found an English-styled pub and ordered food with a pint of beer each. Scott was initially reserved with Nicola, but her excited energy was infectious, and he relaxed after a few beers.

“Do you still skate?” Nicola asked.

“Not so much anymore, but I used to skate to work, all dressed up in my work shirt and trousers. There’s another bloke in my apartment building who’s a doctor, and believe it or not, he skates to and from work most days. We used to ride part of the way to our respective work places together on a regular basis, but I mostly take the bus now. I guess I’m getting lazy.”

“Oh, man, you guys were probably the coolest dudes heading off to work in the whole city! God we used to have some mad times didn’t we. Remember when you stacked it off the ramp we put on the veranda and added extra wooden boards down the front stairs, and you rode straight into Mum and Dad’s car? I thought Dad was gunna kill ya for scratchin the paint!”

“Yes! Jeeze, I’d forgotten! That was so bad. I was shittin meself about your Dad. But the few second’s adrenaline rush from riding down the ramp would have been worth it! I couldn’t believe your Dad didn’t even say a word. Speaking of your Dad though, I hear you get on with him now?”

“How’d you know? Talking to Mum?”

“Oh, yeah, just things your Mum said when I last saw her, that’s all.” Scott realised he’d slipped up, revealing information Evelyn told him. He mentally chastised and cautioned himself to be careful.

“Dad’s okay these days. He’s back on Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, and he doesn’t gamble anymore. I’ve visited him couple of times and he’s taught me a bit about horses and cattle. I love the horses, but I’m not into the whole cattle farming thing. I’m vegan these days, and I think it’s terrible how those cows die. Anyway, did you hear, he met a lady and they had a baby? I have a half-brother!”

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