Bottom of the ninth behind by two. Rossi is the winning run at the plate. Strike one. Ball. Ball. Strike two. Rossi looks hard to Coach Bramer to give him some instructions. The Third basmeman looks decisive as he digs back in at the plate. Game ball come on…

PUCK. The ball collides decisively with the bat.

Its waaaaaaaaaay in the back, Ruiz is running as fast as he can, he hits the wall and she’s gone! She’s home. What a game. Rossi was swinging away no matter what pitch he got it for the Gunners. A superb play from the third baseman. The man is a powerhouse.

The entire stadium erupts in cheers the final game of the season and it is a show stopper.

‘Mummy can we go meet daddy?’ Bella asks, they watched the game from their VIP box. JJ exchanges a look with Leyton their head of security, and he nods, indicating he would be glad to take the girls down to the field to celebrate with their father.

In five minutes they are in their father’s arms celebrating along with the crowd, Roma is trying to catch the confetti falling all around them.

‘That was a great game.’ Rocks leans in close, to say to her friend, the room had gotten a tad noisier with the jubilation. ‘Your man sure knows how to put on a show.’

‘Doesn’t he just.’ JJ rolls her eyes with a laugh, on the big screen are pictures of the girls in their father arms both now spotting baseball hats bigger than their little heads. Leyton standing inconspicuously in the corner, ready to bring the girls back if they so wish but Rocco’s got them. ‘Let’s go have champagne, start the celebration early.’ JJ motions Rocks towards the back of the room, away from the noise.

They make their way to a quiet spot in the corner of the room, a bottle of champagne between them.

‘Cheers.’ Rocks raises a glass to her friend.

‘Back at you. Thank you for coming.’

‘I wouldn’t miss it for the world.’ Rocks takes a sip from her glass. ‘You alright?’

‘Am I that obvious.’

‘Girl, as a heart attack.’ Rocks says with a little laugh.

‘My mother will not stop calling me or getting her other children to call me.’

‘I thought you had a regular catch every quarter.’

‘We do, but she also knows that I invited everyone but herself and Cleo to Tuscany for the holidays. I think she is angling for an invite or for me to tell her she is not invited so she can feel a little less bad, absolve her from whatever motherly guilt she is feeling.’

‘Do you think that’s what she really wants?’

‘I don’t know Rocks, I really don’t know. I wish she would not do this to me. I wish she’d just let sleeping dogs lie.’

‘She’s your mother-’

‘She suddenly found that bone.’

‘JJ…’ Rocks sets her flute down and takes JJ’s hands in hers, ‘I know what happened and I know how you feel, but she’s your mother and she will never stop trying. Yes, what she did was fucked up and I know how much that affected you, still does, but know she will never stop trying to make it up to you. At some point you have to let her.’

‘You’re right but I am not ready.’

‘In your own time, but just have that at the back of your mind.’

‘I will.’ JJ takes a sip from her glass savouring the smooth taste, ‘how do you do it?’

‘Do what?’

‘You and Sebastian. How do you stay madly in love with each other, the world at your fingertips, and still never fall apart.’

‘We don’t. JJ please don’t tell me that is what you think each time you see us?’

‘It’s not that, I know you don’t, it’s just…’ she takes another sip of champagne, ‘Each time I see you, I feel guilty for not saying yes when Rocco asked me to marry him. Twice.’

‘You have a rule.’ Rocks and Caroline know about this rule. ‘Does he know about Barnaby?’

JJ shakes her head.

‘You need to tell him. Is that the only reason why you won’t marry him? Not that you must.’

‘Partly, but when I remember how hard my dad rode me on that, and everything else I just… it leaves a bitter taste, makes me want to rebel even harder.’

‘This is about you and Rocco. Barnaby, your dad, your mum, Cleo, none of them matter in the grand scheme of things. Your family is your family, but Rocco needs to know why you won’t marry him. Even though in my mind you’re as good as.’

‘I know I have to tell him. Sometimes I feel like such a fraud. As if he doesn’t know most of me when he’s so open.’

‘You’re not a fraud, you are a wonderful human being, and he is lucky to have you in his life. Your girls are lucky to have you as a mother. It’s been tough this year I know but look how far you’ve come.’ Rocks corks her head to the side, ‘and you are going to have a wonderful Christmas. My Nonna is going to make sure of that.’


‘Scout’s honour.’