Read Into My Arms Online

Authors: Kylie Ladd

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Into My Arms

Praise for
Last Summer

‘. . . an absorbing and compelling tale about the fragility of human relationships, and how we can never know with certainty what the future holds and, when it arrives, how we will react.’

Good Reading

‘Vivid characters as recognisable as your own family and friends, facing the challenges that affect us all, make this a very human read.’

Better Homes & Gardens

‘In a poignant, intelligent, believable and acutely observed tale Ladd delves into her characters’ imperfections without judging them or poking fun, and she tells us things about ourselves.’

Adelaide Advertiser

‘. . . riveting . . . presents a vivid snapshot of contemporary suburban Australia and how we live now.’

News Mail

‘. . . a stunning exploration of loss, life, families and friendships . . . begins with a punch and within the first few pages I had laughed, cried and held my breath as I read on. The pace never falters and I found the writing and storyline literally breathtaking . . . written so beautifully and honestly.’

Writing Out Loud

‘An insightful, natural storyteller.’

Australian Women’s Weekly

‘It is clear on reading
Last Summer
, though, that Ladd is an artist, first and foremost. Her ability to reproduce the phrasing of a liar, to provide meaning with an action left half done, to describe the slow and painful progress of someone attempting to clamber over the ramparts of a wounded heart, these cannot be reduced to her professional interest in human psychology. We must conclude that an artist’s instinct and craft is at work here, too.’

Booktopia

After the Fall

Two married couples: Kate and Cary, Cressida and Luke. Four people who meet, click and become firm friends. But then Kate and Luke discover a growing attraction, which becomes an obsession. They fall in love, then fall into an affair. It blows their worlds apart. After the fall, nothing will ever be the same again.

Praise for
After the Fall

‘. . . a subtle, moving and perceptive story of love, loss and hope.’

Sydney Morning Herald

‘I loved
After the Fall
. I absolutely devoured it . . . Kylie’s writing is so beautifully descriptive, capturing emotions and moments in a few delicious phrases. And her characters are so real, so vividly drawn in all their complexities, that re-reading the novel seemed to be a re-visiting of old friends.’

Kerri Sackville,
MamaMia.com.au

‘A fascinating dissection of infidelity told from the point of view of two couples. Voyeuristic in its storytelling,
After the Fall
is a gripping insight into the anatomy of an affair, in the tradition of Anita Shreve, Josephine Hart and Anne Tyler.’

Maitland Mercury

‘Ladd illustrates just what makes human interactions so difficult.’

Oz Baby Boomers

‘An engrossing dissection of an illicit affair . . . the reader is swept along by the intensity of the characters’ emotions. A fascinating insight . . . Riveting.’

Townsville Bulletin

‘A dissection of deceit and the heady days of new love.’

Bayside Bulletin

‘Starting an affair is like falling—there’s the initial thrilling sense of plunging, followed by out-of-control plummeting, and, inevitably, pain. That’s how author Kylie Ladd describes it in this story of a friendship between two couples that ends in an affair. Told from the perspective of each person, the book has a deliciously voyeuristic feel that will have you hooked.’

Cosmopolitan

‘This gripping novel examines the nitty-gritty of the affair and how it affects each person involved. From gentle Cary, who was hoping to start a family with Kate, to Cressida, coping with her dying father and her husband’s infidelity, to playboy Luke and indecisive Kate, all four react in very different ways. I found it hard to put this book down, and it stayed with me long after I had finished it . . . five stars.’

NZ Girl

Kylie Ladd is a novelist and freelance writer. Her essays and articles have appeared in
The Age
,
Griffith Review
,
O Magazine
,
Kill Your Darlings
,
The Hoopla
and
MamaMia
among others. Kylie’s first novel,
After the Fall
, was published in Australia, the US and Turkey, while her second,
Last Summer
, was highly commended in the 2011 Federation of Australian Writers Christina Stead Award for fiction. Her previous books are
Naked: Confessions of Adultery and Infidelity
and
Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias
. She holds a PhD in neuropsychology and lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children.

KYLIE LADD

Published by Allen & Unwin in 2013

Copyright © Kylie Ladd 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian
Copyright Act 1968
(the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.

Allen & Unwin
Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, London

83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Australia
Phone: (61 2) 8425 0100
Fax: (61 2) 9906 2218
Email: [email protected]
Web:
www.allenandunwin.com

Cataloguing-in-Publication details are available
from the National Library of Australia
www.trove.nla.gov.au

ISBN 978 1 74331 458 6

EISBN 978 1 74343 196 2


: Copyright © 1992 by Michael Ondaatje
Reprinted by permission of Michael Ondaatje

: ‘Into My Arms’
Written by Nick Cave (Mute Song Ltd/Mushroom Music)
Reprinted with permission

Text design by Lisa White
Set in 12/17 pt Minion Pro by Bookhouse, Sydney
Printed and bound in Australia by Griffin Press

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

For Cameron and Declan.
My daughter, my son.

A love story is not about those who lose their heart but about those who find that sullen inhabitant who, when it is stumbled upon, means the body can fool no one, can fool nothing—not the wisdom of sleep or the habit of social graces. It is a consuming of oneself and the past.

M
ICHAEL
O
NDAATJE
,
T
HE
E
NGLISH
P
ATIENT

I don’t believe in an interventionist God

But I know, darling, that you do

But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him

Not to intervene when it came to you

Not to touch a hair on your head

To leave you as you are

And if He felt He had to direct you

Then direct you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms, O Lord

Into my arms.

N
ICK
C
AVE
, ‘I
NTO
M
Y
A
RMS

Contents

September 2009

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

January 2011

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

November 2012

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

Acknowledgements

September 2009

1

Skye saw the blood before she felt the pain. It surprised her, the sudden red welling near the base of her thumb, smearing the tile she was holding up to demonstrate her technique. Some technique.

‘Damn!’ she exclaimed. She would have said something stronger, except she was surrounded by a class of grade five students, all eager ears and impressionable minds.

‘Bet that hurt, miss,’ remarked a tow-headed boy at the front of the group. Louis, she thought it was. She was still learning their names. She nodded, sucking at the webbing between her thumb and forefinger, willing herself not to cry. Shit. She’d been showing the children how to use tile clippers to shape the materials for the mosaic they’d be working on together, but now all they’d remember from the lesson was her clumsiness.

‘Perhaps you should rinse it under the tap,’ ventured a serious-looking girl. Rowena. Skye knew that one. Rowena was a teacher-pleaser; she’d spent their whole first class together last week waving her hand in the air and wearing a pained expression whenever another student got an answer wrong.

‘Good idea,’ said Skye, removing her injured hand from her mouth with as much dignity as she could muster and hoping she wouldn’t bleed on the desk. ‘The clippers slipped,’ she added. ‘They can do that, particularly when you’re using tiles with a high glaze. I was about to warn you all to be careful.’

Rowena nodded. She’d remember.

Blood was still oozing from the gash as Skye washed it at the sink in the corner of the art room. Bending forward so that her long hair screened her from the gaze of her students, she surreptitiously sucked at it again, then inspected the wound more closely. The cut was deep, almost down to the tendon. It probably needed a stitch or two, but there was no way that was going to happen. Stitches meant a trip to the principal’s office, meant admitting her carelessness and standing around awkwardly while a replacement teacher was found. Stitches begat incident reports and raised eyebrows; stitches eroded confidence and the possibility of further work when this grant had run its course. And she’d been so thrilled to get the grant, given her limited experience and that the hours could be juggled with her job at the gym.

‘Do you need any help? Is it still bleeding?’ asked Rowena, materialising at her side. She was probably anxious that the class had been left for three minutes without a teacher, thought Skye; then she saw the concern on the girl’s face and softened.

‘It hurts,’ she admitted. ‘I think it’s almost stopped, but I could use a bandage. Do you know where they’re kept?’

Rowena shook her head. ‘Not in here. There’s a first aid kit in our classroom though. Should I go and get it?’

‘That would be great,’ said Skye, turning off the tap and wrapping a paper towel around her hand. It bloomed pink as it came in contact with her thumb, the stain spreading like a Rorschach blot.

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