Machinate (v.) – Engage in plots or intrigues; to scheme
The journey to Adelaide was our quietest one yet. I wasn’t sure if it was because we’d been in each other’s company for too long‚ were slightly hungover‚ or just wanting to be back in civilisation‚ but it felt like something had changed. We’d left‚ thankfully not bumping into Sarah-Jane as we checked out‚ and made sure to fill up a little at each petrol station we passed. Fool us once and all that.
It was strange returning to civilisation. Swapping dusty barren plains for sprawling motorways‚ wide pavements‚ busy roads‚ and lush green parks plonked between it all. Adelaide is the fifth biggest city in Australia; everything appeared to be stretched out. It felt as though you had the whole street to yourself but also needed to walk the length of it just to get to the next tall and wide building.
‘Shell‚ is the sample sale‚ like‚ an evening late-night shopping thing?’ I asked‚ glancing at the setting sun highlighting the dust motes and sticky fingerprints on the dusty dashboard.
‘No‚’ she replied‚ shifting in the driving seat.
‘Are we staying in another hostel tonight then‚ to be there for first thing tomorrow morning?’ Cara asked‚ trying with all her might not to let out a moan at the thought of another hostel.
‘No.’ Shelley fixed her eyes on the road signs.
‘A hotel?’ Cara’s voice lifted three decibels in anticipation. This was clearly a woman in desperate need of room service‚ feathery soft duvets and tasteful soft furnishings.
‘Not quite‚’ Shelley wouldn’t give any more away and told us to look out for the Serenity Bridal
Store. Cara and I passed looks of confusion between ourselves.
‘Ah‚ there it is!’ Shelley shouted‚ and veered The Beast into a parking space.
‘I don’t see any hotels.’ Cara peered outside the window at the quiet street; the sky was darkening with every second. ‘I don’t see this shop either. You sure we’re in the right place? Where’s the hotel you’ve booked?’
‘You can’t see one because we’re not staying in one‚’ Shelley said‚ cutting the engine and turning to face both of us. ‘We’re staying here.’
‘Here?’ Cara and I said in confused unison.
‘Like‚ in the truck?’
‘No!’ Shelley laughed as if we were idiots‚ ‘Out there …’ Opposite us was a large‚ red-brick shop with two enormous flouncy bridal dresses in the window. Signs announcing the sample sale of the year were hung haphazardly in the softly lit glass‚ but the most worrying part about all of this was that trailing off‚ just to the left of the wide double doors‚ were rows of tents pitched up for the night.
‘You cannot be serious!’ Cara quickly caught up to speed with what Shelley had planned for us. ‘I thought you were joking when you said you were packing a tent!’ The colour had drained from her face‚ even in the bright street lamp that had just flickered on outside.
‘If we expect to stand any chance with finding the dress I want‚ then we have to get the best spot in the queue‚ and that means spending the night in line. It’ll be fun!’ Shelley dismissed our open mouths and flung her door open.
‘It’s official. She’s lost the plot‚’ Cara gasped.
I just stared in disbelief at the impromptu campsite‚ unable to string a sentence together.
Shelley poked her head in the door as she began heaving our things out of the boot. ‘Come on‚ hurry up. The queue is already building!’
She raced off with bags under her arms‚ leaving Cara and me to shake our heads in disbelief.
This was surely taking bridesmaid duties to the extreme?