Jamie had lost interest in greyhounds after Bills accident. He was now in his sixteenth year and spent more weekends with his mates, playing footy through the day and shooting foxes and kangaroo's at night.
Six of his mates, every Friday night , would load up their guns and spotlight and head to the hills in the old EJ Holden car they had found at the local tip, cut down and made into a shooting rig. They fitted a roll cage, driving lights and a roof rack for the guns and rifles. Jamie's dad had a permit to cull 200 roo's a year on the property and it was the only time Jamie got to catch up with his old school mates, as the rest of the time, he spent working sixteen hour days to pay off his hill side property , that he had recently bought. The boys loved that Jamie had purchased the property,it gave them a place to go on weekends shooting ,motorbike riding, camping and just being larrikins.
In all the times they went shooting, they only had two minor incident's. Once they were on the tail of a mob of roo's and were in a part of the valley, they hadn't been in before. The spotlight was right on them and then like magic the roos had disappeared. Jamie knew something wasn't right and slammed on the brakes. The guys on the back went flying into the rifle rack and started yelling abuse at Jamie. Their anger didn't last long. As the dust settled the boys had found themselves on the edge of a five metre drop, next to an erosion wash out. It was one of many that were found throughout the hills, and as they peered over the edge of this one, on that dusty, hazy, summer night, they felt like a cat that had just used up one of their nine lives.
Another time, in the middle of winter , the boys, rugged up in layers of clothing and wearing balaclava's to keep warm, decided that they would head to the foot of the hill to cut a mob of Kangaroos off that were feeding in the crop below. The boys knew, by making their way to the top of the hill, the roo's would have to come straight past them to head back into the safety of the woodlands. The Kangaroos soon heard them and started to race back towards the scrub . Jamie had the old EJ screaming, trying to cut the mob off. The boys started shooting and odd roo dropped, the town boys weren't the best of shots, they were just out for a nights fun. But then nothing , not a noise, the guns had stopped firing and spotlight wasn't moving . Jamie turned to his mate Rodney, who was in the front of the car as the gate opener and said " what the fucks going on, why aren't they shooting." Rodney said "they must all be reloading" as he swung around and shone a torch into the back of the ute. To his surprise, there stood, a burly big six foot roo. The boys had bailed out of the ute, when a big red buck had bounced into the back with them. Rodney looked at Jamie in shock, then burst into laughter as the roo hopped off into the scrub. They back tracked and picked up the other guys who were also in hysterics. It would be an experience they would talk about for the rest of their lives.
Over the next few years all the boys got their licences and nights out chasing after foxes and roos, became nights out chasing girls.
Jamie desired many and loved a few. There was Jodie, a girl he met whilst in Melbourne for the wool auctions with a few farming mates. They all shared a lift in the hotel with some country girls who were in Melbourne for a track and field event, a cheeky conversation on the way up saw them all share a bed as well. Jodie was his first, but Jamie knew she wasn't going to be his last.
Nicole, an Italian girl, grab his attention, but her father grabbed him harder after she was caught wagging school to spend a day at the river with him, swimming.
Emma would sneak out at night and go parking up at the ski lake lookout with him.
Michelle who was just a good mate, got totally smashed with him one night after a footy final, they woke the next morning in bed together. Both of them never let it happen again and stayed good mates for life.
Then came Danielle, a tall big breasted, blonde. Jamie and her dated for over a year. She was a few years younger than him and he adored her. Unfortunately she didn't feel the same for Jamie. To her, Jamie was a boy with a hot car, and the money to take her places and meet people. She knew, that she would be able to go anywhere with Jamie, because her mum and dad liked him and respected his family. Unfortunately, Danielle spent more time flirting with other boys than Jamie. Jamie finally woke up to her flirtatious ways, saw past her good looks and parted ways. Danielle was furious to think he would do this. She thought that she had him wrapped around her finger and the freedom she had with him was gone.
One good thing came from his relationship with Danielle and that was his meeting with Shelly. Shelly was a boarding school friend of Danielle's, who Jamie had met once at a football match against Wagga Tigers. A month after the bust up with Danielle, a chance meeting one night, in Wagga, at a nightclub, saw Shelly and Jamie meet again. They danced the night away and spent the a night of passion together till morning, when Jamie had to head back to the farm for work . Jamie had fallen for Shelly and she was in love with him, but unfortunately her parents were moving to Coffs Harbour and Shelly couldn't stay behind, she was moving with them. They tried to keep a long distance relationship going. She would come and stay at the farm and even made it back for his 21st and he would spend holidays up there with her. However, an anonymous phone call, from a male put doubt in his mind about her faithfulness, Jamie was also having issues with being faithful. After football ,back at the clubrooms Jamie would be surrounded by girls and it was so hard not to go home with one at the end of the night. Both knew the distance was too great and the relationship finished.
Jamie couldn't stand being without a girl by his side. It was likehe needed female companionship , as a need for someone who he could belong to and belonged to him, and girlfriends made up for the growing feeling of not belonging. He longed for his own family to fill this void, and that special someone who would love him for the rest of his life. He thought he had found that special person the day he met Melinda.