A highland fling

A young woman on holiday in the highlands finds love out of the blue in this inchanting little tale.

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1. the complete short story

 

A highland fling

 

Mary Donaldson looked out over the sweeping hills, god it was so beautiful, to her left stood a hill which was covered in reddish pink heather, to her right there stood a small white cottage balanced near the peak of the hill.

Directly in front of her there was a fenced in field in which a herd of highland cattle grazed. This was her first day in the northern highlands of Scotland, since she had come up from London. A whole week of peace and quiet just what the doctor ordered away from the hustle and bustle of the over crowded city.

The small wooden cabin she had rented consisted of a small kitchen, one bedroom, a tiny bathroom but the living room was huge which set the place off nicely.

She picked up her car keys drawing herself away from the view of the living room window and went outside, she breathed in the fresh air of the highlands, her body probably did not know what to make of the clean fresh air, and she thought smiling to herself.

She crossed over to the car, one of the new minis in pink, and then paused with the key in the lock, why drive when you could walk down the lovely gravel layered roads looking at the beautiful scenery.

Mary set off down the country road the gravel under foot making a satisfying crunching sound up ahead of her a flock of sheep crossed the road.

 

She made it into the tiny village the walk gave her body and mind an overwhelming sense of peace. She went into the villages only corner shop and bought a news paper the owner was a very kind old lady and Mary found herself having a chat with her for ten minutes.

The woman asked if Mary had come with her husband or boyfriend that brought back her lonely life style of course she had boyfriends in the past but they never seemed to last long.She had been on her own now for nearly a year but she didn’t really miss men that much.

She firmly believed that one day she would find her knight in shining armour. The shop owner a Mrs Finch bid her good day as another customer entered the shop, a very good looking woman, blonde hair tall and slim; she could have certainly turned heads.

Mary stopped outside the shop and looked across at the local pub, again the only pub in the village; she fancied a quick drink before the walk back to the cabin. The over head clouds looked ominous like they could flood the village in a deluge of rain.

She walked nearer to the pub; the pub reminded her of the slaughtered lamb from the movie an American werewolf in London. She smiled to herself at the thought, she would walk inside and all the locals would go silent, looking at her and she would see a hex sign on the wall.

She stopped herself and a movie was only make believe she laughed, even if it was a great movie, she had watched it hundreds of times.

She entered the bar inside apart from the barman there were only three other people. A man and a woman sat at the bar talking, over in the corner sat a very good looking man, he looked like a taller version of Tom Cruise, with his short dark hair.

She ordered her drink, half a lager and sat down by the  window looking out over the village, the tom cruise look alike smiled at her and she found herself smiling back at him.

The pub was nothing like the movie pub, it had the bar at the far end and then just tables and chairs scattered about the place, there was an open fire place and a dart board but no one played and also there was no hex sign on the wall.

She couldn’t help but keep looking at him, finally the man stood up and came over to her table, “Mind if I sit down”, and he pointed to the empty seat opposite her. Mary waved him to the chair, “Of course I don’t mind”, her heart began to beat faster, he had a smooth voice not only did he look like Tom Cruise he sounded like him to.

“My name is Mike Andrews”, he held out his hand to her, she took his hand, “I’m Mary Donaldson”, he sat down and they began to talk. He was also from London, she found out that he was on holiday too; he came from Croydon only a few miles from where she lived with her parents.

Apart from being tall and handsome and well built it turned out he was only a year older than her at twenty eight, they sat and talked, one drink turned into three, he stood up finally and said he had better go, Mary also made a move, it was time she got back before dark.

Mike asked her if she would like to go for dinner with him tonight, he would meet her in the pub at eight, she willingly accepted.

The man and woman who drank at the bar watched as the couple walked out of the pub, the woman got to her feet and followed them.

Mary said good bye to Mike and began to walk back towards the cabin, “Excuse me”, she turned round saw the familiar face of the woman from the bar, then she put the face to the woman she and her husband owned the cabins.

Mary had met her the moment she had arrived, “Hello”; Mary said to the woman she couldn’t remember her name.

“I really hate to say this”, said the woman, “But that man you were talking to in the pub”. Mary nodded her head.

“Well you seem such a nice young lass, you see he has a wife”, the woman paused, “Mr and Mrs Andrews, they have rented a cabin not far from yours, I often see them climbing the hills together”. Mary didn’t know what to say, she was lost for words.

After a long pause, she felt like she needed to be alone with her thoughts now, she said “Thank you”, it was the only thing she could think of saying.

Mary slowly turned away from the woman and began to walk; the woman watched her and shook her head, poor girl she thought.

That early evening Mary found herself scanning the hillside with her binoculars, she found Mike alright with the blonde woman from the corner shop at his side.

Mary had never believed in love at fist sight but when she had looked over at Mike in the pub that is what it felt like to her. She was jealous of the blonde woman after all she was a stunning woman but why hadn’t Mike said any thing about her.

He was just playing the field; Mary was one of many, another notch to put on his bed post.

 

That evening Mary found herself sitting in the pub, drink in hand why had she turned up; Mike was obviously playing away from home so to speak. But she still smiled at him as he walked into the pub and spotted her straight away over by the window in the same place as the afternoon.

He sat down and they talked, she still let him touch her hand as they chatted and she still let him lead her out to his car in the parking space in front of the pub’s he drove through the dark country lanes she tried to find a way of letting him know that she knew about his pretty wife but she felt so scared and it felt so good to be with him.

Mike was so good looking she kept thinking to herself, the evening passed in a blur they both talked about each other, Mary put Mike’s wife to the back of her mind, and he drove back to the cabins like chatting away.

“Do you like climbing Mike”, she asked as they drew nearer to the cabins, “I love climbing you see those stone ruins up there”, as the car swept round a corner she could just see in the darkness the old stone house then the head lights eliminated it up for her.

“Yes “.

“Well tomorrow that is where I am going”, Mary nodded her head at him, and she had a plan in her mind. Mike pulled up outside her cabin, “Mike”, she touched his hand, and “There is no one else”.

He smiled at her, “Of course not”, he whispered to her.

He leaned over the seat and kissed her on the lips, she responded to his kiss, they slowly broke apart from each other, she opened the car door.

“What about tomorrow I will meet you in the pub again”, he said to her as she paused closing the car door,”Sure”,she replied as she closed the car door, she waved good bye as the car slowly faded into the night.

 

Next morning Mary set off, she wasn’t one for climbing hills but today she would give Mike a big surprise, she had found a suitable pair of boots, some old jeans and a jumper.

The rain came down lightly as she made her way up the hillside, she had to stop every few minutes, and her body was not used to all this exercise. She stopped a little way from the ruins and looked down at the valley, she could make out the tiny wooden cabins and the scattered farms that lay on the hillside, and she felt like she was on top of the world.

Mary waited inside the cold stone house, she had read some where about the clearance, when the highland folk had been forced to move inland because of the greedy land owners wanted the land for their sheep.

She wondered if this had happened to who had ever owned these houses, she sat on a large stone, only three of the houses walls stood and one of them only half, there was no roof and the wild flowers had taken over on the inside.

Time passed it was getting cold now, it looked like rain again and she had no shelter.

“That’s it”, she said to herself getting to her feet, then she heard voices as they grew nearer she heard the unmistakable voice of Mike.

She waited by the ruined wall which was the tallest of the three remaining, Mike and his wife came closer, they stopped just outside the ruins.

Mary got her ready; she had no idea what she was going to say to Mike. She looked up at the sky and said a small prayer, a tear ran down her cheek, god she was in love with this two timing man.

Mary stepped out from the wall and looked at Mike and the blonde woman; he looked shocked at first then broke into a big smile.

“Mary”, he laughed, “You gave me a shock just appearing like that”.

“I bet I did Mike”, she said looking at the woman, he looked confused then looked at the blonde woman and the penny dropped.

“This is my sister Tracy”.

“Sister”, she said weakly at him then, “Why didn’t you say anything and Mr and Mrs Andrews”.

Mike put his hand through his hair a big smile on his face, “I was wrapped up in you it slipped my mind”, he paused the grin got wider, “Yes my sister is married to a man with the same surname as ours”.

Mary felt the tears running down her cheeks up close they looked so alike but she had not noticed it before, she ran into his arms and hugged him.

She felt so happy, things were going to be ok after all, and Mike hugged her back.

He now realised what Mary had thought and he to could feel the tears welling up in his own eyes.

 

The end

 

C Robert Paul Bennett 1996/2012

 

 

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