The Isle of Mull sits like a jewel in the waters of the Inner Hebrides. A magnet for tourists and white settlers alike; and for eight months of the year, a fantastic place to find seasonal work. I was completely taken with it and knew shortly after starting work there, that there was a great possibility that I would be returning the following year.
I was presented quite early on in the season with the opportunity of spending my days off from my work as a chef, to sail around the small islands that formed the Inner Hebrides alongside Mull with our local milkman Jeremy who doubled as a tour guide for the people that just used Mull as a base for their holidays. The lure of the sea was great and I leapt at the chance to spend some time out on the water; spending most of my working week looking forward to my precious days off.
The changeable spring tides soon gave way to sun-filled summer days where the gentle swell of the sea carried us on its back from sunrise till sunset. While Jeremy navigated, I acted as a general dogsbody/ tour guide for the small parties of tourists who booked days out. I never tired of seeing the massive basalt columns of Fingal’s cave soaring majestically above us as we left the relative safety of the boat in favour of a small dinghy, allowing us to go right into the cave itself. Stunning in its beauty, I loved to see people’s first reaction upon seeing it up close.
The return trip from the small island of Staffa took us past the slightly larger island of Lunga, home to a massive colony of puffins; clowns of the ocean, comical little birds that would allow a person to come within arms length. Sometimes, we would catch sight of the black rabbits; each sighting considered a lucky omen of good things to come.
The busiest part of the tourist season was drawing to a close, the parties that we took out were growing smaller; but this meant that we were able to spend more time looking out for sharks and whales than before when the majority of the tourists had been just hungry to island hop. Nature never disappoints; small pods of dolphins made their presence known on more than one occasion, treating us to displays that you simply wouldn’t see in any man-made aquarium. They rode alongside our bow, catching our eyes, watching us while we watched them; never leaving even when we took the chance to stop and get in the water along with them.
On the last Sunday of August the sun seemed to shine brighter than ever; the water was flat calm and the gulls wheeled lazily above us. The early morning heat had me stripping down to my khaki shorts and a loose t-shirt shortly after we left the small harbour where the boat moored during its working months. The small party of four Americans that had booked with Jeremy that morning were seemingly content just to scan the horizon for dolphins and feeding whales, sipping water from their bottles of water. Jeremy himself was in the wheelhouse dressed only in a pair of raggedy shorts. His deeply tanned and weathered skin a sharp contrast to the salt and pepper grey of his shaggy hair; a broad smile curved his mouth and a twinkle in his eye. He was never happier than when he was out on the water.
I treasured days like these, they provided a real escape from cooking; the hungry tourists seemed to be a whole world away and I was surely in no rush to return. Unfortunately on that particular day I was so taken up with looking out for the wildlife that the sun caught me unawares; too late with applying the sun block, my skin was beginning to tighten painfully across my cheekbones. Better late than never I thought to myself as I applied a thick layer of sunscreen anyway. A large portion of the day was spent following alongside a minke whale, smiling as the tourists marvelled at the sheer size of it compared to the boat we were in. All too soon though it grew tired of our company and lunged deep one last time and was quickly lost from sight.
A quick stop off at the Isle of Coll gave us the chance to stretch our legs, some time also for the tourists to wander about and be free of us. We left the tourists to their own devices and made our way to the pub, commandeering a table in the garden where we could watch the comings and goings in the pretty little village.
The first few minutes were spent in companionable silence; save for the occasional screech of a gull in the distance; I was content to rest back under the shade of a large garden umbrella.
“Will you be heading back to the city again when the season ends then Kate?” Jeremy’s gruff voice startled me slightly, making me realise that I had been on the point of nodding off.
“I have no idea Jeremy, to be honest I was putting off making any decision. On days like these there’s no place I’d rather be than here; who wants to have their lungs choked with exhaust fumes when they can be filled with the fresh sea air.” I breathed deeply and let out a sigh of pure pleasure shortly after and wriggled a little further down in my seat.
“That’s true enough pet, but when all the tourists are gone its a very quiet place to be, surely a young thing like yourself would rather be surrounded by the bright lights of the big town.”
“Ha! Young thing, I quite like the sound of that but I think you’re forgetting that I’m twenty-three, and besides, you’re hardly an old man yourself!” I sent him a slightly suggestive leer, I’d grown used to his gentle teasing; it meant nothing.
“Get that look off your face right now Kate Macleod! Heaven knows what my ever-loving wife would make of it.” A hearty laugh punctuated his words. His wife of thirty years was like a second mother to me and called me his ‘young bit of stuff’, she would find it amusing, I was in no doubt about that.
“Ah alright, if I’m making you uncomfortable I’ll stop.” I winked slowly at him and smiled as my eyes fell shut.
I heard him let out a long held breath, and we relaxed once more.
“I’m meeting someone at the pub when we get back later, he’s interested in going out on a long trip next weekend, he’ll be taking charge of the boat himself, but he needs someone to act as guide, there’s no way I can do it myself. The wife wants to go visiting family and I have to drive her, if I talk to your boss and offer bribes and various incentives would you consider going with him?”
I thought long and hard… for at least a whole ten seconds.
“Well, if he’s genuine and you think I’ll be safe enough with him then sure, why not, I’d rather be out on the water than slaving in the kitchen.” I replied.
“He’s safe enough, a professor at Glasgow University, he’s bound to be an old crusty with nothing more on his mind than books and lectures, his name’s David Ballantyne, means nothing to me, you went to that university didn’t you? Have you heard of him?”
“I seem to recall going there some time in the dim and distant past but I can’t say I remember anyone by that name, maybe he’s new there. No matter though, it’ll be nice to be away overnight and not have to get up in the morning to a rabble of hungry guests demanding cooked breakfasts.”
Just the thought of the drambuie laced porridge doused in cream was enough to make my stomach turn over in disgust as was the image of smoked kippers; I could almost smell them and my nose wrinkled in disgust.
“Just hope my luck holds and he’s a teetotal vegetarian Jeremy!” My last statement fell on deaf ears as Jeremy let out a gentle snore.
The approaching chatter heralded the return of the Americans and we got to our feet to greet them, sharing a light bar meal and ice cold drinks before heading back to the boat. A late afternoon breeze struck up across the still waters as we made our way back home, lifting the long strands of my red-gold hair so that they whipped against my face. Hastily I tied the tangled mass back away from my face in one long plait, which now lay over one shoulder. After tying the boat up we watched the happy tourists make their way back up the jetty and cleaned the boat ready for the next day. The sinking sun starting to cast long shadows was our signal to make our way to the local hotel where I normally worked; we would have a few drinks together in the public side of the bar; a place where few tourists ventured.
A combination of the heat, sea air and activity had rendered me bone weary but I trudged up the slight incline behind Jeremy, cursing him loudly for his endless energy. Luckily the hotel was less than five minutes walk away, any further and it was likely that I’d be making the small walk on my hands and knees.
“C’mon lazy bones, a young thing like you should be full of energy!” His words were slightly mocking, if he was any closer I would have batted him over the head, but my arms felt like they were filled with lead weights.
“I’m not lazy, I’ve been working hard all week, this is my day off, have a heart will you.” I pleaded, suddenly overcome with the need to feel an icy cold glass of coke against the burning heat of my cheeks.
Jeremy reached the door to the bar first, holding it open for me, laughing as I pushed past him into the cool interior. I didn’t have the energy to hoist myself up onto a barstool, instead choosing to lean against the bar wearily, groaning quietly as I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror at the back of the bar.
“Never mind pet, you don’t have to dress up to be in here.” Jeremy’s smile was warm, lighting his eyes.
Mike the regular bar man was busy serving a couple of old men at the other end of the bar, the rest of the room was empty, it was usually this way until later in the evening when the hotel laid on some sort of entertainment and the locals would be standing shoulder to shoulder.
“Well, what vision of loveliness do I see before me then?” Mike’s Irish lilt cut through my thoughts, making me smile. I loved to hear his sing song voice.
“I knew he had a thing for you Jeremy, you lucky man!” I said, laughing as Jeremy choked slightly.
“Silly woman, you know I meant you, although looking at you just now we could put you out on the headland and you could act as a beacon for the passing ships! The sun got you good and proper today then.” He gently scolded.
“Well I didn’t have you out there to take care of me did I?” I parried quietly.
“Listen you two, I don’t mean to butt in or anything but do you think we could get a couple of drinks, it’s been a long day.”
“Sorry Jeremy, the usual is it?”
A pint of Guinness for him and a coke for myself. I scuffed the toe of one of my boots against the bar while I waited, inspecting the slight burn that coloured the length of my legs, luckily it wasn’t too bad, the shorts I was wearing reached mid thigh and the t-shirt had protected all but my forearms. My face glowed with a life of its own though, making my green eyes appear glass-like. Hardly the vision of loveliness. Mike had grown used to my less than neat appearance over the last few months we had been working together at the hotel. I was brought out of my reverie by Jeremy lifting me off my feet, plonking me down heavily onto a bar stool, the air whooshed out of my lungs with the sudden impact of my ass on the seat.
“Sit down before you fall down pet.”
I grasped the bottle of coke in one hand and saluted Jeremy, thanking him silently before resting the length against a cheek, the coldness sending a shiver right through me. I gulped the drink quickly with my eyes shut, savouring each long swallow. My eyes were still shut as I heard the bar door open and close quickly, I was in no rush to see who it was, but I was in danger of dozing where I sat, of this much I was certain. It took me long seconds to force my eyelids open, I could feel someone standing beside me, a new person, the smell of a tangy aftershave filled my nose, he smelled expensive. Keeping my eyes downcast I stole a glance sideways and was greeted by the sight of a slightly tanned arm, dusted with dark coloured hairs, further down I could see his long tapered fingers resting on the bar, fingernails neatly trimmed and clean. Hands fascinated me, work roughened, dirty, short fat and stubby fingers, manicured fingers, a lot could be gained about a person just by looking at their hands.
These hands were certainly not those of a manual labourer, there were no calluses, not a speck of dirt. I dropped my head lower and checked out what he was wearing on his bottom half; similarly attired to myself his legs were partially encased within a pair of three quarter length shorts, the navy colour suiting the golden tan on his legs. My tongue darted out to wet my lips and I wondered briefly if my luck would hold if I took the chance to look upwards.
“Are you ok down there Kate?” Mike’s voice reached into my thoughts, dragging my head up sharply.
“Yes, of course, I’m fine, just dozing a little I think, been a long day out there.” I looked up at Mike, beaming a thousand-watt smile in his direction; he raised an eyebrow in question and laughed before turning his attention to the newcomer.
“What can I get for you then?” Mike asked him, treating the stranger to the full power of his Irish accent.
“Just a long glass of iced water with a wedge of lemon thanks.” The rich timbre of his Scots accent wasn’t lost on me and I looked up quickly, my eyes catching those of the stranger in the bar mirror. We seemed to be locked like that for minutes when in actual fact it was probably only seconds. My mind didn’t know what to make of him; there was much to take in. On hearing just his voice I would not have connected it with the person I saw in the mirror. He was tall, much, much taller than myself, his broad chest covered in a body hugging tie-dyed t-shirt, his shoulders looked slightly muscled and I itched to run my fingers along them; I shoved my hands underneath my thighs with haste, lest the urge overtook me. His eyes were the colour of melted chocolate, framed by long dark lashes, and his hair… well there was none, he was as bald as a coot. My mind raced off and I had to sit down harder on my hands, he smiled briefly at me and I answered with a grin that Alice’s Cheshire cat would have been proud of.
“Are you alright Kate?” Jeremy’s voice sounded concerned and I felt the weight of his hand on my shoulder.
“Just fine Jeremy, never better, I think I must be getting my second wind or something, I don’t feel quite so sleepy now!” I covered the hand he had on my shoulder with one of my own, reassuring him gently.
“Excuse me, I think you must be the same Jeremy I’m supposed to be meeting here.” The strangers’ voice cut in.
“Old cru…” I started to say.
“Yes, I’m Jeremy; you must be David Ballantyne.” He said quickly, just managing to save me from sure embarrassment.
Both men shook hands firmly and Jeremy drew David away from the bar to a table in the furthest corner of the room, I watched them retreat with a little sigh of regret.
“Now Kate don’t go setting your heart on one of the hotel guests.” Mike was scolding me gently as his fingers tucked some hair that had come loose from its binding behind one of my ears.
“He’s staying here with us is he then?” My heart leapt.
“Certainly he is, booked him in this morning myself, for the next ten days he’s got us looking after him. By the way you can get that look of hope out of your eyes Kate; I don’t think management have the kind of personal service you have in mind on the list things that the hotel provides for the guests.” He laughed quietly and tugged on my plait, jumping back quickly and heading off to the other end of the bar before I could slap him.
Sitting a little higher on the stool I was able to observe Jeremy with David in the mirror behind the bar; both were deep in an animated conversation, things were looking good it seemed. I watched as Jeremy rose, walking over to where I sat.
“Listen Kate; I’m just going to hunt down Haydn, see if he can give you the whole of next weekend off, he owes me a favour or two so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Who’s covering your days off this weekend?”
“Jane is covering breakfast and lunch shifts and Kerry is doing evening service, thank heaven for the locals.” Both Mike and myself were recruited for the season but still the majority of staff came from the local village.
“Good enough then, at least there will be plenty cover then, just go over and keep David company while I go hunt down your boss.” He winked broadly at me.
I slid off the barstool and nipped round the side of the bar, swiping a bottle of coke from the small bar fridge before making my way over to the corner table. I let my eyes roam appreciatively as he stood up to greet me, swallowing a gasp of shock as I watched his large hand swallow mine up in it’s warm grip. “You’re Kate then.” I nodded briefly and wondered how long he would hold onto my hand, the pad of his thumb was rubbing lightly back and forth on the inside of my wrist, I gulped hard and tugged back a little.
The sensation from his small touch confused me; the small action had me prickling with awareness. If this was all it took to have me aroused around him, how would I survive the two nights we would be alone together; I scooted round to the far side of the table, putting a little distance between us.
“Have you any idea where you want to go next weekend then Mr Ballantyne?” I asked quickly.
“Please call me David, Mr Ballantyne sounds so formal… and old. I was thinking of heading out to the Isle of Coll, there’s a seal colony out there I believe?”
“Yes, we can get quite close to them out there.”
“I’d like to see Staffa, perhaps spend the night on Lunga and the remaining night on the boat itself if the weather holds. I like the idea of just stretching out on the deck, being rocked to sleep by the swell of the sea.” His eyes seemed to spear me where I sat; I was starting to melt. Perhaps if more of the professors at the University had looked like this one I might have attended more lectures.
“Jeremy said you’ll be taking over the boat yourself, he wouldn’t normally entertain the idea.” I knew Jeremy treated the boat with more care than he would have a child of his own.
“Well, I’ve never met him before, but he and my father were great friend’s years ago, they still keep in touch now and again.”
“Ah well that explains it then.” I replied.
The next few minutes were spent in silence, listening to Mike’s easy banter with the couple of local men that were keeping him company at the bar. Jeremy wasn’t long in returning, a broad smile on his face. I gulped hard.
“Well it looks like you’ll be taking to the sea next weekend Kate, Haydn was only too pleased to let you go since it was to accompany one of his guests. You’ll find the service here is very personal David, you won’t be wanting to leave when your stay is over.”
“Of that I am very sure Jeremy.” David’s words were spoken softly; his eyes held mine.
For the next week I worked harder than ever in the hotel kitchen, hoping to tire myself completely so my mind wouldn’t have time to think of David but it was impossible. Mike teased unmercifully as he noticed that I seemed to be taking more care with my appearance, I began to wear light make-up, my chef whites were crisply ironed, normally so long as they were clean I would throw them on regardless of creases. Unfortunately during the week I was able to count the glances I had caught of him on the fingers of one hand. He had been leaving the hotel straight after breakfast to sightsee I assumed, returning late in the evenings to the sanctuary of his room.
By the time Friday morning rolled around I was a mass of nerves and it wasn’t lost on Haydn who usually served breakfasts to the guests; but he just smiled knowingly as I artfully arranged David’s regular bacon and egg order into a happy smiley face. I could see him biting the inside of his cheek in an effort not to laugh as he took the plate through to the dining room and before the swing door of the kitchen came to a rest a loud bark of laughter reached my ears. I was allowed to finish after prepping for the lunchtime crowd, handing the reins over to Jane with heartfelt gratitude.
I would need at least an hour to pack, we were supposed to meet Jeremy down at the jetty at one o’clock sharp. I took the stairs up to the small room I had at the top of the hotel two at a time, eager to get organized. Half an hour later I realised that maybe a little black dress wasn’t appropriate for rock hopping on the small islands, neither were the matching leather heels that went along with it. Sighing with regret I began to throw shorts and t-shirts into the rucksack, along with sun block and a figure hugging black swimsuit. I stripped off quickly and showered with haste, towelling my hair roughly as I watched the hands of the clock move round. Just enough time to dress and apply a bit of make-up, luckily during the course of the week the sunburn that had coloured my face a bright red had now subsided considerably. So with my hair wrapped up in a towel I began to conceal my numerous freckles beneath a thick layer of foundation.
Frowning at myself in the mirror I realised that over the past few months I hadn’t worn make-up that much and it now felt like a mask over my skin. No matter though, perhaps David would appreciate my efforts. Pulling at the towel, the weight of my damp hair fell heavily around my shoulders; there would be no time to dry it properly, the warm sea air would have to do, so I just tied it back simply at the nape of my neck. After putting on a brief swimsuit I covered it with a loose t-shirt and long shorts. Finally glancing around the room one last time, hoisting the rucksack over one shoulder and setting my mind to the possible adventures that lay in store for me over the next couple of days.
I might have known that I wouldn’t be able to leave without being noticed as Mike came around the corner of the hotel to stop me in my tracks.
“Are you sure you know what you’re doing going out there alone with someone you don’t know from Adam Kate?” His voice was full of gentle concern.
“Don’t start with the big brother act now Mike, he’s got Jeremy’s seal of approval so that’s good enough for me, besides he’s kept his distance this past week, I’ve barely seen hide nor hair of him.” I spoke with conviction.
“Well, if he tries anything with you out there, he’ll have me to answer to when you get back. Sorry if I seem to be coming across like your big brother but seeing as you’re here on your own someone has to look out for you.” His hands cupped my face gently and he planted a soft kiss on my lips before letting go. I looked up at him with a dropped jaw; taken aback slightly by his kiss.
“Umm, listen, if I don’t get moving now I’ll be late, it’s going to take a couple of hours to get to Coll and I don’t want to waste the day. We’ll talk when I get back, and don’t worry, please.”
I stepped back swiftly and turned on my heel, desperate to put some distance between us. I could see the sun glinting off the water in the harbour and the mast of Jeremy’s boat Crimson Dawn gently bobbing up and down in among all the others that were moored beside her.
“Take care Kate.” Mike’s words reached me as I started to walk down the small incline that would bring me onto the jetty; I raised my hand in acknowledgement, but didn’t turn around.
I felt very self-conscious as I walked along the wooden jetty towards the boat; Jeremy and David were already there, standing at the end obviously waiting for me.
“You made it then young Kate? I was beginning to think you’d had second thoughts.” Jeremy gave me a broad smile and his eyes twinkled. Sly old man, he knew there was no way I would have changed my mind.
“On a day like this where else would a body rather be Jeremy?” I answered, blushing a little under David’s direct gaze.
“Right you are Kate, I for one would rather be out there with the two of you, instead I’ve been press-ganged into visiting with the dreaded outlaws… in-laws, excuse me.” He tried to look shame faced but failed miserably and his straight face gave way to a hearty grin.
“Well granddad you better shake your tail feathers and go visit the ugly sisters before they turn into pumpkins, Mari would never forgive you if you were late.” I laughed and hugged him swiftly before vaulting lightly over the rail and onto the deck of the boat.
“I don’t know which one of you needs looking after more David, but see you take care of her, I’ll be here waiting for you both on Sunday evening make sure you aren’t late.”
“Right you are Skipper!” David said, saluting Jeremy quickly before following me onto the deck, his bag was already stowed so he went straight into the wheelhouse and struck up the engine.
I positioned myself near the bow and pulled the brim of my baseball cap down low over my eyes, shading them from the glare of the sun, taking the chance to glance at David’s tall frame. He seemed to be in no rush to start any conversation and I was content with the quiet although it did nothing to slow down my imagination. I had to admit that he looked right at home at the helm of this small boat, steering us on a course to the northern end of Coll like he had been doing it all his life. I turned my face into the fine spray that was now coming over the bow and smiled a little, breathing deeply, feeling cleansed.
“You alright out there Kate?” David’s voice shouted from behind me.
“Never better, at this rate we’ll be able to spend a couple of hours at the cairns before the tide turns.” The cairns were a cluster of jewel like rocks planted in the crystal waters at the northernmost tip of the island, home to a massive seal colony and a favourite playground to the dolphins that had kept Jeremy company on many a boat trip.
An hour later we were there, David shut off the motor and I threw the anchor over the side.
“Well Kate shall we take the dinghy or swim for shore?” A mischievous glint lit his eyes as he came to stand next to me, facing towards the largest of the small rocky islands, which had a small patch of golden sand to stretch out on. I had braved the waters on many occasions and although the summer had been long and hot, the temperature would still be shocking on our sun warmed skin. But if he was game, then so was I; I grasped the hem of my t-shirt with both hands and hauled it up.
“Well if you think you’re up to it, I’ll race you to the beach.” I said glancing at him quickly before stripping down, the challenge set I forgot to feel awkward about having so much of my body revealed to his eyes.
“Up to it? I’m going to whip your ass Kate.” With that he shucked off his shorts and climbed over the side rail of the boat, balancing there as he waited for me to do likewise on the other side. A group of curious seals watched from a discreet distance, their huge eyes seeming to take in every detail, bobbing gently on the swell.
I crouched down slightly, holding the rail with one hand, turning one last time to the side to catch his eye and blowing a loud kiss as I launched myself off the boat, diving straight into the cold, cold water. Opening my eyes as soon as my head was under the water I could see the dark grey shadow of a seal gliding past far beneath me. I was home.
I broke the water at the same time as David, both of us gasping for breath, bodies shocked at the cold; kicking into a fast crawl I drew ahead of him while he got over the cold and remembered how to move his body. He wasn’t still for long and I could hear his ragged breaths close to my head, the seals who had been such interested onlookers seconds before had now ducked for cover in among the kelp, but I kept my eyes firmly on the sand. Less than five minutes had passed and I was close enough now to the shore to be able to plant my feet into the sand and wade quickly out of the water shoulder to shoulder with David.
“Sorry sweetheart, I hate being beaten.” His hand was firm on my shoulder and he pushed me, making me land with a huge splash backwards; spluttering I managed to hurl a string of obscenities at his back as he cleared the water and collapsed onto the warm sand.
“That was hardly sporting now was it?” I fumed quietly.
“Sporting would have been if you had informed me that you were a close relative of those seals, you swim like one that’s for sure.” I couldn’t help but laugh between deep breaths as I dropped down onto the sand beside him.
“It doesn’t do to reveal all your cards at one time; one of Jeremy’s favourite sayings.”
“You could be right there Kate. Tell you what though, I’m glad we swam, the water has managed to remove that layer of muck from your face, why hide the freckles?” He queried gently.
“Vanity.” There it was, the word was said before I could do anything about it, strangely though, I felt as if I could say whatever I wanted in front of him.
“Ah well, I prefer the more natural look, why hide what nature blessed you with.”
Well at that moment nature had blessed me with two rock hard nipples thanks to the cold water we had just swum through and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it, only wait for them to soften again. It was almost like he was reading my mind and his eyes lowered from my face and he glanced down.
“It was pretty cold wasn’t it?” He chuckled. Unfortunately for me he was still wearing his shorts so I was unable to tell what kind of effect the water had had on him, my face must have betrayed my thoughts.
“Don’t even go there Kate… least not yet.” His words trailed off; my heart skipped a beat as he stroked along the side of my face with the tip of one finger. The look in his eyes told me he had stopped joking and I turned further into his touch, the questing finger now brushing over my lips, opening my mouth slightly I gave in to the urge to let me tongue dart out to taste the saltiness of his skin. His breath left him in a long hiss.
“God Kate, I told Jeremy I would look after you, how am I supposed to do that when all I want to do is see you naked and writhing underneath me?” He whispered. His honesty blew me away, it took me long seconds to form any words, unusual for me, normally I’d speak and whatever was on my mind would fall out before I had a chance to think about it.
“Maybe my thoughts haven’t been so innocent either David.” I closed my eyes as my words trailed off, not wanting to see what his reaction would be.
His finger moved lower, tracing the line of my jaw, down over the still damp skin of my neck. I wanted more contact, I wanted to give in to all the thoughts I’d had to live with over the past days, and I needed to know that he’d been going through the same hell as me. I felt him move closer to me, both of his hands stroked along the length of my arms, I wasn’t ready to open my eyes, savouring every touch, committing it to memory. His hands slid upwards hooking under my arms, I was being lifted across as if I weighed no more than a child, settled on his wet lap while his mouth nuzzled against my neck.
My breathing was quickening; the nipples I had hoped would soften were now tightening painfully against the wet material of my swimsuit. I relaxed into his touch, let his powerful arms pull me close, sliding my feet into the warm sand and sighing with pleasure as his teeth nipped playfully on my bottom lip, sucking on it gently. I moved my hands up his chest letting them stop only when I had his face framed between my palms, holding him close. His tongue stroked lightly against my own as he moved to deepen the kiss, he groaned into my mouth and we seemed to feed off each other for long minutes. I was held fast in his arms while our tongues stroked against each other; hot and wet, but I wanted more, so much more. His hands were behind my head, pulling on the bands that held my hair, suddenly pulled free for his fingers to tangle, pulling my head back so the contact with our mouths was broken swiftly.
“Open your eyes Kate.”
“I don’t want to.”
“You look so beautiful and expectant, my red haired witch, but there’s no way I’m taking this further.” He sounded almost regretful, my stomach flipped over with disappointment, my eyes opened suddenly, questioning him.
“Then why the kiss David?”
“Oh don’t get me wrong, I have every intention of satisfying both our needs, just not here, bloody sand gets everywhere and I don’t want anything to spoil what might be a truly amazing experience.”
I gulped hard. Suddenly all I wanted to do at that moment was swim back out to the boat and lay down before him; glancing out over the crystal waters my feelings were made clear enough, the words unnecessary.
“Not yet, we’ve had to wait out this week, another hour or two will not hurt either of us.”
“Speak for yourself David.” I replied, pushing myself out of his hold quickly.
All summer I had gone without the intimate contact of another, our simple kiss had affected me more than anything had for a long time. The tiny nub of my clit throbbed within the wet folds of my sex, my breasts felt swollen. He held his hand out to me and I helped him up; glancing down I knew straight away that he wasn’t oblivious, his erection pushed against the material of his wet shorts. Brushing myself against him on purpose I let the palm of my hand glide over the bulge, his body shook. The reaction pleased me greatly.
“Hope you’re hurting half as much as I am.” My wrist was caught almost painfully in his grip.
“Seals… show me the bloody seals Kate!”
For the next hour we lay together on our stomachs on a long flat ledge of rock just behind the main part of the seal colony. Watching the mothers and babies sunning themselves, safe in the knowledge that no harm was nearby. Looking sideways I could see the pleasure of such a simple sight etched into David’s face. A smile touched the corner of his mouth and I just itched to kiss him, but he had made his feelings clear and I would have to wait a little longer.
“I think we’d better get back to the boat, we’ll go down to the village for dinner and moor there for the night, if that’s alright with you?” I nodded quickly and got to my feet as quietly as I could, trying in vain not to shout out as a sharp piece of rock grazed along one of my thighs, sharp enough to draw blood. All I could do was watch and a steady flow began to run down the entire length.
“What the hell have you done to yourself then? I would have thought you’d be up and down these rocks like a mountain goat, you’ve certainly been out here enough times.” I felt like I was being scolded.
“It’s just a scratch, besides, how would you know how many trips I’ve had out here, I haven’t said anything, in fact you’ve not asked me any questions at all.”
“Well, you just happen to be Jeremy’s favourite topic of conversation at the moment, I think the old devil had some matchmaking notions, anyway, there’s not much about you I don’t know.”
“Ah well, at least one of us isn’t in the dark, I hope he didn’t bore you too much.”
“Quite the contrary now lets get some salt water onto that scratch and keep your eyes peeled for sharks!”
“It’s been a while since any man-eating sharks were seen around here; the basking sharks wouldn’t be in the least bit interested.”
I was knee deep in the cold water washing away the blood, and right enough there wasn’t much of a scratch there. David had already struck out into a long lazy crawl, I looked back at the beach and waded in deeper; taking my time to enjoy the freedom of the water and the sight of David’s long arms cutting through the water. He was already on the deck as I drew alongside the boat, holding the rope and metal ladder still while I gripped one of the rungs with both hands.
“Kate I don’t mean to sound like a panicked old woman or anything but there’s something large and dark grey cutting through the water towards us and its got a great big fin sticking out of the water, will you hurry that ass of yours up here.” Give him his due he did sound concerned but I wasn’t, I just made a little ‘o’ with my mouth and looked slowly over my shoulder.
“KATE!!” He shouted hoarsely.
“It’s a great big bloody shark, get up this bloody ladder right now!” I could see what it was and tried hard not to laugh.
The dorsal fin disappeared slowly from view as the shark grew closer, it had to be around twenty feet away and at ten feet nothing was visible but the huge outline as it went lower. David’s knuckles were white around the top rung of the ladder, hauling it up and me along with it, he was white around the mouth and I couldn’t really tell whether it was with anger or panic, more likely a mixture of both.
“You worry too much David, calm down and watch.”
“CALM DOWN? Just you wait till I get you up here!” I stuck my tongue out cheekily and let go of the rung; I thought he was going to pass out there and then.
I stretched out my arms and bent my head down into the water, smiling to myself as the shark glided like a silent ghost beneath me and the boat, swishing its tail lazily side to side. Some men were born worriers.
“I’m ready to come out now.” I announced, starting to haul myself out. David had turned away in disgust, apparently he hadn’t gotten over what I had just done. Maybe I had gone a little too far but at least now he would be able to spot a basking shark without being told what it was.
He was facing away from me on the opposite side of the deck; his knuckles gripped the top rail tightly, the stark white colour telling me that all was not well. I shrugged my shoulders and began to wring the water out of my hair, making my way over to the huge drum of fresh water, dipping a small plastic bucket into its depths.
“Are you not going to talk to me at all then David?” His silence was beginning to bother me.
“I’m not sure I trust myself to Kate.” He muttered quietly. Ah well, he’d get over it soon enough.
“If the mere thought of a shark was enough to panic you then why the hell did you swim in there earlier?” I addressed his broad back.
“God woman, are you always so infuriating? It wasn’t so much that I was scared of the shark, it just seemed like every cheesy shark attack movie flashed in my mind and all I could think of was you being attacked, after all your leg was bleeding a bit.”
“Oh.” I was momentarily speechless.
“To be honest it didn’t really occur to me that it was just a basking shark, all I could see was that fin.” He turned round to face me finally.
“Well if you’d looked a little beyond, you might have noticed the two smaller fins a short distance behind… if you’re ever in doubt; they have more than one each.” I spoke softly, I understood why he had reacted the way he did and I had the good grace to feel a little guilty.
“Sorry David, if I promise not to do anything like that again, will you forgive me?”
The water was starting to slop over the sides of the bucket, washing my feet in steady splashes as the swell of the water increased, I relaxed my legs and arms and moved along with it, my actions stopping the water spillage. I held the bucket out to him, hesitating for a moment he stepped towards me, taking hold.
“What do you want me to do then?”
“Well, I need to get some of the salt out of my hair and rinse off my body, help me out and I’ll do the same for you… well obviously not for your hair because… umm, there isn’t any.” His smooth head was more of a turn on for me than any thick mane of locks could have been.
I hooked my thumbs under the shoulder straps of the suit, pulling them down over my arms a way until the material just rested across the very edge of my nipples, I paused, looking him straight in the eye; seeing a challenge lighting them, raising an eyebrow slightly I turned on my heel at the same time peeling the clingy material down to my waist. Baring my damp breasts to the seals that were watching the boat.
“I never took you for being the shy and introverted type at all Kate.”
“Oh really?” An imp of mischief danced about in my head and I covered my breasts with my hands and turned round to face him once more.
I laughed out loud when I let my arms fall to my sides; he gulped hard and whistled low through his teeth. My rosy tipped nipples were beading under his gaze, the gentle breeze caressed them like a lover would, tipping my head back a little I let my eyes drift shut, moving my hands so they were lying flat on my stomach, fingertips just inside the material of the swim suit and ever so slowly I pushed it down. As soon as I had rolled it down as far as the top of my thighs I had to wiggle a little, kicking the soggy mass to the side of the deck, standing naked in front of him for the first time. I wanted him to talk, say something, anything, but he said nothing, but I noticed the surface of the water in the bucket rippling, he was shaking.
“I’m ready David.” I was ready for more than a dousing with cold water, my body felt primed, I had never been so open with anyone before and here I was standing naked before a man I hardly knew, but feeling as though I had known him for lifetimes. A minute passed and still he said nothing, his feet were rooted, I was beginning to feel decidedly vulnerable, maybe I had got things wrong back at the beach, mixed up the signals, maybe he was having second thoughts. A blush started to rise from the top of my chest, I could feel it, the heat moved like a tide. I’d had enough, right at that moment I wanted to crawl into a corner.
“You’re ready now.” His voice was hoarse. I watched the muscles play in his arms as he raised the bucket high, stepping a little closer to me. I raised my face and arms up, feeling the first splashes bathing my heated skin, the water washing away my fears, finally I understood.
“I think that’s you all done, you look like a water nymph.” He stepped back and turned to fill the bucket for himself, letting it sit on the deck while pulled off his shorts. His broad chest tapered down to a narrow waist, the cheeks of his ass just begged to be squeezed; to have my fingernails biting into them; his manhood rose proudly from the nest of trimmed curls and my stomach muscles clenched with my racing thoughts.
He stood before me as I had stood before him, giving himself to me in the same way, there was no questioning in his gaze, only need. I moved to stand behind him, stepping up onto the step that led up to the bow, I was still only able to see just over his shoulder but I raised the bucket high, slopping the water over his shoulders. Watching the water run down over his body in a hundred little rivers, glinting like silver in the bright sunshine. As the bucket grew lighter I splashed higher, covering his head; we were done. I put the bucket down and he made motions to turn around, but I halted him with a hand on his shoulder and began to lick at the water droplets clinging to his back. My fingertips and tongue explored every muscle and sinew, moving lower with aching slowness, I didn’t want to forget a single detail, his breathing was growing ragged as I pushed my hands between his thighs, pushing them apart, forcing him to move his feet; my breath hot against the cleft of his buttocks, I raked my nails over the rounded globes, parting them slightly so my tongue could delve deeper. Tentatively I began to drag my tongue over his tightly puckered hole, the reaction was instant, his legs and buttocks tensed slightly but he didn’t pull away.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing woman?” Each word seemed to be pulled from deep inside him as my tongue continued to lave.
“Getting to know you.” I whispered bringing my head back slightly before returning once more to my task but he pulled forwards suddenly.
“I only hope you don’t get to know everyone in the same intimate way.” His hands hooked under my arms pulling me up in front of him. I knew looking at him there and then that I didn’t want to wait, I needed him quickly, the feeling was raw and pure, his hands traced down my sides and held my waist as I locked my hands around his neck.
“You make me want to.” There was no other way I could think to put it.
He raised me high, his lips brushed against a nipple, capturing and making a prisoner of it in his mouth. Teeth grazed while his tongue flicked back and forth, I rested my head against his and wrapped my legs around his waist, there he held me poised until he was finished with my breast, tilting his head back to look at me. I tried to talk but he shushed me, his hands cupped my buttocks, holding me still, the head of his cock resting against my wet slit; my heels were digging into his lower back, urging him on, my hands brought his head forward and we kissed, a deep dragging kiss. Letting loose all the emotions that had been reined in on the beach. Our mouths were still plundering each other as he dropped me down, his cock spearing right into the heart of me, my mouth opened wide under his as I felt myself being stretched. His fingers dug into the flesh of my ass as my pussy clutched tightly around his shaft, his breath was hot on my mouth, his tongue danced with mine as he raised me high, plunging me down hard so that every inch of him lay deep inside me.
We were moving; his cock still sheathed within me as he leant back against the top rail, allowing me to brace my feet against the lower one, letting me control the pace. I wanted this to last for the longest time, I wanted him to be my forever, but I said nothing as I pushed upwards, biting down on his shoulder as we started to fuck. I cried out each time I felt the head of his cock nudge against my cervix, he moved one of his hands between us, sliding his fingers down to where we were both joined, his head bent slightly so he could watch his cock disappearing into me, again and again. The pad of his thumb rubbed in tight circles over the nub of my clit and I let loose the cries that had been building up inside. Forcing myself down onto him faster and faster, he answered with cries of his own and I felt something snap inside me, shattering me, there and then, I needed to feel him come undone in the same way. Both of his hands moved to my hips, stilling me; I screamed my frustration, bowing my head to his shoulder, my breath coming hot and rapid on his heated skin, I felt weak, sapped but he started to move me, making short sharp thrusts, his back bowed as he thrust higher. He cried out my name and it was caught on the breeze as he came inside me, filling me with his salty seed, I started to shake, my muscles clutched tightly around him, tears coursed my cheeks as he brought me close against him, holding me. We didn’t talk, our eyes spoke where our mouths couldn’t.
Like that we were joined for the longest time, his cock growing softer inside me, still his arms held me.
“If I had only known it was going to be like this with you Kate we would have done this a whole lot sooner, all week was wasted and now we only have these two nights. It’s not enough.” His voice was quiet and he raised me up, his cock sliding out of me. My legs were shaking as I stood before him.
“It was difficult enough this week just seeing you briefly each morning; I would never have been able to get any work done if we had taken things further.” I knew this with a deep certainty. Still I was curious, I still didn’t know where he had been going every day.
“Maybe you’re right there Kate, it was most surely worth the wait.” He kissed me lightly and moved away into the wheelhouse, returning quickly with a tube of sunscreen.
“Where have you been spending your days though? You never did tell me.”
“Well, I’ve been coming out here with Jeremy, I don’t really need a guide at all, but he thought the company would be good for me, besides I think he’s under the impression that you need to live your life a little more. He says you hide in that kitchen but for the day or two every week when you help him out.”
“I think maybe Jeremy is right, but then it’s suited me these past months.”
He started to smooth the lotion over my shoulders and into my arms, something I should have taken care of as soon as we had rinsed off, the sun was no friend to my fair skin, luckily I hadn’t burnt at all, I just felt warm, all the way through.
“I don’t think there’s anyplace I would rather be than here Kate, would you have any objections to spending the next two nights here instead of going down to the other islands? Jeremy already had me down there this week.”
“Not at all, if you don’t mind the seals singing keeping you awake at night.” They were noisy buggers when they got going.
“By the time we need sleep, we’re going to be too tired to notice what the seals are doing Kate, of that be very sure.” His grin was infectious and I answered with a matching one of my own.
Luckily for us Jeremy’s better half had provided a couple of cool-boxes full of drinks and picnic fare, it was enough for us, and we ate in the late evening as the sun sank in the sky, laughing as the seals chorus rang out across the waters.
After the heat of the day the night breeze felt almost cold so David ducked down below deck to retrieve the sleeping bags Jeremy always kept stowed in a locker near the head. I laughed out loud at his efforts to zip them together in the dying light; my fingers made quick work of the zip as his hands began to strip me. I spread it out flat on the deck and laid down, naked, waiting. I heard the zipper of his shorts being pulled and then felt my legs being parted as he moved to kneel between my thighs. His fingers traced back and forth along the underside of my breasts while his lips kissed my eyes shut softly.
“Let me love you.” He whispered softly.
His breath was warm on the side of my neck as he explored my jaw line, pushing my hair back so he could drag the tip of his tongue along the length of my neck. My breath was shaky as he moved lower, cupping my breasts in his hands, moving between both hardened peaks, biting gently, sucking till both ached. Softly he blew low on my stomach, his fingers moving in lazy circles, I cried out my need but he didn’t answer with words, instead dragging his fingernails from the inside of my knees up to where my legs joined my body, I could feel myself getting wetter and wetter as he continued to ignore the place where I needed to feel his touch most of all. I was being tortured sweetly, over and over. My legs parted wide and I tried to move, hoping his fingers would stray to my pussy, but he backed off a bit and followed the path of his fingernails with his mouth, then at last I could feel his breath hot and panting against the apex of my thighs. He breathed deep, inhaling my scent as his hands slid under my thighs, pushing them up so that my hips were tilted, pinned and totally open to him, creating havoc inside me as he blew gently over my clit.
I could stay quiet no longer and begged him, but he quieted me once more before letting the tip of his tongue lave over the delicate folds of my sex. He groaned low and deep and buried himself between my thighs, letting go of my thighs so he could slide his palms under my ass, holding me up, drinking from me. Every inch of me was explored with his tongue, sucking my clit into his mouth then lower, diving his tongue straight into me while his nose nudged against the little nub. His hands rocked me back and forth while he fucked me with his tongue, fingers moving under me, I could feel his thumb rubbing my tight little ass-hole. I had never been touched like this before, my stomach muscles jumped in shock and I tried to wriggle away but I was held still, worked on till I was a quivering mess, juices running from my pussy and his chin started to pool around his thumb, acting like a lubricant for his thumb. In circles he worked my tightest hole until he felt me relax slightly against him, taking it as a cue to push through the tightly banded muscles. The pleasure-laced pain had me screaming out, I couldn’t have stayed quiet as his mouth and hand urged me on. His fingers were splayed across my buttocks as his thumb pushed deeper; I almost saw stars as I came under his mouth, bucking against his mouth and thumb, his murmured words of encouragement spurring me on till I completely lost control.
Right there and then I needed to feel his heat filling me. It had never been like this for me before, I had never once begged a man nor been this wet. I could feel him easing his thumb out of my ass slowly as he raised his head up, letting his body slide along the length of mine, a hand now rested on either side of my face, lowering his head down to mine, letting me taste myself on his tongue.
Using his hands he rolled me over onto my stomach, letting his knees push my thighs wide apart, at this moment I could almost feel the silky head of his cock invading my body, but he took his time, nipping at my shoulder with his teeth, licking a path down my spine to the small dimple at the very base, his hands spread my cheeks and he lapped at me in the same way I had him earlier, it felt amazing, dirty, I tried to wiggle away from his tongue but I was held still. Little by little I relaxed and felt the wet heat of his tongue push a little way inside, quickly followed by a finger, then two, it felt as if I was being stretched wide, I had no idea that pain like this could bring so much pleasure along with it. He covered me with his body, whispering softly in my ear as he let the head of his cock push slowly into my pussy, coating it with my wetness, I was ready for him. Drawing his hips back he rose higher, pushing against my ass, slippery wet already it was easy for him to push the first inch inside. My breath left me in a hiss as the pain really hit, but I wanted him there, crying out as he went deeper and deeper, stopping every so often so that my body had a chance to relax against him. When at last he was buried to the hilt inside my ass his hands moved under my stomach and he pulled me up so that I was on my hands and knees, pushing my shoulders down a way so my hips were tilted up towards him.
My muscles clamped down around him, squeezing the length of his shaft, relaxing and contracting again and again around the base of his cock, my screams mixed with his shouts as he pulled back, it felt as if my insides were being dragged out, his hands soothed me as he began to fuck me slowly. I felt one of his hands on my shoulder, digging into me, a whispered apology in the night as he brought me back hard onto his cock. Over and over his body slammed into mine, soon I found my body meeting his thrusts with a power of its own, I needed the release as much as he did, screaming at him to fill me with his seed. Just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to take much more punishment his hand brought me up, making me land heavily on his cock as he came, the saltiness bathing my raw flesh. If it hadn’t been that his hand held me up I would have collapsed forwards, I felt a weakness spread through my whole body but he lowered us both down gently, rolling us to our sides, his cock still buried within my ass. For a long time all I could hear was our ragged breathing, protected in the warmth of his arms, joined in the most intimate of ways. Like that we fell asleep, not caring of the cold air that caressed our bodies, just feeling the gentle rock of the boat on the sea and the sound of the seal song in our heads.
Some time during the night he must have moved me because as the first beams of morning sun hit my closed eyes I felt the warmth of the sleeping bag across my back. Stretching out my legs wasn’t easy, I felt cramp and throbbing aches in places I didn’t want to think about, groaning softly, I let my arm drift to the side, but it didn’t come into contact with the large warm body I was expecting. Puzzled I turned over onto my back, shielding my eyes from the sun. There he was, sitting cross-legged near my feet, just watching me, his face contemplative, I smiled shyly at him and closed my eyes once more.
“Did you ever meet someone and just know that it was right, everything was right?” His soft words had me thinking.
“Only once David.” I was being completely honest.
“Oh, did things not work out well for you then Kate?” I smiled as he spoke.
“Things are working out well enough thanks, but I think you know that already.”
“I just had to know it wasn’t one-sided. But…” He trailed off.
“You don’t have to say anything, I know what you’re thinking and I was wondering about it too.”
One night and one day left. Work had me tied to the hotel until the first week of October, I had no idea what his plans were but I figured that going back to the city was pretty high on his list of priorities. What would happen when we returned to reality would depend very much on Lady fate unless he had already thought of some way for us to be together. I sat up, letting the thin cover drop around my waist, raising my arms up, brushing my hair through with my fingers before opening my eyes properly. Not a shred of self-consciousness clouded my movements as I stooped down to gather up the sleeping bag, pulling it gently, a signal for him to get up. His hand cupped the side of my face and I turned towards it, kissing his palm softly before walking into his embrace. Just the gentle brush of my nipples against the hairs on his chest was enough to have them tightening painfully, he was already aroused, the length of his cock seared against my belly. Wetting my lips with my tongue I got down on my knees before him, moving my cheek back and forth against the satiny head, parting my lips to capture it.
“Are you sure about this Kate?” I was never surer; I nodded slightly, moaning from the back of my throat as I began sucking softly, my hands flat on his stomach. His muscles rippled under my fingertips, his hands cradled my head, pushing my mouth further onto his cock, my mouth was greedy for more, my tongue circled him wetly. His hands pulled me a little closer and I could feel the head of his cock at the back of my throat, it took a while for me to relax enough to let him pass, still I suckled on him, I was hungry to taste him so I grasped the base of his cock in my fist, moving it up and down in time with his thrusts into my mouth. His fingers were almost painful on my head as he forced me to take more, I was forgetting to breathe, at that moment all that mattered to me was giving him pleasure.
“Sweet Kate.” He whispered as he began to cum against the back of my throat, withdrawing until the head of his cock rested against my lips, his thick gooey cum spattered my face as I tilted my head back to look at him. His fingers stroked over my lips, coating them in his seed, eyes never wavering from each other as he slid the slippery finger into the depths of his own mouth, sucking on it till it was completely clean. I stood up slowly in front of him, drawing his head down, sharing a salty wet kiss, achingly slow, the day was ours, no rush to go anywhere.
The rest of our time was spent exploring each-others bodies and minds, our lives away from the island, stopping to eat only when biting hunger and lack of energy forced us to. It was idyllic but all good things come to an end sometime and hearts heavy we pulled up the anchor and said a last goodbye to the Cairns and the seals that had sung us to sleep so vociferously each night.
True to his word Jeremy was waiting for us at the end of the jetty, sitting on the end with his feet trailing the water, a happy smile on his face as he caught sight of us. I threw him the mooring rope and hoisted my rucksack onto my shoulder, jumping off the boat quickly.
“I was beginning to think I’d lost you both to the beauty of the islands.” He said, holding his arms out to hug me briefly.
“You nearly did for a while back there Jeremy.” I answered.
“How did she behave then David?”
“She was very good; we only crossed swords once the whole time.” His eyes caught mine, smiling warmly.
“I meant the boat; I’m not so sure I want to hear about you and Kate right now.” At least David had the good grace to blush, but he assured Jeremy quickly that the boat had behaved impeccably.
We parted in the hotel’s reception, Jeremy wanted to share a drink with David, it would be the last time he would see him before he checked out the next morning. My heart contracted almost painfully as I thought about him having to leave, nothing had been resolved between us and as I watched the hands of my bedside clock move on through the small hours of the morning I was still no closer to an answer. I only hoped that David was having an equally sleepless night.
“God Kate you look like shit this morning!” I knew this already but I didn’t need to hear Mike saying it.
“Well thanks friend, you look stunning yourself.” I was muttering degrading comments at him as I busied myself with the breakfast orders.
“Where’s Haydn this morning then? He usually serves breakfasts himself.”
“He’s out in reception checking out a few people that didn’t fancy breakfast so yours truly got roped in to help.” My heart skipped a beat.
“Oh okay, just wondered.” I needed to know if David was one of the ones leaving but I couldn’t leave Mike to cope with the half filled dining room on his own.
The last order taken care of I began to clean up, pouring a large coffee to console myself with. Half the cup drunk I realised that it was providing no solace. Haydn himself, finished with the guests had come through to the kitchen to keep me company, he pushed a folded over piece of paper across the table towards me, giving my shoulder a fatherly pat he pushed his stool back and left the kitchen.
For a long time I just looked at it, my hands were clasped tightly, but I realised whatever was written in the note couldn’t possibly make me feel worse than I already did. I drew in a shaky breath and opened it quickly, checking at the bottom of the short note sure enough was David’s scrawled signature.
The kitchen door creaked open and I looked up to see a worried looking Mike standing in front of me.
“Well, I hope he apologised for running out on you.”
“He’s explained why he had to go, and yes, he did apologise.” I folded the note back up.
“Well what are you going to do now; you’re not going to leave us are you?”
“Well, not until the end of the season at least, but it looks like I’ll definitely be going back to university.” I grinned happily at him, my stomach somersaulting as I thought about what the future might hold.
Four weeks and six days later…