Fiona woke to the smell of sizzling bacon. She
sat up and saw her mum standing over Angus's fire. “Mum, how can you cook
bacon? Angus doesn't have a stove.” She climbed out of bed and meandered
through the cots and sleeping men.
“I'm creative. I simply put the pan on the rocks
and it's working fine. I've got some sausages, beans, crumpets, raisin
scones and eggs. I think you're going to have a fun day today. Angus and
Johnny were talking of taking you somewhere special.”
“Where, Mum? I could use a day of fun.”
“Why don't you wake them all up and I'll finish
fixing this food. One would think I was feeding an army. Nine men, ten
including Angus, means a lot of work. They're worth it though.” Mairi
stirred the scrambling eggs and turned the browning sausages over.
Fiona climbed onto Angus's fireplace and brought
her hands to her mouth, cupping them around it. “Wake up! It's time to get
up! Mum's fixed breakfast and then we're going to do something fun!”
“Fiona! I didn't mean for you to shout!” Mairi
hid her smile.
Grumbles came from the floor and bags spread
around the croft. Each man got up, put his blanket away and sat on the
settee, or wherever there was a place to sit. With sleepy eyes hanging on
each of their faces, Mairi carried around plates, forks and paper napkins
for them all. Once they'd been fed, they were all a bit more sociable.
“For goodness sakes. One would think things were
a little too cushy for you in Burill. You can't even wake up in the morning!
Tsk, tsk, tsk.”
Before Mairi could say another word, Johnny ran
up and wrapped his arms around her waist, nibbling on her neck.
Jacob nudged Jesse with his elbow. “What's
“They're an item, as Fiona would say.” Jesse
Jacob nodded and smiled, happy for his friend.
Johnny picked Fiona up and swung her around.
“I've got a grand surprise for you today, wee Fiona. We're going to the
Haggis Haunt Water Park. Does that sound fun?”
“Haggis Haunt? I've heard of it. It's brand new.
Sounds wonderfully fun, Johnny. Is everyone going?” Fiona ran and climbed on
“I think I need to stay here. Jared and I are
still a bit weak from our ordeal in Nepal.”
“I'm staying home too, to take care of you. I've
got to run into work for an hour or two though. I'll pick something up to
fix supper tonight. Fiona, go and have fun,” her mother said.
“But what about swim trunks for the guys? What
“They can rent swim trunks there and so can you.
You can even rent towels,” Mairi said.
Angus reached into his pocket and pulled out his
wallet. “Say, Fiona, do you have any money leftover form all these journeys?
I've got more if you need it.”
“There's some in my pack, Uncle Angus. Do you
want me to get it? We can use it to pay the way into the water park,” Fiona
“Och no, lass. I've got enough for us all. That
means yourself, moi, Jesse, Jimmy, Julian, Jack, Jacob, Jeffrey, and Jason
will be going. That's fine. I think we can all fit in the car. Fiona, you
and one of the others will have to sit in the very back, where I usually
keep my tools and things. Do you mind?”
“I don't mind. Jimmy, will you sit back there
with me?” She ran to him and squeezed his leg.
He pried her off, noticing the other men's
silent jeers. “Certainly, Fiona. I'd be honoroed.”
“What about Callum and Elspet? They'd want to
go?” Fiona thought of her friends.
“When we took them home last night,” Julian
said, “both of their mum's and dad's let us know that they had work to do
around the house today.”
“Oh. Well, we will have fun anyway.” Fiona
danced around the room with excitement.
# # #
Penelope drove the car up the drive and parked
it in front of her sister, Nellie's house. Exhaustion set in and she leaned
over the wheel. The Saturday morning sun was well over the horizon.
Nellie opened the front door and as soon as she
saw her sister, she opened the car door and helped her out, relieved to see
she was all right. “Penelope, did you drive straight through from Cornwall?
Come in. Come in.”
“But, Drayton. I have to help him,” Penelope
pulled herself from Nellie's grasp.
“Drayton? Well, wake him up. Both of you need
something to eat and then you need to rest.” Nellie sent her sister into the
house and she walked around and opened the passenger door. “Drayton, wake
up.” She shook him.
He sat up and looked around. “Who are you?
Where's my mum? Where am I?”
“I'm your Auntie Nellie. Your mum is inside and
I, my dear Drayton, am your aunt. Come inside and freshen up. I'll fix you
Drayton clambored out of the car and staggered
into the house.
Nellie shook her head with disgust and made sure
the car was locked up. She saw her sister and nephew sitting at the kitchen
table. “Well, now that you're here, what can I fix you for breakfast?” No
reply. “I'll tell you what. Go upstairs and freshen up, shower, or do
whatever you need to do and I'll get something ready for you in a wee bit.
Go on then.” She shooed them off and opened the refrigerator, in search of
something for a meal.
After breakfast, they squeezed into Mairi's car.
Jimmy and Fiona had to sit in the very back. “It's a good thing Mum has a
station wagon, isn't it?” Fiona giggled at Jimmy's bent legs. “She needs a
big car because she delivers her honey about town, and her jam too.”
Angus drove off, leaving Mairi and the other two
behind. “We're off then.”
“I don't mean to sound stupid, but what is a
haggis?” Jacob turned around to ask Fiona.
“I couldn't begin to describe it to you, Jacob.
You'll just have to wait and see,” she said. “Say, do you all know how to
speak Phoenician and Arabic?”
“We can all speak Arabic, Fiona, but it's Jason
who's the linguist. He's probably the only one of us that can speak that,”
For the rest of the drive, Fiona, who could
speak any language, joked with the men.
Jason taught them a few words of Xilian, so that
if the need ever arose, at least they could ask where to tie the dragon up
Angus, who didn't understand a word, shook his
head and paid attention to his driving.