Richard Pierce


Day 181

Last night was prosecco night. We sat outside in the strengthening wind in G’s place, and watched the waves thrash against the harbour wall under the fish restaurants and rebound viciously onto the pebble beach. And then we sat on our room’s balcony (and in our living room – these rooms started as self-catering suites) until probably too late. To have arrived at this stage in our marriage where we can have grown-up conversations about everything is a blessing. My therapy has definitely helped.

Today is low-key, the wind still very strong, and the renewed realisation that ibuprofen really does not agree with my body, but at least the pain has gone, and my foot is a lot more flexible again.

I wasn’t going to write this much, but I feel time pushing on far more quickly than I’d like. And a big part of me doesn’t want to leave this place and its gentle and noble (yes, that is the right word) people.


‘What have you got yourself into now?’ Morag says. ‘I thought it would all end when you left the Army.’

‘And then he left…’ Lilibet says.

‘That was always coming,’ her mother says. ‘The way he looked at other women. Did he know – about how you really felt?’

‘I didn’t know about how I really felt until the girls were walking.’

Morag shrugs. ‘It happens.’

Lilibet wraps her arms round her mother. ‘I love you, you know that, don’t you?’

‘I do, and I love you back. You know that.’ Morag puts her hands on her hips. ‘And now you’re going to ask me to do something for you.’

‘Us to do something for you,’ Morag’s father says.

‘Callum’s always my echo,’ Morag says.

Lilibet nods. ‘We need to go up to the air museum. See if we can find anything there that points us in the direction of the people who took me.’ She says nothing about the implanted device or the unconscious murder.

‘This Valentine your friend was talking about?’

‘Amongst others,’ Aggie says, proffers her hand. ‘I’m Aggie, by the way.’

Morag takes her hand. ‘Lovely soft skin you have.’

Aggie can’t blush. ‘I moisturise a lot.’

Callum laughs. ‘I use water a lot and look at my fantastic complexion and smooth hands.’

‘Maybe I should follow your regime then,’ Aggie says.

‘You’re not from round here, are you?’ Callum says. ‘And you’re not a Sassenach either.’

‘Aggie doesn’t really know where she’s from,’ Lilibet says. ‘She’s a lost soul, like me.’

Callum and Morag nod.

‘Good job you found eachother then,’ Callum says, looks at Morag. ‘We were lucky.’

Morag’s smile is a thing of beauty.

‘And of course we’ll look after the bairns,’ Morag says. ‘For as long as you need. We’ve nothing else to do.’

‘Speak for yourself, woman,’ Callum grunts and laughs again.

‘Away with ye,’ Morag says, grinning. ‘No call for that.’

‘Plenty of call for it,’ Callum says, his eyes twinkling. ‘We’re not old yet.’

Morag smiles to herself. ‘But you must have some breakfast first.’

Lilibet looks at Aggie. ‘I think we might need it. God knows when we might eat again.’

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