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Mary Roberts was 21 went she went to university. Originally, she wasn’t going to, but getting a job working in a library, and seeing the strict career structure based upon qualifications, she realized a degree in English Literature would definitely be an advantage. So, in September, along with a large group of other people, she started her first term at a Redbrick university in England. Mary was a slim, small breasted young lady of about 5’9 with light brown hair and blue eyes.
Initially, there were quite a few social activities to allow students to connect with their new home and new fellow-travelers, and at one of these she met Peter. He was a year older, from a quite well-heeled family, good looking and knew it, and had a sports car. Of all the queen bees swarming around his honeypot, he chose Mary. Her virginity versus his persuasion lasted a week. They were an item for the whole of the first year, and he even spent part of the summer at her home visiting with her family. For some reason, she didn’t think it strange that she didn’t get to meet his family.
Towards the end of the second year, when she was visiting Peter in his dorm room, she noticed he was packing up many of his things. “Are you changing rooms, or moving off campus?” she asked him.
“Neither. Next year I shall be up at Cambridge.”
“Cambridge? What about me?”
“What do you mean, ‘what about you’? You won’t be there, you’ll be here. It’s been great these past couple of years, but my family’s plan was always Cambridge after a preliminary two years here to get some grounding. That’s life, onwards and upwards.”
“So when were you going to tell me?”
“At the end of term dance! You didn’t really think that you and I were headed anywhere long term did you? You were a great partner while I was here – good looking and not bad in bed – but that was always as far as it was meant to go.”
It took Mary six seconds to leave his room, two spent slapping his face, two spent kicking him in a very personal area, and two to go through the door and slam it as hard as possible. A further 5 seconds was what it took to commit to herself not to commit to a boy ever again. In fact, she also committed to never using his name again. From now on, he would be “That Boy”.
Somehow, she had always felt this was the summer she would be with Peter and meet his family. Clearly that was never going to happen. And she really couldn’t face going home and linking back up with all the people she had introduced Peter to last summer. As she was walking by the Student Union office, she saw a notice board for summer jobs. One caught her eye, headlined “Wild Times in Scotland”.
She read it quickly and then unpinned it from the board. In her room, she ready so many times she could recite it by heart.
“I am in my late 50s and run a four room Bed and Breakfast Farmhouse, maximum number of guests 8. Needed, someone to take over the housekeeping role – laundry, cleaning, etc. for the summer, Some occasional help with cooking. Full board and lodging provided together with 60 pounds per week. Nearest town is 20 miles away, but limited use of my car is available. Lots of fresh local food, clean water and clean air. Would suit an avid reader.” Then followed an email address to a ‘jamesmcleod’
What better place for Mary for summer? A maximum of 9 people around her, all strangers, no groups of young men hanging around, plenty of opportunity for her summer reading schedule, and a chance to get Peter completely out of her system. It was, she thought, divine inspiration that had put this in her path, and her application email was zipping through the internet inside the hour, which proved at least that he was not completely out in the wilderness.
His reply came first thing the next morning. The season was from Saturday, April 27th to September 7th, which fitted in with Mary’s term schedule. He thanked her for a very full description of her background and for offering the vicar in her home town as a reference. However, from the personality of her writing, and the fact she could even offer a clergyman as a reference, he was offering her the position and wouldn’t be bothering the vicar. The farmhouse was ‘aways north of Glasgow’, towards Gairlochy, if she still wanted the job. By that evening, everything was arranged, including the fact that James had to go to Glasgow for an appointment with a lawyer, and so he had scheduled it for the day Mary would arrive, April 25th, and they could get to know each other on the drive back to the farm. Mary loaded up a big portion of her reading list on her Kindle, packed her summer clothes plus a couple of heavy skirts and sweaters and was on her way a couple of days later. The only thing that spoilt her victory was seeing, from her taxi on the way to the station, Peter with some new blonde in his car. “At least, she won’t be riding around in that for much longer,” she thought. And so, at the start of summer 2019, Mary set off on her first summer casino siteleri without her family.
She had described herself to James as ‘tallish for a girl, with longish light brown hair’ to which he had replied “I’ll meet you directly under the clock. I’ve got a beard.” Fortunately at Glasgow station there was only one bearded man waiting, and he had a choice of only two girls matching Mary’s description, but only one of them was lugging two suitcases along, so they met up very easily. After a formal introduction, James said, “The car’s parked where it shouldn’t be, so I suggest we go straight to it and get the hell out of the city. And when the countryside looks good, we’ll find a pub for late lunch.” As a result, about halfway through their trip they pulled into a nice looking pub. A simple Ploughman’s Lunch of fresh bread, some well-aged cheese, and pickles, with beer for James and a glass of wine for Mary, sufficed as an ice breaker and by the end of the meal, they were both quite comfortable with each other. Over lunch, Mary got to look properly at James. He was about 6 foot, salt and pepper hair and matching full-set beard. Broad shoulders and a decent sized chest hinted at a fairly strong and fit man.
Mary found one thing about James that really endeared him to her, his laugh. He had a full-blooded hearty laugh that came from deep inside, a good “belly laugh” as her Dad used to say. And he laughed often and easily. For example, very early in the trip she had asked James if anyone ever called him Jim, and he let out his laugh and said, “Only once, never twice.”
They arrived at the farm while it was still very light, daytime in Scotland being much longer in the summer than further south, and Mary loved the setting immediately. Sheltered by a row of firs, and at the base of a small hill, it was just as she imagined only much bigger. James took a leg of lamb already roasted out of the fridge and in no time at all they had a simple supper of cold meat, boiled potatoes and peas. James explained that he got most of his food sourced locally, and himself caught salmon and trout “at the appropriate times, or when the gillie isn’t around,” and let out his laugh again.
He showed Mary her room. It was in the attic, but quite nicely appointed and with space enough for her needs. It also had its own small bathroom and shower cabinet. The bed was new so that was one bonus. He showed her the four guest rooms, each with a shower, washbasin and toilet. He also showed her the laundry room – on the same floor as the guest rooms to save lugging stuff up and down stairs – with the extra large washing machine and dryer to launder the bedding and towels in. “That’s the most important part of the job,” he explained, “as I can’t afford an unlimited supply of linens, so as soon as a guest goes, it’s off with the dirty, on with the clean, and everything in the washer. If all four rooms are changing over, you can get all the bed linens done as one load, and all the towels, plus our own towels and what have you in a second. Today’s Thursday and there’s no-one in tomorrow or Saturday, so you’ll have chance to find out where everything is. Saturday we’re often without guests, as that’s when people start or finish holidays, normally somewhere busier.”
All in all, when she went to bed, Mary was feeling very comfortable with James, very comfortable with the surroundings and comfortable with herself that she could survive approximately 18 weeks up here. At 60 pounds a week, and nowhere to spend any money, she figured she’d have about a thousand pounds saved towards her next year in university. A profitable recuperation from a broken heart.
Now the weather in the wilds of Scotland can be pretty bleak, even in summer, but when it is nice, it’s beautiful, and the end of April and start of May were nice and warm. With the first guests coming in on Sunday, she had time to learn where everything she needed for her job was kept. She learned from James this was only his third year in the B and B business, so most of the stuff was modern.
On the Saturday evening, over a nice dinner of poached (but not poached) Spring Salmon, boiled potatoes and asparagus, she asked James where he learned to cook and was surprised to learn he wasn’t from Scotland, which is why he had a few Scottish phrasings but no real Scottish accent. As a young man. after university, he had run away to sea and worked in the galley of a chartered yacht under a very experienced chef who was happy to let James handle the food while the chef handled the wine, so to speak.
James explained that after a few years at sea, he met a girl and settled down to use his Computer Science degree. He started a small software company that got larger and after he turned 50 he sold it intending to retire. He and his wife had stayed here for a few nights, when the previous owner was running it, and when he announced he was selling up at the end of the season, James and his wife decided to buy güvenilir casino the place. The first summer was great, as was the winter holiday in Costa Rica, but Susan, his wife, started to get bored in the second season. “The novelty wore off,” said James, “and all she could see was dirty laundry. A man with a big car and a fat wallet checked in for a whole week at the end of last season, and when he left, Susan went with him. My guess is his wallet is a whole load slimmer now. I know mine is healthier for her being gone.” There was that laugh again, albeit a bit ruefully.
James had debated whether to sell up, but just didn’t fancy trying to sell at the end of a season, and if staying to the next season – this one – he may as well be still in business. “Plus,” he said, “you’ll understand if I am off women a bit at the moment.”
Mary laughed. “I know exactly what you mean,” she said, and told him all about her two years, almost, with That Boy, including the manner of her ‘dumping’.
“Well,” said James, “I guess we’re fellow travelers. We’ve guests arriving tomorrow afternoon, so let’s celebrate the unfortunate end of one phase of your life, and the start of another. A new season for us both, you might say.” He crossed to a tall cupboard and unlocked it. “This is where I keep my really good stuff, stuff too good to sell to the tourists.”
He took out an almost full bottle of a light gold liquid and poured two small glasses. “Now take your time with this stuff, it’s a bit of an acquired taste, especially for one so young as you. Believe it or not, the stuff in this bottle in almost as old as you.” He proposed a toast to a ‘happy and rewarding season’.
And so they sat, quietly, in the light of one table lamp, and watched through the windows as the hillsides around them faded into the night, and drank their Scotch. Mary was expecting it to be a bit rough, as some of the whiskies That Boy had bought were, but soon realized that this ‘good stuff’ was really very smooth and when sipped slowly was a very comfortable, warming, soothing experience, as was just sitting here quietly with James. When his glass was empty, he stood, gave Mary a little bow and said “See you in the morning,” and went to his room at the far end of the ground floor, the other side of the kitchen. Mary took another ten minutes to finish her Scotch, rinsed her glass, and climbed up to the attic above the laundry room. She was amazed at just how quickly they had become comfortable, she and this man who was a good ten years older than her father. This was only her third night, but already she felt quite at home. But tomorrow the real work started. James also explained that while they did not serve lunch and dinner to guests, they could order in the evening a packed lunch to take with them, usually cold deli meats, tomatoes, cheese, and an apple or banana, with a bottle of water, and making those during breakfast was part of Mary’s job. “We don’t do too many of them, but if they’re heading up to the highlands they like to know they at least have a lunch.”
The ground floor of the farmhouse started at one end with the Guests’ Dining Room, which contained a big table with seating for 10. That was entered from the main hallway at the foot of the stairs that led to the four bedrooms. The other side of the hall from the dining room was the Library, where guests could sit in the evening, and James, and soon Mary, could sell them ‘a night cap’. The library was a comfortable room, and Mary was pleased to see it had both fiction and non-fiction, including some good books on local history.
A doorway next to the library opened off the hallway into James and Mary’s sitting and dining area, where James had his computer and a desk for his business papers. Next to that room was the kitchen, which had quite the equipment. Eight gas hobs gave flexibility to preparing breakfasts, there was a gas oven and a separate gas-heated convection oven which James claimed he ‘loved’ more than his soon-to-be-ex wife. Mary, on hearing his tale about her departure had already figured that his appointment in Glasgow the day she came to Scotland was probably about the divorce.
A staircase from the kitchen led up to the laundry room, and a staircase from there led to Mary’s attic room. Beyond the kitchen was James’ bedroom, with his one luxury – a brand new queen-sized bed. She had seen his room when he gave her the grand tour, and during dinner when he left the door open, and commented to James about how the bed was nicely made. That was the only time she had seen him blush.
“I learned living on a boat in limited space to always make my bed. When Susan left, I dumped our marital bed and got a new one with all new bedlinen. Should I ever meet a lady I get serious about, I don’t want any trace of that person anywhere around.”
Sunday, James explained the check-in procedure at the table in the hall, and got Mary to lay the table for the next morning’s breakfast. “It canlı casino saves having to dash around when guests come down in dribs and drabs,” he explained.
They soon settled into a routine, with Mary helping serve breakfast and then doing any room that had a departure. The practice was always to do the room immediately so that “it is ready in case we get an unexpected booking,” said James. Then the table was laid, always for 10 so as to give the guests some flexibility. Evenings were spent, after dinner was cleared, reading and playing music from James very extensive vinyl collection. He was into musicals and soft jazz mainly, but there was some light classical and a bit of Caribbean music from his days at sea on the charter. The collection rounded off with some music from the 50s and 60s that James claimed he inherited from his father. They laughed and teased each other easily, much as friends rather than boss and worker, and Mary was making great progress through her reading schedule.
Her fourth Saturday, May 18th, turned out to be hot even by the time they had finished clearing breakfast. After breakfast, James called Mary to put some walking shoes on and go with him. He was carrying a backpack. They went up over the hill and down into a small hollow. A gentle stream flowed in to the first of three pools of water. James explained that because the pools changed their water slowly, it was pretty warm in the summer. “Ideal for skinny dipping,” he explained, and turning his back on her, stripped and jumped straight in, naked.
Mary was quite surprised. She had never skinny dipped in her life, so far as she could remember. She was tempted because of the heat, so walked to the third of the three pools and stripped off and jumped in. James called to her that “That pool is always the warmest because of the time it takes water to flow through the three pools. The water is always clean, as the wild life and sheep don’t care for warm water.”
Out of curiosity, Mary climbed over the rocks separating the third and second pool, and found it noticeably cooler. Climbing into the first pool, where James was, she found that one to be the best temperature on a day like today, cool and refreshing, and she swam around for a while. James remained at a respectful distance.
As she went to get out, she felt a sharp jab in her foot and she cried out in pain. Looking down, she saw the water start going red with blood. James was over to her instantly. “Turn your back towards me,” he said, and he then scooped her up in his arms. She could feel her bare skin against his, and knew that he could see not only her breasts but also the bush of dark, unruly hair at her groin. She tried to cover her breasts with an arm, but that was about all she could manage. She was red with embarrassment. Fortunately for Mary, the way he was carrying her stopped her from seeing his private parts
Unperturbed, James carried her out of the pool and over to her clothes. He went back to his clothes, where he had the backpack with some towels, and brought two over. “Dry and dress yourself and then I’ll look at that foot.” he said. He had discretely wrapped a towel around his waist.
He returned a few minutes later, dressed, after he had called over to ask if she was dressed. He took out a clean handkerchief and bound it around her foot. “At least with the water being pretty clean, we have little chance of infection. Here, you put the backpack on, then I’ll carry you back home.” He picked her up easily in a fire-man’s lift and set off up the hill.
It took a while, even though James was obviously pretty strong, but eventually he deposited her on to the garden swing by the front door and went inside. He returned with a bowl of warm water, clean face cloths and towels and a box of band aids and some bandages. “I put Dettol in the water,” he announced.
Mary grimaced. “That stuff? That was always Mum’s go to for cuts and scrapes. Stings like hell. We used to call it Deathol as kids.” James laughed. “Aye, maybe,” he said, “but it works.”
Fortunately, the cut was under the instep not on the ball of the foot, so after properly dressing it, Mary could walk without much pain.
Over dinner, Mary kept expressing her apologies, and her embarrassment, especially James having to carry her while both were naked. He laughed. “You’re not the first naked lady I have seen, and certainly neither the ugliest nor the fattest, so don’t worry about it.
“But you were so proper and correct, trying to spare my blushes and doing your best to retain my dignity. You were so gallant. My own father could not have behaved more respectfully.”
James actually blushed, but then said he did have one question. “Lassie,” he said, “you have a bonnie body, with all the right curves, so why cover it up in so many chunky sweaters and skirts. You know now that I am respectful, and we are both capable of keeping the proper relationship, so dress more ‘you’ and let us all enjoy your good looks.” That speech had both of them blushing. However, when she came down for breakfast on the Sunday, Mary had a nice light blue blouse tucked in to a darker blue skirt that was just above her knees. When James gave her an appreciative smile, she smiled back.
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