You’ve come so far with me and the end is close. Continue to enjoy the ride.
For those who haven’t been following the free read, I posted Chapter 1 on 13 January. Subsequent chapters have appeared each Friday, and will continue to be posted until all 50 have featured here. You can find those already posted via the archive; just search by chapter number. If you missed the start, you’ll find it here: http://stuartaken.blogspot.com/2012/01/read-free-my-novel-here.html
Read, enjoy, invite your friends along. As an author, I want people to read my writing, simple as that.
Monday 20th September
A small, ancient tractor blocked the road as I drove to the village but the driver moved into the first passing place and waved me by. I recognized him at once. At the next passing place, I got out of the car and waited.
‘Coincidence, or have you been peeping?’
‘Faith, I’ve seen every bonny inch o’ you. I’d no peep like that. I’ve been down yon, checking the water for the beasts.’
‘Serendipity, then. I want to thank you, Hamilton, for your lovely gift. The drawings are beautiful. How did you find the time and opportunity?’
‘Just wee sketches. They didna teck long, and, och, ye were far away at times. I’m glad you like them.’
I studied him for a moment. ‘I wonder if you’d do me a real favour, in return for a small reward?’
He waited for my offer.
‘I know it’s tempting for a young man to tell his friends what’s happened and I don’t mind that. But would you keep it secret until I’ve gone? I don’t want hordes of young men coming to the croft in the hope of similar treatment. They won’t get it and I don’t want to cause disappointment, and my holiday would be ruined. Would you do that for me?’
‘I’d no gossip about what passed between us, Faith. That was private. Far too special and wonderful to be bragging. You read my note. You must know I love you. I’d no betray that for the passing glory tall tales might win.’
‘Not tall tales, Hamilton, the truth’s impressive enough. And you’re not really in love with me. It’s no more than infatuation and it’ll pass when you find the girl you want to marry.’
‘Tis no crush I’m feeling for ye, Faith, an’ the lass I’d wed is right before me. But I’ll no argue.’ He smiled shyly through the longing, and the blush came to his cheeks again. ‘I’ve no need of reward for being a gentleman, Faith. But I’d like to hear what you were offering.’
‘It’s still on offer. Come first thing on Saturday and sketch me for yourself, that’s all, if you wish. But you’ll have to be there in time to finish before nine o’clock when I’ll be off home.’
He looked at me with the hunger of lust that he called love. ‘I’ll take your gift, Faith. I’ll be there for eight, if that’s no too early?’
‘Weather permitting, I’ll be finishing my last swim by then. Until Saturday.’ I stretched to peck his cheek and drove into the village to post my letter to Leigh and collect fresh groceries for the coming week. But I decided against posting the letter. There was a postscript to add and I could put it in a box on one of the trips I intended to take now my retreat had become a holiday.
No one in the village looked at me any differently from my other visits and I knew Hamilton had been as good as his word. I was still no more than a mysterious wee Sassenach lassie visiting the island alone.
Back at the cottage, I took my dip in a sea that grew wilder by the minute. It soon became too dangerous to stay in the water. Within moments of my return to the cottage, as I towelled myself dry in front of the fire, the breakers began crashing on the shingle and tossing spray against the window so hard it was like a rain storm. Closing the door, I realized I was probably stuck indoors for the rest of the day. I would review and complete my letter to Leigh.
My dear, adorable, sexy, wonderful, magical, delicious, wicked Leigh,
I love you.
I’ll save the description of my holiday home for my return. In any case, I’ve taken loads of pictures in and around the cottage, some including me in a state I believe you’ll find pleasing. The sea is wonderful and the isolation perfect for my intentions.
First to my admission. I found a suitable young man to fulfil Dad’s wishes. He was a virgin, so no worry about disease and I’m on the pill, as Mum insisted, so no danger of pregnancy. We had sex eight times in the time I allowed. First time, he climaxed almost as soon as he entered me. He wasn’t a patch on you physically and I only reached anything like an orgasm on the couple of occasions I was on top. I sent him away after just one day and night and I’m back on my own now and missing you like mad.
It seems to me, Leigh, that your sexual adventures have left you with one impression about sex and love, whilst my inexperience has given me an entirely different view. Because I came to love first and only experienced simple sex afterwards, I’m sure I was bound to be disappointed by sex on its own. The physical enjoyment is nowhere near as great when there’s no love involved, it’s a bit like… well, actually, there’s nothing else like making love at all.
Making love with you is the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had. I can fully understand the compulsive, even obsessive nature of such lovemaking. Sex, on the other hand, whilst a pleasant enough diversion, is so far below the experience of love making that it pales into insignificance. With you, I felt alive in every cell of my being, I felt passion and elation, ecstasy and such delight and joy as I never thought possible. You brought me an awareness of myself as a woman that I had not known. You loved me so thoroughly and completely that no other man can ever come near to bringing me the same sensation. I always thought lust was dreadful, but when it’s mixed with love, it’s extraordinary. I certainly lust for you. I want you just thinking about you. Just writing your name makes me ready to take you inside me. But it’s more than that: somehow, in a way I can describe only partly, my soul bonded with yours when we made love. Our spirits combined so we became one and there were no boundaries between our essences, no barriers to our sensations and emotions.
With Hamilton, I felt some pleasurable physical sensations, especially once I’d led him to my clitoris (horrible, ugly word for such a lovely part of my body). But, not only was he unable to bring me to a climax until I took the lead, I felt no soaring of my spirit, no joining of souls, no harmony of bodies as I did with you, Leigh.
No, there’s no comparison between making love and having sex. I ache to be with you again, to have you deep inside me, to have your hands and mouth on my breasts, our lips and tongues together, our limbs entwined, our bodies made as one. I yearn for you to take me to that space where time ceases to exist and there’s nothing but us in the world and we two are one. I yearn just to be with you. To have you in my sight and hearing. To know you are but a step away.
But I promised us a fortnight to understand ourselves and although I’ve no need of further self discovery, I don’t know how you’re doing with your test. So, I’ll stick with our original agreement, hard as it is. In any case, if I return now, I’ll probably have to get involved in Heacham’s trial and I’d rather avoid that for the moment.
I know I made conditions about our togetherness, Leigh, and I understand those will be difficult for you to keep. But I can’t share you. I really can’t. I’ll give my whole self to you on my return, without reservation and for the rest of time. I had to have my experience with Hamilton; I could not have gone through life knowing I’d failed Dad in that way. And it had to be now, because when I return I intend to be yours alone, for the rest of my life. I need you to have the same sort of commitment and I hope to find Netta gone and you celibate until I come home to you.
If you can’t manage this, I need to know at once. It may sound foolish, but I couldn’t bear to see you now if you can’t agree to what I ask. Please, let me have a sign that you agree: if you don’t want me on my terms, please put my things outside the door of Longhouse so I’m not forced to come inside and face your rejection. I can collect my things and leave without seeing you again and go away to make a new life for myself.
If that’s what you decide, I’ll always be alone, since no one else will be to me what you are, Leigh. I shall not die but my life will be diminished and incomplete. I don’t tell you this to make you feel bad but to make you understand what you mean to me. Without you, I am but a shadow. With you, I can win the world.
I love you, Leighton Longshaw and I want to spend my life with you. I want to marry you and have your children. I want to lie each night with you in our bed and know that I may share your love forever as you will share mine.
Until Saturday, my darling love. Be there for me.
Always, your adoring Faith.
I re-read the letter and decided not to alter it again. It was my fifth attempt and I could think of no improvements to it. But I wanted to be honest with Leigh and I felt I should let him know about my bargain with Hamilton and my reason for it. My postscript was brief and to the point.
The rain continued for the rest of that day and I added one more line to the letter, telling Leigh I’d been nude whilst writing, knowing he’d gain pleasure from picturing me that way. I reflected on that thought and realized it came from love. Both Mum and Dad had said that love was giving the loved one what they wanted and that was what I was doing for Leigh and it felt good and right.
The rest of my time on the island, I was a tourist. I visited the sites my map highlighted and saw a castle that had been occupied continuously for six centuries. Its dank, small dungeon haunted me for ages with its single stone to seal the entry hole above and cut out all the light, and the irons on the cold stone floor to hold the prisoner in chains in a space too small for anyone to lie down.
I saw seals basking on the rocks and got soaked by breakers in the small boat I sailed in with half a dozen other tourists. I watched golden eagles soar above the mountains and sat in total silence by the shores of isolated lochs with sunlight shattering their mirror surfaces into a million bright shards. I even visited the island distillery where I tried their twenty-five-year-old single malt. Talisker tasted like liquid gold and I bought a case for Leigh.
Everywhere I went, I took photographs. The light was wondrous, the skies alive, the seas so changeable, the hills and mountains grand and magnificently indifferent in their beauty. I felt insignificant in that landscape, irrelevant to its beauty. I was there, amongst mountains of red and black ancient as time itself, and falling, living water and the shimmering lochs, but my presence made no difference; the rocks and hills were oblivious of me. I was of less matter than an ant, a falling leaf, a whisper of sound on the breeze. Wind and water and sun and the gentle ticking of the universe were all that mattered here, to sculpt and form the land into shapes anew over eons of time. I was not even a blink of the eye.
My week ended and the weather was kind enough to let me take my final swim. Hamilton was waiting as I strolled back to the cottage. I asked him where he wanted me and how and he drew his pictures and departed sadly after pleading only with his eyes.
‘I’ll no forget you, lassie, not if I live to be a hundred.’
I hoped that wasn’t true, but I could do nothing to prevent it.
The journey home was more tedious than the drive north had been and I was weary as I entered the area I knew. But, approaching Longhouse, knowing Leigh would welcome me with open arms and whisk me to his bedroom, I felt my tiredness drop away to be replaced by the elation of promise.
Impatient for the last chapters? You can buy the book in paperback (through online or high street outlets) or ebook format for whatever ereader you use, just click on the cover picture or visit ‘My Books’. If you do, I’d appreciate a review, posted wherever possible - Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, or any other bookish site. Reviews get indie published books noticed, you see.
Tweet with me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/@stuartaken
Like my author page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StuartAken
Like my author page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StuartAken
Stumble with me: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/stuartaken
Pin with me here: http://pinterest.com/stuartaken/
Buy my ebooks via Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/stuartaken
USA readers, see my author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/stuartaken
(for some odd reason, this type of link isn't yet available on Amazon for UK)Join my professional connections on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stuart-aken/22/1b6/aaa