The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 55

That was how he and Kirsty came to be sitting in the tiny front room of the cottage while their rosy-faced hostess dispensed tea and buttered scones, in exchange for all the news from Glasgow and as much as they were willing to tell her about themselves.“I’m an awfy yin for speirin’,” the old lady confessed apologetically. “But it’s gey quate here, an’ I like the news fae ither places.”As Kirsty parried her questions, Josh looked round the cosy room. It was crammed with possessions gathered over a lifetime. There were china dogs in the fireplace, two shepherdesses flanking the mantelshelf, a dresser loaded with willow-pattern Delft and hand-made rugs making swirls of colour on the polished lino. For Josh, it brought back memories of childhood.“This is better than the city,” he informed the lady of the house. “I’d like to live in a place like this.”That was when she told her visitors about the empty cottage.“Robbie Fowler’s laddie got merrit tae a Glesca girl. She missed the bizz, so they went awa’ back there. The hoose has been empty since. Robbie’s laddie’s a wee bit greedy on the price, or so they say. But nae doot it’ll be selt afore long.”“Where is it?” Josh spoke so suddenly that Kirsty jumped.Directions were given, and curiosity took the two of them to a place just back from the road, where a little white house crouched down in a tangle of long grass mixed with clumps of lavender and roses climbing tall in search of the sun. It was sheltered by two giant sycamores, and had the look of a secret place.The gate swung loose on one hinge and there was a breach in the garden wall, but Josh’s mind raced as he and Kirsty explored every corner of the back garden and peered in at the windows.“I wish we could see the inside o’ it.” Kirsty sounded wistful.“You’re a city girl. I didn’t think you’d be interested in a wee country cottage!”She smiled.“You’re interested in it, an’ we share everything from now on.”“Wait there!”He swung her up to sit on the garden wall, disappearing in the direction of the nearest cottage.She tilted her face up to the sun and listened to birdsong for a moment or two. She smiled as she recalled Josh’s excitement at finding apple trees in the back garden.“Doesn’t it remind you of Abbeylands?”Now, sitting there in the sun, she saw and felt what he meant. Her thoughts had just drifted off in the direction of Abbeylands, where she had visited Adam and Josh in their summercottage, when her companion returned, triumphantly waving a house key.“The neighbour had it ready for me!” He laughed. “He’d seen us passing. They don’t miss much in the country!”The rooms were small and low-ceilinged. In one a solitary armchair, stuffing escaping from the seat, stood sentinel by the fire. There was a scatter of ashes in the hearth. Kirsty, exploring, returned to find Josh sitting with his feet on the fender, a broad smile on his face.Much later, as they made their way back to the main road that led to Glasgow, Josh was unusually silent. “How will we get back? It’s a long walk, Josh.” Kirsty roused him from his daydream by tugging his arm.He slipped his arm round her waist and kissed her lightly.“It’s a busy road. There’ll be somebody along sooner or later. We’ll likely arrive home in style on a cart!”The two of them swung along together, laughing.****Safely back in Glasgow, they shared a last cup of tea in landlady Mrs Dinnimont’s kitchen before he walked Kirsty back to Miss Downie’s. They had much to discuss, having forgotten all about Kirsty’s planned journey to Paris with Constance and Letty.“I’ll miss you.” Josh sighed. “But if it helps to bring Constance and Adam together again . . .”She took his hand.“I’ll be back in nae time, ye’ll see. An’ ye know what they say absence makes the heart grow fonder!”“Impossible.”Outside Miss Downie’s front door, Kirsty took off her precious ring and pressed it into his hand.“Keep it safe for me, Josh, till I get a chain for it. I’ll wear it round my neck until . . .”“Until we tell the world?”She nodded.“Make it soon,” he urged as they parted.Her eyes met his.“I will, Josh. I promise.”


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