THANK you. I hope we’ll see you again.” Holly Grainger smiled at the departing customer and turned to answer the phone. “Good morning, Glasgow Grand, how may I help you?”
As she spoke she looked up to see who was pushing the revolving door from the street.
Corin. She’d left him a couple of hours before, about to head off for his jog, and wasn’t expecting to see him until after his shift finished late tonight. He was wearing jeans and a white T-shirt and his dark hair was still damp from his shower.
She finished her call, hoping the phone wouldn’t ring again immediately.
“How lovely to see you.” She leaned across the reception desk for his kiss. “Were you missing me?”
“Yes. This working different shifts is a pain. But I have an idea that would mean we could work together.”
“Listen. You’ll be busy again in a minute.” Corin unfolded a piece of paper. “I went online, and found this.”
He passed the paper to her.
It wasn’t a job advert. The heading was Hotel For Sale.
“It’s in Lorn, where we stopped for lunch with your mum and dad. Remember, Tom suggested having lunch in the hotel, in the Ferryboat?”
“I remember, but . . . ”
“The hotel’s for sale. I was wondering if we might buy it. Us, and your mum and dad combine forces. And my parents might chip in on the money side.”
“And you’d have your own kitchen.” Holly was aware of guests walking towards her. “Look, leave the advert with me. I’ll phone Mum and Dad tonight, shall I?”
Corin mouthed another kiss.
“Great. And I’ll sound out my parents.” He backed away from the desk. “See you later.”
Holly smiled at the guests, a calm smile, she hoped, belying what was going on in her head.
In theory, it was a perfect idea. A small Highland hotel in an idyllic setting. Mum and Dad’s 20 years of running a busy bed-and-breakfast. Her own qualifications in leisure and tourism, and reception-desk experience. And Corin well, his amazing cooking would certainly bring in the crowds.
She sneaked a look at the advert printout to see the asking price. It seemed a huge amount. They could sell their flat, the flat Corin had owned himself for five years, so it was bound to have gone up in value. What was the B&B worth? Would Mum and Dad want to uproot themselves and come hundreds of miles north? And what about Louise?
Corin’s parents, Verity and Philip, were well off, and as their only child, Corin was probably right in saying that they would help. But how would that work out?
Even after almost a year’s acquaintance with her parents-in-law Holly was never really at ease with them. They were very sweet to her but she always had the feeling that they thought Corin could have done better, preferably from the pool of daughters Philip’s solicitor friends seemed to have. And, of course, they were disappointed that Corin had chosen not to follow his father into his law firm.
Six hours later she let herself into the empty flat. She went to close the curtains and stood for a moment looking out, watching as lights were switched on, like a circuit board coming to life. She liked living in Glasgow, but if she and Corin ever had children she wouldn’t want to bring them up in the middle of a city.
Not that babies were on the agenda any time soon. Especially if they were going to have their very own business. She picked up the phone.
“Mum?” As always Holly felt a pang that her mum and dad were so far away.
“Darling! I’ve been thinking about you and Corin and that lovely holiday.”
“Great minds actually, that’s why I’m phoning.”
“You sound, I don’t know, breathless. Is everything all right?”
Holly steadied her voice.
“Mum, do you remember when we got the boat across Loch Lorn? The hotel by the ferry is for sale and Corin thinks we should buy it, and go into business together him and me, and you and Dad. What do you think?”