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You probably haven’t heard of the Isle of Sula. Not unless you’re one of the eco-tourists who come trekking oot here, or one of the estimated 27,000 members worldwide of Clan MacCuilish. That’s about 15 times the current population of the island, probably no more than 40 of whom were born with the MacCuilish name. Basically, we’re a tiny wee island towards the south of that thin rocky spine off the coast of Scotland known as the Western isles, or Eilean Siar in Gaelic.
I’m Jessie Ferguson by the way — Jessica’s my Sunday name, as we say in these parts. I’m 25 now, and I work as a legal executive in Sula’s only law practice. It’s run by one of the MacCuilish’s, Gordon, a distant relative of the MacCuilish of MacCuilish, the Canadian clan chief. You’re nae going to make your fortune in the law working on an island of 1800 souls, but we get by with our staff of three — the third one’s our secretary Rhona, an old school chum of mine. As well as representing all the Sulans we’ve not upset (it’s inevitable you’ll piss some off, with the odd dispute between locals), we get work from expatriates who’ve moved to the UK mainland, a handful of clients in Oban, the nearest mainland port, and folk on neighbouring islands who have, presumably, fallen out with their own local solicitors. We also act as the registrars of births, marriages and deaths for the island, the real estate agency, the archivists of Clan MacCuilish, and any other semi-official public role we can get our hands on.
It was through the estate agency that I first met Sula’s new veterinary surgeon, Diana Peters. We hadnae had a regular vet since old Archie MacConnachie retired three years earlier, and that’s a big issue for an isolated community where livestock farming’s a major contributor to the local economy. When the job was advertised — for the third time — we were all surprised to learn that it had gone to a 36-year old Englishwoman from London who’d never visited the island in her life. (The job interviews were held in Glasgow.) We have quite a few incomers on Sula, from Scotland, England, even a smattering of Poles; even so, Diana promised to be quite a contrast to old Archie, with his gruff manner and his smelly old pipe, and to the succession of callow young stand-ins who’d each been persuaded to give us a few months of their time at the start of their careers.
There was quite a bit of interest down at the pier the night Diana rolled off the Oban ferry in her battered old Land Rover. She checked in at the Longbay Hotel, and the next day, after checking in with her practice nurse, her first stop was at our office to ask about more permanent accommodation. As it happened we had three suitable cottages on the market, and I arranged to take her to view them that afternoon. We went in her car; it’s difficult to get lost on Sula because there’s basically only one real road, mostly circling the coast, due to the interior being too wild for much more than drovers’ tracks. As she drove we traded stories — I about some of the characters she’d meet on the island, she about some of her bizarre experiences as a vet. We immediately seemed to hit it off. Diana was very laid-back with an easy laugh. She had a slight Manchester accent, very different from the soft, lilting tones common in the isles — hers reminded me of that singer, Elkie Brooks. It occurred to me that the local farmers would find her a treat for the eye as well. She’s about five-feet nine, with a pale complexion, a pretty face with big green eyes, a mane of red hair, and a trim figure, featuring a swelling bust that I envied. Like a lot of the islanders I’m short — five-four – and dark, and my boobs aren’t much bigger than bee stings.
The cottage Diana settled on was a lovely wee place, only about a quarter-mile from the croft I shared with my big brother Ruaridh (that’s pronounced Rurie). Apart from an auntie and her family across the island, Ruaridh’s all the kin I have now, and we dote on each other. Anyway, I negotiated with the owner of the cottage for Diana to rent it for six months, with an option to buy if she decided to settle. While we were sorting the paperwork she asked me about nice places to see on Sula. On the spur of the moment I offered to give her a tour of the island at the weekend, and she happily accepted — after all, she was going to be my nearest neighbour now.
That evening, in the hotel bar, the only pub in Longbay, I was full of tales of Diana to my boyfriend Callum Mackie. Not that he was really interested — he ran a trawler with his father and brothers, and didnae really have any use for vets. I have to admit ours was a bit of a strange relationship, mine and Callum’s. We’d known each other all our lives, and became boyfriend and girlfriend in our late teens, more or less by default as all the others in our social circle paired off. I really only saw him when he wasnae boozing and playing darts with his pals, or keeping goal in the Sula five-a-side soccer league. güvenilir bahis His mother, who really liked me, had dropped hints about marriage, but Callum showed nae interest. Ruaridh was pleased about that. He’s a car mechanic, and had done a degree by distance learning, and he regarded Callum as a bit of a moron. But on a small island like ours a girl isnae exactly spoilt for choice. Callum and I didn’t have full sex that often with us both living with our families. When we did it was normally in the cramped back seat of his car, just a quick shag with my trousers and pants round one leg and his round his ankles. Otherwise, he was usually quite happy with a quick blow job in some dark corner of town.
Diana and I had arranged our trip out for Sunday. Sula’s quite a religious community, but neither of us is a regular churchgoer and, after the service started in Longbay, the road was guaranteed to be pretty empty. I took her to all the nicest beauty spots, including a secluded, flower-filled cove where we watched otters at play, a stretch of golden beach that’s almost always deserted, and a hilltop where, for the past five years, fish eagles have nested, graduates of the captive breeding programme on the Isle of Rhum. After we’d watched them soar for a while, we had lunch at a tiny pub in the north of the island, where a friend of mine is the cook. Then I walked Diana for ten minutes across the machar — rough, boggy moorland — to the very tip of Sula. There’s a formation of sea rocks there which produces a whirlpool, a roaring seething mass of wild water known as the De’il’s Cauldron. She sat mesmerised by the sight, snapping photo after photo. When she dropped me off at my home later in the afternoon she held my hand in both of hers and said, “Thank you so much Jessie, I’ve had a really lovely time. I’d love to do it again sometime.”
A couple of evenings later Diana invited me over to her cottage for dinner, by way of thanks for my performance as tour guide. She’s a marvellous cook, and we had roast lamb that melted in my mouth. Afterwards, as we sat sipping a delicious crisp white wine, an idea occurred to me. I suggested she come back to my croft — it was only five minutes downhill on foot — and I’d show her a trick. Once there, I grabbed my old violin and led her outside again, and down to a sea cove not far from the house. Wordlessly I sat on a big flat rock and began to play a slow, soulful lament. After maybe a minute, a head popped up from the water, followed closely by two or three more. Diana, sitting beside me, watched in open-mouthed amazement. It’s a well-known trick in the isles. Seals are inquisitive creatures by nature, and seem to be charmed by music. Even whistling can do it, but the local ones love the sound of my fiddle. I often go down there when I need cheering up, or just want to commune with nature. Midsummer’s a great time to see the wildlife on Sula. We’re so far north that we hardly get any darkness at night, and at that time the animals are at their most relaxed. As we strolled back to my home for a dram of whisky a tawny owl flashed across our path, chasing down her supper. Ruaridh was in the cottage when we returned, and joined us for the drink. Within ten minutes he and Diana were chatting away like old friends. As she left, Diana gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you so much for a quite magical evening.”
After that Diana and I saw each other regularly. Due to the unpredictable nature of veterinary work her schedule was varied, but we worked round it. We cooked each other dinner at least once a week, Ruaridh often joining us; we sometimes met up at the bar for a drink after work, when Diana would give me a welcome lift in her car up the hill to my home; and we toured the island, enjoying its glorious scenery and abundant wildlife. I was pleased that my brother got on so well with my new friend but, unaccountably, the feeling was tinged with a slight hint of jealousy. The times I most enjoyed were those when I had Diana to myself, on our trips around Sula. One day a friend took us over in his boat the two miles to the Minches, a group of small islets where the seal colony is based and puffins nest. We ate a sumptuous picnic atop The Laird’s Cairn, the highest point of Great Minch. Diana gave a sigh of deep contentment as she gazed back across the Sound of Sula to our home island. Smiling at me, she said, “You know Jess, there’s a little hill on Chios where you get the most glorious view of the Aegean. I’d love to show it to you one day.” I had no idea that Chios was a Greek island (I wasnae even sure what the Aegean was!), but the way she described it made it sound wonderful.
As my friendship with Diana developed, Callum started grumping about how I was neglecting him for “that bloody stuck-up vet woman”. I retorted sharply that he had a cheek, the way he buggered off with his mates whenever it suited him. We were going at it one evening when we entered the bar, and the first thing I saw türkçe bahis was Diana and Ruaridh sitting laughing together at a table! I steered Callum away from them, both to avoid any possible friction, and to give them a bit of privacy. They left, together, about ten minutes after we entered. I told myself I was pleased; it would be nice to see Ruaridh get a girlfriend, and Diana and I got on so well, even if she was a few years older than him. It was a warm evening, and Callum and I had slightly grudging sex on his jacket on the town beach before he drove me home. He roared off before I’d even got through the gate of our cottage. I was slightly surprised to find Ruaridh there, alone. Smiling brightly, I asked him how the date had gone.
My brother grinned sheepishly, and replied, “It wasnae a date, she’s just a pal. Anyway, turns oot I’m no’ really her type.” Ruaridh’s a lovely lad, nice looking, intelligent, and charming with a good sense of humour. Intrigued, I pressed him on what was Diana’s type. After avoiding the question for a few minutes, he said, “Well, look, she asked me to keep it to myself, but, given you’re so close to her, I think you’ve got a right to know. Let’s just say that, well, you’re more her type than I am.” It took me a second to realise his meaning, and he chuckled at the stunned look on my face. There were three lesbian couples I knew of on Sula, including two sweet old ladies in their seventies who pretended to the world that they were sisters, but it never occurred to me that my new friend, rapidly becoming my best friend, might be, well, that way.
The next time I saw her was a couple of days later, Saturday, when we’d arranged to have lunch at the old inn and go to the De’il’s Cauldron again. It was a cool, overcast day, with a har — sea mist — just off the coast. Summer days can sometimes be like that out in the isles. I tried to behave as if nothing had changed, but Diana must have picked up on something in my manner, or my voice. Staring morosely into the turbulent waters far below, and trying for a casual tone, she said, “Ruaridh’s told you, hasn’t he. About me.” It was a statement, not a question.
I felt awful, as if between us we’d somehow betrayed her. “Oh Diana, I’m sorry, he just felt…he won’t tell another living soul, I swear, neither of us will. You can trust us, honest.”
She turned her head towards me and smiled, placing her hand on mine. “I know I can, I do trust you — both of you. I’m actually glad you know. It won’t change our friendship will it?” I punched her lightly on the bicep and told her of course it wouldn’t. I’ve never been prejudiced, never seen a reason for it. As we scrambled to our feet she gave me a brief hug and whispered “Thank you.” Shortly after that the sun broke weakly through the clouds.
It did change our relationship though, in subtle ways I couldnae have guessed at. I’d always enjoyed Diana’s company; now I started to notice things about her that I never had before: the fine sweep of her long, pale neck; her lovely long eyelashes; her jade eyes, that sparkled when she was amused; her long, slim fingers, when she rested her hand on my bare arm to tell me something. I loved it when my anecdotes made her laugh, a deep, rich throaty sound. I loved her intelligence, and the way that, just by her influence, she encouraged me to take a greater interest in the world at large. When I was daydreaming at work, Diana started drifting into my thoughts in a way that Callum never had. Whenever I hadn’t seen her for a day or two, I began to feel a little frisson of excitement in the run-up to our next meeting.
One Saturday, a few weeks after the ‘revelation’, I was sitting at home feeling lonely and sorry for myself. The new soccer season had just started, and Ruaridh had gone off to watch his beloved Glasgow Rangers play, as he did a few times a season. Diana was working, and I spent most of the day cleaning our house. Shortly after 5.00pm, just after I had learnt that Rangers had suffered a shock home defeat, the ‘phone rang. Assuming it would be Ruaridh, bemoaning his team’s luck, I picked it up listlessly, and heard Diana’s voice. “I’ve spent most of the day inoculating sheep, and the rest of it with my arm up a cow’s bum. I need cheering up — d’you fancy coming over and cracking open a bottle of fizzy wine with me?” I’d never heard Diana sounding so down, but I didn’t want to risk Ruaridh coming home to a dark, empty house after his six-hour plus journey home from Glasgow. I suggested Diana bring her plonk over to my place, and I’d whip up a chicken risotto, her favourite dish that I cook for her. An hour later she appeared, bottle in hand, her hair still damp from the shower.
Diana soon had me chortling over dinner with tales of stroppy sheep and nervous heifers, and we not only finished off her bottle of wine, but one of mine too. With that, the red wine I’d liberally stirred into the risotto, and a couple of shots of whisky each after güvenilir bahis siteleri dinner, by eight o’clock we were both pretty sloshed as we sprawled in armchairs in my cosy parlour. In my relaxed state, I asked Diana something that, deep down, I’d always wondered: why a sophisticated, talented middle class vet would give up a successful partnership in the leafy suburbs of swinging London to move to a remote outpost in the wild Outer Hebrides. She chuckled, and stared into her whisky. “I could tell you it was because I was sick of treating poor overfed pampered family pets, and I wanted to do some real vet work. That’s part of it. But the truth is, ‘swinging’ London can be a pain in the arse, it wears you down. I got into a destructive cycle of unhealthy short-term relationships, sleeping with people I didn’t remotely fancy simply because they were available to me. I needed to get out of that scene, needed a complete change, and, let’s face it, you couldn’t find anything more different than Sula,”
I’d never have done it if I hadnae been emboldened by the booze. Blatantly fishing, trying to make it sound like a joke, I said, “I don’t know if I should feel insulted that you obviously dinnae remotely fancy me either.”
The silence that followed lasted a good twenty seconds, broken only by the slow tick of my mantelpiece clock. Diana stared moodily into her glass. I was about to apologise when she looked up at me, her eyes slightly narrowed as if she was trying to work out the solution to a problem. Finally she said, so quietly I had to strain to hear it. “Jessie, I’d fancy you like crazy if I allowed myself to.”
I felt my stomach lurch and my heart start racing. My mouth suddenly dry, I took a sip of whisky and, half-whispering, asked her why she wouldn’t allow herself to. She sighed wearily. “Two reasons. Number one, I’m not into seducing straight girls. I’ve got a friend who seems to see it as her mission in life to ‘convert’ hetero women, preferably married ones, but that’s not my way. The other reason is that I value our friendship too much to put it at risk. You can be good friends with someone, then sex gets in the way and buggers everything up. I’ve seen it happen, and I don’t want it to happen to us. I’m too fond of you for that.”
My heart in my throat, I slipped from my chair to the floor, and shuffled over to kneel before Diana. Softly, being careful not to slur my words, I said, “I don’t think that would happen with us. And as for the first thing, what if the straight girl wants to be seduced?”
Before she could react, I reached an arm up around Diana’s neck, pulled her face down to mine and kissed her. The angle was a bit awkward, but I managed it. I flicked out my tongue, but her lips remained closed to me. She pulled a few inches away from me, and said, “Jess darlin’, we’re both a bit drunk, and I really don’t think this is a very good idea.” Ignoring her comment, I pulled her to me and kissed her again. This time she slipped to the floor as well, and, reluctantly, her teeth opened just wide enough to allow the tip of her tongue to meet mine. After a few seconds she pulled back once more, and said in a voice tinged with anguish, “Jessie, be warned. If you do that again I’m not sure I’ll be able…”
I didn’t let her finish. This time when my lips met hers she kissed me back with a passion that took me by surprise, her tongue slipping into my mouth and caressing my own. She leaned forward and bore me to the floor beneath her. My legs were doubled over beneath me, and I yelped in pain. Muttering, “Oh sorry, sorry”, Diana lifted her weight long enough for me to straighten my legs, then lay on me again, resuming the deep kiss. I sucked on her soft tongue, revelling in its sweetness, so different from Callum’s rough thrusts, feeling like a piece of tanned leather in my mouth. Diana’s hand slipped under my T-shirt, and closed gently around my naked tit — I never wear a bra outside work. After a couple of minutes she broke the kiss and looked me in the eyes. She whispered, “Jess — are you really sure about this?” I felt my eyes grow damp as, smiling at her, I told her I’d never been more sure of anything in my entire life.
With that Diana took my hand and led me up the stairs to my bedroom. We stood facing each other at the foot of my single bed, and silently undressed each other. I was fascinated by her body. My nipples are like tiny little berries, dark brown with the colour of the areola fading naturally into the skin around them. Diana’s nips were long and thin, bright pink with the areola sharply defined against the white flesh of her big, firm breasts. As I knelt before her, slipping her satiny thong down her muscular legs, I saw her pubes were shaved down to a neat strip running down the centre of her Mons to her pussy. Mine were a dark unruly mass (although I’ve now had a Brazilian too). Finally, as we both stood naked, she took me in her arms and hugged me to her, whispering, “Oh God darling, I am so in love with you.” Her nose pressed into my hair and she inhaled deeply; I nuzzled her neck and kissed the lightly tanned skin above her breasts. Then, holding hands, we slipped together under the duvet of my narrow bed.
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