A/N: So this idea came to me while listening to "Pride of the Summer" by Runrig, and wouldn't leave me alone, so here it is!
"I can't believe you talked us into this," Gerry griped as they, all six of them, sat in Inverness train station, waiting on the train to Kyle of Lochalsh. "Glasgow, I can just about deal with. The Isle of Skye is crossing a line."
"Have you ever been there, Gerry?" Sandra challenged him. "Exactly," she nodded. "Give it a chance."
"You're missing the point, Sandra," he whined. "There's nobody there."
"Actually, nine thousand and odd people live on Skye," Brian calmly commented, accepting a coffee from his wife. "Two and a half thousand of those live in the village of Portree, which is where we're going. Well, we're actually going to Heatherfield, which is a little bit out of Portree, but you get my drift."
"Exactly. Village," Gerry replied. "Nine thousand people in an area that size? It just ain't natural. It'll be like a bloody ghost town." He glared at Steve, this being his wise idea when they were reminded they had leave they needed to take. "There is nothing there," he emphasised, as if it was obvious why he wasn't happy.
"Just wait and see," Charlie sighed, resting her head on Steve's chest. "You might even surprise yourself."
"Seriously, though," Gerry continued. "What's actually there? Is there anything worth going for?"
"Seafood, wildlife, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, natural beauty, ceilidhs that last till three in the morning, Skye Camanachd..." Steve listed without even thinking about it, playing with Charlie's red hair absent-mindedly.
"What was that last one?!" Gerry demanded. He obviously did not speak the Gaelic, then. "Never mind," he groaned, mainly to spare himself Brian's lengthy explanation of exactly what Skye Camanachd was. "Ugh. There's another hour until the train comes."
"The Eastgate's just across the road if you want to go shopping," Charlie suggested to the other two women, so Sandra and Esther picked up their handbags and dumped their cases with the men. Sandra was just about ready to throttle Gerry for his pessimism. She was actually looking forward to the peace and quiet of rural Scotland. Well, as much peace and quiet she, Esther and Charlie were likely to get, since Gerry, Brian and Steve were with them. But it was more appealing than dealing with them in London.
"I'm telling you," Sandra warned her companions. "If Gerry says one more negative thing about going on this holiday, I will kill him."
Esther giggled and Charlie just shook her head. This was the first time she and Sandra had met – she had met up with them at Glasgow station – and she was finding the younger woman growing on her rapidly. She was very sweet, and she could understand how Steve had fallen for her.
"Skye isn't that bad. You can get from Portree to Struan in about half an hour, and we can hire a car. It'll be fine," Charlie smiled. "Now, I don't know about you, but if I'm going to put up with those three between here and Kyle, I'm gonna need some chocolate, cola and crisps," she winked.
They made their way to the supermarket at the very bottom of the shopping centre and bought a great deal of chocolate and crisps to sustain them on their journey west. It had been a long day; they'd left London in the early hours of the morning, changed to a bus at Glasgow and picked up Charlie, four hours on that bus, and were now waiting for the train to Kyle of Lochalsh where they would take the bus across the Skye Bridge. One hell of a journey. Especially with three men who never shut up.
They then killed the forty minutes they still had to wait by wandering aimlessly through the Eastgate shopping centre, before returning to Steve, Gerry and Brian. And just in time, too, as the train was boarding by that point. They all showed their tickets and found a table, which Charlie, Steve, Brian and Esther sat at, and Gerry and Sandra took the two seats directly across the gangway.
"So what do you reckon we should do on this holiday? Apart from moan about the location," she quipped before he could open his mouth to answer.
"Ceilidhs sound alright," Gerry allowed, and Sandra snorted at the thought.
"Yeah, but only 'cause there's plenty of whisky and you have full access to Skye's population of unknowing women," she retorted, knowing his womanising ways very well by now. "And I don't think you'd do very well at that kind of dancing," she added with a smirk as Esther passed her over some crisps.
"And why not?" he demanded, pretending to be offended.
"It's very...physical," she explained. He raised his eyebrows suggestively, and she immediately slapped him across his chest without any hesitation. "I remember doing it once in PE at school. Every one of us was sweating buckets by the end of the period."
"Oh, now I'm really looking forward to it," he quipped sarcastically. "Sounds brilliant."
"I didn't say we didn't have fun," she replied calmly, opening her book where she'd left it on the bus earlier. The train pulled away from the station, and Sandra settled next to Gerry, reading her book. She wasn't that bothered about sitting like this with him, so long as he shut up for a while.
As they headed further west, the clouds became thicker and greyer, until rain was sheeting down past the windows. It was July, so she'd expected the weather to be halfway decent, but she knew it could be temperamental. She felt herself drifting into sleepiness, her book beginning to fall out of her hand.
Her head fell onto Gerry's shoulder, but she didn't particularly care. She was just wanting to sleep the journey away. Which she did, since when Steve woke her up, they were five minutes away from Kyle of Lochalsh station.
They all scrambled to get their things together and find their luggage before getting to a door just as it opened. It was just their luck that there was a bus waiting at the station to go across the bridge, ready to leave just as they got on.
They all sat together, and Sandra this time found herself next to Charlie. "Where are we even staying?" Sandra asked interestedly.
"A croft cottage called Aite Taimh," she smiled. "It's actually quite nice in that area. You might even like it. Two double rooms and a twin room, so we all have a bed," she laughed. "If you're going in a room with Gerry, you'll be wanting the twin room, I take it?"
"God, yes, and don't you dare suggest anything different to him," she warned her. Charlie just burst out laughing at Sandra's reaction. When they got to Portree, Steve went to collect the car he'd hired and they made their way to Heatherfield, and Sandra was amazed by how quiet the little hamlet was. It was clearly an old crofting hamlet, but the houses had a strange charm about them.
They got into the cottage and found their bedrooms, and Sandra immediately tripped trying to get between the bed and the wall. "Watch what you're doing," Gerry told her grumpily. "Last thing we need is to go back to Inverness because you've bashed your head open," he added.
"Such a charmer today, aren't we?" she snapped. "God, cheer up, Gerry! It's a bloody holiday, for Christ's sake. Would you rather be listening to Strickland hark on about a load of utter rubbish?" she reminded him of the job they were free of for a while. "Exactly," she found herself saying for the second time.
"Well, I'm pushing your bed into mine in case you trip again," he decided, leaning against it so it moved into his. Sandra felt herself horrified, and returned it back to it's original position. Gerry just glared at her and moved it back where he put it, and told her, "If you think I'm going to watch you fall over through the night and split your head open, you can think again, Sandra."
"Fine," she huffed. She felt a bit sorry for Gerry. He was so used to London that being taken so far out of it obviously unnerved him somewhat. "Gerry," she began. "Try and enjoy yourself, eh? It can't possibly be as bad as you're thinking it'll be."
She rubbed his arm lightly and continued unpacking. Looking through the cloths she'd brought with her, she noticed none of her pyjamas were particularly substantial. Steve had said Skye was generally quite warm in the summer, even if it was wet. So she'd decided on a satin nightdress and a vest top and shorts. And she was regretting it as she looked across the now-kingsize bed.
So...ten days, on holiday with five other people, sharing a bed with a man she wasn't quite sure how she felt about. Such good fun.
Hope this is OK!
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