Getting off their plane in Aberdeen, the three members of the Ferguson family, along with their guest, Edward Sinclair, were weary and disheveled from what had been at this point, a fifteen-hour journey. They were now in the process of transferring to yet another plane, which would take them to the Sumburgh Airport on Mainland, the largest of the Shetland Islands.
Faith Ferguson and her mother walked, arm in arm, through the airport. Physically, Faith was essentially a carbon copy of her mother. Their features were nearly identical, and both were fit and beautiful. There was, however, one notable exception, and that was hair color. Faith’s long mane was a rich dark brown, while her mother’s equally impressive head of hair was a gleaming white.
Faith glanced toward her boyfriend, who was walking several strides in front of them with her father, and said, “I’m worried that bringing Ed might have been a colossal mistake.”
“I was surprised when you told me he was coming, and the fact that he’s a Sinclair could complicate things a bit,” Faith’s mother, Hope, said.
“I know, but when he found out I was going to Scotland, he just wouldn’t be put off. It’s his ancestral home too, and he’d always wanted to come here. I really couldn’t come up with a good reason that he shouldn’t tag along.”
“Did you tell him that where we’re going isn’t exactly Edinburgh?”
“Yup, I told him our family home was, to say the least, remote, but he still wanted to come. I’m really conflicted, though. On the one hand, I am looking forward to spending time with him, but, on the other, I’m simply not ready to reveal any more about myself to him, than I already have.”
Stopping to check the arrivals and departures screen, they could see that their plane had not yet been posted.
“Let’s go sit down,” Hope said.
As they did, they saw the male members of their party head off to get a snack.
Putting her carry-on bag on the floor next to her, Faith said, “With luck, we’ll just have an uneventful visit, and he’ll go home, none the wiser.”
“Well, I think it’s time that you leveled with him. If he’s going to be part of your life, he’ll just have to deal with it, and the longer you put it off, the unhappier he’ll be that you haven’t been honest.”
“But we’ve only been seeing each other for about six months, and, while things are really good between us, it’s just way too soon.”
Their conversation was interrupted by the announcement that it was time to board their plane.
An hour’s flight to Sumburgh Airport, and courtesy of St John Ferguson, a skilled pilot, a helicopter ride later, the weary travelers arrived at the Ferguson ancestral home on the west coast of Shetland’s most northern island, Unst.
Ed Sinclair stepped out of the helicopter, which had been set down on a small landing pad at the far end of the expansive property, and looking at an impressive gray stone manner house, said, “Wow, that’s really something.”
“You should see it from the front,” Faith said, with a little laugh. She was actually kind of impressed, herself, as she hadn’t been there for about a decade, and had somewhat forgotten the majesty of the place.
St John led the way, and, as he entered the house through a side door into the kitchen, called out for his father. There was, however, no response.
He was concerned. ‘Why can’t I sense him?’ he wondered, but in deference to their guest, he said, “Must be out. Come on Ed, I’ll show you where to put your things.”
The rooms they passed on the first floor were an eclectic mix of the old and the new. In the great room, a large flat screen TV shared space with valuable antiques, and the foyer had an ornate console table, upon which sat Padraig Ferguson’s phone charger.
Ed and Faith were deposited into a bedroom on the second floor. Looking at Ed, St John pointed down the long hallway, and said, “Our room’s the last one on the left.”
Falling onto the bed, Ed found that it had a thick down mattress.
“This is great,” he said to Faith, who had followed along, “try it.”
Faith didn’t have to be asked twice, and seeing him enveloped in the soft cushion, said, “Oh, I forgot about the feather beds,” and hopped on, landing next to him.
There was no further conversation, and no attempt at romance, as the two fell almost instantly to sleep, fully clothed and with their door still partially open.
On his way back downstairs, Faith’s father, seeing them sleeping peacefully, smiled and closed their door.
“The kids are knocked out,” St John said to his wife, who’d made her way to the first-floor library and was sitting at Padraig Ferguson’s oversized desk checking her emails. “I’m actually more hungry than tired.”
“Me too,” Hope said, “let’s go see what we can scrounge up.”
As the two walked backed toward the kitchen, they were a handsome pair. Hope’s white hair was pulled back into a sleek ponytail at the nape of her neck and held in place with a black grosgrain ribbon. It had turned that color, prematurely, in her late teens, and quite liking its dramatic effect, she’d elected not to color it. At the age of fifty-two, her face showed none of the usual telltale signs of maturity. Her skin, devoid of any lines, still had the blush of youth, and she had the same beautiful amber colored eyes, as her daughter.
At fifty-five, St John shared the same unique genetic history, which slowed the aging process to a trickle. He had something of the look of a nineteen-forties matinee idol, with a square jaw, broad shoulders, and a height of just under six feet tall. His thick dark hair, most often neatly combed straight back, was, at present, tousled and falling in front of his eyes. As he brushed it back, St John said, “He knew we were coming, so there should be something to eat.”
“Maybe that’s where he is, getting groceries,” Hope said.
They found a fully stocked kitchen, and St John was getting really worried.
“Where the hell is he?”
“Why are you so worried? You know Padraig is more than capable of taking care of himself.”
“I can’t sense him? I can sense him from New York, why can’t I sense him here?”
“Maybe he’s cloaked for some reason.”
“Now that’s possible. There are some bad characters here, maybe somebody’s up to something.”