"And that just suits me fine. No crime now and no crime on the horizon."
A pleasurable tear ran down Effie's cheek, and she was wondering just how long she could stretch out this splendid dream when she saw Jock at his easel.
Effie stood behind him and studied his work. His colours were magnificent. He had caught the purplish green of the forestry trees on the other side of the loch, and the reflections in the glassy loch had been painted by the hand of a master.
She did not want to interrupt him, but he turned round and smiled at her. "Grand day," said Jock.
"Oh, please go on. I'm an artist myself, and I hate to be interrupted," said Effie.
"I don't mind. I was just about to take a break. What do you do?"
"Small pictures of birds and flowers, and I'm a potter as well." She held out her hand. "Effie Garrard."
"I'm Jock Fleming. Wait a bit. I saw some of your pottery at the gift shop up at the hotel. You're very talented."
"Thank you. I live up in the hills above the village. Drop in on me any time you like."
"I'll do that."
Jock smiled at her again.
Effie gazed up at him in a dazed way. "Come now," she said.
"Can't. I promised the policeman I'd drop in for a dram."
"I know Hamish. I'll come with you."
"Not this time. It's man's talk. But I'll see you around."
"Oh, it's yourself," said Hamish, letting Jock into the kitchen. "Where's your stuff?"
"In my car."
"You surely didnae drive the few yards from Mrs. Dunne's?"
"No, but it's a good place to put my paints when I'm taking a break."
"Sit down," said Hamish. "I'll get the whisky out."
Jock looked around the kitchen. It was a narrow room with cupboards and fridge along one wall and a wood-burning stove, which was sending out a blast of heat.
Copyright © 2006 by Marion Chesney
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