Highland Magic - Book cover

Highland Magic

Aimee Dierking

Chapter 2


It had been two months since she’d buried Uncle Mike, and she felt like she was in a constant fog. Her boss was being really great and urged her to take time off to recover.

But she needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other so she wouldn’t feel. She didn’t want to feel the pain and heartache anymore.

The loneliness was setting in, and that was consuming her heart, mind, and soul.

She couldn’t handle losing any more in her life, and she thought that if she stopped and accepted what had happened, she would break into a million pieces.

Carrie and Kurt had her over for dinner twice a week to make sure she ate. Gillian had lost almost twenty pounds since the funeral, and she knew she looked like shit.

Ian called her every few days and took her out a few times, trying to get back together with her. But Gillian had broken up with him for a reason and wanted to keep it that way.

Mike never liked Ian and made sure that Gillian knew it. He smelled a rat, and Kurt agreed with him.

Kurt had actually called Harold and warned him, and Harold had assured Kurt that he would keep a very close eye on the money that she’d inherited so Ian didn’t get any of it.

Gillian was over for dinner again, holding Jonas, Carrie’s little Yorkie, as they talked while dinner was in the oven.

Carrie had just found out she was pregnant and was showing Gillian the ultrasound pictures. Gillian was happy for them. They were a great couple and deserved to be happy, and she told them that.

“Gigi, we’re worried about you. You’ve lost weight, and you aren’t living. You need to do something honey. Uncle Mike wouldn’t want this!”

“Car, I feel so alone! My parents are gone, my Uncle Mike is gone, I have no family, no one who loves me! I’m drowning!” Gillian cried.

Carrie started crying too, and she reached out and took Gillian in her arms. Carrie let her sob into her arms as Kurt watched from the kitchen.

After several minutes, Gillian calmed down and was taking deep breaths.

“I’m sorry I just lost it, Car… I don’t know what came over me…”

“Don’t you dare apologize! I’m so glad you finally let some emotions out instead of just bottling them up.”

“I don’t really cry much. I just try and push it down,” Gillian admitted.

“That’s not good, Gigi,” Kurt said coming in with large glasses of water for both women. “Do you want me to write you a script for an antidepressant?”

“No… Maybe… Let me think about it… Thanks, Dr. Roosevelt.”

He nodded and sat in the chair. “You know it’s totally normal to feel this right? This is grief at its finest. How are things going at work?”

“I really am just going through the motions. It’s taking me longer to get through samples, and I actually am giving those to Elise while I just do the paperwork and contracts.

“I just can’t concentrate long enough to get a handle on what I’m reading,” Gillian admitted.

“At least you can acknowledge it. Gigi, have you thought about taking a break? Taking a leave of absence and just going somewhere?” Kurt asked gently.

“Not really... It’s weird you mention that though... Ian asked if I wanted to get away with him...”

“At your expense right?” Carrie asked.

“Yeah, he said he didn’t have much in savings anymore... So I would pay...”

Carrie was enraged. “How convenient!! When you go to dinner, do you pay? Never mind, I already know! He smells a meal ticket, Gigi!

“Stop hanging out with him! He knows you got a nice settlement from Uncle Mike!”

“I agree, Gigi. I think he’s using you for your inheritance...,” Kurt added gently.

“I know... It just felt good to be with someone who loves me...”

“Honey, I don’t think he does. Has he changed since you broke up with him? Has he really changed his attitude and way of thinking?

“Is he still as selfish as he was before?” Kurt asked as he put a hand on his wife’s arm to calm her.

Gillian thought for a minute, and then shook her head. “No, he hasn’t changed at all. It’s still all about him...”

“Then if you go on vacation, you go for you, not for him! I’m sure he wanted somewhere warm and tropical, not caring that you hate hot weather!” Carrie huffed.

“Yeah, he suggested an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica...,” Gillian admitted guiltily.

They all sat a minute before Kurt cleared his throat and the two women looked at him. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot actually. Have you ever thought of going to Scotland, Gigi?

“It’s where your parents are from, even though you don’t know which part. But you could go and see your heritage.

“There are many festivals that happen during the summer, and you could go and experience what your parents did and grew up with. You could get in touch with your roots and center yourself. Find a new you...”

Gillian had never thought about actually going there. She was always fascinated with the country, loving the sound of bagpipes and the majesty of what the country stood for.

Her intrigue was only increased when she read and watched the Outlander series. Why she’d never thought about going was beyond her, but everything Kurt was saying made total sense.

“I think that’s a good idea, Gigi! You could go and just explore. No set timetable, no set schedules, just explore and relax,” Carrie said.

“Do you really think I could do that?” she asked.

“Why couldn’t you?” Kurt asked. “Are you lacking funds?”

“No, you know I’m not.”

“Can you take a leave of absence from work?” he asked.

“Yes, my boss already said that I could take time off, as much as I needed to get my bearings.”

“Do you have a husband or children that we don’t know about keeping you here?” he asked finally.

She shook her head no.

“Then what’s holding you back?”

Gillian shrugged her shoulders and whispered, “I’m scared…”

Kurt sighed and smiled. “And that’s normal! You’re doing something you’ve never done before! Taking a leap of faith is always tough.

“But you are one of the strongest people I know, Gillian Ferguson. I know with 100 percent certainty that you can do this!”

“I agree, Gigi. You’re so smart and beautiful and resourceful. I know you can go and let yourself heal and be the badass woman that I met our first year in college!” Carrie said earnestly.

Gillian could feel the wheels turning in her head as she processed what they were telling her.

“You don’t have to make a decision now. Just think about it, okay?” he said.

“Okay, I promise I will think about it… Now didn’t you say something about dessert, Car?” she asked.

They laughed as they went back into the kitchen to eat cheesecake and laugh together.

As Gillian lay in bed that night, she thought about the rolling hills, lochs, and castle ruins just sitting there waiting for her to see and explore them.

She dreamed all night of bagpipes and dancing with men in kilts and fairies waiting and inviting her to play.

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