Alexa sits inside the Cuan MacDougall Pub in the Scottish Highland village of Glenhalish. A bagpipe tune filters through the speakers. A few locals sit at various tables enjoying lunch while light rain drizzles outside. With Alexa at a table close to the kitchen door are the MacDougall siblings- Jamie, the oldest, Ewan, the middle sibling and Meggie, the youngest of the family.
Alexa: Thanks to you all for taking time out of your schedules to visit with the readers and me today.
Ewan (takes Alexa’s hand and kisses it): I always like spending time with a beautiful lass.
Jamie and Meggie both groan. Jamie slaps his palm over his eyes. Meggie purses her lips and stares her brother down.
Ewan (holds his hands out, palms facing the ceiling): What?
Meggie (crosses her arms and turns to Alexa): You’ll have to excuse him. He thinks too much of himself.
Alexa: You’re forgetting, Meggie, I know EXACTLY what Ewan’s like. But let’s get to work. Tell us about the Cuan MacDougall Pub here in the village. It’s a popular place, isn’t it?
Jamie: Aye, it is. It’s the family’s pub and it’s a favorite here in the village. Our parents owned it before they passed away. Now the three of us take a part in keeping it running.
Ewan: But Jamie does the most for it. Meggie and I both have other jobs.
Alexa: Jamie, the pub almost cost you your marriage, didn’t it?
Jamie: Aye. Me wife, Mary, and I went through some rough times. I threw myself into working at the pub instead of working out the problems in our marriage.
Alexa: And what happened?
Jamie: Mary left me.
Meggie: She moved to Edinburgh for six months and sent Jamie divorce papers. (Ewan sees an attractive girl come through the pub door with some friends. He smiles and waves at her.) But Jamie refused to sign them and…Ewan!
Ewan (snaps his attention back to us): What?
Meggie (shoves his arm and rolls her eyes): It’s no wonder you’re alone. No bright lass is daft enough to stay with you and your ways.
Ewan: Oh, the lasses love me. All of them, don’t they, Alexa? (He leans forward and winks at me.)
Alexa: Ewan, please. I’m not here to talk about your love life. Jamie, Mary brought you divorce papers, but you refused to sign them, didn’t you?
Jamie: Aye. Mary’s my lass and I wasn’t about to give her up.
Alexa: Not even if it was what she really wanted?
Jamie (shaking his head and folding his arms): She didn’t know what she wanted.
Meggie: They’d been together since school, best friends early on and sweethearts later.
Ewan (gets to his feet): Excuse me. I’ll be back in a bit. (He walks to the attractive woman and her friends at the bar and continues flirting with her.)
Jamie: He’s another kind, that one.
Meggie: I often wonder if he’ll ever settle down.
Alexa: What about your love life, Meggie?
Meggie (eyes wide): My romance?
Jamie: She doesn’t have one.
Meggie (sitting still as a statue): That’s right. I dinna.
Alexa (grinning): What about Dublin?
Jamie (slowly shifts in his seat): Aye, what about Dublin?
Meggie: I went with my best friend, Catriona. We had a grand time and then we came home.
Alexa (exchanges glances with Jamie): Then why are your cheeks turning red?
Jamie (rests a forearm on his thigh): Meg?
Meggie (staring at her watch): Look at the time. We’ve got that tour coming in shortly. (She hops to her feet.) Alexa, it’s been great seeing you again. (She starts back toward the kitchen.) Take care.
Jamie (jumping to his feet): Margaret MacDougall, do you have something to tell me? (They both disappear into the kitchen.
Alexa: Well, it’s never a dull moment with the MacDougalls!
(Jamie’s story is Carry Me Home. Meggie’s story, Silent Surrender, is awaiting a release date. Ewan’s story has been submitted for consideration.)