Chapter Two: Lifestyles of the Not-So-Rich and Famous
"Melissa? Come on, lass, wake up! Get up, Melissa!"
Someone was shaking me gently. The nerve of whoever it was! I was tired and I wanted some rest! Maybe if I lied still and didn't move they'd go away. No such luck.
"What?" I whined, rolling over and opening my eyes. Slowly, the coloured blurs of the room focused into objects. Billy Boyd was staring at me, grinning. I screamed and fell out of bed.
Billy stepped back, startled. "Easy there! Good morning!"
For a moment I had forgotten where I was. Now it all came back to me. I was in Scotland, staying at my long lost uncle-type figure's apartment. And that family member was Billy Boyd.
"Don't DO that!" I protested, picking myself up off the floor. Billy shrugged meekly. I yawned, stretching, and looked him over. He was dressed and looked fresh and awake. "What time is it?"
"Nine thirty," he replied brightly. "And it's about time you got up."
Nine thirty?! In July?! But I was on holidays! I stared blankly at Billy. You'd think he'd have let me sleep in considering how exhausted I had appeared to be last night. I had fallen asleep on the sofa while we were perusing the television channels after dinner. It seemed he could read my mind because he brought up the early wake up call.
"Sorry for not letting you sleep in," he apologized. "I know everyone loves to sleep in over the holidays but I thought I'd take you for a bit of sightseeing today!"
"Sightseeing?" I repeated. "Sound's great!" That was one way to perk me up in the morning. Gathering some clothes, I rushed out the door by Billy and into the bathroom for a shower.
Half an hour later I emerged, ready for the day. Billy was sitting in the kitchen, reading the newspaper. He looked up when I entered.
"Well it's about time," he said, folding up the paper. "Here, have an apple." He tossed me a fruit from the bowl sitting on the table. "At your pace it would be lunchtime by the time you cooked up a breakfast for yourself."
It didn't really matter. I usually didn't eat breakfast during the school year. Missing one day wouldn't hurt. I grabbed my coat and followed Billy out the door.
Billy admitted he wasn't much of a tour guide before we started. He told me he was the kind of person who was so keen on seeing other countries that he rarely bothered to explore his own. I understood him; I was the same way. We'd just end up exploring everything for the first time together.
"So what do you say we go castle hunting?" suggested Billy. "After all, Edinburgh is home of Edinburgh Castle."
Seeing a castle was one of the major reasons I had come to Scotland so I was more than eager to make the trip to the castle. Edinburgh Castle was only the first stop of many in my grand whirlwind tour of the city. Over the course of the next couple of days, Billy introduced me to all the best restaurants, cafés, and of course the pubs. I began to get the hang of the city and was quite sure I could start to get out more on my own. I still didn't know too many people in Edinburgh yet but did I worry about it? Not really. After all, I was yet to start college and I knew I'd find some friends there.
July left along with the good weather I seemed to have brought with me upon my arrival. Billy seemed to think it was a shame all the good weather had left but I was rather glad to see rain. I loved the smell of it and the dampness in the air. I loved the way it made everything look so beautiful as the raindrops glistened off the leaves. I loved to listen to the pitter-patter of raindrops as they spattered against the window pane. I'd leave every morning to go walking through the streets in the rain. I got time to think a lot and see Edinburgh in what I thought was its finest weather. By the time I headed back to Billy's apartment around lunchtime, I felt peaceful and relaxed. It seemed I was in control of everything and could do anything. However, these radical feelings of joy were always immediately squashed as soon as I got back home to come face to face with my disgruntled looking cousin.
"You've got to stop going out in the rain like this, Melissa," he'd lecture me daily as I came in for lunch. "You always come back soaked and you're going to catch a cold. Your mum would hang me if she found out." Just like home...
I usually said nothing to this as I couldn't think of a polite come back and I hadn't yet tested Billy's temper. I didn't think it a good idea to do so any time soon. Eventually though, his daily badgering got to me and I finally agreed to go out shopping for one the following day. Of course my memory is fickle at times and I left for my routine liaisons in the morning, completely forgetting about the jacket.
When I got back, Billy wasn't lurking around the door like he usually did. This surprised me and for a moment I thought he wasn't home until I heard him speaking to someone in the kitchen.
"I told you already," he was saying. "No, mate, I can't... sorry..." He was on the phone with someone. "I'm lookin' after my... second cousin's daughter for the summer... no I can't bring her with me... is she what? ...Well aren't you a cheeky monkey! ...Well, you can judge for yourself when you get here... all right... take care, mate, bye."
I heard the click of the phone being hung up and decided it was all right to make my presence known.
"I'm back!" I announced, slipping into my usual seat at the table.
Billy looked startled. "Oh! Hullo! Wet again, I see. Why don't you take my umbrella with you next time?"
"Sure, but only until I get myself that jacket," I replied, "which I promise I'll get before I catch a cold and my mother murders you for it." I grinned. Billy shrugged and began rummaging through the cupboards for something to serve as lunch.
"Looks like I need to do some shopping," he said more to himself.
"I can do it tomorrow," I offered.
"That's all right." He shook his head. "I'd like an excuse to get outside."
I shrugged, indifferent. "I heard you on the phone. Who was it?"
"Just a friend of mine," answered Billy, placing a plate of ham sandwiches on the table and taking a seat. "I was originally supposed to fly over to America to visit him but had to decline because you arrived."
"Don't let me hold you back," I said. "I think I can look after myself, thank you."
"That's beside the point," Billy continued. "It's kind of hard for us to bond and all if I've left you here." Well he DID have a point... "So he's coming here some time next week."
"Sounds great," I said. "Should be fun meeting this friend of yours."
With food on the table and rain falling outside, I completely forgot to ask Billy the name of his friend who was arriving or where it was he was going to sleep. He hadn't supplied this detail to me so either he didn't seem it imperative that I know or he had been expecting me to ask. So I went without this knowledge, walking in the rain in the mornings with Billy's umbrella but still no jacket, and sitting by the door to the balcony in the afternoons, reading, watching the rain, or watching the Britcoms on television. All memory of Billy's future guest passed out of my mind.
"Should be fun." I had no idea...