Chapter Eighty-Five

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Meredith loved the Highlands, and she liked to go for walks. Harry had tricked her; he said walk but he meant hike. To Meredith, hiking meant camping. Meredith did not like camping. It wasn't the sleeping outdoors bit; it was the peeing and pooping outdoors. While it was a hike, and Harry promised no staying overnight, Meredith stared up at the hill she walked. Halfway up, she was ready to die.

"I love you, Harry," she said, "but I hate you."

He laughed. "How much?"

"Like, push-you-off-a-cliff much."

His laugh faded quickly, yet Harry continued to smile. "You're almost past the hard part. We just have to get up the hill."

"It's not a hill. It's a fucking mountain. Call it what it is." Meredith let her backpack fall to the ground, and she removed yet another layer of clothing. Now, she stood in shorts and a tank top, where Harry wore long pants and a sweatshirt. Her sunglasses blocked out the glare from the water, which was cast behind the hill. There was a chill in the air, and it was especially breezy the further they went up, but none of it bothered her. Meredith was too warm.

"It's worth the view."

"There are a lot mountains. There are a lot of views."

"You're going to want to see this. I promise."

After taking another minute to swear and breathe, Meredith swung her backpack up, and she trekked. Harry happily walked beside her. None of this, of course, bothered him. Meredith enjoyed the nice weather and all the trails, because it wasn't accessible where she came from, but her body wasn't trained for this.

"Come on, Mere. You got this," Harry cheered on.

"Shut up." The more and more she walked, and the more and more he spoke, it became more likely for Harry's murder to happen. She loved him, and it was to be a crime of passion. "How much further?" she begged.

"Just a bit more. We can do this together."

Meredith rolled her eyes. They had been doing this together, and apparently, Meredith needed to do more hikes because this was easy for him.

"You're doing so good," he encouraged. "Just a bit more. You got this. You're going good--"

"Harry," Meredith snapped, "I'm walking up a hill, not giving birth. Thanks." She bounded past him, taking a glance up. Her legs burned, and her chest felt ready to cave in. Though, she didn't rest until she was up. Meredith wasn't a quitter, and today it didn't start. Coughing with a heavy breeze on her, Meredith stumbled up the last few steps.

Harry stood beside her, smiling.

Meredith, however, had her mouth agape, taking deep breaths. Standing in shock, she asked, "The fuck?" Harry didn't have time to respond because she practically ran forward to the large bone, which sat on top of the hill. "What is it?"

"A whale's jaw," Harry breathed. "At some point the Celts put it up here, long before history started to write it down."

A black fence kept people from touching it and trying to push it over, but Meredith only watched it like it was part of her imagination. "How the hell did they get it up here?"

"That's a good question. How did the ancients do anything? Stonehedge and this? It makes you wonder."

"Yeah, what the hell happened to us?" Walking around the whale's jaw, Meredith couldn't comprehend how. While her mind said it was ancient, far older than humans, when the ocean was higher, and the whale's jaw was deposited near. Yet, from what Meredith knew of the old people of the United Kingdom-- Celts, Scots, Danes, Saxons, Britons, Anglo, Romans and more-- had the means, and obviously they had the ability.

Meredith's green eyes, which matched the grass of the Highlands, wandered over the long crest of the beast's jaw. Meredith questioned where the other bit was. Eyes sliding over the top, Meredith stopped. "Harry," she warned, cocking her head.

Glancing behind himself, two more people came up, coming to the top. Both were joyed with finally being up here, and Meredith removed herself. Standing next to Harry, the two looked out across the bay. The bright sun, a nice day by Scotland's standards, made the water shine, which made the couple glance back.

"Just ask them," a voice behind them begged.

"Let's not bother them."

"I'll do it." After a pause, the voice called, "Excuse me, um...."

Meredith stopped her boyfriend from turning around, doing it herself. She smiled. "Hi."

"Hiya. Would you mind, um," the female held out her cell phone, "could you please take a picture of us?"

"I wouldn't mind at all." Meredith took the phone and told the couple to place themselves. "Harry, could you move please? You're blocking the shot."

Keeping his head down, Harry went and looked the other way.

Snapping at least ten photos of the couple with the giant whale jaw and the beautiful Scotland sea behind them, Meredith handed the phone back. "I hope there are some good ones. I am not a professional."

The woman took the camera, eyes on Meredith's face. "You look familiar." She snapped her fingers. "I just don't know where I've seen you."

Meredith smiled kindly, not daring to look away or back down. "I've been told that."

"Are you famous?"

"Only sometimes." Meredith shrugged and walked away. "You guys have a good day." Rejoining Harry on the edge, overlooking a rolling valley of the Highlands. "Beautiful. Just amazing." Leaning over, Meredith whispered, "Stay still. The woman is trying to figure us out."

"It'll come to her eventually," Harry responded.

"Eventually being the operative word." Meredith glanced back. The woman watched her while her boyfriend pleaded to go back the hill, to leave us alone. Meredith knew as the woman lifted her phone and snapped another photo, the woman knew. Sighing, Meredith wrapped her arms around Harry, and he returned by holding her close. "Careful, there."

"They gone yet?"

"Would that make you push me away?"

"No. I would just like to kiss you deeply." He tightened his grip. "Would you escape if they're gone?"

"Want to have sex on top of a hill?"

Harry laughed loudly. "I didn't know you were into that kind of thing." His blue eyes glanced back, and thankfully the couple had started their way down the hill. He didn't let his girlfriend know, holding on to her. "You did it, Mere."

"Shut up," she groaned and walked away, going back to the more interesting thing at the top of this mountain.

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