After a good night sleep, the two felt refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Gone were the trials of the previous day. The plan was to get up, get dressed, have breakfast, check out, and drive to Bosworth Market where they hoped to unravel the mysteries of their past. Of the five things they had to do, four had been accomplished. All that remained was driving to Bosworth Market. When they were in the process of checking out they were handed a message that had arrived late the previous night.
“Dear Brad and Milly,
Downstairs is your car. It’s in the spot marked D-17. Brad, since your car awaits you in Strathpeffer, and since your hand has yet to fully heal it might be a good idea if Milly drove and you navigated. The car is a 1974 Lotus Europa Special. It’s got GPS installed and maps are in the glove box. We fully expect to see you in a kilt by the time you get up here.
Compliment the driver frequently and don’t forget to tip her.
Only when you’re in Scotland will you truly find out what a traffic jam is.
-J & J”
Milly and Brad walked down to the garage after checking out. As they walked into the garage they searched for the car. Milly saw the sign for section “D”.
“I think it’s over here” she called out and turned left.
“I’ll check over here kitten and the loser buys lunch” and Brad turned right.
“Sounds OK with me.” Milly nodded in agreement.
The concrete cavern had an eerie echo to it. It also had a rather unsettling smell to it as well. It was car exhaust. Very little “fresh air” made its way into the garage. Milly slowly walked over to where Brad was.
“Any sign of the wee beastie?” she asked.
“Did you say “wee beastie?” he asked.
“Thought I’d test drive my Scottish. I practiced some phrases for two weeks, and if there’s anything I learned from Spanish classes in high school its if you don’t use it you lose it.”
“FOUND IT!” bellowed Brad.
“You don’t have to yell. I’m right beside you.” Milly put her hand in Brads.
“Sorry about that kitten. I just want to get out of here and put the entire Swallow fiasco behind us.”
“I know what you mean. I’m looking forward to that Hampton Hotel & Spa. I can’t wait for some deadly serious pampering to start. Something that’s so good it’s borderline sinful. You should try it hon. Get those neck muscle knots out in no time.”
“I think I’ll pass. I’m not the steam bath kind of person. Plus I don’t really understand why you would want somebody to put hot rocks on your back. I’ll put the bags in the boot.”
Brad took the keys out of his jacket, unlocked the door and opened it for Milly. He held the door open for her. As she got in he looked at her without her noticing.
“Do you have any idea how fantastic you look?”
Milly looked up at Brad, got out of the car, stood right in front of him and kissed him on the lips. More than a little puzzled she put her hands on her hips.
“Where did that come from?” She looked at Brad wondering if his compliment was part of something else. “Is it because of that note from Jamie and Jessica? I just want to know why I’m thanking you.”
“It’s not because anybody told me to. I just wanted to say it. I think you look fantastic this morning and I wanted to tell you. No ulterior motive. Just a compliment from me to you.”
“Well, thank you. A girl likes to hear things like that once in a while. Just the same I’m keeping my eye on you.” She started wagging her finger at Brad. “Now you behave and get in. The sooner we get to Bosworth Market the sooner the pampering can start.”
She moved the seat forward and raised the seat. “Now, that’s a lot better. Whoever drove this last time must really be tall. I think I’ll give this GPS thingy a try. I better update it though.”
As Milly was about to touch the update button Brad touched her hand.
“You might want to wait till we get out of the garage kitten. You’ll get a better update that way. Plus it won’t take as long.”
Milly nosed the Lotus to the entrance of the garage. She updated the GPS and was quickly turning her head left and right. She typed in her destination and the GPS told her to turn right. In seconds the car was pointed at a wall. She looked at Brad and Brad looked at her. They both said the same word at the same time. “Maps”.
They eventually located the M1 motorway. After driving for almost half an hour Milly was astonished to discover she was more at ease with a right-hand drive system than she was a left-hand drive system.
“I was brought up in a world where the drive system was on the left. Yet here I am in a city that’s totally foreign to me driving with a right-hand drive system. It’s bizarre but I feel much more comfortable driving here than I do driving at home. You should try it hon, this is wild.”
She activated the GPS and updated it again. Apparently, that did the trick. It was operating perfectly. Milly quickly looked at Brad then returned to watching the road. She quickly looked at him again.
“Brad, will you please answer a question for me?. Why do you call me “Kitten”? I love it, but I’m just curious why you chose that particular word.”
Brad used his good hand to run his fingers through his hair.
“Wow. I guess this what you call “out of the blue” questions.”
After that Brad took a deep breath and continued.
“After we made love the first time you were lying next to me. Your head was on my chest and you were playing with my chest hair. Your skin was so soft and warm. One of your fingernails got caught in the hair and I thought “this lady has claws!”. But most of all I wanted a name only I would call you. And I wanted a name that fit. When I was holding you, touching your skin, it all just felt so right. You almost fell asleep on my chest and that’s when I tried to figure out a name in my head. To me, you are very, very, very special. Like a kitten. And I think the name fit. The first time I said it I was terrified you’d hate it. But the second time I called you “Kitten” it sounded better. But that was when I called you “my sexy highland kitten.” It almost felt right. But it still needed some fine-tuning. Saying it in your head and actually saying the words are two very different things. No matter what you do you’re sexy one hundred percent of the time. And highland kitten doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But kitten did. So you became a kitten to me. And I don’t want anybody else calling you kitten. You’re my kitten. I know that’s being selfish but that’s the way I feel.”
Suddenly and without warning, Milly drove to the side of the road and stopped. She rested her head on the steering wheel. Her face was red and there were tears on her face.
Milly looked like she had been holding her breath.
“Now it’s my turn to say wow. Have you been rehearsing this answer in your head? Because I never expected anything like what you just said. I guess I expected some really weak answer dripping with sentimentality. What you said almost sounds logical. But I really liked that “selfish” bit at the end. I’m your kitten. I love it. Now, what about when I call you honey?”
Brad knew if he didn’t handle this question just right things could get very frosty very fast.
“I love it when you call me hon. It just sounds so special. And when you say it I know the word is meant just for me. A lot of people call their significant others honey, but you’ve taken that and put your own special spin on it. Hon is more than alright. I know you mean me and no one else.”
Milly leaned over as far as she could, grabbed Brad’s head, pulled it towards it towards her, and give him a really passionate kiss.
“Brad Foster you make so damn happy at times I just want to eat you alive”. After that she rolled down her window and let out a little shriek.
Brad bowed his head and talked very softly.
“There is another reason but you might find it silly.”
Milly turned his face till her gaze met his. And looked right into his eyes.
“Brad Foster. You’re under my spell. I command you to tell me this instant.”
“OK, I’m under your spell. But don’t forget you commanded me to tell you. I love stroking “her” because she’s so soft. Her “fur” is very much like a kitten.”
“You mean you love stroking-” Milly pointed between her legs.
“And “she” tastes great! I love getting “her” all hot and bothered too.”
“Well tell Tony The Tiger and all those little tigers to behave themselves. As for Tony’s taste well…” her voice trailed off but her face spoke volumes.
Brad held her head in his bandaged hand. Milly started to get teary-eyed.
“Hey, Kitten. It’s more than all right kitten. I don’t mind. The worlds not going to end if you don’t want to. And in a car this size I’m not sure you even could if you wanted to.”
“You sure Hon? I want to try one more time. Maybe it’s an acquired taste. I just to please my man.”
“And you do please me kitten. In more ways than I can count. If you want to try it one more time that’s fine. And if you choose to never ever do it again I’m fine with that too. When we’re making love I never ever want you to do anything that makes you queasy or uneasy.”
Milly dried her eyes and composed herself.
“After you were born they must have broken the mold. You’re so understanding at times. But let’s get going. All this talk of “him” and “her” has got my motor running if you know what I mean. And I can see “Tony” wants to be let out of his cage. I think I may know how to make the experience more palatable and pleasing. Next stop Hampton Hall Hotel & Spa!” Milly floored the Lotus and got back on the road.
The willows at the side of the road looked like they trying to touch the car. The signs for Hampton Hall got more frequent. “Tell me about Hampton Hall.” Brad leafed through the small pile of pamphlets in his lap. “Well, apparently this place has its own ghost. She’s known as “The Grey Lady.” Her real name was Anna Dixie. Her father was the fourth Baronet Of Bosworth. Her father was a real S.O.B and disapproved of her lover who was one of the groundskeepers. He set what was called a man trap on the grounds for the poor bugger.”
“Sounds like a charming fellow,” said Milly as she was weaving her way through Bosworth Market.
“As I was saying Anna was out for a stroll one night and blundered into this Man Trap.”
‘What was the trap full off?” asked Milly
“Essentially a man trap is a simple snare. But in this particular case it was a small pit full of sharp blades designed to impale their victim, and eventually, kill them. Like I said Anna blundered into this man trap and bled to death.”
“And her own father did this?”
“Her dad reasoned with his fists. He wasn’t exactly known for his smarts.”
“Oh, I know what you mean. A caveman with fancy pants.”
As Milly drove slowly through the parking lot her gaze was pulled toward Hampton Hall. She was awed by its size and majesty. Her jaw dropped open and eyes became as big as saucers. “Ho-ly Fuzzbucket! Just how big is this place?’ she asked not really expecting an answer. Brad just looked at her and chuckled. “What are you laughing about? Just look at this place. It’s gorgeous!”. Brad just looked at her.
Since they arrived in mid-afternoon they decided to unpack, shower, and have dinner. As they walked through the main hall to sign in Milly was flabbergasted by the enormity of everything around her. The solid oak doors were twelve feet high if not more. The fireplace, one of five, was so large Milly could walk right into it. And she was struck by the history around her. As she slowly walked down the hall she was constantly astounded or amazed by whatever she saw. As she and Brad walked through the hall, hand in hand, she gazed at everything like she had just be given the gift of sight.
“I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Do you see that paneling?”
“I sure do kitten. I sure do”
“And the molding. The detail. It’s just incredible!”
As Brad continued to look up his neck began to protest as if to say “I wasn’t built for this.” Never the less, Brad was in awe of how gorgeous this place really was.
“Know what hon,” said Milly
“What’s that kitten” replied Brad simply stupefied by the beauty around him.
“I think I want my wedding here. The only place that could beat this is a real live castle.”
Brad really wasn’t listening to or hearing Milly. What he was seeing was simply beyond comprehension. “Hope you remember to invite me kitten.”
“This reminds me so much of those English manor houses I’ve seen on PBS. I almost expect Alistair Cooke to be a chair in the lobby.”
“This was a privately owned house at one-time kitten but I’m afraid you won’t be seeing Alistair. He’s been dead for some time.”
“I know that hon. Still, it would have been nice.”
As they approached the Reception Area to check in there were a number of other guests ahead of them. A bus tour had arrived just before them. One guest was chewing nuts as he waited. He began to tug at his collar. He coughed and coughed and went very red. He could barely utter a word and gasped for air. Brad saw this and intervened. He stood behind the gentleman and informed he was a doctor and was going to perform the Heimlich maneuver on him. With his feet far apart, Brad placed a fist just under the man’s rib cage but just above his navel. Brad suddenly compressed the area that made up the windpipe. This sudden compression caused a torrent of nuts of different sizes to rocket out of the man’s mouth. The man collapsed on the reception area desk. As he recovered Brad knelt and collected some of the nuts in a tissue. The man mopped his sweaty face with a handkerchief, collected his wits and started talking to Brad.
“That’s quite a grip you have my boy. I’m not quite sure how to thank you. I don’t plan on seeing Saint Peter for some time but without your timely intervention I suspect I would have seen him a great deal sooner.” Brad held up the tissue with the nuts in it. “Try eating them one at a time. You’ll live longer. No need to thank-”
Milly punched Brad in the fanny. The man took one look at Milly and came to a rather premature conclusion.
“These two deserve the bridal suite. Put everything on my bill.” When Brad started to protest when Milly punched him in the upper arm.
Milly poked her head out from behind Brad. “I apologize for my husband’s behavior. He’s too modest for his own good. Sometimes his modesty gets him in real trouble”
After they signed in Brad took Milly aside. “What’s with you? Those punches really hurt!”
Milly countered by saying “Now we can stay for free. Do you have any idea what kind of a beating your VISA card was about to take?”
Brad thought for a moment. “You know what? You’re absolutely right. You just saved me a pot full of money. But where did you learn to punch like that?”
After debating if she should tell Brad she finally told him.”Vito’s Bar & Grill. Before I left for med school my father insisted on me taking some self-defense classes. Vito’s Bar & Grill is full of animals and it’s cheaper than most other classes. Plus they serve a mean steak.”
As the walked down the hall to their room Milly hooked her arm in Brads. “Did I tell you I won the M-L-T-M award there?”
“What’s that award stand for kitten?”
“Most Likely To Maim.” she laughed and put her head against Brad’s shoulder.