Josh loved Scotland. As a child, his dad would take him fishing on Loch Awe, under the shadow of Kilchurn Castle. They would spend hours on their small tug in the middle of the loch, searching for the biggest pike that they could find. Then they would go back to their hired stone cottage, wet and cold but happy, and fry their catch on a small skillet until they were stuffed.

Josh sighed at the memory. A happier time in his life; now gone. His dad had passed away several years back; it was just him and his mum at home now. He suddenly felt very alone. Jazz had not spoken since their debacle hours earlier. His face had been set straight ahead, just focused on the road ahead.

Luke sidled up behind him, and grabbed his shoulder. Josh was grateful for the distraction.

‘Hey guys, let’s stop for something to eat. There’s a cafe up ahead that does a real mean burger and chips.’

Jazz turned his head and grunted. ‘I’ll take that as a yes, then!’

Moments later they pulled up outside a row of low slung cottages sat on the side of the road. The end cottage had a couple of tables and chairs outside, with umbrellas blowing in the wind. A sign swung from the cottage, with ‘Cocoa Cola’ etched onto it in white and red. A board stood alone, held down with a couple of stones. It read ‘Maggie’s Cafe.’

‘There’s no Maggie here that I know of, but they’ve kept the sign the same.’ Luke noted, as they piled into the small doorway. Inside, it was even gloomier than out. The sun had decided to hid behind the neighboring trees, casting a shadow over the interior.

Just two men were in the cafe, sitting in a corner table against the window. They nodded as the lads entered. After ordering his meal, Josh went back outside and sat on a narrow stone wall. He pulled a a clump of weeds absentmindedly and tried not too think too hard. He could not face Jazz and had no desire to sit at a table with him. This tour was starting to turn into a nightmare.

The door to the cafe slammed shut, and Luke joined him.

‘Thought you’d be out here.’ Luke sat down and pulled out a cigarette. For a few minutes, there was silence, just the rushing of the wind in the tall firs behind them. Then Luke spoke, and his voice seemed to startle Josh from his reverie.

‘Me and the other lads have been talking. It’s no good having a atmosphere like there’s been. Mikey thinks we should bale and pick up a few gigs elsewhere.’

‘Split up the band you mean?’ Josh looked shocked. ‘It’ll blow over between me and Jazz; you’ll see. He’s a bully, but has a short temper. I’d hate to see us split ‘cos of this. I can handle him. Known him since school, and he hasn’t changed. But he’ll never get a decent lass if he acts like that; Sophie will lose interest; he can’t cover up his temper forever.’

Just then, his mobile buzzed. Josh reached into the pocket of his hoodie, and looked at the screen. It said ‘Anna.’ He groaned inside, then retrieved the message.

Hi Josh. I don’t know where you are, somewhere outside Edinburgh, Luke told me. I have to meet up with you. I have something to tell you; it’s important. Anna.

Copyright Suzanne Bowditch, 2016