Friday 9th January
It’s five in the morning. The sky is pitch black and the moon is shining behind the grey clouds. We load up the car and head out on our three and a half hour drive. Amy’s car being in the carpark has left a strange taste in my mouth. I don’t feel comfortable heading to Edinburgh with her running around free near my house. I’m actually surprised she’s shown her face what with her reputation being in tatters. Perhaps that’s why she’s not been around for a week.
The M6 motorway heading north is pretty clear even on a Friday. Until we get close to Cumbria and it starts to get congested. We don’t stop but we do have to slow down for a few miles until it passes and we’re free again.
We hit some roadworks that don’t have anybody working on them. Traffic starts to build up again. The speed limit has been set to fifty, so I stick to fifty through all those average speed cameras. But then someone overtakes me. They overtake me slowly but they’re still going past. It seems like every car is travelling at fifty miles an hour at different speeds, if that even makes sense. I feel like going faster but I know I’ll be one of the unlucky bastards that get caught.
Over the Scottish border we see some natural beauty of which I have never seen. Scotland is a wonderful country. England has its own kind of beauty, a lot of it being the Yorkshire dales. Countryside views are my favourite kind. Apart from naked women of course. But I love the country, the peacefulness and relentless effects of Mother Nature crafted over millennia is, to me, magnificent.
The M6 turns into the A74(M) that eventually turns into the M74 to Glasgow. I don’t go that way. Instead I head on the A702, the Edinburgh scenic route. It takes us through small villages and more countryside until we get to Edinburgh.
The trip takes just less than three and a half hours. We stopped in one of the villages to grab a snack in a pub and recharge. Apart from that it was a long journey. A couple of years ago we went to Inverness which took six hours so in retrospect this was nothing.
I find the hotel which is close to Edinburgh zoo. It’s a large affair with its own parking. I found it online last year. It’s three stars but I don’t plan on spending much time in it.
I park up and we head inside. Being me, I’m almost embarrassed about speaking with an English accent. Especially in Scotland. Like I’ve said before: it’s like I need to apologise for my country’s history with them. I want to say ‘Please accept my apologies for my country’s past transgressions’. I felt the same when Mei and I went to Beijing. We were at the Forbidden City. Our tour guide was telling us about the Opium Wars and what the British did to the place and how we scratched the large gold vase things to see if they were really made of gold. The ones that weren’t were left alone while the ones that were, were taken away. My face went red when everyone looked at me. I felt like it was my fault.
We check into the hotel, which is as expected. It’s very basic. Its name is A Home up North. The people working here are very polite and we check in with no problems. The room is a double with a single bed and an en-suite bathroom. We all try to get comfortable with Mei and I taking the double bed. For about ten minutes anyway until her mum says she’s uncomfortable with us sharing a bed while she’s there. I don’t know if I understand or not. How does she think we made a baby? It’s not like we’re going to do it right there in front of her is it? Jesus. Anyway I end up agreeing to take the single bed.
We head out for dinner. I don’t want to drive in an unfamiliar place so we take the bus to Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main high street. It has a tram system which looks like it’s just been completed. The sun is shining and everything looks really nice, including the castle over the bridge. I immediately fall in love with the city.
We find a Vietnamese place and sit down for a meal. We come to Scotland and find an Asian restaurant. Typical. Then my phone beeps. I have a text. Mei and her mum both look at me, their shoulders drop and they let out a sigh like a pair of deflating balloons.
It’s from Amy. Another picture of her. This time, as it’s still daylight and people can see her, she’s at my back gate, fully clothed. She says, ‘I’m sorry to hear you’ve gone out. I’ll take care of the place for you.’
I don’t delete this one. I tell Mei and I suggest calling Harold. She says to call him later. I will do. Amy is going to ruin this weekend.
Throughout the day Amy is at the back of all of our minds. It’s obvious. We go to the castle but can’t enjoy it. I want to go home. Perhaps it was a stupid idea to come here with all this shit going on. I blame myself. I shouldn’t have got friendly with her. But how was I to know she’d turn into this nightmare?
We shuffle along the Royal Mile which goes down to Holyrood and the Scottish Parliament Building. I’ve now officially seen more of Edinburgh than I have of London. I’m surprised how diverse Edinburgh is. Every race seems to have a representative here. It’s like a hub for the international. It’s just a shame that Edinburgh will always have a stigma attached to it now; it’ll always remind me of this horrid time of my life.
I can’t take it any longer and I decide to call Harold while we’ve stopped for a coffee.
I ask him if he can see a white Fiesta in the carpark.
‘Yeah. I think it’s a Fiesta anyway. I don’t know cars that well. But there’s a white car there.’
‘I thought I saw her walk past my house. I was going to call you but I didn’t want to ruin your holiday.’
‘She did that herself.’
‘What do you mean?’
I go on to tell him about the picture she sent me.
‘What’s she look like in it?’
I roll my eyes. ‘She’s not naked if that’s what you’re asking.’
‘I’m an old man. I’m not interested in that kind of thing.’
‘Can you let me know if you notice anything? I’m not comfortable being so far away with her running around.’
Harold agrees and will let me know.
We finish the call and I feel a bit better. Amy might just be trying to spook me because she’s an evil bitch. I hope that’s all it is. She might just like playing with my mind.
We head back and across the bridge to walk around the shops and I notice that if there’s one thing that Edinburgh has a lot of, it’s shops that sell cashmere. There are loads of them.
We spend the afternoon drifting through the streets. I’m tired after driving so far. It was a nice drive but the motorway parts were bloody boring.
Mei ends up buying a scarf while I don’t buy anything. I don’t need anything. And I don’t want anything.
Tomorrow we’ll see the sights better. Today is more of a ‘find you bearings’ day.
When we get back to the hotel we can hear the animals from the zoo. I quite like it. It’s relaxing.
I fancy a beer. I actually fancy getting shitfaced and staggering to the room in the late hours of the morning. It’s been years since I had a decent blow out. I think the last time was my stag do.
So that’s what I do. I ask Mei to join me of course. Her mum declined. She said we should spend some time to ourselves for once, which I thought was very nice of her.
The bar is quite nice. It’s small but it has tables and beer on tap so it’ll do me fine.
The bartender is French, which I find interesting for some reason. Like I said before, it seems like every nationality is here.
I order a bitter, some sort of local brew. Mei just has orange juice. Even if she wasn’t pregnant she would probably just order that.
‘This is nice,’ I say. ‘I like this place.’
Mei agrees. ‘Edinburgh is really different since last time I came here.’
I forgot she’s been here before. Seems like she’s been everywhere before. Before we met. I’m a little jealous.
‘What does your mum think?’
‘She said she likes it. She liked the countryside we drove through on the way here.’
We finish our drinks and move onto seconds. And then my phone rings.
It’s Constable Smith with an update on the Amy situation. He tells me he looked into her record. He can’t tell me what it says but he can tell me it’s from ten years ago.
‘So she is a threat, right?’
‘Has she done anything else?’ he asks.
I go on to tell him about the photo she sent me from outside the back of my house. ‘I haven’t deleted this one.’
‘All right,’ he says. ‘I’ll go and talk to her.’