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Morvan and Kilty Man: the Taxi

Updated: Jun 2

This, was Morvan's absolute nightmare.

She'd done her bit. She'd agreed to be a bridesmaid when her cousin Isla asked. Isla had taken Morvan to get her ears pierced when she was thirteen, and her mum said no, so Morvan figured she owed her. She'd sat through the hen do as grown women giggled about willies. She'd held Isla's dress while she peed twice today. Danced with all the groomsmen and hadn't even nutted the one that squeezed her bum and sniggered in her ear that it was tradition for the best man to pull the bridesmaid of his choice.

But now, the bloody bouquet was sailing through the air at her, and it was just a step too far.

She shouldn't have been surprised at Isla continuing this particularly obnoxious tradition despite swearing blind she wouldn't. Morvan had seen it all too many times before. Friend after friend, getting engaged, insisting they were going to do things differently, break the mould, be unique — then one by one, the cool purple dress was replaced by a frothy white monstrosity, the mixed pre-wedding piss-up became a standard hen do with Bride Squad sashes and Mr & Mrs games. And finally, they'd quietly decide to take his name after all, because it was nicer than mine, anyway.

Which was all fine. If you were going to get married, why not go in for a penny in for a pound? Morvan firmly believed in the principle of you do you.

Want to retreat from civilisation and live on a mountaintop with no running water and a pet squirrel named Dave for company? Fabulous. Enter into polyamorous bliss with triplets twenty years your junior? Knock yourself out. Do the full traditional wedding complete with cake smashing and drunken Auld Lang Syne at the night's end? Fan-dabby-dozy.

Just leave Morvan out of it.

Or, at the very least, avoid braining her with the bouquet.

But it was too late. It was coming right for her. She was going to have to catch it.

No. She would not catch it. She would do anything for Isla, but she would not do that.

She'd had every intention of being strategically in the toilet when the bouquet throw was announced. And she had very nearly made it. Until she was accosted by a wizened great aunt who had clutched at her arm with trembling hands, called her Morna and promised it would be her turn soon.

'Not if I can help it.' Morvan tried to escape without knocking the old lady over. She had a surprisingly firm grip for someone who looked like a strong wind would carry her away.

'What's that, dear?'


'Och, I do what I can.'

'All the single ladies to the dancefloor!'

The DJ played the beginning of that dreaded song that was as obnoxious as it was catchy — nobody who thought of their partner as an it had any business putting a ring on anything, as far as Morvan was concerned — and it was too late. Morvan was practically crowd-surfed against her will by a sea of elderly relatives until she was deposited unceremoniously in the gaggle of single women crowding the dancefloor, most of whom were a good decade younger than her.

Fine, she thought, determinedly slinking to the edge of the crowd. She'd stand at the back to be polite. She surreptitiously glanced at her watch.

The last train for Glasgow would leave the tiny wee country station in just over half an hour. With luck, she could slip away after this and be in her fluffy jammies eating a mountain toast in front of crap telly before midnight. Just a few more minutes. She could do it.

She felt rather than heard the gasp of disappointment that reverberated around the room. The bouquet thwacked her forehead and then tumbled miserably to the floor. Well, that was less than ideal, she thought forlornly, looking around at what suddenly felt like thousands of horrified faces.

The other girls on the dancefloor. The elderly relatives. The sniggering groomsmen. She knew for a fact that none of them was married, yet nobody singled them out for ritual humiliation, did they?

With absolutely no idea what else to do, Morvan — curtsied. She had no idea why. They were all staring, and she felt she had to do something and —

She felt the bouquet roll under her foot just before she trod on it.

'Sorry folks,' she muttered, feeling a hysterical impulse to dance a jig or something. She belatedly realised she was actually doing an approximation of jazz hands. 'Not exactly the marrying kind. But very happy for you.' She gave Isla a burst of applause that echoed in the silence. 'Err — to the bride and groom!'

Isla burst into tears.

As Morvan watched helplessly, the other bridesmaids, who hadn't ruined the wedding, rushed to comfort her. The DJ struck up a seventies disco hit, and everyone ignored it in favour of staring daggers at Morvan.

Morvan decided it was a good time to try to catch that train.

✨ ✨ ✨

Shoving a handful of crumpled notes at the taxi driver twenty minutes later, Morvan belted across the car park and took the stairs two at a time. It wasn't until she felt the splash of a puddle on the railway bridge that she realised —

'Shit — my shoes!'

The taxi brake lights were already disappearing into the distance — and the second's hesitation cost her. By the time she clattered down the stairs to the platform, the train was pulling away.

'No no no no no —'she screamed pointlessly.

The train ignored her, merrily making its way to Glasgow.

What, exactly, was she going to do now?

The countryside beyond the station's lights was shrouded in complete darkness, the sky above a deep velvety purple. What had Isla been thinking, holding her wedding at the arse end of nowhere?

Morvan was a city girl through and through. She was not one of these keen hearty people who spent every weekend tearing up hills with sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper. She was born in Townhead in the centre of Glasgow and nearly had a hairy canary the first time she saw a Highland Coo in Pollok Park.

She had no patience with the tartan shortbread hiddly-deedly idea of Scotland. The Highlands were all fine and good, but castles and kilts were just a tiny sliver of Scottish culture. It irritated the fuck out of her when folk from Glasgow got misty-eyed over bagpipes and Braveheart. Morvan got misty-eyed over the Sub Club and Burniston.

Her general irritation over the dominance of Highland culture was broken by the sound of heavy footsteps thundering over the footbridge. Morvan watched as a man in full kilt and dicky bow flew around the corner. He came down the stairs with such force that his kilt flew up, treating her to a promising view of the fact that he was a true Scotsman.

Maybe all that Highland pish wasn't so bad after all.

✨ ✨ ✨

The kilted man didn't appear to notice Morvan. He stared mournfully at the departing train for a moment, then abruptly sat on the steps and fell fast asleep. He leaned against the railing, his arms loosely crossed. His long, and, it had to be said, far from unpleasant legs, lay lazily akimbo across the metal stairs as he snored softly.

He looked phenomenally uncomfortable. It reminded Morvan of when her family dog was a puppy. The puppy would sleep splayed halfway out of her bed, her head smooshed between the cold tile floor and the fridge. Morvan would worry about how uncomfortable she looked.

Once, she tried to lift the puppy's head gently back into her bed, and she woke up and nipped her. Morvan's mum said it served her right. Haven't you ever heard the expression, let sleeping dogs lie?

Morvan didn't think she'd have much luck hauling this six-foot-something man into a more comfortable position. However, she definitely wouldn't mind if he bit her. He was gorgeous. She felt a touch creepy for watching him sleep, but in her defence, it was hardly her fault he'd sat down and conked out right in front of her.

His sandy hair was neatly cropped in a slightly dorky way that should have undermined his sexiness but somehow amplified it. Sensible, steel-trimmed glasses framed eyes that Morvan guessed were brown. Broad shoulders tapered to a slim waist and the aforementioned well-built legs.

She was itemising him as though he were prize cattle. She was better than that. Or at least she hoped she was. She turned away to let the poor man sleep in peace.

What on earth was she going to do?

Morvan opened her phone again, optimistically hoping that a bar or two of service might have materialised, but no. The Highlands didn't go much for snazzy mod cons like a spot of mobile coverage here and there.

The station was barely a shed plonked on a single train track. Morvan tried to remember how long the taxi ride from the wedding venue had been — ten, fifteen minutes? The speed the cabbie had gone could easily mean the best part of ten miles back to the venue.

Far from ideal to attempt to hike in the dark — not to mention barefoot — but probably her best bet. Preferable, at least, to freezing to death in this wee station if she sat here to wait for the first train of the morning. Which is what would happen to the sleeping man if she abandoned him.

In fact — wasn't it a bit concerning that he had fallen asleep so suddenly?

What if he was in a coma or something while she was merrily perving? She edged a bit closer, peering dubiously at him. How exactly were you supposed to tell if someone was unconscious instead of just not conscious?

A mirror! Many years ago, Morvan took a First Aid Course with the Girl Guides. You were supposed to hold a mirror close to a patient's face. She couldn't remember why, but hopefully, all would become clear if she did it.

Rummaging around in her bag, Morvan triumphantly extracted her compact. She gingerly held it up to the man's face, wondering what she was supposed to be looking for, then jumped a mile as he snuffled and woke up. He, too, jumped a mile when treated to an unexpected close-up of his nose. Morvan dropped the compact with a clatter.

'Sorry!' she shouted, scrabbling on the ground for the compact. She wouldn't bother, but it was a fancy one she'd got at Space NK in the January sales, and even then, it cost a bomb. 'I was worried you had a concussion!'

The man was staring at her with an expression that could reasonably be described as terror. He gingerly felt his forehead. 'What made you think I was concussed?'

'Well, it was more that I was checking you weren't.'

'By — showing me your makeup?'

'Yeah, I think maybe I misremembered that bit.' Morvan rescued the compact from where it had rolled under an old packet of salt and vinegar crisps by the foot of the stairs. 'They never use mirrors on Greys Anatomy. But you seem to be conscious now, so well done. Clean bill of health.'

'Thank you,' he said faintly.

'Blue,' Morvan said in surprise.

'I beg your pardon?'

'Your eyes. I guessed brown. Quite rare to be ginger and blue-eyed.'


'Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you were alive. That was the last train to Glasgow. Maybe you knew that. I think I'll try to walk back to the venue where my friend's wedding was, because I can't think of anything else to do. It's maybe five or six miles —' She squinted vaguely at the darkness. 'Thataway.'

A shadow crossed his expression. 'It's seven miles, and it's that way. And you don't have any shoes on.'

'Alright, Negative Nelly.'

It took her a second to realise that his shoulders were shaking with laughter. 'What did you call me?'

'Negative Nelly,' Morvan huffed with as much dignity as she could muster, but she giggled too. 'I've never said that in my life before.'

'In that case, I'm honoured,' he said, getting up abruptly. Oh, he was tall., A little flame sparked to life in her.

She was allowed now. He was conscious.

'There's a pub in the village a mile or two that way. There might be a phone. I guess we're walking.'

Morvan followed him over the bridge, then stopped, frowning in confusion as he suddenly knelt at the foot of the stairs.

'Are you… pledging fealty to me?'

Something between humour and bemusement flashed in those green eyes as he looked up at her. 'I'm giving you a coal carry, you numpty. You can't walk all that way without shoes. Your feet will be cut to shreds.'

'You're not carrying me.'

Morvan had long ago come to terms with the fact that maintaining the body of a goddess would entail turning down cake entirely too often. She was the opposite of that Kate Moss quotation: she wouldn't mind being svelte if only food didn't taste so good. She liked how her soft curves filled the floaty, Stevie Nicks-style dresses she favoured, and her job kept her on her feet enough to rack up plenty steps for health. However, she wasn't sure her commitment to body positivity went as far as breaking this poor man's back.

'I'll manage,' she said firmly. 'What did humans do before shoes were invented?'

'They didn't walk on tarmac roads strewn with broken glass. Come on,' he added a note of impatience in his voice that was like a red rag to a stubborn Morvan. 'Don't be daft.'

'I'm not daft, and I'm quite capable of walking if I chose to,' Morvan said tartly.

✨ ✨ ✨


Morvan turned around