Jeanie Green

The House Sitter

Julie Larkham and Gregor MacGregor, “Mac”, were living a fairy tale existence in their whitewashed croft overlooking Kincaird Loch, in the Scottish Highlands.
Mac and his brother had inherited a dilapidated castle, which they had turned into a boutique hotel with the help of  Australian born, Julie and Chrissy.  Now Mac was focussed on Julie and the peanut growing inside her. He was overjoyed, while Julie was suffering from extreme morning sickness.
Running the estates Highland pony treks, Julie was heading to work knowing that Mac and his father, the estates manager, had to find and kill a rampant stag who was attacking his offspring.
Mac kissed Julie and made her promise to stay away from the stallion. He explained he would be out of radio contact and would see her in the morning.
But he didn’t.
It was nine months before he saw Julie again.
When she woke up in hospital Chrissy was at Julie’s bedside. Chrissy told Julie that she had been found unconscious in the stallions stable. She didn’t have to tell her the baby was gone.
Chrissy told Julie that Mac was too busy to visit as he had to find replacement staff.
Chrissy told Julie that Mac thought it would be easier if they returned to Australia and Julie could recuperate with her family.
Chrissy told Julie that Mac was going to focus on building the business.
Julie could have added and not building his family.
Julie knew Mac did not forgive or forget.
Arriving home to Australia, everyone was ten years older. Julie was overwhelmed by her family and offers to join her sister's rural housesitting business. For the next eight months, she hides on farms and concentrates on her first love — horses.
When her sister asks her to housesit an equestrian property near her family, Julie  is worried that it is a bit too close.
The property owner, Lily Butterworth,  shows Julie the apartment she will live in.  She tells her the main house will be locked, and Julie’s duties are to look after the dogs, the horses, the pot plants and the Highland cattle.
Julie was surprised when she found out her aunt is Lily’s housekeeper and her niece was supposed to housesit but she had decided to join her boyfriend in Byron Bay.
Julie was also shocked when she heard that her niece was giving up the opportunity to be coached by the famous French Four-Star Eventer  — Tomas Fournier.  Julie is asked to take the difficult horse to the lessons with Tomas. Julie invites Tomas to the property.
Her aunt suggests that Julie move into Lily’s room and use her bath and spa, to help relax her back.  She reconnects with her family while they pop into Lily's house on a daily basis to use the gym, spa and media room.  Julie’s mother moves into Lily's apartment, while she is in conflict with Julie's father.
Lily’s smarmy ex-husband, offers to pay Julie to look after Daisy and Poppy at the weekend. She accepts.
Julie’s is leaving her past behind and moving into her future, when she received a phone call from her niece in Byron Bay, who tells her that she was given a missing person leaflet.
The photo on the leaflet was Julie’s.
And the person to contact was Mac…

248 printed pages
Original publication



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