11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 08

Did Georgia still want Mel to come in of a morning? She certainly did! She smiled as she continued getting her new office ready. She was using the big long room which held the huge table on which her grandfather had cut the cloth for the suits he made.

As a child, it had been the lining materials that Georgia had liked. All the different colours! Crimsons, purples and gold, and the summer-Mediterranean blue she had later come to love so much.

Was it that some of his customers had wanted a quiet outer appearance, but something brighter inside? To reflect their secret selves?

Georgia returned to the task in hand. The big map of Spain – where best to hang it? In the end, she went for above the old marble fireplace.

She only had today to get the room looking right for its new use. Tomorrow, she would have a constant flow of customers.

When she’d first got back, she’d had some savings – money set aside for something that wasn’t now going to happen, plus a bit of income from Ladysmile Lane.

Not having an extravagant lifestyle, she would have been OK until she’d properly sorted her future out. But she’d placed a little advert anyway, and it had produced a handful of people wanting lessons for holidays and the like. She’d tutored them at her parents’ house.

Then Gareth had phoned. He worked for a local company that had recently become part of a large Spanish-owned concern.

“I reckon it might help my career to learn to speak Spanish,” he’d explained to her.

He had come to her parents’ house, too, and at the third lesson he’d mentioned that a number of his colleagues were also thinking of learning their new bosses’ native tongue.

Georgia had been thrilled, but it wasn’t going to work, having them all trooping in and out of her parents’ front parlour. No problem now, though. There was space available in Ladysmile Lane that she could use.

Georgia was pleased that she had all this teaching work lined up. This first morning had been enough to make her realise that the management of Number 11 was going to be more demanding than she’d anticipated, so it was good that her future wasn’t dependent on it!

Her phone rang. More new pupils?

“Good morning, Georgia. Or should I say, buenos dias?”

Georgia smiled. Gareth’s accent was improving! But her smile faded as he went on.

“Georgia, the company are sending a load of us off on a residential crash course at some big language school. Which means none of us need lessons with you now.”

They chatted a while longer, Georgia striving to be upbeat. She didn’t want him to feel bad about letting her down. She even managed a joke.

“This can’t have been welcome news for you, so I’m relieved you can laugh, Georgia.”

She hesitated, choosing her words. Above her, she could hear Brett and Eloise still arguing. The dog, Tarot, was scampering about, and towards the back, a guitar was being played.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to,” Georgia declared, deciding this might be the best attitude to adopt. For it seemed her future was now Ladysmile Lane, or nothing!

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.