11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 11

“I know it’s Spanish you teach,” Alex said to Georgia the following morning when they were both in the kitchen of Number 11, getting their first cups of coffee of the day. “But can you recommend anyone who teaches French? It’s for Amy. She’s not particularly academic, but she reckons she could get good grades in that subject if she improved her pronunciation.”

“Me,” Georgia interrupted him. “I can do it. I started off teaching French in a school round here. Mind you, it seems years ago now, a different life!” She laughed and Alex did, too.

“I know, sometimes the past feels like another world! But that’s great, thank you. Amy will be thrilled. She started on about it last night and it was clear that meeting you yesterday had inspired her. You’re a good influence!”

He laughed again and his light blue eyes seemed to sparkle. Georgia noticed, for the first time, really, what an attractive man he was.

But someone had already snapped him up, hadn’t they?

“The best ones always get snatched up fast, Georgia.”

In her head, Georgia heard the voice of Carly, with whom she’d been at school. They’d been reasonably good friends then, and bumping into each other by chance shortly after Georgia had come back home, they’d started meeting up again.

In this case, at least, it seemed that Carly, who was single like herself, was right. Going by Amy’s age, Alex must have married quite young.

“Don’t Even Consider It!”

At that moment Amy herself came breezing in to say goodbye to her dad before proceeding on her way to school. As Alex had predicted, she was delighted to hear about the lessons.

“I’m so glad it’s you!” she enthused to Georgia.

Alex departed, saying he’d leave them to sort out a suitable time for the tuition.

“Whenever you can fit me in,” Amy said helpfully. “I’m sure you’re busy.”

“Not so much.” Georgia smiled wryly, taking out of her bag the timetable chart she had drawn up. After the cancellations of the previous day, there were abundant free spaces, and they settled on an after-school slot.

Georgia made a note of the details on her timetable.

“Amy Ann is my full name – Ann, after my mum,” the girl remarked as she watched.

She was quiet for a moment, then she added, “I’ve been thinking of hyphenating them, and using that all the time. What do you think?”

Before Georgia could reply, the kitchen door flew open and Eloise appeared.

Remembering their first meeting, which had been a touch acrimonious, Georgia gave her a big smile and engaged her in conversation about her work.

“Mel said you do, er, alternative stuff. Feng shui, she said, which I believe is about spaces and getting the right energies, and…”

Georgia broke off, the feeling she wasn’t describing this very well clearly echoed in Eloise’s heavily made-up and disdainful eyes.

“I was interested,” Georgia pressed on, “because when I first took this place over from my grandad, I thought for a while about converting it from offices into a house.”

“No,” Eloise interrupted, waggling one of her many-ringed fingers at Georgia. “It does not in any way have the right aura for a domestic dwelling. Not at all; do not even consider it!”

Shaking her head and looking deeply alarmed, she then deposited something in the fridge and hurried off.

“Well,” Georgia said, “no-one has yet agreed with me that this would make a nice house, but I’ve never had anyone react quite in that way before!”

“Oh, I wouldn’t take what she says seriously,” Amy replied.

“I won’t,” Georgia responded, remembering her new resolution about the way to deal with the more demanding tenants of Ladysmile Lane.

“She once did a horoscope for me,” Amy continued, “and it sounded as though I was going to have a brilliant time. There’s this boy I like, Josh. But it wasn’t just about him. Anyway, not one thing she said would happen for me actually did!”

Harrison entered the kitchen, clutching a foil-wrapped sandwich-shaped package which he put in the fridge, now almost full.

“If it’s accurate predictions you want, Amy, ask your dad.”

“Huh? My dad?”

But Harrison just winked in reply and disappeared back out the door.

Georgia made to follow him.

“Work to do,” she said to Amy, suspecting that, if she let her, the girl would talk all morning.

“Yeah, school to do, too,” Amy agreed, without much enthusiasm.

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.