11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 12

Enthusiastic or not, once outside, Amy fairly bustled along the street. She’d left it late today to take what her dad called the scenic route, along the canal path. Anyway, with all the rain again last night, it probably would have been too muddy.

Sometimes, when she was cutting it fine, she got a lift from Mel. But today Mel had left earlier than usual to interview a possible new employee.

Now, that was a thought… Mel must do a lot of interviewing, because her business had a fair number of staff. Maybe Amy could get some tips, for when she herself entered the working world. Though that was a while off yet, because her dad was keen that she stay on at school. And if the extra French tuition went OK…

Suddenly, thinking about her dad, Amy started laughing.

What had Harrison been on about, her dad being like some sort of fortune-teller?

Her dad? He was the most down-to-earth person in the whole world, probably!

* * * *

So, what’s her name, this person you’re interviewing? What time is she coming?” Mel’s sister, Carol, asked her.

“It’s a he, not a she. A boy, well, young man. And he’ll be here soon,” Mel replied. “What are you doing here so early?”

Mel hadn’t expected to see Carol. Certainly sometimes she popped into her husband Des’s garage, but usually it was later in the day.

“We’ve got a couple of staff off, so I came in with Des to help in this busy first hour or two, when cars are being booked in. I’m finished now, though. I’ll be off in a minute.”

“OK.” Mel was ashamed to feel relief that her sister would soon be going.

“I didn’t realise you needed any more staff,” Carol continued, “especially since… That is, is it true you told that new customer of yours to find someone else to clean his offices? Des says you told him to get lost!”

“I certainly did! You’ve met Sandra, Carol, so you know how hardworking she is.


Despite having wanted to be composed and collected for the forthcoming interview, Mel couldn’t help but get worked up as she described the dreadful man’s attitude to one of her best employees.

“I didn’t spot it when I first met him, but he’s obnoxious. I’m just sorry it was Sandra he started on – she’s got enough on her plate just now.”

She frowned.

“Anyway, what you said about me having enough staff, well, this is not a definite position. It’s just that the lad approached me and I think he’s worth having a chat with.”

There was a hesitant knock on the door of her little office. Beckoning Ewan inside, she glanced at her sister, who was looking – almost staring – at the boy.

“I’ll phone you later,” Mel told her.

“Actually, I may still be here when you’re finished,” Carol replied.

Mel smiled to herself, sure that her sister would most certainly “still be here”!

Which, of course, she was. Mel was with Ewan for nearly an hour, but Carol was hovering still, pretending to be busy, when she showed him out.

“Be here by six o’clock,” Mel reminded him as they parted. “The day after tomorrow, to give me time to check out the references you’ve given me. Six on the dot, mind, because we’re early starters in this business.”

“I won’t be late,” he said, all smiles.

Mel was confident he wouldn’t be. Then, as he disappeared round the corner, she turned to her sister.

“I’ve only given him part-time hours and I do need that, to cover emergencies. He’s a decent kid who’s so far been dealt a bad hand in life – orphaned, then passed from pillar to post. But he’s a survivor. He found himself a job straight after he left school, got a little flat, only then he was made redundant…”

She paused.

“Anyway, Ewan will be a useful addition to my staff. I haven’t just acted on sentiment, Carol.”

“No, but you must have thought about our Michael. Remember how we all said Michael looked like that actor? What was his name? Well, your Ewan’s just like him, too – that same shape of face and the way he’s got his hair.” Carol paused. “We might have a few hours for him here at the garage, too. I’d like to think someone would have done that for Mick.”

Mel saw tears in her sister’s eyes, and felt them in her own.

“I’d like to think that, too,” she said quietly as the sisters hugged each other.

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.