11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 14

At that moment, a young man Georgia had never seen before, with spiky, bright orange hair, came bounding down the narrow stairway from the floor above.

He introduced himself as Jason, another of her tenants, but he was much more interested in telling them that he’d knocked on Mr Smith’s door but there had been no reply.

“Mr Smith?” Georgia queried.

“The guy immediately above me,” Brett said. “For heaven’s sake, you’re our landlady! Shouldn’t you know things like that?”

She was saved from replying by the welcome arrival of Alex.

He caught Georgia’s eye and gave her what she interpreted as a sympathetic look.

“What’s going on?”

Again, events negated the need for a reply as more plaster came crashing down from Brett’s ceiling.

Alex rushed off upstairs to the floor above, with Georgia in his wake. He banged determinedly on the door of what Georgia assumed must be Mr Smith’s office. But, as Jason had indicated, there was no reply.

Alex tried again. Still nothing.

Disturbed by the fuss, Harrison, too, had now come to see what was going on.

“When was he last in?” Harrison asked Alex. “Have you seen him lately?”

“Not for a while. But I never did see him much anyway. He kept himself to himself, didn’t he?”

Harrison nodded, then called down to enquire whether Brett or Jason had seen Mr Smith recently.

They hadn’t. Nor had Eloise, who had now joined the throng out in the corridor along with Tarot, who, of course, was barking his head off.

For the second time that day, Georgia heard Carly’s voice in her head. She’d been right about this place sounding like a mad house!

“Have you got a phone number for him?” Alex asked Georgia.

Georgia shook her head.

“I was just wondering that. But no, I’m still waiting for all the files to be sent over from the agents. They’ll have spare keys, I assume, for emergencies. I’ll just go and phone them now.”

“Which agents are they?” Alex asked.

“I know them,” Harrison said once she gave their name. “I’ll go round there; it might be quicker. Tell them, when you phone, to expect me. Perhaps you’d better write me a letter of authority.”

Back down in her office, Georgia quickly wrote a note authorising the agents to give all the files connected to Number 11 to Harrison. He rushed off while she phoned them.

So far, despite her reservations about the agency, she’d tried to be patient. The man who’d started the firm was a friend of her grandad’s. But the truth was that they’d done a poor job and today she was not going to beat about the bush!

The phone call made, Georgia went back upstairs. At the door into Brett’s studio, Alex whispered to her not to worry.

“None of his equipment seems to have been damaged, although…” Alex laughed in that way he had, which again got her smiling “… a piece of apparently Very Special Most Exotic cheesecake he’d brought in for his afternoon tea break has been ruined!”

“Yes, Mel told me he was a foodie.”

“I’m going back down,” Alex continued. “I have to complete a schedule. But you know where I am.”

As he looked inside the studio Georgia expected him to tell Brett, too, that he was going, but something caught his eye. He gestured to Georgia.

“Does that look to you like damp, from where the plaster’s fallen?”

His question was promptly answered when the section of the ceiling he had been pointing at came crashing down, followed by a rush of water.

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.