11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 21

Harrison stretched out his legs – as much as was possible in the limited space. Here he was again, in his car, in the posh new business park. Several days into the surveillance operation, he still hadn’t seen any sign of the person on whom he was supposed to be keeping an eye.

“Why worry?” part of him said. He was getting paid for what was turning out to be a very easy job. Even his reports to Ruth to forward to her client were only taking about two minutes to prepare, since there was nothing to report!

How, he suddenly found himself wondering, did Ruth pass his reports to her client, the suave and super-confident Peter? Phone, fax, e-mail? Or did she meet him in person? He’d had no doubt Peter was taken with Ruth. Maybe they had a drink or meal together.

Harrison frowned, disliking the idea. This, he decided, was why he didn’t like surveillance jobs. You sometimes found yourself with just too much time to think. To brood over what might have been.

He looked at his watch. 10:15. An hour he’d been here, and it felt like a day!

He was pleased, then, for the diversion of a couple of familiar figures coming out of the office next to the one in which Ruth’s Peter was interested.

“Sandra, who works for Mel, and her new lad, Ewan,” he said aloud, though there was no-one to hear him. “I didn’t know her firm cleaned here, but no doubt she would make sure all the new companies moving in knew about her services.”

He had a high regard for Mel. She’d started her venture late in the day, but he reckoned she was better at business than many who’d been at it all their lives.

That he hadn’t seen any of her staff until today would be because previously he’d always been here of an afternoon, and office cleaning tended to be done either morning or evening.

Harrison would have welcomed a word with the pair, but they were now hurrying towards the other car park round at the back, where he supposed their vehicle must be parked. Since he was supposed to be keeping watch unseen, he could hardly go beeping his horn and calling attention to himself.

He checked the time again. 10:20. How could five minutes feel like an hour?

From the flask he’d brought, he poured himself some coffee, then remembered the packet of biscuits that Brett had given to him that morning in the kitchen of Number 11.

“Something to chew on will help pass the time if you’re stuck in a car all day,” Brett had said.

Of course, being Brett’s, these weren’t normal biscuits. Not custard creams or digestives, like everyone else ate.

But they looked OK, he decided, as he took a bite. Crunchy…

“Oh, no!”

To top it all, the filling in one of his teeth had now come out!

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.