11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 23

At her desk, Georgia yawned and stretched. She’d stayed late to see representatives from the two firms she’d contacted about getting a website. She now intended, though, to give the work to Benjamin upstairs. What Brett had said about them all supporting each other in Number 11 had struck a chord.

She was thinking even of signing up for Eloise’s yoga class. Or yoga-type class, as Eloise had described it to her. Knowing Eloise, it would doubtless have some unique variations!

Bag over her arm and having checked everything was switched off, Georgia reached the main door and was just about to open it when someone on the other side beat her to it.

“Hello,” she said as Mel appeared in front of her. “You doing a night shift?”

“I saw your car when I was driving past so I knew you were still here,” Mel replied, not responding to Georgia’s joking tone. “You won’t believe what’s happened. But, look, you’re all ready to go. Maybe it can keep till tomorrow.”

“No, that’s OK.” Georgia could see Mel was upset. “Come in.” She ushered her towards the kitchen. “We’ll have a cup of tea.”

“Oh, I could certainly do with one. I’ve just come back from seeing Ewan. Some money’s gone missing from where he was working today, and they’re saying he took it!”


The water boiled and came off the boil again. The tea was forgotten as Mel filled Georgia in on what had happened.

“The place he was at is a company I’ve had dealings with since day one. I’ve always liked the managing director, a chap called Alan. They’re a wholesale supplier and they have one customer who always pays cash.”

“That’s unusual these days.”

“Yes, but that’s the way it is. So he came in this morning just after nine and the money was put away, to be taken to the bank later.”

“Put away where?”

“In a drawer in a desk, which Alan’s daughter says she then noticed Ewan cleaning.”

“Well, that’s what he was there for,” Georgia pointed out.

“Yes, but she says he’d already cleaned it earlier. He’d cleaned that whole area, so there was no need for him to be there again. Then she apparently saw him sneaking outside and putting something in a plastic carrier-bag behind one of the bushes that grow round the building.

“She was suspicious, so she went to check that the cash was still in the drawer. It wasn’t, so she went to look behind the bush, but there was nothing there, either, by then, though she said she definitely witnessed Ewan hiding something there earlier.”

“So what are they saying? That he had an accomplice?”

“Exactly. A partner in crime who came and took it in between Ewan putting it there and Alan’s daughter going out to see what it was.”

“Oh, Mel.” Georgia felt a chill running through her. “So where’s Ewan now? Has he been arrested?”

“No. Alan didn’t call the police. He said it was because of the good relationship he’d always had with me, and not wanting to spoil my firm’s reputation.”

“Kind of him.”

“Yeah. And obviously I’d have Ewan out on his ear, as Alan put it, so it wasn’t as though it would happen again.” Mel frowned. “Ewan denies it totally and I do want to believe him, but there are reasons why I might be biased. I’ll tell you about that some time. But what do you think, Georgia? Do you believe Ewan would do that?”

Georgia stood up.

“No,” she said forcefully, “no, I don’t. Hang on a minute and I’ll show you why.”

She ran the short distance to her office and was back in not much more than the promised minute holding a little bag, the sparkly contents of which she emptied in a clatter on to the table.

“They aren’t diamonds or anything, Mel, but they are semi-precious. Ewan found them out in the back when he was moving a load of rubbish. My grandad knows whose they are – some woman who made jewellery had a workshop here once and she seems to have thrown them out accidentally. He’s been in touch with her and she’s coming to get them.”

Mel nodded.

“I think I remember her, yes. She had a huge clear-out before she left in a bit of a hurry. Some personal problem, I think.”

“The point is –”

“If Ewan was a thief, he could easily have kept them!” Mel finished for Georgia.

“Absolutely. But he didn’t; he brought them straight to me. Amy was with me. We’d just finished her French lesson and were talking. . .”

Georgia broke off, hearing what sounded like Number 11’s main front door being opened. She saw from her expression that Mel had heard it, too.

They looked at each other in the gloom of the kitchen, for neither of them had switched on the light.

“Who can this be, so late?” Mel whispered.

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.