11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 27

Alex was with Amy when Georgia arrived at the café where they’d arranged to meet.

“It’s OK,” Amy assured her as she sat down beside them. “Dad’s just given me a lift here. He’s not coming with us!”

They had barely started the drinks in front of them, so Georgia ordered a coffee, too. Catching their reflections in a big mirror on the opposite wall, she was struck by how much they resembled a happy family group.

Which just showed how deceptive appearances could be. Alex, of course, had suffered great loss with the death of his wife. And Georgia, too, had unhappiness in her recent past.

Looking at Amy, in pink denim today and full of excitement, her whole life before her, Georgia wondered what lay ahead for the girl. She sincerely hoped it was good.

“Right, I’ll leave you two to it.” Alex’s voice brought her back to the present. As he got to his feet he smiled at her and added, in much the same tone as her mum had earlier, “And good luck!”

It wasn’t long before Georgia understood. Into every clothes shop in the mall they went, and out of every one they emerged empty-handed.

To most of what was on display, Amy didn’t even give a second glance. It was only when encouraged by Georgia that she tried a few things on. But then she declared them, too, to be unsuitable.

Just as they were leaving a newly opened shop Amy paused at the door and looked back.

“Have you seen something you like?” Georgia asked her hopefully.

“No. It’s just that woman. I’m sure I’ve seen her before, but I can’t think where.”

“Which woman?”

“That one in the smart suit, looking at the shoes. Those lime-green ones seem to have caught her eye.”

“Have you seen the heels on them?” Georgia marvelled. “They must be about six inches!”

“At least.”

“Well, rather her them than me,” Georgia said. “Even in my flats, my feet are killing me right now. Fancy a break?”

They were out of the mall now, on the ordinary streets. She pointed at a sign outside the old library building, advertising coffee.

“How about in there?”

While they waited for their drinks they admired the paintings on the walls, the handiwork of a local art group. There were several of the canal and suddenly Amy raised her hand.

“That’s where I’ve seen that woman before! Sometimes I walk to school along the canal path. She was there one morning, clambering down the bank.”

“Not in footwear like she was buying today?”

“Yes, she was, that’s why I remember her. She was all done up to the nines, and wearing incredibly high heels – bright yellow.

“It was comical because she was falling all over the place. She was with a man who was smartly dressed as well…”

She broke off as their drinks and a couple of Danish pastries arrived.

Duly fortified, they set off again, this time to search the smaller shops down the side streets.

But these, too, had nothing for which Amy was looking.

“I wanted something special,” she lamented when, calling it a day, Georgia gave her a lift home.

“To impress this boy – Josh, wasn’t that his name?”

“No. There’s someone else I like now. But this whole afternoon . . . The annoying thing is I know exactly what I want.” Amy broke off to give directions. But then, as they pulled up outside a tidy-looking semi, she continued. “I’ve even drawn a picture of it. Do you want to come in and see?”

Alex appeared as Georgia followed Amy inside. He had a large spoon in his hand and a delicious smell was coming from the open door to the kitchen.

“Pasta,” he explained as Amy went bounding upstairs, “and you’re most welcome to join us. You look as though you could do with something to revive you!”

“I am a bit weary.”

“Come and sit down.”

He ushered her into a cosy living-room where she sank gratefully on to a comfy sofa.

Moments later, Amy came clattering back down the stairs with a sketch book.

“See? That’s the type of thing I was looking for.”

Georgia examined the drawing. It was an accomplished piece of work, and quite different from anything they’d seen in the shops.

She surprised herself with her next words.

“Actually, I have experience of dressmaking, so how about if I made it for you?”

“To my design?” Amy’s eyes lit up the same as her dad’s did. “That would be so cool! Oh, Georgia, thank you!”

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.