11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 31

Georgia hurried after Alex into the anxious crowd that had gathered outside Amy’s school – worried parents like him and family friends – as she now regarded herself, she realised. All were peering along the road, hoping, hoping. . .

“That’s the headteacher,” Alex said, starting towards a woman who was moving amongst them.

“She doesn’t know any more than us,” a man nearby told him.

But even as he was speaking, another woman came rushing out of the main school building with the news they’d all been praying for. Although it had been a big pile-up, all the vehicles had been moving very slowly because of roadworks.

“So no-one is more than a bit shaken, and everyone on our bus is fine!”

The bringer of glad tidings finished up having to shout to be heard above the great cheer from the crowd.

Alex turned and gave Georgia a hug, which suddenly turned into a kiss. A kiss that she wanted to go on and on. . .

“She’s OK?” another voice right beside them asked.

Eloise, who’d followed them from Number 11 in her car, had arrived.

On hearing his reply, she suddenly flung her arms around Alex. Looking around, Georgia saw that everywhere was the same – everyone embracing in their enormous shared relief. Which, of course, was all that Alex’s kiss had been, no doubt. Recalling her response, she felt her face redden.

At that moment the bus arrived. Georgia waited till she saw Amy clambering off, obviously none the worse for the experience, and slipped away to her car. Eloise would give them a lift back.

As she left she thought she heard Alex calling after her, but she felt too embarrassed to turn. How could she have thought his kiss was anything more than a reaction to the drama?

She strove to put the matter in perspective. Her response to the kiss had at least confirmed what she was already pretty certain of. She was finally over Russ, and was no longer “brooding over him”, as her friend Carly had put it.

It was just like she’d said – a release of emotion that Amy was safe.

Yes, it all sounded fine to her as she drove home.

But next morning Georgia was feeling awkward again when she arrived at Number 11 and Alex was the first person she saw. If she could have, she would have just skulked into her office. But there was no chance, because he was pretty much outside her door.

“Thank you,” he said when they met, “for being there yesterday. It meant a lot. I wanted to tell you, but you went dashing off.”

“I had an appointment,” Georgia fibbed.

His eyes met hers.

“Ah. I was worried something was wrong.”

“Not at all.” With an effort, she managed to look away. “There’s no need for thanks, Alex. Like Brett said when his studio ceiling came down, we all help each other here when the need arises. You would have done the same for me, or for Brett or Eloise, or any of the rest. Just as they would have for you, or me for them, or Mel. It was no big deal. . .”

She broke off, fearful that she was gabbling. But she needed him to realise that she understood what had happened. That, indeed, the kiss had been no big deal.

She searched his face for clues that he had got the message, but he was turning away towards Mel who, with vacuum-cleaner in tow, was coming towards them.

“Alex, can I have your advice on something?” Mel asked. “As my accountant?”

Alex nodded, but as he led Mel down the corridor to his office, he glanced back. There was something in his expression, but over this distance Georgia couldn’t work out what it was. . .

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.