11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 45

In her little office behind her brother-in-law’s garage, Mel peered out the window. Bang, crash, thud! It had been like that all day with the new people moving in.

Or actually, moving things out would be a more apt description – all Des’s equipment seemed to be going.

On her return from the property agent’s earlier, where she’d committed herself to the purchase of the unit she’d shown Alex, she’d had another go at being friendly to them, but in reply got only a curt, “When are you going? Des said it wouldn’t be long.”

She, too, hoped she wouldn’t be long. They were making it very obvious she was there under sufferance. She turned away from the window, but went back to it when she heard one of the new tenants shouting, “Hey, you!”

Ewan was coming on to the garage forecourt, and the man who’d called to him was stepping forward in a challenging manner.

Mel opened her door.

“He’s come to see me,” she said, ushering Ewan into her office.

“Not very friendly, are they?” Ewan said, taking a seat.


“I see they’re taking a lot of stuff out – aren’t they running a garage, then?”

“Des said they were. Maybe a lot of his stuff was old and needs replaced. Or they do specialist vehicles and require different tools.”

“They seem to be cleaning the place like mad. Couldn’t we have got the work?”

“I wasn’t asked! But you’re right, they’re certainly going at it.”

She’d put the kettle on, and with it now boiled, she made them each a cup of coffee. As she was doing it, she thought back to the last time Ewan had been in her office with her, when he’d come for his interview. Though she’d tried to deny it to her sister, Carol, it had been a sentimental decision to offer him work.

The way he looked so like their older brother, Mick – that was the first thing. Then, talking to him had confirmed her suspicions that he was having a hard time. The same as had happened to Mick, though that was different because Mick had left a good home of his own accord, whilst Ewan had never really had one.

Sadness engulfed her, as it always did, even after all this time, whenever she thought of their dear big brother.

It had changed her family, what had happened, made them all more sensitive to those needing help and so she’d taken Ewan on.

But – and this wasn’t sentiment talking, this was business – he’d proved to be an excellent employee, helpful and hardworking.

Handing his cup to him, she saw that Ewan, too, looked deep in thought.

“Penny for them?”

“There’s something I want to talk to you about. Something important, Mel.”

“That carry-on with the stolen money?” She put her hand on his shoulder. “I knew it wasn’t you. We all did. And it’s sorted out now; it’s behind you. I’ve already spoken to Harrison and Alan.”

“No, it’s not that,” Ewan interrupted. He lowered his head into his hands. When he looked up at her again, Mel was startled by how upset he seemed.

“Mel, I’m so sorry to tell you this . . .”

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.