11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 49

Over the next few days, though, everywhere Georgia went in Number 11 she seemed suddenly to see things that needed doing. Standing at the door leading down to the unused cellars, and wondering whether she dared go down to inspect them, she nearly lost her footing jumping out of the way of a large spider that came scuttling towards her.

Even before she turned, she knew it was Alex who had grabbed hold of her. It wasn’t just that the two arms now round her were encased in the honey-coloured corduroy of his usual jacket. It was more that she’d felt those arms around her once before.

“Thanks,” she said, steadying herself. Then, when he made no effort to continue on his way, she felt she should say something. “I was going to have a look to see what’s down there.”

“Spiders,” he said with a smile. “And you never know, maybe the odd tiger. No-one ever goes down.” He widened his expressive summer-blue eyes. “Or maybe they do and they just never come back up!”

Georgia laughed, as much in her joyful realisation that the tension that had existed between them recently seemed to have gone as in response to his words.

Following him back out on to the main corridor, she explained that she was becoming aware that a lot of work needed doing on the property.

“So I was doing a kind of inspection,” she finished, still delighting in the natural way they were talking to each other again. “A survey.”

Alex shrugged.

“I don’t think there’s anything that urgent. But probably you’re right, it could maybe do with a bit of loving care – as we all could,” he added as an afterthought.

He went quiet. She wondered if he was thinking about his wife, whom he’d lost when their daughter, Amy, was just a little girl. Then he smiled again, but it was a different smile from earlier. Wistful was the word that came into her mind.

“I’m glad things are working out for you, Georgia.” He touched her arm gently and then he was gone.

Whatever did he mean by that?

Georgia gazed after his departing figure. He sounded as though he was talking about her love life – which of course she didn’t have. Though he may have seen her in Neil’s car with him that time.

At the time she’d hoped that Alex had – that it would reassure him that she knew their kiss outside Amy’s school had meant nothing. It had just been an expression of relief that the kids were OK – everyone was kissing and hugging everyone else.

From his changed attitude today, it seemed he had at last stopped worrying that she’d misunderstood the situation. She was pleased, but aware, too, of another feeling, much harder to describe . . .

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.