11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 52

Mel turned her attention to Georgia, resuming a conversation they had been having before Alex joined them.

“So, are you sure? Is it definitely OK, me having one of the empty offices here temporarily, till I take possession of the place I’m buying? It won’t interfere with you being able to rent the space to anyone else?”

“No, you’re welcome. It’s lovely having you here.”

Georgia resisted the temptation to add that the enquiries about the empty offices she was receiving were few and far between.

The area round Ladysmile Lane was just not where people wanted to be these days, since the closure of all the mills along the canal. But Mel had things of her own to sort out without Georgia burdening her with her problems.

“Thanks.” Mel smiled. “Hopefully it’ll just be a few weeks. Ruth’s bashing on with the legal work for me. It’s just, I don’t want to go back to the garage after all this, and anyway, Des will sell it quicker if I’m not there.”

“He’s going to sell it now, rather than rent it out?”

“Yes, he’s decided it isn’t all fun being a landlord!”

Georgia didn’t say anything. In truth, she had been thinking more and more about Neil’s offer. The plan she’d formulated about setting up a language school hadn’t taken off the way she’d hoped. She had only a couple of pupils, apart from the extra tuition she was also giving Amy.

In many ways, she was very grateful she’d offered to make Amy’s special dress for her – apart from anything else, it had kept her busy and stopped her worrying.

She was enjoying doing it. Could she maybe think of doing something like that professionally? Her grandad, she knew, would be thrilled if she did. It would be keeping his own trade going and he’d seemed really impressed by Amy’s dress when he’d seen it.

That had, however, only been at about its halfway stage. As he’d said, he’d want to see it again as a finished product before giving it his final seal of approval. She smiled. She’d make sure he did.

That evening, she went to take a look at the new houses that her grandad had said were being built near him. As he’d also said, she liked it there, with its peaceful, semi-rural location, and with the money for Ladysmile Lane she’d be able to buy herself one outright.

The showhouse was still open – it was their late night – and she walked round it. You couldn’t fail to be impressed.

Everything was stunning, all sparkling and new and carefully chosen, by an interior designer, most likely.

But it was too big. One of the smaller ones in the development would be better for her. As the building company’s representative said, this particular design was really for a family. On the brochure was a smiling couple and a teenage girl.

Briefly the image she’d seen reflected in the café mirror when she’d gone shopping with Amy that time, of the two of them and Alex, who’d brought Amy into town, popped into her mind. How like a family they’d looked, though of course they weren’t. And the trio on the brochure – they would just be models.

Things, Georgia was well aware, were not always what they appeared. People had thought she and Russ were the perfect couple, when in fact their relationship, at least on his part, had been a sham.

But that was a closed chapter in her life now. She returned her thoughts to the present and Neil’s offer. It was a good one. She’d checked it out with several sources – surely an indication that she was now taking it more seriously.

Because, for the first time ever, she was no longer so sure what she would tell him . . .

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.