11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 57

Georgia turned to him.

“What do you mean?”

Ewan looked awkward.

“It was just something we heard, Harrison and me, on a job we did. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. Harrison doesn’t like idle talk.”

“Go on, tell us,” Amy urged. “He won’t mind, not if it’s just us.”

She smiled at Ewan, and Georgia thought he might well be persuaded by her. But then Harrison himself came past the door. Though he looked to Georgia as though he would have preferred to go straight to his office, Mel collared him.

“It’s OK, I’m not breaking any confidences by telling you there is talk about a proposal to develop the whole of this area,” he said once they explained. “They plan to clean up the canal and convert the mills. They’ve done it successfully in plenty of other towns and cities. Suddenly a forgotten and neglected area becomes much sought-after and trendy.” He shrugged. “We’ll see what happens, but for what it’s worth I think it will go ahead and there will be an announcement soon.”

With that and a brief goodbye nod, he turned and went, nearly colliding with Brett, who was on his way in. When Brett was told what they had learned, he was elated.

“Marvellous news! Our businesses will be right at the heart of things!”

Leaving him enthusing, Georgia took the opportunity to steal away in Harrison’s wake, but Mel followed her out into the corridor.

“Georgia! Do you reckon that is what’s behind the size of Neil’s offer?”

“I’m certain of it. He’s got wind of it and knows property prices are likely to soar, and that Number Eleven is definitely the best building hereabouts. It probably was that pair that Amy saw, scouting out the area, him and his . . . fiancée,” Georgia finished, still appalled by Neil’s deceit.

“About me staying on here,” Mel asked. “Are you going to sell, do you think?”

“No, I’m not!”

After all the soul-searching she’d done, Georgia surprised herself with the speed and certainty of her reply. And then she realised that she wouldn’t have sold the dear old place even if Neil had upped his offer even further.

“I’m not selling to him,” she stated, “or to anyone else! Please forget I ever mentioned it and, yes, please stay, Mel.”

They were disturbed by Ruth arriving. Georgia left her talking to Mel about Mel’s plans to purchase that were now not going to happen, and went gratefully into her own room. She wanted to be alone to digest the recent events.

She felt used. Neil had tried to trick her in two respects – both in relation to Number 11 and also the way he had tried to woo her when he was already engaged to someone else. What she’d like to say to him!

She had the opportunity when another text message arrived from him.

Are you OK for dinner tonight – you haven’t replied. And I do need an answer to my latest offer then, too.

Neil x

Georgia looked at it, trying to compose in her head a suitably scathing response. Then she decided he wasn’t worth the effort.

No, she hadn’t replied – Neil was right about that. And she wouldn’t, either . . .

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.