11 Ladysmile Lane – Episode 60

“He’s not my boyfriend,” she whispered. “No way!”

She realised she’d said the last bit more loudly than she’d intended in her desire to disassociate herself from any romantic connection with Neil. She stepped back from the door, not wanting him to see her.

“But I saw you with him in his car . . .” Alex began.

Georgia nodded, remembering the incident and how she’d been pleased at the time, wanting Alex to think she was involved with someone else.

“So I presumed,” Alex continued, “that he was your ex. That you had got back with him.”

“No, he’s not my ex, either. But what do you know about him?” She didn’t believe she’d ever mentioned Russ. There had been no reason. He was truly in the past.

“Nothing, really,” Alex finally said after a pause. “Except there had been someone in your life that your friend, Carly, thought you might get back with. Carly knows Mel’s neighbour, that’s how I heard.”

“Well, Carly was wrong,” Georgia said, shaking her head. “She’s always getting things like that mixed up. Yes, there was someone when I was working overseas, but I was never going to get back with him. I wouldn’t want to. I haven’t seen or spoken to him since I came home, and I won’t be.”

“Ah, right. In that case . . .”

Georgia was aware of a change in Alex’s tone, but she couldn’t hear any more of what he actually said. Neil had now seen her and was waving.

Shaking her red hair back, she stepped out to face him.

“You didn’t reply to my text message, Georgia,” he said as he reached her. “I just came by to make sure tonight’s still on. I’ve missed you while I’ve been away, but business called –”

“It did not! You were on holiday . . .” she paused, noting his suntan “. . .with your fiancée. In my book that’s a good reason not to reply to any of your texts ever again. So don’t bother sending me any!” Georgia herself was surprised at the fury in her voice.

Neil didn’t reply immediately. But the way his normally smiling face hardened spoke volumes to her.

Eventually he spoke quietly because, she assumed, he was aware there were other people not too far away.

“As you will. But what about my offer? You’ll not get another the same.”

“I am not interested in selling and that’s final.” Georgia, too, spoke quietly. “But the truth is, I might get one a lot better than yours before long – as you know every bit as well as I do, Neil. So just go!” Her voice was now raised.

“Hang on a minute.” He grabbed hold of her wrist, none too gently.

“You heard her,” a voice – Alex’s – said beside her. He had come out of the kitchen with Eloise. “Just go!”

Neil glowered aggressively at Alex.

Then he seemed to think better of it and started towards the door, with Alex accompanying him just to make sure he left the building.

“Phew!” Eloise exclaimed. “You’re well rid of him. His aura was all wrong!”

For once in full agreement with an opinion of Eloise’s, Georgia had to laugh.

As for Alex, who had now returned from escorting Neil out, she noticed he was smiling, too – positively beaming, in fact. He stood there, just looking at her.

She supposed it might just be similar to the incident outside Amy’s school, when he’d kissed her – an expression of relief that something tense was over.

She suddenly felt awkward – though it was a different awkwardness from the one she’d had after that kiss.

“Amy’s dress,” she said. “Has your client gone?”

He nodded.

“OK, I’ll get it for you.”

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.