A Time To Reap – Episode 60

A Time To Reap

The next few hours passed in a blur of opening and shutting gates to keep in or keep out their woolly flock. At least Peggy could do that.

She wasn’t completely useless . . .

“Peg! I said keep that one in!” Alec looked at her in exasperation as a sheep seized a chance to dart out of the pen and escape up the hillside.

Peggy burst into tears.

It was so unlike her that her husband and sons gaped.

“Not recipes. Mamie’s teaching me to drive!” She gulped. “Why can’t we have a phone installed?”

Suddenly all her worries tumbled out.

“Col’s going away and now Davy’s thinking of –”

“Mum, don’t say it!” Davy’s voice was agonised. “How did you know?”

“Know what?”

Alec’s bark was gone. He sounded bewildered.

“And you’re learning to drive? But why Mamie? I’d have taken you out.”

Peggy fumbled for a hankie.

“I don’t think that would have worked.”

Alec gave a reluctant smile.

“Aye, right enough. It’s brave of you to have a go at it, Peg. It’d be a big help, having another driver. What’s all this other stuff – a phone, the lads?”

He held up his hand.

“Don’t tell me just now. Let’s get this lot finished. It seems I’ve no idea what’s happening under my own roof.”

*  *  *  *

Elizabeth had wondered if Andy would come over on Sunday – dreading the thought, or at least half-dreading it, because part of her wanted things brought out into the open.

But he hadn’t.

As she came near his house on the way back from the hospital on Monday afternoon she saw his car parked outside. Should she get it over with? But what would she say?

Hey, Andy, sorry if I gave you the wrong idea. Actually, I was trying to get you and Crys together. When I danced with you I was trying to avoid someone else.

Someone who’s cracked my heart open with a sledge-hammer. Someone I must forget about.

Andy appeared, carrying his vet’s bag. He came over and she wound down the car window.

“How’s Libby?”

“Doing well. We’ll get her home tomorrow.”


There was a pause.

“Do you have a minute?”

Inside, Andy took off his tweed cap and twisted it in his hands.

“Have you got a call to go to?” Elizabeth asked to break the silence.

“It can wait.” He put the cap down. “We’ve been pals for a long time, you and me, haven’t we, Elizabeth? And I thought you were the bonniest girl about the place. I wish I’d told you that before Matthew came on the scene.”

“Andy . . .” Elizabeth couldn’t bear the anguish in his eyes.

“Let me say it, now I’ve started. Over the last few weeks I’ve thought that, after two years, you were, well, not forgetting Matthew, of course, but maybe ready to . . . I was going to speak on Saturday at the ball; tell you –”

“Andy,” she pleaded.

“You’ve always been the only girl for me. But when we danced I didn’t think you felt the same way. I would love to be wrong about that.”

He held her gaze until she looked away.

“I’m sorry, Andy.”

Looking at his face go pale under its ruddy complexion, Elizabeth hated herself. This was what her well-intentioned scheming had done.

Andy tried to smile.

“Bad timing again. That’s my problem, I think.”

He put his cap back on.

“Still pals, though?”

“Of course. Always.”

One day, she hoped, he’d find with some other woman the happiness he deserved.

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.