A Year In France – Episode 15

Supplied © A Year In France illustration by Mandy Dixon

Julia spent the next few days organising things for the time she’d be away.

It was unbelievable how much there was to do for such a short time.

She needed to buy food and get the washing and ironing up to date. She couldn’t help remembering how in her previous life she’d just thrown things into a suitcase and taken off, not worrying about the chaos she left behind.

Organising how to get down to the airport was proving to be a stumbling block. Should she leave the house at five a.m. and catch an early flight? Or should she book a mid-morning one, which meant Philippe losing hours of his writing day driving her to the airport?

Christiane offered to solve her problem.

“Thierry and I can drive you. I’d like the opportunity to do some shopping in Nice,” Christiane said. “And Thierry has wanted to treat me to lunch at the Negresco for weeks now, so he’ll be happy.”

Thierry might be happy at the prospect, but Philippe definitely wasn’t.

“There was no need to ask him. I would have driven you down,” he said when she told him the plan.

Julia gazed at him, exasperated.

“It’s a two-hour drive there and back, and you’ve got a book to edit! Besides, I didn’t ask. They offered.”

“Well, I’ll pick you up.”

“I’ll get an evening flight so as not to disturb your day,” Julia said, smiling.

But as she picked up the phone to book her flights, something inside made her hesitate. Maddy would never tell her she was in the way, but next week was one of the busiest of the year for her. She didn’t need extra hassle from Julia.

Besides, Julia herself had always held the opinion that people sleeping on a sofa bed were always in the way, so how could she inflict herself on Maddy?

She began to question why she was going on her own in the first place. What would she gain from going?

Spending time at the fair would be interesting, but she was so out of the loop now it wasn’t as if she needed to network.

Was she going just to make the point to Philippe that she could do things independently? She was almost beginning to feel as if she were running away from her new life before it had begun properly.

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.