A Year In France – Episode 17

Supplied © A Year In France illustration by Mandy Dixon

By the time Maddy got back to the flat that evening she was exhausted and had decided that a bowl of pasta would be a quick and easy supper before she collapsed into bed.

A happy, smiling Dannie greeted her.

“Supper’s ready. It’s nothing special – just some soup followed by an omelette.”

“That sounds wonderful. Did you have a good day?” Maddy asked.

“I’ve got a job! Well, two, actually!” was Dannie’s excited reply.

“Wow, that was quick. Where? When do you start?”

“The coffee bar down by the station. The guy’s Italian. I start tomorrow at ten and finish at two. He says he can’t afford me more than three days a week at the moment, but that’s fine because next week I start a job in a dress shop for three afternoons.”

Dannie glanced at Maddy.

“Pay isn’t brilliant for either of them, but it’s a start,” she added quietly.

“Have you phoned your mum to tell her yet?” Maddy said.

Dannie nodded.

“She’s got everything crossed for me.” She smiled at Maddy. “She really appreciated talking to you the other day. She says she owes you big time for sorting me out, and any time you fancy a visit up north you’re more than welcome.”

“I might just take her up on that one day,” Maddy said.

* * * *

Dannie was out working on Saturday morning and Maddy was blitzing the flat before dragging herself out to do a supermarket shop, when Julia called.

“Hi. How are you doing? Burning the midnight oil as usual with book fair prep?” Julia asked.

“More than usual this year. Kirsty has become very keen at delegating. As for Leah, well, let’s just say the woman irritates me! I’m seriously thinking of moving on,” Maddy admitted.

“You could start your own business,” Julia suggested. “I know we’ve had that discussion lots of times, but seriously, why not?”

“Why not? In a word: money. Anyway,” Maddy said, changing the subject, “I’m about to go and stock up with food, including your favourite chocolate and wine. Is there anything else you fancy?

“What time is your flight arriving on Tuesday? I’m really looking forward to having you here.”

“It would have been wonderful.” Julia sighed heavily.

“What? What are you saying?”

“I felt so guilty over leaving Philippe and jetting off to enjoy myself that I left it too late to book flights,” Julia said. “So I’m not coming. I’m staying here.”

There was no need to add that she’d deliberately left it too late. Or to tell Maddy she needed to sort out her French life before she could even think of taking a flight back to the UK.

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.