A Year In France – Episode 53

Supplied © A Year In France illustration by Mandy Dixon

Maddy pressed the key on her computer for Skype to ring Julia and sat back. She was looking forward to this video call and was hoping Julia would have the time to sit and talk. It was ages since they’d had a proper chat.

The ringing buzz sounded for over a minute and Maddy was about to click the off button when Julia answered.

“Hi. I was beginning to think you were avoiding me,” Maddy joked.

“Sorry. I was in the bathroom,” Julia said. “I think I’ve picked up a tummy bug, which is the last thing I need this week with moving and everything else that’s going on.”

“You do look a bit pale,” Maddy said, concerned.

Pale was an understatement. She’d never seen Julia look quite so rough. Not that she was going to tell her that.

“Any chance of you going to bed and sleeping it off?” she suggested.

“Not this week; it’s moving day tomorrow. Anyway, how are things with you? Any urgent news I should know about?”

“Things are good here. Nothing important for you to worry about until next month, when we’ll start some publicity for Luc.”

“No problem. How’s Dannie?”

Maddy told Julia about the latest developments in Dannie’s life, wishing Julia had asked how Luc was instead. She had lots to tell her about him.

“I did break one of my golden rules at the weekend,” Maddy said, taking a deep breath. “You know the one about not mixing with clients?”

“I bet that was with Luc,” Julia said, a smile on her face. “What happened?”

“I went to a party with him and met his sister.”

“He’s introducing you to his family already? Is she nice?”

“Very. She’s got some sort of high-flying job in the city. She interrogated me in the nicest possible way and told me lots about Luc.”

“Such as?” Julia asked, intrigued.

“They both grew up in the country. He hates spiders. He loves dogs and is desperate to have one again. I’m the first girlfriend he’s had that he’s introduced to her, so she thinks . . .” Maddy took a deep breath, frightened to put it into words. “She thinks that he thinks I’m special.”

“Do you feel the same?” Julia said, knowing how much Maddy had longed to find someone special herself.

Maddy nodded.

“I know it’s early days, but I like him so much it scares me. What if –”

“No what ifs,” Julia said. “Just take it slowly. Like I did with Philippe.”

Maddy burst out laughing.

“If that was taking things slowly, then I’m a lost cause.”

Julia grinned.

“At least you’re both in London. No long-distance relationship for you.”

“That’s true.”

“I nearly forgot. Have you planned anything for Christmas?” Julia asked.

“It’s still weeks away,” Maddy said. “I haven’t thought about it. Why?”

“I’d love you to come here, that’s why. But you’ll need to book a flight soon. You can bring Luc if you want and I can check him out. Ugh, I’m going to be sick again. Gotta go.”

Julia pressed the disconnect button.

Maddy sat for a while, thinking. The idea of spending time with Julia in France definitely appealed.

Thoughtfully she typed a message to Julia.

Sorry you’re not well. Feel better soon. Will think about Christmas.

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.