Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 49


Iona was so deep in planning the next few months that she barely noticed the man in a loose greatcoat standing next to her, scrutinising the paintings intently. At last, he sighed.

“I dreamed of this once, too, you know.”

“Papa!”

She turned to meet Hugh’s eyes. Her first impulse was to fling her arms around him, her second was to flee.

“I’m not coming back,” she said firmly. “Whatever you do, I’m not coming back.”

“No, I don’t expect you are.”

He turned his gaze to the paintings.

“I had a chance once, long ago, before you were born. Fear led me to throw it away . . .” he cleared his throat “. . . along with the love of a good woman.”

He turned back to face his daughter.

“I’ve paid for that fear for the rest of my life. I have no wish to inflict my mistakes on you, dearest Iona.” He took her hand, his gaze switching to a far corner of the gallery. “Any of my mistakes.”

Iona followed his gaze. Next to one of the windows stood Sara Appleford, her arm firmly through that of her son as if to prevent any chance of escape.

“I’m reliably informed Taran has been breaking his heart in silence for months, until Sara found you, as she was determined to do.

“And I have been told in no uncertain terms that his mother will never speak to me again if I should stand in the way of your happiness, both as an artist and a wife.”

A faint smile came over Hugh’s pale features.

“You see, my dear, I am determined that, however long it takes, I shall strive to regain Sara’s trust.”

Iona blinked away tears.

“I didn’t want to run away from you, Papa. I’ve missed you terribly. I just felt I was being stifled. I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Yes, well,” he said gruffly. “Perhaps if I’d paid more attention to you rather than feeling sorry for myself, I might have realised I had passed on my talents, after all.” He kissed her gently on the cheek.

“You have a talent that far surpasses mine, my dear. But perhaps I shall be able to learn a little from you, and find my own way once more.”

Iona watched as he walked over to Sara, drawing her into conversation with Mr Garamond and his sister.

Taran remained by the window.

“You don’t have to go,” Iona said, hastily joining him as he turned towards the door. “Please don’t go. If it hadn’t been for you, none of this would have been possible.”

“You would have found a way.” Taran sounded wistful. “I know you would have found a way.”

“Maybe,” Iona replied, smiling. “But then, I would never have found you.”

“I’m sorry,” he began earnestly. “I never meant to hurt you.”

“Don’t be sorry. I can see now that you were in an impossible position. The important thing is that you are here now.”

He took her hands in his.

“I never intend to leave unless you bid me, dearest Iona. These last months have taught me how empty my life is without you. But I will do whatever you wish. All I want is your happiness.”

Iona held his hands tight and drew him closer.

“Then never leave me.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.