Echoes From The Past – Episode 37

Holly took her farewell from Anne and Lewis, put her stuff in her van, and followed Daniel up the drive to his office.

“You don’t have to show me any of your work, you know,” she said, as they approached the door. “Your mum’s lovely, but she did put you in an awkward position.”

He turned and flashed a quick smile.

“Not at all. I’m happy to show you some of the gardens I’ve already completed. Come on in and I’ll boot up the computer.”

It transpired, however, that the computer had been left on, which surprised Dan.

“I can’t have closed it down properly. You can’t ignore a summons from your mother, can you? No harm done.” He clicked a few keys, brought the picture back up, and scrolled through several images till he got to the ones he wanted to show Holly.

Holly was deeply impressed, and in a way, she could see what Anne had meant about their ideas being comparable. They were actually quite different, and of course they were working in entirely different fields, but it was as if they were somehow in tune with each other. She could identify with his designs, just as he seemed to understand her plan for the patchwork hanging. His gardens were all different, but he did have his own distinctive style. By the time she had seen seven or eight of his productions, she felt she would have recognised his work anywhere.

Dan’s mobile rang.

“Carry on looking. I’ll have to answer this, I’m afraid.”

He wandered off to the other end of the office as he took the call, and Holly did indeed carry on looking. At one point, her finger slipped, and she seemed to be seeing a set of drawings, rather than the finished gardens. Anxious not to do the wrong thing, she glanced up at Dan, but he had his back to her and was deep in a conversation about herbaceous plantings.

So she carried on clicking, and realised that what she was seeing were drawings that would originally have been kept in Dan’s ideas book, before he consigned them to the computer. And there was one in particular that stopped her in her tracks. She did not need to check the camera on her mobile to recognise almost the entire garden of Mrs Brenda Harris.

Not quite sure what to do next, Holly somehow got herself out of the ideas list and back to the completed gardens, while she debated with herself what to do. Should she show Dan the photograph, or wait till she had thought about it a bit more? There could be a simple explanation, couldn’t there? He could have done the job and just not yet taken a photograph of it, couldn’t he? But Holly was not convinced.

In the end, just as Dan finished his call and before Holly could say anything, the door opened and a smart blonde figure appeared, smiling brightly at Dan. Holly was absolutely astonished at the swift pang she felt in the middle of her chest as Dan smiled brightly back.

“Well, there’s a nice surprise,” he said. “What are you doing here at this time of day?”

“Working at home this morning,” the girl answered. “I thought I’d call in and check whether or not I’m going to be needed at Saturday’s wedding.”

“Can’t help you there, I’m afraid. You’ll have to consult my mother.” He turned to Holly. “Holly, this is Fiona Webster, a tenant who lives in one of the converted outbuildings on the estate. Fiona, this is Holly Seagrave. She is involved in one of my mother’s projects.”

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!