Keep It In The Family – Episode 27

Sarah was at her usual table in the coffee shop. Freya had become a good friend over the last few weeks and Sarah popped in every day.She found Freya a fascinating woman. She was still young and yet she had done so much with her life, with her voluntary work overseas, her creativity and her enterprise in finding an outlet for it at the craft mart from which she earned a reasonable living. She ran the coffee shop like clockwork, even though she had only taken it over temporarily.“I doubt there’s anything she can’t do,” she told Paul when he dropped in to meet her for coffee. “She bakes the best cakes I’ve ever tasted!”Halfway through one of Freya’s cranberry cupcakes, Paul could only nod approvingly and give a thumbs-up.“I admire her,” Sarah mused, watching her sister-in-law serve another table of customers with her usual easy charm.“I think that’s everyone happy for the moment,” Freya said, joining them with a smile and her own cup of Earl Grey tea.“Top cake, Freya,” Paul assured her. “Feel free to use me as a guinea-pig for any other new flavours you fancy trying.”“Why, thank you, young sir. So, what’s new with you two?”Sarah’s face clouded as she glanced at Paul.“Oh, nothing much.”Freya was quick to pick up on the change of mood.“What’s up?”“Someone’s still bad-mouthing Willson’s, and people still think it must be Paul just because he works for Radley’s. But we never talk about work, do we, Paul?” She looked to him for agreement and he quickly shook his head.“Nope. I’m lucky if I can get a word in edgewise about anything,” he teased, and Sarah playfully swiped at him.“Cheek! Anyway,” she continued, “what do we know about anything that’s going on there? I hardly see Rosie or Adam these days.”Freya looked a little uneasy. Adam was a tricky subject since his walk-out.“Is he working back here now?” Paul asked.“He’s done a few shifts,” Freya conceded. “I know he was always meant to come back and take over again, but not while I was still here.” She glanced around the cosy coffee shop and sighed a little. “I’ve kind of got into my own way of doing things.”She knew she had made a difference to the place and was proud to see the way the business had picked up.Freya had asked for Sarah’s help in some new marketing proposals for the craft mart and she had a portfolio of sample posters and ads in her bag. During the next lull between customers, Freya pored over them, enthusiastic and admiring of Sarah’s ideas.“I love this poster! It really catches the eye. And the way you’ve reproduced it for the ads, it would give the place a brand identity.”“That’s exactly what I was aiming for,” Sarah agreed. “Then it could be used on all the advertising, brochures and leaflets, maybe even a painted sign above the door.”Freya’s eyes were shining as she leafed through the boards.“I knew you were the right person to ask about this. You seem to have an instinct for it.”Sarah nodded enthusiastically.“I think I’ve found my niche which is a bit unusual in my family!”The door opened and Adam walked in.“Hi, Freya. Sarah, I didn’t expect to see you here.” He was smiling until his gaze fell on Paul. His eyes narrowed.“Don’t I know you?” he asked frostily. “You’re a driver with Radley Transport, aren’t you?”“That’s right,” Paul said with an open smile. Freya and Sarah exchanged a wary look. They had never told Adam about the romance because they’d been unsure how he would react.“What’s the meaning of this?” he demanded.Sarah resisted the urge to giggle; he surely had no idea that he sounded like the disapproving father in a Victorian novel.“This? You mean Paul?” she asked artlessly. “We’re dating.” She twined her fingers with Paul’s and gave him a sweet smile as if to emphasise the point.“And you knew?” he said to Freya, who shrugged.“I was going to mention it but I knew you’d be all uptight about it.”“Too right I’m uptight!” he exploded. “I’ve been racking my brains to figure out who the mole is who has been undermining Willson’s. Now it’s pretty obvious. It’s been him!” He crooked a thumb at Paul.Sarah stood up straighter and fixed him with a glare.“Don’t be ridiculous, Adam. If Paul knew anything about Willson’s the only person he could have got it from would be me. Are you saying you think I’ve been betraying my own family?”The bluster seemed to seep out of Adam at that.“Well, no, of course not. But if it’s not Paul bad-mouthing us all over town, who is it?”Paul had been quiet throughout this exchange, but now he seemed to square his shoulders as he faced up to Adam.“Look, I want no part of the trouble between you and Radley’s. I’m a driver, that’s all. I can drive for anyone. I quit Radley’s today.”Sarah whirled round.“You what? But why?”He took her hand.“My boss knew I was dating you. He kept asking me to find out stuff. I hate the way they were doing things there and there was no way I was going to be a part of it, so I quit.“But there’s something else. I heard the manager talking. Radley’s are going to try to take over Willson’s!”They all stared at him, then Adam stood up.“Let them take over the firm my father built up from nothing? Over my dead body!”


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