One Summer In France – Episode 02

For weeks Libby had agonised over what to do. So many questions had tumbled around in her head. As Chloe had so kindly pointed out, she had a big birthday coming up, but hopefully she still had a lot of years ahead of her. She had to do something, and working at something she enjoyed would be better than doing any old thing. But could she resurrect the dream by herself?

It was remembering Dan describing how he longed to get out of the rut they were in that made her decide. The rut could only get deeper as the years went by. So she’d picked up the phone, ignored the trembling of her hand, and told Agnes that yes, she still wanted to buy the auberge. On her own.

Since the decision had been made and everything had fallen into place, she’d been outwardly buoyed up with enthusiasm, but at the same time she was secretly terrified at what she had set in motion. When Helen, Dan’s sister and Chloe’s godmother, voiced her concern, she tried to explain her feelings.

“It’s such a big step, Libby. I know it was always a dream of yours and Dan’s to do this together, but on your own?” Helen had shaken her head.

“I know,” Libby said. “But I have to do something and I’m a big girl now. I’m sure I’ll cope on my own. Chloe will be there for the summer, too, don’t forget.” She’d smiled reassuringly.

Helen failed to look convinced.

“Helen, please don’t worry. I can’t tell you how energised I feel about this move. After the last couple of years I feel like I’m waking up again. I’m certain I’m doing the right thing. If I’m not, and it all goes wrong, I can always come home.”

“Well, I wish you all the luck in the world,” Helen said. “Can I visit?”

“Of course. You’ll be more than welcome.”

Now, alone in the auberge bedroom which she and Dan had occupied together so often, she could only pray that she’d done the right thing in coming to France on her own. Thoughtfully Libby put Dan’s photograph back down on the floor.

“I’ll make our dream come true,” she whispered.

“Morning, Mum.” Chloe pushed open the bedroom door with her foot. “Brought you breakfast,” she said, carefully placing a tray on the bed.

“Goodness,” Libby said looking at the fresh croissants on the tray. “You’re up and about early.”

“Did my run to the village.” Chloe grinned. “Where the boulangerie just happened to be open. So I’ve earned my pain au chocolat. You’ll have to work yours off later!”

“That won’t be hard,” Libby said, “with this place to be sorted. Lots of unpacking to do today. Mmm, I’d forgotten how good these are,” she added, dunking her pain au chocolat in the bowl of coffee in true French style.

The sudden noisy crowing of a cockerel startled them.

“Napoleon,” Chloe said. “He wants his breakfast.”

Libby looked at her blankly.

“You remember, Mum. Agnes told you she was leaving the hens and ducks. Napoleon the cockerel comes with them. I’ll feed them, if you like, while you shower.”


Libby sighed as Chloe left the room. She was going to miss having her around when she left for college, leaving her to live alone for the first time ever. Running her shower and standing under the hot invigorating water, Libby pushed all thoughts of Chloe leaving away. She wouldn’t start worrying about it now. There was a whole summer to enjoy before she left.

Margaret Scott

Margaret is a sub-editor within the Production Team on the "Friend". Her main job is to work on the stories and make sure the magazine leaves us in its best possible guise. When not doing that, however, she either has her head buried in the old “Friend” volumes or is out and about giving talks or going on Warner trips (fab!). She hates cheese.