One Summer In France – Episode 39

Walking back to the auberge, Helen said, “So you’ve got a treat arranged with Lucas, then?”

“Seems like it,” Libby said. “I’m spending the evening with him and a group of his friends at the jazz festival,” she added, knowing that Helen would keep probing until she told her.

“It sounds like a date to me,” Helen said.

As Libby went to protest her mobile rang. It was Chloe.

“Darling, how are you?”

“I’m fine. Is Auntie Helen still with you? I need you to ask her to do me a favour,” Chloe said. “Alastair has invited me to his end-of-term undergraduate do and I need my ball dress. I can’t afford to buy another one. It’s in the wardrobe in my room so can you ask her to please bring it back with her?”

“Shouldn’t be a problem,” Libby said. “So this Alastair is a student, then? Not someone you work with?”

“He’s a third-year medical student and I’ll tell you all about him when I come home, Mum, so stop fishing. Sorry, I’ve got to go. I’m phoning from work. Thank Auntie Helen for me and tell her I’ll have the kettle on when she gets back.”

Chloe had made no mention of actually bringing Alastair to meet her. Libby sighed as she turned to Helen.

“You have an urgently needed ball gown to take back with you, if that’s OK? Alastair is taking her to his university ball.”

“No problem,” Helen said. “And don’t worry – if I get to meet this Alastair, I’ll phone you straight away with all the details.”


Suzette settled back into her seat with a sigh of contentment as the train pulled out of the Paris station. The weekend had been good, but now she was glad to be leaving. A couple more hours and the heat and bustle of the city would be behind her and she’d be back in the quiet countryside of Brittany to enjoy the summer on her own terms.

It was good that Malik had at last accepted her decision to disappear for the summer.  She knew so long as she spoke to him on the phone regularly, promised to keep exercising and be back in Paris for September, he’d stop worrying. Sitting there as the train gathered speed and hurtled past vineyards and fields of sunflowers before reaching the artichoke farms of Brittany, Suzette let her thoughts drift.

She had so many plans to enjoy a normal life for the next couple of months. She’d get involved in village life, visit the coast, wander around the exhibition at Pont l’Abaye, make friends with Libby. And all the time she’d be incognito, enjoying just being herself.

Suzette even had the germ of an exciting idea about where her future could lie.



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.