One Summer In France – Episode 61

The cabin, hidden away behind the main office, had a desk with a pile of paperwork over it and a tray of seedlings perched on top. Pascal closed the door behind them.

“Malik gone back to Paris?” he asked.

“A couple of days ago,” Suzette said. She looked at Pascal. “He’s a good friend. We go back a long way.” She fiddled with the strap of her watch before saying, “You know how I was at a crossroads in my life? Well, he was a part of it.”

“Are you and he more than friends?” Pascal said.

Suzette shook her head.

“You were holding hands.”

“That’s because . . .” Suzette took a deep breath. Confession time. “Pascal, I’m not really Evie Patem. Well, I am, sort of, but my real name is –”

“Suzette Shelby, and you’re an internationally famous ballet dancer,” Pascal finished for her. “And Malik was your dance partner before he became a choreographer.”

Suzette’s mouth opened in surprise as she stared at him.

“How did you know? Libby? She promised not to tell anyone.”

Pascal shook his head.

“My mother. I had my suspicions from the first time I met you that you weren’t who you said you were. Mother confirmed it when she met you, and Malik turning up was another clue.”

Suzette could only stare at him, speechless.

“My mother has always adored the ballet and frequently goes to Paris. She says you dance exquisitely. She likens you to Violette Verdy at her best.”

Suzette smiled.

“My mother would have adored hearing that. It was always her ambition for me to be up with the best French dancers. Verdy, Sylvie Guillem – personally I always wanted to be Lesley Caron.”

“So has being Evie Patem and staying in Brittany helped you make a plan for the future?” Pascal asked quietly.

“Yes. Now my dancing days are coming to an end I intend to make a new career for myself with embroidery and haute couture.” She paused. “I’m also going to leave Paris and move to Brittany.”

Pascal gave her a broad smile.


Suzette nodded.

“Of course I have to find somewhere permanent to live and . . .” She hesitated. “I’d really like to stay as Evie, but Libby has already pointed out the difficulties with doing that. So at some point I have to let it be known I am Suzette Shelby.” She sighed. “Then the media circus will hit town, I expect.”

Pascal dismissed that with a wave of his hand.

“A week or two and then somebody else will be in the news.”

“I hope you’re right,” Suzette said. “I’ve loved being Evie. I wish I could stay with her.”

“You’ll always be Evie to me,” Pascal said. “Although my mother will probably insist on calling you Suzette. She’ll be over the moon that I’ve fallen in love with someone famous.”

“Fallen in love?” Suzette whispered as Pascal took her gently in his arms and kissed her.

It was minutes later when Suzette stood back and looked at Pascal.

“I’ve still got to tell Malik tonight that I’m not dancing ‘Swan Lake’ this autumn. I think he’s expecting the news, but I know he’ll be cross and disappointed.”

Pascal took hold of her hands.

“Would you dance it this last time for me? I’d love to see you dance.”

“You would? But what if I have another injury? I know it’s only a week of performances. But what if?”

Pascal silenced her with his finger across her lips.

“Shush. Life is full of what ifs. I just think you need to bring the curtain down on your dancing career properly, not just fade away.”

Evie looked at him silently as Pascal took his phone out of his pocket and handed it to her.

“Phone Malik and tell him your decision. You’ll dance for him one more time – not just for him, but for you and me, too.”

Evie smiled at him as she took the phone. Pascal was right. Allowing the curtain to fall after a final week of dancing and saying a proper farewell to her old life could only be a liberating experience. One that would leave her free to pursue her new life without regrets.



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.