One Summer In France – Episode 64

Libby did as she was told and enjoyed the rare opportunity of taking a long soak in a perfumed bath before changing into her sparkly party dress, and waiting to be summoned downstairs. For the last half hour there had been very little noise in the house, so she assumed preparations were finished and everyone else was now getting ready.

At five past eight the door opened.

“Mum, are you ready? It’s time to party,” Chloe said.

“Before we go downstairs, tell me something,” Libby said. “Are you serious about Alastair?”

Chloe nodded.

“Yes. I know you’ll love him, too, when you get to know him.” She looked at her mother. “My turn. Are you serious about Lucas?”

Libby blushed.

“I could be, if that’s all right with you?”

“It has nothing to do with me. So long as you’re happy.”

Libby nodded.

“I didn’t want you thinking that I was forgetting about your dad – I’ll never do that. I was also afraid you might resent me meeting someone new.”

“Mum, I want you to be happy. Lucas is a lovely man – different from Dad but just as nice,” Chloe said, hugging her. “Come on, birthday girl. Let’s go down.”

With fairy lights strung through the trees, tall Chinese candles dotted around and a Nat King Cole song floating on the air, the auberge terrace and garden had been transformed. As Libby appeared everyone burst into song and “Happy Birthday” temporarily drowned out Nat King Cole’s voice.

Libby smiled as Suzette and Pascal made their way over to her at the end of the song.

“You’ve taken your wig off.”

“Pascal persuaded me it was time. I’m hoping people here will still treat me like Evie, though, rather than Suzette.”

“I promise I will,” Libby said.

Later, when the barbecue was dying down and the food had been eaten, Lucas appeared at her side and took her by the hand.

“My present is in your shed. Will you come with me to fetch it?”

Quietly pushing open the shed door, Lucas led her over to the corner where a young black and white dog was curled up sleeping.

“It’s the little one we helped deliver,” Libby whispered as the dog opened her eyes and cautiously thumped her tail.

Lucas nodded.

“All the others have gone to be farm dogs, but this one was kept back especially for you – for us.”

Libby bent down and stroked the dog.

“She’s beautiful. Does she have a name yet?”

“Non. As she’s going to be your dog, I thought you should be the one to name her,” Lucas said quietly.

Libby was quiet for a moment, intent on stroking the dog, before looking up at Lucas and saying, “How do you feel about calling her Hope?”

Lucas smiled as he pulled her to her feet and took her into his arms.

“Perfect. We have Hope for our future together.”


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.