The Inn On Bluebell Lane — Episode 16

Gwen smiled at her and touched her hand, a gesture of support. Ellie smiled back, or tried to.

She felt close to tears.

“May I see him?” she asked when she trusted her voice.

“Of course. He’s out of recovery and is being brought to a room on the ward. The nurse will tell you which one it is.”

“Thank you,” Ellie said, and he smiled and nodded before turning away.

“You should go first,” Gwen said. “You’ll want some time alone.”

“No, no,” Ellie said, although part of her did want that, very much. Even so, she couldn’t deny Gwen a chance to see her son.

“Let’s go together.”

Gwen’s eyes lit up and she smiled uncertainly.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course,” Ellie said.

Together they followed the nurse to a room on one of the wards where Matthew lay in bed, his poor arm in plaster, his expression still a bit sleepy from the anaesthetic.

He gave Ellie a sheepish smile.

“Aren’t I daft,” he said.

“Yes, you are,” she managed as she gently kissed his cheek. “You very much are.”

“Sorry, Mum.” Matthew turned tired eyes to his mother. “I haven’t done this whole renovation thing very well, have I?”

“Never mind that.” Gwen sounded brisk but Ellie saw her dab at her eyes.

“I’m sure the ceiling was a danger, anyway. It’s a good thing you spotted it.”

“That I did.”

They all gave rather watery smiles.

“The surgeon said your arm is going to be all right,” Ellie said.

“Six weeks in plaster.” Matthew grimaced. “I won’t be up to much.”

“We can all pitch in,” Ellie said bracingly, although DIY was definitely not her speciality.

“It’ll be fun. And we should hire contractors for the big bits anyway.”

“Yes, I think we should have hired a contractor to remove the sink,” Matthew agreed wryly. “I had no idea it would bring the ceiling down.”

“I’m just glad you’re all right,” Gwen said. “That’s all that matters.”

“How is the house?” Matthew asked. “Are we all going to have to move out till they fix the floor?”

“Nothing as dire as that,” Gwen said cheerfully.

Ellie had heard her earlier, ringing John, the local DIY man she said she’d used over the years, and Gwen had told her that he’d looked through the house while they’d been waiting at the hospital.

He’d made temporary repairs as needed, and told her that, apart from the two rooms that had been affected, the rest of the house was usable.

Considering everything else that was going on, that had been a big relief.

“Still,” Matthew said. “It’s a big mess.”

“Messes can be cleaned up,” Ellie said firmly.

She glanced at the clock above Matthew’s bed with a worried frown.

“I’ll have to get the kids from school in a minute.”

“Let me do it,” Gwen said. “You’ll want to stay here with Matthew.”

“Oh, but it’s their first day . . .”

“They’ll be fine, I’m sure.” Gwen gave her an uncertain smile. “I’m happy to fetch them.”

Ellie hesitated, torn between wanting to see how her children had fared, and knowing she should be with her husband.

Besides, Gwen looked like she wanted to be helpful, and Ellie didn’t want to deny her that.

“All right,” she said at last. “Thank you, Gwen. That’s very kind.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.