The Mystery Of Anna Grace – Episode 13

Everything had gone wrong that Monday morning.

Harriet had slept in. Breakfast had been a rush job, and her niece had said she didn’t want the cereal she had poured for her.

Harriet had lost patience and said they had to leave, then given her niece a banana to eat in the car.

She looked at the text from Charlie. What a relief she had found her earring.

Mr Graystone and Mrs Cecilia had given her those earrings for her eighteenth birthday, when she had just started working at Anna Grace.

She and Robin had been casually going out, the way you did when you were eighteen, and Harriet had had a fantasy of becoming the mistress of Anna Grace.

The relationship had fizzled out as soon as Robin had gone away to university and if Harriet were honest, she had stopped loving Robin years ago, but still felt drawn to Anna Grace.

Lately, she had been thinking that the connection she felt had more to do with her memories rather than the here and now.

She had prepared herself not to like Charlie, but the young girl had charmed everyone, even Katarina. The first few weeks had seemed to prove her point.

Charlie was anxious not to step on Harriet’s toes. She could tell that from the way she asked her advice on everything she did, whether it was ordering new printer cartridges or updating the website.

Charlie was careful and considered, but Harriet could see that the ideas were bubbling away under the surface. She had been like that once, too, she thought, as she opened up her string of e-mails.

Anna Grace had been there throughout Harriet’s fractured childhood and Harriet regarded it as her second home.

The Graystones had never treated her as if she were anything other than family, and when she went to work elsewhere, it was on the understanding that she’d come back to Anna Grace, with experience and ideas.

Harriet had never been one for books. Art was the only thing at which she had excelled at school.

Her family wasn’t wealthy and her mother had suggested that she get a job and think about art college when she had saved a little money.

Old Mr Graystone had seen Harriet’s potential and let her try her hand on reception. Harriet was good with figures and learned how to negotiate with suppliers and plan budgets.

Mr Graystone had paid for Harriet to do a course at college, one day a week, while she worked at the hotel the other days.

She loved working on reception and soon learned that listening to guests’ queries, no matter how convoluted, ensured that they made another booking.

By then, Harriet’s teenage romance with Robin had run its course.

He had gone to university and had seemed different when he came back, his head full of the law degree for which he was studying.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.