The Mystery Of Anna Grace – Episode 14

Harriet had started going out with a young sales rep, who had come to stay on business.

The sales rep had shown Harriet that there was a life outside Anna Grace. Harriet was no fool and could see that the heady days of her teenage summers were no more.

There always seemed to be workmen in and they were doing more than touching up the paintwork, such as roof repairs and chimney repointing, emergency lighting for the halls and corridors, smoke alarms and new fire doors.

Harriet could see the anxious look on old Mr Graystone’s face and the way Mrs Cecilia was always in a bad temper.

When one of the new hotels was advertising for staff, at a better salary, with a swimming pool and weddings, Harriet had moved on.

But life had a way of making decisions for you. Harriet had come back, but only when her relationship had broken up and Anna Grace had needed a manager.

The Anna Grace she came back to was different from the one she had left, with no restaurant and the bar only open at weekends.

Her sister had become ill so Harriet had started to take her niece at weekends, and sometimes during the week, so she could no longer stay on later if they had a big event.

Every month, as Harriet did the accounts, she could see that the hotel couldn’t continue as it was for much longer.

The frustrating thing was that she could see a restored Anna Grace in her mind’s eye – how the dining-room could look with beautiful curtains and William Morris wallpaper, or how a swimming pool and spa would look, with the guests able to take their health drinks while looking out over the sweep of fields.

Harriet knew she should be mentoring Charlie, but there was a part of Charlie that seemed self-contained and Harriet wished she’d had that confidence when she had been Charlie’s age.

She wondered if Charlie was running away from something, as she had been, with a father who had left long ago and a mother who planned to move to Spain with her new husband.

Harriet had got caught up in building a career that would give her the security that had been so lacking throughout her childhood. Somehow her artistic dreams had been shelved.

Harriet should tell Charlie to make her own life and not to spin a fantasy about Anna Grace that wasn’t there. This was a hotel that was making a loss.

Harriet sighed and picked up her papers for the meeting with Robin.

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.