The Primrose Line – Episode 04

Illustration by Ged Fay

Nyon, the beautiful town on the shores of Lac Léman, shone in the morning sunlight as Jim looked out of the window. He’d spent a restless night and was up early.

Perhaps a walk around the quiet streets before the Saturday bustle began might clear his head, bursting with implications since Adrienne had blurted out the sudden invitation to come and live with them.

He wouldn’t actually be living with them. Laura and Martin had bought a chalet to use for holidays and rare days off. The property was several kilometres from Nyon in the foothills of the Jura mountain range that acted as a kind of natural frontier between Switzerland and France.

It was big enough to be adapted to accommodate a grandpa annexe, as Emile had described it.

This put a totally new angle on a prospect that had been in the background for a long time.

Laura was in what was known as “the private kitchen”, the small bit off the commercial part that was reserved for family use.

“Wow, Dad, you’re up early for a new retiree.”

“No point in getting into bad habits from day one.”

“Got some thinking to do?”

“A little. No, a lot.”

“Dad, I’m sorry about Adrienne. It’s not the way we wanted this to come out. We’ve only just signed all the documents and you may hate the idea of coming over here on a permanent basis!”

Jim held up his hand.

“Whoa, Laura. I feel very privileged that you even considered the idea, and don’t apologise for her enthusiasm. I’m very happy that the hotel’s doing so well. You and Martin have worked hard for it.”

There it was again – a blank look where there should have been a smile. He hadn’t imagined it.

“Everything OK, Laura?”

“It’s funny how life works out, isn’t it? When we used to come to this country on holiday all those years ago I never thought I’d end up living here.”

“You never know what’s around the corner, Laura.”

“Do you think Mum regretted not having us close by, not being able to look after the grandchildren like other grandparents?”

“Your mum was not one to let what-ifs rule her life.”

“So, if you came over here to live, you wouldn’t have regrets?”

“I hope not. Switzerland’s a lovely place to retire to. Few get the chance.”

“The big wrench is friends and family.”

“Family is over here. Friends, well, they tended to be work-related.”

“But if, one day, someone walks out of the past and you find yourself reviewing your whole life, how would that make you feel?”

Jim’s eyes narrowed.

“Someone from your past, you mean?”

“Do you remember Sean Barry?”

Alarm bells rang in Jim’s head.

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.