The Primrose Line – Episode 34

Illustration by Ged Fay

“I’ve just had a similar talk with Emile,” Laura said, “and he feels the same way as you, Adrienne.

“Perhaps I am being selfish in dragging the two of you somewhere you don’t want to go.

“If Grandpa doesn’t mind, I’ll go on my own and you can do the railway thing.”

Jim stared at his daughter in shock and jumped when Adrienne let out a squeal of delight.

“Yes! We get to go on a steam train. I’m going to tell Emile.” She rushed out.

“Don’t look at me like that, Dad. I’ve been thinking hard these last few hours and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is something I need to do for myself. It has nothing to do with the children.

“I can’t deny that I’m curious to see what Sean’s achieved with his life. I should be able to do that without falling into any sentimental emotional trap.

“Otherwise, what I’ve achieved with my own life is built on unsound foundations.”

Jim frowned.

“So you intend to walk back into a past that could easily have been your present, and then walk back out again unscathed?”

“You make it sound as if I’m walking into a lion’s den.”

“A fair comparison. A writer once said that he could resist everything except temptation.”

“If that’s what you think, perhaps I need to do it for you as well as myself.”

“Laura, I’m not judging you, but neither do I believe in tempting fate. You’ve made your own decisions for a long time without my help.”

“But you would prefer those decisions to coincide with your opinions.”

Jim pursed his lips, then had a moment of lucidity, such as had sometimes come to him when he’d been on a case and had reached what he called a “block point”, usually when he’d been over-thinking the obvious. Sometimes the simple path was best.

He shook his head in self-reproach.

“I guess I haven’t moved on like I thought I had.”

Laura gave his arm a playful tug.

“It’s reassuring to know you’re concerned about my welfare. Once or twice I wondered if you were trying to sit on the fence where Sean was concerned. It doesn’t suit you.”

“Laura, don’t joke.”

“I’m not. It hurts that you don’t trust me, actually.”

“It’s Sean Barry I don’t trust. Everyone has unfinished chapters in their life. Most of them are best left that way.”

“Is that only applicable to me?”

To that question Jim had no answer.

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.