The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 17

“Betty, I sat on some stinging nettles!” Val cried. “I’m glad I’m wearing my jeans.”

“Are you stung?”

“Just on my hand, but I didn’t get a shot of him at all.” Val looked into the viewfinder of her camera. “The flash didn’t go off.”

“Good job. It would have spooked that poor horse even more.”

“Fancy riding so fast! In the dark, too.”

“Let’s get back to the cottage. At least we know what the noise was now.”

They made their way carefully down the stone steps behind Tangara and soon had the kettle boiling.

“Are you sure you’re not hurt, Val?”

“I’m OK, just a few scratches on my cheek.”

“Ditto on my chin. It could have been worse.”

“We could have gone right over the edge and down those steps!”

“But we didn’t.” Betty spooned chocolate powder into two mugs. “Best to forget it: we probably won’t be seeing Alexander Grey again. Anyway, it was partly our fault that he nearly knocked us flying.”

“He shouldn’t have been riding at such a speed in the dark, and I expect we will see him again – especially if we’re at the Crab and Mermaid.”

Betty grinned.

“The fish and chips were a bit special, weren’t they?”

*  *  *  *

Next morning Betty’s chin and Val’s cheek were a bit sore and puffy so both were glad of the little first-aid kit they kept in the car. They smoothed on some ointment.

“Shall I take a photo?” Val asked with a smile.

“No! I don’t want to be reminded of the incident.”

Val sighed.

“You’re right. Let’s stick to our house-sitting; that’s what we came here to do. I must say Alexander Grey did sing ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’ beautifully, though.”

“That doesn’t excuse him from riding that poor horse like a wild man, or for being so rude to us!”

They were clearing up the breakfast dishes when there was a rap on the door.

Betty answered. Alexander Grey stood there, a bouquet of roses in one hand. He removed his hat and held it to his chest.

“I hope you’ll accept these with my apologies for what happened last night. They’re for both of you.”

Val came to the door.


“I came to apologise.” He offered the roses to Val. “I hope you weren’t hurt.”

Val took the flowers.

“They’re lovely. You didn’t have to.”

“I did. I behaved badly and spoke roughly to you both.” He peered at Val. “You’ve hurt your face!”

“Betty hurt her chin.”

“Then I’m doubly sorry. I – I wasn’t quite myself. I didn’t expect to see anyone on the road.”

“We could tell you weren’t ‘quite yourself’.” Betty’s voice was grim. “We could smell the results of an evening at the Crab and Mermaid, and you were galloping much too fast on a dark road – at night!

“Suppose you’d met a car coming the other way?”

“No-one drives up there; the road leads to my place. I might ask why you were there. You startled me.”

“We didn’t know what the rumbling noise was late at night, so we wanted to see what it was.”

“Now you know. You also know what curiosity did to the cat, though, and that could have easily happened to both of you.”

He grinned.

“You could have asked folk what the noise was. Everyone knows it’s me and Polly. I don’t drive when I’ve been to the inn.”

“We did ask, but were advised to mind our own business, that it was a local matter. However, we do know who you are and what you plan to do here.”

“And you disapprove?”

“Yes!” Betty said firmly. “It breaks our hearts, what you plan to do with this beautiful place. And to pull down Tangara!”

“It’s a dump.”

“It is not!”

“You’ve no amenities,” he pointed out.

“We do! We’ve a shower we invented ourselves.”

“Interesting. I suppose it involves the old tin bath.”

Betty held in her anger.

“That’s none of your concern.”

“It will be, and maybe sooner than you think. I just have to agree a price with Peter John. Enjoy the flowers and I hope your scratches get better soon.”

He went up the path to Kit’s shop.

“What a disagreeable man.” Val put the roses on the table.

“Only when we began talking about his development plans for the place,” Betty observed. “Before that he was polite and apologetic.”

Val went into the kitchen space and found an old jug.

“This’ll do.” She arranged the roses in it. “I still don’t like him.”

Betty observed, though, that Val’s cheeks were red.

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.