The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 42

She glanced at her watch.

“Goodness, I didn’t realise it was so late. I’ll wash up.”

By the time she went to their bedroom Val was already in her pyjamas.

“I need to talk, Betty. You must have seen us, Alex and me, in your headlights.”

“I did,” Betty replied kindly. “I couldn’t miss it, and neither could Aircut.”

“He kissed me, Betty. It wasn’t a peck and I kissed him back. I wanted to.”

“You’ve been growing fond of him for quite a while, haven’t you?”

“Yes.” Val sighed. “Since we went to Land’s End. I’m not a child. I know feelings can be overwhelming. I’ve not forgotten.”

“I understand,” Betty said. “It hurts the heart to think that the loves of our lives are no longer here. It’s been a long time now.”

“You always know how I feel, Betty.”

Betty put an arm around her shoulders.

“I just don’t want to think that Alex is taking advantage of you. That he regards the whole episode as a holiday romance. No strings, no broken hearts, even an advantage to have your opinions on his side.

“We’re here for such a little time, and when we get back home all this will be just a memory. Whatever happens here will happen. We’ll no longer be involved. Alex could break your heart and he would be half a world away.”

Val began to sob.

“It was so lovely,” she whispered. “He meant it and he wants to see me again. He wants to talk.”

Betty sighed.

“Let’s get to bed. Everything will seem better in the morning.”

As she picked up her washbag from the chest of drawers Betty noticed that Sally’s camera and the photographs were missing. The old cashbox remained.

* * * *

It was raining the next morning. They decided not to go to Tangara. Aircut, in oilskins and sou’wester, went out in his boat to check his lobster pots.

“Rain don’t make no difference to me.”

He returned after lunch.

“Not much to do today, what with all this rain.”

“I hear you’re interested in photography.” Sally addressed Val.

“Yes. I saw your camera in the bedroom. It looks very professional.”

“It goes with my job. It’s an underwater camera.”

“What is your job?”

Sally hesitated.

“I’m a marine biologist.”

“Yes,” Aircut said proudly. “Sal’s the clever one in the family. She went to university.”

Sally laughed.

“Uncle Harry makes such a fuss. It’s just a job.”

“Uncle Harry?” Betty exclaimed. “We’ve never known your real name!”

“It’s Harry Wardle, but I’m still Aircut to my friends.” He grinned.

“Your job must be important.” Betty was curious.

“Are those photos that were on the chest of drawers underwater ones?” Val chipped in. “I’d love to see them.”

“They’re not very interesting. Just repetitive shots.”

Betty sensed that Sally didn’t want to share her work with them.

“Can I see some of yours?” Sally asked Val.

“Of course.” Val dashed off to the bedroom and came back with her camera. “I’m no professional, but I try to do my best.”

Sally looked at the photographs on the screen.

“The important thing is to know when to press the button. You’ve done remarkably well.”

Val blushed.

“Underwater there must be some wonderful things to see. When do you take them, in the daylight or in the dark with a light?”

Sally glanced at Aircut, who nodded.

“Best tell them. It’ll clear things up a bit.”

Betty and Val waited.

“We were going to tell you both,” he said.

“Tell us what?”

“Are you good at keeping secrets?” he asked. “Because this one must be kept quiet until we’re sure of what we suspect.”

“Oh, lor’!” Val whispered. “That sounds ominous.”

“We can certainly keep a secret if it’s of importance. Fire away.”

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.