The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 47

Sally, Aircut and Peter left and Betty and Val lit the stove and sat talking over the day’s events. Although they were grateful for Aircut’s hospitality it was nice to be back.

“Shall we go to the Crab and Mermaid?”

“I don’t feel like it,” Val replied. “Scrambled eggs will do. But first I must do something.” She stood up.

“Where are you going?”

“Up to Whealgrey to see if Alex is OK.”

“Do you think you should?”

“He’s had a shock and he’s all alone. He may need someone to talk to. I won’t be long.” Pulling on her cardigan, she went out of the door before Betty could reply.

Betty sat by the stove listening to the crackling of the logs until the sun set.

She must have dozed because she didn’t hear Val return.

“Wake up.” Val shook her shoulder. “I’m back.”

The stove had died down and only a few sparks were left burning. Val opened the glass door in the front and put on some kindling which soon blazed into life.

“How was Alex?”

“He seemed pleased I’d come. He still had his mum’s ring on his finger.”

“Well, that’s given him something to think about.”

“Don’t be cruel, Betty. He said he needs time to come to terms with it all.” Val warmed her hands at the stove. “He said something else, too.”

“What’s that?”

Val took her hand.

“He asked me to marry him and go back to Australia with him.”

“Lumme!” Betty gasped. “What did you say?”

“I nearly said what you’ve just said.” Val smiled. “I was speechless for a while.”

“So, are you . . .?” Betty stammered.

“I didn’t say no. I said that I, too, needed time to think. Maybe he was so upset that his proposal was on the spur of the moment. But I don’t think so. I believe it was genuine.”

“How do you feel?” Betty squeezed her friend’s hand.

“I don’t know. I’m so very fond of him. I think I’m in love, but how can I be sure? It isn’t the same as . . .” She hesitated.

“You’ve only known him for a short time.”

“How much time does one need, to know?”

“Not much. When I met my Stan for the first time I knew he was the one.”

“I must think clearly!” Val cried. “My family would be hurt if I moved so far away. My love for them is strong and it has a future. My feelings for Alex are based on moments.”

“You can only give yourself and Alex time,” Betty said softly.

Val got to her feet.

“Have you eaten?”

“Not yet.”

“Then I’ll do the eggs and you set the table.”

* * * *

Val was still asleep and Betty had just risen when there was a knocking at the door. Betty opened it and Sally rushed into the room.

“I’ve got the photos!”

Betty was puzzled, then realised what Sally was telling her.

“The seahorses?”

“Yes. I got some wonderful shots and there are some very rare sea anemones, too. I’ve sent the photos to my office.

“Hopefully the powers that be will put a preservation order on the cove.”

“Goodness. That’ll set the cat among the pigeons.”

“What’s the noise about?” Val appeared and Sally explained again.

“Does Alex know?”

“Not yet. The people to whom he’s made applications will hear first.”

“Another shock for him,” Val said quietly.

“Well,” Sally answered. “He might have known we hadn’t given up the battle for Trefusis Cove.”

“It’ll put a stop to everything.”

“He’s rich – he doesn’t need the money.”

“He won’t like to lose,” Val warned.

“I must go,” Sally said. “Uncle Harry’s out checking his lobster pots. He doesn’t know yet.” She left quickly.

Two officials came to verify Sally’s claim. After that, several days passed without incident.

Betty and Val swam, sketched and took photographs. Even Peter got out his paints and easel, capturing the changing light in the cove.

There was no sight or sound of Alex.

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.