The Ties That Bind – Episode 1

The main characters from the serial, including Evelyn, Phil and their children Dan and Janie.

Evelyn, a dedicated nurse and loving mother of two, finds her carefully balanced life thrown into disarray when her ex-husband, reappears seeking a second chance…

Evelyn breathed a sigh of relief as she slid off her shoes and sank into the cushioned depths of her sofa. At last! Another long shift was over.

Dan didn’t finish work for a while, so she could put her feet up and savour a little “me time”. Perfect!

She loved her son dearly but just now she was glad he wouldn’t be home for another hour.

She took an appreciative sip of her latte and thought over her hectic day.

She was enjoying her stint on the surgical ward, but boy, was it a busy place for a nurse – especially one who’d only been back in the business for little over a year.

What had her colleague said?

“They should go easy on the more mature among us.”

Evelyn smiled.

It was true that at forty-eight she had less energy than a lot of the younger nurses, she thought ruefully, but she was confident that she was an equally valuable member of the team.

She was glad she’d decided to go back to the career she’d enjoyed so much all those years ago.

Her peace was suddenly shattered by the phone ringing.

“Hi, Ev, it’s me.”

Evelyn‘s heart sank slightly at the sound of Lynda’s voice.

Normally, she’d be delighted to hear from her oldest friend, but it wasn’t hard to guess why Lynda had phoned, and quite frankly, she could do without it just now.

“Well? Are you all set for tonight? What time are you meeting him? Have you decided what to wear?”

“Hi, Lynda.” Evelyn’s attempt to speak cheerfully didn’t really work.

She couldn’t help it. She was tired and just needed a few moments to recharge her batteries.

“What’s the matter?” Lynda demanded. “You’re not thinking of backing out, are you?

“I went to a lot of trouble to find a man to go out with you and I don’t want him coming up to me on Monday complaining that you stood him up.”

Evelyn failed to stifle a sigh.

“I’m not going to stand him up.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“Did I say there was a problem?”

“No, but you don’t sound very enthusiastic. I thought you liked Simon?”

“He seems nice but I don’t really know him . . .”

“That’s the whole point of a date – to get to know each other,” Lynda teased. “Don’t worry, you’ll really hit it off.

“Where did you say you were going? I’ve forgotten. Is it nearby? Do you want me to give you a lift? It’s no problem . . .”

“Lynda, stop!” Even to her own ears, Evelyn’s voice was sharp.

“What? What’s the matter, Snippy?”

Evelyn took a calming breath.

“Listen, Lyn, I’ve just got in from work. I’m very, very tired and I need to put my feet up for a while, OK?”

“But you are going to meet Simon?”

“Yes. But not till after I’ve had a few minutes to unwind, put something on for a quick tea for me and Dan, had a shower and got myself glammed up.”

“That doesn’t give you much time.”

“No, it doesn’t. So if you don’t mind . . .”

“You need me to say goodbye, right?” She could hear the laughter in Lynda’s voice.

“Yes, please.”

“OK. Have fun. Bye.”

Evelyn hung up, feeling relieved. Give Lynda her due, she didn’t take offence easily.

Giving thanks for small mercies, she wandered to the kitchen, hoping there was something easy in the fridge or cupboard.

Deciding on pasta, she enjoyed a few quiet moments sitting on the back step, looking at the garden as she finished her coffee.

The evening shadows stretched across the grass and she could hear a couple of blackbirds fossicking around under the overgrown bushes.

The whole place could do with tidying up, she realised now, and wished she could summon the enthusiasm to do it. But that had always been Phil’s job.

She’d always been grateful that her husband enjoyed gardening because it saved her the trouble.

As far as Evelyn was concerned, a garden was a place to sit and enjoy the sunshine and a chat with friends and family, not to work in.

Perhaps she’d bite the bullet and have a go at it this weekend, she thought, draining her cup.

It was time to get ready for her date.

Her well-earned few minutes of solitude had done the trick and she now felt more inclined to move.

She hadn’t asked Lynda to set her up but had made the mistake of referring to her friend’s banking colleague as “quite good looking” last time they’d met up for a quiz night.

From then on, Lynda was convinced that she and Simon were made for each other, despite the fact that they’d chatted for little more than a few minutes.

A warm shower eased the rest of the tension from her shoulders.

By the time she finished getting ready with a light spritz of hairspray, it occurred to her that Dan still wasn’t home.

She scribbled a note as she ate a bowl of pasta.

He’d probably forgotten she was going out.

Young men of twenty-three didn’t pay much attention to their parents’ social lives unless it impacted directly on their own plans.

Hurriedly brushing down her jacket and emptying the pockets of crumpled tissues and old receipts, she pulled on her shoes and headed to the door.

At that moment her mobile rang and she groaned.

To be continued…

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