The Ties That Bind – Episode 11

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

They spent a useful half hour working on it and Dan felt greatly encouraged.

“Thanks, Janie. This is much better.”

“Studying marketing helps you learn how to put a positive spin on things,” Janie said.

“So once your referees get back to you, you should be ready to send it in . . . is that your phone ringing?”

“Must be Mum’s. It’s there, on the table.”

“It’s probably Dad – maybe he wants to apologise.” Janie saw the name on the screen.

“Simon. Was that who phoned earlier?”

“No, she called him Chris,” Dan said. “Janie, put it down – it’s Mum’s business, not ours.”

“What’s my business?” Evelyn asked, entering the room just as her phone stopped ringing. “Was that my phone?”

Evelyn was taken aback when Janie turned to look at her angrily.

“Janie, what’s wrong?”

“Yes, it was your phone. You missed a call from another of your admirers.”

“Another of – what are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about you, stringing Dad along.”

“I am not stringing Dad along,” Evelyn protested. “I never intended –”

“So what do you call it then? Going out to dinner, inviting him to lunch, getting his hopes up . . .”

“Janie, I didn’t invite –”

“. . . and all the time, you’re carrying on with two other men.”

Evelyn was astounded.

“What two other men?”

“Oh? You mean there are more?” Janie’s voice was rising and Dan stepped forward.

“Janie, calm down.”

“Leave me alone, Dan. It was you who told me she was arranging a date while Dad was out trying to help her with her garden . . .”

“Janie, I don’t know what you’re talking about. What date?”

“So you’re losing count?”

“How dare you speak to me like this!”

It took a lot for Evelyn to lose her temper, but being attacked like this by her daughter made her see red.

“Janie, you’re wrong. I’m not ‘carrying on’, as you so charmingly put it, with anyone.”

“Why were you out for dinner with Dad last night if you’re not interested in him any more?”

“He asked me to meet him – not that it’s any of your business,” Evelyn said. “He said there was something he wanted to talk about. I thought he only meant for a drink.”

“So why did you ask him round today?”

“If you recall, it was you who mentioned today’s lunch to him, not me. I was never going to invite him.”

“You said we were all having lunch together. . .”

“I meant just us three!”

Janie ran out of words but stood, wild-eyed and breathing quickly.

Evelyn calmed herself down with an effort.

“I’m sorry, Janie, but your father and I are getting a divorce,” she said quietly.

She moved forward to hug her daughter, but Janie shrugged her off and ran out of the room.

Shaking with emotion, Evelyn turned to face Dan.

“Quite a day for histrionics,” he said. “Come on, Mum, leave her to cool off. I’ll make a cup of tea.”

“But what started all this?” Evelyn asked, bewildered. “Where’s she getting these wild ideas?”

“Well, that might have been my fault.” Dan looked a little shame-faced.

“Dad and I heard you making a date with some guy and I told Janie.”

“What? When?”

“You were on the phone when we came home. Some guy called Chris.”

Evelyn groaned.

“I was talking to my boss – Christine.”

“She phoned you on a Sunday?”

“Nurses don’t have weekends,” Evelyn pointed out. “And yes, she was arranging my supervision meeting on Tuesday. I need to make some decisions about specialising.”

“Oops,” Dan said. “Sorry.”

“Easy mistake to make,” Evelyn said. “Now, you promised me tea.”

“What about Janie?” Dan asked tentatively.

“I think, like her father, Janie needs to cool down a little.”

Dan gave a wry grin.

To be continued…

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