The Ties That Bind – Episode 17

Characters from the serial, Evelyn and Simon walking in front of a castle.

For a second or two, Dan was struck dumb. This wasn’t what he’d been expecting at all.

It was certainly a boost to his confidence.

It was gratifying to be considered worthy of promotion.

He almost wished he’d added “managerial skills” to his personal statement.

This thought sobered him a little. He’d been working for his dream job – and it wasn’t this one!

This had only ever been a stop-gap. It wasn’t the career he was aiming for.

It was flattering to be offered further training, but his ambitions lay elsewhere.

He looked at his boss, on the horns of a dilemma.

If he accepted, he’d be wasting his own time and the firm’s.

If he refused, Marcus might not be so ready to overlook his unauthorised rearranging of the rota.

He stood up.

“Thanks, Marcus, I’m flattered. Do you mind if I take some time to think about it?”

Surely that sounded mature and sensible?

“Sure, Dan,” Marcus said. “Good work today.”

“Thanks. See you tomorrow, Marcus.”

Dan escaped from the office.

Aware now of the possibility of hidden cameras, he restrained himself from breaking into a victory dance, but he couldn’t help grinning.

He glanced at his watch. Dad was expecting him round in about an hour.

Wait till he heard!

“You don’t mind just going for a walk?” Simon asked as he and Evelyn strolled along the path by the River Ness.

“Not at all. It’s lovely to be out in the fresh air.” She breathed in deeply. “A walk always helps me unwind.”

“Me, too.” There was that charming smile once again. “It’s much easier to talk to someone, too, instead of sitting in a noisy pub.”

Evelyn couldn’t agree more. It was pleasant walking by the river, with the early evening sunlight glistening on the water.

Being in the company of a handsome companion didn’t hurt, either. It was good to see Simon again.

“I’m glad I finally took Lynda’s advice,” he confessed, smiling at Evelyn as she stopped to watch a family of ducks squabbling.

“She’s been on at me for a couple of months now to start dating again.”

“Same with me,” Evelyn said. “Lynda’s a good pal. I’ve known her for years.”

“I only met her last year when I transferred from the bank in Edinburgh.”

“I bet she’s a good colleague.”

“Well, she can lighten the mood.” Simon grinned. “Some of them seem to thrive on the old-fashioned, stuffy reputation of the banking world.”

“Stuffy is one word I’d never use to describe Lynda.” Evelyn laughed.

“We had such a laugh together when we were in our teens.”

“I don’t suppose you’ll tell me about any of your escapades?” He gave her a cheeky grin.

“Too right I won’t.”

“All girls together,” Simon replied good-naturedly.

“She’s stuck with me through thick and thin,” Evelyn said. “She was a real support to me whenever things went wrong.”

“Me, too. I was going through a bad time when I moved here last year,” Simon said more seriously.

“I’m sorry.” Evelyn didn’t want to pry.

After a moment’s hesitation, he seemed to make up his mind to take her into his confidence.

“I was in a relationship with someone – Carol. We broke up, after ten years.”

“That must have been difficult,” Evelyn said gently. “That’s a long time.”

“Yes. Well, you know how hard break-ups can be.”

Evelyn nodded.

“Remember I asked if you were still in love with your husband?” he asked abruptly.

“Yes.” Evelyn was surprised. Why had he suddenly mentioned that?

“That’s what happened with Carol,” he muttered.

“After all that time, it transpired that she was still in – in love with someone from her past.”

“Oh, Simon, that must have been awful for you.”

“It was. For both of us.” He cleared his throat. “I mean, she wasn’t seeing him behind my back or anything.

“She didn’t realise how she felt about him until they met by chance.

“It just . . . they should have been together.”

“Simon, I’m so sorry.” Instinctively, Evelyn put her hand on his arm but he didn’t seem to notice.

He was staring out across the river.

To be continued…

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