The Ties That Bind – Episode 18

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

“It was awful. We tried to get past it but she just couldn’t go on. At least she was honest with me. I feel sorry for her, actually.”


“Yes, I do.” He looked back at her. “Imagine what a shock it must be to discover you’ve spent so much of your life without the person you really should be with.”

Evelyn felt a wave of compassion for Simon.

“So, are they together now?” she asked.

“To be honest, I don’t know,” Simon admitted. “We’re not in touch. We agreed that a clean break would be best for us both.

“I asked for a transfer at work. To anywhere, really, just to make a fresh start.”

“It can’t have been easy to start rebuilding your life. I know how that feels.”

“Yes. That’s why I thought Phil might have wanted to get back with you.”

Only now he seemed to notice her hand on his arm and he squeezed it.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to pry, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.”

Evelyn decided not to tell him that he’d been right about Phil.

“Perhaps we should both try to move on – think of other things.”

“That’s what Lynda said,” Simon said. “That I needed to start socialising again.”

“She was right,” Evelyn agreed.

“It doesn’t mean I have to get into another serious relationship – it’s just nice to have some company.”

Evelyn took note of what he was saying.

It suited her, too, not to become too seriously involved with anyone.

There was enough going on in her life as it was.

It was good to know they were both on the same page – just two people looking for companionship.

She decided then and there to avoid discussing the past.

To change the subject, she told him about her dilemma at work.

“I can’t decide which way to go,” she confided. “I enjoyed midwifery but I feel I might be better in a different supporting role – say in a neurological department.”

“Do you have to decide just now?” he asked.

“The deadline for this year’s intake is coming up.”

“So, postpone till next year,” he said carelessly, his attention caught by the birds in a nearby tree.

Evelyn felt as if she’d been dismissed.

As on their first date, she felt a niggle of irritation at how easily he shrugged things off when she was talking to him.

It was disappointing that he didn’t seem interested in her work at the hospital.

Determined to be fair, she asked him about his work instead.

“So do you still work with Lynda?” she asked.

Simon brightened up at the change of subject.

“Not really. At first, we were both dealing with mortgages, but I’m more involved in the investment side of things,” he explained.

“We’ve almost clinched a deal with one of the largest supermarkets in the world.”

His eyes lit up with enthusiasm as he talked.

Evelyn was pleased to see that Simon seemed more accepting of the end of his relationship than Phil was.

Unfortunately, she found her own attention wandering when he began to talk of shares and dividends and index-linked profit sharing.

It wasn’t the way her mind worked.

Evelyn was more interested in people, their feelings and wellbeing, than where big businesses stashed their millions.

Perhaps she and Simon had less in common than she’d thought.

He was pleasant company and she noticed that he’d kept hold of her hand as they continued walking.

It was all very nice and comfortable and – companionable.

But she was uncomfortably aware of a lack of romantic spark between them.

Was this what love was like once people reached a more mature age?

Or perhaps a flame might kindle after they’d been out a few more times. If . . .

“Is that your phone?” Simon’s voice interrupted her musings and she withdrew her hand to unzip her bag.

“Sorry, I’d better see who this is . . . oh, it’s Dan!” she said.

“Do you mind if I . . .?”

“Of course not.” Simon stepped back courteously, only serving to confuse her further about her feelings for him.

She answered the call.

“Hi, Dan.”


It never ceased to amaze Evelyn how a mother instinctively knows when her child is upset or frightened.

That single syllable sent a jolt of fear through her heart.

“What is it, Dan? What’s happened?”

“Do you have your car with you?”

“No, I’m out for a walk with Simon. Why?”

“Can you get to Dad’s place, Mum? I think there’s something wrong.” Dan’s anxious voice sounded so young.

“Isn’t he there? I thought you were getting a takeaway?”

“We were, but something’s not right. Please come round, Mum. I don’t know what’s wrong with Dad, but he – he won’t let me into his flat.”

To be continued…

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