The Ties That Bind – Episode 28

Characters from the serial, Evelyn and Simon

“How was the journey? Oh, Dan, you look tired. Are you hungry?”

“What is it with mums, always bombarding you with questions?” Dan laughed, putting his case down for a moment to hug his mother.

“The journey was fine. I had a great night out with Matt, which is why I’m tired, and of course I’m hungry!”

Evelyn laughed.

“How about picking up a fish supper?”

“Now you’re talking.” Dan grinned and they headed out of the station together.

It was good to have him back, Evelyn thought as she eased the car back into the traffic.

“It’s nice to be back,” Dan said later as he sat beside his mum in front of the TV, sloshing vinegar over his chips.

“It was great that you managed to catch up with Matt,” Evelyn remarked.

“Yeah, it was. He told me about all the stuff there is to do round there.

“I went to their house the next day and they showed me around a bit.”

“Who’s ‘they’?”

“Matt and Trudy. They’re getting married.” Dan swallowed a chip.

Evelyn noted his thoughtful expression.

“That’s happy news, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, of course,” Dan replied. “It’s just that  Matt was really excited that I might move down there.”

“Of course he was. It’s always nice to have friends nearby.”

“Yeah, but his priorities will change, won’t they? He and Trudy will probably start a family.

“I mean, a good dad puts his family first, doesn’t he – like mine did.”

“Yes. He did.” Evelyn couldn’t deny it.

Phil had always been a good father to Janie and Dan.

“I think I’d like to do something to help Dad now, while I’m still here.”

“What do you mean?”

“While I’m waiting to hear about this job, maybe I could move in with Dad?”

“Really?” Evelyn was surprised. “Is that what you want?”

“Well, you did say the doctor recommended he had some support.”

“Yes, but that’s quite a responsibility.”

“He’s my dad,” Dan said simply, bringing a lump to Evelyn’s throat.

“You don’t mind, do you, Mum? I think it would be better if I was staying there, rather than you going round all the time.

“It’s not really fair on you,” Dan finished.

Evelyn’s heart was full. Her son, her little boy, the baby of the family, had grown into such a caring, thoughtful young man.

“That’s kind of you, Dan, but you realise he might resent you suggesting he needs help? It’s the way his mind’s working at the moment.”

No matter how grown up he was, she didn’t like the thought of Dan being hurt.

“It’s only for a while.” Dan shrugged. “I’ll tell him that he’ll be doing me a favour if he lets me stay.”

“How will you manage that?”

He looked thoughtful, then gave her a grin.

“I’ll tell him I’m fed up of your new boyfriend always coming round.”

“Dan!” she protested. “Simon’s never been here.”

“I was winding you up!” Dan laughed and dodged a slap on the leg from his mother.

A fish supper never lasted long with Dan, and before Evelyn knew it, he was pushing his plate away with a sigh of satisfaction.

“Tell you what, that’s one of the things I’ll miss if I move to Bristol,” he said.

“You’ll have to make regular visits home then,” Evelyn replied, keeping her tone deliberately light.

“No chance,” Dan quipped. “So, what about this Simon, then?”

The question took Evelyn by surprise.

“What about him?”

“Will he ever come round? I mean, is anyone ever going to meet him?”

“Oh, I don’t know . . .”

“Why not? You like him, don’t you?”

“Yes, I – I do, but –”

“So what’s the problem? Is there something wrong with him?”

Evelyn sighed. Dan could certainly be persistent when he put his mind to it.

“There’s nothing wrong with him,” she said.

“So it’s me that you’re ashamed of?”

“Don’t be daft.”

Dan sniggered, and as he began scrolling through the TV channels, Evelyn sat deep in thought.

What exactly was her problem?

Of course there was nothing wrong with Simon.

She liked him. He was kind, intelligent, well-mannered and handsome, but . . .

But what? She always enjoyed herself when she was with him, despite the awful play the other night.

But deep down she wasn’t convinced that their relationship would ever set the heather on fire.

He’d never done more than kiss her on the cheek. He was more like a pal. Besides, Lynda . . .

“Mum, can I ask you something?” Dan interrupted her thoughts.

“Yes, of course.” Evelyn hastily plastered a smile on to her face.

Dan might well have shown great maturity over the situation with his dad, but he was still her son. If he had any worries, she’d be there for him.

“What is it?” she asked.

“If you’re not going to finish those chips, do you mind if I have them?”

To be continued…

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