The Ties That Bind – Episode 39

Characters from the serial, Evelyn and Phil with their children Dan and Janie.

For some reason, the shop wasn’t quite as busy as usual.

Dan made the most of the chance to work at a slower pace for a while, and he was able to let his mind wander.

He’d listened to Janie’s advice and taken a break from job hunting until his disappointment had begun to fade.

It was a shame he’d missed out on the job in Bristol, but things were looking up once more.

One or two other opportunities had arisen lately and he was beginning to feel hopeful about the future again. Janie had been right about that.

Taking a step back had given him time to rethink a few things, too.

After seeing what his dad had gone through in recent months, Dan had been reassessing what was important to him.

He was beginning to think that losing out on the Bristol job wasn’t such a terrible thing after all.

He had no aversion to travelling and visiting new places, but it had occurred to him recently how much of a home bird he really was.

Would he really have been happy moving so far away?

He didn’t doubt that he would have made new friends and been able to build a new life, but if he was honest with himself, deep down he was relieved that it hadn’t come to that.

A short time later, a call came over the Tannoy asking him to help out at the tills, and he smiled when he recognised the first customer in the queue.

She was the mother of one of Janie’s friends.

“Hey, Mrs French, how are things?” he asked.

“Oh, hello, Dan. I haven’t seen you for a while. I thought you might have left,” she said.

Only a fortnight ago, Dan would have been stung by her innocent words. Now he just grinned.

“Nope, still working away here.” He glanced around surreptitiously and gave her an exaggerated wink. “For the moment.”

She laughed.

“Tell Janie I was asking for her.”

“Will do.” Dan handed over her receipt.

The final hour passed without incident and he realised it had actually been quite pleasant.

He’d got to know regular customers while working here, and most of the time he was able to keep his head down and get on with his work. It could be a lot worse.

When the shop closed, there was a chorus of goodbyes as everyone went their separate ways.

Dan was about to put his headphones in when he noticed he wasn’t the only one heading in the direction of the bus stop.

He recognised the slim girl with a neat blonde bob a few steps in front of him.

“Hi,” he said. “You’re one of the new recruits, aren’t you? How are you getting on?”

“Well, I guess the first three days have been all right.” She laughed.

“Ah. I thought you still looked happy.” Dan nodded sagely. “It’s usually the fourth day when everything goes to pot.”

They exchanged friendly grins as they reached the bus stop.

“Should be here in a couple of minutes,” he said. “I’m Dan, by the way.”

“Yes, I know,” she replied. “I’m Selina.”

She rummaged in her purse for her bus ticket and then looked at him again.

“Sorry to hear you didn’t get the job in Bristol,” she said quietly.

Dan’s eyes widened. He hadn’t told anyone at work about his interview.

“How did you . . .?”

“You know my brother,” Selina explained. “Seb Lockwood? He works in the pizza place that you go to.”

“Oh, yeah!” He did recall telling some of his mates in there. “I didn’t realise Seb was your brother.”

“It’s not often I admit to it.” Her mischievous smile told Dan that he’d met a kindred spirit.

They boarded the bus together, still chatting easily.

To be continued…

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