The Ties That Bind – Episode 41

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

“Janie? I was just about to phone you,” Phil said. “Listen, I’m just looking through all these logos you’ve sent me. They’re brilliant.”

“Oh. That’s – that’s good, Dad. Um . . .”

“You’ve done a really good job. I’m spoiled for choice. I can’t wait to see one of them on my van.

“Did I tell you I’m picking it up next week?”

“Yes, you mentioned that yesterday. Dad, the reason I phoned –”

“I can’t wait. I’ll pop down some day and take you for a spin.”

“That would be fun. Dad, I wanted to –”

“Unless I’m too busy, of course. I have some clients already and I haven’t even officially started yet.” Phil laughed. “Doesn’t that sound good? I have clients!”

Janie gave up trying to talk and laughed at her father’s boyish enthusiasm.

“You sound excited, Dad,” she remarked.

“I am! I haven’t felt this way for years.”

“Well, if you’ll keep quiet for a moment, I can give you the names of two other potential clients,” Janie teased.

“Really? Who?”

“You know my friend, Paula? Her parents are looking for a gardener for her gran.

“And Carol French’s mum wants someone to sort out her rockery or something.

“Should I text them your number? I thought I should run it by you first.”

“Of course. Yes, you do that, Janie. Thanks.” Phil sounded giddy. “Things are moving fast.

“I’d better get on with choosing this logo.”

“Take your time deciding, Dad. You want to make sure you pick one that gives the right message,” Janie advised.

“Once you’ve chosen it, I can make up a flyer for you, too,” she added. “You can get some run off and find a firm who’ll deliver them for you.”

“Brilliant. Right, I’ll get on with it. OK, Janie, thanks, I’ll speak to you soon.”

“Dad, wait! I phoned you, remember?” Janie sounded exasperated.

“Sorry, sweetheart. I’m getting a bit carried away.”

“I noticed. Honestly, Dad, you’re such a steamroller at times – you just rant on and on and don’t pay any attention to what other people are trying to say.”

Phil had a sudden sense of déjà vu.

“You’re right. I’ve been told that before.” This wasn’t the first time Janie had unconsciously echoed her mother’s words to him.

“Well, it’s time you listened,” Janie said. “You just get an idea into your head and you won’t be budged.”

Phil felt his lips curving upwards in amusement.

“Dad? Are you there?”

“Yes. I was just thinking that it takes one to know one.”


“Come on, Janie, you have to admit we are a bit alike at times. Your mum always said so.”

“Yeah, well, maybe,” Janie conceded.

Phil switched off his computer.

“OK. I’m listening. What did you want to ask your old dad? You’re not after a handout, are you?”

“Of course not.” Janie tutted. “I was just wondering if I could come and stay with you this weekend? I haven’t been in Inverness for ages.”

“No, you haven’t, have you?” His heart sank a little as he remembered the reason for that.

He didn’t like the thought of Janie being estranged from Evelyn.

“Would it be all right?”

“You’ve never stayed with me before,” Phil pointed out.

“I know. I’ve never even seen your flat. But Dan says you have a spare room, so it wouldn’t be a problem, would it?”

“Not for me, but . . .”

“But what?

“Well, you know I’d love to have you, but it might not be very tactful,” he said desperately. “I don’t want to cause trouble between you and your mum.”

“What do you mean? Why should it?” Janie sounded genuinely surprised.

“Janie, look at it from her point of view. You stormed out months ago and you haven’t spoken to her since.

“Surely you can see how it might upset her if the first time you come back, you stay with me instead of trying to make things up with her?”

“Oh, it’s all right,” Janie said airily. “Mum and I are fine now.”

“What? Since when?”

“I apologised to her and we had a long talk over the phone. It’s OK, Dad, really.”

“So why aren’t you staying with her?” he asked, dazed.

“Don’t you want me?”

“Of course I do. It’s just that – well, she has more room, for a start,” he pointed out, knowing how much clutter his daughter always had with her.

“Plus, it’s your home, and it might be nice to spend some time with her now that you’ve made up.”

“Oh, I asked, but she’s working all weekend. Besides, I’m meeting Paula on Saturday afternoon and we’re going out to a party that night.” Janie chuckled.

“You won’t see much of me at all, to be honest.”

Phil was nonplussed as Janie chattered blithely on.

“I told Mum I’d pop round on Sunday after she finishes work. I’ll catch the later train back to Stirling.

“Is it OK with you, Dad? Can I stay?” Janie asked again.

“Y-yes, of course,” he managed at last.

“Cool. OK, got to dash. See you Friday night!”

The phone went dead and Phil was left staring at the blank screen, bemused.

He’d come through so much over the past few months.

He’d learned a lot about his illness and the underlying causes.

He’d learned about recovery, about starting again.

He’d acknowledged the mistakes he and Evelyn had made and had learned how to move on from them.

He chuckled to himself.

There was no doubt that he understood so much more these days, yet he didn’t think he’d ever understand his daughter.

To be continued…

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