Together We Stand – Episode 21

A glint of malice appeared in Banks’s eye.

“I think you might possibly benefit from asking yourself where your interest in Miss Phillips’s welfare lies, Mr Gillingham.”

“As the executor of my uncle’s will,” Henry retorted. “Which gave her the wherewithal to dare to dream. Wouldn’t you feel some sense of responsibility under the same circumstances?”

Andrew subsided. With a non-committal nod and a slightly sheepish glance, he rang the bell for the girl to see his visitor out.

Henry had never been so glad to be back in the fresh air. His arm was beginning to ache, but the rest of his body was flooded with a feverish energy.

He strode along the promenade, breathing in lungfuls of sea air as he made his way back to Bron Derw.

As he approached the pier, he came to a halt. Surely that was Tanni down on the shore, laughing with a young man as they paddled in the shallows?

The next minute, the young woman turned. There was some resemblance in the hair and her dress, but the face, and the Scottish voice calling back to her friends, had nothing to do with Tanni at all. The young woman linked her arm back into that of her young man, holding him tight.

“What I fool I’ve been,” Henry muttered.

There he’d been, telling himself his heart was indifferent, until that brief turn of the woman who might have been Tanni, gazing with adoration at the man beside her. He had not been indifferent. That had been jealousy that had flooded through him.

He turned away from the pier, from families making their way along its length, children running ahead in excitement, making his way slowly up to the Bron Derw.

It was impossible. Tanni most probably had a dozen suitors.

He looked up at the Bron Derw. If the guest-house failed, would he really stay here? Uncle Samuel was his only real connection to the place.

His business contacts and his opportunities were all in New York. And Madeleine, too, had friends back there, and her charitable work.

Plus, there was more than one young man who had shown interest in her. And New York was their home.

It would be cruel to whisk a young woman away from her home in Llandudno, and her family, most probably never to see them again.

Shoving his hands into his pockets, he made his way towards the front door. If only the picture wagon had never existed, he mused gloomily. Or if Uncle Samuel had never brought it home, to stir up the past, bringing Tanni to the Bron Derw.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.