Together We Stand – Episode 29

Later that afternoon, relaxed and with a feeling of having made a new friend, Tanni headed back through Llandudno towards home.

“Ah, Miss Phillips. Just the person we were looking for!” a cheerful voice called out as she passed the entrance to the pier.

She turned to find Henry and Dr Humphries leaning over the railings, with the air of men who had been deep in conversation for some time.

“Good afternoon,” she replied a little warily.

Dr Humphries had a gleam in his eye that reminded her of his mother.

“It would be excellent publicity,” he began.

“But only if you wanted to,” Henry added quickly, catching the nervous look on her face.

“What would?” Tanni asked, preparing to run.

“Henry and I were discussing putting up a booth for you on the pier. You’d have shelter when it rains, and the backdrop will be spectacular on sunny days.”

“I’m not sure . . .” Tanni glanced around at the crowds milling along to the end of the pier.

“Of course, we couldn’t let you be on your own,” Henry said hastily.

“We are certain the ladies from the tearooms will be delighted to serve tea and cakes to any customers.” Evan grinned. “I’m sure my mother will agree, if we suggest she comes along to hand out leaflets.”

“Meanwhile,” Henry said, “you can be showing the visitors and the townspeople the wonders of having their very own portrait taken, at a reasonable cost. I’m sure we’ll have them flood in.”

“Yes, I see,” Tanni said.

They had clearly worked it out between them.

“So? What do you say?” Evan demanded.

Tanni smiled.

“What have I to lose?”

*  *  *  *

Gwendolyn didn’t hesitate when the plan was put before her.

“Excellent! We can use the kitchens here to bake our cakes. I’m sure Cook will lend a hand as well.”

She beamed at Evan and Henry.

“That is a very clever idea. I expect Andrew Banks will do his best to have us shut down, but I’d like to see him try.”

She grew thoughtful.

“And yes, that finally makes up my mind.”

“Your mind, Mama?” Evan said, looking alarmed.

“Yes, my dear. The time has come for Andrew to be given a run for his money.

“Times are changing, and the council must change with them. It is my intention to stand for the council in the next elections.”

Evan was shocked.

“Mama, are you sure?”

“You don’t think I’m capable?”

“I think you more than capable, Mama. It’s Mr Banks and the citizens of Llandudno I’m worried about. No woman has put herself up for election before.”

“All the more reason to start.” Gwendolyn sniffed.

“I’m thinking more of the insults and rotten eggs!” Evan exclaimed.

“Good heavens, you don’t think a few eggs can deter me?” Gwendolyn practically rubbed her hands with anticipation. “I’d like to see them try.”

“Are you sure about this, Tanni?” Henry said as he accompanied Tanni towards the Orme, Evan and his mother deep in discussion behind. “I didn’t mean to drag you in quite so deep. If Mrs Humphries uses this as a platform for her campaign, things could get a bit noisy.”

“I don’t mind at all.” Tanni smiled. “I’ve never seen a woman make a speech, or stand on a platform in a public place. I have a feeling it could be rather exciting.”

Henry laughed.

“I can see you in the middle of it, waving a flag.”

“A camera, more like,” Tanni replied.

She caught the warmth of his smile, sending her belly spiralling into the tightest of knots, and turned her head away abruptly to hide the colour rising to her face, and the longing in her eyes.

As she did so, a movement caught her eye on the sands below.

“What is it?” Henry demanded, seeing her stop dead in her tracks.

“I’m not sure.” Tanni shivered. “I could have sworn I saw a glint of sun on glass. As if from a camera lens or a spyglass.”

“It might have been a visitor taking a photograph of the pier.” Henry gazed down, following her line of sight.

“If it was, it was pointing in the wrong direction. I’m sure it was pointing at us.”

“As if someone was watching us?”

Tanni nodded

“I feel that’s exactly what they were doing.”

She peered at the beach, her eyes half blinded by the glitter of sun on the waves.

It was as she was about to give up that she caught sight of a figure swathed in a greatcoat and hat striding along the shore in the opposite direction.

As she watched, the distant figure turned, head bowed, face in shadow, and made its way rapidly into the town.

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.