Together We Stand – Episode 44

“I can give you ten minutes,” Banks said in tones of deepest dignity.

Gwendolyn sighed. She waited until the door to the outer office shut, then leaned forward, placing her arms on the table.

“Come on, Andrew. You can do better than that. I’m giving you a way out.”

“A way out?”

“My solicitor suggests I bring a prosecution. They’ve arrested more than one of your hired thugs, who talked quickly once they sobered up.

“I could have been killed as a result of your antics. I’ve dissuaded him for now.”

“My dear lady –”

“Oh, for goodness’ sake!” She frowned at him. “We’ve known each other long enough not to beat about the bush, and it’s no good you coming over all pompous with me.

“Hasn’t it occurred to you that I have no intention of stepping into your shoes and taking your place?

“This isn’t a matter of winning or losing. It’s a matter of different points of view.

“You say I can’t understand the world of commerce and of men. Very well, I don’t agree, but I’ll concede the point.”

“Indeed.” His features eased and he sat back in his chair, a hint of smugness threatening to overtake his features.

“On one condition.”


“Yes. That you concede that you have very little understanding of the world of women.”

He bristled.

“My wife will testify to the contrary.”

“I’m not talking about your wife!” She gazed at him, exasperated. “I’m talking about looking after a household, looking after children, the sick, and the old.

“I’m talking about women who have no home and no family, often through sickness, and through no fault of their own.

“I’m talking of women’s particular needs.” At this the councillor blanched. “In particular, women’s health needs,” she added a little louder, pressing home her advantage.

“Women feel happier talking to women, just as men feel happier talking to men. They have a different point of view.

“I’m not attempting to take over your role, but to complement it.” She eyed him. “Your Annabelle is a good woman. I’d have made you a terrible wife, Andrew. You’d never have had a moment’s peace.”

She saw the look of dignity returning to his face and gritted her teeth, preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

“The truth is, Andrew, I have always been grateful for your perception, and your generous gesture in not forcing me to bend to our parents’ wishes. I will always deeply respect you for that.”

“Indeed.” Andrew Banks shot her a suspicious glance, but her face was perfectly serious. He cleared his throat. “And I have always admired your energy and commitment,” he muttered graciously.

Gwendolyn smiled.

“Then perhaps it might not be so hard to work together, after all. Should I have the good fortune to be elected, that is.”

“Indeed,” he murmured.

“Without intervention,” she added firmly. “I’m well aware that missiles thrown at me before I speak are likely to be my lot. I can take it from those I wish to represent. Not those brought in for the occasion.”

“Yes,” Andrew said smoothly once again. “I shall instruct Inspector Williams to keep an eye out for such underhand dealings.

“I am a strong supporter of democracy, as you know, Mrs Humphries. I will always uphold the rule of law.”

“Oh, indeed.” She rose. “I shall inform the inspector of that, shall I? It won’t be out of my way as I go to instruct my solicitor.”

“If you would be so kind,” he growled, with the expression of a man about to have teeth pulled.

“Excellent. I shall leave you to your appointment.” At the door she turned. “I look forward to the prospect of working with you.”

“Yes,” Mr Banks growled, not quite able to bring himself to return the compliment. “Should you have the good fortune to be elected.”

“Oh, I will,” she replied, the glint back in her eye. “Just you wait.”

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.