Under Two Shires Oak – Episode 62

ALL too soon it was time for them to set off to the airport. Enzo’s last hours with them. His last hours with her.

Jessica had no doubt he’d keep in touch with the family as a whole. But was there anything more than that in his mind? That was what she needed to know. There hadn’t been another moment like the one outside the house when she’d thought he was going to kiss her.

She realised now the extent to which she’d hoped it would happen again.

But it hadn’t. Nor come anywhere near. Maybe she had got it all wrong. Just imagined it . . .

They talked a bit as they drove along, though obviously Jessica had to concentrate on the road. The conditions weren’t great. The low temperatures had persisted and there were traces of snow on the peaks and the worry of ice.

“It’s a shame you’ve had such bad weather while you’ve been here,” she said.

Her wish was to suggest that maybe he would come back in the summer, when the dales stretched in the sunshine and Two Shires Oak boasted luxuriant leaf. But she didn’t. After all, he hadn’t said anything about the future. She was likely to be jumping the gun.

Then, arriving at the airport car park, he suddenly spoke.

“What are your plans? Are you still wanting to work in the world of art?”

“Yes. That suggestion you made, about getting an admin or reception job in a gallery? I keep thinking about that.” She paused. “I enjoyed those trips we made together.”

She broke off. Was there again something in his eyes? Was he going to kiss her?

Brring, brring! Brring!

It was just like the alarm clock going off when she was in a deep, dream-filled sleep. It was actually her mobile phone ringing. And, though she’d been wanting it to do precisely that for the past day and a half, she answered it impatiently.


“Jessica, it’s Holly. Can you come to the tree immediately? I do mean, right away!”

“What’s wrong?” Jessica asked, startled at the sound almost of panic in Holly’s voice.

But the question remained unanswered. Holly had already ended the call.

Jessica turned to Enzo but he, too, was gone, already out of the car with his bags removed from the back seat.

“I overheard Holly,” he said. “She sounded like she needs your help. You must go now. Hurry, Jessica, like she said!”

* * * *

The smile on the face of the woman at the pay desk of the petrol station faded. Ollie made an effort to smile. It wasn’t at her he’d been glowering! It was the CD she had playing on the device behind her, doubtless to keep her company because the service station was in a fairly quiet location.

The Two Shires Oak song. Ollie was hearing it everywhere! It was a hauntingly lovely song – he couldn’t deny it. And it had been written by the girl herself. Holly.

She was clever, he thought. But then, that much he’d already picked up at their very first meeting.

“Yes, very clever,” Ollie muttered darkly as he returned to his car.

To say she was making his life extremely difficult would be to understate the case greatly. Her voice continued to enchant and transfix him every time he heard it. Recently – and this was when he’d decided he really had to do something about the situation – he’d even caught himself humming the song!

He shook his head. What, really, was all the fuss about? It couldn’t just be that one tree, could it? This wasn’t the centre of a city; there were loads of trees around!

The only answer he’d been able to come up with was that they were simply being difficult. And if he gave in on this one thing, they might then make all sorts of other unreasonable demands, as well. They might ruin his plans which, Ollie honestly believed, would benefit the whole community.

Still, it would soon be over. The reason he was on his way back to London at this early time of the day was that he’d been in Nottingham for a breakfast meeting with some contractors who were going to get the tree chopped down that very day and see that every bit of it was removed.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.