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  • Michael Braccia

Leeford Village - episode 113

Episode 113: I want to be a Thornton


Previously in Leeford Village:

 

Carlos and Allen fight in the launderette. Sherry tells Carlos they have no future together. Agnes goes to see Daniel at the pharmacy. Daniel’s mother has bequeathed a villa to Adam. Simon and Zack are in business again.

 

~

 

 

 

‘Change it by deed poll? Why?’

‘Isn’t it obvious, Mom?’ says Jasmine. ‘I want to be a real part of the family.’

 

Agnes touches her hand and smiles.

 

‘Is it the only reason, love?’

‘That’s obvious as well. I want to place the name ‘Grendel’ firmly in the past. Our nightmare is over, and we’re both happy here, Kim and me.’

 

Agnes likes these moments with her daughter. It wasn’t so long ago that Jasmine was a distant memory for Agnes. The memory of a baby being snatched away to be adopted by strangers. And now Agnes has a granddaughter. She swallows the emotion and smiles again.

 

‘Jasmine Thornton. It has a nice ring to it. Oh, are you changing Kim’s surname as well?’

‘Of course, Mom. Kim Thornton. I love the sound of her new name. I know that Dad isn’t her real grandfather, but he’ll be pleased, won’t he?’

 

This time Agnes can’t stop the tears from flowing.

 

‘He’ll be made up, Jasmine. Cody’s a big softy at heart.’

‘Well, Derek has signed the papers. As soon as the decree absolute goes through we’ll do it. Only a few weeks to wait.’

 

Agnes smiles at Jasmine.

 

‘Are you off out now? I can collect Kim.’

‘Yes, I’m meeting Justin at that café in Banfield.’

‘Out of the way of prying eyes – and Pippa?’

‘You always say that, Mom, but sort of. Anyway, thank you for looking after Kim.’

 

She kisses Agnes and leaves the room with a smile that her mom understands. Agnes knows what Justin means to her.

 

 

 

~

 

 

 

It only takes Jasmine fifteen minutes to drive to the café. Justin has managed to secure their usual table, and he greets her with a warm hug and kiss on the cheek.

 

‘Don’t get carried away, Justin. This isn’t a date.’

‘I know, Jasmine. It’s what we agreed. Anyway, what’s this news you have for me?’

 

Jasmine gives him that sideways look that he finds so endearing. The first time she gave him ‘the look’, he fell in love with her. That hasn’t changed. He would marry her today if she agreed.

Friendship will have to do for now, he says to himself. One day, maybe she will feel the same, but she does like me…

 

‘Come on, Justin, you promised you would tell me one of your secrets.’

‘You promised me as well,’ he says, grinning.

‘I know, but it’s your turn first.’

 

Justin rubs his chin.

 

‘I might chicken out. You’ll find one of my secrets a bit—’

‘A bit what?’ Jasmine asks.

‘Well, a bit… strange. Weird, maybe, although I don’t think it is.’

 

She grins this time, and touches his knee.

 

‘You’re not a male model on the quiet, or even a drag artist, are you?’

‘Well…’

‘Oh, Justin, you’re not!’

 

He returns her grin, and moves his hand towards her knee, but thinks better of it.

 

‘I’m teasing you.’

‘Go on, then. Tell me.’

 

He keeps his hands firmly on his own knees, and finally gives in.

 

‘You see, it’s like this. I’m an author. An authoress, you might say.’

‘That’s not a term I’ve heard much recently, Justin. It’s like “chairwoman” or even “chairman”.’

‘Political correctness gone mad?’ he says.

‘Never mind that. What do you mean, authoress? A female author? What are you trying to tell me?’

‘I write romantic novels under an assumed name. A woman’s name.’

‘Oh, my God, Justin! That’s brilliant and so cool. What’s your writer’s name?’

 

He pauses, wipes his hands on his legs, then folds his arms, as if in preparation for an important announcement.

 

‘Emma Tomkinson.’

‘Ooh, nice name. Hang on, I might have read one of yours.’

‘It’s possible,’ he replies. ‘I’ve published seven books over the last twelve years.’

‘Crikey, Justin – I mean, Emma. Oh, this is weird. I’m seeing you in a new light. Wait till I tell Mom!’

 

Justin almost jumps out of his seat.

 

 

 

 

‘No! Please don’t tell anyone. I’ve shared this with you. Just you, because I…’

‘What, Justin?’

‘Do you want me to say it, Jasmine?’

 

She looks down to the floor, then straight into his eyes.

 

‘Go on, then.’

 

He takes her hand and smiles.

 

‘Jasmine, I love you. You know that, don’t you?’

‘Of course I do. You know I’m not ready, but I like you. I like you a lot. You are so sweet, and maybe—’

‘One day?’ he says.

‘Maybe,’ she says.

 

 

 

~

 

 

 

 

‘If you’ve got something important to tell me, Mom, I want Meredith with me.’

 

Adam has been living with Meredith Park for a few months. His moving out provided room for Jasmine and Kim, although Cody and Agnes promised that he could have his room back when Jasmine found a house of her own. With that day approaching, Adam’s parents want to know his long-term plans, but this particular conversation is not for Cody’s ears. Agnes wants to broach the subject of the Spanish villa. She doesn’t want Cody knowing anything about it until she is ready to tell him about Daniel. She has no idea how to tell Cody that he doesn’t have a son. He has brought up Daniel’s offspring. So many thoughts have gone through her mind – DNA testing, Adam freaking out, Cody divorcing her. Agnes is finding it hard to cope, but the paperwork for the villa is being drawn up. Adam needs to know.

 

‘Adam, this is a private matter concerning you, me and… well, another party.’

‘Is Dad involved? What’s he done now?’

‘This has nothing to do with Cody. Please, Adam, let’s just talk.’

‘Not without Meredith. She’s part of my life now.’

‘Why is it so important that she’s there?’ asks Agnes.

 

Adam takes a deep breath.

 

‘Okay Mom, if you must know, we’re engaged.’

 

 

 

~

 


 

 

 

‘Edward?’

‘Yes, love?’

 

Ethel’s face betrays her true feelings. Edward knows she loves him, but does she love me enough, he thinks.

 

‘When we talked the other night, we didn’t really talk, did we?’ asks Ethel.

‘You told me how you feel. I do understand. You can’t forget Billy.’

‘Do you want me to forget him?’

‘No, of course I don’t.’

 

Edward sits down beside her.

 

‘It’s not going to change, is it, Ethel?’

‘What do you mean?’ she asks.

‘This situation. The way we are together. I’m sorry to say this, but Billy’s ghost is here, isn’t he?’

 

Ethel screws up her eyes. She is near to tears.

 

‘How can you say such a thing, Edward?’

‘I’m sorry, love, but it’s true, in a way, isn’t it?’

‘What’s true?’

‘There are three people in this relationship.’

 

Ethel sighs. She agrees with him. Leaning over towards him, she gently touches his arm.

 

‘What are we going to do?’

 

 

~

 

 

‘A man issue,’ says Linda. ‘When don’t you have a man issue?’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ snaps Sherry.

‘You know what I mean, Shez. You’ve never settled with a bloke.’

 

Sherry leans back on the counter. She spots a gap between the aluminium strip and the countertop. She presses the strip down.

 

‘Like you, you mean?’

‘Well, yes, I suppose.’

‘You nicked Allen from me, remember!’

‘But you’ve never liked him!’

‘That’s not the point, Lin!’

 

They are both shouting now, but Linda is determined to settle things and calm her kid sister down.

 

‘I’m sorry, Shez, and I’m not against you.’

‘Allen is.’

‘What do you mean?’ asks Linda.

 

 

‘He fought Carlos. He attacked him.’

‘No way. Allen wouldn’t do that.’

 

Linda stands up and walks towards the counter.

 

‘Did Carlos start it?’

‘No!’ shouts Sherry.

‘Sorry, Sis, please calm down. I believe you. I will admit, Allen can be a right prat at times.’

‘You don’t say,’ says Sherry, gradually calming down.

 

Linda lets that one go, and is trying hard to get to the bottom of the situation.

 

‘What do you really want?’

‘I told Carlos we have no future, but…’

‘But what, Shez?’

‘I love him, Linda. I do love him.’

‘So, what next? Rio?’

‘No, I want to stay here. Near you.’

‘Go with your heart, Sherry, if you love him.’

 

Sherry grabs Linda by the shoulders, pulls her close and kisses her on the forehead.

 

‘I do, Linda, but I’m not leaving the country again.’

‘What, then?’

‘I’m going to ask Carlos to stay in Leeford. I’m going to ask him to marry me.’

 

 

~

 

 

Ken Taylor nearly knocks the kitchen door off its hinges as he blusters in, waving an envelope like an angry member of the opposition in Parliament gesticulating with an order paper. Violet hands him the cup of tea she has made for him and takes a sip of her own.

 

‘What now?’ she says.

‘It’s him again, bloody Watson!’

‘What is it this time, Ken?’

‘He’s sent all the parish councillors notification of his latest tinpot scheme. We’re voting on it tomorrow night, but he says in the memo we have no choice!’

‘No choice about what?’ asks Violet.

‘A flamin’ census. Just for Leeford. What is he up to this time?’

 

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