Thursday, 8 May 2008

Episode 36 - Family Secrets

Ella sat in her car and watched as Sophie bundled the girls into the house and turned to wave before closing the front door on the dark damp evening.

If anybody had told Ella a month ago that she and Sophie would have grown this close she wouldn’t have believed them. What could possibly happen that would wipe out ten years of sibling rivalry? Try having your world turned upside down, thought Ella as she pulled off into the London traffic.

Nobody could have guessed that Dad would have had so many secrets, a mistress and a massive debt to a bastard like Tony Eagleton. Poor Mum is still reeling from the shock thought Ella, but she had to admit that during this whole sorry episode Fliss had surprised her. It was too easy to think of your Mum as just that, - A Mum, rather than an intelligent competent woman. Fliss had proved that she was more than up to the job when she had contacted all of Martin’s clients. Within days all of their invoices had been paid and even if they pulled out of the markets now there was still the equity on their London flat to tide them over in the short term until Martin was back at work.

But it was Sophie who had surprised Ella most of all. Who would have believed that she would give up everything she had in London to move over to Spain. Sophie had been so efficient and in control of the whole business of refinancing the loan. Ella wasn’t sure what she had done exactly, the workings of Merchant Banks were a total mystery to her, all that she knew was, within days of Martin’s heart attack Sophie had managed to arrange a loan through her partners at Crabtree and Wright to pay off the dreadful Tony Eagleton.

There had been a fuss of course, Tony was threatening all sorts of legal action to claim the Villa in Spain, but Ella’s dear brother in law, Alistair had somehow persuaded Tony to accept the money from Crabtrees. Sometimes it was very handy having a lawyer in the family she thought.

Ella couldn’t believe that her Dad could have been stupid enough to think that such a scheming little manipulator like Laura was worth wrecking his marriage for. Sophie had told her that it was common knowledge that Laura was just a gold digger and thought nothing of using any man silly enough to spend money on her. Well it’s true what they say, there’s no fool like an old fool, she thought as she pulled up out side her flat.

As she fumbled to get her front door key in the lock Ella envied her sister’s decision to move. On a terrible night like tonight she thought how lovely to be able to take the time off and go somewhere warm and sunny. Making her mind up to speak to her supervisor the next day to ask for some of the holiday due to her, Ella put her shopping away and making herself a pot of fresh coffee, sat down at the table and opened her briefcase. There was so much work to catch up on before tomorrow she knew it was going to be a long night.


‘Good Morning Ella, did you have a good weekend?’ asked Father Frank as Ella ran into the emergency shelter.

‘Yes thanks Frank, I had a day out at my sister’s yesterday. It was lovely seeing my beautiful nieces again. I haven’t had much of a chance to see them since we got back from Spain. Looks like you had a time of it last night’ she frowned as she collected the files from the in tray.

‘We managed to get Fred to come in for the night. I am worried that he’s going down hill again. Will you be able to see him first Ella? I don’t want him to leave before you’ve had a chance to have a chat with him. I know that if you can convince him to get into a hostel for a couple of weeks it might make all the difference.’

‘I’ll try my best Frank but you know what he’s like. Just the thought of being inside can get him panicky.’

‘If he doesn’t get help soon I don’t like to think what will become of him. He is getting very frail. It’s lucky the nights are still warm. I don’t think that he would survive another winter on the streets’

‘Leave it with me. I’ll call him into the office now and see what I can do’

‘Thanks Ella, you’ve got a good heart’

‘Soft heart more like it’ she laughed ‘Are you finished for the day now?’ as a volunteer London street rescue worker Father Frank worked one night a month with a team helping the capital’s homeless people.

‘I’m excused work this morning but I still have to do my home visits this afternoon. So I’m off to my bed for a few hours. If you need me for anything you can always leave a message for me at the rectory’

‘Thanks Frank, I’ll see you soon no doubt’

‘No doubt’ said Father Frank slipping on his raincoat ‘Let me know how you get on with Fred’

‘Don’t forget your brolly’ called Ella as she disappeared down the corridor.

The young priest gathered up his bag and umbrella and made his way reluctantly towards the front door. It always felt like so much unfinished business leaving the shelter before he knew what was to become of its latest resident. Their work on the outreach team was to reassure the rough sleepers that they would be cared for and helped at the shelter. He knew that Ella would do her best for Fred but he wished that he could have stayed longer to see if she could manage to convince him to get the help he so obviously needed.