WEEKLY SOAP Riverside by Glenda Young
Anna’s unreliable sister has turned up in Ryemouth . . .
CAROL!” Anna cried. “What are you doing here?” Carol strode over to where Anna was standing, shell-shocked and and clinging to a salon chair for support, and wrapped her arms around her in a bear hug.
“That’s a fine welcome to give your long-lost sister!” Carol laughed, releasing Anna from her grip.
Anna stiffened and straightened her back.
“You’ve hardly been lost. I knew exactly where you were. What I want to know is why you’ve come back now. What do you want?”
It was then that Anna caught sight of Jenny out of the corner of her eye, standing by the reception desk and pretending not to listen to this tense reunion.
“Shall I go and make us some tea?” Jenny asked.
Without waiting for an answer, she walked off into the back room and pulled the door closed behind her.
Carol plonked herself down in one of the chairs and admired her reflection in the big salon mirror.
“It’s not a bad little place you’ve got here, Anna,” she said. “I reckon we could make a go of this if we put our minds to it.”
Anna shook her head. “No, Carol. You can’t just waltz back in here as if you own the place.”
“But I do,” Carol said, smiling. “My name’s above the door.”
“No, you don’t,” Anna replied through gritted teeth. “We were supposed to be partners, remember? But then you swanned off to Tenerife and I haven’t seen you for months.
“You told me you were going to invest in the salon, but I’ve ended up putting every penny of my savings into this place and running it on my own.”
Carol nodded towards the back room, where, unseen but easily visualised, Jenny had her ear pressed up against the door, trying to listen to the conversation as best she could.
“What about that woman who’s gone to make the tea? Does she work here?”
Anna tried to keep her voice level.
“Yes. She’s called Jenny and she works on reception, sweeps up and helps me out with the admin.
“She’s not a stylist, Carol. I’m the one running this place, doing all the work, and if you think you’re going to swan in here and claim half of the business, then you’re wrong.”
Carol ran her fingers up and down the arm of the chair she was sitting on.
“And how is business?” she asked. “Going well?”
Anna sank into the chair next to Carol’s. The two women stared straight ahead, looking at the reflection of the other in the mirror.
“It’s going very well. Too well, in fact. I’ve had to turn work away because I can’t manage on my own. I need another stylist.”
Carol swivelled round in the chair to face her sister.
“Then you’ve got one. Take me on, Anna. Give me a chance. I know I promised to invest in the salon, but I got sidetracked around the same time as you needed the money.”
“When you say sidetracked, you mean there was a man involved, don’t you?”
“His name was Juan. He had the most lovely eyes, Anna.”
“Never mind his eyes,” Anna said sharply. “What happened to your savings?”
Carol’s gaze dropped to the floor.
“Carol, what happened?” Anna said, more softly this time.
“Juan took most of my money and disappeared,” she replied. “I haven’t seen him for months. I tried to track him down, but . . .” She slowly shook her head.
Anna stroked her sister’s arm. She saw Carol’s tears ready to fall.
“You’ve never had much luck with men, have you?” she said and held out her hand to hold Carol’s. “So you’ve lost everything?” Carol shook her head. “Not everything.” With a wry smile and a wink, she pointed outside to the red sports car. “I’ve got my runaround. And I did research on Ryemouth when you e-mailed to say you were buying a salon here.
“Before Juan got his hands on what was left of my cash I invested in one of the riverside apartments. It’s got three bedrooms, Anna, and one of them is yours if you’d like it.” Anna sighed. “You’re asking me to move into a fancy new flat with you after you spent your savings there rather than invest in this salon with me?”
Carol swivelled her chair back to face the mirror.
“I had dreams, Anna.” She shrugged. “OK, so my dreams turned into a nightmare, but I’m here now. You said yourself that you need another stylist.
“Remember how you always wanted to live in a house with a river view when we were kids?”
Anna was silent, choosing her words carefully before she spoke again.
“If I let you work here, Carol, you’re an employee, not part-owner. You understand?”
“And the bedroom with the view would definitely be mine, right?”
Carol nodded again and Anna stood and embraced her sister.
“Welcome home, Carol. I haven’t half missed you!”
The back room door swung open. The sisters turned to see Jenny with a tray in her hand carrying three mugs of tea.
More next week.
OUR WEEKLY SOAP