WRITTEN BY VALERIE BOWES
Yes – jilted, cynical Beth was definitely in need of Eros’s help
The Statue of Eros stands in the middle of a whirlpool of traffic, and there’s no arrow in his curly bow. So why could Bethan see the sunlight glinting on a silver shaft, tipped by a golden barb?
She wasn’t dreaming. The bowstring was drawn back to Eros’s cheek, with that lethal-looking arrow nocked and ready to loose.
How odd! Puzzling about it took her mind off her mother’s email for a moment.
I do miss you, darling, her mother had written. You can come home now, without being afraid you’ll bump into them.
Bethan had been in love with Ian since they were at school. She’d been certain he felt the same way about her. And Susie was her best friend. She was going to be Bethan’s bridesmaid.
She should have noticed how quickly Susie changed the subject whenever weddings were mentioned. She should have noticed Ian withdrawing from her little by little, but it was only when they told her the truth that she realised how blind she’d been.
We love each other, Beth
“We love each other, Beth,” Susie said. Bethan watched their hands entwine and her heart lurched with anger, desolation and betrayal.
In a small town, it was hard to avoid them. Everywhere she went, Susie’s engagement ring flashed the end of their friendship. It got so hard to bear that Bethan had taken this job in London, but the hurt had followed her south.
And now Ian and Susie had broken off their engagement.
I know he wants you back, her mother wrote. Come home, Beth, and forget it ever happened.
But she couldn’t forget. Her mother thought the love she’d felt for Ian would still be there, waiting to revive like a watered flower. Bethan didn’t think so.
“You can see it, can’t you?”
The voice came from above her head. Eyes widening, she looked upwards. The carved lips were smiling.
I don’t shoot arrows for just anybody, you know. Only for those who need them
“Yes, it’s me. But I don’t shoot arrows for just anybody, you know. Only for those who need them.”
She cast a glance around. People scuttled past, heads bent against driving sleet, the traffic lurched in an unending carousel; everything was as normal. Except that a statue was talking to her.
“Why would you think I need your arrow?” she asked warily, hoping that nobody would notice her being an idiot and chatting to thin air.
“Because you can see it.”
Bethan blinked away tears. Love? She’d done with it. Even if it was offered by a talking statue.
“No thanks,” she said, turning away.
She turned, to see the bowstring as flat and empty as it should be under its faint rime of snow. She’d better get back to the office before anything else odd happened.
As she put one foot on the crossing, a voice behind her said, “Wait!”
Oh, go away, Eros! she thought, crossly. I’m not getting suckered into talking to you again.
But it suddenly occurred to her that this voice was different. It sounded familiar. She whirled round.
“I was right! Bethan Murray!”
She couldn’t mistake the deep brown eyes which looked down into hers. He’d been in the same class as Ian and Susie and herself. She’d known Rob liked her, but Ian had filled all her vision then.
Imagine the odds against bumping into you here!
“I can’t believe it!” Rob said, brushing snow off his thick dark hair and looking as if he’d just won the Lottery. “Imagine the odds against bumping into you here! Of all the wonderful coincidences!”
Bethan shot a suspicious glare at Eros, who was balancing blandly on one toe, looking utterly blameless.
“Yes, isn’t it!” she said.
“Look, I can’t stop now, I’ve got a meeting,” Rob said, “but we can’t let a marvellous opportunity like this go to waste. Would you let me take you out to dinner tonight? Please say yes, Bethan.”
The day was chilly and sleety but a feeling as warm as Rob’s smile washed over her. If Eros had taken the trouble to work his magic for her, she couldn’t very well say no, could she?
And spring was on its way.