Staying at Daisy's(182)

By: Jill Mansell

‘In theory, yes. But it wasn’t until I mentioned the wedding reception that I knew for sure.’ Clearly entertained, he said, ‘You should have seen your face.’

‘Very clever. Anyway,’ Daisy retaliated, ‘I didn’t believe you for a second.’

‘I tell you what. You don’t lie to me any more and I won’t lie to you.’

Belatedly remembering something else she had to tell him, Daisy said, ‘How’s Clarissa?’

Dev looked amused. ‘Just the same. Bossy as ever. I left her in the car, in case you paid more attention to her than you did me.’ He waited. ‘She’s missed you terribly, you know.’

‘I’ve missed her. Still, she’ll have someone else to boss around now.’ As she spoke, Daisy was reaching beneath the desk, sliding out the cardboard box she had checked on earlier.

‘Someone else? Don’t tell me you’re pregnant – oh my God.’ Dev’s expression changed as she folded back a corner of blue and white striped blanket.

A pair of coal-black eyes blinked bemusedly up at him. Beneath the rest of the blanket, a tail cautiously began to wag.

Daisy, scooping the little dog into her arms, kissed the top of his head before proudly presenting him to Dev.

‘This is how much I missed Clarissa. I found him at the same rescue centre. His name’s Clive.’

Having been woken up, Clive squirmed and licked Deli’s hand with enthusiasm. With his sleek black coat and chunky wriggling body, he resembled a fat baby seal.

‘Any particular breed?’ Dev only said it to be polite; the puppy was clearly a hybrid through and through. Although the length of the body suggested a touch of dachshund.

‘He’s just Clive.’ Lovingly, Daisy kissed the dog’s funny pointy nose. ‘He’s unique.’

‘And you keep him in a cardboard box,’ Dev observed. ‘A battered Ambrosia Creamed Rice box at that. Classy.’

‘I bought him a, proper basket, but he won’t stay in it. He likes this one best.’

‘Clive and Clarissa,’ Dev mused, then turned as they both heard frantic scratching on the other side of the office door.

When he opened it, Clarissa catapulted into the room. Pam, looking flustered and wringing her plump hands, said, ‘I’m sorry, she just came charging through reception ...’

‘I left the car window open. She must have squeezed through. No problem,’ said Dev.

Quivering with interest, Pam peered past him at Daisy. ‘Everything OK in here?’

‘Absolutely fine.’ Dev smiled and firmly closed the door. Spotting the alien creature in Daisy’s arms, Clarissa briskly shot into reverse.

‘I bet everyone’s taking bets out in reception,’ Dev remarked drily, ‘wondering how we’re getting on.’

‘Never mind us. How are these two going to get along?’ With a joyous bark, Clive thumped his tail and wriggled to get down. Quivering with alarm, Clarissa flattened herself against the far wall.

‘She’s not sure yet,’ said Daisy with a grin. ‘She thinks she likes him, but she hasn’t quite made up her mind.’

‘Woof,’ barked Clive, desperate to win Clarissa over. ‘She just needs a bit of time,’ Daisy explained.

‘Woof woof woof’ Clive writhed frantically in her arms. It’s OK, sweetheart,’ Daisy spoke in soothing tones as Clarissa eyed him warily, ‘he’s not going to hurt you.’ Now who do they remind me of?’ said Dev.

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