Staying at Daisy's(6)

By: Jill Mansell

‘You want to use Steven’s organs for transplant?’ Astonished, Daisy’s eyebrows shot up. ‘What, even though he has cancer? Wouldn’t that be risky for whoever got them?’

The consultant frowned. ‘Cancer? I’m sorry, I’m not with you.’

‘His cancer. I assumed it was all in there.’ Daisy nodded at the hospital notes, lying open on the desk. ‘He said he’d seen one of the doctors here ... well, I thought it was this hospital. Unless he went private.’

The consultant’s frown deepened. ‘Just give me a couple of minutes.’

Daisy waited alone in the bad news room and watched the rain rattling against the windows. Since she couldn’t begin to gather her thoughts, she concentrated instead on counting the raindrops as they slid down the glass.

The consultant duly returned several minutes later.

‘I’ve spoken to Steven’s GP. She hasn’t seen your husband for over two years, and he couldn’t be referred to a hospital – any hospital – without a GP referral. I think we can safely assume there’s been some kind of misunderstanding here,’ he concluded gently. ‘Your husband doesn’t have cancer.’

Daisy found the nurse she was looking for, stacking away metal kidney dishes in the sluice room.

‘The consultant’s told me about Steven,’ Daisy announced, and the kindly nurse put down the dishes at once.

‘Oh, my dear, I’m so sorry. Would you like me to make you a nice cup of tea?’

‘No thanks.’

‘And you’re being so brave.’

Privately, Daisy thought it more likely that the nurses on the unit thought she was downright weird.

‘I wanted to ask you about the girl who was here yesterday afternoon. The one who was in the car with Steven when he had the accident.’

The nurse flushed slightly. Which confirmed it.

‘The thing is,’ Daisy went on, ‘I heard you telling her she couldn’t see him, because she wasn’t a relative. But under the circumstances ... well, it wouldn’t hurt, would it? You could let her in for a few minutes while I stay out of the way.’

The nurse, her fair skin the colour of strawberry Angel Delight, said, ‘She isn’t here, love. I told her to go home.’

Daisy gave her a long look. ‘But I bet she gave you her phone number.’

From the expression on the nurse’s face, it was clear that the girl had. Well, it was only natural.

‘Ring her up,’ said Daisy. ‘I don’t know who she is, and I don’t want to meet her. But if she’s Steven’s girlfriend, at least she deserves the chance to say goodbye.’

Chapter 3

One Year Later

‘Daisy, can you be around this afternoon? The Cross-Dressers are arriving at four to discuss the menus for the wedding reception.’

Tara Donovan, who worked as a chambermaid at the hotel, suppressed a smile. Her own parents were dead now, but her father had been the quiet, pipe and slippers type. It must be fun to have someone like Hector as a dad.

Daisy gave her father a ‘behave yourself’ look. His loud voice and stupendous lack of tact were going to get him into big trouble one day.

‘Fine, but you have to stop calling them that.’

‘Darling, I know, but they deserve it. These people are starting to get on my nerves,’ Hector declared. ‘Why can’t they just decide on a menu and stick with the bloody thing? For the life of me I can’t imagine why anyone would want to invite a vegan to a wedding in the first place.’

This time Tara and Daisy exchanged glances, and Daisy heaved a sigh. Discretion wasn’t Hector’s forte. Luckily there were no guests currently within earshot. Reaching across thereception desk for her pile of unopened mail, Daisy said, ‘Dad, I’ll deal with them. We’ll charge double for vegans. And they aren’t the Cross-Dressers or the Cross-Pollinators or the Hot Cross Buns, OK? They’re the Cross-Calverts and you’re jolly well going to be nice to them.’

Tara, who was vacuuming the staircase, promptly dropped her nozzle.

‘Who?’ Her heart thumping, she switched off the machine and anchored it with her foot before it could tumble down the stairs and kill someone. Maybe she’d misheard. ‘What did you say their name was?’

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