Chapter Thirty-Nine

The recycling operative is carrying the recycling box out through down the drive. Harriet and Monty are following.


The clatter of the recycling collection trike roused Harriet from her thoughts. The frustration of the nuisance calls got the better of her and she decided to see if it might be Daisy pranking her. Harriet opened the door and waved, nonchalantly. “Hello!”

Daisy stopped just as she was about to pick up the recycling box. “Oh, hello! How are you? It feel like ages since our walk. Hello Monty, how are you doing then.” Monty had also stuck his head out and was grateful for the attention. He liked Daisy and wanted her to stay and play with him.

“I’m fine.” Harriet stood uneasily. Monty happily playing and rolling around getting strokes and cuddles had taken the heat from her confrontation. “I’ve… I’ve just been a bit busy with stuff.”

Daisy threw a stick to distract Monty. “Are you ok? You seem, a bit odd today.”

“Ummm… A friend has passed away, and…”

“Oh, I am so sorry…”

“And I’ve had some nuisance phone calls…”

“Oh hell, that’s crappy. Anything I can do?”

Stop making them, if it is you, Harriet thought. “Nah, unless you know a Sarah Matthews?” She looked at Daisy for any signs of recognition.

“Doesn’t ring a bell, though I could check our collection list to see if she is on there. Is that her name?” Daisy looked concerned for Harriet and reached out her arm in lieu of a hug.

“It wouldn’t be her real name, number withheld.” Harriet’s suspicions were easing as Daisy didn’t seem to react to the name.

“What’s she doing?”

Harriet relaxed a bit, it probably wasn’t Daisy. “Oh, phoning up and offering some really good sounding commission work and giving fake details to send me on a wild goose chase.”

“It’s not Marie is it? You said she could be really nasty.”

Harriet startled “Oh! I hadn’t even thought about Marie!” Dammit, of course it could be Marie! “Thank you, I was starting to suspect…. err everyone, all of a sudden.” Harriet felt the shame rise as her cheeks reddened.

Daisy put her hand to her mouth “Oh, you thought it might be me?” She looked around. “I guess that would be reasonable, after all we hardly know each and it could have been me. Except, I actually want you to like me…” Daisy blushed too.

Harriet leaned back on the door frame, as casually as she could. “You said that out loud you know!” She broke into a laugh and broke the ice at the same time.

“Oh geez, did I?” Daisy feigned shock and embarrassment.

Harriet smiled “Yeah, you did, sorry, Daisy. Wanna hug?”

“Yeah, go on, I stink of bins though!” Smiling and laughing they hugged.

Harriet slipped her arms under Daisy’s open work coat and could feel her shoulder blades under her jumper. They held briefly, and then closer for a bit longer then really necessary. Harriet could feel her heart race as her chin brushed the outline of Daisy’s bra. Harriet took a sniff. “You’re right, you smell of bins!” And she laughed while letting her hand slide down to Daisy’s waist. She hadn’t really considered how much taller Daisy was.

“And you smell of Monty and saw dust!” Daisy retorted as she tentatively stroked the edge Harriet’s hair! “Good thing I like Monty!” she laughed. “But I’d better get back to work.” Daisy reached down and uncoiled herself from Harriet’s arm, holding her hand briefly as she did so. “Gotta get back to work, call me if you want, we’ll go out again if you’d like to.” Daisy picked up the recycling box and headed out to her trike.

Harriet walked with her. “That will be nice. I will call, but a bit busy at the mo… But I will call.” Harriet paused for a moment. “Here, why do you smell of bins? The recycling is supposed to be clean!”

“Ha!” Daisy rolled her eyes and blew out an exasperated breath. “It should be. But people still think that we can recycle the beans they leave in the bottom of the can, mouldy pizza crusts, and the dregs of beer from their last binge.” She looked at the box she was holding, “You have a clean box. You’re an outlier!”

“Oh. What’s the matter with people! Tell you what, I’ll tip some beans in it to make you feel more at home!” Harriet joked.

Daisy glared at Harriet, “Don’t you dare!” Then laugh and grimaced, “The mouldy gherkin we found was bad enough, for a while we weren’t quite sure what that could have been in that jar…!”

Despite the gagging and cringing at some of Daisy’s descriptions of recycling boxes, bringing her own box back inside Harriet sighed as the warm fuzzy feeling inside her made her feel a little giddy. “I think she might like me, Monty, I hope she does. Well, she likes you at least, so that’s something.”


Daisy continued on her round collecting from the addresses on her list and feeling more then a little pleased with herself. I think she likes me Daisy grinned to herself, and I feel okay about that. I feel more then okay about that. I feel warm inside and have butterflies…

“Morning Daisy!” Her revelry was interrupted by a yell from across the road.

Daisy looked up, saw the cycle courier and waved back. “Morning Nick! Sorry I was lost in my own thoughts for a moment, didn’t see you. How are you?”

“Oh I’m good. We’re busy though. When are you gonna leave the smelly stuff and join us in delivering the new stuff?” Nick joked. It had been an on going bit of banter from Nick since the first time he saw Daisy using the trike for collections. “Seriously though, we’re looking for more couriers if I can tempt you to ‘the dark side’. Or if you know of anyone who fancies a courier job…”.

Harriet cycles, but she has a job, Daisy thought. “I’m not sure I do at the moment. I’ll let you know if I think of anyone. In the meantime, you know I love my job, cleaning up all the crap you deliver everywhere!” Daisy waved a branded cardboard box at Nick mockingly!

“If we didn’t deliver it all you’d have no job!” Nick laughed. “Anyway, gotta go, endless this job is! See ya!”

“Later, Nick!” Daisy waved Nick off and carried on sorting her collected boxes. There was a good camaraderie between the cycle couriers and the recycling team, mainly as they all cycled the same streets on trikes and cargo bikes. Daisy finished off the collections on that street before heading back to the Environment Centre to unload.

“Hey Daisy!” Steve lowered his voice to be tactful around the rest of the team as they ate lunch. “You’re looking pleased with yourself, did you see your friend?”

“Errr, yes. Yes I did.” Daisy spoke quietly to Steve as she sat down with her own lunch. “She had a bereavement, and a bit of trouble with a prank caller. That’s why I hadn’t heard from her.” She opened her Tupperware. “Oh, damn! This isn’t my lunch!”

Linda glanced across past Steve, “Oh! What is it? Looks a bit like a very boring salad.”

“It should look like a very interesting salad with a boiled egg and mayo. I’ve got part of the raw veg for tonight’s stir fry! Oh well, I’ll just have my apple and pick something up later. At least I have my flask!” Daisy sighed and let her shoulders sag in disappointment, but it didn’t last as a grin built up on her face as she poured herself a cup of tea.

“So what’s tickled you now?” Linda pushed a packet of doughnuts over to Daisy.

“Oh, thank you.” Daisy took a doughnut. “Nothing really, Linda. It was just nice finding that my new friend is still my friend. We had a chance to have a quick catch up while I was loading up.”

“Good! I hope he appreciates you, making you smile like that.” Linda winked at Steve.

“Who? Oh, err, I… I think she does.” Daisy’s chest tightened as she said, hoping that Linda wouldn’t react if she kept it matter of fact.

Linda looked up from her lunch, her fork half way to her mouth. “Oh, okay. Well I hope she appreciates you.” She carried on eating.

“So what’s with the prank caller thing then?” Steve asked.

Daisy gulped down her mouthful of doughnut, “Someone has been phoning her offering work except it’s a prank and wasting her time following up. She thought it might have been me, given we hardly know each other, but now she wondering if it is her ex.”

“It isn’t you, is it?” Steve laughed.

“Noooo! Of course it isn’t. Why would I do that? I want her to like me not loath me! Anyway, I might need someone to do up a house if I buy a project at auction.”

“You what?!!!” Linda looked up in surprise.

“So you’re actually going to do that?” Steve asked, equally surprised.

“Having had a look at the process, it doesn’t seem that complicated, I just have to have everything in place and work out the total I can afford, subtract the fees and any other costs in the legal pack, and that sets my maximum bid. I mean I have to have an idea of the refurbishment costs if there are any, but that comes from the viewing and survey, and having a builder to estimate it before the auction.” Daisy explained very matter of factly. “I can always ask Dad to cast his eye over it if there is enough time. But in the meantime I’ll see if I can get in a few viewings, not to buy, just to see, and then go to the auctions to see how it works and what the ones I view actually sell for.”

“Oh kay…” Linda said slowly. “That was a bit out of the blue!”

“Is it?” Daisy was confused as looked between Linda and Steve. “You know I have been looking at buying a house.”

“Err, yeah. Daisy picked up a house auction booklet from an agent the other day while we were on the round.” Steve explained. “I reckon she’s read it.”

“Oh, right. I see!” Linda didn’t see. “So you read a booklet and worked out how buy a house at auction? I mean… it’s not that I think you can’t do that, but that you read a booklet and understood, as if it were… I dunno, instructions on tying your shoe laces.”

Daisy thought for a moment, and frowned. “Instructions for tying shoe laces would be really complicated, especially without pictures. No, this is easier then that. Just a little bit of maths and a set of rules for the process. Stick to the rules and you should be able to buy a house that is affordable, or you might not buy a house if it isn’t. That’s the theory, I just need to go to the auctions to see if that’s the case. It’s not a big issue.”

“It is for most people! It’s a scary thing that people with money do on TV.” Steve was a little concerned for his friend’s sudden confidence in the auction process. “A house is the most expensive thing people buy!” He added.

“I know that, but it is just buying a thing with the right research, planning, and a bit of care. If you have the money or mortgage to spend on a house then auction or agent is just a process. Buying a car is complicated. What with all the various financing deals and what not, it’s hard to tell how much you’re going to spend and if you are really getting a good, or fair, deal. With a house, at least, if you like the house, it isn’t falling down, and can afford it, it is fairly straight forward. And you don’t have to keep changing it for a ‘better one’ every three years. Well, Mum and Dad didn’t, they are still in their first house.”

Linda and Steve looked at each other. “Okay, I suppose it just isn’t the sort of thing anyone we know has done before.” Linda put her hand on Daisy’s arm, “Probably more scary for us then for you, so we worry. I guess if you think it is okay, and you’ve done your research before you take the plunge, then good luck!”

(Chapter 38 here)
(Chapter 40 here)

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