‘Hello,I… Oh My God!’ Jemima Preston took a step back. ‘Are you…? I mean… Him?’
The balding, smiling man nodded, ‘Yep. William Windsor. You were expecting me? Odd Jobs For Normal People.’
‘Well, yes, I suppose. I did book for someone to come round only… Not you.’ Jemima felt her knees flex and she stumbled forward. As he caught her, she apologised.
‘No sweat. Happens all the time. Involuntary curtsying. Can’t be helped. They say it’s hardwired. So,’ he picked up the bucket, ‘where so I start?’
‘The note said cleaning? You’re expecting a cleaner?’
‘Then shall we?’
‘But you’re, you know,’ she glanced at her neighbour’s window, ‘royal.’ She added with a giggle, glancing at his head. ‘The heir.’
‘I wish.’ William brushed his sparse lock back in place. “Kate wanted me to use this gubbins Dad has made from peonies and ground commoners but it smells like Harry after a kebab binge. Anyhoo, what’s first?’
Jemima didn’t know what to do so showed him through to the kitchen. ‘Maybe the washing up?’
William looked disappointed. ‘No blocked drains? Kiddies’ vomit’ He looked serious. ‘Thing is granny’s getting a bit cranky… you know the sort of thing – “in my day we understood what the peeps were going through, the Blitz, blah blah”, so Katie-poos said we should all do a sort of Bob a Job thingummy, get down with the masses. One is a bit lacking when it comes to u-bends and boiling hankies so it’s learning as we go, wot? If there’s something really horrible, let me at it.’ He held up his pink-gloved hands.
‘I don’t know. It really doesn’t seem right, giving menial work to one of you.’
‘No, really. I insist. I can throw you in the Tower if that would help.’
‘Don’t see why not. Still, you sure you’ve nothing more than washing up?’
‘Ok. If you go through there, you’ll find four sets of sick-stained sheets and two boots covered in dog-dirt.’
‘Marvellous.’ To Jemima’s surprise, William spun on his heel and headed for the front door.
She said, ‘Aren’t you going to sort it out?’
He nodded. ‘I’ll have my people here in a jiffy. Wouldn’t want to make a mess on my first day.’