‘Hello, are you…?’ Jemima Preston took a step back. ‘Are you…?’
The bald, smiling man nodded, ‘William. You were expecting me?’
‘Not exactly.’ Jemima felt her knees flex and she stumbled forward. As he caught her, she apologised.
‘No sweat. Happens all the time. Involuntary curtsy. Can’t be helped. They say it’s hardwired. So,’ he picked up the bucket, ‘where so I start?’
‘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 I could agree. Kate wanted me to use this Gubbins Dad makes as a follicle restorative from peonies and ground commoners but 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. 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.’
‘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.’