The crowd outside thinned slightly, enabling a lone PCSO to battle her way to the front door. She managed to squeeze through the narrow gap, as Diana hid behind the door and closed it shut very quickly to prevent any determined photographers taking a snap.
“Come into the kitchen,” said Diana. “It’s a bit quieter at the back of the house and the curtains are drawn so we can have some privacy. I was just about to make some lunch; only cheese, crackers and fruit but you’re very welcome. I can make you a drink if you like? Fruit juice, Diet Coke or something hot?”
“Coffee would be great. It’s a bit cold out there.”
“I’ll just call Danny first. We have a visitor Danny, darling, can you come down, and make sure that you’re respectable?”
“I don’t do respectable; you should know that by now!” he yelled. The PCSO giggled as Diana got out plates and mugs, and put the kettle on. Suitably clad in black jeans and a new polo shirt in bright blue, Danny bounded down the stairs and into the kitchen.
“New shirt,” said Diana. “It suits you; it brings out the colour in your lovely eyes.”
Danny smiled and kissed her rather thoroughly. He waved amiably at the PCSO, who blushed, and took out her notebook and pen.
“No one else ever notices my eyes,” he said “Just one of the many reasons why I love this woman so much.”
“We’ve had a complaint,” the PCSO explained. “Well more than one actually, from a John Muggeridge?”
“My very ex-husband,” said Diana.
“He says that he is the owner of this house and that he was assaulted and threatened by Mr – uh – Danny?”
Diana perched on a stool and sighed.
“The house is jointly owned by my ex-husband and myself. In our divorce settlement, it was agreed that I could live here whilst our children were in full-time education. They are both at university. Danny’s company is in the process of purchasing the house so that it can be put in trust for my children as long as they want to own it. I am expecting their father to refuse to accept the sale, but as we will be paying way over the market price, and our children will benefit because they get to keep their family home, he may run into a bit of trouble legally. It could also cost him a lot of money, and he is notoriously tight-fisted. As regards the alleged assault and threats; Danny and I were on this side of a door secured by the chain, John was outside, so no assault could have taken place. The only threat made was Danny advising John to do one, or we would call the police. My next-door neighbour Jane witnessed the whole thing, and had already advised John to go away when he came here on Saturday and tried to get my daughter to let him in. I’m afraid that John lives in a world of fantasy where he is the victim of other people’s unreasonableness. That’s just one of the many reasons why he is my ex-husband.”
“I take it that Jane would be prepared to give a statement about what she saw?” said the PCSO writing very rapidly
“I’m sure she would. Shall I get her to come round? It will save you having to battle the crowd outside.”
“Won’t she have to struggle through that crowd, will she? said the PCSO looking worried.
“No. She’ll nip through her garden and into ours. I’ll just text her and invite her in for coffee too.”
Within minutes Danny was opening the kitchen door to let Jane in. She bought with her a large casserole dish and a bag of frozen peas. An enormous fluffy ginger cat was following her.
“Meet Milo,” said Diana. “This may well be the only time he puts in an appearance,”
“I thought you might like a hot meal for tonight,” she said, handing it to Danny. Diana lifted the lid of the casserole dish and grinned.
“Shepherd’s pie Danny! With garden peas! Jane you are an angel! So that’s why Milo has come home.”
“Well, you can’t live on love, toast and fruit juice. I made one for myself and Milo at the same time – no onions in ours though. I still can’t get used to cooking for one.” she said sadly.
Diana gave her a hug, and Danny kissed her on the cheek, making her smile again. The PCSO felt envious, and bent her head down to take some more notes. Jane sat down on one of the stools, and gave her answers without any prompting. She also made several additional comments about what a liar John was, and how much Diana had had to put up with him over the past two years while they were sharing the house. The PCSO seemed satisfied with the information and relaxed a little when Diana passed her a mug of fresh coffee.
“We’re going to see if we can clear the reporters away soon, but they asked me to come in and speak to you first. DI Willis has been in contact, and I believe there will be some kind of statement soon from a ‘Mike’ is it?”
“Mike is our manager,” said Danny, unable to suppress a smile whenever he used ‘our’ instead of ‘my’. “He’s hoping to set up an interview for Diana with one of the glossy magazines, but we need the rest of the press to disappear, as it will be an exclusive. If Jane’s free, she’ll be observing with me to make sure they don’t ask Diana anything nasty.”
Looking up from cutting cheese into cubes and slicing some apples, Diana raised her eyebrows.
“I can actually stand up for myself, but it would be nice to have Jane and Danny here too. It’s not as if I’ve had to do anything like this before.”
“Can I ask you something?” asked the PCSO.
“Fire away.” said Diana, leaning against Danny, who put his arm around her shoulders.
“Isn’t this a bit scary? From what the papers are saying, you led quite a quiet life before you met Danny?”
“Well, it’s true that we’ve had a rather action-packed weekend, but if it wasn’t for the mob outside and John’s deliberately wasting police time with his lies; we would be having a break away from all the celebrity fuss. That’s all we wanted. To come here for a few days, see Jane – and Milo. My children are well aware of what’s going on and are particularly disgusted by their father’s behaviour. The best part of all this is meeting Danny, and finding out that he is most definitely the man of my dreams – except that now he’s a reality.”
“Good luck for the future then,” said the PCSO, “And we’ll see about moving the press on, and warning your husband off. I’ll try and battle my way out now. Thank you.”
“No need to go that way.” said Jane. “Come back with me and I’ll let you out of the side gate. They’ll all be looking at Diana’s front door and you can slip out without being noticed.”
Danny let them out of the kitchen door, Milo gave him a cursory glance and followed Jane. Whilst Diana carried on preparing lunch, he stood behind her, put his arms around her waist and nuzzled into her neck.
“Am I really the man of your dreams?” he said.
Diana put down the kitchen knife and turned around so that she was facing him. Tracing the shape of his eyes with her fingertips, she kissed him and whispered in his ear. “Dreams do come true sometimes. Back to practicalities. Lunch upstairs or down?”
“Upstairs on the bed, and can I have that can of Diet Coke with my lunch, please?”