Daisy shifted her somewhat awkward position on the tiles of the outhouse’s roof, waiting for help to hove in view. She’d tried yelling at the start, but realised after a few minutes that it was better to save her voice for the moment when someone was in sight. It wasn’t as if she was in any danger, unless she moved about too wildly and slipped. And she was expecting the assistance of Scotland Yard any minute now; or at least if not, she’d have to inform Chief Inspector Fletcher that the Yard wasn’t all it cracked up to be. When she eventually got down again.
She shivered slightly; the day having shifted from clear to wet since her adventure began, and it was unwise: she had to steady herself before she slid off and landed in an undignified heap on the ground and finished the weekend by breaking a limb.
“Daisy!” said Alec from somewhere below, seemingly having crept up on her unawares while she was busy regaining her balance. “What are you doing up there? Dare I ask?”
She breathed out in relief, although now came the more embarrassing part of explaining her predicament. “Alec. Thank goodness. I was beginning to think I’d have to try and jump. There’s a ladder somewhere over there in the undergrowth.”
She didn’t have to be able to see his face properly to know he was raising an eyebrow, but he moved over to retrieve the ladder.
“There isn’t a body up there with you, is there?”
“No, just me. Although, there was a cat to begin with,” she said, as he carried the ladder back. “It hopped it a while back, though.”
“Don’t you know all cats can look after themselves?”
“And a crying child who begged me to help,” said Daisy. “Unfortunately, the child was a young crook in the making and once I’d got up here, she and her friend swiped the ladder. I told them I’d have Scotland Yard on them, but I don’t think they believed me.”
Alec hesitated with the ladder. “You know,” he said, “this might be more within the jurisdiction of the local fire brigade. Perhaps I shouldn’t –”
“Alec!” she half-wailed, but the ladder was already hitting the side of the building even as she spoke. She steadied it.
“You can climb down it all right, can’t you?”
Daisy nodded and after a spot of tense manoeuvring, swung herself over the edge and clambered down the ladder into his arms.
“You’re freezing,” he said, giving her his jacket. “Let’s get you back. I’d say something about meddling, but it’d be a waste of breath, wouldn’t it?”
“You couldn’t expect me to ignore a bawling child,” she said, with a smile, taking far more note of the warmth of the jacket and his arm round her than his words. “Even if it did turn out they were only getting in practise for a life of crime.”
He kissed her instead.