Becka and I soon became best friends. It was obvious I had chosen the perfect dog. She was easy-going and never barked. On the first day, she decided my bed was a lot more comfortable than hers and started sleeping with me.
‘If I had known you weren’t going to use this thing, I wouldn’t have paid twenty pounds for it,’ I told her, but the truth was I didn’t mind. I felt less lonely at night thanks to her.
On Saturday, I took Becka for an early morning walk before going to work. I had planned to go up and down the street and back home, as I was in a hurry, but she started pulling towards Silver Wood and I didn’t have the heart to say no to her. The truth was she spent too many hours on her own.
We walked among the trees for a while. It was shady and cold and I wished I had brought a thicker jacket.
Becka was having the time of her life, smelling here and there and trying to chase every bird she saw even though she was on a leash.
‘We need to go back now, my little hunter. I have to go to work,’ I told her.
She ignored me and kept on moving forward. We eventually got to a clearing. I suddenly heard the noise of leaves being crunched under somebody’s shoes. I turned around and came face to face with Mr Potter.
‘Willow!’ he said. He seemed genuinely happy to see me.
‘How are you Mr Potter?’
‘Fine, fine. How about you?
‘I’m better, thanks. Got myself a little dog to keep me company.Her name's Becka.’
‘I see. She’s lovely,’ he said, but he seemed quite unnerved when Becka started sniffing at his feet.
‘I have a question I want to ask you. Why did my Mum send you a sample of my hair?’
‘I can’t tell you that, Willow. You’ll have to find out on your own. Well, it’s been nice seeing you. I have to go.’
I watched him as he disappeared behind some rocks and then walked back home.
After leaving Becka in the kitchen, her favourite room, I walked towards the pub. I kept on thinking of a topic for my first column. In the end, I had told my boss I would do it, even though I didn’t have much time. I had decided it would be a good way to force myself to write.
‘You’re late,’ Mindy said accusingly as I walked in.
‘So sorry. Becka felt like going to Silver Wood.’
‘Come on. Take this tray to table seven as soon as you can.’
Table seven was Mrs Bennet’s gorgeous nephew. I still hadn’t been brave enough to talk to him.
I put his tea and his eggs on the table and smiled. He looked at me as if I was a moron and started eating.
‘Enjoy your breakfast,’ I said in a small voice.
I returned to the counter to take the next order.
‘Nice guy,’ I said to Mindy.
After work, I went to Aunt Lucy’s home. I hadn’t seen her for two or three days and felt like a chat. When I got there, I saw Merlin Potter standing outside her door. Well, the man was everywhere… There was a short lady standing next to him and it seemed they were saying goodbye.
I waited behind a tall bush, as I didn’t feel like speaking to the man again. Why was he talking to Aunt Lucy anyway? I had got the impression he was just a friend of Mum’s… Aunt Lucy had told me she hardly knew him.
When they left, I walked to Aunt Lucy’s home and rang the bell.
‘Did you forget anything, Merlin dear? Oh, it’s you…’
‘I didn’t know you were friends with Mr Potter.’
‘I’m not, well… I am… It’s a long story.’
‘I have time.’
‘I don’t. I’m sorry dear, but I was about to go out. Poker night.’
About to go out? Why was she lying again? She was wearing a tatty dressing gown and her hair was in rollers, so I was sure she had been planning to stay in. I was even surprised she had received visitors looking like that.