Daniel recollected how he had variable options since graduating from University as a Vet. In fact, he was offered jobs from at least three veterinaries. However, he decided to stay at the practice where he did a lot of his time working during university. Mr Clarke, the practice owner, was pleased that Daniel had accepted his offer.
It wasn’t such a lucrative offer as he had received from a vet’s practice some 75 miles away. But staying local seemed more important to him than ever. Plus, he knew Mr Clarke, and enjoyed his time at the surgery, and felt more secure and safe, staying where he was. Daniel really didn’t like change.
Daniel’s mum and dad, didn’t get on really, and lived their own separate lives, but never divorced. He had two brothers, who were bankers and always looked down at him because he was just a vet in their eyes. They were all upper-class each within their own right. Whereas Daniel would class himself as mere working class.
In fact, Daniel had a better relationship with Tim’s mum and dad than his own. However, since Tim’s death, he had lost contact with them; he knew they were now living in Spain, as they would still send the Christmas and birthday cards to each other.
As part of the job package Mr Clarke offered him, was the flat above the veterinary surgery rent free. Mr Clarke had told him it was standing empty doing nothing and it was the least he could do for Daniel.
Mr Clarke filled that void in his life and became more like a second father to him.
Daniel remembers that awful day, when Mr Clarke died of a heart attack. God how he missed him. Daniel knew that he would have to find another job as the surgery would either be purchased by another practice and they might not want him and possibly another flat as that definitely wouldn’t come in as part of his employment package.
Daniel started to look around, and applied for a couple of local jobs, but alas, to no avail, the only job offer he got was from another vets, miles away. Here he was 27 years old, a university graduate with possibly no job or home to his name.
He continued at the practice… but there was a sense of loss there, and everybody was frightened about losing their jobs. More than their jobs, they were concerned because if they closed down, the nearest vet would be 15 miles away.
It was about three weeks after Mr Clarke’s funeral, when a letter was sent recorded delivery to Daniel at the vets.
This was it, it was his termination, he thought.
Daniel opened the letter, which was from Mr Clarke’s solicitors. They had dealt with all the legal stuff for the vets and Mr Clarke. It asked Daniel to phone their office and make an appointment with regards to Mr Clarke’s last will and testament.
Daniel phoned, and an appointment was made for the very next morning at 9am.
Daniel fearing the worst, arrived at the solicitors early, whilst a locum vet looked after the surgery. Mr Jessop, called Daniel into his office, and asked Daniel whether he wanted tea or coffee. Mr Jessop’s secretary came in with a tray of coffee and Mr Jessop said now down to business.
Daniel couldn’t believe his ears. Mr Jessop, said, ‘Daniel, you don’t mind me calling you Daniel, do you? Well, it’s about Mr Clarke’s will. As you know, Mr Clarke had no living relatives as he’d never married or had a family, and his will states, that the practice/premises be bequeathed to you. In fact, Daniel you get everything.’
‘There is one stipulation though, that you keep on employing the staff that are there. If you are in agreement, there are a few papers for you to sign.’
Daniel still in shock, signed the papers, spoke about the formalities that needed to be carried out and then asked Mr Jessop if he will still be his and the practices solicitor. He’ll never forget that day, the day, he walked back into the veterinary surgery and told them, he was taking over the practice and their jobs were safe. Everyone jumped for joy… including the pet owners.
That was four years ago… now he had another day to remember, the day Sue told him to pack his bags and leave. All he kept thinking about, was what happened between Sue and Clare? What did Clare have to do with Tim and Chloe’s death? He had to find out? But how? Tim’s parents never spoke about what happened, and back then he was only 20 himself. He grieved his best mate, the only true friend he had at university. Daniel was never much of a mixer; parties were not his thing… His thing was animals! Him and Tim would often talk about setting up shop together, and what they would call their practice.
But now he stood there in his flat above the practice, with the love of his life, no longer wishing to see him, yet alone speak to him. He couldn’t help but wonder, all the time, why Sue reacted that way. What did Clare do?
Sue’s words were kept resonating through his mind. ‘How the hell can you say Hi… after all she did, or have you forgotten Chloe and Tim?’
All he could think about was being thrown out by Sue and Clare waiting for him downstairs, asking him whether she could stay at his place for the night as her flight back home wasn’t until tomorrow evening.
He remembers bundling Clare into his car, demanding to know what had happened between them. How blatant Clare was! All she kept asking was can she stay at his place? All she thought about was herself. When she did answer, it was to blame others. A true narcissist. Before he knew it, he was at the Premier Inn in town, booking Clare a room for the night and telling her to keep away from him and Sue and never to contact them.
Sue… something must have triggered her outburst… she reacted way over the top for it to be anything trivial. Sue wasn’t like that… something awful must have happened.
He had to find out, he had to know the truth. Somehow, someway he had to find the truth. That night, he boarded the Eurostar to Paris to catch a flight from Paris to Alicante, as all seats were booked on flights to Alicante from the UK, with the first available flight being Tuesday morning.
He phoned Steve, a locum he knew, … and asked him to cover for a few days, but alas he was booked for next week, but knew his brother Matthew, also a vet, who was free and arranged for him to cover for Daniel.
He drove to the station, left his car in the car park, and headed to London to catch the evening train to Paris. By early evening on Sunday, he knew he would be in Alicante… seeking out the truth.
It was a long tiring journey, especially on that train… he had planned to sleep a little on the train. However, with the filament of the central light above the corridor forever flickering in his eyes as he rested his head back to doze off, he knew sleep was not going to happen. So, he caught up with some outstanding emails…hoping that somewhere in amongst that vast number of emails, was something from Sue. But nothing.
His connection from train to flight was swift and he managed to get some sleep on the flight. Finally, his journey was over, it was Sunday evening and he was there, touching down in Alicante…
He had phoned Tim’s parents to tell them he was coming to Alicante and he would get a taxi over to their bar. Much to his surprise, as he walked through customs and out of the arrival’s door, there was Bob and Alison waiting for him. Alison was beaming ear to ear with her infectious smile… waving frantically at Daniel; something he hadn’t seen Alison do since Tim’s death.
He didn’t want to open wounds for them… but deep down he had to find out the truth about Clare. But for this evening, the questions could wait! It was time to catch up…