tagRomanceRoom Wanted Ch. 01

Room Wanted Ch. 01


Room wanted: Recently qualified teacher looking for room/s for short term let...

"Is that Naomi?" said the voice.

"Yes," she said brightly.

"Hello Naomi, my name's Rob Stanley, I understand you are looking for a room to rent?"

"Yes," she said hopefully, "Yes I am."

"Dave Darnell speaks extremely highly of you," he said positively, "you've taught special needs he says."

"Yes, I was a TA in a special school for five years, but I graduated last year and of course now I work for Dave."

"Excellent," said the voice, "I have a large loft room for rent, fully furnished, on-suite, £100 a week if you'll babysit for me."

Naomi Williams punched the air with a silent 'YES!' Today was just getting better and better. Her job was now secure and the hunt for new digs was over in days! While she was now ready to hit the ground running, she knew she had to build up the financial reserves a bit, and renting just a room was the most sensible. She'd just started to pay off her student loan and had rented a series of rooms for the last few years and while she survived she had begun to eat into her already small financial reserves which she would need for the five or ten percent that would make her mortgage a surety, and to cover the legal fees, and pay for the paint and furniture and other things she would need for 'her place'.

The bedsit she currently paid '£600 PCM' for was really unpleasant, damp, in need of decoration, had a shared bathroom with two other bedsits, had no WiFi and she knew too much about her pervy landlord.

The hint from her boss that a mate of his had a room he wanted to let had come at the perfect time and she said a silent thank-you to him for suggesting her.

Dave Darnell was the head of the school she taught history at. He'd said that his friend had a number of young children and needed the occasional childminder, two of them had 'special needs'. He knew through her interview and CV that she had worked at a special needs schools before completing her degree and qualified teacher status.

As a poor underpaid, over-worked Teaching Assistant she'd done tonnes of childminding, chaperoning, caring and trips out for the extra cash that had made life more comfortable. Now she was a full-fledged secondary school teacher she thought she'd left all that behind her, but the chance to rent a nice room in a nice house where she wouldn't have to walk along the corridor to the bathroom, AND keep more of her savings was too good to miss.

So straight after her last day work for the whole summer, a Friday, she headed for the house in question on her motorbike. As she followed the Satnav on her clamped on phone she just felt better and better as the terraced houses ran out being replaced with some bungalows, with the spacing between each property growing larger until there were more fields and there was a village she really hadn't heard off before. Looking at the electronic map she saw that the school she worked at was way closer than her current bedsit and if she got this place, she reckoned she could walk in each morning through this pretty village and still shave about twenty minutes off of her commute.

She arrived and was pleased to see it was a large house by the far the biggest in the village and surrounded by fields, the one MPV and lack of bicycles suggested that this was a family home rather than a series of flats.

It was a large detached double fronted red brick place surrounded by old flint walls with a gravelly drive and she walked across it. Her motorbike was safely across the road with her helmet strapped to it and out of sight of the house, at least for now.

She had a warm feeling about this; Dave her boss didn't seem the sort of bloke that would be mates with the kind of pervy old landlord that would hang around the bathroom trying to catch glimpses of her in her underwear and would listen at her bedroom door.

She knocked the large red painted Georgian front door and it was answered by a teenage girl still in the teenage girl uniform of blue jeans and a pastel shade T-shirt. She looked Naomi up and down in a fraction of a second and smiled.

"You must be Naomi, come in!" she said ebulliently, "Dad's just had to run to the shop but he'll be back in two minutes. Can I get you a coffee?"

The house was brightly and well decorated and the smell of good quality coffee pervaded the downstairs.

Naomi stepped inside, "I'd love one, thank you." The girl trotted away leading Naomi to the kitchen.

"I'm Lizzie," said the girl getting a large mug from the cupboard, "Elizabeth - it's shortened to Liz, Eliza, Li-Li; but it's mostly Lizzie," the girl chatted, "but on no account is it ever Beth," the teen poured coffee into the mug, "cream?"

"Yes please," giggled Naomi, she had taken to this spirited kid the moment she saw her.

"Good," said Lizzie, "We've run out of milk, Dad's just run out to get some more; he says you're a teacher," said Lizzie with a smile, "where do you teach?" Lizzie handed the mug over and Naomi took a sip at the edge, it was excellent coffee.

"I teach at Prior's Park," said Naomi.

Lizzie became animated, "Cool!" she buzzed, "My friend Amy goes to Priors, she's going to be a year 10 in September."

"Amy Collins?"

"Yes!" said Lizzie, "You know her?"

"She was in my classroom yesterday!"

"Cooool," said Lizzie reaching for her smartphone.

"If you're going to text her and tell her I'm here, could you add that I haven't forgotten that she still owes me the homework!" She grinned, and sipped more of her coffee.

Lizzie chuckled, "What do you teach?"


"My favourite subject! Just after Christmas we went to Berlin, it was BRILLIANT!" she cooed.

"Did you stay at the large hostel?"

"Yes," said Lizzie, "have you been!"

"Yep, first time this year."

Naomi and Lizzie entered in an animated discussion about all of the delights of the German capital. Naomi laughed and sipped her coffee, and the discussion moved onto World War 2, the subject of the GCSE.

Lizzie stopped, pointed at Naomi, adding a, "Stay there! Gotta check!" and disappeared.

"Well, you seem to be getting along fine," said a masculine voice behind her, and she turned round to see an equally masculine looking man, "that's the first part of the interview anyway!" Coming in at the 6 foot plus range, his dark wavy hair was greying slightly at the temples. He extended a hand, "Rob," he said with a genuine smile. She took it and shook firmly. He had big blue heart-breaker eyes and broad shoulders she just wanted to rest her head on! He was wearing blue jeans just starting to fade and a T-shirt that announced he was a Star Wars fan.

It was obvious that he was checking her out in a similar fashion. She was wearing similar blue jeans that while faded where her absolute best pair, and she wore a long sleeve T-shirt that showed off her great shape without making anything too obvious.


"So, Dave tells me you're newly qualified," he said helping himself to coffee and pouring the newly acquired milk into it and perching on the next high counter stool to Naomi's.

"Yes," she replied, "I was a TA at a special school in London, but I finally finished my degree and QTS in May last year, just established at Priors down the road. This is such a fantastic location for me -- if it's OK."

"Judging by how you were getting on with Lizzie I'd say you are well on your way." He smiled, "If you have worked in special needs you should go get your stuff and move right in." he grinned.

"Oh yeah," said the little ball of fire back at the kitchen door with a couple of books, "can I ask a question about German preparations for war?"

"Your door is here," said Rob standing at the end of the first floor hallway, "The combination is currently 1-2-3-4, I'll give you the instructions on how to reset it." They walked up the flight of stairs and he opened the door at the top. "It's kind of a bedsitter sort of thing," he said, "basically the floor plan of the whole house, just a little low at the edges. There's a bit of a kitchen with a sink, it has built in hot plates, electric kettle, toaster and microwave. If you want to cook anything more technical come down and use the main kitchen. You have a WC and wash hand basin in there," he pointed at the door to one side of what must have been a chimney breast, "and a small shower that side. There is a bath downstairs if you want a proper soak. Actually there are several bathrooms downstairs but I'd recommend you book them well in advance with my three girls. Washing machine, dryer and all that is in the little utility room off of the kitchen, help yourself, dustbin day on Tuesday."

"It's wonderful, thank you!" beamed Naomi, "do you need references?" she desperately hoped he wouldn't want one from the current landlord!

"David Darnell recommended you," he said, "that's good enough for me. Can you stretch to a month in advance?"

"Give me bank details and I'll do a direct debit."

"Perfect, how long are you looking to stay?"

"I don't know," she said, "trying to save up for the mortgage you understand, and renting furnished makes for such an easier life."

"No problem," he said, "Bit of notice would be good so I can get the place re-let, but don't worry too much about it. You have a car?"

"Motorbike, but I'll probably walk to school from here."

"Motorbike?" he looked intrigued, "What kind?"

"BMW G650," she said.

"Nice," he said, "you can keep it in the in the garage next to my K100,"

"RS or RT?" A kindred spirit and BMW rider, this was getting better.

"RT," he said, "It's for my male menopause moments," he grinned, "and I do actually tour on it... occasionally... when I'm not at work... or babysitting."

"My G6 is just enough power without weighing a ton. I'll let you have a go."

"Likewise," he said, and leaned forward and took her hand again, "welcome to the house. When do you want to move in?"


"Good for me."

"I'll get my stuff."

As she followed him down the stairs, she checked out his bottom and reflected on her thoughts about the landlord hanging around the bathroom and catching her half naked. This time she wouldn't mind! Mrs Stanley might have something to say about that though, and this was far too nice a pad to screw it up by having designs on the master of the house.

She had already arranged to borrow a friend's people carrier to move her already packed gear, and was back in hours. She turned down the offer of Lizzie's assistance to carry her things up stairs. She was slightly disappointed that her property took so few trips to carry up the two flights. She had a small fridge, but Rob said there was one there already, so they stowed that in the garage. She had some few items of furniture, bags of clothes, bedding, pillows, several boxes of books from her college course, CD's, DVD's, shoes and her laptop. Not a massive amount to show for her thirty three years on the planet earth.

After the second of her adopted parents passed away, she discovered that she'd been left out of the will and everything had gone to her two brothers and sister. It soon became apparent that the will was only a few years old and included a section should either of her parents die before her twenty-first birthday then there was a section about caring for her up until that date. There it was in harsh handwritten script, the perfect, almost printed copperplate writing of her 'Dad'.

"...to Naomi Carmichael Williams," Naomi had all but forgotten what her previous surname had been, "we send our regards and the regards of the family who shared their house and their lives with her, and made her who she is today.

All of our worldly goods and any financial holdings are to be divided equally between our three children John, Ruth and Peter. Naomi was brought into their loving family by us and it is not fair that they should be burdened with her care. If at the time of the reading of this will Naomi is under the age of 21 she should remain in the care of our benefactors until that time. After that date it is not fair that her brothers and sister, who had already done so much to care for her during their lives, should carry on our burden. The house should be disposed of and Naomi given back to the world we have striven so hard to prepare her for, ready to face life and its challenges."

That was it, nothing else. No suggestion of how she, the 'burden', should survive. To make it worse there was more discussion of what was happening to Paddy, Mum's Elderly but still healthy Golden Retriever that was still mourning the loss of his owner than there was of her. Aunt Edith was to take him, and as she sat on the wall outside of the solicitors' office she could hear John whispering to Edith still in the foyer about money for its food and vet's bills -- he saw the crying Naomi and turned his back so she couldn't pick up on the conversation. Sadly for him lovely batty old Auntie Edith was deaf as a post and shouted her replies to him.

Within minutes of the reading of the will she noticed that her eldest brother and sister suddenly started to refer to her as their 'adopted sister' -- they had never done that in the twenty or so years they'd shared a house, holidays, bedrooms and lives. They had already started to ease her out of their conscience, much as they had done with Paddy the dog.

Her youngest 'adopted brother' Pete was disgusted and argued with the solicitor and his 'real' brother and sister that Naomi was as much their sister as he was their brother and it was ridiculous that she was left out of the will and said it should be split four ways.

John said that if he wished to split his third with Naomi he was welcome to, but both he and Ruth would not go against Mummy and Daddy's dying wishes. He hadn't called them 'Mummy and Daddy' in thirty years either. That was it, the embarrassing weeping girl in front of the solicitors' office, 'persona non grata', didn't even have the decency to know when she had outstayed her welcome and to go and go quietly.

'Mum and Dad' had been wonderful -- no question, and fostered then adopted Naomi after finding out she lived in a children's home when she wasn't allowed to come round to play with Peter after their first week at Infant school. The feisty little blonde fireball of girl was loved by everyone from the start.

She had some faint memories of her birth mother, and less of her father, and family legend had it she was the illegitimate child of a married man and his mistress. He'd kept two homes right up to the point his wife found out and the money stopped.

When the relationship ended her mother put her up for adoption, as if she was not wanted after the split. Here it was happening for a second time.

They'd shared "their house, their lives", Mum and Dad sent 'their regards' - how frightfully splendid, how awfully fucking nice of the dear old things. John, Ruth and Pete were "beloved children", she was just "Naomi Carmichael", 'the burden', and between them they had "made her who she is today," as if she was a DIY project.

She had been a task, a job; job done, there's the door, byeeeee.

It wasn't about the money for Naomi; it was almost brutal discovery that after more than twenty years of love, affection, kisses and cuddles that she wasn't really one of 'them', and it was like she never really had been. The will called her Naomi Carmichael Williams.

When she'd been adopted her name had changed and Carmichael had never been mentioned again, her Dad was specific. All of her school certificates, her national insurance number, her driving licences, all said Naomi Williams. After all those years of being one of a close loving family, she had only ever been a lodger and even had an 'expiry date' of her 21st birthday.

At the age of 22 and half way through her degree course, and with the only home she'd ever known being sold around her she'd had to find other accommodation.

She'd collected the first of her belongings and taken them to the horrible bedsitter she'd had to rent, conscious that her eldest brother John was watching everything she took from the house in case it might be of value and could be sold. That even included her bedroom furniture that she'd gone to the shop to pick with Mum and Dad not ten years ago, all on their inventory.

"It's in the will," said John, taking the bedside table from the hall way next to her, on the pretence of checking underneath, but then placing it into the half empty lounge away from her. His previous warmness and affection of the last twenty years gone replaced by any amount of pique having realised that she'd already moved the bed, "we have to take everything into account."

"But it's my bedroom furniture," she said, "Dad bought it for me."

"He might have bought it 'with you'," said John, "but it's in the will," he whined with a pretend warmth but a real annoyance that she was arguing with him, "they said everything," if that made everything right.

"What about my clothes John," she'd said, fat tears running down her face, "do they count as 'a thing'?"

He thought about it for too long and she could see the inner struggle he had with the chance she might have something valuable within her wardrobe and drawers. Dad had bought her a Barbour jacket on her eighteenth birthday which had set him back £200, and she had visions of having to buy it back from her 'family'.

"Don't be stupid Naomi!" he snapped.

She hated him from that point on. From her fifth birthday onwards 'Big John' had been her big brother - protector, mentor, homework advisor, lifestyle advisor and hero and she'd worshipped him -- she'd even been a bridesmaid at his wedding; now it seemed like he was her landlord and was checking everything in case he could charge her for damages.

"I'm so sorry to ask you to do this Naomi," he said, ticking off more items on his clipboard with soulless efficiency and not making eye contact with her, "but... well Ruth, Peter and I need the money. Our purchaser is chain free and wants to move ASAP."

It was rubbish, Pete told her. They didn't 'need' the money, they 'wanted' it. OK, for John it was the end of his mortgage and an easier life for his wife Sally who, without a mortgage to pay, could stop working. Ruth had used it to buy a bigger house further out into the country and increased her mortgage. There was no offer for their sister to move in with them of course, there were lots of affordable rented places in the town they'd said. It was a University town and at that time of year there were NO affordable places to rent in town, but that never bothered her eldest brother and sister; Pete lived in a one bedroom flat with his girlfriend and had offered the sofa until she got somewhere.

Pete had sat in a pub with her some months later and said how much the will sounded out of character for Dad, he even suggested that the old man might have been in the early stages of dementia hence his turn against his adopted child in his last years. But Mum hadn't been, she was mentally sharp until the end. Brother John and Sister Ruth were just as cold and, in Pete's words, fucking obnoxious.

Ruth had even stopped her taking some of 'their' family photos for old times' sake, promising to get them copied and send them on to her new address; she had sat on the bottom of the stairs and cried at that. A twenty two year old woman, half way through her teacher training course, weeping like a five year old.

Ruth had stood by her at the bottom of the stair with a hand on her shoulder, with an emotionless 'there there, Naomi,' it lasted only a few moments and led to her pushing Naomi to one side so the removal men could come down the stairs with a piece of furniture from Mum's room. It was a piece that Naomi had loved and had rummaged through when Mum was going out 'helping her' pick costume jewellery and make up. Here it was going out the door to she knew not where; she doubted it would be to Ruth's house as she had was in an Ikea phase.

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