The door opened and a woman who looked to be in her mid to late thirties stood in the now partially open doorway.
Clearing his throat the man who'd rung the doorbell spoke, "Excuse me I'm Mr Allen."
"Oh, yes come in," and she stood to one side opening the door fully for her caller to step into the hallway.
When he'd entered into the house she closed the door then asked her visitor to follow her, as she led him into the sitting room.
Once inside turning to the man after offering him a seat which he declined she said, "We spoke on the phone Mr Allen and I laid out the terms for the room I have to let."
He perused the woman as she spoke noting that she was quite short about 5 ft 3ins tall and slim with shoulder length light brown wavy hair, when she finished talking he replied, "Yes I understand all the terms, if I can see the room I will be able to tell you whether I will take it or not."
Again she asked him to follow her as she led the way out and up the stairs to view the room.
At the top of the stairs as they turned right, on Mrs Walters left at this end of the passage was a door, opening it she pointed out the bathroom which was bright and spotlessly clean. They passed another door on the left that was situated next to the bathroom from which came the faint sounds of music, "That's my sons room," she said, "He won't be any bother he mostly keeps to his room."
At the other end of the hallway they came to another closed door that was facing them. Mrs Walters produced a key and unlocked the door and held it open for him to step into and inspect.
The moment he saw the room he knew that he would take it. It was spacious with double bay windows making it very bright and with the double glazing it was reasonably soundproofed from the street noises below.
Turning to the owner of the house he said, "I'll take the room please Mrs Walters, Ill give you a months rent in advance like you requested, and if I may could I move in tomorrow."
"Please call me June, and yes certainly you can move in whenever you like. As you know the room is $80 a week you have to share the bathroom but as I told you it's only my son and I in the house. My room is downstairs and I have my own en-suite so only you and my son will be using the bathroom on this floor, which shouldn't lead to any problems of overcrowding. You can use the sitting room if you wish and if you want to make use of the kitchen to cook your own meals that would be another $20 a week.
"I won't be using the kitchen umm June, as I'll only be returning to my room about after I've finished work and had an evening meal with either friends or family. I'll be away every weekend unless I have to go into work on a Saturday or Sunday. Uh, would you like the first month's money in cash or cheque?"
"Cash if you have it Mr Allen,"
"Please the name is Jeremy," and withdrawing his wallet from his pocket he counted $320 and handed it over to his now landlady.
"Thank you Jeremy if you don't mind me asking why won't you be occupying the room at weekends?"
"I have a house in Berkshire but I'm getting a bit fed up of commuting into London and also having to pay the congestion charge so I decided to make life a bit easier for myself by renting a room for five nights a week, and going home at weekends."
"That's a bit expensive isn't it?"
"Not really, I work for an accountancy firm and what I spend on a room can be recouped from the tax man as expenditures."
"Oh I see, well I'm glad to have you Jeremy," then taking another key from her pocket and along with the key to the room handed them to him saying, "These are your key's for your room, and the front door, and I hope you enjoy your stay with us."
Accepting the keys and thanking her and taking his leave he left the house made his way to his car and drove off to make is way back to his house in Berkshire situated on the outskirts of Newbury.
With the traffic not being too heavy on a late Saturday afternoon, an hour and fifteen minutes later saw him driving into the garage of his four bed room property.
Making his way into the house he headed for the kitchen opened the fridge and poured himself a cold drink. Taking it with him he went through to the sitting room placed the drink on the side table by the settee and flopped down into the comfort of the leather-bound cushioned chair. Leaning back and closing his eyes he let his body relax then stretched his hand out to grasp the glass containing the cold drink and bringing it to his lips drank deeply quenching his thirst.
Placing the empty glass back on the table, he started making mental notes as to what he would require for the coming week in the way of clothing if he was going to take up residence in June Walters's house.
He spent a
few more minutes relaxing and letting his mind drift back to just over a year
ago when solicitors acting on behalf of his aunt Kathleen, had informed him
that she had left him the house that he was now occupying. It was like an
answer to his prayers, he was staying with his parents after having to sell the
house that he had been occupying with his female partner. They had set up house
together buying a property in
His aunt who had been a bit on the eccentric side had never married; had indulged herself with numerous lovers who were overly generous with their gifts trying to win her favours. During the course of her many affairs she had made it a point never to get pregnant, thereby ensuring that her way of life was never interrupted with a lump around her midriff, and then the tedious task of having to give birth.
Not having children of her own didn't mean that she wasn't fond of them; she loved kids but could never bring herself to go through the process of pregnancy, and did the next best thing which was to spoil her relations children. She had become especially fond of him from when he was very young and had gone out of her way to spoil him at every opportunity that she had, much to his parent's annoyance.
Although the rest of the family thought that she was a woman of loose morals he always liked her and looked forward to the times when she would visit not because of the presents that she showered upon him, but he genuinely liked her company as she talked to him about subjects that in his parents minds were not appropriate for a young boy.
She would take him for rides in her car and they would inevitably end up in some very well established restaurant, where she would always be made welcome as a valued customer. When they'd get back home his mother would lift her eyebrows when noting that he was unable to eat his meal as he'd gorged himself in the restaurant, as usual his mother would confront her sister asking her, "When would she stop spoiling him".
To which she always replied, "When I'm dead," and that was exactly what she did, her last act being to leave him the house, that on many occasions he had spent umpteen happy weekends with her.
"Aunt Kathleen," he thought, "You were as wacky as a bat, but there was never another aunt that could come anywhere near to you in the understanding of me as a boy when I was in my early teens, or when I had attained adulthood and thought I knew all the answers to life's little problems. You knew exactly how to talk to me, and how to turn the most insurmountable problems into a teeny little pebble that could be kicked and put in its rightful place. And now when I need you most of all to be able to unburden the problems of my love life you're not here to advise me.
But I still remember what you said about love. Don't try and understand it, just feel it, and if it feels good then let it envelope you and your inner self will do the rest.
I didn't listen to your words the first time that I met Janet I thought that I knew best, but only realised to late that conforming to what others require of you in life is no substitute for love, but now that is in the past and there is no possibility of my making the same mistake again."
The chiming of the clock broke Jeremy's chain of thoughts; he looked across at the mantelpiece to note the source of the disturbance and his daydreaming, the clock was showing 8.00pm, he rose from the chair to wash and change his clothing then made his way out of the house to walk down to the nearby drinking establishment to partake of an evening meal.
He made his leisurely way to the local pub that was a few minutes walk from his house enjoying the warm late evening sun as it prepared to dip behind the nearby hills. Entering the pub he was greeted by the landlord and some of the regulars who had come to know him from his frequent visits to the establishment for his evening meal.
Giving his order to Brian, the landlord, he included a round of drinks for the four regulars that had greeted him on his entrance. He made his way through to the restaurant section of the pub taking a seat at a table by the window and awaited the serving of his meal.
An hour and a half later he wished his acquaintances in the pub goodnight and with a final wave to the landlord made his solitary way back home.
Once indoors he set to work to pack a bag with all the necessary clothes and other items he would require for the week ahead. When he'd finished packing his case he showered and made ready for bed.
he was washed dressed had eaten his breakfast
and was ready to hit the road for
An hour and
fifteen minutes later saw him pulling up outside June Walters's house. He
grabbed his case from the boot of the car made his way through the garden to
the front door opened it and continued up the stairs to his room. Inside he put
the case on the bed opened it and proceeded to unpack. Inside the wardrobe
hangers had been provided for him to hang his suits that he normally wore for
work. With his unpacking done he looked at his watch noting that it had just
gone eleven. He made his way out of the room downstairs and back to his car,
knowing his way around
By he had the television installed and tuned in to his satisfaction, and now contemplated the needs of his stomach which was beginning to rumble. He opened the door to his room to make his way out once again only to be confronted by a young boy coming out of the bathroom, who to his eye looked to be about fourteen years of age. They stood awkwardly looking at each other till the man took the initiative holding out his hand saying.
"Afternoon, I'm Jeremy Allen the new lodger."
The boy took the proffered hand in a limp grasp and tentatively shook it mumbling, "I'm Kim Walters, actually Kimbal but everybody calls me Kim."
On hearing the name the man raised his eyebrows.
Seeing the raised eyebrows the boy responded, "Yeah I know my mother was a Rudyard Kipling fan so I got stuck with Kimbal."
Smiling the man looked at the boy who seemed to have just come from having a shower; his hair was still wet but dishevelled having been dried to some extent with the towel that was now wrapped around the boy's very slim waist.
"It's a good name, and actually I liked the story myself, did you."
"Never read it and don't intend to either."
He noted the boy's resemblance to his mother, a lot in his height and build the only difference being in the colour of the hair whereas hers' was light brown in colour his although still wet when dried out would be fair to blonde,
"Well I won't keep you from getting dressed I'm off to get a bite to eat, see you later," and Jeremy Allen made his way out and to his favourite eating place where he was well known.
Kim Walters looked at the back of the retreating man, when he'd disappeared out of the front door he made his way to his room and started to dress. He was far from pleased now that his mother had taken in a lodger, he felt that his space had been invaded by this man Jeremy something or the other he'd forgotten the surname already. He just hoped that he wouldn't stay too long so that he could have the first floor to himself again. Maybe he could encourage the man to leave sooner than later by being a nuisance. He kept the thought at the back of his mind, as he finished dressing and made his way downstairs to greet his mother and have his afternoon meal before making his way by bus to the town centre, his mother warning him to be home by .
Once at his destination he made for the shopping mall and straight to the sports shop to get a new pair of trainers as the pair he was wearing had seen better days.
Obtaining the trainers he desired, he killed time walking around looking into various shops and music centres checking out the latest CD's forgetting all about being home by till looking at his watch he noticed it was nearly . He quickened his pace and made his way to the nearest bus stop to make his way home. He hoped his mother wouldn't be to upset at his being late from the shops he said he'd only be an hour and it was now two hours since he'd left home.
Dialling the home number he waited with some trepidation to his mother's reaction to his being late. His fears were well founded when he heard his mother's icy voice.
"So what's the excuse this time Kim, or shouldn't I even bother to ask."
"I'm sorry mum I really didn't realize how long I'd been out; I'm in the town centre waiting for a bus."
"Well don't bother rushing, I'm leaving without you, and you can make your apologies to your uncle when next you decide to talk to him."
And suddenly the line went dead.
He looked at the mobile phone in his hand then his voice exploded, "SHIT! He put the phone away and looked down the road in the direction from where the bus would arrive, but there was nothing in sight.
"How the fuck was he going to make things right with his mother," he thought, "This was the third time he'd missed out on a visit to his uncles Harry's house, it wasn't that he didn't like him or his wife and kids, but it was just that the way they lived their lives didn't appeal to him in the slightest, and from the moment he arrived at their residence till it was time to leave he was bored to tears."
His thoughts were broken by a bus coming into sight, and within a minute he was on board and heading home, the ride lasted fifteen minutes then he was walking the couple of hundred yards to the house.
Noticing that his mother's car was not outside the house he opened the front door and made his way to his room, not bothering to make his presence known to an empty house. Inside his room he flopped onto the bed letting the new trainers drop to the floor then picking up the phone he dialled his uncle's house preparing to do some major crawling to cover his arse for his absence for the third time in a couple of months. After ten minutes of grovelling on the phone to his uncle and aunt he once again made his apologies before hanging up.
"Now what," he thought, "House to myself but not too sure when the lodger will be back, but have to try and do something about that."
He'd had the top floor to himself for the last eighteen months and didn't feel that he wanted to share it with anybody, especially not with some stuck up bloody wheeler dealer from the city, with a flashy black Audi S8 (that his mother had informed him that he drove)with tinted glass all round and cream interior. Must have cost the guy and arm and a leg, but his type can afford it, according to his mother he'd only be occupying the room for five days of the week, but to him that was five days too many.
"Now what was the best way to make the lodger quit," as he thought about his earlier plan to make the lodger leave, he taxed his brain and all he could come up with was noise, like playing his music or TV too loudly, after due consideration that he thought was the best way to go about it.
With his plans made he went down to the kitchen to see what there was to eat. After stuffing himself with pizza he got some concentrated Ribena, put a bit into a glass and topped it up with Swcheppes Lemonade from the fridge, he then proceeded to gulp it down in one go then burped loudly, he made his way to the front room to sit and watch a bit of telly on the big set now that he was alone in the house. Normally if his mother was at home he would watch the telly in his own room, as there was always a conflict of interests between them as to which programme to watch.
He'd been watching the box for a couple of hours when out of the corner of his eye he saw the black Audi S8 pull up outside the house. He switched off the telly dashed upstairs to his room switched on his CD player searched for a rap CD turned up the volume put it on and lay back on his bed and waited.
The moment Jeremy entered the house his ears were assaulted by the sound from the CD player coming from the boy's room. He made his way to his own room and found the noise even worse because of the thinness of the walls. Making his way to the boy's room he knocked loudly with the result the door opened and the boy enquiring, "Yeah what d'you want?"
"Could you turn the volume of your music down please?"
The boy unblinking stared back at the man, "Why."
Jeremy stared back at the boy turned on his heel and returned to his room. Inside he sat down obtained some paper from his briefcase and wrote a letter to June Walters, he put it into an envelope addressed it to her put in his coat pocket picked up his briefcase and other essentials that he would need for work the next day and made his way downstairs slipped the letter under the landlady's room door made his way to his car and drove back to his house in Newbury.
Kim Walters was surprised that the lodger had not argued about the level of sound coming from his room he had waited about half an hour and when nothing further had materialized he switched off the CD player opened his door and listened. There was total silence in the house he made his way downstairs went to the front room to notice that the lodgers car was gone. He smiled thinking that the first round against the lodger had gone to him. He made his way back to his room flopped back on his bed and put the telly on with the knowledge that the upstairs was his again for the time being.
A couple of hours later with his eyelids drooping as he lay on his bed watching the television his senses were abruptly alerted to some sort of readiness when the bedroom door was flung open and his mother entered the room.
"Can you explain this to me," she said, hurling an envelope containing a letter at him, which hit him in the chest then fluttered to the bed.
He picked it up and opened it and read:-
I would be grateful if you could come to some understanding with your son about the level of noise emanating from his room. I don't require total silence from Kimbal but I think I'm right in asking for the level of noise to be lowered so that I can hear myself think.
When I confronted Kimbal about reducing the volume of his CD player I was asked why? Maybe you as a mother could explain to him why?
If you are unable to come to some sort of compromise with him about the level of noise then I would formally submit my intention to vacate the room at the end of the month.
I have returned to my own premises for the night not wanting to cause any unpleasantness, and will return tomorrow evening after work to hear the outcome of your discussion with Kimbal. I hope we can come to a satisfactory agreement on this matter. If however you feel that your son has the right to conduct himself in the manner that he has, and that no action is required on your part then I will as stated find accommodation elsewhere.
After reading the letter he knew he was in deep shit, he looked up at his mother and mumbled, "Sorry mum."
"Sorry mum," she screamed, "Is that all you can say, do you know how long I've been trying to get a lodger like Jeremy Allen to take that room, eighteen bloody months, and you fuck it up the second day he's here you fucking moron."
Kim was shocked to hear his mother swear, he had heard her on many occasions use bloody and dam and the odd shit! But never any f, and c, words.
His mother walked over to his CD player and speakers and disconnected them picked them up then told him to disconnect his television and to follow her with it.
He complied with her wishes and followed her out of the house onto the patio in the back garden.
His mother gestured for him to put the television set on the floor of the patio along with the CD player that she'd placed there, then asked him to leave.
He made his way back into the kitchen-diner and was making his way towards the window to see what his mother had planned when he heard a sound like a small explosion. Running to the window he looked out onto the patio to see his mother with a hammer in her hand and his television set minus a tube, she then turned her attention to his CD player and in a short space of time it like the television was totally wrecked, his mother picked up the pieces of the electronic equipment and deposited them in the bin then made her way inside the house.
Seeing him when she entered the room with an icy voice she spoke.
"When you've earned sufficient money you can buy yourself another television and CD player till then you'll just have to put up with having to watch the television downstairs and also play your CD's on the player down here. When Mr Allen returns tomorrow evening you will apologize to him about your behaviour, if however he decides to leave these premises even after you apologize then as long as you live in this house you will never be allowed to have a television or CD player in your room again, do you understand me."
He didn't say a word he'd never in all his life seen his mother so angry, all he did was nod his head in acknowledgement at what she'd just said.
"Alright you can go to your room now and contemplate the stupidity of your actions."
He turned and made his way upstairs to his room, inside he once again flopped down on his bed and thought,
"The snidey arsehole, he didn't have the fucking guts to say it to my face instead he writes a letter to my mother, what a fucking wanker. I hope he fucking dies on his way to work tomorrow the fucking prick."
His mind ranted and raved about all the things he'd like to do to Jeremy whatever his fucking name was, and his thoughts of all sorts of torture he could inflict on the lodger continued till he washed, changed, went to bed and finally to sleep.
Just after on Monday evening Jeremy Allen pulled up outside June Walters's house. He locked the car and made his way inside and on entering was confronted by June Walters.
"Good evening Jeremy, I'm terribly sorry and apologize for Kim's behaviour last night. I've spoken to him and if his attitude and presence is not to your liking then you can vacate the premises whenever you wish and I will reimburse you for whatever monies that is due to you."
"I'm sure that won't be necessary June, I think once told he has the intelligence to realize his mistakes and hopefully there will be no further problems.
"Thank you Jeremy, goodnight." And June Walters retired to her room.
Jeremy made his way to his room, once inside he stripped of his coat and tie, loosened his shirt collar kicked off his shoes and lay down on the bed.
He'd been watching the television for only a couple of minute when there was a knock on his door.
"Come in," he yelled, "Its open."
The door opened and a blonde head followed by a face and body entered the room, "Umm I've come to apologize about my behaviour yesterday Mr Allen," he'd been reminded about the lodgers surname by his mother.
Jeremy who still lay on the bed interrupted the boy asking, "Kimbal, have you come here to apologize because you want to, or because your mother requested you to do so?"
"My mum told me I had to apologize to you so I came over to do it."
"Okay Kimbal, but forget about the apology it doesn't mean a thing unless you yourself want to apologize an apology made under duress counts for nothing, in the meantime thank you for making the effort and no hard feelings, see you around."
Kim was dumbstruck he hadn't expected the man to react in this way. He was expecting to see a smirking individual gloating in his discomfort for having to swallow his pride and apologize to the person before him. Instead the man had told him to forget about the apology and leave, and that was exactly what he did mumbling a, "Goodnight," as he did.
Back in his room Kim stripped to his underwear went to the bathroom washed then returned to his room to change into his nightwear.
Having done so he lay on his bed not knowing what to do there was no television or music in his room; he could if he wanted to go downstairs and watch the telly but didn't fancy the idea. He looked around his room to see what there was to read and found nothing of interest.
He lay back on the bed and let his mind wander over the events of the last couple of days and why he was in the position he was.
"Alright," he thought, "I was out of order about the noise and the way I responded to his request to lower it, but he didn't have to go behind my back with the fucking letter, he could have at least shown it to me before giving it to my mother then we could have come to an agreement. Yeah, but then again the way he handled the situation it had the best effect for him without any words between us. At least he didn't rub it into me when I went to apologize told me to forget it unless I meant it.
Shit! Just realized he's right, unless I go on my own account it means sweet F.A. wonder if I should go and say sorry again, feel a bit iffy about it, but he can't bite my fucking head off."
He rose from his bed wrapped a robe around his body and barefooted he walked out of the room to the end of the corridor and knocked on Jeremy's door again.
A voice called out "Its open."
He opened the door and walked into the room to see the man seated in the armchair looking at him.
"I umm I've umm come to say sorry again on my own volition this time Mr Allen."
"Thank you Kimbal, apology accepted, and you can drop the Mr Allen, the name is Jeremy. Actually I know the walls in these rooms aren't very thick and since I've turned the television off in my room I haven't heard a peep from yours, you're over doing it with the silence bit aren't you."
"No not really I've got no telly or CD player."
Why, did your mother confiscate them?"
"No, she terminated them with a hammer and now they're in the bin."
"God! I'm sorry Kimbal, didn't realize that your mother would take such drastic action because of my letter."
"Yeah, well neither did I, I think I must have just pushed my luck that little bit too far. I've been getting away with murder recently, and I think my recent escapade must have just pushed her patience over the edge causing her to snap, with the result of me being on the receiving end minus a player and goggle-box."
"So why don't you watch the telly downstairs in the sitting room."
"I could do, but it's not the same as being in my own room, and in any case my mother will most probably come in and want to watch something that wouldn't appeal to me."
"Well at least you can get an early night and be fresh and raring to go to school tomorrow."
"School finished last Friday I'm on my summer holidays, and I have to start looking for a job as I told my mum that I won't be going back after the holidays."
"You mean you've finished school Kimbal."
"Umm well when I first saw you I thought you were about fourteen."
"Shit I don't look so young do I?"
"Well to me you do, but maybe others might think you're older, anyway if you want you can watch the box in my room, I was catching up on some office work so you can choose whatever programme you want while I finish off my work"
"I won't be disturbing you will I?"
"No go ahead," and Jeremy handed the boy the remote control, "You sit in the chair I'll get on the bed and work," he shutdown his laptop and rose from the chair and made his way over to the bed while the boy took the place that he'd vacated.
Kim switched on the television and skipped through the channels till he found what he was looking for and sat back to watch Jet Li demolish all adversaries in The One.
The movie had already started and he'd missed the first ten minutes but that didn't worry him as he'd seen it before but didn't mind watching it again as what the other channels had on offer didn't appeal to him. While he watched the television from time to time his eyes were drawn towards the man sitting on the bed writing. He was tall over 6ft in height and slim, dark-haired with a tan than suggested that he'd recently been in sunnier climes as the weather in the UK this last month had been atrocious. The boy had noticed the previous day that the man moved effortlessly which in itself relayed to the observer that there was if needed a wealth of power concealed inside the structure of the individual. He wondered why the man had not confronted him the day before when he had in a roundabout way refused to lower the volume of the player. Now as he observed Jeremy from the corner of his eye he was glad that he hadn't as it would have led to a confrontation that he knew would not have been to his liking.
The man stirred on the bed stood, and put the papers he had been writing away in his briefcase, then turning his attention to the boy in the chair he enquired,
"Is the movie any good?"
"Yeah not bad but I've seen it before."
"Is there much more left before the end?"
"No about half an hour, do you want to watch something else now that you've finished your work?"
"No, I was just making conversation didn't want you to think I was ignoring you."
"Oh, you don't have to worry about making conversation; I'm quite used to sitting watching the box on my own."
"That's alright if you're in your own room but you're here and to totally ignore you would be impolite, but now that you know that you're not being ignored you can go back to watching the movie."
"No I don't think so, would rather sit and talk if it's alright by you."
The man looked at the slender sixteen year-old, "Okay, I was wondering what was the reason behind the noise you created yesterday and why you reacted the way you did when I asked you to lessen the noise."
"Umm I was so used to having the upstairs all to myself that when you took the room I felt that I'd lost part of what belonged to me. So I decided to try and get you to leave and the only way that I thought I could do it was by being a nuisance."
The man studied the boy then smiling said, "Kimbal, just say the word and I'll pack my bags and leave, I'll speak to your mother making sure that she wouldn't put the blame on you and you'll have the upstairs to yourself again by tomorrow evening."
Kim couldn't believe his ears he remained silent digesting what the man had just said then realized that if Jeremy did leave who would take his place if not this month then at sometime in the near future, "No Jeremy I'd prefer it if you stayed no telling who my mum will get in here if you were to leave, and in any case I think you're okay.
"Well I'm glad you approve and hope we can get to know each other better."
"Yeah, so I'm off the hook for acting like a plonker earlier?"
"You never were on the hook, just wanted to know where I stood with you, I didn't want you to think I was invading your space."
The boy gazed at the man and smiled saying, "That was the same phrase I thought of when you arrived, you were invading my space, but I guess I was wrong, I don't mind you invading my space and also my mum can do with the money that the room brings in."
"Well I'll try not to be too much of a pain and keep out of your way as much as possible during weekdays, and then you'll have the place to yourself at the weekends."
"It's okay you're cool, it wont be a problem your being around. Actually if you don't mind me asking why will you be staying away at the weekends?"
"Because it gets me away from the city, and all the continuous hustle and bustle. At home I can relax and take it easy without having all the constant noise associated with a big city."
The boy rose from the chair saying, "Well I'd better get to bed, have to be up early tomorrow and head down to the employment bureau to see what they have on offer, see you tomorrow sometime, goodnight."
The boy stopped his progress towards the door and turned, "Yeah."
"For what its worth I'd forget about getting a job and resume school after the summer break."
"Nah, I've had it with school and to be honest I wasn't very bright could never concentrate long enough to remember anything."
"Bright or not think about it, don't be in too much of a hurry to get out and start earning a living because you're going to have to do it for the next fifty years if you do."
"Well I'll give it some thought but I'll still go down to the job centre to see what they can offer me career wise. See you tomorrow." And Kim made his way back to his own room.
Other than telling him that he had decided to go back to school the following day the week followed the same pattern for Jeremy, he would arrive back at his lodgings after having a meal and visiting family or friends between 8 or 9pm. After he'd relaxed there would be a knock and without him having to answer the boy would poke his head around the door with an enquiring look before entering. They would normally sit and talk unless there was a particular programme that the boy wanted to watch on the box, just before midnight Kim would get up from the chair he normally occupied, bid Jeremy goodnight and return to his room.
On Friday morning Jeremy had planned to pack all his weeks washing into his car so that he could leave for his home in Berkshire straight from work, but for some uncontrollable reason he didn't, making the excuse for himself that he'd pick it up after work and then head home.
Around 5.30pm he entered the Walters house and made his way to his room. On entering he pulled out his case and proceeded to pack it. He had nearly finished when there was a knock on the door. His heart beat that little bit faster as he looked towards it to see that blonde head poke around the door and the usual enquiring look on the face asking if it was alright to enter.
"Come on in Kimbal, I'm just getting ready to head off home."
The boy walked into the room and watched as the man finished his packing. When he was almost done the boy blurted out.
"Do you have to go?"
The man was temporarily flustered at the suddenness of the question before answering.
"Yes I have to get my clothes cleaned and get some more for next week. I also have to pay the people who look after the house when I'm not there and they'll be expecting their wages first thing tomorrow morning."
"Oh umm okay, just thought that you could stay one more night and leave tomorrow morning."
"You want to come with me and spend the weekend, I'll be coming back Sunday evening."
"You sure I won't be a pain."
"If I thought you'd be a pain I wouldn't be inviting you. Now go and ask your mother's permission to accompany me."
The boy left the room in a flash not uttering a word. Jeremy could hear the boy's feet pounding down the stairs then after a pause his voice calling for his mother then silence and suddenly an earth shattering, "Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh." The sound blasted up from downstairs followed by the pounding of feet up the stairs again and the boy bursting into the room again.
"My mum said okay."
"I guessed so by the noise I heard; now go pack a few clothes and bring them downstairs I'm going to have a talk with your mother.
Carrying his case he made his way to June Walters's room knocked and waited, it opened and she stood before him smiling .
"Hi June, I'll have him back Sunday evening about 8pm is that okay."
"Yes Jeremy actually you're doing me a big favour, I'm going out Saturday evening, wasn't too sure what time I'd be back, I was going to leave him at his uncle's place which he isn't too keen on but I thought that would be better than leave him home by himself. I know he's sixteen but he doesn't act it so your offer was like an answer to a prayer."
Jeremy smiled "Well you must be doing something right if your prayers are being answered and truthfully I'd welcome his company, and he can turn the Hi-Fi up as loud as he wants I can retreat to my den it's soundproof and there's plenty of space between myself and the next door neighbours so he won't be disturbing anyone."
"Thanks Jeremy," just then Kim appeared with a bag slung over his right shoulder.
"I'm ready to go Jeremy."
"Okay say goodbye to your mother and we'll make tracks."
Kim walked over to his mother pecked her on the cheek telling her he'd see her on Sunday evening, then turned and made his way out of the house followed by Jeremy.
They made their way out to the car threw their bags in the boot and when they were both seated in the car Jeremy hit the starter, and they were on their way to Berkshire.
Jeremy turned to the boy sitting beside him, "Anything you want to hear in the way of music help yourself there's the radio or CD player."
"Nah just want to watch and take everything in, it's the first time I'm going out of London without my mum or relations being in attendance."
"Okay so enjoy yourself, but if you get bored just do the necessary with the equipment."
"Jeremy your not married are you."
"Why'd you ask?"
"Well no not at the moment, but I was living with a woman who I thought I was in love with this time last year."
"What happened, umm, oops sorry, didn't mean to be nosey."
"No problem, she dumped me for someone a lot younger than me, actually for someone not much older than you. But I'm thankful it happened sooner rather than later, and now I can get on with my life. Now you know something about me what about you?"
"What d'you mean nothing, there must be something that you've done or liked to have done that you can talk about."
"I'm doing it right now,"
"Huh, what are you yapping about?"
"Like I said, being away from family out on my own without them watching over me like a shepherd watches over his sheep."
"Wait till you're older and have kids of your own then you'll know why they watched over you."
"Have you got any kids?"
"Yes my partner gave birth earlier this year to a boy, he's three months old his name is Paul."
"Do you see him often?"
"No, not as often as I would like to, but that's okay as long as he's well looked after and cared for then I'll stay in the background."
"Do you still love her?"
The man looked across at the boy their eyes met briefly, and then he focused his attention back on the road, "No, I'm not sure that I ever loved her, I was very fond of her but there seemed to be something missing in our relationship, that's why I wasn't too broken up about her leaving, only the thought of not being present when my child would be born was the saddest part of the break up."
"Can I put some music on?"
"Yeah help yourself."
A couple of minutes later after the boy had looked through what was on offer the strains of music from Norah Jones's CD Feels Like Home, filled the car.
He looked across at the boy who shrugged his shoulders and they both smiled, the man at that moment knew in his heart what he wanted, but lacked the courage to say what was on his mind in the fear that the boy would be offended by his words. He quickly looked away and focused his attention back on the road.
As he drove with the boy beside him, the music stirred feelings inside him that he'd not felt before and only wished that he was nearer the boy's age where he could talk to him on level terms. He drove down the motorway with the music penetrating into the very depths of his being which it had never done before, but then again he'd never had the company of a young individual called Kimbal Walters, sitting at his side.
"Jeremy," the voice broke his thoughts, "Yeah."
"That day when I gave you some grief with the CD player why didn't you have a go at me?"
"Not my place to do so Kimbal, that was for your mother or father to take the appropriate action after I'd laid out the facts of what happened."
"Don't know who my dad is."
"Umm, Kimbal, I suggest you ask your mother if you want to know about your father."
"Its okay I already know, it's no big deal."
"Okay let's drop the subject, it won't be to long before we arrive at our turn off for my area of the woods, are you hungry?"
"Well as soon as we arrive we'll dump our bags then grab something to eat at my local."
"Don't you cook?"
"I can boil water, and that's about it, can you cook?"
"Sort of my mum taught me to but nothing fancy."
That's good tomorrow we can go shopping and get some groceries in, and you can cook a meal."
"You're joking, I thought I was coming here for a break."
"Alright then we'll knock that on the head, and eat out as usual."
They left the motorway and were soon heading down a narrow country lane that led them to the village. He drove through the village past the green and out the other end of the village then turned right into a short lane slowing the car down and waiting for the gates to his driveway to open after activating the automatic response.
Driving through he parked the car outside the front door, then turning to the boy Jeremy said.
"Welcome to Avalon."
To Be Continued
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