When people die, they leave the world. They leave it forever and they never come back to talk about anything, especially about their death. Many people die at the hands of natural and malicious causes, but there are always reasons of death forced by humankind itself. It is one of the most dreadful reasons of death and what is even more hideous is that we never find the motive of the death of many, many innocent people- sometimes till a long, long time.
When her parents encouraged Linda Gates to move out of her apartment, her mood was not exactly what young people feel when they are leaving somewhere they have lived for a long time. Linda didn’t know what to feel, to be precise. She had been living there ever since she left college and that would account for a little over three years. Moreover, she didn’t know how she would pay the expenses of moving out. Her current accommodation levied a rent fee of two hundred and fifteen dollars monthly and her job as a freelancer photographer just made ends meet comfortably enough.
The final question that she pondered about was that where she would move, even if she could. Her mother mentioned the beauty of Alabama but her father preferred her to move out of the country as a whole. He said she should search a good place ‘somewhere in Europe’.
“Where do you expect me to go in Europe?” she had asked.
“Many beautiful countries there. Many beautiful towns,” her father had smiled.
“Yeah, there are some darn pretty places over here too. Come on, just be specific!” Linda had urged.
“How about the Kingdom?” her mother had popped in.
“The Kingdom. The United Kingdom.”
“Yes, sweetheart, now that’s what I call choice!” her father had agreed.
After a long, disorderly conversation, Linda got the point that her parents thought London, or any city in England, would be a lovely sight for her. She still hadn’t gotten over her money issues and she addressed her parents again.
“I hear England is expensive. How’d I even pay for all my housing!?” she had cried.
“That’s not a problem,” her mother had smiled.
How could they think it was not a problem? For Linda, a bigger problem had never even occurred.
“Why, just switch your job,” her father helped soon after.
“I like freelancing and I’m not going to pick up any job that bores my guts to hell. I can’t stick to a tight schedule or bossy bosses. Mum, Dad, you know me. I can’t!”
“Yes, we do know you,” her mother had nodded, “but, listen, England is a rich country. And any good employee is shown reasonable terms.”
Linda knew they were exaggerating. They were trying to make England seem like Heaven on Earth, and they really wanted her to just go to Europe.
“I won’t be anything but a freelancer. I don’t care about the ‘good employee’ stuff. I’ll do what I like!”
That had been about the end of the discussion and her parents had left for their house, a few miles away. Linda thought that was going to be all but, just a fortnight later, she received a call from her parents regarding that same topic.
“That same thing all over again! I told you- !!!”
“No, no,” her parents had cut her off, “just listen, this is going to be good.”
So she let them talk. They said that they had contacted a digital photo studio company, situated at the outskirts of London, and the Human Resources head manager had expressed great likeness for Linda. He wished to meet her within two months’ time and he was also willing to pay her around three hundred euros on a monthly basis.
“You see? You do have a big chance there!” her mother had exclaimed.
“Hmm… but, Mum, I still can’t go there! I don’t know whether I’ll find some good place to live… it is really complex…”
“London is historic for its architecture!” her father had grinned broadly, “and I found a good house for you too, as a matter of fact.”
He went on to tell her about an agent he had contacted and that lady knew two houses that were for sale for a really fair price. There was one big, old-times house shaded bold, Victorian colours with a very classy look. The other one was half the size of the first and was very bright and cheerful in colour choice. Linda’s father told her that the agent, whose name was Miss. Cooper, said that they were probably the most reasonably-priced accommodations available.
“The Victorian house is forty-one hundred euros worth and the smaller one happens to be thirty-five hundred and sixty-five euros,” her father had explained.
Carefully, Linda said she preferred the small house because she wasn’t going to be living with anyone and it was less expensive, anyway. She didn’t even consider the topic after the call died, but there was an alarmingly, unexpected terrorist attack near her town a few weeks later and her parents, scared for her life, told her to leave and that they would pay her occasional visits in England. Her savings weren’t enough for all the expenses involved but her mother and father generously gave a part of their wealth to help her leave. She had a thousand euros as cash to spend as she liked, since Linda would have to explore the new country, and all the remaining money went for the necessities and her departure.
The day she arrived in England, she went to a small hotel and spent the first half day observing her surroundings. Right after that, she phoned Miss Cooper and got her address. Miss Cooper was a cheerful woman, well over forty years of age, and pitifully explained, when Linda reached her, that one of the houses had been sold.
“You said there were two houses!” Linda cried.
“Well, yes, dearie, but you came a tad bit late, you see,” Miss Cooper consoled, “At least, we still got one house for you.”
Not particularly to Linda’s likeness, it was the old Victorian house. She had come with limited money and she couldn’t afford it. Upset and ready to lose spirit, she told Miss Cooper her problem.
“That house… I came prepared with the money for the bright little one… I’m sorry, Miss, I can’t afford that house. I don’t have the money…” she sighed in grief.
“Oh, honey, you Americans are so typical!” Miss Cooper exclaimed, “Why, that house hasn’t been sold for a long time so chances are, you will get a discount easily. I can easily estimate that you will get a price under four thousand euros, don’t you worry!”
That lifted Linda’s spirits but she hadn’t come with four thousand euros as accommodation expenses. However, she thought Miss Cooper would consider her annoying if she pestered her further with her own problems so Linda gladly asked to see the owner of the house. Miss Cooper took her to see a young man who Linda presumed to be of a middle-class status.
“Miss Gates, this is Todd Austen. Mr. Austen, this is Linda Gates and she is interested in buying this place,” Miss Cooper introduced them.
Todd was sitting in his flower garden on a dainty, snow white chair as he ate strawberries from a small bowl. When he saw Linda and Miss Cooper, he nodded and stood up to shake hands with them.
“Hello, Miss Cooper,” he smiled and then proceeded to shake Linda’s hand.
“Miss Gates! Thank you for coming! Robert, get two seats out here, will you?” he ordered as a bearded man appeared soon with two white chairs behind him. He set them opposite to Todd and both Miss Cooper and Linda sat down.
They talked for a long while and Todd happened to have a very likeable personality. As Linda found out, he was a rich businessman and ran a famous restaurant chain in England. By the looks of it, Miss Cooper and he knew each other for a long while. He didn’t get straight down to business but casually chatted with Linda about her life and interests, while treating them with sweets and fruit.
“So, Miss Gates, I assume you are not from around here, eh?” he smiled.
“Oh, yes, I’m from the United States,” Linda answered.
“Your accent is different, I should have noticed,” Todd laughed.
“Yes, she just came,” Miss Cooper helped, nibbling on a chocolate muffin.
“Uh, yeah, actually, I did just arrive this morning!”
“How are you finding London, then, Miss Gates?”
“Likeable, I guess. I mean, it’s different from home… but sometimes you just gotta go when you gotta go,” Linda sighed, looking at her hands, trying not to appear homesick.
“Hmm, yes, you’re right. Definitely right. It’s hard to leave home,” Todd agreed, “Did you leave family behind?”
At the mention, Linda looked up and smiled a small smile. “Yes, my parents… They are great guys,” she laughed.
That’s how it had gone till the sale of the house was mentioned again. Todd was apparently reluctant when Linda went on to explain that she needed a discount. Miss Cooper further clarified that she had come to buy to get the Winston White’s, which was probably the name of the colourful house Linda failed to buy in time, and she had no choice but to get the Austen Wine Villa, which again happened to be the Victorian-style house.
“I don’t think I would like to accept your request,” Todd sad, “I know a jolly few people who’d buy it at the price it is now.”
“Please, Mr. Austen, I gave up everything to come here!” Linda begged.
“Yes, this is her only hope,” Miss Cooper pleaded.
“What can you afford, Miss Gates?” Todd asked Linda.
“Um, I guess something around thirty-five hundred euros would really be perfect…” Linda began, but the sarcastically amused look on Todd’s face made her change the words, “But, I’d be happy to get anything under thirty-nine hundred, really.”
“Now, now, Mr. Austen, you wouldn’t be dying for money now, will you? I can understand that a gentleman like you would care for so much more than shiny coins,” Miss Cooper began, passing Linda a helpful glance as she spoke, “This lady has left her home, her country and crossed a long journey to come here. Come on, Mr. Austen, don’t be like that to a damsel in distress. Do help her, please.”
Todd, fortunately, for Linda, agreed to reduce the price and a bargain of thirty-nine hundred was struck. The immediate payment was of thirty-five hundred and the remaining money could be paid in installments over the five months to come. The keys of the villa were handed to Linda in the immediate future and she thanked both Miss Cooper and Todd and said her goodbye.
It also seemed that Todd was willing to befriend her, for, soon after she had bought the house, Linda received a call from him that night.
“Hi, this is Linda Gates. Who am I speaking to?”
“Miss Gates! It’s Todd Austen!”
“Mr. Austen, hi! Can I help you?”
“Um... Actually, I was wondering if you’d like me to send over a person to give you a detailed tour of the house. It is a big house, you know.”
“Oh, that’s very kind of you, but I really would hate to spend money on something like that…”
“Oh, no money, no money, Miss Gates! Consider it a token of respect from me.”
“Thank you so much, Mr. Austen!”
“You are welcome! And, Todd’s just fine too.”
That was all that had gone about. A man came by the next day and showed her across the big villa for the next three hours. He introduced himself as Gideon Blake and spoke in a very restricted manner. However, Linda had to admit, he was great at exploring. After he had given her a proper tour and another revising round, Linda showed hospitability by offering him tea, cream, cookies and some pancake she had made herself for breakfast.
It turned out he loved pancakes and Gideon profusely thanked her as he ate. He left about half hour later and Linda shared a happy Skype chat with her parents. While they talked, she told them about Todd, Gideon, Miss Cooper and everyone she had met. She also told them that tomorrow she would go across the house herself one final time and find anything that interested her.
Allegedly, it had turned to be her best day overseas and no one could wait for the next day to begun.