“Hey, Taylor, you’re back!” Jack Miniken waved his wooden cooking spoon at his flat mate as the other man came in their front door. “Look, when you’ve had time to freshen up and put everything down, I need to talk to you. It’s important.”
“Okay. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Taylor, he never used his given name, carried his bag into his room, shed and hung up his suit jacket, then used the bathroom. By the time he was back in the living area, Jack was dishing up food for two. “I’ve told you before, you don’t need to cook for me, Jack.” The table was already set, so Taylor grabbed beer for both of them from the fridge.
“I always make enough for three or four meals – you’re just not here the nights I zap a frozen dinner in the microwave.” Jack waved a kitchen utensil dismissively. “Besides, I want you in a good mood because you might not like what I have to tell you.”
“What can be that bad?” Taylor took his seat as Jack carried the food to the table.
“I’m afraid,” Jack said as he was putting Taylor’s plate in front of him, “that I’ll be moving out in a month.”
“What’s brought this on?” Taylor asked as Jack sat down and picked up his cutlery.
“My parents are getting on and now my sister’s been diagnosed with this cancer… Well, I think it’s time to move back up there to be close to them all. I applied for a transfer, got it, and I start in the Brisvegas office in five weeks time.”
“And four weeks’ll give you a week to move and be settled,” finished Taylor as he took a swig of his beer. “It sounds sensible to me. I hear their property market’s nowhere near as tight as here.”
“Yeah,” agreed Jack, his balding head with its neat fringe of orange hair nodding in emphasis. “Public transport’s better too, so I won’t have to live so close in.”
“That’s a plus,” Taylor agreed. “I’ll miss you, and your cooking.” He started eating his parmigiana. “You’ve been a good flat mate but I’ll go see our HR division in the morning and put my name down with the flatmate matching service again.” He raised his beer in a toast, “It’s been a great three years and I hope the future goes well for you.”
“Thanks,” answered Jack as they clinked bottles.
The next morning Taylor sat in front of his section’s HR officer as she entered his details into the government agency employee flatmate matching service’s application. She pressed enter on her keyboard, said, “There,” and looked surprised. “Well, that’s odd. An immediate match. The Security Assessment Agency’s flagged this one - they want her out of her temporary accommodation asap.”
“Security Assessment’s involved?” Taylor raised one of his black eyebrows and asked, “Should I get involved?”
“You know you’ll have to consider her first. She’s twenty-six, staying at the YWCA and she’s a junior admin for the National Finance Network. I’ll set up a meeting for you two, shall I?” The HR representative was already writing down a phone number.
“Yes, please.” Taylor nodded. “Let me know when and where. By the way, what’s her name?”