The story so far: Since her internship Elise has grown out of the house.
With a loud splash, six frikandel sausages were plunged into the fat. ‘We are ready to start!’ yelled Willem-Jan. Just to hear the sound of his own voice. Grinning, Bianca took beers out of the fridge and one by one the housemates trickled in. Elise was at the ready with her notebook, for the minutes.
As soon as everyone was present she launched right in. ‘I’ve got another room. At last I can get away from the mess and the noise. I’m moving in with two friends next month.’ She looked around her triumphantly. ‘About time,’ commented Bianca. ‘You were always whingeing about the washing up and the cleaning schedule.’ ‘What cleaning schedule?’ retorted Elise. ‘Anyway, you can’t get me wound up about that anymore. If you could all just do your best a bit for the next month.’
Willem-Jan scratched his throat. ‘Well then, you can leave the meeting now. We don’t require your input any longer.’ Three of the housemates threw him an indignant look. ‘We need someone new for the house, and we are going to talk about where to go for our house weekend. Elise doesn’t have a say in it anymore.’ Then he turned to Elise again. ‘But if you really want to, you can stay as an observer,’ he pronounced with a wise air. ‘Then I won’t take the minutes anymore,’ said Elise, passing her pen and notebook to Vera. Bianca was visibly enjoying all the blunt banter, but Derk was not. ‘Well, I will miss you,’ he offered from his corner of the sofa. ‘The new person will have to do some cleaning, otherwise it will be unbearable here. And I would like it to be a foreign student.’
That was a moot point, which had been discussed at the Mortierstraat before. Three people had always been dead against the idea: Willem-Jan, Vera and Elise. Willem-Jan didn’t want any hassle and Vera was scared that her English wasn’t good enough. But now Elise was leaving, there was a chance.
‘No foreigners in my house,’ said Willem-Jan loudly. ‘And it’s not nice for Vera, especially,’ he added. Vera blushed a little. ‘She has been taking courses in English for a year now, so that is no excuse,’ screamed Bianca. ‘And at the International Club they are very good at communicating across cultures.’ Everyone looked at Vera, who slid further down behind her notebook. ‘OK, I’m in favour,’ she squeaked.
Willem-Jan saw he was going to lose. He stood up angrily to throw some more sausages into the fat. ‘He will have to like fried foods and beer, and not complain if I talk in Dutch. They should just learn the language.’
There was a short silence. He had second thoughts. ‘It’s got to be a woman. One of those Portuguese girls, with lots of friends.’