The story so far: Wild-child Bianca and the more placid Vera have decided to be mentor mums together during the Annual Introduction Days
When the bell rang, Vera tugged on the rope to open the downstairs door and set her face in her friendliest expression. ‘You go first, love,’ she heard a woman’s voice say. Moments later a shy young man appeared at the top of the stairs. He had greasy hair and a faint, downy moustache. A yellow pimple was blooming beside his nose.
‘Welcome,’ said Vera in her kindest voice. ‘I’m Vera, and you must be Hans.’ The boy nodded, but didn’t smile back at her. He stood in the doorway like a fish out of water until his mother pushed him inside. ‘He finds it all a bit intimidating,’ confided his mother softly to Vera, as she wrapped an arm around her boy. ‘And it is a big step. Our boy is growing up.’ Hans cringed in embarrassment but his mother plunged on without drawing breath. ‘Where will Hans be sleeping?’
In the hour that followed, Vera gave a guided tour of the house, accompanied by endless remarks by the Mother. ‘I have to say it is dusty, that’s not good for Hans’s asthma’, and ‘Is there anywhere quiet in the house? Hans is a light sleeper.’ When Vera could take almost no more, Bianca came in from the balcony.
‘You’ve no doubt got a long drive ahead of you. If you set off now, we’ll help Hank with his cleaning chore.’ ‘His name is Hans,’ said the Mother in bewilderment. She wanted to object further but Bianca guided her to the door. ‘It’s difficult to let go, but he’s in good hands with us.’
As soon as the Mother had gone, Bianca offered the lad a beer, which he refused ‘because it was not good for his young brain’. ‘You can make tea instead,’ said Bianca with a sigh, and she headed for the balcony.
A little while later, Vera appeared beside her. ‘He doesn’t like vegetables,’ she said incredulously. ‘I’ve given him the wifi password, so he’d better get on with it.’ Bianca laughed meanly. ‘Are you talking about Hans? I think his mattress will fit in the cupboard in the hallway. That’s nice and quiet, and dust-free. Almost.’