After stopping in Santa Fe to pick up his bike, Noah and Sharlee drove to Bridgeport. They planned to stay in a motel until they found a place to live. Noah knew of a motel that was clean and cheap although not in the best part of town. Since they didn’t know how long it would take them to find a place, they were trying to conserve their budget. The weather was beautiful.
She told him, “It’s clean, affordable and it has the two things most important to me right now.”
“You and a bed.”
Noah bolted the door and put their suitcase on the luggage rack. When he turned back around, Sharlee was fast asleep. He smiled at her tenderly and then took her shoes off and undressed her. He was tired himself and needed to get up early the next morning to search for a job.
Noah awakened to sunlight peaking into the room beneath the blinds. He checked the time. He needed to get up. He wanted an early start for his job search. Sharlee was still asleep with a half smile on her face. He wished that he could stay in bed to watch her as she slept and then fool around when she awakened. However, he knew that he couldn’t afford that luxury this morning. He got out of bed and then took his shower and dressed.
Noah quickly found out how difficult it would be to get a job without a recommendation. He went to several auto repair shops that he knew were hiring, but no one was willing to give a young guy like him a chance.
Around lunchtime, he finally decided to talk with his old shop teacher at his high school to see if he would give him a reference. The owner of the shop where he’d worked during high school had died, and his son had closed the shop down for good. That was why Noah was no longer working there and didn’t have a reference. After receiving the reference from his former teacher, Noah decided to get a fresh start in the morning. He picked up some lunch for himself and Sharlee. Then he returned to the motel.
Sharlee awakened at about 11:30 and Noah wasn’t there. She took her shower and then called downstairs to request a newspaper. She wanted to check the real estate section to find a place for them to live.
One of the desk clerks answered the phone. “Oh yes, I remember you checked in last night. Ordinarily we don’t provide room service or newspaper delivery, but I’ll be glad to do that for you. How about if I bring you some coffee and donuts as well?” He’d seen Noah leave earlier.
“Thank you, that’s very kind of you.”
The clerk rushed into the employee lounge and got some donuts and a cup of coffee for Sharlee and one for himself. He got a newspaper and put the “out to lunch” sign on his desk. He checked his hair and ate a mint. Then he rushed upstairs to Sharlee’s room.
“Here let me sit this coffee down for you Mam. It’s hot.”
Sharlee moved aside to allow him to enter the room. The clerk entered and started to close the room door behind him, but Noah grabbed the door before it closed. Both the clerk and Sharlee looked at him in surprise. Sharlee took the tray and the paper. She sat them on the desk. Noah sat the food that he’d bought on the desk too. Then he handed the clerk a couple of dollars. “Thanks, but we won’t need anymore personal service.”
Sharlee couldn’t answer that.
“You don’t have street smarts.”
Noah realized that the sooner they found a place the better it would be for Sharlee.
Sharlee recognized the address of one of the places for rent. “That was my Mom’s old apartment when she first moved to Bridgeport! Oh, wouldn’t it be something if we ended up there? It’s in our price range. Let’s check it out Noah.”
Noah looked at the address. That area of town used to be borderline as far as safety was concerned, but now it wasn’t safe anymore. He looked at Sharlee’s face and saw how excited she was. He hated to disappoint her. “We can look at it, but remember that we have to consider the area where it’s located too.”
“Okay. Let’s go now. There are some other places that we can check out too.”
They checked out Alissa’s old apartment first. It had become run down. Although Sharlee could imagine how the apartment itself could look if they fixed it up, there was nothing that they could do with the area around the apartment. It just wasn’t safe. Then they checked out some other places, but neither of them was right.
Noah wracked his brain trying to think of a place. Another possibility came to him.
“There is a place that we can check out. I crashed there when I lived in Bridgeport before I went to Santa Fe the first time. It’s across the river.”
“This house was there before they did all of that development. Very few people know its there, but I have to warn you. It was abandoned for years and it was in very poor condition. There used to be a for rent sign stuck in the overgrown yard.”
“Let’s go check it out now.”
They hopped on Noah’s bike and rode over to the house. Unless you knew it was down that road, you would never have found it. Sharlee could immediately see it’s possibilities. Noah found the sign and copied down the number and then they went inside.
“We can make it cozy Noah. Just like we made your old place in Santa Fe nice. Besides, there are some repairs that the owner will have to do and it should still be in our budget. I’m sure he’ll be glad just to have someone living in it again paying rent.”
They were shocked to find that the number on the “for rent” sign was still good after all of those years. They called and were able to meet with the owner that same day. He had purchased the property as a foreclosure, but had been unable to rent it out. They had the impression that it had been in poor condition when he purchased it and he didn’t want to spend much money fixing it up. They were able to persuade him to fix the windows and doors, replace the locks and do some other repairs and clean up.
However, Sharlee felt that the monthly rate that he wanted was still over-inflated. Noah agreed to pay it because it was worth the price to him to make sure that Sharlee was someplace really safe. Even if it meant that he’d have to work extra hours. Mr. Swift agreed to have the place ready after a week, and they paid him the first and last months rent plus a security deposit.
A couple of days later, Sharlee and Noah left out of the motel room together. As Noah checked to make sure that their room door was locked, the guest in the room next to theirs spoke to Sharlee. It was a man around her Dad’s age.
“Well, it’s nice to have a face and…” He paused as his eyes roamed from Sharlee’s face and slowly down her body. “and body to go with the sounds.”
Sharlee’s face was beat red. Noah was steaming! He moved in between Sharlee and the man. “Pervs like you are a dime a dozen! Don’t speak to her again! You’d better not even dare to look in her direction, or I’ll blacken both of your eyes so badly that you won’t see anything at all!”
The man smirked, but went into his own room.
Noah knew that as long as they remained there at the motel, she wouldn’t be as exuberant when they made love now. That creep had spoiled it for her. Just one more reason they needed to get into their own place. He’d be glad to move into it the following week.
Noah dropped Sharlee off at the college to talk with a counselor to help her decide on a major before she registered for classes. Then he went to apply for his second job. He knew he’d have no problems getting that one. It was as a bouncer at an underground nightclub. He’d decided not to tell Sharlee all of his duties because she would not approve of everything that he would have to do as a part of his position. The hours would fit in with his other job, and the pay was more than he could get somewhere else. Even though he’d already been hired by a car repair shop, starting out it would not pay enough. They needed the money from his second job too.
Noah had known that she was stubborn before they were married, but he refused to give in and allow her to work. If she had not married him, she would not have had to work during college, and he was determined that she would not have to do so now.
Thank you so much Val for letting me use your college!