As Jane Anderson strolled through Hyde Park on a hot and humid August day, she reflected on the last 3 months of her life. It had been 3 months that had plunged her life into utter turmoil. It had been a 3 months that had brought her to this very park on several occasions, in the hope that she would find the inspiration to figure a way out of the mess she now found herself in. Until now........that inspiration had not been forthcoming. But right now, everything was suddenly clear.
Exactly 3 months ago to the day, everything had been so much different. Jane was 23 years old and worked in the 'city'. Unfortunately, she didn't earn the money that many others did in this affluent part of the capital. She was just a small cog in a very big machine and her salary reflected that. But she was happy and that's what really mattered. Her boyfriend of 3 years was David (not Dave....he hated being called Dave). He had a similar job to hers, earned a similar wage and shared many of the same interests.
They lived in quite a plush apartment in the Docklands area of London, which Jane had purchased about 9 months ago. It had two bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom and a good sized living area with fitted kitchen. Normally, it would have been out of reach for Jane and David on their salaries, but thanks to a moderate inheritance after the death of her Grandmother, Jane was able to put a substantial deposit down on the apartment. That said, the mortgage was still a little out of reach for Jane. But she had plenty of contacts in the city, and a friend of a friend had a boyfriend who (she boasted) could get a mortgage for anyone. He'd proved true to her word and through a little creative accounting, Jane got her apartment.....her pride and joy. The mortgage payments didn't worry her, because she and David had decided to take the plunge. Not into marriage, but sharing an apartment. David had promised to help Jane with the mortgage payments.
Jane and David had a good relationship. Yes, they argued and had their usual ups and downs, but basically, they were sound. Marriage had never been discussed, but they were happy as they were and Jane never saw any reason to make their relationship 'legal' with a piece of paper from a priest or a registrar. David was never the most romantic of men, but then men never are! They didn't need to tell each other they loved them every day, because those relationships only exist in magazines and in the minds of TV Agony Aunts. Things were going along fine......but then came the bombshell.
One evening after work, Jane went to the gym with the girls from work. She was a slim and attractive woman with long brown hair and she made sure that she stayed that way. She tried to go to the gym at least three times a week and spent most of her time on the aerobic� equipment.....running, biking and the cross-trainer. The last thing she wanted was to build muscles, so she never went near the weights. She'd spend around an hour in the gym and then go a for a quick drink with the girls afterwards, getting home around 7.30pm. But tonight was different. She had been looking forward to the gym all day, to clear away a few cobwebs after the weekend's socialising, but once she got onto the treadmill, she just couldn't be bothered. She wondered if she might be coming down with a bug or something, so she decided to cut the session short and go straight home without stopping for a drink.
She arrived at the apartment at around 6.30pm and David was already home. The first thing she saw as she opened the door and walked into the hallway, was David's extra-large sports bag. It was full to bursting with something, which seemed strange, because even with all his sports kit in it, the bag was never full. Instinctively, she called his name and just as it left her lips, David walked out of the bedroom with the suitcase that they used for their holidays. It was obvious in the way that David was almost dragging the case out of the bedroom, that this too was full. "What's going on?" said Jane. The look on David's face told Jane that it wasn't good news, even before he spoke, and Jane felt her heart pounding erratically. David said, "I thought you were at the gym and then out with the girls tonight?" "I was" said Jane, "but I wasn't feeling too good so I came home. What's going on David?"
David had a look not dissimilar to a rabbit caught in the headlights of a speeding juggernaut. "I think you'd better sit down" said David. "Fuck sitting down, just tell me what's going on......right now!", said Jane. David turned his back and walked into the lounge, leaving Jane no option but to follow him. Seeing him sit down on the sofa, she sat on the chair opposite. Jane felt sick. Even before David had started on his story, she knew what was coming. It seems that her precious boyfriend had met someone else. Andrea worked for a rival company and they had met when David had gone for a drink with the lads in one of the many bars in the city frequented by the beautiful people, with big salaries and expense accounts. Andrea was (it seems) a major player in the city. �300k a year and bonuses to match. They had been 'seeing' each other for 3 months. " By seeing, I suppose you mean fucking?" said Jane. David had a desperate look on his face and tried to convince Jane that it wasn't like that. They had been mates for a couple of months and then it just..........happened. "What the fuck have I done to deserve this?" said Jane. David said she'd done nothing and just shrugged his shoulders.
Jane was devastated, A thousand thoughts rushed through her head and adrenaline pumped through her veins at 100 miles an hour. She just couldn't work it out. She wasn't an idiot, but she never saw this coming. They'd been so happy in the last few months.....although she now realised why. He had two women on the go at once. How could he do this to her? How could he fall for some trollope in the city? Was he just attracted to her bank balance or was this something more serious? Jane exploded at David. She flew across the room and swung her hand across his face. "You bastard" cried Jane, "You bastard......get out of my flat and fuck off back to your whore". When David just sat there and said nothing, she attacked him again. She swung left and right as David cowered in a ball, protecting himself with his arms. Not once did he try and fight back and that angered Jane even more. She wanted him to respond. She wanted him to defend himself......or to tell her that everything would be okay, but he just sat there. Eventually, Jane ran out of steam and stepping back from David, she simply said, "Get out of my flat and don't ever come back".
Over the next couple of days, David had returned twice to collect the rest of his stuff. He'd called her first, and when Jane got the calls, she thought he was calling to tell her he wanted to come back. And the sad thing was, she'd have said yes. Jane made sure she was well away from the apartment when he arrived. After his second (and last) visit, she went into every room to see what he had taken and found that he'd only taken his own personal things. All the things they had bought together had been left and the key had been posted through the door. It was at that point that she realised that David was gone for good. On the evening of the first visit, she went for a drink with one of the girls. She poured her heart out to Judy and admitted that she was prepared to beg him to come back to her. She couldn't live without him and this had made her realise just how much she loved him. Judy had talked her out of it and convinced her that it was David who should be doing the begging. But she still wanted him back.
She had seen Dave (that's what she now called him, because she knew it would piss him off) two or three times since then. The city could be a small world at times and most people frequented the same bars. She also saw his 'new love'. She couldn't miss her, because she was stuck to his side like a limpet!!. She looked okay, but nothing special. In fact, it just convinced her that all Dave was interested in was her money. This had a dramatic effect on Jane, because in a very short space of time, she realised that she never loved Dave as much as she thought. Whenever she thought of him, and she did so quite often......she just wondered how she was going to manage the mortgage now that the scumbag was gone. This was liberating for Jane, because in the days after he left, she had thought her life was at an end. It seems silly looking back now, but that's how she had felt. Although she never missed Dave again, she did miss the sex. Dave had been very active in the bedroom and a girl needs a man for that if nothing else.
So armed with a new-found confidence, Jane set about planning how she would keep hold of her apartment. After what had happened, this apartment wasn't just her home, but a symbol of her freedom and independence. It was a reminder to Davey-boy that she never really needed him anyway. That was all very well and it looked good in front of the girls, but the fact was that she had no chance of keeping the mortgage payments going on the apartment without some help. She spoke to the financial advisor who had got her the mortgage, but he could do nothing. She had to find the payments somehow or she was out. She had no intention of losing her home, so she had to find a way out of this mess.
It was one of her friends that came up with the solution, whilst they were enjoying a cocktail after a heavy session in the gym. "Take in a lodger" said Cheryl. At first, that idea wasn't well received by Jane. "A lodger........this is my home we're talking about here Cheryl, not some grubby bedsit on a council estate?". "I'm not saying it is, but you have to do something and quick, or you'll be living in some grubby bedsit yourself" said Cheryl. She continued, "Look, you place an ad in a paper or even go to a reputable Estate Agent. They will find you a lodger and check-out their references. Let them do all the hard work". Jane still didn't like the idea of renting part of her flat to a complete stranger, but she knew she had no choice. One thing she was certain of though, was that she wouldn't have a male lodger. She wasn't comfortable with that at all. If she had to take in a lodger, they would have to be female and still have their own teeth. A couple of weeks later, Jane got a call from the agent. They had found the ideal flatmate and she comes with excellent references. This was how Jane met Alison Roscoe.