Daniel pushed open the hospital’s glass doors and stepped out into the mid-morning sun.
He squinted in the bright light and turned towards his friends, Naomi and Olly. He was at university studying to be a doctor and worked a couple of days a week at the local hospital for experience. Naomi and Olly worked at the hospital too: Olly was as a porter and Naomi a healthcare assistant.
“You guys want to get some lunch?” Daniel asked.
“It’s 11:00am Dan.” Naomi said with a grin.
“Yeah, well when you’ve been awake since four, lunchtime is eleven.” He replied.
“Burgers on the beach?” Olly asked. The others nodded and headed off towards the seafront.
“What are you up to this afternoon?” Naomi asked. She was a quiet, friendly girl and one of the calmest people Daniel had ever met. He had no doubt that she would be a great nurse once she was qualified.
“House hunting and then I’ve got to go the library.” He replied as they all crossed the street opposite the school.
“What kind of place are you looking for?” Olly asked.
“Any kind. I’m staying with a friend at the moment, and whilst I really appreciate him letting me stay I can’t sleep on his sofa forever.”
“We have a spare room at our house.” Naomi said. “You can come and have a look at it if you like.”
Daniel turned to her. “Seriously? ‘Cause that would be really great.” She nodded. Daniel wanted to hug her. “I think you’ve saved me.” He said.
An hour later Daniel and Naomi said goodbye to Olly and set off for Naomi’s house.
“There are three of us there at the moment.” She explained. “Our housemate Claire has just moved out to go and work abroad for a year so if you decide you like it it’s available whenever you want to move in.”
Once they reached the house he followed her upstairs and across the landing. She opened the first door they came to and stood back to let him pass. He stepped inside and looked around.
“All of the rooms except one are singles; I hope you’re ok with the size.” She said, walking in behind him. He had no complaints about the size; it was bigger than his room at his mother’s. It was decorated in neutral colours and contained a single bed, a nightstand with a red lamp, a small desk and chair, a dresser and a bookcase.
“The rent is £250 a month.” Naomi continued. “That’s bills included. All you need to pay on top of that is for your food and phone.”
He looked over the room and then turned towards her.
“What do you think?” She asked. “I know it’s not much.”
“It’s great.” He said with a smile. “I’ll definitely take it. It'll take me a couple of days to get my stuff together but I should be able to move in next week.”
Naomi’s face lit up. “Brilliant!” She said with a grin.
“I’ll go ring the landlord now and get your name put on the lease.” She flounced out of the room and down the stairs. Daniel walked over and perched on the edge of the bed.
He was pleased at finding a room, even though he only knew one of his new housemates, but couldn’t help thinking about his mum. He wondered how she was doing, whether she had made any positive changes in her life. Now he’d found a permanent place to live he realised he was going to have to get the rest of his belongings from her house. The thought of going back there after the way he had left caused a knot to form in his stomach; he hadn’t wanted to admit to himself that he had felt guilty leaving the way he did but there was no escaping it now. As stupid as some of her decisions had been in the past he had always had a roof over his head, food on the table and clothes on his back. She had always made sure of that.