Tyla walks up four flights of stairs in an old apartment block until she reaches her door. She unlocks door and almost falls in, dropping her suitcase and backpack on the wooden floor. She looks around the large open area that has a couch, two beanbags and dinning table with only three chairs. She can see various rooms leading off the main area. She sighs. It's not at all what she expected.
"Hello there!" Tyla turns to see a shaggy and slightly over-weight guy rising from the couch. "You must be the girl that's sharing my room."
Tyla laughed nervously. "Ah no, I was told I had my own room. I'm Tyla."
"Oh right, you're the country chick. I'm Gerrick. Guess that's your room over there."
Tyla acknowledges and drags her stuff inside. She opens up the blinds and looks around at the double bed, a side table with a lamp and a small desk for studying. "Wow, it's small!"
Gerrick leans against the doorframe and winks. "Yeah, well my room is bigger."
Tyla smiles slightly. "It's okay, this will do fine. How many people share this place?"
"Well that depends. Three actually pay rent, then there's the crash-overs after parties and drop-ins. Sometimes we have as many as ten people."
"Only one and if you don't get up early, you get cold water. But being country, you should be used to cold water," he jokes.
She bit her lip. "Yeah, we like to bathe in creeks," she growls out.
Tyla rolls her eyes.
"Cool! Look, I have to pay my rent so if you like, I can take your money down to the keeper of this dump," offers Gerrick
"Ah, no thanks, I paid last week."
"Really? Well, as long as you paid your bond I guess they can't take your room away."
"Bond? Nothing was said about a bond. How much is it?" asked Tyla, getting worried.
"It's 150. I'm going that way, so if you give me the money I can pay it for you." Gerrick smiles sweetly.
"Umm . . . okay." Tyla pulls money from her bag and hands it over to Gerrick. "Can I get a receipt so I can claim it?"
Gerrick takes the money. "What? Oh yeah, sure. Later, sweet thing."
Tyla has a nagging feeling about what she had just done, but Gerrick seemed like a nice guy. Later on during the day she hears the front door open and two voices enter. She walks out of her room and is greeted by two more apartment dwellers.
John is 26, very athletic and studying engineering. Julie is 22 and studying for an arts degree.
John gets the girls some drinks and they begin to get acquainted. Tyla tells them that she didn't know about the bond until Gerrick told her. Garrick offered to make the payment for her, so she gave him the money.
Julie groaned and John just shook his head.
"Tyla, you shouldn't have given him the money. There is no bond."
Julie nods in agreement.
"But he seemed so nice."
"So do strays, but if you keep feeding them, they keep pestering you," said John.
"Well, if I ask, I'm sure he'll give it back."
Julie shrugged. "I doubt it. He never has any money of his own. I think it's gone. Look, nice to meet you honey, but I have to head off." She hugs Tyla and walks out.
Tyla groans, "I'm not going to survive the next five years."
John smiles. "You'll be fine. Welcome to the mad house."
"Does anyone study around here?" asks Tyla.
John laughs as he heads to his room. "Study? As little as possible. Enjoy the culture Tyla, and trust no one, especially Gerrick."