‘You’ve got what?’ Derk’s mouth literally fell open. ‘A job,’ said Willem-Jan. ‘You heard me.’ By now his housemates were staring at him as if he was a little green man stepping out of a UFO.
‘A real job, that you actually get paid for?’, asked Derk incredulously. Willem-Jan nodded. He could start in one month. True, that was before he graduated but he planned to finish his degree in the evenings and at weekend. ‘This is creepy,’ muttered Derk. ‘What have you done with the real Willem-Jan?’
As he cut the tart into slices, the newly employed Willem-Jan told them about the apartment in Rotterdam he had found in the holidays. Derk, who had only been back in Wageningen on day, looked shocked. Beside him Vera, who had been silent up to now, cleared her throat.
‘Ahem, I’ve got some news too.’ Derk turned towards her. ‘I’ve been doing some thinking over the holiday and I am going to do that Master’s in Groningen after all.’ Everyone congratulated her, first Willem-Jan and Filippo and then, more hesitantly, Derk. Vera would be leaving in just a couple of weeks. She had postponed telling them until they were all together. Now they were all chattering at once. They only one still interested in the cake, forgotten on the table, was Vecino the cat, who stuck his paw into the cream and licked it clean.
Meanwhile, Filippo was thinking about his own news. The summer had been amazingly good for his relationship – they really called it that now – with Bianca. They had been sending each other long emails. The connection wasn’t good enough for Skype, but that was really a blessing in disguise. He was in love and he planned to look for an apartment to share with Bianca.
‘Wow,’ said Derk. ‘This is quite a way to start the new academic year.’ He pushed Vecino away from his cake. ‘You guys really are bad for my heart. Luckily Filippo and I are still here to hold the fort, right?’ He thumped Filippo on the back, but got no response.
‘Hey, Filippo? That’s right, isn’t it?’ ‘I am afraid, Derk, I also may have something to tell you guys.’