This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 760 words.
On the evening of the first Monday back at school, Roger telephoned the number Delia had given him on a piece of paper. It took a long time to answer, and Yamada sounded cagey when he spoke. “The Hartmann residence, may I ask who is calling?”
So he used Emily’s surname, not his. Roger thought that was most unusual.
As he had decided to offer the extra tuition rather than ask questions about her apparent genius, Roger stuck with that. Once Yamada knew who was calling, he relaxed and became very friendly.
“Extra tuition you say? Well it is certainly very nice of you to offer that. I will discuss it with Emily, and get back to you. But if we go ahead, it will definitely be paid for, I could not allow you to work extra hours for free”.
It was not him that got back to Roger though. The next afternon as the pupils were leaving for the day, Emily left an envelope on his desk in the Form Room and walked out without saying anything.
In the empty classroom, he opened the letter. It was written in Emily’s handwriting.
‘We agree to the extra tuition. Please come to my house alone on Saturday morning. My guardian will be there, and he will make the arrangements to pay you for your time’.
That night, he phoned Delia and told her what had happened. She sounded delighted. “Well my darling, progress at long last. You are going to get inside the house, and I am sure that once in there you will be able to get some insight into what is going on. Once you are finished there on Saturday, please come straight to my house and let me know what happened”.
With the prospect of Saturday to anticipate, the school week seemed to drag. The weather changed too, becoming much colder very quickly. Roger spent his evenings preparing book references, test papers, and lists of suggest reading for the girl. Sitting at his new portable typewriter after dinner on Friday, he had an idea that he might get her to university standard before the middle of the following year. He was going to have to ask her and Yamada to keep his tutorials secret. No need to upset the headmaster again.
When he drove up to the metal gates on Saturday morning just before ten, they opened as he approached them. He pulled his car onto the driveway next to the Rolls-Royce, thinking it looked shabby next to the luxurious vehicle.
Yamada was at the open door, dressed very casually and smiling. “Welcome, Mister Gale. Please come in”.
The interior of the house was very warm, despite no sign of any fires or heating radiators. Roger was happy to take off his heavy parka, and the jacket he was wearing underneath. Yamada offered coffee, and he accepted. The huge room was open-plan, with modern leather furniture, a massive white rug in the centre, and very little clutter. When the man returned with the coffee mug, Roger offered a few compliments about what a nice house it was, then asked how they managed to keep it so warm.
Stamping his foot against the wooden flooring, Yamada grinned. “Underfloor heating. Electic cables set into the floor throughout. It’s all the rage over in the States”. Then he pointed to large grilles above the windows and the sliding glass doors that led out onto the lakeside garden. “Airconditioning too, keeps the house lovely and cool in the summer”. There must have been a kitchen somewhere, but a dining table and six chairs took up the remaining space on the other side of the room. Roger asked if Emily was joining them.
“She will be with us shorly, but first I would like to discuss your payment”. He reached into his pocket and produced a small black velvet bag, reaching over to hand it to Roger. “This should more than compensate you for any work you do with Emily. I know something about stones, and you could sell this in the Hatton Garden jewellery district for close to two thousand pounds. Just tell them you were left it by a relative, they won’t ask too many questions”. Opening the bag, Roger tipped out a large diamond onto the palm of his hand.
That much money was just over a year’s salary for Roger, and free of tax, pension payments, and other stoppages. He should have said it was too much, made some protest, suggested a smaller fee.
Instead, he just said thank you.