The Ed Waller Stories: Book One - Algeria Here I Come

Chapter Forty-Four: A Place to Live

I went to see where Brahim had gone.  He was lying on the bed, ready for action.  I crawled onto the bed next to him and started to run my fingers around his chest being careful not to touch his most prized possessions,  "What is it that I can do for you, Mr. Safi?"

"Mr. Waller, you need to give me another demonstration on the proper way to make love.  I'm a slow learner."

I leaned down and kissed Bra so the our tongues were involved.  I whispered,  "As I recall, the last time you made love to me, you did a very credible job, but if you insist.  This reminds me of something else we need to do as soon as we can."

Brahim was impatient, "We'll discuss the issue as soon as my lesson is complete."

I gave him the best lesson I could, and you guessed it, we needed to take another shower.  After the showers, Brahim had his head on my shoulder, he looked up at me, "Ed, I love you."

I hugged him as tight as I could, "And I love you too, Bra.  We need to get tested for HIV as soon as possible,  Otherwise, we're going to  go broke buying condoms."

The next morning when I woke up, Brahim was gently breathing.  I went to start the coffee and stepped out on the balcony to see what the weather was like.  It was going to be a warm day, so I pulled out a pair of Bermuda shorts, a tee shirt and a pair of briefs as well as a pair of sandals.  I dressed in the kitchen so I wouldn't awaken Bra.

I looked at the clock and it wasn't even seven o'clock yet.  I decided to go to the convenience store across the street from the apartment complex and get a Sunday edition of the Houston Chronicle.  When I returned and opened the apartment door, a beautiful sight greeted me.  Brahim was standing in the doorway of the bedroom stretching.  I threw the paper on the kitchen table and went and hugged him, "Good morning, my love; how are you feeling this fine summer day?"

He hugged me and chuckled, "I can definitely tell that I had a visitor last night."

I kissed him, "You can always get revenge, tonight."

He growled, "I may just have to do that."

I poured two cups of coffee.  Brahim took his coffee to the bedroom and dressed similarly to the way I was dressed.  When he returned, he commented, "I take that it we won't be going to church this morning?"

"Bra, I'm not the most religious person in the world.  I haven't ever been to church here in Houston so I wouldn't have any idea where to go."

Brahim smiled, "I'm willing to bet you that Allie will have us going to church next week."

After breakfast of an omelet with toast, Brahim and I were sitting on the sofa looking at the homes section of the paper.  I looked at Brahim, "Bra, why don't we go look at some homes this afternoon.  We can't make a final decision until we get Allie involved, but we can see what options are available to us.  It looks as if most of the open houses start at 1:00."

We ate a light lunch, of a sandwich and a salad, and made our way to some of the newer subdivisions.  We looked at some brand new homes and Brahim shook his head, "These are nice, but they're way to big for our needs.  Why don't we look at some older houses.  If we were to move into some of these new developments, we might not be compatible with the neighbors."

I pointed to a classified, "Here's one on Mercy Road that is to be open today.  The ad says that the house is twenty years old and in a good school district with public transportation and shopping nearby."

I pulled out my handy dandy travel guide with maps of the Houston area.  It turned out that we weren't far from Mercy Road.   We stopped at the house with the open house sign, and went in.   The agent on duty handed us some paper booties to wear, since we were wearing sandals and didn't have socks on.  She handed us a floor plan of the house and told us, "I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have."

Brahim and I walked through the downstairs and it was a beautiful house.  When Brahim saw that there were five bedrooms and three bathrooms upstairs, he turned to me, "Ed, we don't need a house this big."

As we were leaving the home, Brahim looked at me, "Ed, maybe we should just go back to your apartment and look for a smaller house or perhaps a bigger apartment."

I was so positive that I knew how to get out of the subdivision that I didn't consult the maps.  We were driving along talking when we came to a dead end.  We were turning around in the cul-de-sac when Brahim pointed to a house, "Ed, there's a house that's for sale by owners.  Why don't we stop and look at it?"

I pulled into the driveway of a double car garage.  As I got out of the car, I observed that the exterior was all brick except for the trim around the windows and door.  However, it was all on one floor and it looked rather small.

Brahim and I were standing in the entry way at the front door when we rang the doorbell.  A gentleman, who appeared to be in his late fifties or early sixties answered the door, "Good afternoon, gentleman, how may I help you?"

I stuck out my hand, "I'm Ed Waller.  Mr. Safi and I saw your for sale sign and thought we would stop.  We're interested in buying a house for the two of us and Mr. Safi's young brother."

The gentleman stuck out his hand, "I'm George Daniels.  I'm surprised that you saw the sign since I just put it out this afternoon.   We don't get much traffic in this area, since Mercy Road dead ends here because of the stream behind us.  Please come in."

Brahim asked, "Would you like us to take off our shoes?"

Mr. Daniels chuckled, "Why?  The grandchildren will be here tomorrow running through the house and I can guarantee they don't take their shoes off, nor do I."

The gentleman called to his wife, "Edie, come and greet our first prospective buyers."

A diminutive striking lady appeared from the kitchen and was wiping her hands on her apron, "Good afternoon gentlemen. I'm Edie Daniels.  I guess you would like a tour of the house.  Who would be living here if you were to decide to buy this monster?"

Brahim answered, "It would be Mr. Waller, my brother Allie and me."

Mrs. Daniels asked, "How old is you your brother?"

"He's ten."

Mrs. Daniels smiled, "That's the same age as the twins who live next door.  I'm surprised that you don't have him with you today.  This would be a great neighborhood for him to grow up in."

I nodded, "We would have brought him with us, except that he was commandeered away from us and is now deep sea fishing with some friends."

Mrs. Daniels scowled, "That's odd.  The twins next door, Jim and John, are fishing with some friends, too.  They just got back from a cruise and their gone again."

Brahim and I started to laugh and I ventured, "The twins' last name wouldn't happen to be Thomas, would it?"

Mr. Daniels looked surprised, "Yes, but how did you know that?"

I answered, "We were on the same cruise as the Thomases.  Allie is with Jim and John and another family whom we met on the cruise."

Mrs. Daniels shook her head, "It's a small world.  In fact, Nancy is going to be joining us for dinner this evening.  Why don't you two gentlemen join us, also, since you know Nancy?"

"Mrs. Daniels, Brahim and I don't want to impose."

Mr. Daniels interrupted, "Nonsense.  It will give me someone to talk to while I'm grilling the chicken.  Why don't we show you around the house before Nancy arrives?"

Even though the house looked small from the curb, it was, in fact, deceiving because it was built in the shape of an H.  We had been standing in the center part which was large living/great room with a large fireplace.  It was bright because of the double French doors on either side of the fireplace and two skylights in the ceiling. 

To the left was an extremely large kitchen with a large eating area surrounded by windows so the kitchen was also very bright.  There was a sliding door to the large patio that connected the three parts of the H on the back of the house.

Before you entered the kitchen there was a relatively small formal dining room.  The two car garage was in the front of the left arm of the H that had a large amount of storage space.  There was a laundry room and lavatory in the entryway from the garage.

Next to the formal entryway was a small room that would make a perfect office or study, and could be made into a guest bedroom.  Mr. Daniels commented, "As you can see, I'm a slob."

On the back of the right leg of the H was a very large master bedroom with a door that opened on to the deck in the back.  The master bathroom was almost as big as my apartment.  There were two more good sized bedrooms and another full sized bath with twin sinks.

Brahim leaned over and whispered, "Ed, this would be perfect but there is no way we'll be able to afford it."

I ignored Brahim's comment, "Mr. Daniels, I have two questions.  First, why are you selling the house when it looks as if you have everything you need here?  Second, how much are you asking for the house?"

Mr. Daniels nodded, "Ed, in case you hadn't noticed, Edie and I aren't exactly spring chickens anymore.  The yard and landscaping are almost more than we take care of anymore, especially during the academic year.  We're both planning to retire at the end of the school year that is just starting.  We're planning to move so we could be closer to our son and daughter and their families who live in the Dallas area."

"As far as what price we're asking, we had the property appraised two weeks ago, and it appraised at $197,000 dollars.  We'll be lucky to get that much in these economic times, though."

Our discussion was interrupted by the arrival of Mrs. Daniels and Nancy Thomas.  Mrs. Daniels smiled, "Nancy, I believe you know these two young men."

Nancy was surprised, "Hi guys, why are you here?  The boys aren't due back until Tuesday night."

I sighed, "We were looking at houses, and I made a wrong turn or I didn't make a correct turn and we ended up here on your cul-de-sac.  These nice people took pity on us and invited us to dinner."

Nancy was chuckling, "The boys were right.  You two are weird.  Edie, they were probably sent here by some higher power.  You need to hear Brahim sing."

Edie looked confused, "Why would I need to hear Brahim sing?  What kind of music do you sing, young man?"

Nancy answered before Bra could, "He's can sing everything from opera to show tunes.  He and his brother wowed the people on the cruise ship.  That was one of the reasons that Jim disliked Ed, Brahim and Allie so much.  He also resented the fact that Ed and his party received preferential treatment and he wasn't included.  The other reason was that he found out that Ed was going to be placed in charge of a new division at Shell Oil and that he was being demoted.  He has been drinking heavily for the past two years."

Mr. Daniels interrupted, "Come on, guys.  We need to start the grill.  Ed, fix everyone what they would like to drink.  There's a wet bar at the back of the living room behind the door that looks as if it's a closet."

As Mr. Daniels was cooking, he explained, "This is really a quiet neighborhood.  It has changed over the period that we have lived here.  There is a gay couple who lives on the other side of us.  Mike is a lawyer and his friend, Dan, is a teacher at the high school.  The couple across the street from us have lived here ever since we moved in, twenty some years ago.  They must be gone this weekend because they always have family visiting on the weekends."

Mr. Daniels turned the chicken and applied barbecue sauce, "Brahim, please go tell the ladies that we'll be ready to eat in five minutes."

We had just finished eating when my cell phone chimed.  I figured it had to be Allie, "This is Mr. Edward Waller, how can I help you Allie?"

"Dad, this is important.  Can you meet me at Jim and John's house in an hour?  Mrs. Yates' mother died and they are leaving for Tucson as soon as they drop us off."

"Allie, since the boys' mother is sitting here with us as we speak, there shouldn't be a problem.  We're at the house next door to where Jim and John live."

I could almost hear Allie's mind working, "Put Mrs. Thomas on.  Jim and John have been trying to get in touch with her."

I handed the phone to Nancy, "Your sons would like to speak to you."

Nancy started to talk, "Slow down John. We're having dinner with the Daniels. … Yes, Mr. Waller and Brahim were looking at maybe buying Mr. and Mrs. Daniels' house. … No, they haven't made a decision yet.  The just started to look today. … Okay, here's Mr. Waller."

Nancy handed me the phone.  "This is Ed Waller."

"Dad Waller, this is John.  Offer Grandpa  and Grandma Daniels ten bucks so they'll hold the house for you.  Allie can walk to school with us, and Mom can baby-sit him until you and Bra get home from work."

"John, don't you think we should check with your Mother before you commit her to something like that?"

John retorted, "Jim and I'll solve your problems when we get there.  See you in about an hour."

We took our dishes into the kitchen and it was an easy cleanup.  Mrs. Daniels looked at Brahim, "Young man, if you are as good as Nancy says, I want to hear you sing.  Let's go into the living room and you can demonstrate your skills."

I followed the group into the living room and Mrs. Daniels opened the baby grand piano.  She looked at Bra, "What kind of music do you like to sing?"

Bra looked at me, "I was trained to sing operas, but I have sung songs from Broadway plays most recently, while we were on the cruise."

Mrs. Daniels was skeptical, "Brahim, we have taken several cruises and the entertainment at best was marginal."  She started to play, without music I might add, 'The Impossible Dream' from The Man of La Mancha.

Bra started to sing and when he finished, Mrs. Daniels started to play something from the 'The Barber of Seville' which Brahim sang.  Mrs. Daniels stood, "George, we need to get this young man enrolled at the University of Houston in the Moores School of Music.  He has more talent than almost any other student there."

The conversation was interrupted by the front door opening, Jim entered, "We're home.  Allie is saying goodbye to the Yates family."

We walked to the front yard.  Mr. Daniels got a funny look on his face, "For havens sakes."

We walked to the driver's side of the vehicle, "Woodrow Calvin Yates, why wouldn't I have expected you to be here.  How are your parents?"

Cal got out of the van and hugged Mr. Daniels, "Hi, Uncle George.  The parents are enjoying their retirement.  Dad said you and Aunt Edie were going to be retiring after this year.  Isn't it a little soon to be selling your house?"

Mr. Daniels asked, "Can you visit for a while?"

Cal shook his head no, "We are flying to Tucson at nine o'clock.  Von's mother passed away unexpectedly.  In fact, we need to be leaving for the airport."

Cal got back into the van.  Allie was talking to Ricky and Robby, "Thanks again for taking us fishing.  Mrs. Yates, I'm sorry about your mother's death.  Have a safe trip."

After the Yates vehicle had pulled away, Allie turned to Mr. Daniels and stuck out his right hand, "Hi, I'm Allie Safi."

Mr. Daniels shook Allie's hand, "I'm pleased to meet you, Allie.  I'm George Daniels.  Come meet my wife."

"Honey, I'd like to introduce you to Allie Safi.  Allie, this is my wife, Edie Daniels."

Allie shook her hand, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Daniels."

Allie turned to me, "Dad, are we really going to buy the Daniels' house?  John said we were."

"Allie, we couldn't make a decision like that without you being here."

Mr. Daniels grinned, "Come with me Mr. Safi and I'll give you a guided tour."

Jim announced, "We'll take the fish and put them in the freezer.  We'll be right back."

Nancy sighed, "I guess I'd better go help the guys."

After everyone had departed, except Mrs. Daniels.  She looked at Bra and me, "Is there anyway you can have Brahim at the University of Houston campus sometime on Tuesday?" 

I shrugged my shoulders, "Ma'am, it would need to be in the afternoon, since I'm scheduled to attend a meeting at Shell headquarters at ten in the morning."

Mrs. Daniels nodded, "That would probably be best.  That would give me time to get in touch with the people who should meet with Brahim.  Why don't you give me your number so I can call you and tell you what I was able to arrange."

I pulled out a business card and wrote my cell phone number on the back.  Nancy and the boys returned and John handed Mrs. Daniels a package.  "Grandma Daniels, here's some of the fish that we caught this weekend."

Jim came to me, "Dad Waller, we put a cooler with some fish in your car.  You can return the cooler when you buy Grandpa and Grandma Daniels house."

Allie and Mr. Daniels returned and Mrs. Daniels asked, "Well, Allie, do you think you could live here?"

"Dr. Daniels, you have a very lovely home.  It is so warm and inviting.  I could very easily live here.  Where would I go to school if we were to live here?"

Jim and John  jumped up, "Come on, we'll show you where it is."

Mr. Daniels laughed, "Come Ed and Brahim, we'll go with them to make sure they don't get into trouble."

We walked by the house next door and there was a fenced walkway between it and the next house on the other side of it.  There was paved trail through the trees and a bridge over a small stream.  Mr. Daniels explained, "There is a small recreation area just off to the left with a small lake where people fish.  This area has been zoned as parkland."

It took us less than ten minutes to reach the school grounds.  The three boys had run ahead.  I asked, "Mr. Daniels, what do you know about the school?"

He nodded, "It's a very good school.  Since I'm Dean of the College of Education at the University of Houston.  I'm in a position where I have had an occasion to visit most of the schools in the Houston area."

I nodded, "I gather that Mrs. Daniels works at the University also, and is involved with music?"

"Yep, she's Chairman of the Instrumental Music Department.  She has had occasions when she has played with the Houston Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera.  She also plays the organ in our church."

Allie came running up to me, "Dad, Jim and John want to know if I can spend the night?"

Brahim asked before I did, "Don't you think you should check with Mrs. Thomas first, to see if it's okay?  She might not want you to spend the night."

Allie looked a little upset, "I should have thought of that."

Allie turned to Jim and John who had arrived, "We need to make sure it's okay with your Mother if I spend the night."

Jim took a deep breath, "We already did.  We asked her when we were putting the fish away."

I looked at Allie, "You can't keep wearing other people's clothes all the time."

John put his hands on his hips, "Dad Waller, we'll do as we did last night.  We'll wash his clothes, so they're ready when we get up in the morning."

We followed the three boys toward the Daniels' house.  When we arrived in front of the house next door.  The three boys were talking to two gentlemen who looked to be about Brahim's and my age.  When we arrived, Jim started to make the introductions, "Mr. Strong and Mr. Weaks the gentleman with the blond hair and blue eyes, is Allie's Dad, Ed Waller.  The gentleman with the dark hair and green eyes is Allie's brother, Brahim Safi.  They're going to buy Grandpa and Grandma Daniels' house.  Talk to you later."

We shook hands with Mike Strong, who commented.  "George, we leave for a day and when we come home we find a for sale sign in your yard and now you've already sold it according to Jim.  Ed and Brahim, you look very famil … I know where I've seen you before.  You met with the President just recently, didn't you?"

Brahim and I both nodded yes.

Dan Weaks shook our hands, "I have a question.  If you're looking at buying George and Edie's house, are we to assume that you are more than friends?"

I could feel myself turning red but answered, "That would be a safe assumption."

Mr. Daniels started to laugh, "Guys, I take it that John and Jim know what your relationship is?"

Brahim answered, "Yes, and I'm sure that their parents do as well."

Mr. Daniels had a twinkle in his eye.  "That's probably the real reason that John and Jim's father hated you so much.  Jim Thomas is probably the most homophobic person I've ever met.  In fact, when Mike and Dan moved in, he tried to organize the neighborhood to protest them living here.  No one would support him and that was about the time he started drinking.  I would almost bet the man is a closeted gay."

When we arrived at the house, Nancy advised us, "Guys, I gave Jim and John permission to invite Allie to spend the night.  Why don't the two of you come for a picnic lunch tomorrow about two o'clock.  My parents, whom you know, will be here?"

I looked at Brahim and he nodded okay, "We would be pleased to attend, what can we bring?"

Mrs. Daniels interjected, "We'll have a cul-de-sac party.  Why don't you bring some melons?  We'll have sausages of different kinds, salads and desserts."

I stood "Nancy, Dr. and Dr. Daniels, we need to be going.  It's been a long day.  Thanks for a fun afternoon and evening.  I have some things that I need to take care of.  We'll see you tomorrow at two.  Now if I can remember how to get out of here."

Mr. Daniels laughed, "That's easy.  Go to the first street turn left and you'll run into the Katy Highway.  I'm sure you will know how to get to where you want to go from there."

As we were going to the car, the three guys were throwing a football in the yards with some other boys about the same age.  When Allie saw us, he came running.   He hugged both Brahim and me and whispered, "I love you, Dad and Bra."

Editor's Notes:

It seems that good fortune has smiled on Ed, Allie and Bra. They have found a nice sized house at a reasonable price in a very nice neighborhood and in fact, they even know, and like, their neighbors.

It looks to me as if things will go very well.  Let's hope so.  I wonder if Brahim is going to become a famous singer. I guess we will just have to wait and see, won't we?

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher