The semester was over and everyone was on holidays, probably partying, waking up late, eating junk food and spending too little time at home. But that wasn’t Sam’s case. That morning, like pretty much every morning, she woke up at eight, had a healthy breakfast of toasts, fruits, orange juice, tea and cheese, along with her parents. Sam took a shower, got dressed in some casual outfit, jeans, oxford shoes and a white buttoned up shirt. When she went downstairs and saw her mom baking an apple pie and her dad reading the morning paper while smoking his pipe, it was like a postal from the 50’s. She told her mum since it was such a lovely day, she’d spend it at the park reading her favourite book, Sense and Sensibility. Her mum of course prepared her a sandwich and some strawberries for lunch and packed her purse with it, then kissed her on the cheek and told her to be safe. Sam walked smiling at the birds without bumping into anyone familiar, she arrived at the park and sat on a bench alone, took out her book and let herself walk the streets along Miss Dashwood, while eating a strawberry from time to time. She was so immersed in the book she didn’t notice the person sitting next to her.
With school over, Char didn’t have much to do. She hung out with people from time to time, not really staying out as late as she had expected since she had done so back in New York…when she wasn’t ditched. What Char did do though was her usual morning ritual. Wake up, check her phone for any texts, make her way downstairs, kiss her mother on the cheek, eat breakfast, get changed and washed up before leaving for a morning jog in the park. Pulling her hair back and putting her hair up into a ponytail, she slipped on her New Balance running shoes before leaving the house. Breathing in and then exhaling, Char began to jog her way over to the park. By the time she had made it to the park, she was beginning to get tired. Making it only halfway through the park, she decided that she would take a small break which she hardly did. Breathing heavily, she sat down on the park bench which was also occupied by a young girl reading a book. Controlling her breathing, she read the title of the girl’s book. Sense and Sensibility. Raising an eyebrow now, Char looked at the girl behind the books from the corner of her eyes. Cute, she thought before taking a deep breath and adjusting her body so it face the girl. “Sense and Sensibility.” She says, smiling tiredly. “I love that book.”
Sam heard a voice, a girl’s voice, took couple of seconds before reacting to it. She looked at her and smiled “Sense and Sensibility. I love that book.” the girl said, it was a blond young woman in a sport attire, and a tired face, probably just came for a run or something “It’s lovely isn’t it? I love Jane Austen” Sam replied, it was hard to find someone her age that enjoys reading period novels, besides from her old school mates, actually it was hard to find someone who likes to read at all. She put the book down and picked up the strawberry bowl “Do you fancy one? the’re really sweet” she asked politely, the girl seemed to need something to freshen up after the long run.
“It’s lovely isn’t it? I love Jane Austen.” The girl said to her, smiling. Char returned the girl’s warm smile. Whoever this girl was, she was a cutie. She had light brown hair which was in a pixie cut, a bit of freckles and a nice body. “It’s wonderful. I haven’t met a lot of people who enjoy Jane Austen or just reading in general.” Char says to the girl, leaning against the bench, propping one of her arms up on to the back of it. The girl, whoever she was, also had a bowl of strawberries with her which she picked up right as Char spotted them. “Do you fancy one? the’re really sweet.” The girl asked holding up the bowl of fruits to her. Shrugging, Char took two fingers and picked out which looked like the best out of the bunch. “Thank you.” She says before taking a bite out of it. She was right, they were sweet. Once Char swallowed,she looked at the girl. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. I’m Charlotte.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. I’m Charlotte.” the girl said after she finished the strawberry, “Well, nice to meet you Charlotte, i’m Sam” she replied extending her hand to proper introduce herself with a warm smile “When did people stop reading? it’s nonsense! It gives me such joy” Sam told her, with tv and internet people neglected books, which was sad because there were so many wonderful stories and tales it was frustrating having no time to read them all, not even a lifestime would be enough, so many authors, genres. “I almost feel i have no time to read them all, so many to choose from. Sorry i’m being such a nerd” Sam said blushing a bit after she realised what she just said.
“Well, nice to meet you Charlotte, I’m Sam” The girl (or now, Sam) said as she extended her hand with a warm smile on her face. Taking hold of the girl’s hand, she shakes it returning the girls smile. “Pleasure is all mine, Sam.” She tells the girl acting slightly flirtatious with Sam now. Letting go of the girl’s hand, Char leans her head in her hand as she listen to Sam. “It really is such a shame. You know, people are so into social media now and not so much giving time for literature. I mean, I do it too but I at least try to make some time.” Char says, shrugging. No one really knew that Char read so much, not even back in New York because she knew that no one would really understand. That was until she met Sam, who was young and intelligent enough to hold a real discussion. “I almost feel I have no time to read them all, so many to choose from. Sorry I’m being such a nerd.” Sam tells her before blushing which causes Char to laugh. “No, no, it’s alright. Perfectly fine, I understand.” She shakes her head, chuckling. “So, are you new here in Bristol…or old? I’m new so I don’t really know everyone yet.”
“So, are you new here in Bristol…or old? I’m new so I don’t really know everyone yet.” Char asked, the girl had a foreign accent, American she could swear “Oh no, i’ve lived here my entire life, but i’m not an outdoor kind of girl, i have always too much to study and somehow i find it better to stay in than to go out, it’s silly i know, but my friends back in college where the same..You’re not from here, are you? American, if my guess is correct?” Sam wasn’t used to meeting new people randomly like this, she was either always at home or at the library, doing some reading, she used to take ballet classes but she had to quit in third year when the homework was too much, apart from college she had French and piano lessons, she was missing drawing classes and she could fit perfectly in one of Mr Darcy’s balls, and be able to find a suitable husband in no time. But this wasn’t the eighteen century and her hopes and wishes of finding a husband were as close as finding the philosopher stone.
Raising her eyebrows, Char listens to Sam as the girl begins to answer her question. “Oh no, i’ve lived here my entire life, but i’m not an outdoor kind of girl, i have always too much to study and somehow i find it better to stay in than to go out, it’s silly i know, but my friends back in college where the same..You’re not from here, are you? American, if my guess is correct?” The girl says, a little nervously, Char can sense. It was obvious that Sam wasn’t used to doing stuff like this. A random person coming up to you and making a conversation, probably going to turn out to be friends..or more, if Sam leaned the way she hoped. “You’re not an outdoor girl? Well, no offense, you don’t look like one either.” She pauses for a moment. “How come you’re not an outdoor girl, I mean…well, yeah..” Char says, suddenly turning awkward as she rubs the back of her neck with her hand. A few moments of silence passed between the brunette and the blonde before Char spoke up again. “Oh, yeah - I’m American.” She says, grinning. “You’ve guessed correctly, I’d offer you a prize but I have nothing on me right now, sadly. Oh! Hey, you want to go for a drink as a prize? It’s early but…whatever.”
“You’ve guessed correctly, I’d offer you a prize but I have nothing on me right now, sadly. Oh! Hey, you want to go for a drink as a prize? It’s early but…whatever.” Charlotte said, she wasn’t the drink type either “Oh well i don’s actually..drink but i wouldn’t refuse a cup of tea and maybe cake?” she said smiling, what time was it anyway, past noon perhaps? Sam didn’t even drink wine, she was on the healthy conservative side. No alcohol, no drugs, no smoking. Tea and coffee was more her preference, yeah, a nice hot cup of earl gray and a tasty apple crumble, maybe with a bit of cream if she was feeling wild. Sam put everything away and got up smiling again at the girl, Sam was really friendly and always thought the best of everyone, even if she wasn’t really the one that talks to strangers in the park, or nowhere for that matter, it was just a girl, what harm could she do? and besides, she needed more people in her life anyways.
“Oh well I don’t actually..drink but I wouldn’t refuse a cup of tea and maybe cake?” Sam had suggested to her instead of drinking, since well, the girl didn’t drink. Char thought she didn’t either but her suggestion of it was worth a shot, wasn’t it? Shrugging her shoulder, she smiled at Sam. “Sure, tea and cake sound just as good.” She says, giving a curt nod. Charlotte hardly ever drank tea, she was more a coffee girl since that was what she usually had at Starbucks back in New York. Everyone drank Starbucks there, no matter how much one preferred something else. But she also had nothing against tea, she just hardly ever ordered or made it. Watching as Sam put everything away, Char stood up once the girl looked ready to leave. “Ready?” She asks, raising an eyebrow with a small smile on her face. Once she was, she and Sam began their walk out of the park and towards the local cafe.
It didn’t take long for the girl’s to arrive at the cafe. Opening the door for Sam, the two walked in, one behind the other and hovered at the door for a moment before Char took Sam by the hand, lightly, and led her over to a table for two near the window. There were waitresses and waiters going around delivering food and taking orders from the people that were here. “Uh, so, I’m guessing you know more about tea than I do.” She says, picking up the small menu. “So, tell me, what’s good?”
Their walk to the cafe wasn’t long, they talked and giggled, when they got there Char opened the door for Sam and sat in a little table next to the window, Sam picked up the menu, looked at it for a minute and then said “I’m a fan of earl gray, i take it with milk but you can order something else if you don’t fancy it” answering Char’s question, tea was a big thing in the United Kingdom, not much in America perhaps, the waitress finally came and she ordered an earl Gray with milk and a piece of apple pie, Char finally decided on a chocolate coffee and a muffin, five minutes later the lady came with their order. The tea smelled really nice “See, smell this, isn’t it lovely?” Sam said suggesting Char to smell the tea since she didn’t know it, “Tea is a big thing in England, i take at least three times a day, to say the least, you’ll get used to it” Sam giggled “How long have you been here for?” It was nice, getting to know another culture, she didn’t leave the country much except for France and visiting family in Scotland, she smiled thinking finally she could have a friend to share things with.
Char flipped through the little menu, unsure what half of the things on the menu were except for Green Tea and a few others. Looking up at Sam who was staring at the menu, obviously she understood what everything was. “I’m a fan of earl gray, i take it with milk but you can order something else if you don’t fancy it” Nodding her head, Char looked back again at the menu. “What to order, what to order…” She mutters under her breath as her eyes scan the entire menu about what seems to be a million times now. But when the waitress came over, notepad in hand with a giant smile on her face, Char quickly scanned one more time before finally settling on something. She let Sam order first and of course the girl ordered what she had previously told her which was Earl Gray with milk along with a piece of apple pie. “And for you, love?” The waitress asked holding the notepad up to the pen as she turned to Char. “Oh, uh,” Turning back to the menu for a moment, Char looks at the waitress. “I’ll just have a chocolate coffee and a just a banana nut muffin.” She smiles at the waitress before the lady nods her head and walks off to prepare their orders.
It didn’t even take five minutes for the waitress to be gone but she was back with two small plates which held the girl’s drink in a small cup and their dessert. “See, smell this, isn’t it lovely?” Sam said suggesting Char to smell the tea since she didn’t know it. Nodding her head, Char had to agree with Sam that it did smell lovely. “Tea is a big thing in England, i take at least three times a day, to say the least, you’ll get used to it.” Sam giggled “How long have you been here for?” Taking a sip of her coffee as she thinks back to when she arrived. “Uh, well, I think I arrived just a little over a month ago?” She says, before ripping off a piece of her muffin and putting it in her mouth. After chewing and swallowing it, she looks at Sam. “And you? How long have you been in Bristol for?”
“And you? How long have you been in Bristol for?” Char asked, Sam left her mug before answering “I’ve lived here my whole life, almost never leave it, i’m not the going out kind of girl, always had things to do, being too busy being busy” she laughed, always attending private schools which were for her parents the best education and never had time to actually live her life aside from books and other extracurricular appointments, Sam thought her life was too easy, conventional and dull, she never talked about herself because she kept believing she had nothing fun or exciting to tell and people would get bored easily “Why did you come here? I’ve heard New York is quite exciting!” Broadway was a dream and she didn’t understand why people would leave a place where you can do anything you want.
Mentally hitting herself upside the head, Char remembered she had already asked Sam that when they had met at the park. “Right, right. I forgot, you had told me earlier, sorry.” Taking another sip of her chocolate coffee, Char then looked up at Sam. “You’re always busy? So, you like…never or hardly get out?” She asks, raising an eyebrow as she rips out another piece of her muffin and pops it in her mouth. “Why did you come here? I’ve heard New York is quite exciting!” Clearing her throat, Char looked out the window. She never really talked to anyone about why she came to Bristol. No one even bothered to ask. “I..my mom wanted a fresh start here, so I hoped along for the ride.” She says, putting on a smile. “Oh, New York is exciting, trust me. That’s where I moved here from. I loved it there for the most part.” Char grins, remembering all the good times she had back home in New York before her pregnancy, the ridicule, and the baby being born and put up for adoption. “What school do you attend?” She asks, changing the subject on Sam. “Do you go to Roundview or…?”
Char asked her if she was really that indorsy and Sam couldn’t stop herself from blushing and feeling lame for not being like the other kids “Do you go to Roundview or…?” Char asked a moment later, “Yeah i’m in med school, is not the funniest thing in the world but it’s sort of a tradition in the family..you know, dad’s a doctor, my grandfather was a doctor and so on” She explained why she took a bite at that fabulous apple pie. It was nice having a girl she could be mates with, even if she felt a bit bad about being so quiet. “How about you, what are your plans? Are you studying? Working?” Sam wanted to know, the girl was lovely and her accent was nice as the apple pie she was so happily eating.
Nodding her head, she understood the girl. “Oh, family tradition, eh? My family used to be like that but with lawyers.” Shrugging her shoulders, she takes another sip of her coffee. “A doctor though, that sounds like a wonderful job. I mean, parents always dream of their children becoming doctors.” Chuckling to herself, she then raises an eyebrow as Sam begins to ask questions to Char, which she doesn’t mind. “How about you, what are your plans? Are you studying? Working?” Sam wanted to know, eating her slice of apple pie as she waited for Char to reply. “Right, me.” She says, pausing for a moment. In all honesty, she had no idea what she wanted to do after school. She enjoyed acting, maybe she would go back to New York someday and act there. Or LA. or even London, since from all the shows that she has watched so far were actually really cool. “Well, I’m still in school. I’m at Roundview, just started there not too long ago. Uh, my plans…my plans..well, I’m gonna finish at Roundview and probably head off to University. I also really enjoy acting and performing, always have. I used to do ballet when I was little too.” Smiling slightly, she remembers her past with her in a ballerina getup. “I think after University, I’ll move somewhere else and try to make acting my career.”
Sam listened to her talk with the apple pie on her mouth, s“Well, I’m still in school. I’m at Roundview, just started there not too long ago. Uh, my plans…my plans..well, I’m gonna finish at Roundview and probably head off to University. I also really enjoy acting and performing, always have. I used to do ballet when I was little too.” he nodded and and smiled after Char said she wanted to act, “I think after University, I’ll move somewhere else and try to make acting my career.” she added, Sam finished her pie and replied “Oh my god, i also did ballet as a kid and i would really like to write scripts and stuff you know, but there’s just no way my dad would approve, he thinks very poorly of the arts, nonsense for him” Sam explain with a little bit of bitterness in her voice, yeah she loved her parents, they always took care of her but sometimes they were a bit too overprotective and it was tiring.
“You did?” She says, her face brightening up. Char still loved ballet, not as much as she did when she was little but she still enjoyed it. “For how long did you do ballet for?” Char then asks, finishing up the last pieces of her muffin. Peering into her cup she noticed that there wasn’t much left to her drink either. “He wouldn’t approve?” Raising an eyebrow, lifting her cup to her lips before taking a sip. “If you want to write scripts Sam then go ahead and do it.” She says rather forwardly. “Sorry, it’s just…if you want to do it and you don’t want to be a doctor then don’t worry about your father. Do what will make you happy in life and if that’s writing scripts and such then go for it.” Shrugging her shoulders, she sets down her now empty coffee cup on the table next to the plate. “I happen to adore the arts but we all have our opinions on it, I suppose.”
“For how long did you do ballet for?” Char asked, “Oh for quite a bit, until i started college and i had to quit because i had to take lots of classes, it was so sad” Sam said, finishing her tea, and then Char spoke again “He wouldn’t approve? If you want to write scripts Sam then go ahead and do it. Sorry, it’s just…if you want to do it and you don’t want to be a doctor then don’t worry about your father. Do what will make you happy in life and if that’s writing scripts and such then go for it.” looked down embarrassed, she didn’t want to feel a pushover, she was right though but it was really hard to confront her parents who always expected the best of her, A grades, tidy room, polite and gentle, a perfect daughter. But she was tired of being perfect, there wasn’t anything fun or exciting about perfection. “You are probably right, but i just couldn’t confront him, he has this..image of me and i can’t change it, i don’t know how to” it was the first time she was so open about this subject, she never talked it to anyone because her friends were used to the same, no one ever did something else besides what they were told, no rebellion, no passion, no adrenaline, they lived lives of routine and traditional monotony, and Sam was getting tired of it.
“Oh for quite a bit, until i started college and i had to quit because i had to take lots of classes, it was so sad.” Sam said as she finished her tea. Char’s eyes wide, “Up until college?” She repeats. “That’s…wow…I only went up until the like sixth grade before stopping.” Watching the look on Sam’s face, she could understand how the girl felt. She probably felt like she needed to be perfect. That she needed to have the grade, the manners, etc. That Sam would have to be a perfect daughter to her family and there would be o room for any mistakes. Sighing, Char, reached across the table to hold the girl’s hand. Not out of Char’s affection’s for the girl but instead it was out of this new found friendship. It was Char being sincere and genuine. “Listen,” she says, meeting Sam’s gaze. “I had people have this perfect image of me too, just before I came here. I was Head Cheerleader, President of the Celibacy Club, and I had had a reputation to maintain.” Pausing for a moment, she takes a breath. This was the first time she had ever talked about her past with someone here in Bristol. “And I cracked. But I don’t want that to happen to you. You have to talk to your dad, Sam. And if you want then I’ll come with you.”
“I had people have this perfect image of me too, just before I came here. I was Head Cheerleader, President of the Celibacy Club, and I had had a reputation to maintain. And I cracked. But I don’t want that to happen to you. You have to talk to your dad, Sam. And if you want then I’ll come with you.” Sam listened everything she had to say and looked at Char’s hand holing hers and smile, still unable to believe that someone could be so understanding and helpful. She smiled and looked back at the girl “Thank you Charlotte, really, i do appreciate the gesture. I will think about it..how to do it, but first i have to convince myself and prepare for it before..coming out, maybe live a little? i feel i’ve missed most of the things kids my age did” Sam told her, maybe she first needed to be free, go out or do stuff she wouldn’t do normally, try something new, it wasn’t the easiest thing but if she was going to confront her father she might as well get some courage, and she didn’t have much at the moment. She felt happy she found someone to talk to and relate in a way. Sam almost felt sorry for her, she had to leave her country and start all over again somewhere new, with no friends or anything, it must’ve been hard, she thought. Obviously she had her struggles too and Sam was glad they could now be there for each other. Sam Smiled at her again, hoping to transmit that same thought into a real smile.
“Thank you Charlotte, really, i do appreciate the gesture. I will think about it..how to do it, but first i have to convince myself and prepare for it before..coming out, maybe live a little? i feel i’ve missed most of the things kids my age did” Sam told her and Char nodded. She agreed with her, Sam did need to live a litte. Put down the tea and pie and pick up a drink for once in her life. There was no way she could forever stay in her father’s perfect little mold he made for her to create his perfect child. At one point she would have to break free and now seemed like the perfect time. Sam was old enough, wasn’t she? “I agree.” She says, nodding her head again. “You do need to live a litte. Go out for a drink or something. You and I should go sometime, yeah?” She offers, letting go of the girl’s hands finally. From the girl’s smile she could sense it was completely genuine. Obviously, Sam thought it must have been horrible for her to run away and just start over in a new country - that’s what everyone would think if she told them. But with Sam tit was different, she didn’t judge. She instead accepted it which was just what Char needed.
“You do need to live a litte. Go out for a drink or something. You and I should go sometime, yeah?” Char said, and Sam smiled, it would be a good thing, breaking free little by little and she seemed a fairly suitable companion. “Yes indeed we must!” Sam replied, and reached for a piece of paper to write down her number. “Here, text me and we’ll hit the town or whatever the kids are doing these days” Sam laughed at her old lady expression but it was true, she was totally clueless about where to go, what to do, even what to wear. She checked her phone and saw three missed calls from her mum, “Oh no, it’s so late! i have to run, or there won’t be any left of me for drinks, call me yeah?” she left some money on the table and blew Char a kiss, smiling on her way out.
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