To read part 1

To read part 2

To read part 3

“The sun streaming in tickled my cheeks good morning and I couldn’t help but smile as I looked out my window.  This place was so unlike my dear river home, but still it captivated me with its luscious green hills.  I couldn’t help but be excited knowing that I would be seeing more sites today-even if it meant traveling with Mr. Rude.  I refused to allow myself another moment of unhappiness.  I couldn’t believe I had allowed Alex to bring me to tears.  I quickly jumped out of bed and showered.  I put on my Tretorn sneakers and dressed in a comfortable outfit for the day.  I was ready to explore.  I hoped that Alex would be in a more amenable mood today.  I bounced into the kitchen with a bright smile on my face.  Mama had always taught me to kill-’em with kindness and it had served me well so far.  As I turned the corner into the kitchen, I was greeted by James.  I had yet to spend any time with James, Abby’s husband.  He had been working on a big case and had been leaving at the crack of dawn every morning and returning extremely late at night.  Although his eyes seemed tired and stressed, he still managed a sincere  smile and welcomed me with a big hug.  Abby was cooking breakfast for the family and she squealed when she saw me.  A part of me knew that she was just thrilled to have another girl in the house.  She welcomed the added estrogen to her testosterone filled home.  Alex was seated at the table and begrudgingly said good morning to me.  I forced my best smile and addressed him with a bright good morning.  I went over to Abby and asked her if I could help her with anything.  She hugged me and told me to join the boys.  I plopped down at the breakfast table and tried my best to get Alex excited about the day.  Questions started flying out of my mouth about where we should go that day.  One after the other, the questions spewed out of my mouth.  James started laughing a few minutes later and told Alex that it looked like he was going to need a little caffeine if he was going to keep up with me.  Alex did not look amused.  He calmly said he would take me to Tower Bridge in London and we could walk around there.  He wasn’t enthused, but I was so happy to have another tour, that I didn’t really care whether my tour guide was excited or not.  After breakfast we set off for the train in his MGB.  Mama and Aunt Abby had made me love British cars.  We had a picture on our mantel at home of the two of them standing beside the car we were now riding in.  I loved it.  Once we boarded the train he seemed to have loosened up a bit.  I asked him why he had chosen Tower Bridge and he immediately said, for the architecture.  He told me that it had been built in 1854  and that there had been a design competition consisting of fifty architects and designers to come up with the new design for the bridge.  This was the first time that I had seen Alex perk up.  He went on and on about it.  He told me that he planned on studying architecture at Oxford in the fall.  We spent the day walking all over London and I had a much better time with Alex than I had anticipated.  Mama was right, going in with a good attitude almost always worked.  By late afternoon, we were both famished.  We stopped in a local pub and he ordered a beer for himself, a tea for me and Bangers and Mash for both of us.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about him ordering for me, but at the time I figured it was best to be as agreeable and as non-argumentative as I could be.  He was at least talking to me and he had spent the day showing me around against his will.  After eating we both decided we had probably head back home.  On the train ride home we continued talking.  We talked about my life on the river and he actually seemed interested.  He even went so far as to say he would like to visit one day.  I couldn’t help but smile when he said it and he smiled back at me for the first time.  I had not noticed his eyes before that moment.  They were dark, mysterious and for the first time I saw a light in them that reminded me of his mothers.  Something stirred inside of me that was unfamiliar and exhilarating.  Why did I feel shy all of a sudden?” When we arrived home, Abby immediately started in with a million questions about our day. I couldn’t help but respond with the same enthusiasm and speed. When I finally paused, I looked over at Alex who was quietly watching me from the table with a slight grin on his face. My cheeks immediately flushed crimson. Aunt Abby gave me a surprised, but knowing look. She turned back to the stove and told us to wash up for dinner. Once in the privacy of my room, I tried to contain my feelings. I couldn’t stop smiling. I rinsed off and decided to put on something a little nicer for dinner and even went so far as to apply some makeup. Abby called out that dinner was ready and I pranced my way back to the kitchen. Again, I offered to help and this time Abby said she would love a hand with setting the table. We continued to talk about my day and all of the sites I had seen with Alex. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat and I couldn’t make myself stop. Alex entered the room and I looked over at him with my permagrin and it stopped him in his tracks. He immediately looked away from me. I tried to get him to interact with me as I told more about our day, but the more I talked, the more he seemed to withdraw. What had happened in the hour since we had parted? Had I done something or said something wrong? My grin slowly dissipated and I sat down at the table to eat. Alex didn’t speak much during dinner. After we ate, he excused himself from the table without even a glance in my direction. A lump formed in my throat that was choking me and the room became unbearably warm. Abby asked me to join her later for a game of cards, but I told her that I was tired from the day and was going to retire early and just read. She seemed slightly disappointed, but gave me a sweet hug and told me to let her know if I needed anything. For the rest of the evening I questioned what had happened. Instead of reliving the wonderful sites I had seen that day, I was stuck thinking about Alex. The lump in my throat would not go away and I finally succumbed to the tears. I welcomed sleep.”


4 thoughts on “Leaving the River -Part 4 (a fiction story)

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