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   Chapter 10 No.10

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 12024

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04


A danger in the street

Paul was in the kitchen fixing something along the lines of breakfast, when Sandy came walking into the room. He saw she had changed into nightwear, and she wore a dark blue house coat over it. Barefoot she came over, yawning behind her hand. "Good morning. Did you sleep?" he asked.

"Uhhuh. Eventually. It's a big change..." Sandy stood next to Paul and bumped her forehead into him. "Coffee? Do I smell coffee?" This was her first priority, as the night had been interrupted and her body was still adjusting to the new time zone.

"You should. Mugs are in there, sugar's there and cream is in the refrigerator. Help yourself if you can find the strength."

Sandy located a mug, filled it with coffee and then went for the cream. "Jesus, even that is on the other side, " she laughed. "I'm gonna be all twisted when I go back home!"

They both laughed. Sandy asked if she could help making breakfast. Toasting bread in an unfamiliar kitchen was about as far as she could go, but it was a start. When they sat at the round dining table, she suggested they should put the table closer to the window and the balcony. "More light that way, and I can see more of what's there."

"We can do that after breakfast, " Paul agreed, wondering why he had never thought of that. Probably because he was hardly ever paying attention to the outside. Breakfast usually went together with his computer tablet. "And for the rest of the day I think I should show you a bit of Bristol, get you a bus pass, and see if we can acquire a bicycle for you. You do know how to ride a bike, don't you?"

Sandy pursed her lips. "I had one, when I was little. You may have to teach me again."

Paul told her that one never forgot how to ride a bicycle. All it would need was a bit of practice. And a helmet. And some serious care, as traffic here was entirely different from Annapolis. "Perhaps just a bus pass would be best?"

"Oh no, you mentioned a bicycle and now I want a bicycle. Even if I have to buy one myself!"

That settled the matter, and little over an hour later they were on their way to a bicycle shop. Sandy rode on the back of Paul's bike to get there, screaming at times when she thought he was going into a street down the wrong lane. They found a very good used bicycle, the shopkeeper was kind and gave them a discount on the helmet as it was an older model, and then the challenge began. Sandy had ridden the new bicycle a few rounds in a small courtyard without cars, and felt safe enough to ride along with Paul, provided he did not go too fast. She would also stay on the inner lane, closest to the sidewalks.

The first stretch they crawled along the streets. Paul had chosen the quiet back roads, away from busy traffic, as Sandy still was getting used to riding the bicycle. After two miles Sandy asked for a time-out.

"Is this city built on a mountain?" she panted. "I feel as if we're riding straight up against a wall all the time!"

Paul admitted that Bristol wasn't really famous for its flat surfaces. "You'll get better soon."

"I was afraid you were going to say that. I should have gone for the bus pass after all. Much easier on the legs."

Paul just nodded. In the evenings it would be really bad, he knew, with the extra traffic and a full day already done. They rode on, passing through Clifton Park, from there north to the University buildings and then on to the Clifton suspension bridge, where they took a break in a nearby pub.

Sandy rubbed her calves. "There are quicker ways to kill people, you know, " she grumbled. After she h

y both avoided mentioning the moment. Paul because he was not sure how to start it, after all he wasn't opposed to her attention while at the same time he absolutely was, and Sandy because she was writing her postcards.

"Damn. That stamp is upside down!" she said as she checked her work.

"The Royal Mail won't mind, " Paul said. "Do you want to take them out this evening, or on the way to the university tomorrow? There's a mailbox near the door there."

"Tomorrow should be good. I doubt that one night will make a difference." Sandy started to clean off the table. "No, you sit. I am going to do this, " she said, "I should be more good than just lean on you all the time." She smiled a smile that bordered on shy. As she loaded things into the dishwasher that she had discovered, she said "This is weird though. Usually mom has to tell me to clean up. Now she's not here and I do it just like that." She put away the plates. "Maybe England has a good influence on me after all."

"Even when everything is on the wrong side, right?" Paul laughed. "Nothing happens without a reason, as I always say."

Sandy hoped he did not see her surprise. Nothing happens without a reason. Indeed. "Maybe everything is just on the other side, " she allowed. "And I don't know where the rest goes, so I am going to upload the pictures from my phone now and be the envy of all my friends." She stopped walking and looked at Paul, who still sat at the table. "Thank you for everything, Paul. You really do so much for me, you make me feel at home."

Paul saw her face, honesty coming from it. He held out a hand, and when she came near he squeezed her hand for a moment. "It's my pleasure, Sandy. I'm glad you feel like that, and that you will see this as your second home."

She nodded, and felt sincere as she replied. "That won't be a problem. And..." -she had to say it- "...I hope you don't mind that I leaned into you. I am like that."

Paul saw his chance. Now he could tell her that she perhaps should not do that again, even when she meant nothing by it. "That's fine, I didn't mind. I'll take care of the rest and make some fresh tea." He heard himself talk and couldn't stop himself. Carmichael, pull your bloody self together!

Sandy smiled and walked off to her telephone and her computer. He then cleaned up the kitchen and made tea, still wondering what had just happened.

***

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