A/N: If you are at all familiar with the film "Lost in Austen", you'll love this story. If not, no worries! It merely sets the stage. I'm very excited to be writing this fanfic - its been ages since I've travelled to Middle Earth. Please read and review!

"Postcards From Middle Earth"

Chapter One

Alright, here we go, Paige thought after she had collected her luggage, and left the "secure area" of the airport. The double door automatically swung open, and she followed a throng of people like a sheep. More people stood waiting for loved ones to come out; her eyes scanned over the sea of faces for her cousin Amanda, but she couldn't spot her anywhere.

Its true, she hadn't seen Amanda in like, ten years when they were both teenagers, but she felt confident that she'd recognize her if she saw her.

Finding a seat out of the way, she dragged her top-heavy suitcase over to a chair, and decided to wait. She had emailed Amanda three days before coming, confirming the flight and all that. It had unnerved her a bit that she never got a reply.

An hour crawled by. She looked in her pocket mirror and was horrified to discover that she'd been walking around with her blond hair all askew, and tired dark circles under her eyes.

It wasn't until the last passenger left and she was alone that she knew it was time to haul ass.

She must've just forgotten, Paige justified to herself. And my email got lost. It probably accidentally went in the junk folder. Email always get lost in there. And who ever checks their junk folder? I know I don't...

Stepping outside and breathing UK air for the first time, Paige was relieved to spot a classic black British taxi straight away.

"Can you take me to Hammersmith?" she said, approaching the driver.

He rolled his eyes and said, "You've got to go to the front of the cue, luv," pointing at the taxi in front of him.

"Oh, sorry. Thanks," Paige replied, feeling a bit like an idiot. A line of taxis, like a mile long, crammed in together. She passed them all, still dragging her suitcase. When at last she got to the front of the line, she asked again if the driver could take her to Hammersmith, wherever the hell that was...

He had a round, friendly, slightly pudgy face, but was clean-shaven and seemed well kept. "It'd be much cheaper for you to take the tube, luv. Hammersmith's way out of the way, if you catch my meaning..."

She glanced around. The tube entrance was all the fuck way down where she had just come from. That'd be real fun with a gigantoid suitcase... "I don't care. I'd rather get their quickly."

"Oh, the tube link is real fast..."

"Look, I appreciate you trying to save me a buck, or...pound, rather, but I just need to get there, alright? I'm so flipping tired, and my cousin was supposed to meet me, and I don't know where the hell she is, and I've never been here before, and I'm alone, and kinda freaking out, and..."

"Calm yourself, sweet'eart. You're in good 'ands. Hammersmith, was it?"

"Yes," Paige said, breathing out a sigh of relief. "87 Petley Road, Hammersmith."

"Righto," he said climbing out of the cab and taking her suitcase. He picked it up as though it were only packed with pillows and gently tossed it in. Paige climbed in after it, feeling both relieved and pampered. Cabbies in Chigago sure wouldn't step out of their taxi for love or money...

"Where you from, luv?" the cabbie asked when they were finally on their way.

"Chicago...in the States..."

"Ah. I've been to America. Been to Las Vegas, myself."


"Aye. So, what brings to to England, then?"

"I'm visiting my cousin. She's English."

"Oh, aye. Is this your first trip to the UK, then?"

"Yes," Paige replied, looking out the window. Nevermind people driving on the wrong side of the road, they were also driving on the wrong side of the car! "My first trip anywhere," she said, half to herself.

She was heartily glad he had finally agreed to take her, as it provided the perfect opportunity to adjust to this unfamiliar city she suddenly found herself in. It was bizarre to her to suddenly be in a place where she had zero point of reference. She didn't recognize anything, from the buildings, landmarks, or even street signs. She felt lost in another world. She couldn't wait to see Amanda. A familiar face, amongst all this unfamiliarity.

At last they pulled up to a building and stopped. "Right. There you are, number sixty-seven Petley Road, Hammersmith. It's just that black door there."

"Oh, excellent. Thank you so much."

"Its a little dear, I'm afraid."

"Sorry?" Paige asked, feeling lost in both country and conversation.

"Dear, you know...expensive. That's 24 pounds."

Fuuuuuck... Paige thought as she dug into her wallet. That ride was more than $50! I guess I asked for it, she surmised, and handed him thirty. "I know you didn't want to take me. I really appreciate it, though. Keep the change."

The cabbie was a confirmed gentleman, and once again got out to help Paige with her luggage. He even shook her hand, and wished her a happy journey.

When the taxi left, that was it. She was on her own. She strode up to the black door and noticed it was not blessed with an intercom. The door itself was unlocked. An elevator? Noooo! Paige had a proper English welcome of having to lug her big, heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs.

"Amanda, if you're not home, I'm going to kill you..." she said, read-faced and sweating profusely as she hauled it up the last steps.

A/N: Ok, I know its short, but if I'm going to upload on a semi-routine basis, I think they'll have to be. If you heckle me for more, I just might have to oblige! Please review.