Chapter 2: The Train
"Slow down, George!" James chuckled. "You'll make yourself sick!"
"He's not sitting next to me when we get back to our seat," Jack said, sitting next to him as he ate hurriedly. They had stayed in their seat until dinner, James had snacks for them to hold the boys off until then. Now they sat eating their dinner in the dining car, the only ones, in fact, in the dining car, aside from the woman diagonally across the isle from them.
"We'll stuff him in a suitcase!" Michael laughed and James only shook his head as the children joined him.
"Yes, I'll have the salmon."
James frowned at the voice across the isle. Something about the Scottish accent was vaguely familiar, almost as if it were a distant memory.
"Would you like some wine with that, Mum?" the waiter asked.
"Oh, no, just water thank ye, lad," the voice replied. James chanced a look at the seat across the isle to see the waiter heading away and a pretty woman sitting by herself, looking out the window to her right. Her slightly curly, auburn hair fell down her back around her shoulders with half pinned up in a small bun. James wanted so much to see her face, and as if she'd read his mind she slowly turned her head to face him. His eyes widened when they met water blue eyes and pouting pink lips that slowly formed a smile as the eyes lit up.
"James Matthew Barrie!" she grinned, drawing the boys' attentions as James only continued staring at her.
"Uncle Jim?" Peter questioned as the two adults stared at each other.
"Hannah Alyssa Paine," James breathed in astonishment. She stood and stepped toward him and the children. She waited for him to introduce her to the boys but he only stared at her. She looked at the boys then back at him and realized she'd have to break him from his trance.
"Aren't you going to introduce me to these nice young men with you, James?" she wondered and James shook himself from his shock.
"Oh, of course," he sputtered and turned to the boys, introducing them one at a time. "These are the Llewelyn Davies boys. This is George, the oldest. Next to him is Jack and next to me are Peter and Michael."
"So you are Sylvia's boys!" Hannah grinned and sat herself in the small place on the edge of the seat next to Jack. "You all are handsome, aren't you? James has told me a lot about you."
"Boys," James continued with a small smile. "This is Hannah Paine. She's the friend I was telling you about."
"You told them about me, James," Hannah smiled, sweetly. "I'm honored to be mentioned at all. You're always so busy in your head."
"Of course I mentioned you," James replied then decided to change the subject. "How is it you're traveling on this train?"
"Oh, I took a boat from France to London and found myself a train back to Glasgow," she explained. "I had no idea you were going to be on this train either. I'm glad to see you before we arrived in Glasgow."
"As am I," James smiled.
"Are you really a dancer?" Peter chimed in, drawing their attentions.
"Aye," Hannah nodded. "I just finished my schooling in France and decided to go back home for a while."
"Won't you eat with us?" Michael pleaded and Hannah looked at him and was about to reply when she looked at James.
"If it's alright with James and your brothers," she smiled and all eyes turned to James.
"Well, it seems I have no choice but to say yes, do I?" he smiled, taking a sip of water and the children giggled. When the waiter arrived with her food the group quickly guided him to their table where he left her food.
"So, how is Sylvia?" Hannah wondered, starting at her food. There was a silence that followed the question and Hannah frowned as she looked at them. The boys' eyes were cast down, faces long and she looked at James as he glanced around at the boys with a bit of a long face as well. "Have I said something wrong?"
"I hadn't gotten a chance to tell you yet," James began explaining softly. "Sylvia…passed some time ago."
Hannah's eyes grew round in shock and embarrassment and she looked around at the boys in guilt.
"Oh, boys," she breathed. "I'm so sorry! Forgive me, I had no idea."
"It's alright," George replied in a low voice for his brothers. "Of course you didn't know."
"How?" was all Hannah could muster.
"Cancer of the lungs," James replied in the same low voice. Hannah looked to him as he gazed at his food for a moment and when he looked up at her again, she saw it in his eyes. She straightened slightly and looked back at the boys.
"My deepest sympathy, lads," she murmured. "I know what it feels like to lose your parents." There was a brief pause before she broke in again. "You live with James, now?"
"Uncle Jim," Jack corrected. "Yes. He and our grandmother take care of us."
"And how is your grandmother taking that?" Hannah wondered with a small smile. "From what I've heard she's not really fond of your Uncle Jim."
James gave her a look as the boys chuckled and she only took a bite of her food.
"Grandmother can be a bit like Captain Hook," Michael giggled and Peter looked at his younger brother incredulously but the boys couldn't help bursting into laughter.
"Captain Hook?" Hannah frowned and looked at James.
"From my play," he replied and Hannah nodded.
"Oh, I wanted to see it while I was in London, but I didn't have time!" she complained then turned to the boys. "Is it as wonderful as I've heard it is?"
"Better," Peter grinned. "It's magnificent!"
"Smashing!" George cheered.
"Brilliant!" Jack chimed in.
"It was so wonderful, I wanted to see it again!" Michael said.
Hannah giggled and looked at James who only smiled at the boys.
"I suppose you won't give yourself as much credit as you deserve," she murmured as the boys conversed among themselves, telling each other their favorite parts of the play. "You never do."
"It would be ungentlemanly of me to be so arrogant," he smirked, knowing she knew him all too well.
"A gentleman, eh?" she smiled. "I've forgotten what Scottish gentlemen looked like."
James laughed and their attention was drawn to the boys again when they asked what his favorite part was.
James and Hannah both still sat in the dining car, the boys there as well, asleep in their seats. It was getting dark, and people had come and gone from the car as the two just talked and talked until the children fell asleep and after that, they still talked. They spoke of their time apart, and everything they hadn't mentioned in their letters.
"You haven't mentioned how Mary is doing," Hannah said, a bit reluctantly. James cast his eyes down as he fiddled with his glass of water. Her smile dropped slowly as she looked at him and she tried to catch his eye. "I've said something wrong again, haven't I?"
"No," he replied in a low voice as he shook his head slightly, but he didn't elaborate. Realization dawned on her and she continued hesitantly.
"Is she…well?" he wondered cautiously and James shrugged. She glared at him and sat back in her seat, making him look up at her. "I hate it when you do that."
"What?" he asked honestly.
"Shrug it off as if I don't realize that I hit a soft spot," she explained, still glaring at him and now crossing her arms over her chest. James cast his eyes down again with a small smile.
"You know me too well," he mumbled. This made Hannah smile as well and she leaned forward again.
"What happened?" she asked and his smile dropped as he sighed.
"Sylvia," he replied and Hannah's smile fell as well. "Mary didn't like the time I spent with her. She left me."
"No condolences, please," he requested, waving it off. "I'm fine."
"Is that why you went quiet when I mentioned her?" Hannah couldn't help but smirk and James gave her a slight glare.
"I have the boys," he said, gazing over Peter and Michael sleeping and he smiled. "They make me fine."
Hannah glanced over at Peter and Michael then George and Jack and smiled as well then said, "I'm glad you're happy." Her smile dropped slowly and she looked at her own glass of water as she mumbled, "At least one of us is."
James shot his attention to her but she didn't look at him as he wondered, "You're not happy?"
Hannah glanced at him and shook her head slightly. He leaned forward and touched one of her hands gently.
"I thought dancing would make me happy," she began, glancing at his hand on hers. "It did when I was younger, but ever since my parents died… I found myself becoming clumsy on my feet. And when you left…" She trailed off when she looked up at him and he gently stroked his finger over her hand. "I was lost after everything had happened." She looked down at her water again and James pulled his hand away glancing at the boys.
"We should get back to our seats," he whispered and Hannah glanced at the boys as well then nodded. He tapped Peter awake and pulled Michael into his arms to carry him back to the seat as Hannah woke up George and Jack. They all shuffled to James and the boys' seat and James put them in their seats then turned to Hannah as she stood in the doorway.
He stood in front of her in the doorway and asked, "May I escort you to your seat."
Hannah smiled and nodded and he turned to George who was getting comfortable to fall asleep.
"Will you watch them for a few moments, George?" he wondered and the boy nodded. James turned back to Hannah and offered his arm which she took with a small smile. They walked through the train, both silent, not knowing what else to say. When they reached her seat they stopped at the door before going in.
"Thank you, kind sir," she smiled playfully and James smiled.
"I'm glad we ran into you here," he murmured. "I was hoping to see you sooner than our arrival in Glasgow."
"As was I," she smiled then gazed down at her hands as she twiddled her thumbs. "Perhaps, we could meet for brunch tomorrow?"
"I'm sure the boys would be delighted," James smiled and Hannah looked up at him with a smile. "I would be delighted to have you there as well." He took one of her hands and placed a gentle kiss on her knuckles. "I missed you."
Hannah's eyes widened at him but he only smiled, making her smile back and she whispered, "I missed you." She gazed down at their hands. "I never cared for…anyone else the way I cared for you."
James gazed at her for a moment and she finally looked back up at him with a quick smile.
"I'll see you at brunch, then?" she sighed and James nodded. "I'll meet you there."
He nodded again in approval and before she stepped into the small cabin to sit she gave him a quick peck on the cheek then slid through the door. James stood there, stunned for a moment but quickly headed back to his seat. He quietly slipped into the small cabin and sat, finally able to take in what had happened. Touching his cheek where Hannah had kissed him, he couldn't help the smile that came to his lips.
I never cared for anyone else the way I cared for you.
Her words rang in his ears and he looked out at the darkened scenery of night that passed by the train window as a shooting star flew across the sky, and he could have sworn he saw Tinkerbell on the sill outside.
"Maybe it's all been leading up…to this…to her?"
A/N: cutsey-ness. couldn't help it. reviews?