Author's Note: So I'm not sure if anyone will ever read this because there's not a very big demand for Strat and Annie fics out there. But aside from the forth book being kind of random and confusing the one thing that really bothered me was the he didn't remember anything about her, and they basically had to rebuild their relationship from nothing. To remedy that thought I've had the idea for this story in my head since For All Time came out, (a really long time ago) and finally, here it is. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Everything is owned by Caroline B. Cooney, who I think may be the most underappreciated young adult writer out there.
A Time Travelers Quartet Fan Fiction
Lockwood Stratton was panicking.
It didn't matter how hard he tried, he couldn't stop bouncing his knee or tapping his thumb against the small table. He didn't want to look nervous when his date arrived, but the longer he waited the more anxious he became. He'd shown up forty-five minutes early.
Her name was Annie, Strat had met her at the art museum. They found each other at the Egypt exhibit looking at the same photograph that had been taken by his great-great uncle. She knew all about his family somehow and they decided to talk about it over lunch, only to find that they shared the name Lockwood.
He'd been having the dreams ever since. Strat wasn't the kind of person who put much thought into his dreams, but these weren't normal dreams. They were so vivid it took minutes after he woke up to decide if they were real or not. They felt more like forgotten memories, seeming less and distant each night.
The first one came while they were still at the museum. He dreamt he was on a boat, there were people attacking from the shore and he had dropped a camera into the water.
When he woke up he wasn't sure when or how he had fallen asleep. He found Annie again and walked her to the train station. She had agreed to come to dinner with him tonight, he'd never been so happy about a first date.
That night the dream continued. There were crocodiles swimming all around them. A man at the bow was hit with a stray bullet. His body lurched from the blow and the movement disrupted the balance of the entire boat causing it to capsize.
Strat suddenly woke up. He had been jerked awake by a falling feeling in his stomach, as if he had just gone down the first hill on a rollercoaster. He shook the feeling off, it was time for him to get up anyway, and began his day.
The next evening, he was studying for a test when he dozed off. Annie was in his dream this time. The entire dream she insisted he call her Annie, but he was almost too embarrassed to call her by her full name, Anna Sophia, he couldn't imagine calling her something even more familiar.
She had stolen his hat and was wearing it as they walked together down the beach. He reached to take it back and his fingers brushed through her dark hair, it sent a shiver through his entire body. He was at some kind of a party wearing a ridiculous suit and tie, but he wasn't the only one, all of the men were in funny suits and all of the women were dressed in huge fancy dresses. She came down the immense walnut staircase with two other girls, one was a tall and not-so-pretty girl with mousy brown hair, the other was petite with blonde ringlets. He knew, in that dream way of knowing things, that the blonde was his sister and that he should be paying attention to Harriett, the taller girl. He didn't care, Annie was stunning. She was wearing a yellow gown and her dark hair was twisted into small curls that framed her face. They spent the entire evening together, dancing and walking under the moonlight.
They were interrupted once, by his sister. Strat was surprised when she called him by his own name. He felt like in these dreams he wasn't himself, like he was intruding on someone else's life, someone else's memories. His dream sister, who he'd called Dev, was scolding him for not dancing with Harriett.
His ringing phone woke him. "Hello?" He answered in a tired voice.
"Oh, Sweetie, were you asleep?"
"No," he lied, "I was just studying."
"Well that's good. I just wanted to check in, we haven't heard from you in a few days. What have you been up to?" His mother asked.
"Um, you know, just class. I went to the Egypt exhibit at the Metropolitan Art Museum."
"Really, what class what that for?"
"It wasn't. I just… went." Strat confessed.
"You did?" She joked. "Who are you, and what have you done with my son?"
"Well, it was just, you know how Grandmother Devonny had a brother, and we couldn't find out what happened to him?"
"Well, He was the photographer on the dig they were featuring at the museum. I wanted to see if I could find out anymore about him." He tried to explain but he had there feeling his story sounded far fetched.
"Wow, I'm impressed. Did you find anything interesting?"
"Not really in the exhibit, but I met this girl who knew a lot about the Stratton family. She was really cool. I asked her out to dinner on Saturday. Oh, and check this out, her name is Annie Lockwood. She said our ancestors knew each other, I might be named for someone in her family."
"Is her name Anna Sophia?" His mother asked,
"What?" Strat demanded. "Why would you ask that?"
"Haven't I ever told you this story? Your Grandmother Devonny died like, a week after you were born, but she did come to see you. She said that you reminded her of her brother, and that we had call you Strat, which was fine with me because your father wanted to name you after his grandfather and I had no idea what we were going to do with Lockwood. Anyway, all that day she insisted that you were going to end up marrying a girl named Anna Sophia."
No one had ever told Strat this story. He wanted to ask if this was some kind of joke, but there was no way his mother could have known what he had just been dreaming.
"Mom, what did Grandmother Devonny look like, when she was young?" Strat asked.
"I've seen pictures. She was an adorable little thing, all blue eyes and blonde curls."
"Mom, I have a test tomorrow, I have to study. I'll to talk to you later." He felt suddenly panicked.
"Ok, good luck on your test, and on your date. If she is Anna Sophia, she could be The One."
"Thanks, bye Mom." He said quickly before hanging up the phone.
Strat couldn't concentrate enough to study, so he just went to bed.
Of course the dreams didn't stop.
It was the dead of winter, but Strat felt like a fire had been rekindled inside of him, like he had just come back to life. Annie was with him again, he was calling her Annie as well as Anna Sophia in this dream. They snuggled together for warmth as they speed away in a horse drawn carriage. They ate a hot, hearty stew, Strat was quite sure it was the most wonderful meal he had ever eaten. They were both wrapped in blankets by a fire. The wind was gusting loudly through the trees but he was content running watching her sleep and his fingers through her silky hair that had been warmed by the flames.
Then the dream changed.
Nothing about the winter seemed warm anymore. He held Harriett's cold, pale hand in his own. His tears felt frozen on his cheeks. He was aware that Annie was somewhere nearby, but for now he didn't care. Harriett was dead, that was the only thought he could manage. He had failed her, she had loved him, they were supposed to be married, and he had left her alone. He called her name out, again and again, on a strict rhythm.
The same rhythm, he realized a moment later, as his alarm beeping on his bedside.
But the dream he couldn't stop thinking about was the one he'd had last night. He didn't know if it was the strong wind that was all around them, or some other unseen force, but Annie was being pulled away from him. Her gorgeous hair was blowing in all directions and he tried to reach out to her, but he couldn't get a grasp. He called out to her, "I love you. I want to marry you" but she simply faded away before his eyes.
Strat's dream last night was the most heart breaking experience of his life. He couldn't stand the thought of losing her again. All day he'd been reminding him self that they had only just met, that they were having their first date tonight. Even though he knew that was true he couldn't shake the feeling that he was missing some huge piece of their history. His own dream words had been replaying in his mind all day.
"I love you. I want to marry you."
"I love you. I want to marry you."
"I love you -"
"Annie!" Strat hadn't seen her walking into the restaurant. He was completely caught off guard by the fact that the maitre d' was escorting her toward his table. Strat could not remember any time in his life when he had stood to greet someone, but when she had finally made her way to him, his instincts took over and suddenly he was on his feet.
He figured the gesture could have been seen as debonair, if with his sudden movement he hadn't hit his knee against the small table.
"Ouch!" he exclaimed involuntary.
"Oh, Strat! Are you alright?"
"I'm fine." He lied as they sat down. Not only did his knee still hurt, he was completely bewildered. Everything about her was exactly how he remembered from his dreams. He wanted so badly to touch her hair, he felt if did he would be able to figure out what was happening. Instead he fidget with his napkin and managed to ask "How are you?"
"Not bad," she replied "almost missed the train on the way into the city though."
"Trying to stand me up?" Strat joked.
"Not at all, I just couldn't get my brother out of the bathroom; he was icing his knee in the tub. He just got home from a week at baseball camp. They work them pretty hard I guess."
"I played baseball in high school, it can get pretty intense." Strat agreed. Annie grinned and Strat was slightly taken aback by it. It was the kind of expression you would expect if someone tried to inform someone that the sky was blue, it was as if she was laughing at him while saying "you would."
A waitress came and took their order. The same knowing grin remained on her face through the meal. What surprised him even more was that, he was unsurprised when she told him simple things like, that she had a younger brother, that she grew up in Connecticut a street called Cherry Lane, or that her mother worked in the city. It didn't feel like he was talking to someone he'd only met once before. He was sure it wasn't only because of the dreams. It wasn't until they were sharing a large piece of chocolate cake, when they were discussing school and majors, that her grin was not enough to express her apparently perfected sketch of his character.
"I'm studying photojournalism. I want to travel, go to countries that are in the middle of wars and political conflicts, and show the world what I have seen," he told her. She laughed out loud.
"What?" He asked.
"Nothing." She said with a smug grin. "That sounds very, exciting."
"Yeah, I guess I've never lost the adventure seeking little boy inside me." Strat said with a lopsided grin.
"Is that why you went to the museum on Sunday, to check out the mummies and stuff?"
"No," He answered honestly "I went because I knew Hiram Junior had been on their dig. Not sure how I knew that, or why it made me go. I've never been that into family history. I just, I don't know, felt like I needed to go." He shrugged as if to emphasize that he felt he had no control over the situation.
"He went by Strat too," She said quietly. "Nobody called him Hiram, or Junior, just Strat."
Strat was stunned, how did she know all this? All week he could not stop thinking about this girl, and for some reason his dead relative, with whom he shared a name, kept coming into it all.
"You went to the exhibit because you knew he'd been there too, right? How - how do you know so much about my family history?"
"Well, the Stratton's had a mansion in my hometown. It was their summer home actually, but, when I was a kid it was an apartment building. I always loved it there. I would imagine what it was like when the Strattons lived there, when they had horses, and dances, and lace gloves. I guess I never lost the romantic little girl inside of me. Then a few years ago the town tore it down. I was really upset about it, so I went to the library to find out more about them. They actually had really interesting lives, plotting, betrayal, murder."
"Yeah, like your great-grandma, Devonny. The first time your grandfather tried to marry her she left him at the alter. She just… disappeared."
"She came back, obviously. They had thought she had been kidnapped, but then she just showed up a few days later."
"What happened to her?"
"They never found out." Annie said with a grin that made Strat wonder if Annie somehow knew what had happened to Devonny.
"So what's this about murder?"
"Yeah, there was this guy who showed up and tried to marry the girl that Strat was supposed to get engaged to. He and her chaperone, and old maid who watched over her, planned to get them married and take her fortune. Then one of the servants heard their plan, so they killed him. Then he tried to push the girl out the window, that's when Mrs. Stratton shot him. She didn't kill him, just bought some time so they could call to police."
"Oh, and Strat had this friend named Walker Walkley." She continued excitedly. "He turned out to be a total creep. He had Strat sent to an insane asylum so he could marry Devonny and get all of the Stratton's money. At the same time Harriett, Strat's fiancée, was dying."
"What was wrong with her?" Strat interrupted in a shaking voice. He had seen her, Harriett, even in his dream it was terrible. He looked worse than any movie scene or stereotype of death. Strat felt he had never understood death until he had that dream a few nights ago.
"She had consumption. They thought mountain air could cure you, back then. So they sent her away. Neither of them knew about the other. He thought she didn't care he was locked away, and she thought he didn't care she was dying. Then he broke out of the asylum to go see her one last time."
"She died in his arms." Strat said in an expressionless voice. His head hurt. He could feel his brain trying to understand how it was possible, because Harriett had died in his arms, he'd seen her in his dream that was clearer than most of his own memories.
"Annie, can I ask you a question?" Strat said without thinking. "So, this might be a really weird thing to ask, but, is your full name Anna Sophia?"
She seemed surprised by his question, she stared at him for a moment, then nervously replied, "Yeah, why?"
"Um, I can't believe I'm telling you this, but, I – I had a dream about you."
"You had a dream about me?" She repeated.
He laughed awkwardly, "A - a few actually."
"Will you tell me what they were about?" She asked with that annoying smile playing on her lips, as if she already knew what he had dreamt.
"Uh, this is kind of embarrassing," he confessed "but, in the dreams I think I was the other Strat, the one from the 1800's, you know. And you were there." He paused and prayed he wasn't making a huge mistake. "And, I loved touching your hair." He slowly reached out and ran his fingers through the dark strands. He couldn't breathe for a moment, and when he did his breaths were loud and heavy. He glanced at her to make sure she didn't think he'd gone crazy. She had tears in her eyes and her bottom lip was trembling, but she was looking at him eagerly and nodded for him to go on. "We rode bikes to the beach, and we danced at like, a ball. We rode in a sleigh, and we ate stew, it was snowing outside. Then, then I think I proposed? It's ridiculous I don't know how I came up with these things."
Once he'd said it out loud it did sound completely ridiculous. He expected when he looked up she would be half way to the door. He was surprised to see that she was smiling, and tears were falling down her cheeks. "Oh, Strat!" She sighed, before she leaned across the table and kissed him.
memories came all at once. Their first kiss standing in elaborate
gardens in the moonlight was wonderful even though his heart was
breaking. He'd kissed her wrapped in blankets next to the fire and
realized he had forgotten that the world could feel this good. He'd
kissed her as the winter wind bit at their faces while he doubted
himself for letting her get away. He'd kissed her in a stuffy dark
chamber while he was allowed to see more of her
than he had seen of anyone else before. An entire lifetime of other memories were imprinted on his mind between each breathtaking kiss.
Although it seemed nearly impossible, he broke away. "They weren't dreams, were they?" He asked in a breathless voice.
"No," she replied smiling wider and crying harder than before, "It was us."
"We can be together now." He said in the confident voice of a gentleman, even though he couldn't believe they were really here, that this was really happening. Tears began to fill his eyes too.
"It only took 104 years," she laughed.
Strat, trying to wipe the tears away so she couldn't see them, laughed too. "You are always able to make jokes, that's something I've always loved about you."
She was still laughing, but began crying again, "I love you, too." She said simply.
He kissed her again, and this kiss was filled with the knowledge that this time, they had finally been given the perfect chance to be together.