Summary: Eustace had never liked writing, but he he'd never faced this particular problem before, and certainly not over Pole. Jill had never liked talking about boys, but she'd never been asked this particular question before, and certainly not about Scrubb…
Eustace had never much liked writing; where he could debate with any talking thing, and nearly always win – this he had inherited from Edmund, as it were – he simply couldn't elegantly put these debates down on paper, no matter how hard he tried.
He adored reading – this had been instilled upon him at an early age, as his parents were determined he wouldn't be some boring, normal, athletic boy – instead of balls for presents, he received books. What choice had he then, as a young child, but to read? There was not much else to do, unfortunately.
And for all the books he had read and arguments he knew, he simply could not decide how to best write a letter to his best friend.
Dear Jill, he started.
After the words came from the ink pen, he rethought them and decided the introduction sounded much too formal. Crossing it out, he suddenly wished he had a pencil, so as to perhaps save some of the paper he would undoubtedly waste with a pen.
Jill, he began again; after writing it, he chewed on the tip of the writing utensil thoughtfully, wondering what Jill might think if she read it. Perhaps, he thought, it was a bit odd; after all, he only ever called her Pole when he saw her (though he had begun slipping up in his mind so that when he thought about her – which was perhaps more often than he might like to admit – he thought of her as Jill instead of Pole) and she only ever called him Scrubb. Sighing, he crossed that out as well and crumpled up the paper, throwing it into the bin to side of his desk.
Pole, he wrote, pausing before he decided he didn't like that much either. Heaving a large sigh, he decided that, to save the paper (though his parents were rather wealthy and he knew they could buy him much more, he felt rather guilty already for the wasted sheets), he would just write all the titles possible on that one and pick the beginning he liked the best.
To Jill Pole, He shook his head. That sounded much too prim; Jill didn't like comeuppance.
Miss Pole, The teachers called her that – he saw the way her nose wrinkled when they said her name like that – and he couldn't stand the thought of her wrinkling her nose when she read the beginning of his letter.
Dear Pole, He nearly tore out his hair; either he didn't sound formal enough, or he sounded too formal, or he sounded like he wasn't quite sure of what he was doing – it was enough to make him go mad. Frustrated, he crumpled up the piece of paper and grabbed a new sheet; his last sheet, he promised himself.
Setting his jaw, he quickly jotted down Dear Jill, and without thinking about it a single second more, he moved on to the next sentence. And found himself, once again, fretting over what he should say.
By the time the letter was done, it was several hours later and Eustace was decidedly more frustrated, redder, and prouder of himself than he had been when he'd started it.
In the end, this is how it looked;
How is your summer vacation going? My cousins will come over quite soon, and they would quite like to meet another friend of You-Know-Where. So, if it's alright with your Aunt and it wouldn't be too much trouble, you can come over for a few weeks of hols to stay with my cousins and me at their house. You'd be sharing a room with Lucy as Susan's staying with her friend Martha for the summer. I'll be going on the 28th of June, until the 20th of July. As I'm sure it'll be after the 15th of June by the time you get this and I'll need to alert my Aunt and Cousins, please write back as soon as you can about when you can come.
If you much need it, I'm sure Peter or Edmund wouldn't object to going to pick you up.
I do hope you and your cousin are having a wonderful time and that you can come meet my cousins.
For all the time it had taken him to write it, the letter was rather short, and he spent a good ten minutes rereading it and chewing on the end of his pen.
He thought it was a bit too short, but wasn't sure what else to add without offending her. One was never quite sure what Pole would think about certain things; it was always best to be careful around her. Eustace would know that very well, having learned the hard way several times, each ending with a bruised pride (and perhaps a bruised arm). As he read, Eustace ignored the small, candid voice in his head that suggested his motives for not offending Pole didn't end with a hurt ego.
Shaking his head, Eustace made himself set down his pen and fold the letter, to be sealed within an envelope and sent.
It took him moments to fill out the envelope, and within moments he galumphed down the stairs into the kitchen, where his mother – Alberta – was sipping a glass of tap water.
"Hey mum," He said casually, though he knew she hated it when he called her mum. He was hoping to get her used to the title, as he didn't anticipate changing it.
"Alberta, Eustace, call me Alberta!" She sighed, irritated.
"Will you please mail these letters for me? They're going to Jill Pole." He slightly stressed the 'please' to prove that he wasn't going to go back to his former self any time soon; his mother seemed to be rather hopeful that he would. Over the last couple years, he had been giving subtle hints that her hopes were false. Sometimes he felt he would burst with the longing to simply tell her that as much as she wished it, he was a new person - and that he had found something much too wonderful to give up for her pettiness. However, he knew that this in itself would negate the whole principle of the thing, so he generally kept quiet.
"Well, I won't be buying you stamps, just so you know," She said with narrowed eyes as she sipped more of her water.
"That's fine, mum - I bought my own when father and I went to the post office," He answered, turning his back on her to open the cupboard before he could give her a smug smirk.
"Oh," He heard her say, "Well, it'll have to wait for a few days; I don't expect to be able to make time to go for a while."
He knew perfectly well that Alberta had more than enough free time to drive to the post office and drop off a few letters; it was only her pettiness that was keeping her from doing it. He knew he could walk to the post office; it would take at least an hour or too, but it would certainly be faster than waiting for his mother. He sighed, knowing he would have to be careful about what he said; he would have to wait an hour or two before asking Alberta to go for a walk.
"Well, I suppose I'll talk to Dad when he gets back."
His mother grunted in an un-lady like way as he retreated back to his room, defeated.
Needless to say, the letter was taken the post office later that day, thanks to Eustace's stubbornness (ironically he had received it from Alberta).
A few days later, Jill Pole was found outside, plowing through an abominably large book that was required reading for school.
"Jilly!" came a loud shrill voice, coming from somewhere behind her and the tree she was leaning against.
"Yes, auntie?" She put down the book, admittedly with some relief, and turned her head to face the woman standing in the door with a smile on her thin face.
"You have a letter, from one," Here she paused to look at the letter, "Eustace Scrubb?"
"Oh, thank you. I've been expecting a letter from him. He did promise he would write," Jill stated as she took the letter from her aunt with a 'thank you'.
"Who promised he would write?" A girlier voice asked from behind the aunt; it came from a young woman with luxurious brown curls and large blue eyes.
"Scrubb," Jill answered shortly, hoping to avoid the questioning that was sure to follow.
With a small smile for her aunt, Jill turned around to retreat to her tree with the letter clutched in her hands.
She plopped down in her previous spot, ignoring her cousin Marie, who was following close behind. Not to be deterred, she soon began to ask Jill questions.
"Who is Scrubb?"
"No one of importance," Jill smirked; Eustace would not like that, could he have heard (which was precisely why she said it).
"Tell me," Marie whined with a smile.
"His name is Eustace, and I've nearly killed him a number of times." She answered impatiently, wanting to read the letter.
"Ooh," The pretty girl said, almost suggestively. "Does he look nice?"
Her heart sinking (because she could not see getting to actually open the letter any time soon ; Marie was not to be ignored. Certainly, there was no reason other than that.) Jill sighed and carefully placed the letter on top of the book.
"He has brownish hair which is normally cut short, and his eyes are a very light brown... He was a bit chubby when I first met him, but he has been getting better, ever since he started playing football for school. He's very sarcastic, and I don't like him one single bit, and I know you're about to say I do; but I don't. I don't." She said this all very fast, to get it all over with.
"Well, I might've been about to say that.. but really! He does sound handsome. Besides the chubby part of course. Does he smell good?" She asked curiously, shifting to become more comfortable, as though she planned on staying there a while. On the other hand, Jill shifted uncomfortably, as though she wanted to shoot up and run away.
"Well, I don't know. D'you expect me to walk up to him and smell him?" Jill answered awkwardly.
"Come now, you simply must know what he smells like!"
Jill's face screwed up, because now she wondered - what did he smell like? "Hmmm," she hummed in thought, "He smells like peppermint; I'll bet it's those infernal candies he's always eating... but he smells like something else. Something good... like... Him in a sort of odd way; not completely but just a little hint.." She said dreamily, almost putting her finger on his scent from her memories.
"Who's he?" Marie asked, confused.
"Hmm?" Jill absent mindedly said, not paying attention.
When her cousin repeated the question, she finally paid attention and replied, "He just is. There's no way to explain Him."
"Are you alright, Jilly?" Marie looked concerned, her pretty eyebrows furrowed.
"What do you mean, am I alright?" Jill asked a bit crossly, "I'm perfectly fine."
"Are you sure? You look quite pale," Marie said stubbornly.
All of a sudden, Jill saw an opening that she couldn't resist.
"Actually, Marie, I am feeling rather tired," (Which was true) "Do you mind if I retire for a short nap? Maybe I'll feel better later."
"Oh, that's fine, Jilly. I'll be happy to get you anything should you need it," She answered sweetly.
As soon as Jill had picked up her book and letter and her back was turned from her cousin, she scrunched up her nose and eyebrows and shuddered, glad to have escaped her questions. Of course, she tried not to think too badly about Marie (not only because she was her cousin, but because she knew Aslan wouldn't approve of mean thoughts about her), though she found it hard to swallow the large sugar pill that she seemed to be.
After shutting the door to her borrowed room, she sat on the bed and tore open the letter, paying no heed to the envelope it had arrived in.
Skipping over the greeting (because what worth were they, really?) she went right to the gist of the letter. A small smile slowly grew on her face; perhaps Aslan was in this world after all.
A/N: Hi, everyone! Yes, I'm alive. Hard to believe, I know. :) I hope that this shows how much I've improved since I first started on this website. Obviously, however, I still have a long way to go until I can be considered as even a good writer. All talent I do have is from God, so praise Him for all His loving-kindness!
Well, Lent is coming up, and I've decided to give up the computer (besides when I need it for homework) so you won't be hearing from me for forty days. (and you're thinking: "So? How is this any different from what we've been through the last year or so??" and I answer, "I have an excuse! Just give me some time to think of it!) :)
As usual, I'll take any critique I can get, and I'd love to hear from you for any other reason too! And I'm sorry for being so absent lately. :)
God bless you and yours,