Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters that appeared on the TV series Jericho.
Author's Note: Well, this took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated, and the honeymoon trip is only half way through. Since I'm already past 20 pages, I will split the trip into two chapters. Hopefully the second half won't take me as long as the first! Of course various health issues and the start of school also bogged down the works. Special thanks to my two loyal reviewers Shadowflame and KatShannon for their encouragement!
Chapter XXVI: A Honeymoon in the Land of Castles and Kings (Part 1)
June 1-15, 2003
Once they deplaned and collected their luggage, it was a short taxi ride to the Plaza where they checked in to the South Moreland Inn. The Carriage House Suite, which was used as the honeymoon suite, was decorated in a Country French style in cream and rich red patterns. The suite came complete with a wood-burning stove, a 2-person Jacuzzi, and a private deck.
A bell boy had assisted Jake and Heather in taking their luggage up to their room. When they reached the door, Jake scooped Heather up in order to carry her over the threshold. Heather squealed, and scrambled to retrieve her camera from her purse so the bell boy could take their picture. The three were giggling as Jake gave the unsuspecting bell boy a nice tip and they got settled into their room. It was almost 8pm.
"I'll just go freshen up," Heather said as she picked up her cosmetic bag and headed toward the bathroom.
"Would you like to go for a dip in the Jacuzzi?" Jake called after her. There were not too many Jacuzzis in Jericho, Kansas.
"Sure." Heather called back from the bathroom.
"Also, what would you like to order from room service? Are you hungry for dinner, or snacks, or deserts?" Jake asked through the bathroom door. "A bottle of champagne comes complimentary, and then we could order dinner-type meals or hors d'oeuvres, and then desert if we're still hungry."
"Hors d'oeuvres and desert sounds about right," Heather called back through the closed door.
Heather emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later wearing an indigo-colored lacy camisole and short set under a matching kimono robe which was wrapped snuggly around her. She went and sat on the edge of the bed, intently examining her hands, all of the previous giddiness gone from her demeanor.
Jake noticed the gravity of her mood and went to sit next to her.
"Hey, are you O.K.?" Jake asked softly, careful not to invade her personal space.
"Yes, I'm alright. Waiting ones whole life to participate in certain activities certainly puts a lot of pressure on a girl, doesn't it?" Heather hazarded a glance in Jake's general direction before looking back toward her hands.
Jake noticed that the color of Heather's lingerie made her eyes sparkle more than usual. It was all he could do to continue speaking calmly with her.
"No pressure. We have the rest of our lives together, Mrs. Green," he said gently, with a sympathetic smile, hoping to lighten her mood. "We're two friends; best friends, I would hazard to say, who are taking the trip of a lifetime together and enjoying each other's company. There are no tests to pass on this trip, just you and me having a good time and taking some pictures to show our friends back home. Like spring break, remember? Now why don't you come sit over here and tuck your feet into the Jacuzzi – your feet must be tired from all the standing we did today."
Heather acquiesced, and soon they were perched on the edge of the Jacuzzi, their feet soaking in the warm water. Jake had changes into comfortable shorts and a T-shirt earlier. Heather agreed that the water felt good.
"That is a great color for you," Jake said after a few minutes. "It makes your eyes look so blue."
"Why, thank you," Heather said with a hesitant smile, starting to relax.
Room service arrived shortly thereafter, so they dried their feet and went to sit at the table where they found a selection of crab cakes, salmon en croute, petite quiche Lorraine, assorted finger sandwiches and deviled eggs. For desert, there was a tray of raspberry pyramids, black cherry frangipane tarts, lemon bars, strawberry shortcake pastries, death by chocolate brownies, and ripe strawberries dipped in chocolate and then whipping cream. Since they had barely been able to enjoy the wedding reception, this looked like a heavenly opportunity. Once the room service attendant had left, they glanced at each other and giggled, then dug in, tasting a little bit of everything, coming back to eat more of the things they particularly enjoyed.
With the tension broken, they enjoyed their late night snack, and drank more than a little champagne while toasting their various friends and family members who had made the day possible. Jake had brought along the I-pod he used at school to tune out unwanted noise while he studied. He had plugged it into its docking station when they arrived, and a soft, romantic set of music had been playing during the evening. As they completed their meal, the song She's Got a Way About Her by Billy Joel started to play. Jake held out his hand and he danced with Heather until the last strains died away, and then he kissed her. All of the anxiety she had experienced earlier had evaporated, and she leaned into Jake's arms. He gently caressed her cheek while he pushed back the errant curls that kept escaping from their pins.
"Are you feeling better now?" he asked looking into her eyes, his voice a bit hoarse with emotion.
"Yes, thank you," Heather responded, completely engrossed in the moment and looking back into Jake's eyes.
"More dancing, or shall we get comfortable?" Jake asked.
"Comfortable," Heather mumbled, continuing to kiss Jake as he picked her up and carried her toward the king-sized bed. In The Arms of An Angel by Sarah McLachlan had started to play on the I-pod, and they did, indeed make themselves comfortable for the night.
The next morning, Jake got up early and had a fire going in the wood burning stove to warm up the room. He had called room service and ordered breakfast before Heather woke up. Finally, he needed to awaken her so they could eat and get to the airport without having to be rushed. He kissed her gently along the jawline until he reached her ear.
"Good morning, Mrs. Green. Breakfast will be here in just a few minutes, if you would like to get up," he said softly as he nuzzled against her neck.
Heather opened her eyes slowly and smiled up at Jake. She could smell the fire and hear it crackling. "What's for breakfast," she asked, kissing him good morning. "I'm famished!"
"I thought you might be, after all of the stress of the wedding. I think you'll be happy when it arrives in a few minutes," he responded.
Room service knocked at the door and Heather scurried toward the bathroom to freshen up. She came out a few minutes later to find a veritable feast of eggs and sausage, French toast and cut up fruit. She had tea to drink while Jake had coffee; each had an arm draped across the table so they could hold hands while they enjoyed breakfast.
"I fear I've made a grave mistake." Jake finally said, looking into Heather's eyes in all seriousness.
Heather looked back at him with a panicked expression. Was he already tired of her when they had been married less than a day? She wasn't able to say a word, just stared at him in horror.
"I should never have suggested Europe for our honeymoon," he said, not picking up on her dismay. "We should have stayed in Jericho, or here in Kansas City. I don't want to go out and see things, I want to stay in and enjoy your company for the whole two weeks we have together."
Heather let out the breath she had been holding. Tears came to her eyes as relief flooded over her. "I thought I was the mistake," she finally said quietly, looking down.
"Oh, Heather, I'm so sorry," Jake said. "Why would you even think something like that?"
"I guess I still feel like the nerdy girl I was in high school, and a part of me still can't believe someone like you would be interested in me, let alone marry me."
Jake stood up and walked around the table, still holding her hand. He helped her to her feet and wrapped his arms around her, silencing her with a kiss, and then kissing her hair as she buried her face against his chest.
"Heather, you are my life. I asked you to marry me because I couldn't imagine living without you. I want you to be the mother of our children. I want us to grow old together. I love you just the way you are, with all of your ideas and interests. I'm sorry I said the wrong thing, I meant it as a compliment, not to scare you."
Heather finally looked up at him with a watery smile. "I guess the stress of the past few weeks finally got to me," she said. "I'm sorry; here I am being needy again. How is it that you manage to do this to me?" Heather asked with a laugh, giving Jake her best teacher glare.
"Um, I guess I like being needed?" Jake asked as he played with a strand of her hair, still curly from the wedding. "I can think of a way you could make it up to me," he said, leering at her. "How much time do you need to get ready to go?"
"Oh, about an hour," she answered with a laugh.
"Great! We have an hour and a half before we need to leave," he said, kissing her again and drawing her with him toward the bed.
They made it to the airport with minutes to spare for their 2-hour pre-flight check-in. They browsed around the airport shopping area briefly where Jake picked the most recent copy of Kitplanes magazine that had just hit the shelves, and then they settled into seats near their gate to read. Heather had completed the first of Diana Gabaldon's books and had brought along the second: Dragonfly in Amber. The time passed quickly, and their plane boarded on time for a 1pm take-off.
Heather read on the flight while Jake slept. They arrived in New York at JFK just before 5pm. Their connecting flight to London was not until 7:30pm, but they didn't want to risk missing their international flight by venturing out into the city. They found the gate of their next flight and waited. Heather was somewhat familiar with New York from her years in college. Jake was very familiar with traveling in general. People-watching became the occupation of choice when they ran out of other things to do.
At last, their Delta flight to London's Heathrow International Airport began boarding. Because Jake had accrued so many frequent flier miles with Delta, they had upgraded their seats to first class for this leg of the journey. They were among the first to board, and were soon comfortable in their oversized seats with warm towels to wash their fingers and the offer of snacks and beverages. Jake ordered a split of champagne with the snacks. He and Heather toasted their first 24 hours of wedded bliss and their first international flight together. All of her apprehensions from earlier forgotten, she was bright and cheerful now, enjoying the champagne and refreshments.
Once the flight got underway, they pulled the armrest between their seats up and proceeded to get comfortable, cuddling together with the pillows and blankets provided by the flight attendant. Their flight was scheduled to land at London's Heathrow International Airport just before 8am local time. They wanted to be somewhat refreshed and able to spend the day enjoying London rather than feeling jetlagged.
Amazingly, they both slept well on the flight, and made it through customs quite easily. Once free of the airport, they decided to locate a place to stay, and then set out to explore the city a bit. They found a place that looked interesting called Palmers Lodge and Hostel which allowed travelers of all ages to stay for reasonable rate, offered free breakfast and internet connection, and was centrally located. They took a taxi since they were in a hurry to get settled; they would probably utilize the tube system in the future.
Once they were settled into a private room, they freshened up and set out for the day in comfortable clothing and walking shoes. They chose to start with a two hour bus tour which would take them past many of the main attractions. Then they could decide if they needed to go back and spend more time with a particular interest.
They were able to get seats at the top of a double-decker bus for the tour that started at 10:15. They saw Big Ben, the Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and many other London sights before they returned at 12:30pm. They decided to have lunch at a nearby pub, opting to try the fish and chips.
"This is really good," Heather said, crunching into the crispy fish. "The tartar sauce is different."
"It is good," Jake agreed. "Too bad Jericho is so far from the ocean, I love seafood."
"Well, I happen to be married to a pilot. Maybe one day he could fly us to some coast to eat seafood," Heather said playfully.
"Hey, that's an idea," Jake answered, playing along. "I hear he's a pretty good pilot at that. Actually, I can't believe we haven't had the opportunity to go flying together yet. Between the weather and my schedule, I'll have to re-learn everything before I can fly again!"
They discussed the places they had seen on their bus tour and decided they were satisfied and didn't need to return to any of those places. They decided to set out on foot after lunch, poking up and down the cobblestoned streets, eating snacks along the way when they found something appealing. They enjoyed exploring areas that were not typically tourist destinations, and struck up conversations with those around them.
The afternoon had gone so well that they decided to spend the next day in London doing the same thing. They were able to see quite a bit of London by purchasing day-long tube passes and setting out in various directions, then working their way back toward where they had started. Heather had purchased a guide book for the entire United Kingdom, so she was able to suggest a few off-the-beaten-path places they really enjoyed.
By Wednesday morning, they decided to make use of Jake's international driver's license and rent a car for the parts of their trip that would take them to Scotland and Wales. They checked out of Palmer's Lodge and Hostel, thanking the very friendly Palmer family for their hospitality. They took a spin around the Greater London area, stopping briefly in the seaside resort of Folkestone on their way to Dover to view the English Channel and the picturesque White Cliffs of Dover. A ferry was standing by, ready to take them across to Calais, France as per the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel. At first, Jake and Heather declined the trip, putting it on their list to do the next time they were in the area. Then, they looked at each her and asked simultaneously, "Why not?"
The ferry trip was 90 minutes each direction and they could take their rented car with them. They discussed the possibilities for a moment, and decided to take the next ferry, stay the night in France, and return to England the next morning to continue their drive. They had eaten a hearty breakfast at Palmer's before checking out, and they would be taking the 11am ferry, so they decided to eat lunch in France. Once they had bought their tickets, they walked around the area, taking pictures and enjoying the brisk sea air. They had been fortunate to have enjoyed fair weather thus far on their trip.
They could see the ferry approaching long before it arrived, and were waiting in their car to drive aboard once they were allowed. They parked and went topside, again enjoying the salty air. It was much cooler once they got underway, such that Heather was shivering despite the sweater she was wearing. Jake put his arms around her to shield her from the wind and some of the water spray as they watched the white cliffs of Dover disappear into the distance.
Once they could no longer see the shore due to fog, they went inside and sat at a table to wait. Heather pulled a deck of cards out of her traveling bag ("It's not a teacher bag while we are on vacation," she had advised Jake.) They played a few hands of Gin Rummy and realized afresh how fiercely competitive they both were. While they played, they spoke of their enjoyment of history. Heather liked hers in the form of historical novels and Jake liked his to revolve around Military History, but the end result was that they each were well-read and enjoyed travel based, in part, on the history of the area.
All too soon, their ferry was arriving in Calais, France. They were allowed to return to their rented car and followed the other vehicles along to dry land. The customs official greeted them in French, and then spoke to them in English when it was obvious that Jake's high school French wasn't pretty.
"Are you bringing alcohol or tobacco into the country for commercial purposes?" He asked.
"No, we are just here in Calais for the day and night. We are on our honeymoon," Jake answered.
"Oh, congratulations," he answered. "Do you have a place to stay?" He asked.
"Not yet, this part of the trip was spur of the moment," Jake said with a laugh.
"There are little cottages near the beach that I can recommend if you are interested," he asked them.
"Sure," Jake responded, "That would be great."
"Just turn left on the main road and travel about 5km, then turn left again after the blue farmhouse. The people in the yellow farmhouse will help you. Tell them Pierre sent you. Enjoy your stay in France!" And with that, he waved them along.
"Thank you, Pierre!" Jake called as they drove away. "Well, that was interesting," he said to Heather. "And they say the French aren't very friendly."
"Do you think it's safe?" Heather asked. "It could be some kind of a racket to steal money from unsuspecting tourists."
"It could be, but I don't think Pierre would have a job with the Port Authority for long if he was involved in a racket. Do you want to check out the cottages?"
"Sure, we can check them out," Heather responded, confident that Jake would be able tell if the proprietors were legitimate.
It only took a few minutes to locate the blue house, and then the yellow one. From the road, they could see a row of six neatly kept white cottages between the yellow house and the coast. Once they had stopped their car, an older woman wearing an apron over her striped dress came out to meet them, a dishtowel in her hands.
"I am Colette Moreau. This is the home of my family. Are you here to see one of the cottages?" She spoke in English with a thick French accent.
Jake and Heather exchanged a glance, nodded, and got out of the car.
"Yes, please," Heather said with a smile as Colette dried her hands on the dishtowel she held, tossing it across her shoulder when she was done.
"Pierre phoned and told me we might have visitors. He is such a good boy, sending us patrons. He went to school with my sons," Colette beamed with maternal pride, although Pierre and her sons were older than Jake and Heather; probably closer to the age of their parents. "Come; let me show you our best cottage. Pierre told me you are celebrating your marriage. May God Bless you both richly."
It was a short walk across the grassy lot to the cottage in question. It was really much more than they needed for one night, but it was so convenient and Madam Moreau so gracious that they couldn't say no. The interior of the cottage was decorated in the style that had probably led to the popular 'Country French' design. It was mostly one large square room with a claw-footed bathtub at an angle in one corner, a large bed at an angle in another corner with a gauzy canopy and a beautiful blue and white quilt, a kitchenette area and quaint round table in the third corner, and a small white couch with blue and white pillows and a blue throw in the final corner. Heather noticed a small partition cleverly disguised with drapery and concluded it must conceal the rest of the bathroom facilities. Opposite the front entrance were French doors that led onto a veranda that ran the length of the cottage and overlooked the beach and the English Chanel. Once on the veranda they found a comfortable wooden bench, complete with more pillows, and flowering plants hanging in baskets along the eves.
"Have you eaten yet?" Madam Moreau was asking. "I can bring you bread and soup if you are hungry, then you can enjoy the sunny afternoon along the shore. Perhaps then you would like to go into town to eat dinner at one of the fancy restaurants? The evening meal is usually eaten rather late in France."
"That would be wonderful, but we don't want to inconvenience you," Jake said, unsure of proper protocol for the situation.
"Twaddle," replied Madam Moreau with a shake of her head, "it is no inconvenience. I will return shortly, if you would like to get settled."
Jake brought the car to a space closer to the cottage and brought in their bags while Heather freshened up. Indeed, Madam Moreau was back promptly with a covered tureen of hearty beef and vegetable soup, half of a loaf of crusty bread and wedge of cheese. She also had a bottle of French wine tucked into her apron. Giving them a knowing smile as she set everything on the round table, she indicated that they should find everything else they needed in the kitchenette.
Once alone, Heather found bowls, plates and silverware and they sat down to lunch. The soup was delicious and filling, the bread and cheese complimenting it perfectly. Soon they were full and changed into beach clothing in order to explore their surroundings. The sun was shining, but the air was cool and breezy, and the water positively bracing when they got their feet wet. They decided to sit on the beach blanket and watch the sea birds soaring over the water.
After a few moments of playful kissing and cuddling that threatened to turn into something more serious and force them to return to their room, they decided to settle down and talk. They would leave the romantic pursuits for later, when the sun wasn't shining on the beach.
When Jake asked Heather about her life-long hopes and dreams, she said he had done a pretty good job at sending things down the right path. She had always wanted to be a wife and mother; she was using her education to teach school in the meantime. If God had not seen fit for her to become a wife and mother, she had hoped she could be happy with her students. She knew the importance of being an influence in the life of a child - one's own or someone else's as a teacher. She loved to read and study, and to pass the knowledge she gained along to others.
Jake thought Heather's goals were pretty reasonable. His own goals, he told her, had been to start a flight school and teach people how to become pilots. He expressed hope that, once his FBI commitment was completed, he could return home and set up a flight school in Jericho.
It made Heather happy to hear Jake talking about the rest of their lives. With all of the minor changes being implemented in Jericho, it should remain a good place to live for a long time to come. They talked on and on, watching the clouds move in but not really paying attention to them. Suddenly, they saw lightening and heard a clap of thunder only moments after, while great drops of rain started to fall on the beach. They laughed and quickly gathered their things, running back to their cottage and getting soaked to the skin in the process.
Once inside, they noticed their lunch had been cleared away and in its place was a note from Madam Moreau with the name of a restaurant and simple driving directions, in case they would like a dinner recommendation. She noted that dinner was served from 7pm-11pm, and the attire was somewhat dressy, so they would know how to prepare.
It was only 4pm, so they had plenty of time, and they were cold and wet. Jake pointed to the bathtub and Heather nodded. Soon, their wet clothing was drying on the backs of the chairs and they were immersed in a warm bubble bath. They laughed and blew scoops of bubbles at each other, and then Jake washed Heather's hair as she relaxed against him.
At last the water was getting cold and they were developing wrinkles on their fingers and toes. The cottage was equipped with fluffy white towels that had obviously been dried on a clothesline, by their smell. They dried off and discussed the merits of going out to dinner versus staying in and eating whatever they could find in their baggage. They finally decided to go out, since they probably wouldn't be back in France again soon.
The Cote d'Argent restaurant was blue and white; probably built to resemble a boat and definitely decorated that way. They had worn the only dressy clothing they had brought on the trip; Heather in a black sweater dress with her hair up and hoop earrings, Jake in black slacks with a charcoal shirt and black tie. They felt they were dressed correctly when they walked into the restaurant, and were thankful Madam Moreau had given them the tip.
They arrived around 7:30, and found that several other groups were already seated in the restaurant. A sophisticated blond woman greeted them in French as they entered. Jake did his best to ask in French for a table for two, but the woman clearly didn't understand, tilting her head to the side with a puzzled took on her face. Jake was mildly embarrassed, and asked again in English.
The woman broke out in a broad smile. "Nebraska?" She asked in a very American sounding voice.
"Kansas, but up near the Nebraska border. How about you?" Jake answered, laughing along with Heather and the woman.
"North Dakota," she replied, holding out her hand to shake with each of them in turn. "I'm Audrey Lefebvre, wife of the owner. I came to Paris to study to be a chef when I was 20. I met Bertrand and we discovered a mutual interest in food. His parents opened this restaurant 35 years ago, and we took it over about 10 years ago when they retired. I usually cook, but week nights are quiet and the hostess was ill, so I was able to fill in. Come; let's get you settled at a table."
Audrey Lefebvre seated them at a table overlooking the English Channel. Although it was dark, the moon was shining on the water, and they could see the lights of ships in the distance.
"I hope you like seafood," Audrey continued. "We offer a full course dinner which starts with Hors d'oeuvre of salmon pate, then a light fish consommé, then the fish course, which is roasted lobster on leeks with an apple and ginger compote. A lemon sorbet will then be served to clear your palate before the entre is served: filet mignon with steamed garden vegetables and boiled new potatoes. A green salad will then be served, followed by a cheese plate with assorted cut up fruit, and finally, your choice from the dessert tray. Will that be satisfactory?" Audrey finally came up for air after reciting the menu at an incredible speed.
"My word, it sounds like enough food to serve a town for a week," Jake said with a laugh.
"It sounds very good, though," Heather added, not wanting to sound unappreciative.
"The food arrives one course at a time, allowing you to enjoy each course," Audrey informed them with a laugh. "The French like to enjoy their food and take their time. Most of these people will be here until we close at midnight, enjoying a bottle of wine or a last cup of coffee. Not like the States, where we race to get into and out of a restaurant as quickly as we can. Much better for the digestion, actually, and one is less likely to overeat. I've noticed far less obesity in France than when we travel back to the States to visit."
"I can see the logic there," Heather said, her mind whirling with ideas for the restaurant she was thinking Jericho's Bed & Breakfast should offer. Jake recognized the distant look in her eyes and called her back to the here-and-now before they lost her entirely.
Audrey excused herself to get their dinner started, returning promptly with a bottle of wine and a fresh loaf of bread on a cutting board. A waiter brought their salmon pate shortly thereafter.
"She is certainly very nice," Heather said between bites of the crusty bread. "I wonder if Colette knew Audrey was an ex-pat when she recommended this place."
"I'm sure she did," Jake responded, "everyone seems to know everything in this town, not unlike Jericho. Calais is much larger overall, but the port community is probably quite interconnected."
Soon their consommé arrived, followed by the lobster course. Both Jake and Heather were enjoying their meal a great deal. They tasted the lemon sorbet to cleanse their palates, and then moved on to the main course. When they had completed it, Audrey materialized with their salads and a vinaigrette dressing. They agreed it tasted good after the heavier meat course. The other diners, who had arrived before them, were already eating their desserts and drinking coffee, so Audrey asked if she and her husband could join them when she brought their cheese plate. Of course, they agreed.
Bertrand Lefebvre looked very official in his chef hat and uniform. Jake stood to shake hands with him, and he bowed and kissed the back of Heather's hand as he came to join them. Having been married to Audrey for almost 20 years, his English was very good. The four of them sat and enjoyed cheese and fruit as they chatted.
"So, I still don't know what brought you to Calais, and to our restaurant," Audrey said, once introductions were complete.
Heather blushed and giggled, so Jake answered. "We are on our honeymoon. We had a Celtic-style wedding to celebrate out European heritage, and decided a trip to the United Kingdom would be a good honeymoon. We got as far as Dover, and decided to come across for a day and night before heading up toward Scotland. Pierre at the Port recommended we stay in the cottages of Madam Moreau, and she recommended we come here for dinner, so here we are."
Bertrand laughed and slapped his knee at what Jake had to say. "Pierre is my older brother. He and I grew up here in Calais, neighbors of the Moreau family. Colette is like a second mother to me. She sent you here in appreciation for Pierre sending you to her, I'll wager. Or she remembered that Audrey is from America. Either way, we're delighted you are here. Audrey tells me you are from Kansas. What do you do there?"
"Heather is a schoolteacher and I am a pilot," Jake answered, not able to get into the details of his current job status. "We live in a little town of less than 5,000 where I grew up. Heather grew up in the next town over. Jericho is a farm community."
"By the way, congratulations on your wedding!" Audrey broke in.
"Thank you," Heather answered, holding out her rings for the other woman to see. "They belonged to Jake's grandmother. We are very close to his grandfather."
"Oh, they are beautiful, and what a lovely story," Audrey said enthusiastically. "That's one of the things I love about Europe: So much tradition."
The men continued with one line of conversation while the women continued with another. The wait staff arrived to deliver coffee and offered desserts to both couples, who kept talking as the other customers left the restaurant and the staff cleared up the dining room. Finally the hour grew late and they began yawning. Jake looked at his watch and declared they should be heading back to their cottage. Heather had, of course, exchanged contact information with Audrey, hoping they all could meet up sometime when the Lefebvre family came to the States to visit Audrey's family in North Dakota.
Jake and Heather held hands on the short drive back.
"I'm glad we went," Heather said. "What nice people. Now I have a pen pal in France!"
Jake chuckled. "You're going to have a lot of pen pals if you keep this up," pleased that Heather was enjoying herself, and that she made friends so easily.
It was starting to rain again as they reached their cottage, so Jake parked as close to the door as he could, and they made a run for it. Heather's cheeks were bright from the exertion and the wine with dinner, damp from the rain. Jake kissed her as soon as they closed the door behind them, happy to have her to his own once again after sharing her with their new friends. The cottage windows were open, and they could hear the crash of the waves on the shore that had been so peaceful earlier in the day. They cuddled under the warm blankets and had a romantic night in their little French cottage.
Thursday morning, after a hearty country breakfast, they bid thank you and a fond good-bye to Colette Moreau. They headed down to the port and took the 9am ferry back across the English Channel toward Dover. Once they arrived, they headed east again toward the popular city of Canterbury where they got out to visit St. Augustine's Abby; the place where Christianity had been brought to England by St. Augustine around 600A.D. While in Canterbury, they decided to eat lunch. Eating breakfast at the B&B, then eating their large meal at lunch and snacking instead of dinner seemed to work well for them, other than their late French dinner.
"The Old Gate Inn in Bridge Canterbury dates back to 1728, when the Inn was built near a toll bridge. The first landlord was Richard Howard, who collected tolls and was trained as a chandler, or maker of candles. In 1781, the Old Gate Inn became a coach house where travelers could rest for the night." Heather read from her guidebook while Jake found the Inn in question.
They felt a bit underdressed for the occasion, but noted other travelers dressed in khakis and polo's once they were seated, so felt more comfortable. Jake ordered the lamb shoulder, slow-cooked in a rich jus with fennel, dauphinoise potatoes, and buttered pea and green bean medley. Heather ordered the smoked haddock risotto with baby spinach, garden peas and spring onions, and topped with a curried, crispy poached egg. Each enjoyed their meal a great deal, and took tastes of the other's choice as had become their habit. For desert, they split a piece of Kent Bramley served with a rich custard.
After they had taken a walk around Canterbury to settle their lunch, they continued their drive, passing through the market town of Faversham, which had grown up around an ancient seaport and was the birthplace of the explosives industry in England. Jake wanted to stop and look at the remains of the first gunpowder plant, established in the 16th century, but they decided to keep going.
They continued north along the coastline passing through many small towns until, at last, they came to Cambridge where they were able to see the "one of the most beautiful cities of the world", and Heather was able to purchase a University of Cambridge sweatshirt
Reading from her guidebook, Heather informed Jake "Manchester's history revolves around manufacturing textiles during the Industrial Revolution. Cotton was grown further south and brought by waterway to Manchester after stopping in Lancashire or Cheshire along the way to be spun. By the turn of the 19th century, Manchester had developed a wide range of industries and became the first and greatest industrial city in the world."
"Who knew," Jake said with a smirk, amused at Heather's attempts to educate him. "Do we need to go there and buy fabric or anything?" He asked seriously.
"No," Heather responded, "I was just filling you in. We can keep going. I think Newcastle is the next major city. We should be there in about 2 hours. Perhaps we can stop there for a bite of dinner."
"Sounds good," Jake agreed. "Are we still trying to get to Edinburg tonight?"
"Yes, we have reservations at Borthwick Castle. I can't wait!" Heather said enthusiastically.
"Right, the one that is supposed to be haunted," Jake responded skeptically.
Heather rolled her eyes and went back to reading aloud. "The castle of Newcastle was built by Robert II, Duke of Normandy and son of William the Conqueror." Heather continued her travelogue. "Initially, the town was important in the wool trade, and then became a major coal mining area."
"So we don't need to take coal to Newcastle?" Jake quipped.
"No, I guess not," Heather laughed.
After a bit of research and discussion, they decided to try Indian food, specifically a restaurant called Valley Junction 397, which had won awards for being the most original Indian restaurant in the U.K. With a bit of effort, they located the restaurant and found it was housed in a vintage Great Northern Railway carriage. Heather chose Tandoori chicken while Jake chose lamb curry. They agreed: the food was outstanding and the service excellent. Soon they were on the road again, bound for Edinburg.