Saturday, August 10, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter forty-nine: Oxford University)

Chapter Forty-nine
Oxford University

   The scenery was beautiful in the morning mist as they drove out of central London. The girls arrived at Oxford just as the sun started to shine. Paige felt very foreign, very American.
   Oxford University itself was like a town built from a fairy tale.
   The architecture was amazing and historic but Paige new this from having googled photographs before she arrived: (note to self: google Oxford aerial photographs)
    After meeting up with the other candidates from other countries of the world at a special reception, Paige made her way to the college she was staying in. Paige and Coco were so tired that night as they got into their beds (with dips in the middle – apparently the wrought iron was as old as the architecture). In the end, because Paige was jetlagged and couldn’t sleep, she pulled off the mattress and spread it onto the floor and finally fell into the deepest slumber she’d had in two days.
    In the morning, Coco went to her art seminar and Paige met the entire team: early to go over possible topics and opening arguments. Paige was delivering the closing argument. The usual topics were debated, but at university level.
    After they’d finished their morning seminars, Paige met with Coco for coffee, then they decided to go exploring. At first, they walked down the main street of Oxford University then veered off into some kind of medieval-type alley way. They found themselves in a beautiful meadow, shaded by oak trees.
   “Wow,” Paige said. “This is so beautiful.”
   “Like a painting,” Coco added. 
   “It is, it really is. I thought I’d miss America and I do already but this is a picture to take home with us.” Wednesday said, snapping the photo on her cell.  
   Paige and Coco took a lot of photographs that morning. It was like the word ‘picturesque’ was invented for this college campus.
   Coco had a map which she kept referring to that folded to the size of her palm and Paige had googled a list of all the noteworthy architecture.
   “Hey, it says here there’s a pub… near New College Lane and the Bridge of Sighs where a former Australian Prime Minister once a Rhodes Scholar held the Guinness record for ‘consuming a yard glass of ale’! It says here, the pub was originally called The Spotted Cow.”
   The friends laughed.
   It was quite funny. Paige never realized she’d have her first legal drink in England.  The Europeans were not like Americans. They didn’t have to legally wait until they were twenty-one.  
    The pub was quaint and small, the ceilings unexpectedly low.
    “Hey, I’m buying,” Coco said. “Maybe cider?”
    Paige nodded, then she sat down and went over her speech. By the time she got to deliver it, she’d throw away her notes. Paige was a perfectionist who wanted to know every word.
   She’d already caught the eye of just about every guy in the place – of which there were many. It wasn’t just because Paige had her dark hair brushed shiny and wore the most fashionable jeans (being a former Princess had taught her well!) she was excited and feeling happy after so much study and so many weekends working at the restaurant. It was fun to be abroad – she never imagined such a place, except in her dreams.  
    Paige loved the crowded, European atmosphere and ordered some food as she sipped her cider. She was talking to Coco who was fielding texts from Amadeus – telling her how much he missed her. Paige shook her head incredulously. She couldn’t believe Coco and Amadeus were a perfect match.