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Chapter Three: The Friends


An entire week of being lady of the house wasn’t nearly long enough, for it was almost over, passed away in a blur of exciting activities, all of which involved Carl.

Carl Bryant was just a couple years older than Peter and almost too young to have been a soldier in a war. But he was not the sort to miss the thrill of a war, and had moved to his uncle’s place in London so that he might enlist. Only mere months later, the rest of American men had taken up arms, too, coerced into the battle by the bombing at Pearl Harbor.

Susan knew that Carl was proud to be one of the earlier Americans in the war. And she was proud of him, too. Especially as it was what brought him to London and how they were re-acquainted, as she already knew his uncle and aunt through other social activities.

On a Saturday morning that proved to be a warm day for January, Carl pulled his automobile up to Susan’s front door and blasted his car horn with one long and loud push.

Susan, already waiting for him just inside the door, laughed and ran outside.

Carl jumped out of the driver’s seat at seeing Susan and opened the passenger door for her. “Don’t you look pretty today,” Carl grinned and wrapped his arms around Susan’s waist.

Susan scooted past Carl and climbed into his automobile. The top part of the auto was pulled down, so Susan was grateful for her thick fur coat with its hood, though it wasn’t nearly as bulky and warm as those coats long ago that she and her siblings played with at Professor Kirke’s.

She grimaced at the remembrance of the fur coats and the memories that ensued with them. Why must she be always thinking of Narnia when she so hated it?

Susan waved to Carl’s friends, Billy and Ralph, seated in the back with their girls, Martha and Betty, crowded between the both of them. Both of the girls held picnic baskets.

One of them, Billy, said, “And Susan doesn't look pretty all the other days?”

Carl took his place behind the wheel and switched gears forward. The automobile sputtered down the street.

When Carl didn’t answer, Billy jabbed Carl in the back.

“Ow!” Carl shouted. “Of course.” At those last words, Carl turned to Susan and winked.

She blushed and turned away from Carl. The wind blew her hair into her face, so Susan pulled her hood up. “What are we doing today?” Susan asked.

“I thought we’d go for a drive in the country then have a picnic.”

“Not that we’ll last long this time of the year,” Betty, a round but fair girl, grumbled in the back, probably upset to not be the woman at the center of the previous flirtations.

Past the confinements of the city streets and home walls and onto the dirt road leading to the country outside of London, Carl revved the gas and the cool air rushing back pushed harshly into Susan’s face. Her short hair tangled into her hood, but Susan giggled—until the the cold wind choked her and then she closed her mouth.

The men in the back yelled despite the wind and their girls laughed, too.

Carl dropped a hand from the steering wheel and squeezed Susan’s hand that had been noticeably clutching at her heart. “Am I going too fast for ya?”

“No,” Susan laughed.

Maybe it was too fast, but Carl knew how to make anything into a good time. Her hand warmed under his touch.

After a little bit of a drive, they stopped near a frozen pond. Martha and Betty brought out their baskets and handed Susan a blanket to spread.

The men chased each other near the ice as if school boys, Carl at their center. Susan admired them, standing near the blanket she had spread out.

“Boys,” Betty said to Susan. “I don’t know why I ever wanted one—except it’s nice to be kissed. The rest of the time they are such a nuisance.”

Susan didn’t argue because she didn’t want conflict. But something about Betty’s words bothered her. As if all boys or men were horrible simply for the sake of being male. Why be disgusted when you could be fascinated? Why hate when you could love? Sure, Susan wouldn’t romp about like that—but differences didn’t make one unlikable.

Once all the food was laid, Martha shrilly called, “Are we going to eat? Are are you three going to wrestle all day?”

At once, the three men came running over.

Carl plopped right beside Susan, nearly falling over onto her. She steadied herself—and him—just barely with her shoulders and hands.

“If only it weren’t too cold to fish—it’s such a fine day,” Carl said.

“I wish we’d brought our skates,” Betty said. “The ice looks thick enough.”

“Swimwear would look better on you,” Ralph teased Betty.

“Hey!” She blushed. The two of them fought over a sandwich. Betty won, taking the first bite. But not before Ralph stole a long kiss from her.

Susan averted her eyes downward. She was used to seeing others kiss, but next to Carl it made her uncomfortable. Her lips felt suddenly exposed and so very untouched.

Carl whispered into her ear, his breath too close to where she didn’t want him, “Are you thinking about how much you actually want me to kiss you?” He placed a large and warm hand on her shoulder and pulled her even closer.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be kissed. She just didn’t want to think about where that may lead.

She wanted to enjoy life as it was now, with all its freedoms and pleasures, not having to worry about a future of responsibilities that could include marriage and children and growing old.

Susan shivered and shook her head, and Carl’s hand fell back to his own person.

“But to be young forever,” Billy said, as if reading Susan’s thoughts. He clapped his hands, spraying crumbs over everyone’s laps. “To be at our prime, with war behind and delight ahead; to have a girl kiss a guy just because, not that he might die.”

“Billy, you should be a poet,” Martha said, grasping his arm and looking into his eyes as if she wanted to be kissed, too.

Billy did kiss her.

“Billy, you should be a poet,” Carl and Ralph mimicked in high pitched voices, causing Susan and Betty to giggle.

Susan sobered before the rest, though she didn’t mean to. But something about the moment fell short of her desires. This was everything she wanted—why did she still not feel whole? All she wanted was to enjoy the prime of her youth, but the harder she tried to love life, the faster it seemed to pass away toward the future.

It wasn’t fair that this time of life must be so short; that she couldn’t be young longer than she must be old.

Carl flailed dramatically, shoving his fingers into his mouth. “What did you girls put in those sandwiches? Something large is wedged in my teeth and I haven’t been able to get at it.”

Everyone laughed at Carl. He turned to Susan and brandished his teeth, showing a long string of meat. “Won’t you take it out, dear?”

“Ew. No.” Susan shoved at Carl and reached for her purse. “I have a compact mirror and tweezers—you can pick it out yourself.”

“Well, isn’t she a woman of her own mind?” Ralph winked toward Susan.

She ignored him and opened her mirror. But for the moment she forgot her friends as she held her opened mirror and did not see her own face reflected back at her, but Lucy’s.

Susan paled.

“Susan.” Lucy clothes were very old fashioned and tears streamed down her cheeks. “Why won’t you remember? Please, remember.”

Carl grabbed the mirror and tweezers from Susan, but she hardly noticed. Cold jolted through her body, and her fingers stiffened into fists. I didn’t see Lucy. I’m tired. I’m …

“Are you quite all right, Susan?” Betty asked. “You look ill.”

“The wind just chilled me,” Susan lied.

But no one seemed convinced. Even Carl seemed to grow worried and dropped the mirror and tweezers, turning to Susan. “Maybe it’s time we go home?” he said. “The sun is gone now, and besides, my aunt and uncle expect us at their New Year’s party tonight.”

And so they packed up their things and left the countryside.

Why do you think Susan is too afraid to fully live life and grow-up? What do you think of Susan and her friends? Did you laugh with any of them? Why do you think Susan saw Lucy in her mirror? 

Links will be available when posts are published. 
A new installment will be posted the first Monday of every month: 
Prologue: Polly and Digory
Chapter One: The Mirror
Chapter Two: The Church
Chapter Four: The Party
Chapter Five: The Book
Chapter Six: The Hospital
Chapter Seven: The Kiss
Chapter Eight: The Dinner
Chapter Nine: The Rings
Chapter Ten: The Conversation
Chapter Eleven: The Cottage
Chapter Twelve: The Train
AFTERWARD: Why I Wrote Susan Of Narnia 

Comments

  1. Oh, I feel so sorry for Susan! If only she would remember Narnia and know that it is real! Good chapter, I'm really interested to know why she saw Lucy in the mirror.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I just want her to remember too, and I'm the one that had to write this!!!! Thanks ... glad you like the mirror ;d

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  2. Keturah, I just can’t get over the fact that you NAIL all these characters! I’m really intrigued by the mirror now . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooohhh, thanks so much! I don't cry, but I'm almost ready to now ;0 And yay! I love this mirror of mine ;)

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  3. I really don't like any of here friends. They fit excellently in the story though. The mirror is very interesting!

    astorydetective.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I don't like her friends either, so that's good! Thanks! Glad you're finding it interesting ;D

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  4. I really enjoy your writing style!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANKS!! Really needed to hear that today ;0

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  5. As I read this all I'm thinking is "Susan, stop being a chump and go play with your siblings". xD Great chapter, Keturah! Can't wait for the next one!

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Don't blame you for thinking that ;) Thanks! Next chapter should hopefully be a bit more exciting ;)

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  6. This is so emotional....I've always wanted to hear Susan's side of the story so I love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! It's one of those stories we all dream of hearing more of, I think ;D

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