I am arrived in Cranberry Cove, Maine, USAland! The ferry ride was fun, but not as long as the one from Holyhead to Dublin. Also, no open bar. Also, no duty-free, so no cheap spirits or perfume, wtf. How is a girl meant to spend her 45 minutes? There was nobody interesting on the ferry, but they all seemed interested in me. This one fellow kept me talking for like ten minutes, then explained he just liked my accent and hadn’t heard a word I said. Wanker.
Cranberry Cove has its own chat room, called CoveNet. The name made me giggle, but it was a lifesaver, because of course Alec didn’t exactly give me a map of the town and I didn’t have enough data on my iPhone (I have an iPhone! An iPhone 5C! I may die of squee!) to risk using the map function. A girl in the chatroom whose name I don’t remember told me it was super easy, right in the middle of the town and well marked.
It was, actually, pretty easy. The town seems small and easy to navigate on foot, which is good. I left my bag in the ferry office and started on my way.
Can you believe it is still snowing here? It is April, people! Let’s just say I wore the wrong shoes and leave it at that. Luckily, my shields work here, but I’d have felt better in boots. And the number of people who gave me more than slightly pitying looks as I walked along in my shirt sleeves with my little flat cute shoes on, well. Are New Englanders meant to be the nice Americans, or the mean ones? Whatever; none of them seemed to notice my feet weren’t wet in the least. Thank the gods, I suppose, for human assumptions.
The hospital wasn’t crowded when I arrived; there were only two people ahead of me, but the receptionist was explaining to a lady that yes, she did have to fill out a form before she could get an appointment to see a doctor. The lady kept going on and on about health insurance, which was when I realised I don’t have a clue about things like health insurance. Happily, I’m highly unlikely to need it, with Alec playing doctor (I love saying that!) and all, but I suppose I should at least learn how to talk about it.
I felt a bit sorry for the receptionist, but she didn’t really seem to like her job very much. When the lady went off to fill out her form, a big, angry looking guy stepped up to enquire about a patient, vaguely mentioning something about “an incident”. That was as much as I could overhear, really, but it was enough to make me curious. Of course there’s a reason Alec and Isabella picked this place, so it must be swarming with weird, but hearing about it in the first ten minutes only piqued my curiosity.
The big angry-looking man? turns out to be local law enforcement, the sheriff or something. I have no clue what the difference between a sheriff and a police officer is. Another one for the list of shit I don’t know. Anyway, the receptionist seemed to like him just fine, but she wrinkled her nose at the mention of Dr Alec Damondred. Wonder what he’s done to piss her off.
The lady returned with her clipboard, and there followed a discussion of appointments, and which doctor she wanted to see.
She seemed awfully anxious about something. My senses aren’t attuned enough here yet that I could figure out just what, though.
Officer Big and Angry looked like he was about to hit something, but his manner with the receptionist was kind. Maybe he only looks big and angry.
About that time, I noticed Alec around the corner. In a lab coat. That was only a little bit surreal. Officer B&A went off to help this person who was involved in “the incident”, and Alec made arrangements with the woman for an appointment, so I hung back for a moment, though I couldn’t resist asking Alec if they had a kettle, as I’d brought tea! Real tea. Yorkshire Gold. omg.
I was boggled they hadn’t got a kettle at a hospital. And I was even more boggled when the lady — Amara, her name was, and she runs a restaurant, apparently — suggested that the hotel mightn’t like it if I tried to make tea in a hotel room? What do they think, English people cook over open fires still?
Isabella appeared just as Amara left, with Alec’s lunch! That she made for him! Like a total fifties housewife! We had a short chat and then decided to go up the street for tea, since Alec said I was sounding like I hadn’t had any in years. Well, duh.
The local coffee shop seems nice, and they didn’t mind giving me boiling water for my tea. I made some for Issy, too.
It was lovely and quiet, so we had a chance to talk, and we ended up deciding that I should have my own flat! Isabella said there was one quite close to the hospital that was available, so we’d check it out after coffee. We talked about how I was adjusting, not that I had a lot to say, since I’d only been there a few hours.
I could feel myself relaxing, though, into the comfortable familiarity of the twenty-first century. It was great to be sitting in a coffee shop with a mobile phone and no immediate danger of some huge woodland god coming to screw it all up.
It was such a nice conversation that it was a shame when some weird guy came in asking for the owner of the coffeeshop. We had no clue who the owner was, of course, but the fellow mentioned her name and by some coincidence, it was the same hospital patient Officer B&A had been coming to see earlier. Alec said she was home with the police, and the fellow left pretty quickly.
Alec had to go back to the hospital, and we’d all finished our tea, so Isabella and I went off to sort out my flat!
And it’s a really nice flat: much bigger than I would think of for student digs, but she assured me it’s perfectly reasonable in USAland. I spent most of the evening decorating and putting things into place.
I was almost done and ready to fall into bed when there was a knock at my door. (My door! I have a door!) It was Alec of course, and he did not have pizza, which made me cross, but I held my ire. Well, OK, I didn’t actually have any ire to hold; I just felt, in retrospect, that I should have been cross.
We had quite a nice discussion; he explained that he’s in Cranberry Cove setting up a viral and bacterial research lab. He also gave me a driving licence. I had to admit I didn’t know how to drive, and he laughed when he told me Isabella doesn’t know how to drive either. He said it was a good thing it was hard to hurt folks like us, given what happened the last time she tried: I did not press for details, but I felt as if something very similar might happen to me if I attempted it. I might get a bicycle, though. A bicycle!
We sat and talked for ages, about nothing and everything. He gave me some advice about how to interact with people, how to manage friendships, that sort of thing. Then Wren appeared, from next door! She’d been watching films with Kate, who is my neighbour but whom I’ve not met yet, an associate of Alec’s.
Wren was full of great stories about the “movie night” she’d had with Kate and how some of the movies were weird. And then she said there was a Twilight film. It’s a good thing I didn’t have anything left to drink, or I’d have spat on Alec. They made a film of that? I was horrified. But then I started thinking. If there is a Twilight film, I have to go and see it. Because I have to make Nathaniel see it. What a scream! OMG I have so much TV to catch up on!
Then I realised it was super late and I was completely wrecked. I apologised for making them leave. And then, I fell into my bed. My bed. In my flat. My flat. My flat in Cranberry Cove, Maine, USAland.
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