Travels through Time, part one
by Jamie

Amy Bradley spent New Year's Eve the way she always liked to spend it. With her friend, Gwen, and her family. Amy met Gwen when she worked with Gwen's mother, Jane. Amy would always make time to talk to Jane and tell her about the latest things going on in her life.
Amy loved old movies and writing. She would always tell Jane what story she was writing at that moment. Amy felt that she could not talk about these things with Gwen. Even though they were best friends, they had different interests. Gwen's mother, Jane, and Amy shared the love of history and literature.
Amy sat at the kitchen table and talked with Jane. "So, we haven't talked much. I hear you are busy with work and everything," Jane told her.
"Yes, between work and keeping an eye on my invalid father, I don't have much time for anything. I do, however, have time to write. You can write and baby sit at the same time," Amy told her friend's mother.
"What is the latest thing you are writing?"
"It is a story set in the 1790's. It is loosely based on the adventures of Horatio Hornblower. You know that series I watched on A&E in April? I thought it would be nice to write a little story based on that. I find that researching the period is a little like doing homework. When you write historical fiction, you want to do it right."
"You never show me your stories. I would like to read them some day."
"They are mainly hand written and some I have put on computer disc. Maybe next time I come over, I will bring you something I wrote. You have to remind me. I may forget."
Gwen came into the kitchen and asked Amy, "Aren't you going to join everyone else at the party? I swear, sometimes I think you like my mother more than you like me."
"I like you both differently. I talk to you about things and talk to her about other things," Amy replied.
"The ball is about to drop at Times Square. I know you don't want to miss that. Everyone is in the den, follow me," Gwen said as left the room.
Amy went with her friend and saw that everyone was huddled in front of the TV set. They had Dick Clark counting down the New Year's. Gwen's sister, Donna, handed her a noisemaker and a horn to toot in the new millennium. Gwen's brother, Bud, announced that to celebrate this occasion he got his own ball to drop. The ball looked almost like a bowling ball. Amy didn't understand why he was using that ball to drop. But, then she never understood anything that Bud did.
As the TV program started the countdown, Bud started swinging the ball over his head. His wife, Kelly, told him, "Bud, don't swing that, you will hurt someone."
Too late, just as the ball at Times Square dropped, the heavy, black ball in Bud's hand, flew off his fingers and hit Amy in the head. Rendering her unconscious.
When Amy came to, a man in a uniform, was standing over her. He asked her, "Miss, Miss are you all right? I saw you faint and came to your aid. Let me help you on your feet."
Amy was a bit disorientated. She was not sure what was going on. Just minutes ago it was midnight in January and she was in her friend's house. She had on jeans, sneakers and a comfortable, baggy sweater. As she looked around, there was daylight in the Spring. Amy looked down at herself and saw she was wearing a long dress with a tight bodice. It was a 18th Century style dress and the man helping her up had on a British Naval uniform. He looked familiar. Where had she seen him before?
"My name is Archie, what is yours?" he asked.
"Archie?" she asked.
"Yes, I am Lieutenant Archie Kennedy, at your service, ma'am."
Amy swooned and fell to the ground. This could not be happening. This had to be a dream. She looked around and it looked like she was in Old Town Philadelphia. She saw a horse and carriage go by and the air smelled of the sea and horses. It did not smell like exhaust and that funky smell she was used to smelling when she went to the city. She looked up at Archie. He looked just like Jamie Bamber.
ëImpossible, this was impossible!', she thought to herself. Archie Kennedy was not a real person. He was made up by C. S. Forester and A & E's
screenwriters. If she was going to go in a Forester novel, why was not Horatio helping her? Could it be that since she liked Archie more than Horatio, it would make more sense that Archie would be helping her. In her dream, she could have whoever and whatever she wanted to have in her dream, couldn't she?
"Miss, it is not ladylike to stay on the ground. You may mess up your dress. Let me help you to a proper sitting area. Here, let me help you up," Archie said as he gave her a hand.
She felt his hand. It felt real. It was slightly callused, yet warm. Was this not a dream? She had to pretend like it was real. She could not think she was a little feeble minded.
"Where am I? What time is it?" Amy asked him.
"You are in Plymouth. It is a little after noontime. Maybe you would like something to drink or eat. I could get you something. Here is a bench. Have a seat. What would you like?" He asked.
"Tea, please. Thank you," she said to him.
He gave a slight bow to her and walked across the street to the pub. Amy shook her head. She placed her head in her hands. This was all too real to be a dream. The smells, the sounds and sensations. She felt the fabric on her dress and the bench beneath her. What was she going to do? She knew enough about history to know that in the 1790's or whatever year this was. That women had few rights and fewer choices of what they could do. Most had to stay with their families. The only family she had was back in Pennsylvania in the year 1999 or could she now say 2000? She was not sure of anything. Where was she going to go? Her ancestors would not know her, so she could not go to Cornwall and she did not know anyone in London or Plymouth. Archie did say they were in Plymouth. She did know Archie. Well, she knew of his character.
Was this Archie like the one in C. S. Forester's novel? Was there a real Archie Kennedy? Well, he was walking towards her with a cup of tea and some food.
"Here, I got you a pastie, too. It is a meat pie. I thought you may be hungry as well as thirsty," he said as he handed it to her.
Amy knew what a pastie was. It was a family recipe. The meat pies were from Cornwall and they were molded so one could eat them on the road. Her grandfather used to bring them for lunch with him when he went to work in the slate quarries up in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania.
"Thank you. You don't have to do this," she said to him.
Archie smiled at Amy with his bright blue eyes and said, "I want to help.
You didn't tell me your name."
"Amy Bradley. Pleased to meet you Lt. Kennedy," she said as she put down the cup of tea and shook Archie's hand.
"Where are you from?" he asked.
"Pennsylvania," Amy said before she thought of what she should say.
"The Colonies. Why are in England, then? Or shouldn't I ask?"
Amy looked at him with her eyes wide. What was she going to say? How could she reply without him thinking she was crazy. Why was she in England? She had no idea. She didn't know how she got here. She didn't know how she would ever get home. She had no idea what she would do while she was here. She tried not answering the question and took another bite of the pastie.
"Maybe I should not ask. I am sorry," he said in an apologetic tone.
Amy put down the food and took a breath. She could try to bluff herself out of this. She took a breath and said, " You can ask, I am not sure what to tell you. You see, I went on a ship to draw some pictures and maybe describe how some of the parts of ship, so I could accurately put them in my story."
"Your story?"
"I love writing. Just give me a pen and some paper and I am happy. Well, to get back to my story. I was walking below decks, when I fell and hit my head. When I woke up, I was not in Philadelphia any longer. I was on the sea. I have no money to get back home. I have no money to leave here. I don't know what to do. I need help, oh, Archie, can you help me?" Amy said as she began to cry.
What began as crocodile tears became real when she realized what she said was true. She had no where to go, no one to turn to. She held onto Archie's jacket and started to bawl. He was the only thing she knew. He was not going to stay around. He was going on the sea himself and they did not let ladies on the ship. She knew that was one of the facts to be sure.
Archie tried to calm her down. He gently stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head.
"There, there, Amy. Their has to be something you can do. Don't you know anyone?"
"No one. You are the only one," she said between her tears.
"Me? Come dry your eyes and I will try to help you. Come to the ship with me. I hear that my Captain's lady is aboard. Maybe she will let you stay with her until you get enough money to go home," he asked.
"You would do that for me?" she asked.
"You asked for my help and I want to give it to you anyway I can," Archie said as he held her hand.
She looked into his eyes and thought. If this is a dream, at least it would be enjoyable.
Archie held Amy's arm in his as he took her to the H. M. S. Indefatigable. It looked a lot bigger in person than it did on TV. She was going to go on the ship in March. Actually, it was the Grand Turk, that she was going on. But, they were essentially the same ship, anyway. A group of her Internet friends were getting together a trip to England and were going to have dinner on the Indy. Maybe she could have dinner with Pellew, Archie and the rest of the crew.
"Watch your step," Archie told her as she got on the ship.
Amy tripped over her dress and fell onto the deck. "Damn dress!" she mumbled.
Archie once again helped her to her feet and said, "You are a bit clumsy, aren't you?"
Amy gave an embarrassed smile and looked around the deck. She saw a tall, dark haired gentleman walking towards her and Archie.
"Ioan!" Amy said when she saw who was coming towards her.
"Who?" Archie asked
"That is . . ." Amy said before being interrupted by Archie.
"This is my friend, Lt. Horatio Hornblower. He is being transferred to the Renown. Horatio, let me introduce you to Miss Amy Bradley," Archie said as he introduced the two of them.
"How do you do? Where did you find this puppy, Archie? The Captain will not be happy. He is in a fowl mood. He is angry with my transfer. Lady Pellew is trying to calm him, but it is no good," Horatio told his friend.
"This puppy is not a suitable term for a lady, you know better than that. I didn't say anything about your French girl," Archie told him.
"Touch . Sorry, ma'am, things are move too fast sometimes. I hope you are feeling well. Archie can show you around the ship. You would give her the honor of seeing our ship, won't you Archie?" Horatio asked his friend.
"By all means. Would you like to see the ship?" Archie asked Amy.
"I would be delighted," Amy replied.
"Just watch your head. We don't want you falling or hitting your head on anything," He said with a smile.
"Who knows, if I did that, maybe I would get a free trip home," Amy said returning his smile.
"But this ship is not going to the Colonies. You may get farther away from Home not closer."
"I may not want to try to escape five times or even once for that matter," Amy said in reference to one of the episodes in the Horatio Hornblower series.
Archie had a pained look upon his face, when he heard that statement. Amy asked him, "Are you all right? Did I say anything wrong?"
Archie shook his head and said, "No, no, you didn't say anything wrong. You just reminded me of something I wanted to forget. It is all right. Let us go on our tour."
Archie smiled at her as he held out his arm to her. Amy smiled back as she took his arm and went below deck.