Travels through Time, part fourteen
As they rode to the ball, Amy slipped her arm in Archie's and gave a contented sigh.
Archie gave a soft chuckle and said, "You do look lovelier in that dress than I ever imagined, my love."
Amy blushed. She wasn't quite sure how to respond to that question. "Thank you and thank you for this dress. You have done so much for me, Archie."
"And I want to do even more for you, if you will let me. When the time is right, I will tell you something," he said looking straight ahead, while keeping his eyes on the road.
"Couldn't you tell me now? You will have me all in suspense," Amy said with anxiousness in her voice.
"Patience, my love, patience. When the time is right. It has to be a perfect setting for me to tell or rather ask you what I want," Archie gave her a sly smile and it made her wonder all the more.
Amy thought about what he said, 'It has to be the perfect setting to ask what he wants.' Was he going to ask her to marry him?
Amy knew she had to tell him about where she actually came from. She would tell him tonight. She hoped for the best and hoped that he would believe her. She wasn't sure if she would believe herself, if she hadn't lived through it.
When the two of them arrived at the ball, Archie helped Amy out of the carriage. They walked inside and were introduced. Amy thought it was quite impressive. It was like the Marine Corps events, that her and her family went to with her brother-in-law. Amy was introduced to Lord this and Duke that most of the night. She was glad she had learned to curtsy. Watching Shirley Temple movies as a kid did help. Shirley always curtsied in her movies.
Amy danced the quadrille and the minuet. But, the dance she liked best was the new one that they called the waltz.
"You seem to know how to do this dance better than the others. How so? This dance has only been out for a few years," Archie asked Amy.
Amy felt like saying, 'because this dance is still being danced, while the others are only danced in the period style movies that I love to watch.' What she did say was, "This one is much easier to learn. I have been following your steps. You are a good teacher. I would love if you teach me more things."
Archie looked at her wicked smile and gave one of his own. "It seems like you would like me to teach you more than dancing, my dear."
"You could say that, if you liked. Look, there is Lieutenant Bracegirdle. Do you want to go and talk to him?" Amy asked, while she was thinking about Eleanor.
"Amy, perhaps we should get something to eat or drink. I don't think we should disturb Mr. Bracegirdle," Archie told her.
"But, why? Can't I talk to him about Eleanor?" she asked.
"No, you can't. I respect you trying to match your friend with mine, but you have to respect my friend's need to mourn his wife. He doesn't want anyone bothering him about dating a cook. Please understand. Have a biscuit?" Archie said as he shoved the cookie in her hand.
"No, thank you. What is that?" Amy said as she put the cookie back in Archie's hand and pointed to a plate of food with, what looked like gelatin with powdered sugar on top.
"It is called Turkish Delight. Let me get you a plate and you can have some," Archie said as he reached over for a plate.
Amy took a quick bite of the Turkish Delight and said, "It tastes just like Jell-O with out any flavoring."
Archie looked at her strangely and grabbed two glasses of red wine. He decided to call it by another name. If she was going to use odd phrases, so would he. He handed her the glass, he said, "Do you want some monkey's blood?"
"Monkey's blood? That is a strange name for wine. I would rather have some of that punch, if you don't mind," she said to him.
He got Amy a glass of punch and then led her to one of the adjoining rooms, so they could have their little talk.
The room was brightly decorated in the Georgian style. Archie didn't look around the room. Of course not, being an Earl's son, his own house must look this way. Amy looked around the room to look at all the furnishings as well as to see if they were alone.
Archie seemed more serious than normal as he asked her to have a seat on the settee. Amy sat down and Archie sat opposite of her.
"What is it, Archie? You seem so serious. Are you mad at me for trying to set up Bracegirdle with Eleanor?" Amy asked.
Archie's face lighted up and he said, "No, I am not mad at you for that. I have something to tell you. That thing you wanted me to tell you on the carriage ride over here."
Archie reached for a box in his pocket and pulled it out for Amy to see. It was a ring.
Archie got down on one knee and asked, "Miss Amy, will you consent to be my bride? I can't promise you much. The life of a sailor's wife is not an easy one. I will be gone for long periods of time, but I will take good care of you. Amy, I would love you to love me. Please say you will be my wife."
Amy grabbed his hands and said, "You want to marry me? Oh, Archie! Yes, I will marry you." She bent over to kiss him. Archie held onto her as he stood up. Their lips did not lose their embrace.
"Oh, Amy! I do love you. I promise that you will have everything that you need. You and your strange, little ways will be protected, as long as you are with me," Archie told her.
Amy was a bit perplexed by that last statement. 'Me and my strange little ways would be protected?' What did Archie really think of her? Did he think she was not right in the head? She realized she had to tell him the truth about herself.
Archie was glowing with excitement and joy. He asked, "Aren't you going to put on the ring? It is not a family heirloom. My brother, Joe, gave all the heirlooms to his wife. But, I got it just for you. Try it on for me."
Amy seemed to be a bit distracted as she pushed his hand away from hers.
"Don't you want to marry me? Why won't you put on the ring?" Archie asked Amy with pain and concern in his voice.
"Archie, there is something I have to tell you. I am not sure you will want me after I finish what I have to say," Amy told Archie.
"What is it? You slept with another man? I know you aren't wealthy. That doesn't matter to me. Whatever it is can not be that bad," He said with some trepidation in his voice.
"It is nothing like that. I have never been with a man. I know you don't care that my parents were only teachers. In America, that is a good living. Archie, I don't know how to break this gently. Do you remember when you first saw me? Was I walking down the street before I fell or did I just appear?" Amy asked.
"Just appear? What are you talking about?"
"Archie, that last thing I remember before waking up and seeing your lovely face was being in the living room of my friend's house. It was New Year's Eve and I was watching Dick Clark on TV. My friend's brother hit me on the head with a bowling ball and when I awoke, I saw you. It was no longer New Year's Eve, but Spring. It was no longer the year 2000, but the year 1800. Archie, I traveled through time by some mysterious force, that I can't understand. I don't know if I am going back to my time or if I am meant to spend the rest of my life with you. I would like to spend the rest of my life with you. I have loved you before I met you. I loved you since I saw you in The A & E mini-series, "Horatio Hornblower." I honestly wish that they would include you in the next installment, rather the actor, who portrayed you. The two of you look like twins. The casting director did a good job on that."
Archie's head started to spin. What Amy was talking about was nonsense. He had to stop her from ranting on more. He scolded her as he said, "Stop it! You are talking like a mad woman! I have taken enough of your incoherent ramblings!"
"You think I am crazy? Admit it! You think I am a crazy woman, don't you? Don't you! Tell me!" Amy yelled back at him.
"What am I supposed to expect? The woman I love is saying she is from the future. There is no such thing as travelling through time!"
"I used to think that, too. But, look at me, Archie. I am here. I was born October 3, 1962 in a place called New Hope. It was called Coryell's Ferry during the Revolutionary War. I am an American, Archie. Back in the Revolutionary times, my ancestors were here in England. They didn't come to America until the 1880s. I am not crazy, Archie. I am telling you the truth. Why can't you believe me?"
"Believe the rantings of a lunatic?"
"You really believe that, don't you? Well, I guess that means that you don't want to marry me. You would rather have me locked up in some nut house! Fine! Fine! I am leaving!" Amy said as she ripped off her locket and threw it at Archie.
Archie cringed as she hit him. He watched her storm out of the room. She asked him if he saw her before she fell. He thought back to that moment. He was walking along the street and looked across it. All of a sudden, he saw a woman fall. Was she there a moment before? Could Amy be telling the truth? It could not be possible. Or could it?
A group of Marines were playing a game of skittles (form of nine pins) with cannon balls. Captain Pellew saw them playing and reprimanded them for their behavior.
"What on Earth are you doing? Put those things away!" the captain demanded of the men.
They all stood at attention and one of the officers said, "Aye, Aye, Sir!"
The Captain left them and passed by Amy, who had tearstains down her face. Captain Pellew asked Amy, "Are you all right, Miss Amy? What has happened?"
Amy was too upset to say anything and ignored the captain as she passed by him. Neither did she pay attention to the loose cannon ball rolling towards her.
"Watch out, Miss!" One of the officers shouted to her.
Amy didn't heed the Marine's command and slipped on the cannon ball. Amy fell head over heels and hit her head on the cannon ball.
The last thing she heard was Archie calling out, "AMY!!!"
It had seemed that the world went black for a moment. Then Amy heard some women were calling her name. These voices seemed familiar to her. Amy blinked and opened her eyes. She was in a hospital room. Her friends, Jan and Shelley, were standing over her.
"You are awake! Thank the Lord! Shelley, go and get Mrs. Bradley and tell her that her daughter is out of the coma," Jan said excitingly to Shelley.
"Jan? Where am I? What time is it? What day for that matter? What happened? Where is Archie?" Amy asked in a daze.
"Archie? Amy, I know you like the man, but he is fictional. Now, Jamie Bamber, Archie's portrayer, is in England, where he belongs. What I would like to know, where is Ioan Gruffudd," Jan said with a smile.
Amy smiled back. She saw her mother rush into the room. "Amy, Amy, thank goodness. I was worried I lost you. Bud felt absolutely awful for doing this to you. He, Gwen and the rest of their family have been here to see you. The doctor said that getting knocked unconscious with a bowling ball should not put someone in a coma this long. How are you feeling?" Amy's mother asked.
"All right I guess. I feel a bit dazed. How long was I out?" Amy asked.
"Over a month. It is February," her mother responded.
"Can I still go on my England trip next month?" Amy asked.
"Of course, is that all you are worried about? I see you are all right, then, aren't you?" Mrs. Bradley asked with a slight laugh.
"I don't want to miss my trip of a lifetime. How is Dad? Is everyone safe and all right?" Amy inquired.
"They are all fine. We should let you rest. The doctor will be in to look after you as soon as he is done his rounds," her mother said.
"Shelley and I should be going. We got you a book about the real Captain Pellew. I will leave it here for you. There is a picture that will interest you in it. I am glad to see you are awake and look like you are feeling better," Jan said.
"You had us worried. You didn't show up for the January get together, so we called your mother to find out what happened. When she told us, we had to come and see you. Glad to see you are feeling better," Shelley told Amy.
"I will walk the girls out, Amy. You get some rest," Amy's mother told her.
Amy was alone in the room. She was home. Was it a dream? Did she go back in time or just dream it? She grabbed the book about Edward Pellew and looked through it. It had several pictures as well as the story about Pellew's life and times. There was a bookmark put in the book. Amy opened up to that page. She admired the bookmark, it had one of Thomas Kinkade's pictures on it. Amy always liked those pictures. Amy, then took a look at the page in the book. Her jaw dropped open as she saw the picture.
It was a picture of her and the Pellew children. George was sitting on her lap, Emma was sitting on the floor to the left of her, Frederick to the right and Paul and Julia were standing behind her. The caption on the picture read, the children of Lord Exmouth taken with their governess, Miss Amy Bradley. Amy read the paragraph in the book that was about her. It said that "Miss Amy only spent a few months in the Pellew household, but was an influential part of the children's lives. They often talked about the games she played with them and how she was missed."
Amy wondered, did it happen? Did she go back in time? The picture looked just like her. She could remember posing for the picture like it was yesterday.
What did happen to Archie?
Amy looked through the book to see if she could find anything about him. She didn't see anything. She looked for information about Horatio. All she found was that C. S. Forester was so impressed with Edward Pellew that he put him in his Horatio Hornblower series. The book also said that if it were not for Horatio Nelson, that the world would know more about Edward Pellew. Pellew was a hero.
Amy put the book down and rested her head on the pillow. Pellew is a hero. He was a nice man and she felt honored to have been a part of his life, if only for a little while. For now, it was time to go back to real life.
Real life, Amy wondered what real life actually was. She had been through an incredible journey and had a wonderful journey ahead of her. Amy wondered if this next trip to England would be as incredible as her last trip to the country.