A/N: Thank you to my one reviewer! ConfusedLover9109 ! I've been having an awful lot of writers' block recently, and with exams and coursework etc I haven't been concentrating that much on my writing. But I hope you enjoy this chapter as it will hopefully be a turning point for my main characters. Please Read & Review, as I would do for you.

From the previous chapter:

James Parker was there early. Dressed in black jeans and a simple blue and white striped shirt, he waited for his date beside the dolly mixture. He wondered if she would show up.

Alyth Brown walked into the cinema at precisely 7.02pm and bought a ticket at the booth. She bought her popcorn and wandered towards the sweet section. There was only one man in the place, and he was carrying a fireman's helmet. As if that wasn't obvious enough. She smiled and walked up to him. He turned around.

Alyth almost dropped her popcorn; James showed extreme surprise as they both blurted out, at the same time, "You!"

Chapter 16

Both recovered quickly.

Alyth recovered first, "meow", she imitated.

James laughed and asked her if she wanted saving from a tree or something.

"No, I think I'm fine on the ground. So, aren't you shocked? That it's me?" Alyth asked.

"You mean, you being cat woman? Erm, I think it's a good thing. Why? What do you think?"

"I think it's all good." She laughed. "Why wouldn't it be?"

"So you're glad it's me?" James asked her shyly.

"Absolutely." She looped his arm with hers. "Let's go to the movies Mr Parker."

"Alright, Miss Brown, this way." He smiled as he led her through the doors.

On the other side of town, Clara was thinking about home. She'd been across the pond for about three months and hadn't missed it yet, so why the sudden change? She still couldn't bring herself to call America home. Scotland was home. Her life was pretty much perfect, apart from the odd interruption at Halloween.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from Liam.

"Hey, it's me, what are you up to?"

"Nothing much."

"Do you want to do something tonight? I know it's a bit short notice, but I thought, what the heck."

"If it's alright with you, I just feel like staying in tonight."

"Sure, shall I come over? Bring some DVDs?"

"No, I mean an alone staying-in night."

"Oh, is everything okay?"

"Why wouldn't everything be okay? I'm fine. Fine." She hoped Liam didn't know what fine stood for back in the UK: Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.

"Chill, its okay. I'll see you later, okay?"

"Yea, fine. Bye." Clara hung up without so much of a sentimental farewell.

On the other end, Liam, the man of the minute, was wondering what was wrong. She said nothing was wrong, so there is nothing wrong, he assured himself. But, she didn't even wait to hear his suggestion.

Wanting some fresh air, Clara put on her warm, winter jumper and headed out, walking towards the edge of town and towards the beach. It was still early evening and the streets were full of youths and teenagers going about the place. Clara's thoughts still dragged her away from concentrating on where she was going. Before she knew it, she was walking along the beach and resting to a stop in a little cove. She sat down on a rock and stared out to see.

Her life may seem perfect to any outsider, or even one of her friends. But she was deeply homesick. Even though she hadn't had that many friends in Scotland, she missed her grandparents, her cousins, the shops and even the climate. It hadn't rained here in Florida since she came here. The shower didn't come close to it. She missed rain. And snow. Scotland's climate may have been changing over the past couple of years but it still got snow. What was she going to do this year? What did people do where they didn't have snow? Sunbathe? Going on skiing holidays was never the same because the snow was supposed to be there. A freak snow storm going her way would be a pleasant surprise.

A sudden explosion of music behind her shook her out of her thoughts. Up on the cliff a car had rolled its windows down and a snogging couple were oblivious to the world around them as the opening bars of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars began. Maybe not the snow she had been hoping for, but the song made her more homesick as the Irish vocalist began to sing.

We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

The words haunted her. Liam told her that he loved her all the time. According to Jaala, she was his first serious girlfriend. Clara had never said it to anyone but family. Not with her exes, not with any man. She told her mum and her siblings that she loved them, but that was a different kind of love. The family love. The kind that came with being born into and brought up within any family group.

She thought about Alyth and how she had never known her real parents. She remembered being told only two years ago that Clara herself had had a twin that had died at birth. Her mother had had a troubled birth while in France visiting family. Twins were expected, healthy before birth, but one had been unsuccessful in this world. A tear slipped down her cheek as she wished that she had had that twin sister with her now. How different her life would be. Her mother would no longer look lovingly but longingly at Clara when she played with her siblings. She would have someone to share her thoughts with. They would have been fraternal twins, not identical, but anything would do. Her older brother, a difference of two years, could be difficult at times, but on other occasions, he could be her best friend.

Enough of these, depressing thoughts, she murmured, almost to herself. She couldn't do anything about the not having a twin situation, that was over, in the past, and unchangeable! As for the home sickness she couldn't do anything about that either, not until Christmas anyway, and that was still two months away. They got three weeks of holiday at the high school and the same at the junior school. So they were going to spend Christmas and the build up to New Year in Scotland with her brother and grandparents. And then two days before Hogmanay they would fly back here for the various parties that were happening. Mark was having a party on Hogmanay and Jaala and Liam were having a party on New Year's Day. The party season was not long off. Perhaps she could indulge herself in the pre-January sales in Glasgow and get a few nice outfits for the celebrations. Oh, how it would be nice to shop in cheapo shops again like Peacocks, Primark, H&M and Debenhams.

Clara walked home and gave her mum a smile as she walked in the door.

"Hello sweetheart, nice walk?"

"Yeah, it was refreshing to say the least."

"Now, I wanted to talk to you about Margot." Margot was one of her mothers' new friends from the neighbourhood.

"What about her?"

"Well, she was asking me if I knew anybody who wanted to earn a few extra pennies before the Christmas season begins, and I thought of you."

"What's the job? I guess I should really save up for weekend outings and stuff."

"That's a good idea. Well, I thought this might be right up your street. Her sister runs a bookshop down by the beach, on Augusta way, do you know it?"

"The Pink Elephant?" Clara had been in a few times, just browsing. It was a little like Waterstones. A huge selection of books with a café at the back. The café was usually used for poetry and drama events at nights. It also had an internet café which was pretty cheap.

"So you've heard of it? Well, Euphie, that's Euphemia to you, needs an assistant to help her out. She usually handles the whole shop on her own but the business has been really busy before in the running up to seasonal activities. Euphie didn't want just anybody, she wants somebody she can trust, not any high school drop out, do you get what I mean?"

"That's really cool. How much do I get paid? It's not just a favour to you is it?"

"No, it's no favour. Its neighbours helping out neighbours. But she's still going to pay you. I'd say it was about $9 an hour. So you're interested then?"

"Very." Clara's favourite place in Glasgow was the odd bookshops that were dotted around the place. She would spend absolutely hours in Ottakers, Waterstones or WHSmith Books, just reading and drinking coffee and perhaps nibbling at the odd muffin. "It sounds great."

James and Alyth came out the cinema just before ten. The History Boys had been about boys their age, still at school, at the end of their A-Levels, prepping themselves for interviews for Oxford and Cambridge Universities. It had first been shown on the stage, but it had been so successful that, with the same actors playing the same characters, it was brought to screen.

"Did you like it?" James asked his date. They hadn't sat in the back row like the other teens their age. They had actually watched the film from beginning to end. The back row had been rather crowded anyway.

"I thought it was pretty good. I expected it to be a little boring, honestly. But I was surprised."

"Me too, but it was worth it, I think." He told her. He probably wouldn't have gone to see it on his own. He was glad he had seen it with Alyth. She was like the perfect date. She actually ate un-diet food and not salad; she hadn't talked all the way through the film like his sister always did during a quiet bit or where there was just music; and she actually understood all the English humour. This mad James in an understandably good mood.

"So what now? Do we go our separate ways?" Alyth didn't want this, but she'd ask to be polite just the same.

"Well, we never got to talk in the cinema, and that there is a good thing, to just appreciate the film." He couldn't get the words out, why was he so shy? He'd just spent two and a half hours with this girl already! "Jeez, I sound like a geek."

"No, that's okay. I don't really want to go home just yet. What's your suggestion?"

"There's a café just around the corner. Perhaps we could go there for an after cinema drink?"

"Sure. That would be lovely." She told him.

Jaala was thinking about her group of friends. Last year it had just really been her, on her own, and sometimes Liam would come and talk to her to play the nice brother. But now Clara was here, her group of friends, well, she actually had friends! She had male friends too. Boyfriends of her friends, they were her friends. She could now finally talk to someone without blushing, going all quiet and running away. That was surely a darn sight better than last year. But maybe the books hadn't just stopped turning up there. The year wasn't over yet.

Please R&R :D