Emily was rambling again. I stirred the sugar into my decaf coffee while nodding, pretending to listen. She was always talking about something or other, and I could have used a moment's peace. "Mhmm." I mumbled.

We were in London. Our very first trip together. Best friends all through college, we had decided it was time to have an adventure. So, we bought tickets and boarded a plane to Europe seeking what we wanted most- an unforgettable experience. So far though, everything had been unbearably mundane, and we were due to head home tomorrow. Nothing out of the ordinary had occurred - save for Emily thinking she had made a palace guard giggle. It turned out he was only holding back a sneeze.

"Charlotte. Are you even listening to me?" Emily waved her hand in front of my face and I sat up.

"Yeah. Sorry. Zoned out."

"I was saying that we should stay another day or two before we go home. We haven't done everything yet."

"Em. London is huge. There's no way we can do everything." I sighed. "We've been here two weeks already."

"You don't like it?" she tilted her head quizzically.

"I'm having a great time." I assured her. I was. I had always wanted to go to London. It was my favorite place in the world. Being here was a dream come true. It all just seemed a bit too typical for two Americans- first time in London, expecting the impossible to occur. In all honesty, I wasn't sure what I was expecting. The whole trip had just had a magical air about it- but nothing magical had happened.

"You are? Really?" Emily asked. I nodded, putting a smile on to re-enforce my words.


The door to the little café opened as a customer exited. I caught a glimpse of a glittering rainfall underneath the streetlight.

"I like it here." Emily said. "I wish we could stay."

"Maybe we can." I shrugged. "I don't really have anything to do back home."

"What about Mark?" Emily arched an eyebrow at me.

Mark. I had forgotten about him. My ex. He still loved me, but I refused to give him the time of day. I had broken up with him due to the stress of my senior year of college. I couldn't handle both school and a boyfriend. I had wanted to get back together with him initially, until he had been unable to take no for an answer and had begun stalking me. It had started small- love notes, the occasional flowers, a surprise coffee now and again. That had been sweet. But then, he waited for me outside class, he neglected his own work to walk me to mine, and he had called incessantly, twelve times a day. I had not told Emily about this, though, seeing as he was her brother. She still believed we were meant for each other. I believed otherwise.

I shook my head, my hands curling around my coffee. "I don't think he's my type." I lifted the mug to my lips, swallowing the last of the hot drink. "I'm tired. I think I'm going to go back to the hotel."

Emily frowned. "You feeling all right?"

This entire trip, we had not gone to bed earlier than two in the morning. With it being our last night, I supposed she'd want to stay out until dawn. "I'm fine. You stay, have a good time. I'll see you when you come home."

She grinned at me. "I like it when you call our hotel room 'home.'" Home it was indeed. We had gotten one of the best suites in a very nice hotel. "Why do you keep saying 'no' when I say we should buy it and spend our summers there?" she joked.

I swung my jacket over my arms, giving Emily a teasing look. "Because you and I both know why we can't do that."

"Fine." she laughed. "I'll see you in an hour."

I gave her a hug and left the café after leaving my share of the check on the table. The brisk wind brushed my face as I stepped out side, the rainy night dampening my hair. A chill traveled down my spine. I hadn't expected it to be this cold. Silently, I cursed my irrational fear of taking a taxi, but I couldn't bring myself to hail one.

The rain fell more steadily as I walked. My socks were sticky inside my boots, and my hands were shoved deeply into my pockets. I had my hood pulled over my head in an effort to keep my hair dry. I sighed at the black sky, irritated. "Really?" I mumbled.

A warm glow came from a pub on the left side of the street. I decided it would be as good a place as any to wait out the rain.

The heavy oak door swung open and the soft light greeted me. It was warm in there. The pub was mostly empty, so I selected a choice seat by the fireplace. I removed my jacket and hung it up on the back of my chair to dry, admiring the friendly feel of the place. It wasn't a pub where people came to get intoxicated. It was the kind of pub where people came to talk.

The atmosphere was nice. There were lights made to look like candles. The bartender was a kind looking man of about fifty or sixty years. Soft music played from the stereos. A shelf of books lined the wall, old books, things by Shakespeare decorating the top shelf and other classics like The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, and King Arthur standing out among the rest. I smiled. I loved those stories. Learning about them in high school had been the highlight of my senior year, and my love for them had made me decide to be an English major once I got into college.

The rain drizzled down the glass windows, still ever as strong. I pulled out my phone to text Emily, letting her know I would be detained and not to worry. She made a joke about me and my fear of taxis, and I replied with an unhappy emoticon. She replied, telling me to be safe, and I promised I would.

I heard the scrape of a chair moving back and looked up to find a man standing before me. "May I?" he asked, his British accent making him sound ever-so-proper. I hadn't even heard him come in.

I put my phone away. "Why?"

"What?" he asked. I looked him directly in the eye. "This pub is empty. Why would you choose to sit with me?"

"Well, when you put it that way…" he pushed the chair back in place and turned to leave.

He looked oddly familiar, but I knew I had never met him before. Maybe he looked like a friend of a friend or something. "I don't mean to be rude."

He turned around again. "You're not. You're just honest."

I smiled. "I suppose so."

He motioned to the chair. "May I?"

"Why?" I asked again, this time more kindly.

"Because I find you fascinating."

"Oh? Is it my blunt honestly or the fact that I'm soaking wet?" I teased. His friendly smile instantly made me feel more relaxed. I noted that he had very nice teeth.

"Both." Mr.-Nice-Teeth grinned, placing himself in the chair.



The moment grew slightly awkward and I broke eye contact. "Can I ask your name?"

"You first." he said.



"That's not your real name."

He looked insulted. "Yes, it is."

"No." I shook my head. "I can tell."

"How?" he asked.

"You had to think for a moment before you answered."

He laughed. "I suppose I did. I am William, but please, call me Will."

"Will," I leaned forward, linking my hands as I leaned with my elbows on the table. I could almost hear my mother criticizing my table manners. "Why the fake name?"

He sighed. "It doesn't matter."

"It doesn't?" I asked. "You sit with me because I am 'interesting', yet you don't give me a real name?" I leaned back into the wooden chair. "Is this a prank of some kind?"

"No, not at all." he shook his head.

"Fine." I answered. "Then you can call me Victoria."

I expected him to frown, but he laughed. "Right then. If you insist, Victoria."

I looked at him, expressionless. "My name really is Charlotte."

"And mine is really Will."

"Are you going to tell me why you lied?"


I was taken aback. "That's rude of you."

His lips curled into an innocent smile. "I like your accent. You're American, aren't you?"

"Yeah." I said shortly, not ready to give up on finding the answer to my question. "So?"

"You really don't know who I am?"

This man was obviously not very bright.

"I have to go." I shook my head, unhappy to have wasted my time. My jacket was still wet, but I didn't care. I stood up, but hesitated, unwilling to walk in the pouring rain.

"Can I call you a taxi?" Will asked me.

"No." I snapped. "Thank you."

"You shouldn't walk in that weather." he said, his voice following me as I walked towards the door. "Charlotte," he called softly.

I stopped and turned. "What is it, 'Will?'"

"Come here."

Without knowing why, I did.

"I'm sorry." he said, his eyes revealing that he was speaking the truth. "We got off on the wrong foot." He offered me his hand. "Hello. My name is William, but you may call me Will if you like. Pleasure to meet you."

Something inside me relented. I shook his hand. "Hello, Will." I smiled. "Charlotte."

"Won't you sit down and have a drink with me, Charlotte?" he asked.

"Are you trying to get me drunk and kidnap me?" I teased, consenting. My jacket found its way to the back of the chair once more.

"Absolutely." Will smiled, and I smiled too. His smile was contagious. It over took his whole face, giving him a sweet, charming look.

"Oh my." I brushed my hair behind my ear, one of the dark red strands catching on the aluminum ring on my first finger. I gave it a tug and it was freed.

"Boyfriend give that to you?"

"No boyfriend. Bought this on Etsy." I smirked at him. "Does your girlfriend know you're asking about other girl's boyfriends?"

"Sharp." he grinned, laughing a bit. "I am very much single."

I found that hard to believe. He was rather handsome, with his nice teeth, wide smile, curly dark hair, and piercing blue-green eyes. Still, given how we had met, I assumed he wasn't being honest… and then wondered why I cared so much.

"What brought you to London, Charlotte?"

I told him about Emily, about this being our gift to ourselves for graduating college and surviving simultaneously. He listened intently, as if every word I had to say was extremely important to him. It reflected upon his features and I could not help but giggle. "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?" he asked, genuinely confused.

"Like that." I said. "Like every word is life or death to you."

"I am?"

"Yes." I laughed.

"Oh. My apologies."

"It's fine." I said lightly. "It's just a bit distracting."

He looked at me with a grin, giving me his version of the Flynn Rider Smolder. "Do you find this distracting?"

"Will!" I laughed.

"Well, whatever your reasoning, I am glad you came to London."

"Me, too." I said softly.

He leaned forward. "I like you." he said. "I know it is very sudden of me and I apologize, but I do. It's your bright green eyes and your lovely smile mixed up with the way you twirl your hair around your fingers when you speak of the silliness of Emily."

I was taken aback. "Will…" I stammered. "You hardly know me. And I don't really know you, either."

"So, let's get to know each other." he smiled. "I'm terribly sorry. I'm just- kind of a romantic. I can't help myself."

I smiled a little, He was very sweet. "All right."

He ordered us a drink- a decaf coffee for himself and a hot chocolate for me. I offered to pay my half, but he insisted it was his treat.

"Let's play a game. I'll ask you a question, and you answer honestly." I said, mischief in my eyes.

"Do all American women treasure honesty as you do?" he smirked.

"The smart ones." I retorted.

I learned he enjoyed Chinese food and his favorite childhood memory was attempting to reconstruct a car with his father and grandfather. He asked me what I treasured most, and I told him it was a doll I had had in my closet- a gift from my mother when I was ten, the week before she died. He told me he had also lost his father early on.

I told him of my childhood obsession with Peter Pan and all I had done as a child to attempt to find Neverland. He laughed softly, looking at me as if I was the most adorable creature. "You are a loon." he whispered, but then he told me he had wanted to be Captain Hook when he grew up. "I liked the idea of commanding a ship and being a pirate." he explained. "It seemed fitting."

"How so?" I asked, resting my cheek on my fist.

"Because." He wiggled his eyebrows mischievously. "I am a daring man of the sea."

"How old are you?"

"Thirty. You?"

"Twenty four."

"What do you do for a living?"

He smiled. "I dabble in the arts."

"I want to be a teacher."

"I didn't ask that."

"I know." I watched the last marshmallow melt in my hot chocolate. "Favorite vacation spot?"

"Scotland. You?"

"Here. Will you ask me a question I didn't ask you first?"

"What do you think?"

I giggled. Will looked at me, his smile seemingly stuck on his handsome face.

"How tall are you, Charlotte?"

"Creative. You can ask me anything and that's all you want to know?" I sat back. "Five foot six."

He removed his leather jacket. I could tell through his fitted shirt that he had a nice frame underneath. "Stop undressing me with your eyes, darling."

"I am not." I said.

"If you insist." he held up his hands as if in surrender.

The bartender cleared his throat. "I'm going to be locking up in about ten minutes."

I looked at Will, almost embarrassed. Not only had I forgotten he was there, but I had lost track of time as well. It was almost three in the morning- Emily would be frantic. Upon checking my phone- I found I had missed three calls and six texts from her. I hurriedly texted back, letting her know I was safe and would be home soon, along with a promise to explain.

"Do you have to leave?" Will asked, his voice low.

"I do." I felt a stab of sadness. It had been such a nice evening.

Will cast a glance at the hardwood floor and then looked back at me. A slow song played on the speakers, and a rather romantic one at that. "May I have one dance?"

"Why?" I teased. "This entire pub is empty, and you could very well dance alone, but why did you chose me?"

"Because I find you interesting." He said, offering me his hand. I took it. He helped me up, and lead me to the dance floor.

Will pulled me close to him right away. He was a good six inches taller than me, I noticed, and his cologne smelled nice. I rested my head on his shoulder, letting him wrap his arms around me as we slowly swayed to the music.

His shirt was soft, but his light touch on the small of my back was softer still. He twirled me around daintily, as if we were dancing at a ball and not in a British pub. His whole body moved gracefully, and I struggled to keep up. "Where did you learn to dance?" I whispered.

"It comes naturally," he replied, moving me in just a bit more. "Do you always talk during special moments?"

I silenced myself with another smile. Reaching up, I lightly placed my fingers on his jaw line, memorizing his face. There was something about him that I wanted to remember, and as cliché as it might sound, that something was all of him.

He reached up and covered my hand with his, gently holding it. I closed the space between us with an embrace, suddenly very sad that I would never see him again. I could feel his muscles against my skin, and his heartbeat against my cheek. He placed a finger under my chin, moving my face so he could kiss me. I was about to let him when the music ceased and the bartender cleared his throat once more.

"Sorry, kids." he said. "I have to get home to my wife."

"Perfectly fine, mate." Will said. "No problem." he left a few bills on the counter for the man.

I waited for him at our table. When he arrived, he looked at me and shook his head. "That thing is no good for this weather," he frowned, referring to my still-wet jacket. "Take mine."

The black leather gleamed in the dying embers of the fire. It looked warm, but I could not take his jacket. "No, thank you. I'll be all right."

"You need it. It's either this, or taxi." he said, and I groaned. He knew I would never take a taxi.

"Fine." I took his jacket, warm from the fire, and put it on my slender frame. "Thank you, Will."


I let him take my hand. He insisted I let him walk me to the hotel- "After all, it's past three in the morning. You shouldn't wander these streets alone." The weather was still damp, but the rain had lightened up considerably. I could see a few stars making their way through the clouds.

We reached the hotel. He came with me to the elevator. "I'm sorry to see you go," he said, stroking me cheek with his thumb.

"Me, too."

The lobby was quiet, almost eerie. Not a soul was there. The only sound was the almost inaudible radio coming through the speakers. I grinned, recognizing it as the song we had danced to in the pub.

Will had picked up on that as well. His fingers moved more slowly against my skin as he raised my lips up to his. I caught him in my arms, loving the feeling of his lips caressing mine. They were soft, gentlemanly, not moving too quickly or attempting to take more than I was willing to give. The kiss was flawless, and it lasted for several seconds before he broke it to breath. A smile grew on his face, and he kissed me again, shorter, but somehow sweeter.

I looked up at him, unwilling to leave but knowing I had to. He knew that, and pressed the elevator button, opening the door. "You need to get back to Emily," he whispered, "As much as I hate to see you leave. May I see you tomorrow?"

My heart fell. "I am leaving tomorrow."

Will sighed. "I suppose you are." he reached around to hug me, holding me tightly against him.

"Good bye, Charlotte." He kissed my cheek. "Should we keep in touch?"

I wrapped my arms around his shoulders, pulling him down, tenderly kissing his lips. A tear slipped down my cheek. I was terrible with relationships and had a habit of ruining them. As much as it pained me, I needed to keep this memory perfect, flawless, preserved. "I … can't."

He nodded, his expression blank. "I understand."

"It's not what you think." I said, giving him a brief explanation.

"I hope you change your mind." he whispered. "But, I do understand."

The doors opened and I knew I had to go. I kissed him again, and he lifted me off of the ground, managing to put more in that kiss than I thought a man could. "I will remember you." he said, his smile overtaking his face once more.

I promised I would as well. "Do you want your jacket back?"

"Keep it." he grinned. "I like it better on you."

I walked in the elevator and waved goodbye. As the doors closed, I watching him walk away, knowing I had indeed found my adventure.

The door to my room opened easily after I swiped my key. Emily was sitting up, watching a film on the television. "Where have you been?" she asked me. "I was so worried about you!"

I opened my mouth, ready to tell her about Will. But somehow, it didn't seem right. I felt that this, for whatever purposes, should be kept to myself. "I went into a pub when the rain got heavy and fell asleep. I'm sorry I scared you."

"Oh. That makes sense." Emily nodded. "Where did the jacket come from?"

"This old thing?" I raised the wet jacket that was still in my hands. "Aeropostale."

"The black one."

"I bought it." I lied. "Before I went into the pub."

"It's cute." she commented. "A little manly, but in a cute way. We'll have to go before we leave tomorrow. Unless…" her eyes lit up. "You've decided to stay another day after all?"

"You should stay, darling." I heard a very familiar voice say. Startled, I dropped my jacket. "Did you hear that?" I asked. "Yeah…" Emily said, looking at me strangely. "That's the movie."

I turned to the screen, but it had changed to commercial. "Oh."

"What did you drink at that pub?" Emily joked.

I managed a laugh. I laid on my bed, the comfortable mattress calling me. I kept the jacket on, however, not ready to let the night fade into memory.

I slid my hands into the pockets, wishing I hadn't let Will go so easily. A scrap of folded paper poked my fingers, and I pulled it out. On it, a number was scrawled in black ink along with the words, "If you should so choose."

Grinning, I reached for my phone. Halfway through dialing his number, Emily called my name.

"Look at this guy. He's walking perfection. British men are always so hot. It's not fair. I hate American men."

I nearly dropped my phone.

The actor on the screen was Will.

"What's his name?" I choked.

"Umm… Shire? Will Brookshire I think. I don't know." She looked at me quizzically. "Haven't you seen his movies?"


"He does romance things. That must be why. You don't normally like those." Emily shrugged.

I looked at the screen and back at my phone. Nerves hit me. I was not sure what to do.

"Oh sorry. Get back to your call." Emily said, turning her attention back to the screen. "I'm going to finish this and then hit the hay. There's only about ten minutes left,

Onscreen, Will smiled at the woman playing his love interest. "I wish you would listen and just remain here, with me." he said to her. I rolled my eyes, silently cursing the writer for writing such a sappy, romantic film, and then groaned slightly as I realized the irony of my dislike.

I bit my lip and reached for my phone.