XXXVIII - Carl's place

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[RECAP: Carl Spencer finally invites Juliet back to his place after church]

Juliet liked Carl's house. It was tidy without being overly neat and he had shelves full of books. Juliet hated immaculate homes with polished glass all over the place, where you never felt you could relax.

Though she didn't feel very relaxed yet. They were alone in his home, somewhere she had longed to be, and now she was boiling over with nerves.

She looked around. Many of his books appeared to be in Latin and some were beautifully bound in leather with gold lettering on them. He clearly read them - they weren't just decorative shelf-filler - as several were on a coffee table and had bookmarks sticking out from them, and pieces of folded paper with notes. Juliet wondered if he was studying for something or just read them for leisure.

Next to the books, a pile of marking reminded her that he was her teacher.

Carl stacked the books into a pile. "I should have cleared this up before, I had to do some research earlier."

"Research?" Juliet looked at him questioningly.

"For a possible doctorate."

She was intrigued. "You're going back to college?"

"I don't know yet. It would probably be part time while I worked, but I haven't decided."

Juliet looked at one of them. "Magna Vita Sancti Hugonis - the great life of holy Hugonis?" she attempted to translate.

"Close. The great life of St Hugh," Carl told her. "So what about you, have you decided on college yet? What you'll study?"

Juliet hadn't. It was something she had been giving some thought to recently. "Everyone expects us all to go to college. But without knowing what I really want to do, it seems like a lot of debt to get into."

"You could start general, pick a major later on," Carl suggested. "And there are scholarships. You're easily talented enough to try for one."

"I know. It's just that I'm not even sure of going at all, at least not immediately." It was hard to explain. The one thing she was sure she did want, something that she had always wanted, was something she couldn't admit even to her friends.

But there were other reasons too. Juliet had spent her whole life at someone else's direction, under someone else's rules. Living with Aunt Mary and going to St Gillian's had been very safe and structured. She wanted to be free of all that. "If I go now, not knowing what I want to do, it will just be an extension of school. But if I wait and then there's something I really want to do, it will be worth all the money and everything."

"I guess most of your friends at St Gillian's have college funds?" he said.

"Yes." Juliet didn't resent it, it was just the way it was. "Above everything, I'd like to travel some more. So I might work and save up for that. Maybe even work overseas."

"That sounds wise. I've never regretted studying and working overseas, though it can make you restless when you come home," Carl said.

"Do you get restless?"

"At times. Which is partly why I'm thinking of doing the doctorate," he hold her. He changed the subject. "You must be hungry. Does pizza still sound good?" It did. "Great. I'm out of soda so we can order some with the pizzas."

Juliet looked through a pile of DVDs by the television while he ordered. There were a couple of movies, a British TV series on the Ancient Romans, and then a DVD on Christian marriage. The woman on the front of it looked like Aunt Mary.

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