Stratford-upon-avon

1.9K 70 3

The drive to Warwickshire wasn't very long, but by the time we arrived Tom and I were both exhausted. Luckily, he didn't have anything planned for the night, so we were able to go straight to the hotel.

Just like the last hotel room, this one was nice. A down comforter covered a queen-sized bed and white lace curtains hung in front of the windows. Through the lace you could see the lights of the town filtering through. I walked over and pulled back the curtains. The view was lovely, not a vast city of lights and movement like London had been, but a smaller town full of little pubs and lighted windows.

We both washed up and got into bed, too tired to talk much. It wasn't long before Tom started snoring softly and my eyes drifted closed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next morning I woke up fully rested and excited for the day ahead. Tom was still sleeping and I decided not to wake him, so I showered and got ready while I waited for him to wake up. When I got out Tom still laid sprawled across the sheets. It was edging toward 12 o'clock and though I hated to do it, I walked over to his side of the bed and lightly shook him awake.

Tom let out a groan and rolled onto his back. "Get up," I prompted, rubbing his arm. He just shook his head, a small smile playing at his lips. "Come on Tom."

His eyes opened and he sighed, stretching. "Alright, alright I'm getting up."

I pulled out my most recent book and curled up in the love-seat by the window. I heard the water start in the bathroom and Tom's low voice drifting,

"When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we'll see

No I won't be afraid

Oh, I won't be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me"

After a few minutes, he stepped out of the bathroom, having donned a fresh shirt and a pair of dark-wash jeans. He looked at me, still singing, and held out his hand. I giggled and took it, letting him pull me to my feet. He spun me around and pulled my body to his. I laid my head on his shoulder as we swayed to Tom's voice.

Tom reached the end of the song and stopped, but didn't release his hold on me. We stood in silence for a moment. I could feel his heartbeat, the subtle notes of his cologne wafted around me, mingling with the natural, warm scent of him.

"Breakfast?"

I smiled. "Tom, it's nearly noon."

"Really?" he asked incredulously, releasing me to pick up his watch from the bedside table, "Hmm, so it is. Lunch?"

"Sure," I laughed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom picked the perfect little pub, and we ate a light lunch. As I stepped out the door, I was again assaulted by the beauty of the town around me. The houses looked old fashioned, the cobblestone streets were lined with sidewalks containing a few people milling about. The town didn't have the constantly shifting, moving quality of London, but was just as alive in its own right. It didn't take much to imagine I was back in Shakespeare's time, arm-in-arm with my suitor as we strolled.

I let Tom lead me away, engrossed in the scenery. We passed statues and fountains, little shop windows lined with dresses and shoes. There was a lingering nostalgia here, as if the buildings were hanging on to the bygone years. It was calming.

We walked until I found myself on the sidewalk in front of a huge stadium-like building. A sign above the door proclaimed it to be The Royal Shakespeare Theater. "Two please," Tom said to the woman behind the glass. She smiled, nodded, and handed us two red pamphlets.

The seats were stacked vertically in large circular balconies that surrounded a small platform. We sat fairly high up, with a great view of the stage. People were beginning to file in through the doors down below, but they took the seats on the lower levels. "What are we seeing?"

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk-roses and with eglantine."

"Midsummer Night's Dream," I said, "One of my favorites!"

Just then, the lights were dimmed and the players began their show under the fading light of the afternoon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was after dark when we left the theater, and the streets were bathed in the light of old-fashioned street lamps, their flames flickering and animating the shadows. Only a short distance from the theater, Tom stopped and held open the door to a dimly-lit restaurant. "Welcome to Il Moro Ristorante!" said the maître d'.

The food was fantastic, but before I knew it we were leaving. I knew Tom hadn't booked the hotel room for two nights which meant our next stop was back to Cambridge. I was torn between dread and a slight yearning. Although I didn't want to go back to lectures and coursework, a part of me missed my little cozy dorm and the rhythm of classes.

It took hardly any time to pack our things and get on the road. In two hours we pulled into the little town I had called home for nearly a year now. We wove our way through the winding streets and finally pulled into the gates of Cambridge. I was suddenly weary and in desperate need of my bed.

Tom parked in front of my dorm and unpacked my suitcase from the trunk. He helped me get all my things inside, and after a few trips everything was piled in my entryway. I asked Tom if he wanted to stay the night, before drowsily showering and brushing my teeth. I collapsed into bed, exhausted from the long day, and felt Tom slide in behind me, his arm snaking its way across my waist. Mere seconds later I was drifting on the sea of dreams.

Is this seat taken?Read this story for FREE!