Disclaimers: Some of the characters within this story are, of course, the property of MCA/Universal. As those of you reading this story are fans of a certain Warrior and her Bard, I really don't think I need to spell out who they are. They have, however been unashamedly borrowed and utilised for my own nefarious purposes. It furthermore goes without saying that all other characters in this story are figments of my devious little mind, and their resemblance to any real person, dead or alive, is pure circumstance. This work is all mine. No one other than me may alter, repost or reproduce this piece of work without my expressed permission. If however, MCA/Universal like this story, I would be open to offers, monetary of course, to have this transcribed for our illustrious Warrior and Bard to portray in our living rooms.
Subtext: This story is based on the premise that these two women love each other. If this offends you, find something else to read.
Violence: Well, this IS a Xena story. However, I don't do graphic.
Copyright January 1999 Sian McEwenLong Ago and Far Away: A Time Travel Romance
by Sian McEwen
Travel Companion Wanted:
Person who wants to travel to
Greece for 3 months
June - August, shared expenses.
Phone 030 888 9333
Samara looked at the newspaper in disgust. She couldn't believe that she had placed that advertisement - God only knew what kinds of loons might answer it. What on earth had possessed her to do that? Sighing she turned towards the fireplace to pick up her drink and caught sight of herself in the mirror. A tall woman with long dark hair and ice blue eyes stared back at her. She classed herself as pretty enough, but others raved about her, and many lucrative modeling contracts had come her way, and with them plenty of money. Fame and fortune brought their fans and groupies, both men and women, and Samara had not been one to turn them down. Samara had had her choice of partners for the last fifteen years, when she offered none turned her down either. Her eyes caught sight of the paper again.
Pah! She must be mad. That's what it was... temporary insanity. She had more than enough money to make the trip on her own, she didn't need to share expenses. And there were plenty of acquaintances who would jump at the chance to spend three months with her - but no one that she wanted to spend three months with. They were all too damn possessive. Not to mention brain dead. And recently the usual temptations had not been so alluring. She was obviously becoming jaded. Something - or someone - was missing from her life. "Oh well," thought Samara, at least she could say they had the wrong number - that it was a misprint in the paper. Or she could meet with anyone who answered the ad and turn them down if necessary. And there might not be anyone who did answer it. Well, she could live in hope, anyway.
Fifty miles away, Briana was reading the same paper. As usual, she read the first two pages of news, then turned to the classifieds. She found the personal column, and quickly glanced through it looking to see what poor desperate souls were looking for love tonight. Love? She looked more closely at the ads... Ok, so it wasn't love they were after. Her eye was caught by a very unusual ad - Travel companion wanted. To go to Greece? Brie's attention was caught. She had always wanted to travel, all her life Greece had been calling her, but circumstances had prevented her from travelling. She had planned on going as soon as she had finished high school, but her parents had objected to her travelling alone so young, and so she put it off until she finished college. Ready to go then, she had again been thwarted by her parents suggestion that she got herself a job and some work experience first. Her parents were right, she supposed; far easier to have a job to come back to, or at least the experience of working behind her before she went. Daughter of a Minister, obedience was well bred into her, even at 24, especially as she still lived at home. Briana had never travelled far from her home town, she had even gone to the local college, then had found a job as a teacher at her local school. She loved teaching, and it showed; the kids she taught loved her too. She was pleased to have found a career that gave her immense satisfaction, but lately it wasn't enough. Something - or someone was missing from her life. And adventure! Adventure called. Feeling stifled at home, she was ready to venture out on her own.
Reading the advertisement again, she realised that such a trip could be the catalyst for moving out on her own. "June to August," she thought. That would fit in perfectly with her summer holidays. She could organise a reliever to cover any extra time she needed, she had the finances to go... right. Determined, she picked up the phone, and rang the number in the paper. Three rings, four... five, six... darn, no one there, and no answer phone either. Just about to hang up, she heard a deep female voice say "Yes?".
"Oh, um, Hi," stuttered Briana, " Is this um...did you um...did you place an ad in the paper for a travel companion? Um... for June to August to travel to Greece?"
"Yes", prompted the voice on the other end of the line.
"I would be interested in travelling to Greece too," Briana told the voice.
"Oh?" Samara had no intention of making this easy.
Undeterred, Briana ploughed on. "My name is Briana, and I am a teacher. I have had a long term dream to travel, especially to Greece, and the timing would be perfect. Do you think we could meet to talk about the possibility of travelling together?"
"Sure," drawled Samara. "Where are you?"
Briana told her.
"Oh, I know," said Samara. "I'll come up tomorrow then".
"We could meet for coffee," suggested Briana, and named a place.
"About 10 then," replied Samara, and she hung up.
"Wow," Briana said to no one in particular, "she's communicative. And I never even found out her name!"
Brie got up and stared in her mirror. She wondered what this stranger would think of her when she met her tomorrow. Of medium height, Briana looked at the strawberry blonde who had green eyes framed by the mirror. Oh well, tomorrow would tell, and she brushed her hair and went down for dinner.
In her penthouse apartment, Samara lit the gas fire, poured herself a glass of Sauvignon and stood staring out at the lake. She hadn't intended to answer that damn phone. She should have turned on the bloody answering machine, but had forgotten. Curiosity had got the better of her, and she had answered the phone to hear a soft well spoken person who seemed to talk a damn lot on the other end. Samara at her most non communicative on the phone hadn't deterred that girl, Briana, she had called herself. "Briana." Samara was startled to hear herself saying the name out loud. Briana, she liked the way it slid off her tongue. She wondered what the girl looked like, and how old she was. A teacher? Samara shook herself out of her reverie. Oh Jesus, her friends would be having a damned good laugh at her if they could see her dreaming over some woman she hadn't even met! Determined, Samara closed the drapes, and put the whole issue out of her mind while she got herself dinner.
Briana woke up early the next morning with a feeling of suppressed excitement. It had taken her ages to get to sleep the night before, having had gone to both the travel agents and the library for information on her hopeful destination, and perusing the information until the early hours of the morning. Then what little sleep had come her way had been peppered with tantalising memories of photos of blue seas, white houses, and historic ruins.
And a stranger. An uncommunicative stranger. A very uncommunicative stranger.
Briana wondered what her prospective travel companion looked like. She amused herself with trying to imagine the person she would be meeting in four hours. Was she tall and blonde? Short and dark haired? Then she laughed at herself. Her stranger was probably an older woman looking for a last trip while she was still able.
Blast, she had to suppress this urge of excitement before she went down to breakfast, if her parents knew she was about to meet a stranger to discuss leaving home with them for three months they would probably have a fit. Briana thought of her loving but staid, upright parents. They were never going to willingly let her go off with a stranger for this trip. They would suggest... again..... that she married the equally staid, upright, boring Lionel, and that she do this trip with him for her honeymoon before she settled down to be a loving wife and mother. She liked Lionel as a friend, but as someone to spend the rest of her life with.....boring..... Her thoughts returned to her stranger. What was she like? What had induced her to place an ad in a paper? Her parents would probably say she was some murderer, or worse, that she got around dressed in leather or something. That no normal person would place an ad looking to travel with a stranger. And would probably cart Brie off to the doctor for answering it. As much as it would hurt them, Brie was just going to have to present them with a fait accompli. Her wings were drying, and she was ready to fly.
At 9.00am the following morning, Samara pulled out her cd case, and looked for some travelling music to suit her mood. Dangerous, on edge....scratch that, she thought, no damned music to suit that mood.... and pulled out the Spice Girls.....some saccharine to sweeten her up before she got to her destination was probably just what she needed. Failing that she could smash the bloody thing and gain some relief from the tension that was building up inside her.
Catching the elevator to the garage, Samara got into her red Ford Capri. She had loved the car from the minute she had seen it, and bought it on the spot. It spoke to her in a way no other car ever had....so in a rare moment of whimsy she had named it... Ares. It was exactly the sort of car the mythical God of war would have driven....if they had been invented back then. She dropped the cd into the player, gunned the motor, backed out of her space, and waved to Tony the garage doorman, who was gifted with the startling vision of Samara driving off down the street singing at the top of her lungs
"Yo! I'll tell you what I want, What I really really want......."
The morning had finally dawned quite chilly. At quarter to ten, Briana walked out of her house, telling her parents that she was meeting a friend for coffee in town. It had taken her ages to get dressed that morning, she hadn't had a clue as to what to wear. Jesus, she hadn't taken this long to get ready for her first date! She wanted to make a good impression on this stranger, and had changed her outfit five times. Finally she realised that if she didn't want to arouse her parents suspicions jeans and a shirt were the best way to go, so she had pulled on a pair of brown jeans and a light blue shirt.
She set off down the street on the ten minute walk into town, wondering how she was going to recognise the person she was supposed to meet...if they even turned up. However, when she got into town, it was obvious that it was not going to be difficult, the coffee shop was deserted at that time on a Saturday.
She sat down at a table near the door to wait.
It took Samara longer than she had expected to find a car park close to the coffee shop when she arrived in Briana's town. She had visited it once before on a modeling contract, and so she knew exactly where the shop she was meeting Briana in was located. She finally found one at ten, and hurriedly walked down the road to the coffee shop.
At five past ten, the door of the shop opened, and Briana was startled to see a tall dark haired woman with the most startling blue eyes she had ever seen walk in. Dressed in a short brown suede skirt, brown cashmere sweater and knee high brown leather boots, she was the most attractive woman Briana had ever seen.
Samara quickly glanced around the coffee shop, her eyes coming to rest on a young woman wearing brown and blue, for Christ's sake, with gorgeous strawberry blonde hair and green eyes set in a disarmingly open innocent looking face. Who then gave her the most open friendly grin she had ever seen.
Samara sauntered up to Briana.
Briana stood up and offered her hand. "Yes, I am. You must be...?"
"Samara," came the reply as she shook the proffered hand. "You often meet strangers in coffee shops?"
"No", replied Briana, "But goodness knows it is safe enough. There, Tracey has just gone out back to tell Mick that I've met a stranger in here, he is probably ringing my father right now, and in around five minutes, he will be in here to see exactly who I am meeting. One of the joys of being a small town's ministers' only daughter," she laughed.
Samara looked horrified. "Your father's a minister?"
At that point Tracey sauntered over to take their order. "Hi, Brie, who's your friend?"
Amused, Briana looked at Samara to see her glaring at the girl. "I'll have a white coffee, thanks Tracey," she said.
Tracey, not put off by the stranger glaring at her, tried again. "You're new in town, ain'tcha. One of them city folks."
"Yeah," drawled Samara, "What of it?"
At this point Tracey got the point, and said, "Hey, merely askin. Whaddaya
want to drink, anyhow?"
"Cappuchino, thanks," Samara gave her order, defrosting slightly.
However, right then, the door opened again to admit a middle aged man, who came directly over to their table. With her glare back up to Antarctic proportions, she stared at Briana. "Your father, I presume?"
Briana blushed. She turned to Tracey who was just standing there. "Our coffees, please Tracey," and then, as Tracey reluctantly left, "Hello, Father, this is my friend Samara".
Samara and her Father were glaring at each other.
"Oh dear," thought Briana, things were not boding well...
"You planning on staying around long?" he asked Samara.
"No, not long", she replied with a dangerous looking smile on her face.
"That's good," he returned.
"Father!" interjected Briana at this point.
To Briana he replied, "She's one of those celebrities, all in the papers, drugs, orgies and that kind of thing."
To Samara, "We don't want our nice girls corrupted, thank you".
Samara stood up, towering over Briana's father. "I get the point," she told him.
Backing off, he said "I'm sure you do." And he turned around and left.
Tracey came back with their coffees.
Briana quickly decided to salvage what little was left of their meeting.
"So, when are you going to Greece?"
"I've got tickets booked with Olympic Airways to fly out from New York on the first of June," Samara told her.
"Oh, wow," said Briana, that's only two weeks away. " I can't wait. I've always longed to go to Greece, and to spend three months there, wow. Oh, I've got so much to do, tickets to book, clothes to pack, a reliever to arrange. And all those lovely places to visit, Athens, the Acropolis, the temple of Zeus, the temple of Apollo, Mount Olympia, Santorini, Rhodes, Corinth, Thessaloniki, Sparta... and all the history, the mythology.... you can see why I want to go away, I am just so stifled here, you ought to see the guy they want me to marry, he is so nice but so boring, not an adventurous bone in his body. I love Mother and Father so much, but they are just so small town, so...
Oh.... I have to leave, there is so much more to life than this small dinky town.....places to go, people to meet, adventures to have....."seeing
Samara staring at her, she added "Oh, I am sure we'll get on well together. I'm good company, I can tell stories and poems, I can cook, I'm easy going and easy to get along with."
Samara was thinking "Does she ever shut up?"
"We'll have such fun together, travelling and sightseeing."
As Briana continued her rambling, Samara tried to interrupt.
"Briana..... Briana..... Briana... BRIANA," Samara finally got her attention.
"I'm going alone."
"Oh, let me go with you," argued Briana. " Please! You'll hardly know I'm there." Samara gave a rare grin at that one, she was starting to think that the girl never stopped talking.
"No," said Samara. "You need to stay here, with people who love you, like you mother and father, and marry your nice safe boyfriend, not to come on some trip with me to be corrupted."
"What if I want to be corrupted?" Briana demanded.
"Believe me, you don't," Samara replied.
She put a five dollar bill on the table. "That's for the coffees. See you around," and she walked out of Briana's life.
"Oh dear. Not good," Briana thought. She needed a plan, because Samara was going back to where ever it was she had come from. Without her. She never questioned her instant attraction to this stranger, a strange connection that was just there, like she had just met her soulmate. However, Briana was not going to take the kind of treatment she'd had that morning lying down. She walked back home, and went up to her room. Digging around in her draw she found the passport she had gotten five years ago in preparation for her last attempt at a trip to Greece. Adding it to her handbag, and grabbing her car keys, she went back downstairs.
"Mother, " she called. "I'm going to the mall to do some shopping, then visiting"
"That's nice dear," her mother replied. "Has that woman you were having coffee with gone?"
"Yes, Mother" Briana said meekly.....too meekly, if her mother had been noticing. "I'll be back in time for dinner," she said, as she walked out the door.
Briana had no idea of going to the mall. Just out of town, she hit the freeway, and headed for the city.
Also on the freeway was, of course, Samara. She was thinking about the pretty, naive girl she had met that morning. For once in her life, she had done the right thing, refusing to let Briana go to Greece with her. Briana's father was right, Briana did not need corrupting by her. Never before had she felt remotely guilty about the life she had led up until that point, of living her life in the fast lane with people who drank too much, did drugs and had different partners morning, noon and night. She was definitely not a fit partner for a naive, innocent virginal ministers' daughter! She would go to Greece by herself, like she should have planned in the first place, instead of placing that stupid ad..... but then, she thought, she would never have met Briana.....
Briana arrived at one of the big malls on the outskirts of the city. After the morning's little debacle, she had no plan of letting her folks find out what she was up to, and if she had bought a backpack and summer clothes there, let alone her ticket to Greece, her parents would have known half an hour later.
So, for the sake of secrecy, she had come to the city to do so.
First she went to the travel agents. Here, she hit a minor stumbling block in the form of two Olympic Airways flights leaving for Athens from New York on the first of June. Oh well, ever resourceful, Briana merely bought a ticket to New York on the thirty first of May, and decided that she would get to the airport in time to see which flight Samara checked in for, then would buy a ticket for the same flight. That done, she purchased a backpack and then went looking for summer clothes to put in it. Then Briana drove home for the last two weeks before her trip.
That night her father had questioned her about Samara, and what she had wanted with Briana. Briana, still smarting from his interference just told him that she had merely invited Briana, the only other person in the shop, to have a coffee with her, nothing more..... Briana's father, seeing that his daughter had not recognised Samara as a well known model, nor noticed his reference to it in the coffee shop, saw no need to inform her of that point. His daughter was going to settle down and marry that nice boy Lionel, not to have her head turned by fame and fortune.
Briana organised her reliever for the last two weeks of term the night before she left. The following morning, she told her parents she was staying at a friends for the weekend, and drove into the city, putting her car into safe parking for three months. Then she caught her flight to New York in preparation for the next day.
Samara had spent the last two weeks thinking about Briana. She just couldn't keep the strawberry blonde out of her mind. Oh well, there was nothing more she could do about it, this morning she flew out to Greece for three months. That should hopefully get Briana off her mind, she thought as she locked her door and caught a cab to the airport.
Briana arrived at JFK airport the following morning an hour before check-in
started for the first flight. She found the right place, then settled down to wait. She found herself a seat where she could freely observe the check in counters, but behind a post where she could not be seen. It would not do to have Samara see her and try to send her home. Time dragged by really slowly as she waited to see if Samara was going to catch this plane. Half an hour before check in closed, Briana decided that it must be the next flight that Samara was getting. Suddenly, ten minutes before the flight closed, Briana spied Samara. As soon as Samara had disappeared through the gate to the departure lounge, Briana quickly went up to the counter.
"I'd like a single ticket to Athens on this morning's plane, please" she said to the clerk.
"I'm very sorry, Miss, but the flight is full," the attendant told her. "There is another flight this afternoon."
Briana started thinking quickly. "But, you see...I have to get on that plane. My best friend just got on that plane, and I am meant to be on it with her. She'll kill me if I'm not on it with her."
Again the attendant said "I'm sorry Miss, but the flight is full."
"Please," Briana begged, "I have to catch that plane to Athens. I don't speak Greek, and I'm scared of flying, and I'm terrified the wings will fall off the plane, I can't go by myself, I have to fly with my friend or I'll probably go mad." Finally, in desperation, Briana tried the last thing she could think of. "You see, I need to catch that plane with my friend, I need to tell her I love her." Briana hoped that God hadn't heard her lie.
"There is another plane this afternoon" the attendant told Briana. "There are still seats available on that."
"Oh, please, can't you just check and see if there is just one seat left on this plane, just for me?" Briana gave the attendant her best smile.
Feeling sorry for the insistent girl, who sounded so defeated, the attendant checked again. After a few moments she turned back to Briana. "Well, you are very lucky. There has just been a late cancellation. It's in first class though." Suddenly the attendant smiled. "I'd hate to stand in the way of love. Just pay the standard fare, and I'll upgrade you."
"Oh, thank you, thank you so much." Briana's smile lit up her whole face.
She paid for her ticket, and quickly walked down to the departure gate where the flight had just started to board from. By the time she arrived, first class had already boarded the plane, so Briana just joined the end of the queue. She couldn't see Samara in the queue, so maybe she had been one of the first to board.
Finally it was Briana's turn to board the aircraft. As the last person, the door was shut behind her, and as she was escorted up to first class, the flight crew were busy finishing their last preparations for take off. Almost as soon as Briana was seated the plane started to move out onto the tarmac to join the end of the line of planes waiting for their clearance for take off. Her seat - mate was staring out the window. The cabin crew started their safety announcement, which Briana, who had never been on a plane before took great interest in. Then suddenly the engines started roaring, and they were rushed faster and faster towards the end of the runway, and the great jet lifted off for Athens.
Immediately upon arriving in the first class departure lounge, Samara had rolled her long dark hair up into a bun and put on a hat and sunglasses. She usually didn't bother, didn't mind being recognised, but today she was feeling morose about the absence of a certain strawberry blonde from this flight. She had timed arriving late so that she had a minimum of waiting time before she was approached to board the aircraft. As all the passengers filed into first class, Samara said a brief hello to those she knew, then took her seat. As the last of the first class passengers to board the plane, she discovered to her pleasure that there was no passenger in the adjoining seat. Relief swept through her at the thought of avoiding sitting next to someone who wasn't the person she wanted to be seated next to. She turned to gaze morosely out of the window as the economy passengers started to board the plane. She had done the right thing in refusing to let Briana join her on this trip. She figured that if she told herself that often enough, she might actually start believing it one day. Suddenly she heard a crew member telling someone that their seat was right up here. Wanting no communication with the newcomer, Samara continued to stare out of the window during the safety speech which she had heard often enough to know backwards, and through take off. Once they were in the air, Samara sighed. There was definitely no chance of going back for Briana now. She pulled off her hat and glasses, and unwound her hair. She heard a small gasp from her seat-mate, turned to see if it was anyone she knew, and got the shock of her life. There, sitting next to her, was the one person she wanted sitting beside her, and the last person who was supposed to be sitting there.
"I thought I told you I was travelling alone," Samara remarked to Briana.
"I had to come," replied Briana. " I couldn't stay at home any more, they don't appreciate that I'm not like them. I'm different, I want excitement and adventures. You won't regret this, Samara, we'll have such fun. We'll visit all the touristy places, we'll travel the whole country...."
Samara interrupted Briana. " Why did you come after me?"
Briana looked back at Samara and smiled. "Because you looked like you needed a friend."
Samara smiled back at her.
"This is going to be so much fun......" Briana was off rambling again.....
End of Part One.
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