Chapter 1 : Day 1
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“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R Tolkien
What. The. Hell.
I glance down at my watch yet again. 2:47pm. Okay, I had explicit instructions to meet out in front at 2:30 to meet him here. But is he here? No.
So I’m standing out here at the dragon reserve halfway across the world, eagerly awaiting the appearance of the boss, who appears to be MIA. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Maybe I misheard, maybe he mistranslated, I don’t know. But I’m thinking about going in and trying to find him myself, despite what my gut tells me. Hopefully I can find someone around here that actually speaks English, but I doubt that’ll happen, unless I’m very lucky. Maybe I could’ve learned the local language if my boss had given me more than three days to decide whether or not I would go to Romania or not, and be able to pack. But, no, of course not. God, day one is not off to a good start.
Pulling up on the handle, I boldly start heading into the dragon keep, just wandering around trying to look for anyone who can help me. Only a few steps in, however, I see a small group of men, smoking near a wooden cabin, taking rapidly in a foreign language that I presume to be Romanian.
I take a deep breath before approaching them. “Excuse me!” I call out. Their conversation ceases immediately, glancing at me curiously. “Do any of you speak English?” I say slowly, enunciating each syllable so they could potentially understand me.
“Ce faci aici, doamnă? Pleacă!” one of the men says, shooing me away. Obviously I have intruded into something important.
“O-oh, okay,” I say, not as confidently, backing up slowly. “Well, thanks anyways. I’ll just be going.” Just as I turn around, I bump into something solid, a person. “Oof.”
“Sorry ‘bout that,” a man’s voice says, grabbing hold of my arms to make sure I don’t fall.
“Thanks,” I mutter, but then my eyes widen in realization. “Oh! You speak English!” He chuckles, nodding. “Can you tell me where Mister Bălan’s office is? I’ve been waiting outside for the past like twenty minutes, and he said that he’d meet with me.”
“Oh, are you the American journalist?” he asks curiously in a clear British accent, running a very freckled hand through his bright red hair.
I nod and smile proudly. “Yeah, I am.”
“He’s been waiting for you in his office,” he explains with a small, satisfied smirk. “He said to meet him in front of there and he actually just sent me to go look for you.”
Realization dawns across my face. “Oh, I thought he meant out front of the reservation. That makes sense now.” I shrug it off like it's nothing, but secretly sort of feel stupid.
His smirk is quite a bit more pronounced now. “I’ll take you there now,” he offers, bending over and grabbing my second bag in his tan, muscular arms. “Come on.”
“Thanks.” I throw my purse over my shoulder and grab my other suitcase’s handle before following him through the reservation.
He slows his pace so he was walking next to me. “So, what’s your name again?” he asks, glancing at me through his deep blue eyes, such a beautiful eye color, I like that, I think to myself.
“Genevieve Simmons,” I say, adjusting my suitcase into my other hand so I could shake his. “And you are?”
“Charlie Weasley,” he says with a grin, shaking my hand with his rough, calloused one.
“It’s nice to meet you, Charlie,” I say with a small smile.
“You too.” He drops my hand and picks up my suitcase again, leading me towards another cozy-looking wood cabin.
As we walk, I finally get the opportunity to have a quick look around. Dirt and dust are being kicked up around us with each step on the dirt road, and all around, I see little wooden cabins, a few gated areas, and the road continuing on ahead of us.
“Is it really wise to have wood cabins here, of all places?” I ask curiously as we reach the cabin.
Charlie chuckles, pulling open the front door. “It’s called magic, love,” he responds and I blush.
“Right,” I mutter.
I notice immediately after walking in through the door that there was an enlargement charm placed on it. From the outside it only appears to be big enough for a single office and maybe a small bathroom. But on the inside, several cubicles have been set up and there seems to be a staff break room and separate bathroom.
Charlie takes me to a door located in the back of the building with a sign on the door that says, Domnule Bălan, written in gold letters, contrasting with the dark wood door. He knocks.
“Intra,” says a deep voice from inside. “Ah, Charlie, it’s you, and Miss Simmons, you’re late,” Mr. Bălan says sternly with what seems to be a thick Romanian accent, and yet he speaks with very good, almost perfect English.
“Sorry, sir, it was a misunderstanding,” I say sheepishly, standing awkwardly in the doorway behind Charlie.
He nods understandingly. “Yes, yes, please take a seat. Charlie, you may go.”
“Yes, sir,” Charlie says, placing my bag he was carrying next to the door, and before he leaves, he glances in my direction, that small, slightly arrogant smirk still present on his face.
I take a seat in a comfortable blue and red plaid armchair in front of Mr. Bălan’s desk.
“So, Miss Simmons,” Mr. Bălan begins, surveying me over the tips of his stubby fingers. I squirm a bit under his gaze. “So you will be here for three months, is that correct?”
“Yes, sir,” I say with a nod.
“Good, good. You have your very own cabin just around the corner from here so if you have any problems you can come to me.”
He nods to himself, thoughtful. “Alright, then. If you require a translator, I’m sure Charlie will be happy to help, as well as many other English speakers who work here, but keep in mind that they will mostly likely be working during the day.”
I nod. “Okay.”
“Before I escort you to your cabin, I just have a small question,” he says. “And I just want to hear it coming from you because I’ve heard only briefly from your boss in America. What is your initial goal or purpose here?”
I pause, thinking for a moment a small frown on my face. “Well, I’ve never been out of the States, so I guess travel opportunity was a big part. But this is a huge promotion for me, an opportunity to get a story on the front page of our newspaper, an opportunity very few have. My boss said that I would also likely have a multiple page magazine article as well when I come back with pictures and everything else.”
Mr. Bălan nods. “Alright, good, good. Now, I’ll show you to your cabin if you don’t have anymore questions.”
“No, sir, I don’t, but thank you,” I answer.
He stands up, walks around his desk, and picks up the bag that Charlie had been carrying. “Follow me, please,” he says, gesturing to the door.
I bend over slightly to grab my suitcase and my purse before following him out of the busy office.
He leads me outside, and makes a sharp left. Almost immediately I see a small cabin straight ahead, and I hope that it has an enlargement charm on the inside because it looks tiny, with barely enough room for me and all my things.
When we finally arrive at the door, he grasps the doorknob and pushes it open, stepping aside to let me in first. I smile, impressed at the layout of the room. It’s only one bedroom, with a large king-sized bed in the middle and a vanity against the other wall, and a desk facing the window, which had red plaid curtains. Off in the other corner was a door, which I assume to be the bathroom, and an archway leading off to a small kitchen and dining area.
“This is nice,” I comment.
“It’s your home,” Mr. Bălan says. “For the next three months.”
I nod. “Yeah.”
“Well, I’ll be going now. I would recommend just staying here for today and beginning your work tomorrow morning, so you can get some rest. Good bye, Miss Simmons.” And with a smile and a curt nod, he leaves.
“Bye, sir,” I reply, shutting the door behind him.
I watch from the window at his disappearing figure, glancing around at the area around me. I must say, I’m really looking forward to these next three months, learning all sorts of things that I’d never imagine knowing. And I can’t wait to see an actual, real dragon, up close and personal.
I grab my journal, quill, and ink once more and situate myself at the desk, bathed in sunlight, and begin writing. Oh god, it’s going to be hell editing this crap.
Day 1 – June 1, 1995
Not much of an exciting day, I must say, asides from me being unable to find Mr. Bălan, the boss of the reservation. And so far, I’ve met only one other person who speaks nice, normal English, and I can only hope I will be able to find more soon enough. I am unsure of what I should begin with tomorrow… maybe I should visit the Healers. But for now, I will relax and get used to this new life I will live for the next three months. And who knows what can happen in three months?
Edited: January 5, 2011
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this little ol' story of mine! (: I would really appreciate it if you would review and let me know what you think.
*Translation: Ce faci aici, doamnă? Pleacă! (Romanian) What are you doing here, lady? Go away! (used a translator, since I don't speak Romanian, so sorry if it doesn't make sense really)