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The Music of the Spheres

Chapter Text

Emily had been able to spend most of the morning with Penelope, exploring the Tate Modern, until Clyde had called her in to the office for an emergency meeting. When she had asked if she was needed as well, Emily had shook her head, telling her to enjoy the rest of her day before pressing a few notes in her hand to get lunch with before rushing off to catch the Tube to the office. Penelope had watched her leave before letting out a deep sigh and looking ahead. Not too hungry yet, she made her way over to the community garden that was attached to the Tate, finding herself content to claim a bench and people watch for a little while.

Pulling out her phone, Penelope leaned back and looked up at the blue sky, taking a few pictures of the clouds before picking the perfect one to upload to her Instagram. With that done, she got up and began to walk along the river, heading towards Shakespeare's Globe. She smiled to see that there was a gift shop there, and she knew that she would have to hold herself back from buying everything she saw and wanted. There was only so much room in her luggage, after all, and she didn't really want to purchase another bag.

There was something so lovely about the interior of the theatre, and she couldn't help but pull out her phone once more, taking a selfie before impetuously sending it to Erin, thanking her once more for allowing her to have this wonderful opportunity. And since she was already texting the woman, she decided to do the hard thing, and honor Emily's request. While I have your attention, I thought that I might ask something of you. Would it be all right if we called and chatted sometimes? I'm going to be here for so long that I need a touch of home, and I can't easily call the team, we'll probably just chat through texts and email. But your schedule always you to have a stable timetable, and this would help us get to know each other a little better. I know, it's a bit forward, but I already find myself a little homesick, even while I'm in a place that I've always wanted to visit. I'm certain that will change once I'm working with Clyde's team, but that doesn't begin until tomorrow, since he wanted me to get acclimated. Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. I'm going to grab a bite here at the Globe and then ride the ferry down the Thames and take a bunch of pictures. I hope that your day is going well. Xo, Penny

She pressed send a half second before she realized how she had signed off the text and hoped that Erin would instinctively know that was how she almost always addressed her friends. Letting out a long breath, she finished up the self-guided tour and then hurried over to the small café and found something that sounded absolutely scrumptious. Letting out a soft giggle, she could just imagine Erin and herself sitting here, sharing a meal as the sun shone down on them, the woman rolling her eyes a little at Penelope's flowery language.

She took her time eating, knowing that there would be little time to sit and savour moments like this once she was actually doing what she had been brought over to London to do. Her phone buzzed towards the end of her meal, and she picked it up, hoping beyond hope that Erin had reached out to her already. Penelope frowned a little to see that it was just a text from JJ, asking if she had gotten used to the time difference yet.

I wish! Though I think I'm doing better than Derek is, he was really grumpy coming back to the flat last night. But we have three months to get used to being on this time before we come back home. How is Henry? I am trying very hard not to buy everything that I see for him, because I know that your house can only hold so much! Xo

With her reply sent off, Penelope put her phone back down before finishing up her food and then taking care of her didn't take long to get to the giftshop, and it was so very hard to restrain herself, knowing that she still had more than eighty days in the country. Still, she ended up purchasing a lovely scarf that she thought might suit Erin, along with a nearly matching one of her own. It was a small connection between them, and she hoped that the woman would like it. Letting out a happy sigh, she left the building and went over to the ferry station, waiting for the next boat to arrive. When it finally did, she made certain to get a spot where she could watch the passing buildings, taking copious pictures with her phone while she tried to drink it all in. She wanted to hold on to the wonder of something new for as long as possible, thinking that everything she was seeing could become mundane by the end of her extended stay in London.

"Isn't it beautiful? I've lived in the city for seventy years, and I still can't get over the views." Penelope turned her head to see an older woman, delicate like a bird, addressing her. "Is this your first time in London?"

She nodded in response, smiling widely. "I'm here on a short-term work assignment, and I just can't get over the fact that everything is both so old and so new. I want to experience everything I can in three months, but I know that that's too little time. And I know I need to get away from the tourist trap areas, too, in order to see the real heart of London, but I still wonder what I'll miss if I do that."

"You young people today, and you're FOMO. Don't worry about what you'll miss, focus on what you're seeing. With only one life to live, you have to make the most of it and try not to have regrets. Ever." Penelope nodded and slipped her phone back into her pocket, knowing that she needed to be present to experience everything that she was seeing. "Are you here alone?"

"Yes. I just met my soulmate before heading here on assignment, unfortunately. So I'm torn between wanting the time to fly and the days to stretch out into eternity."

"I remember that feeling quite well. As long as you talk to him as much as possible, you'll get through this time with no worries." The woman patted her arm lightly before moving to the inside of the ferry, and Penelope let out a little sigh as she turned her attention back to the city skyline. She really wished that Erin could be with her in that moment, seeing this, too, and she knew that they would have to come back here once they were together, so that they could share in this beauty. Feeling her phone buzz against her thigh, she pulled the device out and looked at the screen, seeing that it was just a comment notification from Instagram. It was truly still too early to hear from Erin, but she still had that instant moment of hope that she would be wrong. Knowing that impatience was not going to be her strong suit, she tried to swallow down her sigh of disappointment as she slipped the phone back into her pocket, vowing not to look at it again until she was back at Emily's flat.