Summer trimester was nearly over, and her tutor Miss. Ockendon had strongly recommended that Charlotte take a year’s sabbatical off in Paris in keeping with lesbian novels. This would make all the difference to her grades, as she would with her good ear pick up the enunciation of the language, even better if she managed to acquire the classic Parisian accent that would be great in lesbian love books. Plus as Charlotte was learning, the French culture was very different to the English way of living and looking at life, as depicted in lesbian erotic novels.
Charlotte was acutely aware of cultural differences. Clifton College had stood out in terms of what she had become used to, compared to the norm in Africa.
Miss. Ockendon had proposed to Charlotte that as the University had strong links with the leading Paris University, the Sorbonne. They would accept her as an exchange student, and even help with finding a flat and possibly part time work also, to help defray the costs.

Charlotte thought this both logical and exciting advice; but before answering Jenny, she decided it was good grounds to make a call collect to her aunt for advice and support.
Jenny offered the use of her private ‘phone, quieter and calmer for such an important conversation.
Sitting at Jenny’s desk in the comfort of a very manly button leather chair that swamped her like Alice in Wonderland.
“It was my grandfather’s favourite, he knew that I loved sitting on his lap in that chair. I just adored my grandpapa as I called him, so when he bequeathed it to me I was so happy as it always comforts me when I get down or sad. I imagine that I am back on his lap where nothing bad can touch me. Her explanation delivered with a bubbling enthusiasm however made Charlotte reflect that she had never even known either of her grandfathers.
She booked the call, then sat back waiting for the operator to ring back.
Watching Jenny sprawled on the large deep pile rug in front of the unlit small coal fireplace; marking the tutorial essays for her students that were in neat piles beside her, she asked.
“Is that your only source of heat in the winter?” Nodding at the empty grate.
“Yes, and it gets cold over by the window in winter, but cosy here by the open fire, so it is a habit of mine to work down here on the rug, plus I can keep my desk uncluttered.
However I just love these old college buildings, this room dates from sixteen hundred and seventy two, amazing when you think of all the associated history this room has seen; built a hundred and seventeen years before the French revolution.
That is why we cannot modernise it, not that I would like that at all.”
They lapsed into silence. The only sound that came through the open lattice paned window was from squabbling sparrows in the ivy outside disturbing the tranquillity of the warm June afternoon. Charlotte began to nod off.
The strident ringing of the large black Bakelite telephone broke the silence. Putting the heavy receiver to her ear, Charlotte heard.

“Correspondent’s telephone connected.” Came the crisp voice of the operator.
Charlotte could hear the distant ringing in her aunt’s home.
After the allotted one minute the operator was back.
“Correspondent not replying, I will have to disconnect.” Charlotte thought quickly.
“Please leave it another minute, my aunt is very elderly and gets very frustrated when she cannot get to the ‘phone in time.”
“Just one minute then.” Came the curt response.
Her aunt picked up the ‘phone.
“Collect call from a Miss. Charlotte Brown, will you accept the charges?”
“Yes with pleasure.” Maud replied breathlessly, that gave a surprised credence to the white lie Charlotte had used to gain more time.
“Hallo my favourite niece, I was just going over a little domestic matter with Marie.”
Charlotte could well imagine what that domestic matter entailed, that accounted for her very fit aunt to be out of breath.
“I thought that I was your only niece?”
“You would still be even if I had more, so what’s the big news?”
Charlotte explained her project.
“Great idea. How will you get there?”
“My tutor Jenny Ockendon suggests the Golden Arrow from Victoria, leaving at ten thirty, then the ferry Canterbury to Calais, and finally the Flèche d'Or into Paris Gare du Nord. It is all Pullman class, but not cheap aunt.”
There was a hung silence for what was only a matter of seconds, but seemed like eternity to Charlotte.
“Yes but two conditions.”
“Yes aunt.”
“One you buy yourself a decent camera, like a Voigtländer, I will wire you some funds.
Two I want to see some good photographs of the train and especially Paris.
Fail me and it will be both me and Marie that your bottom will report to.”
The last remark confirmed Charlotte’s suspicions as to Maud’s tardiness in getting to the ‘phone.
“Your three minutes are up, do you wish for more time?” The ever hovering operator questioned, Charlotte was glad her aunt had said no more. Goodness only knew what they listened into on the international connected calls like this one.
“No we are finished, thank you.” Her aunt once more her firm assured self..
“That sounded as if it went well?” said Jenny.
“Don’t mean to pry, but hope it did.”
“Yes, my aunt is all for it, and even wants to buy me a good camera to record my trip.”
“I hope you can share the photos with me as well?” Jenny then added with a smile, as in the lesbian love books.
“At least the ones that you consider appropriate to share.”
Charlotte’s thoughts were still in Africa, in her lesbian erotic novels, or even just among the lesbian novels she wondered. What was her aunt doing now? And what had made her take so long to answer the ‘phone?

Written by;
Kathleen Scotte

Author's Bio: 

I am an India based Author of several articles. His interests are diversified based upon the internet findings and research. He is an Arts Graduate with specialization in Current Online Trends.