Letters From Another Time
She's just a senior high school student who is totally against her teacher's assignment and he is just a lonely soldier, with no family to write to, nor to recieve news from.
When these two meet under the most unlikely of circumstances, both of their lives will change in ways neither thought were at all possible.
1. Chapter One
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Bella's World- Present
"Now, I'll come around to the each of you and you can pick your pen pal from this lovely hat of mine"
Mr. Berty said to the class as he strolled out from around his desk, beginning at the front of the classroom I rolled my eyes. Everyone was excited to write to some, perfect stranger for an assignment and I personally didn’t see the point at all. Mr. Berty, our senior English teacher had spoken of the ‘pen pal project’ in passing and a majority of the class had been interested, but never had I thought that Mr. Berty would go through with his word.
Mr. Berty approached my table where I sat with my workbook and other various items from my school bag strewn across my desk. I smiled up at him as he proffered the hat with pieces of paper that contained the names and addresses of perfect strangers to me. Sighing inwardly at what I was about to do, I plucked the first piece of paper that caught my eye from the top.
Mr. Berty smiled at me and moved on. I put the piece of paper down on the desk as if it were a poisonous spider and glared at it. I personally didn’t see any point to this assignment- our class was to write letters to a perfect stranger and then we would be graded on them? Just like that? It was preposterous. But, it was all taken to new heights when today, Mr. Berty detailed the finer points of the whole project- we would write to some poor schmuck for a year, using snail mail only. Some in the class,such as myself were sceptic of the situation, whilst others were excited to be blabbing to complete strangers about their uninteresting social life.
Indeed, just sitting here now, listening, you can hear some of the girls whispering to one another excitedly, hoping that they have chosen a guy to write to-and that guy is, of course well built, sexy and attractive...
“Now, that you have picked your pen pals, go ahead and write to them. Use today’s class to write your first letters and I’ll mail them after school finishes. After this, you are all on your own”
Mr. Berty beamed and I looked down at my chosen person, who’s identity sat folded up and typed on a piece of paper. Picking up the piece of paper, I vaguely wondered what Mr. Berty had to do to get this poor person to agree to let some student in his class write to him.
I glanced down at the name and then address, literally double taking at the state…TEXAS!? I was writing to some guy- some Jasper Whitlock who lived in Texas? This was definitely a laugh, the letters, sent by snail-mail would take days to get to the other side of the country. It felt like we were on the polar extremes already and I hadn't even corresponded with the poor guy yet.
Oh boy, this was going to be a failure, I just knew it. Around me, I could hear rustling of paper and pens as people began to write. Dejectedly, I took the envelope that Mr. Berty had placed on my desk along with a stamp and addressed it to Jasper Whitlock.
Then, I began to write.
To a complete and utter stranger,
Greetings and congratulations on the hell that has been brought upon you.
I’m not too sure what my teacher, Mr. Berty has said to you, but I’m one of his English language students who just so happened to pull your name and address out of his satin and velvetine top hat. I apologise for the inconvenience as I’ll be writing for a year.
Right now, Mr. Berty is writing things on the board, with suggestions as to what we should write in these first letters- as you without a doubt know, first impressions count and that's what Mr. Berty's emphasising. So...I guess I’ll indulge in some little details. My name is Isabella Swan, but you can call me Bella, I don’t like being called Isabella. I’m in my last year of schooling, thankfully I might add and…oh yeah, I’m from Washington State- the opposite end of the world.
So, don’t expect my letters (if you’re foolish enough to reply) to be all that frequent.
I also apologize in advance, simply because you’re one of the poor souls who have to participate in this stupid project in the first place.
I read over my letter, checking grammar and spelling. Satisfied, I fold the letter and seal it inside the envelope. This was lucky on my part as I completed the task just as the bell rang and after shoving my belongings, in my bag, I swept out of the room, dropping my completed letter in the 'out' tray on Mr. Berty’s desk.
Yep, I knew that this was just a nightmare waiting to happen…
Jasper's World- 1862
I jumped to attention as my commanding officer approached me. It was in the early hours of the evening and the men were receiving their letters from home. Letters from their loved ones. I had grown accustomed to not receiving any from my family, nor from my friends; I come to terms with that reality. So, it was with that thought that I thought that my commanding officer wished to speak with me for another purpose and I followed behind him when he gestured for me to fall into step behind him.
“Soldier, this letter is addressed to you”
I was immediately rounded upon as soon as we entered the tent that served purpose as the location for strategizing against our enemy- the North. Blinking, I examined the small rectangle that was being held in front of me- the writing was unfamiliar to me, slowly, I took the envelope and examined it, turning it around, I masked my surprise when I saw where it had come from- Washington State? When had this occured?
I looked at my commanding officer and, then, in turn my superiors.
“I don’t recognise this writing, nor the identity of the person who has written the letter”
I told them truthfully. My commanding officer regarded me with a serious look, as did the other men. I held the letter back out.
“You are more than welcome to read this letter. I have no qualms with you doing so with all respect sir”
My commanding officer smiled at me and gestured at the envelope, I looked closer-so they had already examined it and, for it was soon obvious to me, they had found no threat.
"Perhaps, you will be able to make head or tail of it, Whitlock. You may go”
Nodding, I bowed and left immediately, feeling slightly shaken. Returning to where my bed roll was waiting for me, I dressed down and began to read the letter that had cast suspicion and confusion on my superiors.
Finding great amusement, in what was written; I couldn’t help but pick up my pen and I began to scribble a reply:
Dear Miss Isabella Swan,
I am not heeding your warning in your intital letter so I am able to thank you for your letter. I must say, that it both confused and alarmed quite the number of people when it arrived. That said, I appreciate this sudden correspondence and I am sorry to inform you that I do not know this ‘Mr. Berty’ that you speak of.
I am more than happy to swap correspondence with you for the following year, assuming that I will survive to the end of this year. But, considering these times, if anyone of us can survive to the end of this year, it will be a feat in itself.