Sam shivered as a cool breeze swept across the square.
"God, it's freezing," he grumbled as his teeth chattered together. Danny and George swapped amused looks. "Well, it ain't California," George quipped.
Sam rolled his eyes good-naturedly.
Both Danny and George were New Yorkers and pretty used to cold weather. But Sam was used to heat, sun and blue-skies. Unfortunately for him, they'd arrived in England in the middle of February.
It was drizzling, but he felt soaked to the skin.
"Hey," Danny said, gesturing across the road. "Ain't that a pub?" It was called 'The Rose and Lion', with a rampant lion holding a rose in its mouth. "What the hell is a pub?" George scoffed.
"Geez, didn't you read the pamphlet?" Danny cried.
George blinked. "What pamphlet?" "Either way, I just wanna go inside," Sam interrupted. "Anything to get out of the cold." They all grumbled in a agreement, glad to for any shelter from the rain
They stepped inside and sighed as the warmth engulfed them. A fire was roaring in the fireplace, and the whole place smelled comfortingly of tobacco and beer.
It looked just like what Sam had seen in the travel brochures; people were sitting at the tables, chatting animatedly and laughing. It was as if there wasn't a war going on at all.
"We'll grab a table," Danny said to Sam. "Go get the drinks, will ya?" Sam nodded, "Sure." He approached the bar and found a girl standing behind it.
She was clutching something close to her chest and had her eyes closed, like she was praying and her brow furrowed. Sam was hesitant to disturb her, but he really wanted a drink.
"Excuse me?" He asked loudly.
The girl jumped like she'd been electrified, and her face flooded with colour. She was pretty, with thick brunette hair in a Heidi roll and feline green eyes.
She smiled, and Sam forgot that he was cold and miserable.
"What can I do for you?" She asked. Sam liked her accent; it was clear and fluid, unlike the harsh cockney accent that he'd been hearing all day. He was just happy that he could understand her.
He smiled, trying to seem friendly.
"Can I have three beers, please?" he managed to say without tripping over his words. She carefully placed the bundle of letters on the bar, accepted his money, and proceeded to pour the beers.
He watched her, occasionally pretending to look somewhere else. Once or twice she almost caught him staring and he'd avert his gaze to his friends, who were chatting with some locals.
"Here you go," she said, putting the beers on the counter.
"Thanks," he smiled, picking up the glasses. The girl frowned. "Do you need help?" She asked, concerned. Sam shook his head. "I'm good," he said, though he was a little worried himself.
The girl looked sceptical.
"Are you sure- whoops!" Sam breathed a sigh of relief. He'd almost spilled one of the drinks, but regained his composure. It really didn't help that she was staring at him.
"I'll be fine," he smiled.
He turned around and hastened to their table before he could make a fool of himself. Sam sat down, feeling kind of dazed. However, Danny and George took their drinks eagerly.
Sam resisted the urge to look over his shoulder.
Who WAS that? And why did he feel like he had just ran a marathon?
Danny noticed Sam's whimsical and distant expression.
"Hey," he said, waving his hand in front of his face. "What's wrong, bud?" Sam picked up his beer sheepishly. "Nothing," he mumbled, taking a sip. George narrowed his eyes, but then shrugged.
"Hey, Sam," he said, putting an arm around a pretty blonde.
"Have you met Vera?" Vera smiled at him and giggled. "How do you do?" she said. "What part of America are you from?"
Sam snuck a look over his shoulder at the girl.
She was absorbed in a letter and wasn't paying any attention to them at all. Sam didn't know whether to be relieved or disappointed. Meanwhile, George was shamelessly flirting with Vera.
"What's eating you?" Danny asked, noticing that Sam was fidgeting uncomfortably. Sam shook his head. "Nothing," he said. His friend looked sceptical, but didn't press any further.
But every so often, Danny noticed Sam sneaking a glance at the bar.
After a couple of hours, however, they began to get bored.
George thoroughly enjoyed himself, and the two of them practically had to drag him out of the pub. "Come on!" He begged. "One more round! I've gotta nail Joe at darts!"
"For God's sake!" Danny groaned. "If you don't get out now, you never will!" "They all seem so nice, though," George grinned, waggling his eyebrows. "Especially the ladies!"
Danny and Sam groaned.
"You and women," Danny sighed, but George just laughed. He then turned to Sam with a shark-like grin on his face. "Besides," he winked. "I wasn't the only one checking out the girls..."
"...I saw Sam eyein' that bar girl," George teased.
Sam's face flooded with colour. "W-what girl?" he stuttered, trying to keep his cool. Danny and George chuckled at his discomfort. "Hey, it's cool," Danny said, patting his arm. "She was cute."
"You should ask her out," George suggested.
"I've heard that British girls like soldiers, especially American ones!" he added. Sam rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't know, guys," he muttered. "A girl like her..."
"...she probably has a boyfriend, anyway."