Here, sitting by herself writing in a prettily-bound notebook, is a twelve-year-old. Must have skipped a couple grades.
"Mom's a surgeon, Dad does research. I think it was on some antibiotics alternative, last I asked? I can't keep the details straight."
"I haven't picked a specialty yet but I'm thinking research, not clinical practice. Maybe public health. That's if I do wind up in med school instead of something else."
"He used to work with the CDC on something. It was years ago, though. We moved here from Atlanta when I was eight, I think?"
"OK, this is boring, I am changing the topic now. What do you do for fun? You said you wrote things?"
"I - sort of, yes. And I do archery and calligraphy and some crafty stuff and I read."
"Did you make that notebook?"
"No. It was a Christmas present."
"Someone gives good presents, then, it's a nice notebook."
"You need a test reader for your sort-of writing? I'd be happy to help."
"I haven't really planned on publishing. I don't think I'm much of a storyteller. It's almost more like annotated daydreaming than anything else, and I only have one story."
"Well, one's fine if it's a good one. What's it about?"
"A kid falls into a magical wardrobe and finds a land full of talking animals and fantasy creatures; a thinly veiled Christ allegory makes her Queen and she reigns for a fifteen-year Golden Age before being abruptly shunted home and finding that she is ten again and the wardrobe is no longer magic."
She almost but doesn't quite touch her cross necklace; she drifts into an almost British accent.
Arthur notices the drift, and the hand. "Funny daydream that comes with a Christ allegory. Your family very religious?"
"My parents," she says, accent snapping back to standard American, "are the sort of loosely Christian who don't actually do anything about it, and my mother likes to flirt with New Age and Eastern spirituality on an unpredictable schedule. I'm Christian but not any specific kind - I haven't found a church I fit."
"You're missing the important part of that story, Art. Which is the tasty accent. Where's it from?"
"Affectation left over from too many SCA meetings when I was ten and eleven."
"I like it, makes you sound fancy," she puts on a mock-serious expression for a moment, "You should tell all stories in that accent. No one would dare doubt you, you'd be much too dignified."
"I'll keep that in mind."
There's a bit of a lull, and Suzy nibbles at her lunch.
Isabella has a lunch too, brought from home. Nibble. "What was your name?" she asks Arthur.
"I didn't say, did I? I'm Arthur, nice to meet you. Five minutes ago. Or something. And I think I missed your name, too."
"Rhydderch, for me. Don't bother pronouncing it, even I've barely got enough Welsh blood to recite the incantation, it never works for anyone else. Even if they've tried for years like Miss Piper here."