His voice startled her, and her hand slipped. She swore softly and set the trowel aside. Here he came, blond curls and an earnest smile, the same boy she had met so long ago on the field of Bosworth. She had only been a post-grad then. He had been an uncertain appendage to his wealthy father, inspecting the work that his grant had funded, and for the sake of his uncertainty, and of that bewitching smile, she had let him push the barrow that she could have pushed herself.
That had been her first mistake. As he toiled towards her she wondered if she was about to make another. He hadn’t been supposed to find her here, and she wasn’t ready to face him. She had no faith in her resistance if she must face that boyish smile unprepared. Seeking some cause for offence to stiffen her resolve she demanded
“Why the formality?”
“I think I’ve lost the right to Rosalie.”
And there was that smile, and his halting charm, and she was falling once more. She knew where that led, but before she could find an answer he had rushed on
“I’d like to earn that right again. Lunch?”
“No.” It came out harshly, but she had to take that line. She’d tried to be his girl, to hang off his arm in fancy restaurants; it hadn’t worked.
Crestfallen, he swung the bag from his shoulder, and as he opened it she saw flasks and soft bread rolls.
“I got it wrong before, I know. I thought, lunch here? At your place?”
She gave in to the smile that had been fighting for control of her features from her first glimpse of him. She could never be his girl. He could perhaps learn to be her boy.
This was inspired by Microcosm a few weeks ago (the prompt was to involve a doctor in a battlefield romance). I cheated, and in any case it was – you’ll never guess – far too long.