Author: Sandi aka umgaynow aka That Big Tease
Willow stood at the edge of the road, just as still as if she'd been stuck up to her knees in the fens, with her mind running more swiftly than the Baron's best stallion.
O' such a quandary...do I dare to cross and speak to that wondrous creature? Yes...creature...for surely he is no mere man...perhaps a God fallen to earth...I'm quite certain that no mortal man could make me feel like this...how will I even speak to him? I shall doubtless be struck mute by his radiance...quite possibly swooning and falling into the forge...finding my soulmate at last, only to suffer a horrific, fiery death...or at least be scarred for life...he'd never want me then...what then am I to do? Hmmmm...I suppose I could go home without the horseshoes...of course that would bring down Pa's wrath with a vengeance...along with he buggy whip...again with the pain and scarring...then again, I could just continue to stand here looking like a simpleton...which is highly unlikely to lead to any sort of satisfactory solution...it will get dark eventually, after all...then there's the problem of wolves...
The redhead's decision making process was greatly facilitated by the sudden thunder of a team and carriage bearing down on her at no small speed. Having never much fancied the idea of being trampled to death, her internal debate was settled in an instant.
"Oh my...here goes," she sighed resignedly, then made a mad dash for the other side.
Her next conscious image was the rear of the carriage growing ever smaller in the distance, even as Cordelia's cry of lousy peasant still echoed in her ears. Shaking her head to clear it, she turned toward the smithy's stall, her heart pounding like his hammer on the anvil and all of her body atremble to be standing scarcely a pace or two from the most dazzling being she had ever set eyes upon.
Willow's awareness was so intensely focused on her newfound heart's desire, that the fact of Giles' presence escaped her entirely. That is until a flail lashed out from the shadows to the right of her, striking the back of the tooled leather vest with a resounding thwack.
"Mac! Wake up, ya bloody halfwit! We have a customer!" Giles snapped.
The boy hardly flinched. It seemed he was well practiced at bearing the sting of a whip, still the redhead could see that his hands were plainly shaking.
"That poor thing...leave him alone you big bully!" she fumed silently, glaring at Giles.
"I said...put down that bleedin' toy now and see what the girl wants or I'll send ya to the idiot house where ya belong!"
"Y-yes S-s-sir...I'm s-s-sorry, G-giles sir," the boy mumbled, lowering his gaze submissively as he set the work aside, but Willow could hear him grumbling under his breath, "It ain't a t-toy, it's a t-telescope..."
"H-how may I h-help you, m-m'lady?" the boy queried softly, but his new admirer heard not a syllable, occupied as she was with her first glimpse of his face.
Bollocks! He's hardly more than a child! Not so much as a whisper of a beard...oh yes...it's set in stone now...I am going straight to hell...the things I've been thinking about this...well...boy...that's really the only way to put it, isn't it? To him I must seem like some old hag...he'd never want the likes of me...well, back to the nunnery it is then...shyte! But...would you look at that face...so very fair...beautiful as a girl...must be from one of the northern provinces...Giles called him Mac...a Scot perhaps...I wouldn't mind seeing those legs in a kilt to be sure...and you know what they say about what Scotsmen wear under their kilts...oh my...could be Erse just as well I suppose...ah yes, a bonnie celtic lad if ever there was one...mmmmm...
The sound of a throat clearing put the brakes on the redhead's internal babble, "Oh...excuse me?"
Willow giggled and tried not to blush, "Oh...truly, my good man...I am no lady."
Mac raised a single eyebrow, fixing the redhead with a crooked and knowing smile.
"Oh...no...I didn't..." she blurted, turning ever redder, "I...I meant...I'm not a courtier...not that other...oh...not that I...oh dear...I...I'm still a virgin..."
Willow quickly clamped her hand over her mouth to prevent any further words escaping, mortified at the ones that already had. It seemed that blushing had turned contagious, the boy appeared to be just as embarrassed as she was, unless he truly had just noticed something fascinating on the ground at his feet.
"Oh my...did I say that out loud? I can't believe I said that," she gushed, "Please, forgive me...just the local madwoman...pay me no mind at all..."
The befuddled expression on the boy's face made it clear that she wasn't making much headway in her quest to make herself understood.
"P-pardon m-me...but wh-who did y-you say you w-w-were?"
"I guess I didn't did I? I'm nobody really...just the stableman's daughter."
"I see...b-but what do f-f-folks c-call you?"
"Um..." she was having no easier time expressing herself than the stammering boy seemed to be, poor thing.
"S-s-surely, you m-must have a n-name."
"Willow," she barely spoke above a whisper, fearing that she might swoon. He wants to know my name.
"Wh-what w-w-was that?"
"Willow...my name is Willow." Oh my.
"Ah...like the mighty t-tree...a g-good s-strong name."
"Thank you," she blushed again, "It's nothing really."
"I think it's p-p-pretty," he said softly, almost gently, "You c-can call me M-Mac...everyone e-else does..."
"Mac..." she rolled it around on her tongue. Hmmm, I wouldn't mind rolling him...oooh. "Got it."
"S-so, Willow..." the boy asked expectantly.
"Um...yes?" If he keeps saying my name like that I am not going to be responsible for my actions.
"H-how may I b-be of s-s-service?"
"Well..." How do you feel about older women?