It didn’t take much thought for Sarah to decide to go to Market with them. They were surprised, but grateful. Jessica wasn’t feeling that well, so the girls would be shopping for her today. It was good to listen to the women chatter and Sarah fell easily back into the routine she’d had before the rescue mission.
At least she would have, if Jason had come home for lunch. She tried mentally calling out to ask where he was, but apparently, he was too far away or ignoring her. Doubting the latter, Sarah ate alone and wrapped up the rest, just in case. Still the possibility that he was ignoring her jiggled at her brain. She washed up and looked out the window towards the practice yard. Smiling Sarah went out, to watch
You shouldn’t be so rough on them, she stated after he’d dispatched two of the younger ones in quick time. The next and more conditioned of the bunch hadn’t fared much better.
How is your charge? he asked flatly as he squared up to spar Sergeant Deer.
Sarah smiled as she realized he hadn’t seen her yet, so she moved to the fence. The beaten Scouts and others were cheering the two on, including Reed.
“Hey Smith,” Reed grinned at her. “You look different.”
Sarah put her fingers to her lips, but it was too late.
“Smith?” the man next to him spoke as he looked around Reed. It was Adam from Deer Troop.
“Sarah Smith,” she responded, “Phoenix’s betrothed.” She looked back to see Deer’s sword go flying and Deer himself land on his butt.
Your Mother has taken my charge from my hands. Sarah waved as Jason finally saw her. Should I change so you can spar me?
I am not sure that would be wise. Jason frowned at her before handing Deer his sword.
Well Reed’s already called me Smith and so Adam caught on...
The two Sergeants walked towards the fence where Sarah waited smiling, neither of them were. They stopped an arm’s length away from the fence.
“Wait, if you’re Smith and Phoenix’s Betrothed,” Adam interrupted the silence, “then how come you were also a Hopeful...”
“Well she was...“ Reed began until Jason’s eyes flick from Sarah to Reed.
“And such information was to stay in Troop.”
Some of the other Scouts who’d been there began to drift away.
“Jay, would you not be so hard on them!” Sarah was beginning to get annoyed with his harshness.
Jason turned his steely gaze to her. “The King gave an order to keep the guise, and yet you have broken the guise.”
“Not my fault Scouts are trained to be smart and observant,” Sarah retorted. “As you can see I’m not in pants.”
“You have no cap on.”
“F...” Sarah began to swear and thought better of it. “Fine then spar me.”
“Are you sure you want to spar with me Sarah Smith?” Jason asked.
“If I remember correctly,” she sneered, “I beat you last time.”
“Then change and we’ll see if you can do it a second time.”
Jason spun on his heel and went to the middle of the field to wait.
Sarah turned on her own heel and walked, quick time, back to their house. It took a moment to find her stuff where it’d been shunted under the couch from when she’d taken it off to bathe days before. Wrinkled, dusty and still dirty Sarah shook it out and put it on. Finally she belted the sword at her waist and marched out.
Ignoring the odd looks from the women at the well she continued to the field aware they were following. Sarah felt Jason’s steely determination now. The thought of chickening out occurred to her, but she wasn’t going to run away this time. If Jason didn’t take her for who she was, then they shouldn’t get married and she’d go find out what she could offer the Arenians. Deer had moved back to the crowd that was re-gathering at the fence. Sarah felt them all watchng her as she stopped, facing Jason.
“I ask you again, Sarah Smith,” Jason spoke loudly. “Do you truly wish to spar with me?”
“Are you sure, you’re not the one who’s scared to fight me?” Sarah taunted.
A shiver traversed down Sarah’s spine as a smile spread across Jason’s face. She remembered the first time she’d seen him look at her like that. But unlike the cave sparring session where it had scared the daylights out of her, Sarah found herself echoing his smile.
“Fight to disarm!” Deer called from the side lines.
Sarah nodded, her hand ready upon her sword, her eyes never leaving Jason’s. She knew he was just as ready.