She always was straightforward. I felt her square her shoulders and take a deep breath. It made the buttons strain, just a tiny bit.
"Hal." She looked him right in the eye.
He was always perceptive. He didn't give her a chance to go on. He just said "I thought so." There was that half-grin, and the accompanying shrug. His hands in his pockets, not fidgeting, just there.
"Why didn't you say anything?" Her hands smoothed the front of her skirt. If she had been a nervous person, that would have been her nervous habit.
"Ladies first …"
"Always the gentleman."
"Just not your gentleman." His grin lurched to the other side.
"A gentle man, all the same." Her hand lifted, almost to his face. He caught it and pressed a kiss into her palm. She didn't pull away, but he let her hand drop.
"Well, then. I'll let myself out," he said. She stood still, and when she said "Hal" again it was to the empty room. Three whistled notes came through the window, then died away, the phrase abandoned.
[Image from .]