“Let’s not go to the play,” says Philip Hamilton, breaking the long silence.
I stare at him, startled. I had forgotten I was walking with him.
“Miss Burr, you’re clearly out of sorts today,” he says. He lets go of my arm. “Please. Let me take you somewhere else.”
“My father does not approve,” I murmur. “So in my opinion we should just stay with the itinerary. When I come back he’ll ask me how the play was. How can I lie to him, sir?”
He bounces on his toes and looks disapprovingly at me. “I should have thought you to have more spunk than that, Miss Burr. But as you wish. We shall head to the theatre.”
We start walking again; this time he does not offer me his arm.
“Thank you, sir. I’m sorry about my father. I don’t know if you heard what he said before you knocked, but—”
“Oh, I heard every word.” He laughs aloud. “From—what was it?—oh, ‘of all people you go see a play with the son of Alexander Hamilton?’ It wasn’t fate’s opportune hand that led me to knock just as your father was forbidding you to go out. Alack, I was eavesdropping.” He feigns a clumsy bow, and I smile faintly.
“I hope you’re not offended, sir.”
“Ha! Why should I be?”
Softly I say, “You were headed to a duel with George Eacker because of what he said about your father? My father was saying things of equal measure, sir. Yet this time you laugh.”
“Oh, but this time I had a lovely lady defending me hotly,” he says, winking slyly at me.
“Jokes aside, Mr Hamilton,” I say quickly.
“I beg your pardon. As I was saying, your father and mine are staunch political enemies. Of course Mr Burr would insult my father so. It’s only when complete strangers like that Eacker say things they know nothing about that I cannot let it slide.”
“Mr Eacker was a tough one to crack,” I say. “He nearly refused to budge.”
He murmurs something. I don’t hear it clearly, but he turns his face as if hiding a smile.
“Did you say something, sir?”
He grins. “Again, lovely lady defending me.” I frown, and he says, “See, I knew you wouldn’t like it. That’s why I said it under my breath.”
“Will you stop calling me ‘sir’? It’s so unsettling. My name is Philip. Call me that.”
“Oh. If you wish, sir—I mean, Philip.”
His name sounds forced coming from my mouth. But he smiles.
“Theodosia,” he says, smiling again at me. Through his lips my name suddenly takes on different colour. No one has ever said it like that. A warm thrill rushes through me.
Is this called falling in love?
I blush. Then in a very small voice, “I’m afraid that isn’t proper.” I sound like my mother now. Is that good? Is that bad?
He stops walking. “I’m afraid I’ve never been proper, Miss Burr.”
But I want him to say my name again. I do, I do. “Well,” I say slowly, “you may call me by my name if you wish. But only when no one is around. My father may hear of it.”
“There is no one around now, Theodosia,” he says, laughing. “I’m sorry, did I drop your arm? Here, let’s be proper, if only in certain aspects and not others.”
I take his hand. It’s warm and strong and I feel ashamed of myself for succumbing to his charms so easily. I’ve seen him with the girls before. He does this with every girl. I know he does this with every girl.
“You’re different, you know that?” he says, as if reading my mind. “I’ve never seen someone like you before. I’ve known you for so short a time, but every thing you do is different from any other girl. You don’t flirt, but you offer to be a man’s second for a duel. That’s admirable.”
I don’t say anything. I’d rather have him forsake me entirely than flirt like this.
“You don’t like it? See, that’s what I mean. Oh, look, we’re at the theatre already. Shall I get tickets?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” I run my fingers through my hair distractedly. “I mean, we could just sit somewhere and talk, right?
He laughs. It’s as if he’s saying: See, I told you we wouldn’t see the play. Instead he says, “Can I buy you a drink?”
Somehow I feel that this has all happened before, in another generation.
I say, “That would be nice.”
Philip grins at me. Before I know what is happening, he strokes his hand down my hair. Then he’s gone, smiling wide as he walks off.
And even though I know that this is probably nothing special to him, I cannot help covering my face to hide the blush that creeps up on me.
Is this called falling in love?
So sorry that this is late. The internet at my house was down for a while and when it got back up again I was having a really packed day. Forgiveness? Can you imagine? Oh well.