(because I saw the prompt word “duel” and this spewed out… oops)
Ten paces and then they’d face one another.
It was simple, really, until Wally remembered the fact that one of them was going to be either severely wounded or else drop dead. Now, Wallace West himself was a man that didn’t believe in killing, but he did believe in defending a woman’s honor.
So of course he’d challeneged that lout Cameron Mahkent to a gentlemen’s duel when he’d insulted the smooth skinned, stubborn as hell, annoying as sin, beautiful as the moon, Miss Crock.
Not that Mister Mahkent deserved anything with the title of gentlemen in it, but fair was fair. Wallace had no doubt that he would need to act fast, however; though he was an honest man, he had the deepest suspicion that Mister Mahkent would aim straight for his chest.
Best not to give him the chance, Wallace thought to himself as he reached the tenth step and stopped.
"Are the gentlemen ready?" Mister Harper asked in an angry tone, probably with his arms crossed over the tailored suit that strained against the muscles underneath.
"Ready," Wallace and Mister Mahkent called out at the same time.
"On the count of three, then. One. Two. Thr—"
Wallace West yelled out in horror, expecting to feel pain, to see blood welling on the chest of his frock coat because that reviled snake of a man had just shot dishonorably before the official count was even done. But there was no blood.
Wallace was still breathing, and Mister Mahkent was screaming in searing agony on the cobblestones. Wallace gaped at Mister Harper, who looked just as stunned.
Their attention was pulled to the massive oak tree that stood behind where Mahkent had been poised by a small movement.
From the shadows, smoking pistol in tow, emerged none other than the spitfire of a woman whom Wallace had been attempting to honor. She blew the smoke from the barrel, then threw it down at Mahkent’s writhing form.
"Do get yourself together, you lout, it was only two shots to the shoulder. I dare say that was fair more of a courtesy than you’d have done to Mister West."
Mister Mahkent just howled in pain.
Wallace and Mister Harper continued to gape at the woman as she stepped over the man and walked calmly over to Wallace as though nothing had occurred. Her plump lips tugged up into a dasterdly smile, one that made his heart flip wildly inside of his chest. It seemed that Miss Crock didn’t need her honor defended; she had just defended it herself.
And quite magnificently, he might add.
"Miss Crock, I-" he began, only to have her hook her arm around his and start to steer him away.
"Mister West, I implore you save your blundering words for later. I simply cannot abide the thought of a man like Mister Mahkent taking the life of a man like you."
"And what, Misses Crock, is a man like me?" Wallace implored, hooking his arm into hers and taking the lead of their leisurely walk back into the party’s continued affair.
"A fool, Mister West. A noble, handsome, jesting fool that catches my eye with violent ginger hair each time he enters a room, and a laugh that sets my stomach into flutters."
Wallace laughed, feeling his heart swell in his chest. “Miss Crock that makes me awfully happy.”
"Why is that?"
"Well, I have been trying to pluck up my courage, that I might court you. If you’ll have me."
"As long as you don’t go defending my honor again, Mister West, I would gladly accept your courtship."
Wallace stopped, swept off his hat, and bowed to her, kissing the top of her delicate yet strong hand.
"You have my solemn word, Miss Crock!"