The end was welcome. Hardin smiled at its pending uncertainty. Oh, he had taught Diane well, but so far she had never been tested in life. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be that test. The final lesson.
She had fought him well so far. Not enough to best him, but enough to draw blood, enough to require full contact. His pistol lay not far from their hands. It was not strictly necessary to intertwine their fingers as he held the back of her hand firmly against the ground.
It was throwing her off-balance a little though. So it was worth it. And so was the feeling of the barrel of her pistol digging into his stomach as he straddled her. The anger on her face was priceless. But was it enough?
His left cupped Diane’s hand that held the weapon, index finger on the trigger. Hardin remembered the first time she had pulled it. Just a small training weapon, just a cardboard target. Years ago. She had shown a proclivity for fighting as art, shooting as sport. This was reality.
“Pull the trigger, Little Miss,” Hardin still smiled, feeling a trickle of blood run down his chin. “I taught you that much.”