Paul Revere pulled his horse to a halt in the middle of the forest road he was riding on with a grin. He glanced over his shoulder and then further down the road before letting out a breath and leaning forward to pat his horse on the neck.
Riding was his favorite thing. Well, one of his favorite things. He had many, but riding was very high up on the list. There wasn’t an afternoon where he didn’t hit the saddle and go for a quick-paced ride up the road outside of Boston and back again.
And, if he had someone to join him, that made the ride even better, because then they could race.
His competitor rode up beside him just then, his chest rising and falling in quick pants. Paul’s grin grew. “How’re you feeling, Sam?”
Samuel Adams gave him a glare as he reached into a saddlebag and pulled out a flask. “How do you think?” he grumbled before he took a swig of whatever foul liquid was inside it.
“Ah, c’mon!” Paul reached across the gap between their horses and gave Sam a pat on the back. “The afternoon air is good for you! You can’t spend all your time in that damn tavern.”
“I can, and I would, if you’d just let me,” Sam said in response. “I don’t need this.”
“Yes you do,” Paul informed him. “It’s better than the nasty stuff that’s in the Green Dragon. You’ll get sick if you spend much more time in there.”
“Have you been talking to Warren?” Sam asked him with a groan.
“A bit,” Paul replied with another grin. “He came down to the shop with a toothache. Turned out that he needed a cap.”
Sam was about to respond when they heard a cry of panic coming from the road behind them. They both looked over their shoulders, and Paul’s eyes went wide when he saw a fast moving horse coming straight towards them.
“Move!” he said to Sam, directing his horse towards the edge of the road. Sam went to the other side, and the running horse galloped past them, a frantic young woman holding on for dear life on its back.
“Shit,” Paul muttered, flicking the reins of his own horse. He went off down the road after the woman, pushing his horse to limits he hadn’t gone too since the French and Indian War. “C’mon,” he urged, leaning forward off of the saddle.
The woman was screeching. “Help! Someone, please!”
Paul flicked the reins one final time, and his mare sped up to a speed that would have sent a mediocre rider flying into the trees. They rode up alongside the woman and her own horse, and Paul held out one hand. “Give me your hand!” he said to the woman.
She reached over and grabbed his, and Paul pulled her across the gap in the horses, bringing her onto the saddle in front of him. Once she was safely off of her own horse, he pulled back on the reins. “Whoa, whoa…”
His horse slowed to a halt, and Paul allowed the woman to slide down to the ground before climbing down behind her. He went around to the side she’d landed on, and crouched down in front of her. “You alright?” he asked.
She blinked a few times to get past her shock, and met his gaze. “Yes,” she said softly, brushing a strand of blond hair out of her green eyes. “Thank you. You saved my life.”
Paul grinned. “It was the gentlemanly thing to do,” he responded. He then held out his hand. “Paul Revere.”
The woman pulled off her riding glove before shaking his hand. “Charlotte Mills.”
“Paul!” He helped her to her feet as Samuel Adams rode up on horseback. He slid from the saddle and joined them. “How’s our damsel in distress?” he queried, looking her up and down.
“I’m well, thank you,” she responded. “Mr. Adams.”
“Ah, you know one another,” Paul said with an eye roll.
“Unfortunately,” Charlotte responded.
“Ah, c’mon,” Sam said with a lopsided grin. “I wasn’t that bad.”
“No, but you didn’t ever talk to me after that one time,” Charlotte said sourly. “That, in my book, is enough to give me cause to dislike you.” She glanced down the road in the direction her horse had gone. “I don’t suppose I’ll see her again, hmm?”
Paul followed her eyes and then shook his head. “No, I don’t think so,” he said.
“Dammit,” she mumbled.
“Something important in a saddlebag?” Paul asked her.
“Yes, actually,” Charlotte answered, “but nothing I wasn't going to get rid of, anyhow.” She looked at them both and then shook Paul’s hand again. “Mr. Revere, thank you for saving me. Perhaps I’ll see you again.” She then looked at Sam, a distasteful glint in her eyes. “Mr. Adams, I hope you crawl back into whatever tavern you came out of.”
“Ah, see?” Sam questioned, turning to Paul as she began to walk down the road towards Boston. “She knows I belong in the taverns.”
“Miss Mills,” Paul called, ignoring his friend. She stopped and glanced over her shoulder at him. “I would be willing to give you a ride back.”
Charlotte smiled. “I appreciate your offer, but I don’t believe I will be getting on another horse for quite a while.” She faced forward again and began walking once more. Paul watched until she disappeared around a bend, and then he looked at Sam.
“Did you really -”
“Yep,” Sam responded. He smirked and flicked his eyebrows. “And it was nice.”
“Oh, please,” Paul groaned. “Spare me the details.” He climbed back up into the saddle and turned his horse around. Sam looked up at him.
“Oh,” he said after a moment. “Someone likes her, huh?”
“No,” Paul responded immediately. “I mean, she was pretty -”
“Gorgeous,” Paul agreed with a heavy sigh. His shoulders rose and fell, and then he caught himself. “She was very attractive, but I don’t do that.”
“No,” Sam replied, swinging himself up onto his own horse. “Not the good and honorable Boston silversmith turned dentist.”
This time, it was Paul who glared at Sam. “I’m not you, Sam.”
“I never said you were,” Sam said as they began their return ride to Boston. “You don’t have to do what I did; you could pursue her.”
“Please,” Paul mumbled. “I met her for five minutes.”
“You saved her life,” Sam corrected. “If I were her, I’d be swooning.”
At that, Paul chuckled. “Yeah, well, maybe we’ll find her lying on the side of the road from a faint.”
They did find her on the side of the road, but she was walking. “You sure you don’t want a ride?” Paul called down to her as he slowed his horse’s speed to match her own.
“I’m fine, thanks,” Charlotte answered.
“I’ll send Sam on ahead,” Paul offered. Charlotte stopped walking and glanced up at him. Paul pulled his horse to a halt and jerked his head to motion for Sam to keep going.
“Women,” he muttered under his breath as he rode past.
Paul watched him ride away before looking back down at Charlotte. “He’s gone.”
“That he is,” Charlotte agreed. She let out a breath and glanced at the horse. “She won’t go crazy like mine did, will she?”
“Nah,” Paul answered. “She’s very obedient.”
“Glad to hear it,” Charlotte said. She swallowed and then picked up her skirts. She came over to the side of the horse. Paul offered her his hand, and she took it. He pulled her up into the saddle behind him, and Charlotte wrapped her arms around his waist.
“You don’t need to be scared,” Paul informed her. “I’ve saved you once; that basically means you need me to keep you safe.”
“Oh, does it?” Charlotte queried.
“Yes, ma’am,” Paul answered. “And I intend to make sure you are safe.” He flicked the reins, and his mare started forward again. Charlotte’s grip around his waist tightened, and Paul smiled to himself. “So, what were you doing riding out here alone?”
“I like being on my own,” Charlotte answered. “Solitude lets me think.”
“Were you thinking about anything specific this time around?” Paul asked.
“Other than about the fact that I was extremely close to death?”
Paul chuckled. “Other than that.”
Charlotte was silent for a moment. “Yes,” she responded at last. “I guess you could say I was.”
“Any chance you’d be willing to share?” Paul questioned. “I mean, it’s a long ride back to Boston.”
It was Charlotte’s turn to chuckle. “I just… I was going to return something to someone, and I was wondering why I was doing so.” She paused. “Maybe, if it was meant to be, it will find it’s way back on it’s own.”
“What was it?” Paul asked.
“Mmm, not something I want to tell you about just yet,” Charlotte answered.
“All right,” Paul said, pleased with the "just yet" she had put at the end of the sentence. “I won’t pry.”
“You’d be the first,” Charlotte informed him.
“A lot of people need to learn to keep their noses in their own businesses,” Paul said, thinking of a group of specific people.
“Like the Redcoats?”
“How’d you know?”
“I feel the exact same way,” Charlotte replied, “and I’m hoping someone will start to do something about it soon, or I may scream right in the middle of Town Hall Square.”
“You aren’t be the only one who wants to, believe me,” Paul said. “There’s a whole group of us who want the Redcoats out of the colonies.”
“Really?” Charlotte sounded interested. “What is this group planning on doing about said Redcoats?”
“Nothing yet,” Paul replied, “but I have a feeling that won’t be the answer for long.” They rode along in silence for a moment, until Paul said, “Miss Mills -”
“Please, call me Charlotte.”
He grinned to himself. “Charlotte, how exactly did you and Samuel Adams meet?”
“God, that’s a tale,” she sighed. “I was working in a tavern, just to earn a few extra shillings for my family. Sam came in one night, and used that stupid honey-sweetened tongue of his to talk me into having a few drinks with him. A few turned into a lot, and we ended up in bed together.”
“One of those mistakes you wish you could take back.”
“Oh, no,” Charlotte answered. “I don’t want to take it back. It was a nice evening. I just wish it hadn’t been the only one.” She paused. “That was very forward of me, wasn’t it? I apologize.”
“You like him?” Paul asked.
“No, not anymore,” Charlotte answered. “I have to admit, I kept going back to the tavern to see if he’d return for a month after our night together, but he never came back. Must’ve moved onto to a different watering hole, to a different girl.”
“Not that I know of,” Paul replied. “But, I don’t know Sam as well as some others do, so.”
“Mr. Revere -”
“... Paul. I must admit you’ve interested me into learning more about your friends. It seems as though we don’t run in the same circle.”
“No, we probably wouldn’t have crossed paths if I hadn’t saved you,” Paul agreed. “I’m a silversmith, with a few other businesses on the side.”
“Yes, I’ve seen your shop in town,” Charlotte agreed. “I’ve always wondered what it looked like inside, to be honest. I’ve never worked up the guts to go in, however.”
“Well, you didn’t have a reason to,” Paul said with a shrug.
“I do now, though, don’t I?” Charlotte queried.
That gave Paul a pause, but not an unpleasant one. “I suppose you do, if you’d like to view me as a reason,” he said at last.
“I would,” Charlotte said. “Very much so.”
“Then I guess I will be seeing you in my shop in the following days,” Paul commented.
“I do believe you will,” Charlotte answered.