It was truly the most awful, ridiculous, absurd, bloody moronic thing that had ever happened to her. Carolyn sat furiously on the fairly sodden field, fuming at life in general as her idiot dog ran around merrily. She yapped eagerly at the sheep that came too near, either looking to tap into her inner hunting genes or play with some fuzzy beast.
Her ankle hurt tremendously, and her palms were red and raw from where she had caught herself after falling. The hole in the ground had come out of absolutely nowhere and spontaneously engulfed her foot as she walked, leading her to twisting her ankle violently and sprawling in an undignified heap on the ground. A few sheep had come over to investigate this muddy, angry woman, but she'd shouted at them till they left her alone.
And how alone she felt! Arthur and her idiot pilots were currently flying to Brazil, and she hadn't thought to ask Herc to come with her. She'd felt that she needed, that she deserved a peaceful day on her own, and now look where she was.
As the aforementioned idiot son and idiot pilots were away, and as a twisted ankle really didn't warrant an ambulance, there was really only one choice. She couldn't quite bear the thought of accepting his help for being a clumsy old lady, but her options were very limited. It was either call Herc or hobble through a surprisingly treacherous field with a possibly-broken ankle.
With a sigh, she pulled out her mobile.
He raced to the gate that marked Carolyn's shortcut as quickly as his racing-green Mercedes would allow. She hadn't sounded overtly distressed, but there had been a mild undercurrent of pain, and perhaps fear, in her voice. Getting there had been easy, but the field provided a whole host of troubles.
Dear God, there were sheep everywhere.
He could see Carolyn a fair distance off, sitting on the ground, and he let that thought propel him through the gate. The sheep, more of them giant and menacing and horned than was decent, stared at him as he wove through their number. One bleated at him and reached out to take the hem of his shirt between its teeth. Feeling warm breath on his back, he definitely did not scream and run away. He just...cried out a bit in surprise upon seeing his love so close and ran to save her. It was all quite gallant, really.
The sheep were thick around his legs, congealing into a massive pile of horrible woolly bodies, but he eventually made it to Carolyn. She looked up at him, face sheened in sweat and streaked with dirt, and just beamed.
He could take on all the sheep in the world for her.
Carolyn didn't think she'd ever really been rescued before. Granted, she'd never needed it before, but she had to admit, it was...nice. And seeing Herc screaming and running through a field of sheep had made everything almost worth it.
"Can you move your ankle at all?" he was asking her quite suddenly, and she realised that she'd really, actually forgotten why he was there. Surely that wasn't the best of signs.
"No, it hurts too badly," she found herself admitting.
It wasn't long before Herc helped her up and pressed a kiss to her temple. It warmed her through, and she surrendered to the small smile drifting across her lips.
"We'll go as slow as you need. Tell me when it hurts too badly—I mean it."
She grumbled her assent and they started the slow trudge back to his car, Snoopadoop's lead looped over his wrist. They stopped twice when the pain became too much, and he made gentle shushing noises and petted her hair till she could move again. She hated to admit that it was soothing, and actually helped, so she just grimaced at him until they started walking again. He seemed to forget all about the sheep as he helped her cross the field.
He helped her into the car and put Snoopadoop in her lap. They dropped the dog off first then sped off to the A and E to deal with her pesky ankle.
It was as they were waiting that he kissed her gently and smiled, one hand curving kindly over her cheek.
"Marry me," he murmured. He didn't use his awful syrup voice as he had the first time, and it wasn't in some overpriced restaurant with an annoying man serenading diners with a violin like the second time. He was quiet, perhaps a bit reverent, and covered in mud. She was caked with the stuff, and a bit woozy from the pain, and sitting in A and E for crying out loud!
She really, truly, honestly, deeply, completely hated to admit it, but it was perfect.
Third time's the charm, right?
"Yes," she said, just as quiet. She could have declined (again), or masked her assent in sarcasm and snideness, but instead just breathed, "I'll marry you."