Author's notes: Second in my 50x500 Swallows and Amazons challenge.

The trouble with Dick, Titty thinks grumpily, is that he gets so absorbed in everything. Like now; her idea of this walk had been... well, she isn't quite sure what it had been, but it certainly wasn't trying to identify every single bird in the Lake.

She frowns. No, that isn't fair. Once, she'd have enjoyed this thoroughly. This year's holiday is just so strange... the four eldest are all grown-ups now, and have to lead grown-up lives. She remembers saying that they'd come here for ever and ever, Nancy declaring that when they were grown up they'd live on Wild Cat Island all year round. Of course it couldn't be true, but she wishes forever had been just a little longer, or the same length for all of them.

Dick's staring at her, and Titty realises she's been lost in thought. She points to the first bird she sees, wishing Dot, Roger and Bridget were here. She'd been excited when Dick had asked her, alone, to come with him. The request had seemed to promise something more, but nothing's happening. She feels silly, a little girl thinking she's grown up.


Most of Dick's mind is firmly on ornithology. He's always been good at concentrating on something to the exclusion of all else. However, a small part of it insists on questioning what exactly he thinks he's doing. Dick wishes he knew the answer. He's a scientist, but he knows no method that will always apply to humans.

He notices Titty isn't listening. She looks thoughtful, which isn't unusual, and unhappy, which is. Dick turns his concentration to her, trying to guess what she's thinking; trying to guess if it's anything like his own thoughts. Then she looks up, points out an osprey, and he returns to being an ornithologist, attempting to ignore the questions dancing in his head. It doesn't work.


They're sitting together on the shores of the Lake, sharing a seed cake from Beckfoot's kitchen. They speculate on the boats they see, who'll never know what adventures they're on. Increasingly, though, Titty finds herself aware of Dick's eyes, boring into her from behind his black-rimmed spectacles. Finally, she can't stand it any longer.
"What is it, Dick?"

"I'm sorry...I just... I don't know how to say this..." Dot would do this better, in flowery speeches, he thinks. Gathering his courage, he goes on. "We've always been friends, but recently, I've wondered if we couldn't be, well, something more".

Titty's eyes are wide, and for a moment he thinks he's ruined everything. Then she smiles.
"I've wondered that too, though I didn't know what I wondered". Slowly, hesitating, she leans towards him.

For a second, Dick panics. He wants to do this, but doesn't know how to - what pressure should he apply? How long? Why isn't this in any textbook? Then they're kissing, and he realises he doesn't need to think about it.

Some people would be scandalized, but they don't care. It's them, and it's right.