The problem with having scarily brilliant friends was that it made surprises….complicated. First and foremost among said brilliant friends sat down across from him, jerking Kirt out of his musings. Richard narrowed his eyes slightly as he arranged his lunch and tea in front of him.
“You’re up to something.”
Kirt grinned letting his head roll off the hand that had been supporting it.
“Really, Richard, it’s me. Wouldn’t you be more concerned if I wasn’t planning something?” He drawled and unbuttoned the top but of his uniform just to irritate his friend. It worked as Richard’s gaze darted to the button and back to Kirt.
“Just tell me it isn’t anything that is going to delay school again, humm?” Richard began eating and Kirt took a moment to marvel that even his knife strokes were perfect right angles.
“That last one wasn’t my fault,” at Richard’s raised eyebrow Kirt laughed, “I could hardly be expected to know that Mr. Lawrence stored alcohol in his desk drawers. If I did I would have just stolen it instead of smoke bombing his office.” Richard finished his bite and Kirt imagined he could count the requisite thirty chews. “I’m not going to be by this afternoon. Plans.” That set Richard’s suspicious mind working, but when he tilted his head in enquire Kirt had his alibi rock solid. He jerked his chin towards Susan Ross, in the clear top two percent of the hottest girls at school, and waggled his eyebrows. Richard’s attention returned to his lunch.
“Ah, I didn’t realize the two of you had started courting.”
“We’re not,” Kirt answered just to see Richard color and he wasn’t disappointed. Excuses made without suspicion check. Kirt grinned and devoted himself to lunch.
Kirt wished he had a trench coat as he watched Richard get out of his town car and enter the rare book store. Kirt waited until the Mr. Tilton had parked the vehicle. The older man stared at Kirt seriously as he weighed the keys.
“Not a scratch, and you must obey all traffic laws Mr. Bane.” Kirt just managed to keep from rolling his eyes.
“Yes, sir. No scratches, no wrecks, no problems. I’ve got it.” He grinned brightly rocked to the balls of his feet and held out his hand for the keys and traditional chauffeurs cap that Lord Ravenshaw insisted his staff wear. Mr. Tilton hesitated a moment longer and handed over the items. Kirt handed him fifty quid and slipped into the driver’s seat. Mr. Tilton nodded and left to take a cab. It was almost fifteen minutes later when Richard exited the store his arm tight around his recent purchase. He hadn’t walked out the door with the book open, Kirt was almost proud of his friends self restraint. He pulled the car around and waited as Richard let himself into the back seat. On a normal day this would never have worked, but as expected Richard slipped on his seat belt and thrust his nose into the new book. Done and done. Kirt drove them out of town constantly checking the rearview mirror to make sure Richard was still engrossed. He didn’t look up until they pulled off the country road onto the green.
“Tilton-” Richard blinked, “Kirt?” Kirt’s answering grin had too much satisfaction in it for Richard’s peace of mind.
“What the devil? I thought-where are we?”
Kirt parked the car and popped the trunk. Richard exited the car in a dignified scramble and came around just as Kirt was hauling two broadswords from the boot. Richard glanced incredulous between the blades and his friend.
“You said your fencing instructor won’t let you practice broadsword-so Happy Birthday,”
“It’s not my birthday until next week,” Richard almost gapped.
“When you would totally be expecting a surprise. Come on admit it. I got you good.”
A slow smile grew over Richard’s face, “Thank you, Kirt.”
I’ve been robbed. You can see what the other thieves did with my line here. Merry Christmas!