She stood by the window, honey hair turned red by the setting sun. Beautiful, sweet-natured, and endlessly curious, she offered distraction he could neither afford nor bear to quash. If she’d been a boy, he’d have taken her on as an apprentice. She bent over one of the tables, proving irrevocably that she could never pass for male.
“This piece has a flaw.” She spoke her mind, one reason he allowed her to plague him.
He didn’t look up. “Impossible.”
“First, you’ve taught me nothing is impossible. Second, no man is perfect. Third, the pressure of the machine will turn that tiny bubble into a crack, and whoever is operating the contraption will, at the very least, suffer great injury. Unless, of course, you allow me to fix it for you.” She picked up the gear.
“Leave it alone.”
“Then promise me one thing.”
He continued to focus on the annealing process for the curved shaft. “What’s that?”
“You’ll be the one to demonstrate to his lordship your grand new invention. That way, no innocent will be harmed by your hubris.”
She spoke of his possible death with such great cheer that he finally set aside his work and examined the piece.
“Bugger. You’re right.”
She laughed. “I know.”
“I don’t suppose you’d cut your hair and bind your breasts.”
“You wouldn’t like it if I did.”
He sighed. “To hell with convention. Be my apprentice.”
She snorted. “I’ll be your assistant, and you’ll pay.”
And so he would.
Written for Thursday Threads. Check out the other entries. They're quite good.