She got to the top before him, her neck shiny from the effort, dancing up the incline on rubber pedals. A red oxide gate in the high hedgerow let them look down over the valley. They slid off their saddles and stood.
He had never noticed her in class. Grace was serious and quiet and sat behind him. He was behind her now, looking down over the sloping field. She seemed French, he thought, with her hair up and her eyebrows, expressive of subtleties beyond the grasp of a thirteen year old boy, even one as tall as him.
They had met outside the bakers, both bored after Easter, both on bicycles. 'Let's ride up Peg's Hill,' she said, and he assented, through a hot cross bun.
Two sudden flashes of white amongst the stubble. The bellies of two hares stop-starting. Changing direction. One bigger, wilder of eye. They leapt at angles, twisting in mid-air, flying across the field, faster than a car, then vaulting backwards. A beautiful thing to witness. He turned to look at her, to say 'Can you believe this?' She was already looking back at him. She reached over and took his hand. He thought he was going to be sick, but in a good way. As if he might be shedding some now dead part of himself.
Yards away, the big hare caught and mounted the smaller hare, only one of them moving now, with calmer eyes.
Grace felt the boy's hand slip from hers.