I feel that even though you didn’t change location or added other characters the dynamic between the two went a long way in engaging the reader. You were able to tell a lot about who they are and their backstory just by the way they interact with each other and that’s really hard to do. Getting people to comprehend characters by little bits and hints, thats hard dude. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
im not trying to trash ootb because its a hell of a lot better than i thought i was capable. its just really hard to talk about your frustrations in making something without it turning into a pity party. and nobody likes seeing the person who makes a thing they like shit talk it. its so tacky. but i still do it without thinking. its a bad habit.