"They're close. Oh, I'll give you that they're more elegant, probably faster, too, but still, under their pretty outsides,
they're cows. Just like your precious Millie."
Carol glared at him. "Don't you say that. Millie's wonderful."
"I'm not saying anything about her character, just pointing out that despite her being adorable and very tall, she is, in fact, a ruminant." He leaned close enough for her to smell the perfume clinging to his body. "Which makes her just like a cow," he added in a stage whisper.
She waved her hand in front of her face. "There's a smell."
Mathias nodded. "Yeah, she did get a little heavy with the scent."
"Did the big boobs compensate?"
"I'm not actually a breast man. My requirements are more about general appeal."
"If she's slutty, you're in?" She cleared her throat. "So to speak?"
"You wound me. There's a process."
"Not a very good one. You really need to shower before you go to bed tonight or your sheets are going to reek."
"Excellent advice. Thank you."
"My neighbor, the man whore."
She made the statement without a whole lot of energy—mostly because there was no point. Almost nothing ruffled him. Despite what he did for a living, he was the opposite of a brooding artist. Except for his questionable taste in sexual partners, there was little not to like about Mathias and she had to admit that in her heart of hearts, she was a fan.
"Have you considered that nearly all the derogatory terms about a person being promiscuous are directed at women?" He glanced at her. "Slut, whore. We have to modify them to make them apply to a man."
"What about a player or a sugar daddy?"
"No guy minds being called a player and I'm not sure any human has used the term 'sugar daddy' since 1979."
She chuckled. "That's not true. People say it all the time."
He looked at her, but didn't speak.
"Okay, maybe not 'all' the time, but lots."
"Carol, Carol, Carol, you are such an innocent."
"That must be refreshing after a night with one of your women."
"It is, although I have to say, I don't understand your dislike of bridesmaids."
"I don't dislike them. I simply don't understand what you see in them. Or what they see in you."
The last was a lie. Mathias was funny enough to be charming and sexy enough to be irresistible. She would admit that even 'she' had had the odd fantasy or two about him. Not that she would ever bother to act—she knew her place in the world. She was the plain peahen, while Mathias was the classic peacock. There was no reason for him to notice her and even if he somehow did, he only did one-night stands and that had never been her thing. She was much more a fall in love first kind of girl.
"What I see in them is that they'll be gone in the morning," he said as he stood. "As for what they see in me, isn't that obvious?"
He held out his hand. She reached for it and he pulled her to her feet. As soon as she found her balance, he released her, then reached down and grabbed her jacket. He put it around her shoulders.
"Come on, my little animal warden friend. We need to get you into bed. Morning comes early and cows expect to be fed."
"I should slug you really hard in the stomach," she grumbled as they walked to her Jeep.
"Such violence. You're not embracing the cow mantra of being one with nature."
"If you say cow one more time, I swear I'm going to—"
He held open the driver's door and she slid onto the seat. They were nearly at eye level.
"You're going to what?" he asked.