Sex and the Highlander

"Let me tell you he just didn't have it when it came down to it," Samantha purred. She gracefully lifted one of the small link sausages from the plate and gestured with it suggestively. "Know what I mean."

Carrie laughed. "So his flashy car, his big Stetson, and his posturing were nothing more than…" Her voice drifted off.

"Stuffed socks," smirked Miranda as she spurted a small burst of air into her lifted coffee cup. She was having a hard time remaining serious in light of the look on Charlotte's face.

"Socks? Stuffed?" Charlotte was musing. "Sausages?" suddenly the very preppy and correct Charlotte blushed. "Oh… stuffed socks and little sausages. Not much there!" she crowed triumphantly. Bless her heart, Charlotte was a little slow on the sexual innuendos… but she did eventually get them.

Samantha shook her head. "I tell you it's like dating a man who wears a rug. I want to see what I'm getting… not how they pretend they are."

Carrie forked eggs benedict into her mouth. "Kind of like 'boob' jobs?"

Samantha sat back in her chair and tugged at her slightly revealing tank top. "I'll have you know these are one hundred per cent real," she grinned pointing one red-lacquered nail at them.

Her comment was met by a titter of laughter. The four friends met at this café for brunch twice a week to discuss their ongoing struggles with dating the opposite sex. Finding a straight man in New York City without a hang-up had proven to be a challenge for all of them. Each man each of them dated got the once-over in here… and always seemed to come up short… if not in one department… then in another.

None of the four thought they were that difficult to get along with or too demanding in their search for someone to date… but they did want someone special. That he had to be "Mr. Perfect" had not occurred to them… but they did want him to be "Mr. Right."

The four young women continued their conversation about Samantha's date's inadequacies only to gradually become aware that someone was laughing with them.

"Heh… heh… heh…" the man at the next table joined in. He grinned at them, his pale eyes flicking back and forth over them as he raised his coffee cup and saluted them. Well-built, muscular and yet not overly so, he had light brown hair, a bit shaggy for Charlotte's taste and was dressed in a belted London Fog overcoat over jeans, a sweater, and white sneakers. Samantha raised an eyebrow at him. He obviously wasn't a clotheshorse. Besides… although it was winter, who wore a belted London Fog overcoat anymore? He definitely came up short in the clothes category… but he was ruggedly handsome.

"Excuse me," she purred and crossed her legs, noticing that his eyes drifted down to them when she moved them. So far so good, she thought, he's definitely not gay. "Were you eavesdropping?"

The man laughed again in that distinctive staccato laugh of his as he set the coffee cup down. "Well… it was sort of hard not to overhear the conversation. Besides… four beautiful young women having breakfast… excuse me… brunch together are definitely worth noticing."

"Well yes," Miranda said with just a touch of the lawyer suddenly present. "But inserting yourself into a discussion that you overhear is not really… well… polite."

The man laughed again and shrugged dismissively. "Sorry. I didn't know laughing at your comments about your friend's date was considered interfering."

"Well it certainly makes introductions necessary," Samantha purred, offering the stranger her hand as if waiting for him to kiss it.

After setting his coffee down, he grinned as he turned his chair from his table toward theirs and pulled closer to them. "Russell Nash," he said in his oddly accented voice as he cupped Samantha's hand in his and lowered his lips to brush lightly against it.

Samantha arched her eyebrows as she grinned in approval. "He has Old World Charm," she announced. The others laughed lightly as one by one they gave Mr. Nash their first names… one didn't offer the last name usually… at least not single women in New York in this day and age. He nodded with each introduction.

"So… what do you four lovely ladies do or should I even ask?"

There was a momentary glance as the four… by reason of their close friendship… met one another's gaze quizzically and then assented with an almost imperceptible nod of the head. Samantha… always the bold one would start. She coyly opened her Prada bag and pulled out the small gold business card case. "I'm in public relations," she said as she delicately handed him her card.

"Nice," he murmured as he rubbed his thumb across the engraved… rather than printed… lettering, noting the color, texture, and professional aspect of the card. He fumbled in his coat for his own and handed it to her. "I'm in Antiques."

Samantha likewise rubbed a finger across the engraved lettering, taking stock of the antique brown lettering and the cream-colored card. The card practically shouted antiques in its style and color. She smiled and passed it to the others who were digging out their own to hand to Mr. Russell Nash.

Miranda's was a gray one with very professional and tasteful printing announcing her association with a prestigious New York law firm. Charlotte's had large curlicues in the writing and a pale blue background. She worked at an art gallery. Carrie's was pink.

Nash turned Carrie's over in his hands with a laugh. "Signature color?"

Carrie blushed while Samantha again took control of the conversation. "Carrie is our celebrity."

"Celebrity?" Nash asked. He turned back to his table to retrieve his coffee cup as he waved for the server to take his plate. He also motioned for a refill.

"Carrie's a writer!" Charlotte bubbled. "She writes a column for the newspaper."

Nash stared at Carrie a moment. "That's you on the bus then?"

Carrie laughed. "That's me. For some reason the bosses thought it would be good publicity."

"I don't read the local papers often anymore. What do you write about?"

For a moment there was silence. Finally Carrie took a deep breath and announced quite smartly. "Sex."

Nash stared at her and then chuckled. Samantha found his strange staccato laugh oddly exhilarating. "I take it you're an expert then?"

"Well… no," Carrie blushed. "See… it's about dating and being in relationships and how we handle break-ups and commitment. That sort of thing. It's sort of a single girl's guide to dating in New York."

Nash nodded. "Maybe I'll have to make the effort to read it one day."

"I take it you're single?" Miranda asked coolly. When she was in lawyer mode… she knew how to get answers from people.

"At the moment," Nash swiftly replied.

"Divorced?" Miranda continued. Under the table, Carrie kicked her friend. Miranda flinched but continued to smile at Russell Nash.

Nash shook his head. "Widower."

All four were suddenly silent. The concept of being married… of finding a soul mate with whom you wanted to spend the rest of your life only to have that person ripped out of your life by some sudden tragedy put a real damper on their flirtations with this stranger.

"I'm so sorry," Charlotte said sadly as she reached to hold his hands. "Was she ill?"

Nash shook his head. "Car accident."

"Recently?" Charlotte continued.

"A few years ago," Nash answered as he pulled his hands free and glanced about the restaurant… his eyes flickering over the other customers. While his behavior was decidedly odd, the women relaxed at his answer. After all… if he'd been widowed several years prior to this… then they could flirt with him without it being in poor taste.

"What sort of antiques does your shop carry?" Samantha asked with a smile, taking the lead once again.

"Lots of different things," Nash replied, returning his attention to the ladies. "It's an old and established business… it's been there over two hundred years… since before the revolution. When I took over the business… I changed the name."

"Over two hundred years old!" Charlotte asked, her eyes glittering. "Are there any old paintings in your inventory?"

"Several," Nash nodded. Then he glanced at the cards. He pointed a finger at Charlotte. "You're the one who works in an art gallery."

Charlotte nodded enthusiastically. "Who knows… you might have an unknown painting by a master. I'd love to peruse your shop some day."

"By all means. Just tell my assistant, Ms. Ellenstein that I've met you. In fact…" He rummaged in his pockets and withdrew three more cards, giving them to the other ladies. "Here… I don't give too many of these out. She'll know if you show it to her that we've met and will give you first class service."

"Won't you be there?" Miranda asked. She had that cross-examination style going again. As if she realized it, she blushed to the roots of her red hair.

"I travel. I only come into New York occasionally any more."

"Are you busy traveling the world and acquiring new objects d'art?" Samantha asked.

Nash met her eyes, holding her gaze until she thought she'd pass out from holding her breath. As she gasped suddenly he grinned. "Something like that." Then he laughed that laugh of his again. Samantha drew in a sharp breath. The man definitely had potential.

"I hate to flirt and run," Carrie said suddenly… but I have to get to the paper. She pointed at her watch. All four women suddenly realized that they were all running late and that as much fun as this had been… it was time to return to reality. Each scooped up a copy of his business card and stowed it in their purses with much ado and then bid him goodbye with a wave and a grin. Each secretly harbored thoughts of being daring and actually calling him or better yet… dropping by his store… without the others in tow of course. They were close friends who shared everything… everything that is, but the men they liked. That, they'd decided was in very poor taste.

As the four young women left the café, Connor MacLeod sat back in his chair and sipped his re-filled cup of coffee. The man who'd entered had glanced at him and nodded and then moved on. Connor felt a sigh of relief. He had enough to worry about on this trip without some other immortal suddenly feeling the urge to fight him. Sometimes he felt like the gunslinger in those old westerns… the man everyone is gunning for.

Glancing at his watch he realized he had just enough time to make his meeting with Duncan and still run his other errands. He swept the women's business cards up and into his pocket with a chuckle. Maybe he'd stick around and call one of them in a few days. After all… one of them had that delightful pre-immortal hum that meant she might one day be immortal. He hadn't been able to clearly tell which of the four it had been… so light was it. Likely Duncan could have identified the woman who had it. His kinsman had always been better at feeling those with the potential than Connor himself normally was.

At any rate… it was time to be off. His short tête-à-tête with those four charming young women had lightened his heart and maybe… just maybe… it would be enough to last him for a while. Connor MacLeod… the Highlander… immortal of nearly five hundred years, rose and sauntered out the door with a spring in his step and a tune running through his thoughts.

"If you want my body and you think I'm sexy
Come on, sugar, let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on, honey, tell me so.