Methos made his way towards MacLeod's barge, hoping his friend was home. He was in a rather bad mood today and needed some distraction and since Joe was busy, MacLeod was next in line. Sure enough the Scotsman would have some crisis looming on the horizon, especially with Amanda still in town. As he descended the stairs to the peer, the buzz of another immortal's presence hit him. He reached for his Ivanhoe underneath his coat, but quickly discarded that thought when he realised who was waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.
It was that woman, Liz, he corrected himself mentally. The one that had intrigued him so much when they first met the other week.
She was leaning against the stone wall of the peer casually, smoking a cigar. Her slightly wavy dark brown hair was tied back into a loose ponytail. She was wearing a white shirt which poked out from underneath a red velvet blazer. It was a fashionable outfit. One that was oddly reminiscent of what educated gentlemen might have worn a century ago, when meeting in a Parisian café to discuss the latest novel of some writer or other or a political pamphlet. But however fashionable the outfit was, it was not very practical. Still no coat, so no sword, which he found somewhat careless. She breathed out a blue cloud of smoke when she laid eyes on him and smiled. A bit like a friendly dragon.
"Hello, darling," came her almost inevitable greeting accompanied by a cheeky smile.
"Hello, love," he replied making good on his threat that he would start calling her pet names as well once she had broken them out. He had settled on quite a harmless one for now, though he had momentarily entertained the thought of calling her something ridiculous along the lines of 'honey-bun' or 'sweety cheeks'. As he descended the rest of the stairs he continued to mentally enumerate various disgustingly cute terms of endearment and stored them away for later use. Thanks to that he was still smiling when he finally stood in front of her.
"They're not in," she announced. A bit of disappointment gave her voice a sour tinge.
"So you've been stood up..." he supplied.
"Basically." Another drag from her cigar. Its tip glowed deep red. She turned her head away from him to blow out the smoke in a perfect 'o'.
"What now?" He leaned against the wall beside her. She gave him a long calculating look, letting her eyes first sweep over his features, then his clothes, in the end they settled on his face again.
"Before you turned up the plan was something like this: smoke a cigar, mumble some curses under my breath and then head back to the hotel..."
"Before I turned up..." he repeated seemingly contemplating her words.
"Yeah," she smiled aware that although she had laid out the bait this particular fish was quite too clever to bite immediately. He only would if he himself chose to do so.
He broke her train of thoughts by surprising her with an impromptu question. "Have you ever been to the Louvre?"
She looked at him, her blue eyes flashing with something bordering on indignation. "Why do you ask? Of course, I have! I'm not a brute and I've been around for some time, you know."
"Never mind. I thought you still wanted to guess my real name and solve all of those mysteries that surround me..." She threw him an incredulous glance. Was he being serious? He wasn't paying attention to her, looking ahead, letting his eyes roam over the river and the barges floating on it peacefully. She couldn't have that. It irritated her greatly being ignored.
"Question one: Are you actually that full of yourself?" Liz stepped in front of him, effectively blocking his sight. She was counting of the numbers on her fingers, which was proof that he had her good and riled up just as he intended. "Question number two: What's that got to do with the Louvre?" Her rather rude words were followed by a sweet smile. Apparently that was her game - a constant titillation between encouragement and reproach.
"Have you never gone to museum to poke fun of the exhibits?" He waited for her to answer his question, but she stayed silent, so after a moment he continued to speak again. His tone was a tiny bit arrogant, almost schoolmaster like. "There are few pleasures an immortal existence grants. This is one of them."
"No, not until now, I haven't," she answered slowly, shooting him a taxing gaze.
"Who said that I was going to take you?" he grinned. It was just too much fun to tease her. He had by now learned that he wasn't always able to get a rise out of her. Most of the times she would notice when he was trying to push her buttons, but when he succeed it proofed to be worth it every time. She was quite temperamental and it was fun watching her get all huffy and red-faced.
"Why else would you bring it up?" Her words were underlined by a long and rather sceptical sidelong glance.
"So, are you up for it?"
"Is that a proper invitation now?"
"As good an invitation as you are going to get from me."
"Works for me." She pushed herself off the wall and started climbing the stairs, a cloud of cigar smoke trailing behind her. "Are you coming or what?"
He let out a well-timed fake cough before he followed her. "Are you going to put out the cigar any time soon?"
"No," she answered simply.
"Have you seen my damn cellphone?" Amanda was clad only in her underwear, rummaging through the pile of clothes next to the bed. The Scotsman smiled. He smiled because like this she was quite a sight to behold and also because he loved watching Amanda's antics.
She threw him a look over her shoulder. "Don't just sit there and smile. Help me!"
Instead of doing as he was told he let himself fall back on the bed they had occupied together only minutes ago indulging in activities that had been much more pleasurable than the fruitless search for a misplaced cellphone. "Why is it so important anyway?"
"Because I was supposed to meet Liz for breakfast. Today's her last day in Paris. That's why!"
"She's a grown woman," MacLeod informed her matter-of-factly. "I'm quite positive she'll manage to keep herself entertained without you."
"I'm sure of that. But that doesn't change the fact, that I've stood her up. I need to give her a call and explain."
"You know, I might have a solution to your problem...," he suggested after having listened to her rummaging and cursing under her breath for a while.
Duncan sat up in bed to give her a pointed look. "My cell is on the table in front of you. You could call your own number...," he left the rest to her imagination.
Thanks to MacLeod's advice Amanda's cellphone was found in no time and she was able to call her friend. The call was over rather quickly, though. Liz seemed to be busy, but from what MacLeod could tell thanks to hearing only Amanda's end of the conversation, she wasn't holding a grudge.
"She's with Methos. Or should I rather say Adam?" Amanda announced after she had ended the call. Her voice sounded both surprised and shocked.
"They must have met outside. Maybe they both wanted to pay us a visit," MacLeod shrugged.
"Do you think that's a good idea – the both of them, together?" she asked sitting down on the bed next to MacLeod.
"Why do you ask?" he asked taking her hand in his. His fingers almost immediately started to wander and trace distracting little patterns on her arm. She smiled despite the seriousness of her thoughts.
"Well, for one thing there's the fact that Methos is...well, Methos. And what about Alexa? It's been how long? A couple of months?" His fingers stilled.
"I don't think you need to worry about Liz. He doesn't strike my as the type who plays with a woman's feelings if that's what you're thinking about," MacLeod tried to reassure Amanda. He was ever the optimist. Always expecting the best out of people instead of the worst, even after several hundred years. Amanda, however, was less idealistic than Duncan.
"Actually I'm not worried about Liz, I'm worried about Methos."
McLeod was genuinely surprised and also a bit amused. "Worried about the Old Man? Why?"
"Liz is my friend. She even was my student at one point. I love her like a sister, but she surely isn't exactly a choir girl."
"So you don't trust her?"
"No, I do trust her. But her past is kind of murky..."
"Like yours," MacLeod supplied.
Amanda hesitated before she answered. "A bit murkier actually."
"What does that mean?" MacLeod looked at her with a frown.
"Well, I've had someone like Rebecca. I could consider myself lucky. Liz is..." Amanda let out a long breath, "She's complicated, but underneath it all she's a good person. But she's had no Rebecca to help her find her way. Only me. Sometimes I'm not sure that's enough."