“So you were paying attention,” Nikki’s smile threatened to become Cheshire-Cat sized. “I should not have doubted you.”
“I made that up on the spot,” I said, still looking at her leg.
“Droll, Matthew. So, you’ve already deduced it all.”
She sighed, and the smiled faded, too.
“Nikki, I really don’t care about any of the politics in this forsaken place. If you’ve got a scheme for taking over or working in women through the back door, probably by slowly replacing the girls with your own people to listen in and blackmail people, fine. I don’t care.”
“You know, Matthew, if you had the ambition for politics, you would do well.”
“Never been my thing.”
“Nevertheless, I could use your talents in the future with my endeavor.”
“I can make you interested.”
“No, you can’t.”
“Hmm, I’ve known you long enough to know that is probably true. There is nothing I could do to entice you?”
“Nothing comes to mind.”
“The noble cause of dismantling a sexist and archaic institution?”
“And though you are quite interested in my physical features, I know you would not succumb to those charms if offered.”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it in those terms as I would never wish to offend—”
“Enough of your verbal dancing regarding my physical prowess.” She sighed, again, not the playful sigh from before or the exasperated sigh, this one was as close to real emotion as she ever gave. “I had hoped that we could be involved in a long-term project together. We only seem to collaborate when it is life and death. Where is the fun, Matthew?”
I lifted my eyes from her leg to stare into hers.