Flattery Doesn't Work

I always wanted to see Europe. Specifically, Great Britain. Being a Jane Austen fan drilled that desire into me a long time ago. So, I saved my pennies and here I am! Waiting in line, again. I didn't realize there would be so much of that. Of course, I didn't sign up for any tours. I wanted to do my own thing when I wanted to. Just blowing in the tourist wind.

Anyway, here I am, standing in line to buy tickets to see the Royal Shakespeare Company play something, preferably some actual Shakespeare, but I wasn't going to be picky. I have only been here a few days and I only had a few more. So far, I had visited some noteworthy Austen sights and visited a "Great House". Now, I'm going to enjoy some superb acting. If I can ever get to the front of the line.

I feel a presence on my right.

"Hello there."

I look up and try to keep my mouth closed because this man looks just like Matthew Goode and he's smiling that amazing smile. I'm pretty sure it's not him, though, because I'm just not that lucky.

"Hi," I answer him.

"What's a pretty lady like you doing all alone?"

Really? Geez. I am sometimes clueless when a man is flirting with me, but come on! Even I can spot a line so obvious.

"Flattery will get you nowhere, sir." Yes, I picked up the whole "sir" thing while here.

He raises an eyebrow. "It won't? Why not?"

"Because, I know exactly who and what I am," I shrug.

"Are you sure about that?" He's still smiling, but it's more of a smirk this time.

"Yup."

"So, you don't think you are pretty?"

"I know I'm average."

"Oh, you are more than average, darling."

Did he just call me "darling"? Oh yeah, that's just the British in him... right?

I roll my eyes and shake my head and can't help but smile a little. "Whatever you say," I sigh.

"Why are you average?" Usually men are turned off by my "low self-esteem" but maybe this one thinks it's a challenge.

"Because, I'm just average. There's nothing special about plain brown hair, green eyes and freckles. I'm definitely not "model" material. But, I know I'm not ugly either. I've never had anyone run away screaming after looking at me. I blend in well with a crowd. Therefore, I'm average."

"I don't think you are average. I think you are quite beautiful."

"'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder', I guess." I shrug. "But it doesn't change the facts."

He has a slight frown on his face, but there is a determined glint in his eye.

"Facts? Yes, you do have brown hair, but it's not plain. Have you not noticed your highlights? They actually look natural."

"That's because they are." I roll my eyes again.

"Natural highlights in long, shiny hair. That's beautiful."

I huff a sigh. "So, I could have been a hair model. So, what?"

"I'm not trying to flatter you."

"Uh huh."

"I'm just giving you some 'facts'."

"Sure." I grin at him.

"That smile could be a lethal weapon, you know." He's smirking again.

"Yeah, but that's my dad's fault."

"So, you know you have a fantastic smile?"

"Oh yeah. I've been cognizant of that for almost my whole life."

"And you still think you're average?"

"I am average."

"But, you just admitted you have beautiful hair and a fantastic smile!"

"Yeah, and?"

"You don't think those things make you beautiful?"

"They are only two things about my physical appearance."

"Two things that contribute to your beauty."

"Huh, if you say so."

"But, it's not just those two that make you gorgeous."

"Now your laying it on pretty thick." I take a step forward in line.

"How's that?"

"I'm not gorgeous."

"I say you are."

"And who are you to judge gorgeousness?"

"I have seen many beautiful women, but you are in a different class."

I roll my eyes again and murmur under my breath, "Oh boy. Here we go."

"Physical features don't always make one beautiful or gorgeous."

"Uh huh."

"There are other things that contribute."

"And those are?"

"Countenance, air, how one holds herself."

"Mmm hmm."

"You still don't believe me, do you?"

"I'll believe that you believe," I say with a consoling pat on his arm.

He laughs. Oh, I wish didn't see that. If there is a gorgeous person in this conversation it is him.

"May I ask, what is your name?" It's taken this long for him to ask?

"Mary Ann."

"That's a pretty name."

"Oh please! I'm one name away from a 'Waltons' character!"

"'Waltons?'"

"Never mind." I sigh again and take another step forward. He follows.

"I gather you count your name as average as well?" he askes me with another smirk. He smirks very well.

"No, my name is below average."

"How's that?"

"My name is very old fashioned and boring."

"I don't think so."

"Of course, you don't." I murmur under my breath.

"What was that?"

"Nothing. You must admit that 'Mary Ann' is a less glamorous name than say... Sydney, Genevieve, or Charlene."

"It's not the name that makes one glamorous."

"Why am I not surprised you said that?"

"I don't know. Why aren't you?" He's grinning. And I'm trying not to stare. I finally notice the line moving again and take another couple steps.

"I'm not into glamour anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter, does it?" As come-backs go, it's not my best, but look what I'm up against! He's the kind of man that makes one speechless with a smile!

"Oh, I already knew that."

"What?"

"I already knew you weren't into glamour."

"And you could tell that, how?"

"You're not wearing any make-up."

"Observant."

"That's me. A regular Sherlock Holmes."

"Sure, you are." He just grins at me again. I have to look away to gain control of my breathing. It's getting a little too fast. He's dangerous.

"Now, I bet you are thinking that men only like women who wear make-up," he says as he nudges my shoulder with his elbow.

"That's not a guess. It's a conclusion drawn from much observation."

"Well, it is true that make-up highlights one's features, but not everyone needs it. You, for instance are quite attractive without it."

And it continues. How do I get out of this conversation without being totally rude? My mind is a blank, so I just try to keep breathing and talking as required. Oh, and keeping my place in line.

"Well, thank you for the compliment."

"You are finally accepting a compliment? From me?"

"How else can I steer this conversation onto something else?"

He laughs again, which makes me smile and sigh.

"You never did tell me your name. You know mine. I think it's only fair I know yours." Knowing his name might get me into more trouble, but I'm not here for very long. It can't hurt too bad. Right?

"It's Matthew."

No. It's. Not. I'll pretend he said it was... Mayhew. Yeah. Uh huh.

"So, Matt," I try to be casual. "Are you in line for tickets as well?"

"Mary Ann. This is Britain. It's called a queue. And yes, I might as well get one for myself."

"'Might as well?'" I ask this question because the phrase leads me to believe that he didn't get in the "queue" for tickets in the first place. But that can't be true. Can it?

"Well, I was just out for a stroll, getting a breath of fresh air."

"And...?"

"I just couldn't pass you up."

"Uh huh. Sure." I can't help the sarcastic tone. This kind of stuff never happens to me. I mean, not with a man as good looking and charming as this. The men who usually try to pick me up are idiots.

"Really!"

"Okay."

"Okay?"

I shrug, "Okay."

"You are one interesting lady, Mary Ann."

"Now that is a compliment of the highest order." I can't help picking up some British phrases. I'm surrounded and have a slight talent for mimicry.

"I knew you would."

"So, you think you have me all figured out?"

"No, just a feeling."

"Hmm."

"Please, tell me something about yourself," he asks a bit eagerly.

"Like what?"

"What kind of music do you like?"

"Pretty much everything... except for heavy metal and rap. Can't stand those two. They give me a headache."

"Even classical? I haven't encountered many American ladies who like classical."

"It's hard not to like it when you have played it."

"You are a musician?"

"Sort of."

"How can you 'sort of' be a musician. I thought you either were one or you weren't."

"I'm nothing spectacular. I played in the orchestra in school, but haven't picked up my viola in years."

"A violist! Wonderful!"

"Not really. Like I said. I haven't played in years. And even before that I never had any private lessons or anything. I was kind of self-taught."

"That's even more exceptional!"

"Not when you don't like practicing."

"But, if I gave you a viola right now you would be able to play it."

"Sure, just not very well. I don't have any technique. I can play basic stuff. Difficult stuff requires practice and if I get roped into something then I'll practice, but I hate practicing alone. I like practicing with the whole orchestra. I like hearing how my part fits in. I don't like playing by myself."

"I see. But you have musical talent. That's something I like."

My mouth twitches. I trying not to smile. "And it's important to me that you like that I'm musical?"

"It should be."

"Why?"

"Because the more we talk, the more I like you."

"What about you? Any musical talent?"

"None to speak of. I suppose I can sing a bit."

"That's something."

"And play piano."

"That's more than a bit."

"Why do you say that? Many people can play piano."

"But I can't. And I've always wanted to. I never did learn how to read bass clef very well."

"You can read treble clef? I thought viola music used a different clef."

"I learned violin first before switching to viola."

"You do read two clefs, though. That takes brains."

Not really, but should I object? The line has moved about twenty feet during the whole of our conversation and I can see the booth ahead. Only another twenty feet to go!

He notices my preoccupation and asks another question.

"Any other musical talents?"

"I can play of few chords on my guitar."

"You have a guitar! Do you sing while you play your guitar?"

"Not really. I played and sang 'La Bamba' on my dad's telecaster in my third-year Spanish class for a speech. But again, I haven't practiced enough to be good at guitar."

"But you can sing, yes?"

"Yes, I can sing. Though, I'm not really trained in that either."

"I think I'm starting to see why you believe yourself average."

"I bet you are." I give a little triumphant smile.

"However, I still consider you to be above average."

"How's that?"

"You are in line to buy a ticket to see Shakespeare. Am I right in concluding that you enjoy the theater?"

"Yes."

"And literature? You like to read?"

"Yes."

"Who are your favorite authors?"

"That list is too long."

"Just name three."

"Limited to British authors? Okay, I can do that. Hmm. Jane Austen, obvious, I know. Charles Dickens, another obvious one. And Elizabeth Gaskell."

"Not Shakespeare?"

"Not for reading. Shakespeare is for seeing."

"Then you haven't read his sonnets."

"No, never got around to those."

"I'll have to fix that." At least that's what I though t I heard. He said it very softly, almost a whisper. I decide to ignore it. Only five feet to go.

"What about you?" If I have to spill, so does he.

"Oh, yes. Me too."

"You too, what?"

"Enjoy all those authors you do."

"Sure." I smirk.

"'Little Dorrit' happens to be one of my favorites."

"Not Nicholas Nickleby?"

"Yes, I like that one as well." He glances around and leans over and whispers, "Don't tell anyone else, but I absolutely love 'Jane Eyre'. It's not very manly, you see, to like women's literature, so, shhhh."

I chuckle a little, but then ask, "Why do you like it so much?"

"Because Jane has such strength of character. She is an ideal woman. Standing by her convictions even when it is most hard."

I can't help but smile. "That's why I love it too."

He smiles, beams, really. Oh, I'm in so much trouble. Ah ha! My turn! I turn to the ticket booth and glance at the board see what is playing tonight, only to be gently shoved aside by Matt. He smiles at the ticket lady, and of course she melts all over the place.

"Two tickets for," he turns to me, "What was it you were coming to see?"

"Twelfth Night." I'm a little stunned. I've never been in this situation before.

"Two tickets for 'Twelfth Night', please. Yes, those seats there." He hands over his money and receives the two tickets and waives them in front of my stunned face. "Now, where shall I retrieve you from this evening?"

I've just been suckered into an evening with one of the most gorgeous men in creation. How did this happen?


Author's Note: This was just something running through my head as I woke up the other morning. I'm not sure if it's a one-shot or if it will continue. Just let me know what you think. Was it any good?