"Mmm. Look, there his is," the girl whispered to her companion. "The American
boy I told you about. Delicious, isn't he?"
The young man looked over the top of his blue-lensed glasses and grunted in
agreement. "Mmm. Totally edible."
"Marc, behave. Be nice." The young woman stood and waved to the two people who
had just come into the bar.
"Aimee, you mean you want him all for yourself," the man said in a teasing tone.
"Marc!" Aimee thumped her friend on the shoulder.
"Very well, I'll make do with the woman." He grinned up at the girl and saluted
her with his beer.
Aimee looked daggers at the man. "Do not *even* consider it, Marc. She belongs
"Aimee, hey, great. You're here already. We thought we were early."
"No, no, we've been rehearsing for a couple of hours." Aimee looked over at her
fellow band members. "Everyone, this is Richie Ryan." She gave Richie a
conservative peck on the cheek.
"Richie, this is Orson. He plays guitar. Pierre is our percussionist. Guy's on
keys. Nadia fills in when we need strings or pipes."
She turned to the man who was sitting apart from the rest. "And this is Marc. He
plays bass and writes most of out stuff."
Methos the immortal stood to greet Richard Ryan, preimmortal. "Hey," he said in
his best Parisian accent. He shook the young man's hand. Then turned to Richie's
"M'mselle, you are too lovely to ignore. I'm Marc." He gave her an appreciative
Much to Richie's surprise, his friend blushed delicate rose. He studied her for
a moment, then decided she might be embarrassed to be in the company of such a
young and disreputable group.
"Um, this is Tessa. Tessa Noel. She's an artist."
There was a round of warm greetings for Tessa, and Methos sat back and watched.
So, this was the Highlander's woman. He had to admit she was a beauty. Tall,
blond, blue-eyed, delicate complexion. Shapely. He knew she was well educated.
A talented artist. Sculptor in clay and metal.
"Tessa? Methos touched her hand to get her attention. And to his amusement, she
"M-Marc? Marc, correct?"
He nodded. "Yes. Marc Artois." Methos gestured toward the bar. "Can I get you
She shook her head nervously and he gave her a little smile. "Are you sure?"
"It's on the house." He shrugged. "Um, well, it's how they pay us, really."
He sauntered over to the bar and got a couple of beers and a white wine.
Methos put the glass down in front of Tessa, handed Richie a beer, took a drink
of his own.
"Used to having your way," she said.
Methos nodded agreement. Then he turned to listened to the others.
Tessa watched Marc from under lowered lashes. There was something about him that
made her want to get to know him. She sipped her wine, then looked over at
Richie, Aimee and the others. But over and over she was drawn back to watching
the enigmatic bassist. Marc.
From the viewpoint of an artist, he was quite handsome. In a classical sort of
She kept comparing him to MacLeod. His hair was as dark, but longer and not so
curly. And they were near the same height. But there the similarities ended.
Where the Scot was broad and solidly built, Marc was lean and spare. Tessa
couldn't help making comparisons. She looked down at the elegant hand that
rested casually on Marc's jeans-clad knee. Then looked up to meet eyes the color
of fine cognac. Eyes that were too--knowing for a man as young as this.
God, but she wanted to reach out and touch his face. Feel the fine skin, noble
nose, expressive lips beneath her fingers. And he knew it. No doubt. She
Does she know how easy it is to read her, Methos thought. And what the hell is
she doing here with the kid? If she was his... Oh, god, stop it, old man. She's
been with the Highlander for over a decade. They have history.
Methos stood and called the other band members together. "More rehearsal,
grasshoppers. Let's show Richie and Tessa what we can do."
"Richie? Going out again?" Tessa looked up from her sketch pad. "To see Aimee?"
"And the band. They're playing in the Basement."
"I thought they were going to play in a big club?" Tessa's lovely brow furrowed.
"Oh, Tessa, that's funny." Richie laughed. "The Basement's a new club." He
looked at the blond for a minute. "Why don't you come too. Get out of here. Mac
won't be back for another couple of days. "
"No, I don't think so, Richie. I've been spending too much time..." With Marc,
she almost said. It was true. They met at least every other day. And Tessa had
to admit it made her feel funny--almost sinful--to be seeing someone while her
lover was away. Even though nothing had happened. Yet. Marc was a perfect
gentleman. So far.
Tessa shook her head. "No, I need to work on some sketches." She looked down at
her latest drawing. Of Marc.
"Oh, hell, Richie. Wait for me to change. I'll go. I just hope we can get in."
"Not a problemo. Aimee put us on the VIP list."
Methos had watched Tessa all night. Not that it was hard to do. She was
beautiful. And sensitive. And god, he wanted her more than he'd wanted any
woman in a long time. He grinned sardonically as he showered and changed. And
she wanted him, too.
"Prime venue," Orson said as he took his turn in the shower. The other band
members had been amazed at the accommodations. Methos thought it was all rather
quaint. He stepped out into the hallway that led to the club's private bar.
"Coming to the party, Marc?" Guy asked.
"For a while."
"Great." Guy eyed Methos. "Richie brought Tessa." Guy gave his sometimes-lover a
quizzical look. "Are you two..."
"No. No, just friends."
The young man nodded. "If you say so."
Methos looked after Guy as the man walked away. Maybe. Maybe young eyes,
unprejudiced eyes, saw the truth. Like Ryan. He'd noticed. He hadn't said
anything. But he'd noticed.
The ancient immortal followed after Guy. He stopped in the entry and looked
around the dimly lit room. The DJ had the music cranked, and Methos grimaced. He
wished he'd thought about earplugs. He saw Tessa at the bar and made his way to
her. With frequent stops to meet and greet friends and fans. He finally reached
Tessa turned when she felt a touch on her arm. "Marc."
"You look..." they said at the same time.
"Incredible," Methos said. She had dressed--and looked--younger tonight. He was
glad she had come out.
"And you too." Tessa was amazed in the difference in Marc. Gone were the frayed
jeans and disreputable tee. "Did Aimee take you shopping?"
Methos shook his head and chuckled. "No. Her dear maman. It was her birthday, so
I let her."
"Well, I think you look very nice."
"Thank you." He leaned forward to kiss her cheek.
Tessa turned just the slightest and Methos' lips pressed against hers. Firm,
sensual lips that were unlike Duncan's. Sweet. She leaned into the kiss and her
lips parted. Methos' lips parted. And his hands came up to cradle her face.
When he finally drew back Tessa opened her eyes. He was staring at her.
"No," she said softly. "I love Duncan. I'm sorry..."
Methos shook his head. "Never be sorry, Tessa. There's nothing to be sorry for.
You've been lonely. As I have been." He sighed. "Consider the kiss a goodbye."
"Goodbye? You're leaving Paris?"
"In two days. We're going on tour. Germany, then on to most of Eastern Europe."
"Richie will be devastated."
"He's young, he'll recover."
"Yes. I suppose you're right." Tessa studied the man before her. She would miss him. "But, this is really goodbye? Won't you come back to Paris?"
"Oh, yes. But Richie told us you're returning to the States soon. So..."
"Yes. In the fall." Tessa touched Methos' cheek. "I will miss you."
"And I you, Tessa." Methos took her hand. "This MacLeod of yours. He's a fool,
you know. Leaving you alone so much."
"But he has such passion, Marc. It's what I love most in him. I hope one day you
have such a passionate lover."
Methos laughed. "If I'm lucky." He kissed Tessa's hand.
"And now I have to be going. Farewell, Tessa. Until we meet again..."
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.