Leander was surprised to find himself smiling, but let the smile fade quickly. “I don’t do guys. I already negotiated that with your father.” Before she could say anything, he held up a finger. “But if you want me to hold down some college boy for you while you have your way with him, I might find that entertaining.”
Was he flirting? He hadn’t known he’d even remembered how to flirt.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Do you think you could do that?”
“Pretend to be an overprotective boyfriend? Depends. Are you going to pretend to enjoy it, or are you going to pretend to hate it and push me away all the time and sulk?”
“Have experience with this sort of thing, hrrm?”
“I remember the last time I had a girlfriend,” he admitted. “It was a while ago, but not so long that I can’t remember. And I don’t have to pretend to be protective.”
“Some girls don’t like it. I…” She looked him up and down again. “Can we agree on some limits? As long as they’re within what my father set up for you, I mean. I don’t want to get you in trouble.”
“That’s… kind of you.” He rolled his shoulders. “Yeah. Like, don’t punch guys for looking at you, that sort of thing?”
She snorted. “Okay, yeah. Don’t manhandle me unless you need to, to get me out of a situation or something like that. Protective is one thing, controlling is another.”
Leander found himself smiling. “You want a loyal dog, not a beast, that sort of thing?”
He snorted. “I should be the one saying woof. I can do that. Protective, not possessive, and you can always call me off. Since we’re negotiating, two things: No leashes in public. Too hard to guard you when I’m stuck at the end of a string. And try to not… uh. Make a joke out of me protecting you. You and I both know it’s because your dad ordered it. You don’t have to humiliate me over something i have no choice in.”
She stared at him for so long he thought she was going to slap him. Finally, she nodded, slowly, like she didn’t want to take her eyes off of him. “All right. The leashes thing is pretty kinky, but uh. You’ve been collared for a while, haven’t you? So no leashes in public. We can talk about that in private, if it turns out to be the sort of thing we both actually want to do. As for the rest…” She drew in a breath that Leander might have found very distracting under other circumstances. “You don’t know me from Eve, so I can accept that you might have known some real bitches – especially real bitches that had control over you. That’s not me. I wouldn’t do that. As long as you don’t pick me up and carry me out of the room – unless someone’s attacking – I’m not going to complain about you being what you’re supposed to be being, okay?”
Leander blinked, wondering if that whole sentence had, in fact, been in English. “Okay,” he agreed, wondering what, exactly, he was agreeing to.
“Good.” She nodded firmly. “That’s a very good start. We can work the rest out as we go.”