"Charles, darling," I said, coming into the study with a nightcap no bigger than a thimble. He stiffened and too late, I realized my indiscretion.
"I think it's rather soon to be on a first name basis," he said.
"Forgive me, Mr. Portis," I stammered, sloshing the droplet of bourbon all willy nilly, "It's my Canadian upbringing, you see. I was raised with wolves."
"You don't say," he replied, for the first time showing a modicum of interest, "Canadian, eh? What was it like out there on those great, white plains?"
"Nothing that would interest a gentleman of your stature," I demurred, inwardly debating the merits of revealing I wasn't asked to prom. I decided against it.
"You forget I'm a world traveller," he chided, trailing off into a reverie of his own, "Oh, that dear, old silk road to China!"
"Oh, Mr. Portis! I feel like such a rube! Here you've been swashbuckling all over tarnation and what have I done?? Not molted even once!"
"There now. Chin up, dear girl. Don't beat yourself up for having a backbone."
"Well...will you let me call you Charles?"
A silence settled over the room, less from disapproval as from the fact he was busy grooming his hind legs.
"Perhaps. Yes, why not? I don't see the harm of it," he relented as I jumped up and down, sloshing the remainder of his nightcap into thin air where it evaporated before it could hit the ground.
"You won't regret it, Charles, darling," I said, but his expression indicated he already did.