"Ah, Sean, Elijah est un mignon. Vous êtes très chanceux."
Sean smiled - a touch smugly, but could he be blamed? Jean-Paul, a fellow fashion photographer who worked for French Vogue, was a renowned connoisseur of male beauty. "Je le sais bien," he replied.
"Si jamais vous fatiguer de lui, mon ami, laissez-moi savoir, eh?"
When pigs fly, I'll get tired of him, Sean thought. It ain't never gonna happen. Aloud he said, "Vous voulez l'impossible. Je suis le garder toujours." He put a slight emphasis on the last word. Forever. Not a word he'd ever thought to have in his vocabulary in any language, until he met his funny face, Elijah.
"Quel dommage," remarked Jean-Paul, and then gave a typical Gallic shrug and lift of the hands.
"What's a 'mignon'?" Elijah asked, after Jean-Paul departed with one last admiring look at the young man who had accompanied Sean to the photography exhibit.
Sean braced himself. "Someone small and delicately pretty."
Predictably, Elijah scowled.
"He meant it as a compliment, Elijah." Sean decided not to add any cracks about empathicalism.
The scowl deepened. "I'm not a piece of meat, Sean, to be ogled and labeled."
Sean laughed. "My prickly love, would you rather he have called you a chou?"
"What's that?" Elijah sounded suspicious.
"A cabbage, mon petit chou."
"Your little cabbage?" That brought out Elijah's enchanting giggle, and Sean thought that if Jean-Paul had heard that, he might not have been so easily gotten rid of. "What do I call you?"
"Mon gross chou?" Sean joked, as always conscious of the considerable weight difference between him and Elijah.
"Sean! I may not know much French, but I do know you just insulted yourself, and I won't allow it. You're..." Elijah wrinkled his nose. "Un homme très sexy."
It was ridiculous in a man his age, but Sean actually blushed. "And you're un homme très crazy."
Sean had discovered that Elijah could morph from outraged innocent to sexual sophisticate in a flash, and the look he gave Sean then spoke volumes about how far he'd come in the latter regard since the day they first met.
"We can discuss the topic of my craziness further when we get home, Monsieur Sexy," Elijah said, slipping his arm through Sean's and leading him toward the next photo.
"I look forward to it, mon petit chou," Sean replied.
They stood in front of the photo for a minute or so, studying it, and then Elijah said, in an apparent non sequitur, "Toujours. That means forever, doesn't it?"
Sean turned his gaze to Elijah, still staring contemplatively at the photo. "Yes."
"I thought so." And his lips curved into a contented smile.