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"Hold onto your britches! He's here!" Gloria, one of Jacquelyn's co-workers, hurried over to her to inform her. "Mr. Barrilyl is here. Personally delivering the sphinx." Gloria's face glowed as she ushered Jac to where he waited near the exhibition area. Jac saw Gloria's famous clipboard she used to keep a running list of everything needed for the exhibit clutched to her chest.
"What's gotten into you?" Jac asked the usual self-controlled woman. "You're not acting like yourself."
"Sweetie, when you see this man, you will know why I'm acting years younger." Gloria fanned her face with the clipboard.
Because the idea for the display originated from the Superstitions and Creatures of Scotland lecture Jac had given last year, the museum had asked her to gather a team and create an exhibition. Jac had contacted Mr. Barrilyl, a member of one of Scotland's oldest families to contribute some statues and paintings. He had agreed wholeheartedly. Many of the fairy, kelpie and urisks artworks, along with the sphinx, were on loan from him. Though the sphinx was not a Scots icon, Mr. Barrilyl collected many different pieces outside Scottish folklore.
"Mr. Barrilyl?" Jac asked, holding out her hand in greeting, glad she'd taken the trouble to learn the proper pronunciation of his last name. No need to worry she'd embarrass herself by butchering it. She'd learned from past experiences that it doesn't hurt to ask how to properly pronounce someone's name.
"Aye. Please, call me Ravin." His warm hand enveloped hers, pumping it firmly. He smiled down at her, bright green gaze locking with her blue.
Man, he was tall. About six-foot-three, and muscular. He could pass fora WWE wrestler; he would have been perfect for the warriors of the past. The suit he wore must have been specially tailored for him; it fit like a glove. He had his black hair brushed back, and his tanned skin only added another luxurious touch to his almost-regal appearance.
"Pleasure to meet you. I'm Jacquelyn Frasier. Jac, if you will. I believe you met Gloria?" The older woman giggled like a smitten teenager, never mind she was about forty years out of high school.
"Aye." He smiled again, giving the other woman a curt nod.
Jac tried not to roll her eyes at how Gloria was acting. He was very attractive, yes, but come on! He was just a man. Nothing to get all bubbly over.
"Gloria, if you would excuse Mr. Barrilyl and me so that we may discuss some matters?" At her request, Gloria left the two of them alone.
Jac led him to the elevators, and up to the closed off section of the museum to her office. While they walked, she tried some polite conversation. "Scotland is beautiful. Have you been in the US long?"
"I have lived here, oh ... twenty years now."
"Oh!" That was stupid. Open mouth, insert foot. "With your thick accent, I, uh, thought you might have ... Yeah. So, this is my office." She saw a slight smirk on his face, as if he were relishing in her making a fool out of herself. Perfect.
She gestured for him to sit in one of the chairs in her small, cluttered office, while she sat behind her desk and pulled out the paperwork he needed to sign for the donation of the artifacts.
Mr. Barrilyl signed where indicated then glanced over the papers one last time before handing them back to her.
Jac frowned as she picked up the papers. While she organized them and placed them in an office envelope to be sent to the correct department, she glanced down and read the printed version of his name next to his signature. How was his first name pronounced?
"Something wrong?" he asked, leaning back in the chair.
"I was just trying to figure out how to pronounce your first name," she blurted out. Suddenly she realized what she had said, and a deep blush burned her ears and cheeks. She definitely needed to work on her people skills. Maybe take an edict class at NYU.
"Ah." He chuckled. "Me family seemed to like to keep up most of their old traditions. Phaeravin, pronounced fay-rave-in." He made a dismissive gesture with his hand as he informed her, "Because of how proud me family be, they like names with meaning. Me first name means 'honored guardian' and me last means 'spawn of the blade.'"
Shocked, she did not know what to say. Finally, she asked, "Spawn of the blade? Honored guardian?" She paused, trying out his full name. It definitely was not a simple name that rolled off one's tongue.
"Aye. That's why I go by Ravin. Very ancient names always seem harder to pronounce than modern ones. Me parents were a little too proud of their ancestry. Imagine a wee lad learning how to spell me name."
Yes, imagine trying to spell that, let alone say it. He grinned. What a charming smile he had. Now Jac could understand why Gloria had acted the way she had--This man knew he was good looking, and must always use it to his advantage. Well, Jac certainly wasn't going to let him get the better of her.
Posted December 10, 2011
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