"The thing about Laurie," Mark Anderton said, finally coming to the point after three food courses and a brandy's worth of prevarication, "is that she can't get enough."
"Enough?" Vincent left the word hanging, whether out of politeness or confusion wasn't clear.
Mark hoped it was the former. If it was the latter, he really didn't think he had the heart to go into the details. He simply gave Vincent a terse nod and waited.
"And that's why you've been cultivating me? Nothing to do with my great company or excellent taste?"
"Excellent taste does come into it." The words rushed out of Mark's mouth, relief spurring them on. "Of course, it does. You like Laurie, don't you?"
"Of course, I like her. What man wouldn't? But, you know, I would never have let that admiration cross the boundary...not without some kind of..."
"Yes." Vincent reached for the decanter, pouring them both another tumbler.
To Mark, the gesture seemed symbolic. Let's talk business. Vincent wasn't rejecting the proposition out of hand, so there were grounds for hope.
"Permission is what I'm here to talk to you about," said Mark.
Vincent smiled. "This is the most surreal conversation of my life," he said.
"Mine, too," admitted Mark.