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Second Chances

Chapter 4

Loki and Maia spoke for some time. She asked him if there was anything or anywhere in particular he wanted to do or go and he was amazed by how she let him lead, how she genuinely wanted his input and opinion. She had been correct in her choice of word as guide, she wanted him to have the option of what he learnt, whereas the former handlers had had no interest in what would appeal to him. She wanted him to make decisions and she would aid him, rather than coerce and make them for him. He was even more impressed when she took a small notebook and pen from her bag and began compiling a list of what he wanted so nothing was missed. He hadn't realised any Midgardian could be as considerate as she was being, where he was concerned. She made suggestions he might like to visit based on his favourite pastimes but did not make a note of them until she had his okay to do so. She wanted to know it was somewhere he would appreciate before adding it, and not one of her suggestion did he consider mundane or uninteresting. Top of her suggestions had been the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York Public Library, her excited description of the latter with its near fifty three million items had him hide a smirk behind his hand. Of all the Midgardians, the prospect of spending time amongst tomes with her this keen was a very promising prospect to say the least.
'Sorry, I've been rattling on for hours.' She apologised, glancing down at the list she had rested on the arm of the couch, her leg crossed and body leaning towards both it and Loki.
'No apologies are necessary. You make a very compelling case for each venue.'
'I do get a bit overexcited about books and history.' She pulled an apologetic face instead of verbalising her sorry this time and while on anyone else Loki would have used it against them, on her he wanted to wipe it away so she would smile again.
'There is no shame in being passionate about that which you have a love for, however time is getting away with us. Would you like to join me for lunch before we return to the conference room, Agent Tomson?'
'I'm not an agent.' She told him as she tucked a curl that had strayed from her ponytail behind her ear. 'I'm happy for you to call me Maia, it'll be less conspicuous on the streets, but I don't know what I should call you.'
Loki gave her a teasing smile so she would know he was about to make a joke, or so he hoped. 'If I asked you to call me "my prince", would you?'
She laughed nervously. Was he serious? He was smiling, but he seemed to have worn a smirk most of the morning, so it was hard to tell. 'If I do that, chances are we will draw more attention to ourselves, which I assume is the opposite of what we want. And if people don't realise who you are anyway they'll assume you either have a superiority complex or a royalty kink. Your choice, of course.'
He raised his eyebrows at her. She had said it so casually it was a moment before he processed the fact people may think they had something of a sexual relationship where he demanded she call him prince, and while he would not be averse to the idea, her having considered it, even fleetingly, threw him. 'Loki will be fine.' He said simply.
Maia wondered if she had overstepped the mark somewhere, speaking as frankly as she had, but he didn't seem too upset, more surprised by her answer. 'Loki.' She nodded as she repeated his name quietly, liking the way it rolled off her tongue, as though it was meant to.
'Then, shall we?' He stood and held out his hand to her, trying to ignore the way her lips had curved around his name.
Surprised by his display of gallantry, Maia took Loki's hand and allowed him to draw her to her feet. He released her once she was up, but his fingers lingered as they parted and he regarded her with puzzlement. She showed no sign of anything but exuberant professionalism with a little fire thrown in, yet Loki had felt the spark again when their skin touched. He was not one for emotional entanglement, but no girl; no, a woman, no woman had captivated him from the moment he saw her. He knew not why this woman, Maia, in particular, had this effect on him, but he was determined to find out.
Maia tucked her notepad and pen away and smiled up at Loki before they walked together to the elevator, unaware of two sets of surprised eyes watching them from upstairs.
'What the hell was that?' Bruce asked as the elevator doors closed.
'I have no idea.' Tony shook his head. 'But we should keep a close eye on it.'



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