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"You don't want to know what I'm thinkin'. You really, really don't," Irvine says.

Quistis crosses her arms over her chest and glares at him. She's good at glaring, which is probably why she does it so much. She likes being the best. She likes knowing everything. And right now she's thinking: "What right does he have to tell me what I do and don't want to know?' And she's not wrong about that either, just like she's never wrong about anything else. Because, really, he doesn't have the right to do anything where she's concerned except for shut his mouth, stand back and watch her be who she is.

Saying exactly what that might be is hard for him. Words are easy when he's joking or lying, but when he's being serious and earnest, they play the coward better than he ever could. Sometimes words like 'smart' and 'clever' and 'infuriating' pop into his head, but they get hidden under the one that pokes his mind the most, which is 'scary.'

"Yes, I do," she says and it should sound childish but it just sounds hard to argue with. "Tell me now . That's an order."

That's unprofessional abuse of authority, is what that really is, he thinks with a sigh, but, well, if it's an order .

"How about a compromise," he tries with his hands up in plea formation. "I'll tell you what I'm not thinkin'. That fair enough?"

The lift of her eyebrow says, "Make it good." So he'll try to and won't mind if— when —he fails because he's not like her. He doesn't have to be perfect. Fact is, the only thing he has to do is stay a cowboy and die. Everything else is optional.

"Alright," he drawls. "I'm not thinkin' that you're pretty as spring. I'm not thinkin' that you're smart as a cat. I'm not thinkin' about how you smile when you think no one's lookin' or frown when you're worried. I'm not thinkin' about how you smell like roses and I'm sure as hell not thinkin' about kissin' you 'til you get all dizzy and breathy and cling to me like moss to a tree." The part of him that never grew up—that being most of him—wants to stick out its tongue and say, "So there." But that's just not smooth and being smooth is a goal of his right next to being cocky.

So, instead, he crosses his arms to mirror her posture, the physical equivalent of what he refuses to say. While he's at it, he can't help bending a knee and pushing one hip out to the side because chaps simply call for a little contrapposto .

"Well then," Quistis says after a moment. She's still the unruffled, chic blonde of everyday he can remember and the ones he's starting to forget, but that's because she's a better actor than even he is, which is saying something. "Good. I'm pleased that you can at least...follow orders."

He wants to smirk at that because it wasn't up to Quistis standards, but he lets it go with a, "And I'm glad to be of service" with a little extra emphasis on the 'service' just because. He tips his hat to her and gives her the smile, which has been known to melt a few frigid hearts on a lonely night or two. Doesn't work on Quistis, but that's part of the appeal of trying.

She turns and walks away in that little way of hers that makes her hips sway like a taunt and a tease but in such a way that says 'hands off,' and isn't that just delicious in a painful kinda way? She stops long enough to say, "By the way, it's mutual," over one shoulder and then sashays away, pretty as a picture.

She's a fair distance away before he lets himself laugh, but he's sure she hears it anyway. He wipes away an imaginary tear and turns to walk the opposite way—and there's a message in that somewhere. He's thinking that, while she can be as smart as she wants to be, there are some things that Quistis—tall drink of water that she is—just can't know. Or chooses not to know. Same difference, ain't it? 

One of them being that the only other thing he has to do besides be a cowboy and die, is lie through his teeth at his convenience.