Miss Lyria? Might I ask you something?”
She stepped towards him, extricating herself from the giggling knot, but not otherwise making any move to leave. Did she expect him to ask her here, right now? Well, of course she would. Serpents were voyeurs—or at least, not shy. Damn. Would it be offensive to ask them to leave? Or ask her to leave with him? That’s what he was doing, indirectly, asking if she’d be open to more private conversation. So why was he waffling now?
Damn it all, this was exactly why he’d resolved to do things his way, on avian terms. He just couldn’t hope to keep up with the delicate dance of serpent flirtation. If he had any hope of holding his own, it would have to be by avian standards, safe within avian tradition.
Do or die.
“Miss Lyria. I would like very much to go walking with you. To court you. After the avian fashion.”
His throat began to tighten, the familiar nervous cough building in the back of his throat. He could do this. He would do this. Do or die.
“I hate to ask it in such coarse terms, but I have been entertaining the idea for a while now, and this is the only way I can see to manage it. I am not a demonstrative man, as you may have noticed, and quite frankly, the idea of a serpentine courtship terrifies me. But I am not so naive as to be unaware of the natural progression of relations between a man and a woman, and I see no reason why we could not do the same. In time. If you’re amiable. And we decide we actually like each other. That is. Oh dear.”
It had all gone so much better when he’d proposed to the apple trees.