In the previous episode, Max meets the woman he saw Elaine speaking to and assumes she is the nanny. With a new crush quickly taking over his thoughts and emotions, he agrees to go with this woman back to the ranch, but he noticed something odd as they left. Readers voted that Max recognized it was Elaine’s vehicle, not the girls’.
The human brain is not fully formed until 18 years after birth. The last part of the brain to develop is the frontal lobe, which gives us our ability to discern. Considering Max was literally walking around with a fraction of a brain, plus the fog of his emotions, the heartbreak over his mom, the longing for connection with a distant dad, and the testosterone-driven desire for the hot, young woman sitting next to him, it makes sense that he didn’t bother saying anything about the odd fact that they were riding away from the church in Miss Elaine’s car. Max assumed that, since they were friends, Miss Elaine and the Native American beauty had worked something out — none of his business.
As they rode, Max made use of his alone time with the young woman whose name, he’d learned, was Tala. Normally Max wouldn’t develop such a crushing crush on a girl based on looks alone. But Tala was exotic. She oozed sexual femininity. It wasn’t only an aesthetic beauty — it was magic.
When it comes to pursuing a woman, there are two types of men in the world: stalkers and maniacs. A stalker plans, forms a strategy, fact finds. He wants to get everything right before he advances. A maniac, on the other hand, jumps without fear. He blunders, corrects, blunders again, corrects again, until the woman runs for her sanity or is worn down by his ridiculously dogged charm. The sad fact is that women prefer maniacs, and Max was a stalker, a stalker in a world of maniacs; an academic in a world of cowboys. He gravitated toward art, music and culture. Being “that guy” was the kiss of death in West Texas, but Tala was new. Her opinion was not set. His plan was to build up his value in her eyes. No easy task. Max was younger, shorter, and skinnier than she. He wasn’t going to wow her with looks. Sure, he had true value. He was nice, smart, and had a good sense of humor, but that takes time to discover. Max’s experience was that by the time a woman realized all of his amazing attributes, she was hooking up with a maniac.
Max had fifteen minutes to build himself up. No time. So instead, Max made a desperate move.
“It must be hard being a woman in West Texas.”
“Why do you say that?” Tala asked.
“Well unfortunately, the men around here are cowboys. You know how they are. Dim-witted. Rude. I’m sure some of them mean well, but for a woman to have to put up with all that — I feel sorry for you.”
Tala’s deep brown eyes twinkled as her beautiful lips twisted into a playful smirk.
“You don’t seem to be a cowboy at all.” She purred.
“Oh no. I’m educated. Cultured. You know, I have class. I’m like the anti-cowboy.”
For the rest of the ride Max regaled Tala with the negative side of OTHER men, and that he was the opposite of them, which not-so-subtly inferred that he was, by default, the perfect man for her. This was actually a maniac approach, but Max did it, and well. In his, as yet underdeveloped, mind, it was going great. But it was to be short-lived, because when they arrived home, and Tala laid eyes on Zane, the magic of instant attraction struck again… this time, hitting her.
“Nice to meet you, too.” Tala whispered in reply to Zane’s greeting and handshake. Typical, Max thought as he trudged to his room. The fact that she was attracted to Zane meant she was predisposed to cowboys. It hadn’t yet occurred to Max that the attraction might be mutual.
The interview was short. Anyone vetted by Miss Elaine was good enough for Zane. Besides, he was desperate. Now that Max had a nanny, Zane was free to pursue appearances or other money-making opportunities while he waited for the next rodeo. Tala only had a backpack. She moved into Rosario’s room while Zane worked out back in the barn, and Max played his cello in his room. While she was getting settled, the phone rang. Tala hustled into the kitchen and answered it.
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