The camera comes back to focus on the couple as they are addressed by a host. She smiles a confident practiced smile that doesn’t quite make it to her eyes, “Yes, there is a table towards the back. A private table as requested by the gentleman.” She grabs two menus and leads the way for them. She places the two menus on the table settings in very practiced moves, flashes them a smile once more before leaving them to their meal. “Your waitress, Veronica will be over shortly.”
Seated at their table Suzi peruses the menu for something to catch her eye. Slightly disappointed with the menu choices she keeps her voice light, “So what are you going to order?”
Brandon hasn’t glanced at his menu, “A cheeseburger. I mean, it’s a diner. You can’t expect a place like this to have a good steak, right?”
Without looking up, she nods and continues to search for something… anything… she finally gives up and looks at the desserts. “Hmm, they have a nectarine tart here. I wonder if its any good.”
Brandon glances at her, “Order it, if it’s not good, you can send it back for something that is.”
Brandon takes a drink from his glass, savoring the relief as it coats his parched throat. Still looking at her menu, she bites her lip. “I don’t remember anyone bringing us water. I suppose they forgot mine. Mind if I have sip of yours?”
Brandon’s glass never leaves his lips until the liquid is drained. The ice tinkles merrily to the bottom of the glass as he sets it down, “I’ll get one for you.”
He waves down a passing wait staff and hollers out to him, “Two glasses of water.”
The busboy nods and scurries off to fetch the water.
Suzi lowers her menu, folds her hands on the table and speaks quietly, “I think I’ll have the nectarine tart.”
Brandon grins, “Good for you. Stick with what you know.”
Just then Veronica approaches, “Hi, I’m Veronica. I’ll be your server tonight. Can I start you off with some drinks and maybe an appetizer?”
Brandon smiles and nods enthusiastically, “A drink sounds good. Gin and tonic for me. Suzi, what do you want?”
Suzi looks at him a bit concerned, “Nothing from the bar thanks. I just had a beer, I think one of us needs to keep a clear head.”
Brandon laughs, “Don’t fret. My head is plenty clear.” He looks up at Veronica, “Two gin and tonics. I’ll take an omelet, cheese, ham, bacon, mushrooms, peppers, red if you have them and hold the onions. I hate onions. She will have the nectarine tart, warm with a side of vanilla ice cream.”
Suzi wrinkles her nose at Brandon, “I’m lactose intolerant.” She shakes her head at Veronica, “Skip the ice cream.”
Veronica smiles at them both, the kind of smile that goes all the way to her eyes and lights them up. Once she is through repeating the order to them she moves away to give them privacy. Brandon looks a bit dumbfounded at Suzi, “What?”
He shakes his head, “Sorry. I didn’t know.”
Suzi shrugs, “How would you? Unless you took note of the soy products in the fridge…”
Brandon’s eyebrows knit as he concentrates. “Huh. Is that why it tasted funny? Here I thought it was just ‘fresh’ from the dairy or something.”
Suzi laughs softly, reaches out and pats his hand, “Don’t worry. I don’t expect you to know everything about me.”
Brandon gives her an odd look as if he wants to say something, changes his mind and his face clears once more. He takes her hand in his and gives it a squeeze.
At this time the busboy returns with water and tries to pour it in their glasses. He looks at the table noting one glass and quickly returns with a second filling both with water and ice from the pitcher.
Brandon stares at his glass quietly, “Suzi, have you thought much about the future? I mean, past tomorrow, past next month. What you think you’ll be doing this time next year? Maybe two?”
Veronica returns with the drinks and places them on square napkins, flashes them both a quick grin and walks away. Without a word, Brandon takes his drink and drinks it down. Sets the empty glass on the table next to her water and grabs the second drink.
Suzi sits stunned silent, once her racing mind slows a bit, “I take it the second one wasn’t for me after all. Nice to know you listened, I suppose.” She cocks her head and presses on, “How many have you had Brandon? Maybe I should drive home.”
Brandon lowers his glass slowly. He closes his eyes briefly before responding, “I am fully capable of driving us back. I’m not drunk.”
Suzi’s concern rises, “When is the last time you ate?”
Brandon shrugs noncommittally, “Breakfast. I’m fine.”
Suzi’s expression changes drastically, its as if alarm bells are going off. “Brandon. You are ‘not’ fine. Your judgment is impaired. I’m sure you know what the ramifications are if you were to be pulled over.”
Brandon sets his glass down as their food arrives. The tension at the table builds. The pair sit quietly eyeing their food, occasionally taking a small token bite. Suzi feels as if she has been pulled in to an inescapable pool of quicksand. “If I let you drive, will that make you happy?”
Suzi sighs in relief, “Yes.”
Brandon simply nods and takes another bite of his omelet.
Brandon notes Suzi’s more relaxed state and grins. “You’re really something, Suzi.”
Chuckling she notes his playful manner is back, “Of course, how else would I manage to keep the attention of the contestants?”
They laugh together, “I’m serious. I just thought you should know.”
Suzi blushes, “Thank you, Brandon.” Suzi suddenly stops and watches him carefully as he eyes her tart. She laughs once more taking Brandon by surprise, “Oh so this is why you’re buttering me up? You want my dessert!”
Brandon laughs easily, “Nah, if I wanted some I’d just take some!”
Brandon moves quickly, he goes for a bite of her nectarine tart, he moves his fork back with his prize teetering on his fork only to be denied the delicious morsel by a flick of Suzi’s fork. He groans as he watches the piece he anticipated savoring falls neatly back on her plate. “Oh you’ll have to move faster than that…”
Brandon gets a mischievous glint in his eyes, leans in to kiss her, his lips inches from hers, she can feel his breath on her lips. Her tongue runs across her parted lips in sweet anticipation of his kiss.
He promptly plops a bite of her tart in to his mouth then kisses her quickly with a soft peck, his eyebrows wagging up and down and a smug grin of victory on his handsome face. She laughs pleased with his cleverness
“If you wanted a bite, you just had to ask.”
He looks at her with a smirk, “Now what fun is that?”
She scoops a small bite for him on her own fork, carefully balancing it she holds it out for him. Their eyes locked as she waits for him, he leans closer, his lips part in preparation to take the proffered bite, she moves the fork from him and kisses him softly before feeding him the dessert.
“You’re right, that bite was much tastier.”
Their food eaten, they remain seated enjoying each other’s company, she makes a mental note of which glass he grabbed. Quietly she sips her water.
The screen fades to a commercial break.