Truly Scrumptious(2)By: R.G. Alexander
Hell, she’d even found the star of the show at a local farmer’s market. Brunch with Laura was her baby, and she’d lost it all because she wouldn’t play Clive’s reindeer games. Or more specifically, she didn’t look the other way while he tried to play his game with that innocent girl.
Of course when she’d confronted him after being asked for her I.D. pass and credit cards by station security, he’d thrown out a list of trumped up charges. She’d offended guests—her promotional work had failed to keep the ratings up, etc. All bullshit. All because he hadn’t gotten his way.
Her initial instinct was to sue the jerk, and get the intern to sue him too. The thought was quickly followed by an image of Clive’s sweet, though misguided, wife and two young children. She’d grown to love them. The kids called her Auntie T for crying out loud. How could she put them through that? How could she not?
“Darling, people are going to think you’re socially challenged if you don’t stop randomly swearing out loud. Come inside. This place serves the best food I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something. I was hoarding my little secret to further my own career, but I think we can safely say this is an emergency.”
She glanced up at the hand carved wooden sign above the door. The Iron Horse. She let Robert guide her inside, took one look around and did something she’d never done before. She snorted. “What were you trying to keep secret? That you’ve only been pretending to have good taste? That you’ve joined a motorcycle gang?”
It was a dump. Or, on closer inspection, a diner carefully decorated to look like a dump. Dark wood paneling everywhere, small Formica tables dwarfed by a long bar cluttered with condiments. And everywhere pictures of men on bikes. Old black and white pictures in front of garages. Customers in front of the restaurant. The walls were covered. All that was missing was a pool table and the smell of sawdust and vomit. She supposed this was the perfect place to celebrate the end of her career with foodies. In a cheap burger joint.
Robert slid out a plastic chair with a torn, slippery cushion. “I know that look on your face. I predict by the end of this meal you’ll have to apologize. And when I say apologize, I mean I’ll get a nice little gift bag with my favorite champagne and a new company credit card to replace the one Clive’s secretary cut up this morning.”
Her brow furrowed. “Robert, I don’t know what you think wi—”
A young male voice tinged with belligerence interrupted her. “A little early for lunch, aren’t you?”
Truly pursed her lips and looked up at the adolescent server. He couldn’t be more than thirteen. The mop of hair on his head may not have seen a brush in a week, but it was certainly colorful. Bright orange with streaks of black. Or was it black with streaks of orange? What kind of look was he going for, half-tiger?
“Tell them it’s me, and that I couldn’t wait. We’ll have the full treatment. Give us two specials and some ice tea.”
Truly turned back to glare at the smug Robert as the boy stomped huffily toward the kitchen. “I didn’t get a chance to look at the menu.”
“You don’t need one. Besides they rarely use the few they have. Most of their regulars get what they want.”
She huffed. “When you said you’d take me to lunch I thought we were going somewhere classy. I went all out for your birthday, buster. The least you could do is pamper your ex boss.”
He lifted one pierced eyebrow. “I told you about my recent credit card tragedy, right? Anyway, stop being such a bitch, dearest. You’ve always had an open mind. Give it a chance.”
She sniffed and crossed her arms, nodding grudgingly. Fine. She’d give it a chance. But after this he was off her Christmas list. No more spa days for Robert. Or her for that matter.
Damn, all she wanted was a good long sulk in her fuzzy pajamas with a pint of Cherry Garcia. She wasn’t fit for company right now, and no two-star greasy spoon was going to change her mood.
Two hours later she knew she’d have to eat her words. And if they tasted anything like the four courses she’d just gorged herself on, she’d enjoy every minute. She closed her eyes, inhaling the aroma of her after dessert coffee and moaned.