I had met Jennifer once before I asked her to the gala. It was at the last Christmas gala. My father had brought us together in the hopes that we’d actually hit it off. She was goregous then and goregous now, but she was a laywer in my father’s firm and I didn’t want that kind of pressure. She smiled as she closed the door behind her, “Cab’s running?”
I nodded. “Yeah.” I offered her my elbow which she graciously took as we headed for the elevator. She was wearing a pair of three inch steletto heels which still put her about four inches shorter than I was. Her dress covered just enough of her legs my mother wouldn’t scoff and say ‘oh what a slut’. I pushed the button and turned to her, “You look amazing.”
Her smile was perfect and framed with just a faint red lipstick. My mother would be swooning. I returned the smile. I hated dating! I hoped it didn’t show.
“Where are we going?” She asked.
“I’ve never been there. Heard excellent reviews though.”
“You’ll love it. And if we’re lucky Chef Marco is on tonight.” Not that I would mind pretty boy cooking for me, but that was a little awkward with me on a date and all. Best if he’s not even there.
The small talk was the usual in the cab, we included the cabbie. Well Jennifer did, she asked where he was from, what the music was. Complimented him on his English. It was pretty good for an Indian. It was always an Indian driver. I think they owned yellow cab!
Outside Fiore’s I held the door for her and we dropped off our thick coats at the coat check. I took both our numbers. I smiled at Suzie, “Reservation for 2, Kennedy.”
“Your table is ready, Mr. Kennedy, if you’ll follow me.” I followed Susie fighting back the urge to say Mr. Kennedy is my father, call me Zane. I thought I did a good job of it. My father should be proud.
Nadia was our server again. She grinned at me and gave Jennifer a sweet smile. Though I thought it slipped for a moment. “I’m Nadia. I’ll be your server today. Shall I bring your usual wine?”
I nodded. “Please. Is Chef Marco working tonight?”
Nadia nodded. “Yes. He’s here.” One thing I didn’t have to worry about. Nadia grinned at me, “Our other chef is on tonight, but sadly he can’t make your order.” Fuck! Nadia knew something and was telling me Angel was here. Fuck I said his name, now things were getting personal. I nodded. “That’s alright, we’ve come for Chef Marco’s cooking.”
Nadia giggled. “If you say so, Mr. Kennedy. I’ll bring the wine and some fresh bread is there anything else you’d like me to bring you before you order?”
I looked at Jennifer, “You want anything else?”
She looked up at from her menu. “I’d like a capressi salad if I could have one before we get our meal.”
“Of course. I’ll put it right in. And be right back with your drinks.”
Jennifer waited until Nadia left. “You come here often?”
“Every Monday night with my business partners.” I answered.
“Don’t you get sick of it?” She asked.
“Never. Never had the same thing twice. We always let the chef make whatever he’s in the mood for.”
“Oh really? You trust him that much?”
“He’s the chef. If you have an allergy or something I’m sure he’ll take that into consideration. But none of us do so it’s his descretion.”
“Is that what you would recomend?”
A bus boy was walking by and I could have sworn I saw the same blue tips I had on Monday. Jennifer grabbed the bus boy’s elbow, “Excuse me.”
“Yes, ma’am. Can I help you?”
She flashed a bright smile at him and batted her eye lashes at him and I saw that grin show up that he had while we were discussing the waitress. “How long have you worked here?”
“A long time. Why?”
“How many people get the chef’s special?” That was when he looked at me and his grin faded a little and then it was back but that spark was gone cloaking the disappointment in his eyes. He turned back to Jennifer but she never noticed the fading humor on his lips. “Several people everyday, mostly regulars. It’s not on the menu.” He smiled at me, “I need to get back to work Miss. Do you need anything else?”
Jennifer shook her head, “No, thank you.”
“You are welcome. Enjoy your meal.” And then pretty boy left us alone.
“You didn’t trust me?” I asked.
“No, I believe in imperial data, I wanted a second opinion.”
“Why didn’t you ask him what he’d recomend then?”
“I could. If he comes by again. Would that make you happy?” She smiled playfully at me.
I could do with seeing his ass again. I sighed, “If it would make you happy.”
“He was cute. I wonder if he works our table.” But I doubted he was going to work our table while I was here. I think being here on a date was a bit much after Monday. I should have told my father no, taken Jennifer someplace else.
Nadia brought our wine and Jennifer’s salad, and we both ordered the chef’s special. Marco dazzled of course. And I’d been right we hadn’t seen Angel since that impromptu question. I didn’t have time to think about Angel as Jennifer demanded all of my attention. I learned she went to Yale and was top of her class. There was no wonder that my father had recruited her to the firm. I wondered if the three men were bringing in young fresh new blood to bring on as a partner.
I told her Dad had been disappointed when I didn’t want to join the firm. I had no interest in law. She asked me what I did have interest in and I lied. Told her my business kept me busy and was my first love. It wasn’t really a lie, but I didn’t mention my music, the reason I have Zion.
We had dessert. It was a delicious apple tart. We walked for a few blocks before hailing a cab. The cab was quickly back in front of her building. I walked her to her door. I kissed her cheek good-bye and told her I’d pick her up at 5 for the gala on Saturday.
I walked to the subway, and once I got on I pulled out my phone to see what messages I had missed. There was a simple text
Angel: My version of applie pie. Hope you and your friend enjoy it.
Shit! I didn’t know if he was mad or if he was being nice.
Why did you make me apple pie?
I put my phone back in my pocket and closed my eyes but it buzzed again. I hesitated. I didn’t want to know the answer. But I couldn’t help myself.
Angel: I thought I’d make you something better than what we had. Nothing more.
It was delicious. Thank you. I’ll see you around?
Angel: :) always