A shiver of regret shuddered down Nicole’s spin as she opened the door to Applebee’s. She had no idea how she’d let Brady talk her into this.
“Just don’t embarrass me,” said Nicole.
“Of course not. Never,” said Brady. He smiled sweetly at his wife.
A hostess approached. “Two tonight? Booth or a table?”
“Table please. I love being in the middle of the action,” said Brady.
The hostess led Nicole and Brady to a table at the centre of the restaurant. Brady paid careful attention to everyone in the dining room.
“Brady, no,” said Nicole.
“I’m just seeing what’s good.”
Nicole glared at Brady as they were seated at their table.
“I have to go to the ladies’ room,” she said.
“Have fun,” said Brady. Nicole hesitated momentarily before quickly slipping away. Brady watched until she was out of sight. He rubbed his hands together and looked around.
An elderly couple seated at a booth to his left looked like they were finished their meal.
Brady walked over and smiled. “Excuse me, are you finished with your pasta?” he asked.
“Uh, yes,” said the elderly lady.
“May I take it away for you?”
Brady took the plate back to his table and sat down. His waitress approached.
“Good evening, my name is Candace and I’ll be serving you tonight.” At that moment she noticed the plate of half eaten linguini. She looked perplexed. “Have you already been served?”
“No. I’d like a water please. My wife’ll have the same. With lime,” said Brady. “Oh, and may I have this in a take-out box?”
“Okay,” said Candace, cautiously. She carried his plate to the kitchen, passing Nicole on the way.
“I ordered us water with lime,” said Brady, triumphantly.
“Anything else I should know?”
A minute later Candace returned with two glasses of water with lime and a take-out container filled with linguini. Nicole shot a disdainful look at Brady.
“May I take your order?”
“We need a couple a more minutes, thanks,” said Nicole with a forced smile. After Candace left, Nicole leaned across the table. “You said you wouldn’t embarrass me.”
Brady looked surprised. “I didn’t. You weren’t even here.” He looked behind Nicole at another booth. “Ooo. I’ll be right back.”
Nicole dropped her head and closed her eyes.
“Good evening. Are you finished with your meals?” asked Brady.
The young couple looked quizzically at Brady. “Do you work here?” asked the young woman.
“Then what’re you doing?” asked the young man.
“Recycling,” said Brady.
“Oh, sorry. Please, go ahead.”
Brady picked up a plate of half eaten vegetables and another of leftover chicken.
“Thank-you,” said Brady. He carried them toward the kitchen. Along the way he picked up half a mini-loaf left behind at another table. He handed them to Candace. “May I have these boxed up, please? Oh, and we’re ready to order.”
“Are you sure you need to?” asked Candace.
Brady returned to his seat.
“You finished?” asked Nicole.
“I think so, for now,” said Brady as he scanned the restaurant.
“Brady, would you do me a favor? Remind me why I stay married to you.”
Brady gave a broad smile that warmed Nicole’s heart. “Because our life’s never boring.”