Lesli petulantly huffed and puffed, glowering after Kisa as she hailed a cab, got in and was gone, disappearing up the boulevard. “Hnh!”
Keith looked at Lesli. “You gon’ behave yourself?” He could’ve sworn she actually sulked and pouted. She looked across the street, motioned for Gwen to keep going. Damned good idea far as he was concerned. Lesli looked at him, fussing with her hair, which kept blowing back in her face. “Well,” he repeated, “you gon’ act right?”
“Where you and Evilene coming from? Work?”
“Yeah. We were on our way to the Tisch Gallery. Then, I saw you. And…her.” She spat that last out like the word tasted bad in her mouth.
He was still befuddled, clueless as to what the hell had just happened. “Well, long as we’re here, these reservations ain’t easy to come by. I had to pull strings. You want some food?”
“I guess,” she answered.
Quite deliberately sitting in the chair Kisa vacated, she shook herself and started to settle down. “They have a new exhibit. Gwen couldn’t find anyone to go with her.”
She frowned. “She’s not so bad. I wish you two could get along.”
“Lesli, what is this all about? I was about to get some.”
Before she knew it, her arm reached out and her hand drew back and, with a mind of its own, smacked the taste out of Keith’s mouth. The waitress who’d been on her way over, froze. So did a few diners, one with a forkful of food halfway off her plate.
Lesli was shocked. Keith, pretty surprised, himself, moved his jaw back and forth, making sure he hadn’t lost any teeth. Then looked at her, wondering whether to call a cop or have her committed somewhere. She stared back, not knowing what to say, mouth gaping wide open. He then let a smile spread across his face. She still didn’t know what do except sit there and be confused. But, managed, “I shouldn’t’ve done that. I’m so sorry.”
He laughed and she looked at him like he was the one acting wild and strange. Keith knew she had no way of knowing what he was thinking, but he was too lost in the moment to tell her. He waved the poor, frightened waitress over. With that, the other patrons went back to minding their business, some with fairly amused expressions.
The woman who’d been about to feed her face put the fork down and gave Lesli a thorough if not quite comprehending look of admiration. After all, how frequently had she seen anything like this? “May I,” the waitress stammered, “take your order?”
“I think,” Keith said, “we’ll start with a Bacardi and coke for Slugger Joe, here. Give me a double-Jack-rocks?”
“Coming right up.”
“What’s so funny?” Lesli asked.
“Don’t you remember how we met?” She thought. “When you took a swing at me?” She then laughed. And began crying. Keith touched her chin. “You finally landed that blow.”
She shoved his hand away, put her head down and kept crying. The waitress looked back over her shoulder worriedly. He gave her shake of the head and a wave of the hand. She shrugged and went on. This couldn’t have been, of course, her first romantic couple with the guy trying to keep things from going on the rocks and girl going about scuttling the ship.
A fellow in a white shirt and bow tie came over. Probably the manager. “Will she be alright? You’re starting to disturb our customers.” Keith looked around. Nobody seemed all that disturbed at all. Except this fellow.
Lesli lifted her head, wiping her eyes on the back of her hand. “I’m fine. These are tears of joy. Send over the most expensive plate you have on your menu. One for each of us. That alright enough for you?” The fellow stiffened and left.
Next week: A crazy woman roasts Keith.
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