Monday, April 29, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions Chapter 18: The Date

Part I

     There is a certain class of dining establishment that is ubiquitous across the American landscape. These are the "mid-range" restaurant chains that sprouted up across the nation in the 1980s and 90s in order to serve the tastes of the aspiring yet faltering middle classes who had neither the time nor money to spend on higher quality fare, but wanted an option they felt was better than fast food and more "upscale" than the local mom-and-pop eateries that had supported the entertainment economy for so many decades. These chains not only drove many local restauranteurs out of business, but pulled the overall national food quality levels into line somewhere between mediocre and bland.
    After Katie and Seth exchanged a few text messages, arrangements were made and he had naturally chosen one of these godawful chain restaurants: that tribute to the lowest common denominator in American Cuisine known as Crabbapple's. Oh, and look! The walls were covered with re-creations of trinkets and signage from the Great Depression through the 1960s. Quelle suprise! Never mind the fact that O'Keefe had probably been exposed to all sorts of interesting cuisine from all over the world—no, he just had to choose the blandest among America's many bland dining offerings. The worst of it was that even though it had been many years since she'd been to the Columbus area, Katie knew it was full to the brim with high-quality dining options. Oh well—at least they have a bar.
          Katie walked into the abominable excuse for a restaurant, ignoring the hostess and going straight for the bar. She had chosen to wear a bright blue cocktail dress with a mid-thigh hemline and a deep-cut front. She hoped that with the combination of strong drink and a bit of flirtation she'd succeed in keeping O'Keefe distracted enough to talk freely.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions Chapter 17: The Café

     Another day. Another café. Sometimes—when on the job—Katie felt as though all she did was go from one coffee shop to another; talking to different people in each one, exchanging notes or packages. She could imagine a worse life—sometimes she felt as though she'd lived several worse lives already—but it grew tiring at times.
     This one was quite busy; unlike the book store she'd spent the evening in with O'Keefe. She suspected Lewis Wright had known it would be busy. He had been more than a little skittish and didn't want to meet with her at first, but when she had said they could meet in public and even let him pick the location he finally relented. Why is my life so full of fearful, paranoid men?
     The table he'd designated wasn't open when she'd arrived, but she had watched and waited like a vulture and snagged it as soon as the occupants had left. That was one of many reasons why she always arrived early to these things. 
     She wore a dark blue pin-striped pantsuit with a white lily pinned to the jacket. This was how she'd told Lewis to identify her. She had her hair tied back in a tight bun and wore a pair of wire-frame glasses with non-prescription lenses. All of this, of course, helped her get into her May Parker: Serious Scientist persona.