Status: In Time

To Caress My Day

Chapter 99: Dining Alone Tonight?

Twigs was forced to wait in the secret compartment built into the backseat of Derek’s car until the coast was clear for her to come out of hiding from the paparazzi. It took some time, but she didn’t complain about the delay. As claustrophobic as the compartment was, it was actually pretty comfortable, and there was just enough lighting in it to keep her nerves calm and make her feel safe. Closing her eyes, she focused her mind on feeling the random bumps on the road that would make the car bounce until it finally came to a stop.

“You can come out now, Tahliah. We’re at a red light.” Derek called to her from the driver’s seat.

“But try and make it quick so we don’t end up upsetting the driver behind us for keeping.” Odette added quickly from where she sat beside her husband.

Placing her palms against the lid of the compartment, Twigs found it to be surprisingly easily to push open. The light that illuminated the entire inside of her hiding place immediately cut off soon after the lid lifted. She made sure to keep herself below the windows of the car as she crawled out of the compartment so none of the occupants in the neighboring cars would see her, and pushed the lid back down to reveal a perfectly normal back seat that she was glad to see again. Spinning around, she plopped her behind back in the familiar seat just in time for the traffic light to turn green. Sighing with relief, she buckled herself in, and flashed Odette a smile when she glanced over her. “Ta-da!”

Derek glanced at Twigs through the rearview mirror as his wife laughed at her first response at being out of the box. “Were you comfortable in there? Was the light too dull, or binding for you? Could you breathe okay? I ask because Seth wants to make sure you’re cozy in there in case something goes wrong, and you’re forced to stay in there longer than we intended. He doesn’t want you stuck in an uncomfortable box for hours.”

“No no, it was fine! I was actually quite comfortable in there. The light made it less claustrophobic than it really was.” Twigs assured him honestly, still internally excited to see her boyfriend again very soon, but this time it’ll be in a more public setting.

“Good. Like I said, Seth wants to make sure you’ll be good in there to withstand a few hours in a worst case scenario, such as being stuck in an endless sea of paparazzi.” Derek repeated himself, wanting her to get the idea of just how bad it can really be trying to secretly date a well-known celebrity.

Twigs gave him a nod of understanding. “I know, Derek. I get what you’re trying to say. Trust me, I understand perfectly what I’ve gotten myself into.”

Odette turned her head slightly in her direction. “Just so you know, we’ll be at the restaurant in about 10-15 minutes.”

Giving her a nod, Twigs turned her focus to the Californian’s life thriving outside her window. The shops, the people, the lights, everything was new and slightly foreign to her, at least this area of California. She figured they must be taking a different road from Seth’s house to get to the restaurant, because she hadn’t seem these places before whenever she’d touch down from the airport here. After 15 minutes had passed, Derek had parked his car alongside the curb of the restaurant, and the trio were exiting the vehicle. They stepped inside Darius’s Bungalow’s which consisted of several seating areas in the center of the restaurant, and the more expensive somewhat secluded ones up in the back.

In the blink of an eye, a waiter appeared right in front of them with a sunny smile that looked almost convincing. “Good evening ladies and gentleman, my name is Otis. Did you have previous reservations, or would you lovely folks just like a table out front?”

Derek stepped forward, and pulled a card from the breast pocket of his suit. “Actually, my employer has two reservations he set up earlier today for me and my wife, and his lovely guest here.” He placed his arm around his wife’s waist so the waiter wouldn’t get the mistake that Odette was Seth’s date. It was a common mistake because Seth’s type were commonly known as blond/brunette Hollywood looking starlets.

Otis took the card and didn’t need to look at it for more than half a second before giving Derek a hearty nod. “Well, indeed, sir.” Glancing behind him, he caught sight of one of his available co-workers, and called him over. “Billy, over here, please!”

Billy looked in their direction and gives Otis a nod before he hurried through the crowd to them. “Yes, sir?”

“Will you escort this lovely couple to the #12 table in the back?” Otis informed him, pointing to a specific one. He earned a nod in response from Billy before he guided Derek and Odette to their table. Looking around again, Otis spotted another one of his wandering waiters. “Rosa! Over here, please!”

Rosa was at his side in a flash with the same sunny smile as his. “What’s up, Otis?”

Otis gestured to Twigs. “Could you escort our young lady to our special booth for this evening?”

“Absolutely!” Rosa answered him, but turned to face Twigs when she said it. With a wave of her arm, she led Twigs into the back of the restaurant were an older-looking private booth that sat in a private cove a few feet away from the kitchen doors. The bathroom wasn’t anywhere near this booth which meant they’d be in total privacy of other diners. Once Twigs had sat herself comfortably in the booth, Rosa handed her the menu. “What would you like to drink this evening, miss?”

“I would like some water, please.” Twigs informed her, watching her nod and scurry off to deliver her her beverage. As she looked over the menu until the young lady’s return, she began to wonder to herself where her boyfriend was.

She didn’t get as far as to fish out her phone when Rosa came back with her glass of water. “Have you decided what you would like to order this evening, miss?”

Twigs gave her a nod, and handed over the menu to her, having already memorized it. “I would like the Garlic Shrimp Pasta, please.” Rosa wrote her order down on her notepad before giving her a nod and hurrying back into the kitchen with her menu. Once again, Twigs was left with her thoughts. If Seth wasn’t going to come as himself, how did he plan on joining her tonight? Putting a white sheet with holes over his head and walk around claiming he was an invisible ghost? Twigs giggles to herself at the image. Before she knew it her plate was being placed right in front of her. Her mouth watered in delight at the delicious smell. “Oh thank you, it smells divine!” She picked her fork up with the intention of sampling a bite when she noticed a plate being placed down in the spot next to her. Twigs arched a brow as she glanced up at Rosa. “No, wait. Excuse me, miss, but I only ordered one meal tonight, not two.”

Rosa was confused at first before coming to the conclusions that Twigs must be unaware that her date had called the restaurant a few minutes ago. “Oh no, miss, this plate isn’t for you. Your dinner companion called and asked us to prepare his meal before his arrival, and have it waiting for him at his table. Forgive me, I just assumed you were already aware of this.”

“Oh…of course.” Twigs apologized and gave her a smile. Once Rosa was gone, and she was left alone again, someone else decided to invite themselves over to her table.

That someone was a man that boldly leaned against the side of her booth with what looked to be a flirtatious smirk on his face. “Well, hello there, beautiful. Dining alone tonight?”

Twigs gave him a surreal look at his overly confident and yet cocky aura that seemed to suffocate the very air around them. He was a much older gentleman than her boyfriend with small brown hooded eyes sheltered under thick unruly blonde brows, a retro-styles haircut and a hawk nose above a thick beard that hung down over his neck. “No sir, I’m not alone tonight. In fact, I’m waiting for a friend. He’s just running a bit behind, is all.”

The gentleman gave her a nod of understanding, and so she just assumed he’d back away now that he knew she wasn’t alone, only he didn’t. This man actually had the audacity to help himself to Seth’s place next to her. “That’s terribly unlucky of him to be running late on a pretty face like yours.”

Twigs opened her mouth with the intention of ordering him to leave her booth, or she’ll call for the manager when Rosa came back with a glass and placed it right by the man’s hand! Twigs was horrified, but then figured Rosa had no idea what her date even looked like and had probably assumed that this man was him. But once again before she could say anything about it, this stranger helping herself to her boyfriend’s seat reached into his pocket for a wad of cash and handed a few bills to Rosa. “Thank you sweetheart. What do say you leave our table alone for the rest of the evening, eh?”

Rosa didn’t hesitate to take the overly generous hush money with eyes filled dollar signs dancing in them. “Really!? OH my god, yes! Yes, anything you guys want! Thank you!”

“No, wait! Wait a minute!” Twigs watched through wide eyes as Rosa ran off without giving her a chance to object to this arrangement. Now shooting the stranger a death glare, and coming severely close to inappropriately cussing him out in public, she was once again shocked when she saw that he was already helping himself to Seth’s knife and fork and was eating the food off of his plate! Twigs was practically fuming now, and was trying to hold herself back from snatching the knife from his hand with the intention of threatening to cut him if he didn’t get the hell out of there. Knowing she had to put an end to this, Twigs slammed the palm of her hand onto the table to grab his attention.

Luckily for her, it worked.
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