“This is the place.” Matt Brass stated, turning the car into the lot of a bright yellow and orange painted restaurant. Big red lettering declared the place to be Rooster’s Roasters. “It doesn’t look like much, but this place is great. I come here sometimes alone, when I’m not in the mood to cook.”
“A secret pleasure?” Cat asked with a flirty, confidential smile.
Matt chuckled, “Maybe a little.”
“Thank you for sharing your secret pleasure with me.” Cat said, emphasizing the word pleasure. Matt was a little surprised by the awkward flirtation. It struck him as immature, and turned him off a little. Maybe she was joking. In his experience, women waited to start the flirting until it was nearly time to do something about it. She had started doing it back before they left the woods, he realized. But that time had involved her touch, and hadn’t seemed in any way clumsy or immature.
He took a chance and chuckled again. Then said lightly, “You should see my non-chicken related secret pleasures.”
He’d screwed up somehow, Cat looked shocked. She responded formally, “Perhaps I will.” This was not registering right in Matt’s brain at all. He couldn’t pin down where she was coming from.
He parked the car. “Have you lived around here long? I’m new to the area myself.”
“Oh, I’ve been here for ages.” She said enigmatically. Then stepped out of the car. He followed her in and they stopped briefly at an unmanned Maitre D station before a man behind the bar waved them over.
“Hey Mike. You two are welcome to sit anywhere you like.” Roger “Rooster” MacConnel said. Mike had met the cook and owner of Rooster’s Roasters before. He had earned the name Rooster during his younger years as a punk rocker. There were some pictures of his old band hung behind the bar. He was skinny back then, but just as tall, with his bright red hair in a Mohawk.
“Thanks, Roger.” Matt led Cat over to a booth next to the front window. When they were settled he asked, “Ages huh? Do you have a lot of family around here?”
This seemed to strike a sore spot with Cat and she visibly deflated. “My mother was here, but she’s gone now.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to bring it up, was it recent?” Matt asked concerned.
Cat paused for a moment. It reminded him of when he spoke to people that had learned English later in life. They would sometimes pause before speaking as if to translate their thoughts into English. “It was a few years ago, but for me feels like yesterday.” She said.