She isn’t here yet.
Well. It isn’t 7:00 yet, that’s why. She’ll come. Barbara will come.
He closed his eyes and listened to the voice of his internal clock.
What will her father be like? Is he really okay with me dating her? What if he isn’t? What if he forbids me to see her again?
He opened his eyes. Do parents still do that nowadays? I suppose they must if there’s a legitimately good reason. Some things don’t change.
But some things do.
Hildreth waved down a taxi. “Hey. Could you take us to the Gendarme Café and Bar?”
The taxi driver pulled his cigar out of his mouth. “Why? It’s right down the street there.”
“I’ll drive you there if you want. But it seems kinda dumb to me. You wanna hop in?”
Hildreth glanced at Elsie.
“We’ll walk. Thank you.”
The driver stuck his cigar in his mouth and muttered something about tourists before whooshing his car back into traffic.
What if he talks her out of coming? Doesn’t matter. She’d call me. I know she would.
“Here’s your water, sir. I hope it’s to your liking.”
Ambrose took a sip. “Needs to be hotter.”
“No offense, sir, but why?”
“Because it tastes better when it’s truly hot.”
“No offense, sir, but water is water.”
“No. Cold water is not the same as lukewarm water which is not the same as truly hot water.”
“What? Are you saying this is…cold?”
“Idiot. It’s lukewarm at best. Make it hotter. Now.”
The waiter took the glass and walked away, shaking his head.
“Now about your mom.”
“What about her?”
Hildreth’s head ached with all of the questions he wanted to ask. “Will she like me?”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. What if she thinks I’m not good enough for you? What if she doesn’t like my face or my voice or she thinks I’m too tall?”
“You worry too much.”
“I can’t help it. I don’t want your mother to be the one to stand up on our wedding day and shout ‘I object!’ when the priest gets around to that question.”
“She won’t. I know she won’t. You’ll be fine. Just be yourself and she’ll love you.” She kissed him. “I do.”
Why is time moving so slowly? Why can’t it hurry up? Why can’t she just be here already? Where is she?
Hildreth smiled. “We’re going to be very early.”
“That’s okay with me. We’ll have a whole hour to ourselves.”
“Will there be anything else, sir?”
“No. Nothing you can help me with, anyways.”
“Uhhh, okay. Let me know if you need anything.”
Is she here yet? Maybe she’s out parking her car.
“And here we are. The Gendarme Kicker Café and Bar.” Hildreth squeezed her hand. “She isn’t even here yet and my heart’s pounding too fast.”
“Don’t worry. If my mom tries to get too inappropriate, I’ll quickly change the subject.”
He laughed. “This should be an interesting evening.”