Despite Elsie’s head start, Hildreth still beat her to the restaurant. He sat on the bench outside the front door. The bench looked like something that had been scavenged from an estate sale in India – weathered wood with a back metal grille of arches and diamonds. Gold insets sparkled along the sides. Yet, despite its weathered state, it was quite comfortable.
He tucked his hands behind his head.
Hmm. I totally need to get us a bench like this. Although, I think I’d want it inside the house. Where would be a good place for a bench of this quality? Kitchen doesn’t seem quite right. Living room?
“It would look so out of place it would make me laugh every time I saw it.” He nodded. “So, it would have to go in the bedroom. Although, the bathroom could be an unexpected choice.” He clicked his tongue. “But it will get moldy from the moisture and steam and all that. What a shame. It would look wonderful in there.”
Elsie approached the restaurant.
He stood and stretched his arms over his head. “Nnnngh. Ahh, look at the late coming straggler.”
“You could have slowed down for my sake.”
“Huh? Now, Els. Why would I do that? Hardly sporting. Hardly sporting at all, expecting me to take it easy on you.”
“But as my fiancée, you should be willing to do so.”
He shrugged. “What can I say? I got a mad competitive streak.”
She stopped next to him. “Apparently. Let’s go inside. I’m hungry.”
“Oh, that’s nothing. I’m starving.”
Elsie smiled as she linked arms with him. “Of course you are.”
The waitress led them to a table and gave them their menus. Hildreth opened his menu and studied it with a fierce intensity. “Food. So much food.”
Elsie smiled at him and ordered a sugar-free lemonade.
Hildreth frowned. “Foot beer? What the—I sure hope that’s a typo.”
“Oh, it’s a new drink.” the waitress said. “It’s like root beer, but it’s made from beets.”
He raised his head and stared wordlessly at her.
“Would you like to try it?”
“I don’t know. It sounds terrifying.”
“I’ve heard tell that it’s very good.”
“Very good, huh?” He stared at it. “Foot beer. Foot beer. It’s too crazy.” He looked up at the waitress and smiled. “I’ll give it a try.”
“Very good. I’ll give you folks some time to look over the menus.”
As the waitress walked away, Hildreth mused, “If it’s made from beets, shouldn’t it be called boot beer? I mean, why foot beer?”
Elsie shrugged. “No idea. Neither one sounds particularly appealing to me. Of course, root beer doesn’t sound appealing to me to start with.”
Hildreth mock-gasped. “Am I hearing you right? You don’t like root beer?”
“I’ve never had it. It just sounds gross to me. Beer made out of roots.”
“Uhh, it’s not real beer and I don’t think it’s made out of roots. Huh. So, why would it be called root beer then? Such a mysterious thing.”
Elsie elbowed his arm. “You are a mysterious thing.”
“Yes! I knew it!”
He pumped his fist. “I’m moving up in the world. I’ve gone from idiot to mysterious thing. Huzzah!”
“No. You will always be an idiot to me.”
He smiled. “I hope so.”