The Ballad of Troy & Roe, Part 2
Roe was happy to see Troy when she got to the car, even if his cousin was weird. Troy was dressed up to about the same extent she was—a dress shirt and pants but no tie, and a blazer rather than a serious dress coat—so she was glad to have chosen the right clothes. He was holding the car door open and smiling at her, and she felt her uncomfortable smile relax into a real one. He was awfully cute.
“My lady,” he said, bowing slightly to her as she reached the car.
She giggled. “I’m not a lady.”
“Well, you are for now.” He helped her into the car, then went around the back to get in the other side. Link had gotten into the driver’s seat, but at least Roe and Troy were alone in the back. There wasn’t much privacy—the car was an ordinary sedan, not a limo or anything—but there was a barrier at least.
Link started the car as Troy got his seatbelt on. Roe opened her mouth to ask where they were going, then shut it again, unsure whether she should be asking Troy or Link. And was she supposed to talk to Link at all?
There was an uncomfortable few minutes of silence before Troy spoke. “Um, I hope you like French food. I picked out a nice restaurant.”
She nodded, then grinned, embarrassed. “Actually, I’ve never had French food. But I’m sure I’ll like it. I’m glad I dressed up the right amount.”
“Yeah, you look beautiful!” he said quickly and enthusiastically. She smiled at him, but the conversation was awkward and stilted like that until they got to the restaurant. Link pulled up to a place that wasn’t really a parking spot and got out, holding the car door first for her and then for Troy. She smoothed her dress as she got out, feeling awkward.
“I’ll be right outside,” he said in a low voice to Troy. “So don’t worry. Or try to escape out the back.”
Troy nodded, not meeting his cousin’s eyes. “It’ll be fine, Link. You worry too much.”
Link shook his head but didn’t argue. Instead, he preceded them into the restaurant. Roe and Troy waited behind him as he spoke quietly with the waiter. Roe glanced around at the expensive-looking place, feeling uncomfortable and confused, but she was pretty sure she saw money change hands somewhere in there. Then Link turned around and left and the waiter led them to their table.
It was small, round, and by a window. There was a lightweight curtain, but it only partially shielded Roe, and didn’t shield Troy at all. The lights inside made it so she couldn’t see through the window very well, but she was sure Link would be somewhere outside, fully able to see them.
She opened the menu that had been handed to her, then stared at it in horror. “Uh, do you speak French?”
“Oh, yes,” said Troy. “I mean, I read it. I’ll order for you. Is there anything you won’t eat?”
Roe was about to protest until she realized that this was such a fancy restaurant that her menu didn’t even have prices on it. And this was a first date. She supposed Troy could be in charge. “No,” she said softly. “There isn’t.”
I still might write a better wrap-up for Book 8, but in the meantime, please enjoy the continuation of Troy and Roe's date!