Here is the long overdue update! I hope you like it. I like how it turned out. Please, feedback. But if you want more after this, you'll have to shoot ideas at me. It was hard to get this out.
Your Obedient Servant,
The skirt of the red dress clung to her thighs with slight discomfort. She emerged from the bedroom, her dress coupled with the strappy, red, heeled sandals and her blonde hair curling softly, half of it pulled back in a barrette. She looked up from pulling down the hem once more and glared at the man in front of her. Her green eyes narrowed at the sight of him, envying the way his white silk shirt clung comfortably to his chest and his black slacks flowed to his shoes. As she straightened, a smile split his face in two at the scowl on her pretty face. The question was in the tilt of his head, his light curls falling to one side.
"Why is it that you always get to wear the comfy clothes and I get stuck in things like this?" Her arms flapped to her sides in an exaggerated movement.
He chuckled softly as he walked toward her, wrapping his arms around her waist loosely and looking down at her frustrated expression. "Because, my love. When you wear things so… tempting as this, I cannot help but gloat the fact that you are on my arm, and no one else's." He watched as her eyes narrowed and she opened her mouth to say something. With a finger over her lips, he concluded with, "I love the stares of pure jealousy I get. You know, boosts my ego and all."
She rolled her eyes. "Fine. But I enjoy them more. I may appear to be robbing the cradle, but I can't say I don't appreciate female—and male—leers at me." Pecking his cheek and moving past him to grab her coat, Vicki spoke over her shoulder. "By the way… why are you taking me to dinner? You don't eat. And… where?"
He just smiled that Henry smile as he held the door open for her and they made their way to the elevator. The doors closed and he smiled at her. "I'm taking you to dinner because you need to relax before we have a Celucci reunion and his temper destroys private property of some sort. You know that's what will happen, Vicki," he said, pointing at her, before she could get the protest past her parted lips. "And in regards to where, that… is the surprise."
"I hate surprises," she muttered, crossing her arms and facing the elevator doors.
"I know," he smirked. He turned to face the opposite direction as she as the elevator reached ground floor. "Are you coming?"
She turned around and looked at him crossing the threshold. "Right. Double-sided elevator. I knew that." Her tone was as sincere as her walk was fake.
Henry watched her walk ahead of him, the heels giving her hips an extra sway that made him growl low. Catching up with her quickly, they made it out the door and to his car, her silence speaking volumes. It wasn't until they reached the restaurant that she was at a loss for words.
"Biagio Ristorante? Henry…"
"Hush. You did, after all, mention spaghetti the other night. Italian's Italian… this is just upscale."
The restaurant was on King St. Being in the St. Lawrence Hall, it was one of the nicer Italian places. Til now, Henry had prided himself on the fact that he took Vicki to the dives she called fine dining for her favorite burgers and fries. Now it was time for her to taste a bit of the upper class. His reservations were for a corner table near the fountain on the back patio. He felt it would be romantic enough to make the visible tension in the line of her body release some. She was set on telling Mike and Coreen about them, and it was only the sensible thing to do. But it also meant that their encounter was more to her than he expected. She was accepting it; embracing it. Living it. Plus… she really had been craving spaghetti.
The Maitre D led them to the small, private table only set for one, but with two chairs.
Vicki looked around and tried not to glare. "Henry. You didn't have to. I mean, I'm fine. And this is beautiful."
"You're not fine, Victoria. Now sit, have some wine. Order whatever it is that you'd like." He pulled the chair in front of the place setting out and gestured for her to sit, a serious twinkle in his eye. She finally obliged and he took his seat across from her.
Knowing he would not rest until she ordered something to eat and tried to enjoy the "early" evening out, Vicki looked at the menu. She ordered a simple, yet filling lamb dish complete with roasted potatoes cooked with caramelized onions and sautéed vegetables. Also, she requested a solitary glass of an ever-versatile and medium-bodied Sangiovese.
"I thought you wanted spaghetti," Henry said in a mocking tone, one red-gold brow arched high.
Vicki scoffed and gestured at the garden surrounding them on the small patio. "In a place like this with $40 entrees? No way. Besides… that was three days ago." She shrugged and glanced sidelong at him, a smirk on her lips.
He rolled his eyes. "Since when do you know wines?"
"What? Because I'm a chick and I used to be a cop, I don't know what reds go with what dishes?" she asked, amused.
Henry chuckled quietly. "No, my dear. Simply… surprised, that is all. I never pictured you one for wines. Especially reds."
"Well, you know. I'm dating this guy who drinks a lot of red… so I'm growing fond of it." She loved the smile of amusement splitting his face in two. Only her smartass remarks could evoke that kind of expression from him. The way his hazel eyes sparkled when that charming smile reached all the way up. It was how she could tell he was truly enjoying himself. Almost feeling human again, normal again. She hated when he smiled and his eyes remained empty and void of any emotion; it saddened her. But it was moments like these for which she lived to see him. Moments of happiness.
Her meal passed with quiet, meaningless banter and common small talk. It was as if they were a normal couple having a nice night out together. For about an hour, they weren't a vampire and a half blind private investigator. Henry wasn't the illegitimate son of Henry VIII; he was a graphic novelist sharing instant after glorious instant with the woman he loved. The romanticism broke periodically, of course, when a wise comment would slip from one of them as per usual. There was one crack, followed by the action it implied, that would ruin the rest of the evening.
"Sorry to break this heart-wrenching tale of yours, Henry. But I must see a man about a horse. Or some other insanely nonsensical and American metaphor. Again."
It was all he could do to not laugh as she pushed herself from the table and straightened her dress. When she began walking from him, he grinned in satisfaction as a waiter almost dropped his tray holding approximately $500 worth of food as she sauntered past him. That was his. There was no doubt about that.
Vicki seemed to weave through table after table until she finally made it to the restroom. The wine had gone straight through her and it seemed like her bladder had shrunk to the size of a pea. She found it increasingly annoying as every glass Henry continued to order interrupted their conversation and she found herself constantly leaving the table to relieve the pressure in her abdomen. It could be worse; she thought as she flushed the toilet and emerged from the stall, I could be pregnant. The thought made her pause in her hand washing. Good thing he's been the equivalent to washed out with spermicide. Bad visual. The point was, and it was a very good point at that, she could not get pregnant from Henry.
But… what if they wanted children?
No! Vicki chided herself mentally. Waaaay too early. Just think of what Mom would say! That thought alone made her turn from the subject.
As she made her way back outside, just before the open double doors, she heard, "So, Chinese and beer are the best tools needed to solve cases. As long as there's Kung Pao."
She turned on the thin heel of her red shoe and saw none other than, "Mike?!"
"Uh… Vicki? Is that… you?" he looked at up from his plate—and his date—to glance at her. Vicki in a dress? A tight dress and heels? Wow. Damn she looked good. Focus on Kate, focus on Kate!
"Never mind me. What the hell are you doing here?" He didn't get a chance to answer as she noticed Kate sitting across from him in a simple white dress, her hair in a ponytail. Vicki's mouth formed a silent "O" as she realized he was… on a date? With Kate? So much for "not romantically interested." She scoffed mentally.
The moment was awkward as an idea donned on Mike Celucci. Who was Vicki here with? Better yet, what…
"Are you here with who I think you're here with?" he asked suspiciously, his eyes narrowing and glancing toward the patio.
"Mike… don't start," Vicki warned, putting up a hand.
"Listen, why don't I leave and you two work out your domestic issues." Kate stood to leave, but was stopped when both held out hands and simultaneously commanded, "Shut up and sit down," without even looking at her. The brunette did as she was told, hoping the dramatics would be over soon enough.
"'Don't start?' So you are with him! You're here with Henry fucking Fitzroy!" Mike stood and leaned toward Vicki, a sneer on his face. "Fangboy enjoying his meal?"
A loud slap of flesh on flesh roused nearby diners from their meals and Henry was at Vicki's side in the flutter of an eyelash. Mike held his face, the left side red and swelling slightly.
"You have no right to deride me because of who I date, Mike. How dare you even speak to me like that. Like I am a piece of flesh." The words leaked out from between clenched teeth as she spoke low so only he could hear. She knew, however, that Henry could hear every word with more clarity than she spoke.
"I'm not on a date with a… thing!" Mike lashed in return.
"You're out with Kate! How is it any different? Am I not allowed a romantic life because you're no longer interested?!"
Their voices had risen and were attracting an increasing attention from the employees and patrons at the Biagio. All those witnessing the current exchange of words between cop and P.I., however, were smart enough to watch and not intervene. It was apparent that the proper thing would be to let things ride out as they would… and bill for any impending damage.
"Kate is a normal human being! You're with him," Mike paused shortly to gesture angrily at Henry to Vicki's right. "It's… different."
"Yeah, well. I've already slept with my date, so I'm a step ahead of the game!" Vicki realized she had said that last out loud a moment too late.
"What?" Mike growled.
"Vicki, we need to go…" Henry began, grabbing her arm lightly and tugging.
"Fitzroy, back the fuck off." Mike's hand found Henry's chest and applied an unneeded amount of pressure. "You've done enough damage, obviously."
Glancing down at Mike's hand, Henry responded coolly. "Detective, I suggest you remove your hand."
"He's not the only one who's done anything, Mike. I'm pretty sure I was there too. That's right. I. Slept. With. Henry. And you know what? Who's to say I wouldn't do it again?"
There was a roar of anger. People took cover as a wine glass went sailing through the air at a remarkable speed. It shattered against the wall and Mike stood there, his chest heaving as he took in gulps of air. It burned going down his esophagus and into his lungs, the action taking a vast amount of energy. All he could do was watch as Henry and Vicki walked away toward the exit, an arm around each other. Was Vicki… skipping?
"Uhm, sir?" a small voice came from his right.
"What?" Mike growled.
"We'll have to bill you for the glass…"
A real restaurant on King St. in Toronto. There's really a garden patio and a fountain... I did a little research. $35-$100/plate...