The music was deafening as they passed under the speakers to enter the diner through a large set of batwing doors. The immediate darkness was cause for pause. Tavia couldn’t see anything but the pulsing reddish lights behind her eyes until her eyes adjusted to the dimness.
They had entered a vestibule area; there was a proper set of glass entry doors just ahead. Dari
c urged her toward them and held one open as she passed in front of him. The opening was small and as she stepped in front of him, her hip grazed his groin.
Had he stood too close on purpose? She couldn’t be sure. Had she purposefully passed him a little slower than was necessary to extend the contact? Indeed, she had. Glancing innocently up at him, she saw he was grinning.
The inside of the Ragged Diner was just that. The black leather seats had light spots worn in them from years of use and hundreds of asses moving around on them. The tables wore the handiwork of all sorts of artisans, it seemed. The floor was rough-hewn wood with smooth trails worn out by hundreds of feet making hundreds of trips across it.
Daric pointed to a booth that was more private than the others and Tavia headed to it. A waitress was on their heels immediately. The place only had a few patrons, and the interior was cool and quiet as Tavia scooted into the center of the bench on her side. Crimson velvet curtains were drawn back to either side of the booth with rope ties. She was shocked to look up and see that there were actual rings on the curtains and a real rod that one could slide the curtains closed on, if one desired.
They ordered drinks—both ordered ice water and ice tea. Tavia didn’t want to drink any alcohol and then go back into the heat. The waitress showed them the Bike Week Specials and Tavia giggled over some of the names of the food: Fat Boy Fritters, Lard Ass Lamb Chops, Flathead Fajitas, Saddlebag Salad, The Sidekick Sampler, and the list went on.
Shaking her head, Tavia said, “I just don’t think I can order anything off that menu.”
“I’m getting the Sidekick Sampler Platter and the Flathead Fajitas—best things on the menu besides the burgers and fries.” He grinned.
“All right then. I’ll have the Indian Burger with Twin V loaded fries.” She laughed while she ordered, not believing that she had just ordered food that sported novelty Harley names.
“See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Daric handed the waitress both menus and kept his eyes on Tavia.
“I guess not; just extremely cheesy.” She sipped her water.
“I’m impressed that such a little thing eats substantial food, though. I was prepared to have you special ordering some kind of salad with the dressing on the side.”
“You’d be shocked if you saw the scandalous amount of substantial food I put away every single day, then.” Tavia didn’t think she’d ever eaten a special ordered salad with the dressing on the side. She’d always ordered and eaten like someone twice her size would.
Nodding his approval, Daric said, “That’s good. I like a woman who actually eats.”
Tavia tried to hide her surprise. Had that been a loaded statement? Or, was he just stating one of his general likes?
“I like a man who actually eats, too.” Tavia couldn’t resist being playful.
Laughing, he said, “And a sense of humor, to boot. Or, are you used to those city, college boys who worry about every gram of fat?” He clucked his tongue and mimicked a feminine voice, “A moment on the lips; lifetime on the hips.” He slapped the sides of his thighs. “Lord, I never…” Rolling his eyes dramatically to finish up.
Tavia snorted laughter at the sight. Big, muscular, macho Daric imitating a woman was more than she could resist.
They ate and exchanged more playful banter. Tavia could really appreciate someone that actually gave as good as he got and could keep up without being annoying or mean. By the end of the meal, she had a full stomach, had cooled off to a point of almost being cold, and felt as if she’d known Daric for years.
“That was delicious and I feel so much better. Thank you, Daric.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll ask for some kind of repayment later. Then you’ll probably run and hide and chastise yourself for ever accepting my kindness, little lady.” He gave her a rakish grin as they stood to leave.
“Hmm. Depends.” She winked at him.
“Don’t tease. It’s not nice.” He opened the door for her.
Over her shoulder, she said, “Who’s teasing?” She bumped him in the thigh with her butt and giggled as she walked on, leaving him standing there in the doorway with a shocked, but lustful expression on his face.
“We’ll see about that. Come on.” He came out the door and slapped her ass. “Let’s head this way and find out if you are teasing.” He paused and looked at her sternly. “What do you say? Are you game or will your boyfriend be mad?”
“He’s not my boyfriend. I’m game, if you’re serious.”
“Well, I don’t usually joke about things like this.” He pulled her close and put his arm over her shoulders.
Tavia walked beside him, heart racing.