We doin' this?

Submitted into Contest #141 in response to: Set your story in the lowest rated restaurant in town.... view prompt

3 comments

Romance Fiction

Abigail stood outside the Fu Yu Chinese restaurant, pacing back and forth and checking her phone for nothing in particular.

Every passing minute she seemed to become a little more nervous. Keep it together, Abby, she thought to herself. He agreed to come. So, just… breathe.


For the third time since her sister had dropped her off at the restaurant, she took the Aloha Coconut flavored ChapStick from her purse and applied it to her lips. Then put it back into her purse, and ran her hands over her round belly.


She was wearing a black Deftones t-shirt. She hadn’t listened to the band in at least a year, but it was their music that had brought her and Dan together, when they first met as freshman in high school. She hoped he might like it.


It was early afternoon on a Tuesday, so few people were out walking around or driving down the street. If this place had anything like a lunch rush, they would likely be finished with their food at least an hour before that happened.


She liked that the two of them might have some privacy, not knowing where the conversation was going to lead, or even how much of a conversation there would be. The possibility of the big awkward silence looming over their meeting was very real. 


She checked her phone for nothing in particular again, and chewed on one fingernail.


5 minutes later, Dan’s car pulled up to the restaurant. Abigail couldn’t have kept from smiling if her life had depended on it. He saw her and smiled back.


He parked his car and got out. Abigail could see he was wearing a polo shirt and khaki shorts.


“Oh, my goodness, Daniel Jones. When did you turn preppy?” she asked as he approached her, an already big smile turning bigger on her face.


He looked down at his clothes, raising his hands, “What’s wrong with this?”


“Nothing wrong, you just look like a completely different person than I remember.”


“So, I like to dress a little nicer now.” He shrugged. “I see you haven’t changed a bit. Other than the big belly. Still wearing Deftones shirts.”


“Oh my God,” she said, “I only wore this because I was seeing you! I mostly listen to rap now.” She laughed.


“It does look good on you. The whole rocker chick thing.”


She slapped his arm.


“Really, though,” he said, “You didn’t have to do that for me. It’s just cool to see you again. Kind of crazy to see you pregnant, though.”


“I know. Weird, huh?”


“It happens.” he said. “It is a natural part of life.”


She ran her hand over her round stomach. “I find out if it’s a boy or girl in a couple weeks.”


“Well, that’s exciting. Although, I might be worried about a pregnant woman eating at this place.” He hiked a thumb up over his shoulder at the restaurant.


“What’s wrong with this place?” she asked, furrowing her brow a little.


“Have you ever been here?”


“No, but, I mean, its Chinese food! How could it be bad?”


Dan pulled out his phone. “I looked it up online when you said you wanted to meet here. Not only is there not a single good review. It is literally notorious for being the worst restaurant in town. There's like 50 negative reviews.”


“Really? Out of ALL the places I could have picked.”


“Looks like it. Apparently, they only hire tweekers to work here. And the service is horrible.


“Well, that sucks.”


“Yeah,” he said, showing her some of the bad reviews on his phone.


“Do you want to go somewhere else? We could if you want, even though I was really looking forward to some Chinese.” She said, rubbing her belly.


“I mean, we’re already here. And it would be kind of interesting to eat at the lowest rated restaurant in town. I guess.”


“If you’re sure you don’t mind.”


“No, its fine.”


“Awww, you’re just as sweet as I remember.”


“Yeah, yeah. Let’s go in before I change my mind.”


“Yes. I’m starving.”


Fu Yu Chinese restaurant was a small, poorly lit room with two dirty looking wooden tables for customers to dine at, accompanied by four equally dirty looking chairs, and a small counter for ordering food in one corner of the room.


Behind the counter on this day were two girls, both looked to be no more than 17. Both were looking at their phones. And both had the intense, slightly bulging eyes of someone under the influence of a strong stimulant - and not exactly an 'over the counter' kind.


Abigail and Dan walked up to the counter.


Only one of the girls stopped looking at their phone, and with a strange, toothy smile, asked them if it would be dine-in or carry out.


They both ordered orange chicken with fried rice, and a few minutes later it came out. They took their food and sat down at one of the tables.


"There's no way this chicken is fresh. They couldn't have cooked it in 3 minutes." he said.


"It definitely was cooked before we got here."


They both gave a little shrug, and began to eat.


“So,” Abigail said after a few moments. “How’s your job going?”


“Pretty good.”


“That’s good.”


He nodded.


They were both chewing their food, each unsure of exactly what to say next.


Then Abigail decided to cut to the chase, “Ask me anything you want. I know you probably have questions.”


He didn’t answer right away, or let his face betray what he was feeling. Then he said, “Okay, okay. But give me a second. I didn’t exactly know what to expect from seeing you today.


“Take your time. I'll answer whatever you ask.”


He chewed his food, holding eye contact with her for a moment, then looking down at his plate. “Where is he now?” he asked, scooping up some fried rice.


“Jail.” She said, as if stating something that should be obvious.


“For what?”


“Meth. That fucking asshole. He’d probably get along great with twiddle-dee and twiddle-dum over there”


He tried not to laugh. Her sense of humor had always been part of what attracted him to her. “I gotta say, the food isn’t actually as bad as I expected. But, anytime a Chinese restaurant doesn't have any Chinese people working in it – that’s not a great sign.”


“Right?” she laughed.


“So, what are you going to do when he gets out of jail?”


“Avoid his ass like the plague.” She said. “I don’t expect him to change. He didn’t when I got pregnant, why would he now?”


Dan nodded, chewing and swallowing another bite of food. “What are you going to name the baby?”


“Bella for a girl or Thomas for a boy, after my dad.”


“Well, I hope you let me know when you find out which one it is.”


“Of course. I have your number now so I’m going to annoy you all the time with texts.”


“Oh, wow. I think it's time to change phones.”


“Oh, come on. It took me months to get this one.”


“I’ll have to think about it.” He said.


They both continued to eat.


“So,” she asked after a moment, poking the remaining pieces of chicken on her plate with her fork, “Any other questions?”


“Sure. Have you seen anybody since, you know, you and what’s his face broke up?”


She shook her head. “Nope.”


He nodded. 


“My mom was so happy when I told her I was going to see you.” Abigail said.


“Awww, I’ve missed your mom. You know, I used to think that if you and I didn’t work out…”


“Don’t say it, ass.”


“Hey, you guys look like twins!”


Abigail gave him a deadpan stare.


“Alright, alright. Tell her I said hello.” He said, holding up his hands.


“Uh-huh. Maybe.”


“I’ll be good, I promise. No more mom jokes.”


“That would be wise. If you know what’s good for you.”


He held up his hands, “Understood.” Then said, “Don’t you miss this?”


“What?”


“Us. Just bullshitting, eating Chinese food.”


“I have been thinking a lot about the old days lately.”


“Like me knocking on your window at midnight?”


“Yes. Then us smoking weed and walking around town for hours and hiding in people’s yards when a police car would drive by?”


He laughed. “Good times, good times. I don’t miss school, though. That’s for sure.”


“Oh, come on.” she said, “You don’t miss timing it so we would leave class for the bathroom at the same time, and go make out in the stairwell?”


“Okay, that was pretty cool.”


”I thought so.”


”And everybody would say how we looked so good together.”


“We were basically a power couple.”


“Like Ben and Jen.” He said laughing.


“Right, Abby and Dan.”


They both finished their food and pushed their plates aside. They couldn't help but smile at each other.


They let the silence stretch out for a minute, then two. Both feeling no need to elaborate on what either one was thinking or feeling. It was just understood. They seemed to have reached that comfortable zone between two people, when they fit together so naturally that words would only diminish the simple beauty of the moment.


Then, Abigail looked down and slowly reached her hand across the table. Dan held out his, and they intertwined their fingers.


“So,” she said.


“So.”


“We doin’ this?”


He hesitated only for an instant, “We’re doing this.”


April 15, 2022 19:22

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

3 comments

Jeannette Miller
16:00 Apr 30, 2022

It takes s special guy to get together with a pregnant woman. It's a cute story with the mentions of their old days together. Nice!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Riel Rosehill
16:01 Apr 21, 2022

Hi Mickey~ This was pretty wholesome and fun to read. I thought wow, Dan has some patience when Abby's only conversation starter was any questions, any more questions? Poor guy! But they seem to be a good team, I wonder what's in the backstory and why they didn't stay together in the past. PS: brave of them, going into that restaurant

Reply

Mickey Carroll
19:43 Apr 21, 2022

Thank you so much, Riel! My other stories had been a little graphic, so I wanted to try something wholesome. Dan is trying his best to be kind to her lol. Basically, they broke up because she had developed a taste for ‘bad boys’, and Dan is not that. Fast forward, she is pregnant and the bad boy is nowhere to be found. So, fate is bringing the high school sweethearts together again. With a baby thrown into the mix. PS: when you want Chinese, you want Chinese 🤷‍♂️

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply